Protecting the secret ballot – Utah’s Amendment A

by

Consisting of just a few words, Utah’s Amendment A – to paraphrase Joe Biden – is a big effing deal. The amendment reads:

Shall the Utah Constitution be amended to specify that elections currently required to be by secret ballot include elections under state or federal law for public office, on an initiative or referendum, or to designate or authorize employee or individual representation?

The right to a secret ballot is an essential and fundamental principle in our society. When the right to a secret ballot is removed, individual liberties and freedom decline.

This type of amendment has garnered national attention over many months. It originally passed out of the Utah legislature in March of 2009.  Nationally, the “card check” or “majority sign-up” movement is being promoted by Obama, the Democrats and big labor. Card check is a method for American employees to organize into a labor union simply by signing a card, rather than by vote. Instead of holding a secret ballot election where employees can vote anonymously, card check would mean that the employees would unionize as soon as they reached 50%+1 of the employees signed the card. Opponents argue that signers could be coerced into signing through intimidation and pressure and that private ballots are a basic American right. A 2004 Zogby study showed that 78% of union members supported keeping the secret ballot system.

However, passing the “Employee Free Choice Act” (another name for card check), has been a key plank for the Obama administration. Not surprisingly, the effort has been actively supported by the AFL-CIO. Earlier this year, the national president, Richard Trumka, said “”I think we’ll get health care done and I think we’ll get labor law reform done before the year’s up.” Just a couple of days ago, he hinted that there might be a vote on this bill during the lame duck session.

By voting YES on this amendment to the Utah Constitution, Utah will maintain the right to a secret ballot. The Utah Taxpayers Association held a press conference yesterday where they announced their support for Amendment A, and the pledge they sent to every candidate in Utah. The pledge simply states:

By signing below, I declare my support for Constitutional Amendment A, SOS Ballot. My signature also authorizes the Utah Taxpayers Association to publicize my support FOR Constitutional Amendment A, on the November 2010 ballot.

On October 20th, the Taxpayer’s Association will announce which candidates have signed the pledge – and which have not. Expect to see a majority – a super-majority, even – of supporters.

About these ads

Tags: , , , ,

48 Responses to “Protecting the secret ballot – Utah’s Amendment A”

  1. rmwarnick Says:

    Failure to enact the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) counts as one of the Obama administration’s numerous failures and concessions to corporatists. They are destroying the middle class in America.

    EFCA does not rule out elections. It offers an alternative process. When workers try and organize unions through elections, they are often harassed and intimidated. Too many unscrupulous employers get away with breaking labor laws because the current penalties are too weak.

    Here’s how majority sign-up works. EFCA would require an employer to recognize its employees’ union when a majority has signed union authorization cards. Under current law, management can refuse to recognize a union even when 100 percent of employees have signed authorization cards. After a majority of workers have signed cards, an employer can still call for a separate election. Under the current system, then, the employer gets to decide whether a separate election is necessary.

  2. Don Says:

    I don’t personally feel like unions are good for anything accept pushing employers around. When you have a force that tells someone what they have to be paid or force loosing a whole workforce, or better yet when you have a workforce strike and the avg worker has no clue what the strike is about or doesn’t want to strike, that simply can’t be good.

    As an employer, I set the salaries, if you don’t want to work for what I am offering, there is the door. telling me what I have to pay you is BS, telling me I have to hire you, that you have to work so many hours, that I have to give you benefits, all BS… it is my business, if you can and want to do the job for what I am offering, take the job, if not go find another job.

    The ONLY time the GOV or anyone else can and should step in (IMHO) is when we have come to an agreement and I do not honor it. Other than that, stay out of my business.

  3. John Cheshire Says:

    I have had personal experience with union and non union jobs. When I first got out of the military I worked for a company that required I join a union and pay dues. I didn’t like paying dues but I figured that the union might fight for benefits and get me more…stuff.

    However, what I found was that the union made it difficult to do my job. I was a project manager for a systems integrator where I was in charge of making sure that large installation jobs came in under budget. That is how I was graded as a PM and that is how I saw bonus money that I could disperse to my crew. However the Union had negotiated benefits that made doing jobs out of town next to impossible. For one, field techs got paid overtime for anything over 8 hours in a day regardless of how many hours they worked in a given week. Sounds great right? Wrong. Because the Union had also negotiated a double time policy for any overtime it was strictly forbidden. There simply was no overtime allowed.

    Furthermore, the nature of the job made it very labor intensive just to get set up to work. There was a lot of equipment that would need to be in place and a whole slew of tools that would need to be pulled out of the job box’s and set up. Typical set up and breakdown on a job was about an hour at both ends. Most of our jobs would be out of town as well so we would be holed up in a hotel for four nights a week and eating out of a paper bag for the better part of five days…all on the companies dime.

    My crew wanted to work four-10 hour days and have a three day weekend…the rational being that the saved room and board would pay for the overtime of 8 hours. So I ran the numbers and realized that even with the savings in room and board I would be over budget very quickly so I sided with management. If the company isn’t profitable I DON’T HAVE A JOB and neither does my crew. My solution was to call our local Union rep and have a conversation with him about making some changes.

    His response was to tell me to get in line and shut up…even after I explained that almost everyone wanted this. He told me that I was new and that the company had a history of low-balling bids and could afford to give the overtime if they would charge the customer more.

    I saw the numbers and knew this was just not true. I knew our profit margins were razor thin. Furthermore, I knew what our union and non-union competitors were bidding and knew we had no room to move our price up or we simply would lose business. I had several unpleasant exchanges with the union guy and finally decided to just try and work within the system…and I started looking for a new job.

    Until I got a visit from two pro union old timers who worked for the company, one of them actually told me that accidents happen all the time on the job site and since I was new I should be more careful. Yes, it really goes down like that. It was almost, well, comical. I was not one to be intimidated and especially not by two guys that were, simply put, the two laziest people I have ever met in my life. I had dealt with much worse sorts in the military and knew that these guys had no idea who they were dealing with. I stopped looking for a new job that instant and I told them as much. I told them the only accident would be the one they just made by lobbing a veiled threat at me.

    So I organized without the union. I went around to all the techs and got enough signatures to boot the union. I got everyone except the two old timers. Those two old timers hated me…for a while but then a few things started happening. First the company lowered the overtime amount to time and a half and changed it to anything over 40 hours in a week. And viola! I had room in my budget to have my crew work a shorter week; Three 15 hour days to be exact…what? Overtime? Yes, because I was only paying for two nights in a hotel and 3 days of food; I essentially cut that part of the budget in half allowing me to go to management and make a very strong case for overtime. Essentially I took the money I would have paid the hotels and restaurants and gave a portion of it to my crew. The rest went to the company’s bottom line which grew as a result. Which meant that we could bid more jobs and hire more crews. In addition I reduced the setup/breakdown time on the jobsite by four hours every week which meant that I was getting more actual work out of my crew. Those old timers? They began to hate me less. Why? Because their checks where bigger…much bigger. No union dues coming out and overtime pay going in. As a result I was able to bring jobs in under budget and pay actual bonuses to my crew. Furthermore, because this practice over time increased the profit margins we went from cost of living raises to actual performance based raises of 5-15%.

    Something magical happened to those two old timers too. They actually started to work. Why? Because they were happier and their checks were fatter…they told me as much. Plus, I had a line of guys out my office door who wanted a piece of a three day work week with 5 hours of overtime and a four day weekend plus 5-10% annual raise with good work.

    I know this is anecdotal but it is my experience with a union and it left a distinct impression on me. In fact I would say that the seeds of conservative thought were planted in my head because of it. See the union is good for something after all.

  4. rmwarnick Says:

    Well, thank you both for explaining what this amendment is really about. The wording is designed to deceive voters trying to work through a long ballot. The word “union” never appear,s and the real purpose of the amendment is obscured by references to “elections under state or federal law for public office” and “initiative or referendum.”

    It’s like, “Here’s an amendment to support Mom, apple pie, and baseball… and abolish unions in Utah.”

  5. Ronald D. Hunt Says:

    “The ONLY time the GOV or anyone else can and should step in (IMHO) is when we have come to an agreement and I do not honor it. “

    The problem their Don is that in a game filled with legal loop holes and exemptions the working is going to lose. The worker neither has the resources, nor the legal knowledge or money for a lawyer to provide said knowledge for any recourse they could potentially take.

    It is this absurd idea that lead to Albertson’s targeting employees who where just short of being vested in their pension plan for being fired after they bought out the Lucky’s super market chain in California. Watching guys who have been working for 22-23-24 years loyally being targeted so that the new company owner wouldn’t have to pay the pension benefits these guys had been working HARD for. And what recourse did they have?, California’s AG office(republican fyi) was uninterested in helping them, they didn’t have the money for legal council, they where screwed.

    A few years back a bunch of people where trying to form a union at the Autoliv factory, they had a meeting to discuss their legal options and what it meant. The next day as these people arrived at work security was their to meet them and escort them off the premise, Funny part is that the person that gave them the list of names was also fired that day.

    Taking away a persons hard earned benefits such as firing them the year before their pension becomes vested or firing them because of something they do on their own time or because of political speech made on their own time is a vile abuse to the liberties that men fought and died for in this country.

    Don,

    I hope your partners, suppliers, customers, employees, and competitors don’t treat you with the same contempt you have shown here.

  6. John Cheshire Says:

    @ Richard

    The word union doesn’t appear because it doesn’t need to. A secret ballot is a secret ballot regardless if you are voting for a union or a city council member so why make the distinction? The amendment seems clear to me but then again I aced reading comprehension in school. It simply covers any election, as it should. Why make an exception for a union?

    You see, folks can be intimidated to sign the card but might actually vote against the union when given the opportunity to do so anonymously in an election. So why are you against secret ballots and why are you against the employer giving their workers that fundemental right?

    The notion that you posit; that only the employers threaten and intimidate is, well, laughable.

    Did you read my experience above? I was actually threatened by union members for trying to get my crews what THEY WANTED. I was targeted because I had made it known to the local that I wanted to make these changes that 95% of the workers wanted. My crew members could sign on the dotted line to boot the union without the local knowing until it was too late. Had they not had that anonymity most would not have signed; they all knew that I had been threatened because the two pro-union guys made a big show talking about it in front of another guy’s crew. Without that anonymity, they never would have gotten the working conditions that they wanted. They never would have received 10-15% raises. They never would have enjoyed three and four day weekends or a bonus.

    By the way, about a six months later when the two pro-union guys finally confided in me that they were happier without the union, they admitted to me that the local had called them in for a meeting after my first conversation with the local. His directive to them was clear; he had told them to get me fired or otherwise off the job. His last words to them were, “Shut him down”. He even suggested to them that they could plant drugs in my office to get me fired. He suggested that they engage in criminal activivty that could get them in quite a bit of trouble personally. Do you think the union would have been there to bail them out when they got busted trying to buy their drugs to get me fired? Do you think that union boss was thinking about their wellbeing or his?

    That being said, I have worked for companies that treated their employees like crap. My solution was to go and work for another company that values its workforce and doesn’t hold them in contempt. My experience has also taught me that those employers that treat their employees fairly get better productivity out of their workers. The reverse is also true. The two companies I left were poorly managed and their workforce did the very minimum to not get fired because, as I found out within days, there was simply no incentive to do otherwise.

    The only folks that worked there were folks who couldn’t get hired anywhere else. I refused to manage folks like that and I refuse to manage people poorly. I wanted to run projects with a good crew as it is the only means for success. Neither of those businesses is with us anymore. Why? Because they couldn’t produce a profit with the workers they had. Why? Because the only people they could hire were those who simply couldn’t get hired by a better company. In other words, the onus is on the employer to foster an environment that attracts good people and repels bad ones.

    I mean, this notion that all workers are noble and just want to do a hard day’s work is a myth. Some folks are just lazy dirt bags looking for a free ride and letting folks like that unionize doesn’t help anyone. It doesn’t help the employer because then he is forced to give things to sub-standard employees. And it doesn’t help the employer change what is really important and that is his attitude towards his workers and their conditions. And it doesn’t help the lazy dirt bag become any less of a lazy dirt bag either. In fact it encourages it. Those folks are simply not prepared to enter the workforce when they find themselves on the street. What is worse is that it sometimes takes good workers and turns them into lazy dirt bags, sometimes without them even knowing it, like the case of my two union friends.

    My point is this; there are crappy employers and crappy employees. The market will help these groups find each other. A match made in heaven if you ask me.

  7. John Cheshire Says:

    @ Ronald

    I have not taken the time to verify your claims about the Albertsons case nor will I…unless I suddenly decide that I want to enter the grocery business. Let’s assume for the sake of argument that everything you said was true and they screwed all of the acquired Lucky’s employees out of their pension which may very well be true as I have never been impressed with their stores or their service in general.

    Assuming these things are true and you and I are the model grocery employees, would you even apply to work there? I wouldn’t. I would be up at Harmons or Smiths trying to get a job there. My point being that Albertsons and any other company is only as good as the folks running the stores and if they are not happy, the customer will not be either and will gravitate to another store. The better stores that treat their employees fairly will get more customers and in response to demand will open more stores and more good jobs. The Albertsons of the world will continue to struggle for customers and sooner or later will go out of business.

    In my opinion, the Unions keep employees and employers from getting better. It keeps them from making the most important change which is a change in thinking and attitude.

  8. Ronald D. Hunt Says:

    John,

    Who knows what the company was like 20-25 years ago when they first started working their, for all you or I know they where the model company at that time. And it doesn’t matter if you would or wouldn’t work their that is a strawman argument in the face of their behavior after a *buyout* by another company. Also be aware that pension plans don’t work like 401k’s as you don’t get anything until you are vested into the plan, and depending on the pension they often don’t pay a portion of the FICA taxes that would normally make them vested with social security at the very least.

    Unions where created in the first place to protect the rights of a worker, you can be sure that if Lucky’s had been unionized that the above would have never happened.

    Yea unions have had a real problem evolving into the modern world, clearly your experience shows this, And removing the union from your particular line of work may have been the right thing todo, more so if the workers such as yourself are well educated about your rights, have the resources to protect yourself from frivolous nonsense from your employer, and importantly the employer knows this.

  9. DonM Says:

    The real problem as it always has (and will be) been is people. When people want to allow the bottom line to be the only focus on how ‘well’ a company is doing, things are going to be bad for the employees.

    Conversely when people want to leverage union power to make unfair demands on employers, not provide less than a fair days work, not striving to improve not only themselves but the company or worse yet slip into ‘entitlement’ then things are going to decline for both the company and the employees.

    For me personally and nearly every one I know or have observed in a unionized company it is FAR more the latter which occurs, unfortunately.

    In the Albertsons example, had they been unionized, what happened probably would have happened much sooner due to the increased costs, losses in productivity and beaurocracy that would have most likely occurred.

    To truly fix the problems, the people have to change. People have to care about the company they work for, because it cares for them, people have to care about more than the bottom line, and moat importantly people have to care about the companies and practices they support through the purchasing choices.

  10. natalie Says:

    I am changing the subject just a little. I am wondering how the same people that support this could support releasing the names of the signers of the ethics petition. It seems hypocritical – we want secrecy when it’s anti-union, but transparency when it suits us.

  11. John Cheshire Says:

    Ronald,

    My point was not so much a stawman as it was a hypothetical, but I see where you are coming from. The point I was trying to make, poorly perhaps, is by Albertsons acting the way they did it hurt their credibility with potential future employees and the public (consumer). In the process of screwing the Luckys employees they in turn screwed themselves. It doesn’t get those employees their pension back but it should serve as an example to other companies who might be considering the same type of tactic.

    Would you agree with that? Would you say you are more or less likely to shop at Albertsons based on the outcome of the Luckys ordeal? Are you more or less likely to apply for a job there?

    That was the point I was making.

    @ natalie who said we are the same people? Jumping into a debate and making assumption about people in order to call them hypocritical based on that false premise is bad form. It also says more about you then it does anyone else.

  12. natalie Says:

    John, sorry for the confusion. I should have been more clear. I am talking about legislative leaders. It seems like the legislators that supported the release of signatures on the ethics initiative are the same that support this. I said I was changing the subject, because I wasn’t jumping into your debate, I was asking an unrelated question. Sorry I offended (but, dude, if I am busted for making an assumption, so are you).

  13. Ronald D. Hunt Says:

    Natalie,

    I fully support full disclosure of signers after the measure is placed on the ballet(but not before). Their is a clear line between those that pick from options on the ballet and those that place the options on the ballet.

    I want full discloser from politicians, ballot measures, and any and all spending related to those things. And to that end if I had the chance I would have signed the UEG measure, the fair boundaries measure as well.

    John,

    Yes I would agree with that, I generally avoid businesses that act in the way they did.

  14. John Cheshire Says:

    @ Natalie

    I was not offended. As I said, it says more about you then anyone else so if you feel the need to apologize then apologize to yourself. But you’re right, I should have read into your mind and realized that you were talking about legislators and not just people as you said. I sure could have saved myself from that rather embarrassing assumption!

    @ Ronald

    “Their is a clear line between those that pick from options on the ballet and those that place the options on the ballet.”

    Couldn’t have said it better myself. Although I am curious as to why you are for releasing the names after but not before? I don’t really care either way as long as they are released, but I am curious why you choose to make the distinction.

  15. Ronald D. Hunt Says:

    John,

    Their is some amount of leeway that needs to be given to people such that they can engage in the political process without to much fear of reprisal. I believe the ballot is the line between these two the ends. Those who have not achieved a position on the ballot would have their first amendment rights violated if anyone could possess a list of names or targets because someone attempted to exercise their freedom of assembly or freedom of association as defined by the first amendment of the US constitution.

    I will refer to the Autoliv example above for why this distinction is important.

    Imagine the hypothetical situation where their was an attempt at a ballot measure that some large business did not like but the measure failed and the names where released. That business could then use that list as a reprisal against any employee that signed in or perhaps part of the filtering of job applications.

    In the alternative where the measure gets to the ballot the basic need of voters to be informed is so important to the very basis of our democracy that not releasing the names, that even given the risk of reprisals from the release of the information the needs of informed voters trumps protections of the first amendment.

    At least this would be a living document interpretation of the constitution(as I see it), I have no idea what the originalists would say as their interpretation seems to vary with political convenience.

  16. Bruce Says:

    We have “Fair Labor Laws” protecting the workplace. Unions are an anachronism and have no place in todays workplace. Unions provide a shelter to mediocrity. I the Individual, competes on my own merits. I don’t need a Union. If you need a Union, you are surrendering your own competitiveness to their collective mediocrity. Holly said it all:
    “The right to a secret ballot is an essential and fundamental principle in our society. When the right to a secret ballot is removed, individual liberties and freedom decline.”

    Vote FOR Amendment A, to keep Secret Ballots, Freedom, and Individual Liberty and Competitiveness.

  17. John Cheshire Says:

    Ronald,

    I see your point and I can’t think of any reason to release them earlier so I suppose I agree. I do support folks knowing who the sponsers of the petition are, which to be quite honest, is where things get fuzzy for me. The group has an innocuous name but as I understand it the ring leaders behind the UEG are ex-teachers union folks like David Irvin and Kim Burningham as well as recently failed politicians who very likely have an ax to grind.

    These folks are not exactly “citizens” in the way most people think of citizens and that leaves their motivations suspect in my mind. The structure of the measure concerns me in that respect as well but to be honest I have not read over the initiative in 6+ month so I will circle back around on that.

  18. rmwarnick Says:

    Well, whether or not you happen to be a fan of unions doesn’t change the fact that this amendment is deceptively worded.

    I could also mention that the Utah state constitution already provides, in Article IV, Section 8, that “All elections shall be by secret ballot.”

    As the Salt Lake Tribune points out, the bottom line is this:

    If Congress were to pass the Employee Free Choice Act (not likely given corporatist control of Washington), then the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution renders any contrary law in Utah meaningless and unenforceable.

  19. John Cheshire Says:

    Richard,

    Corporatist control of Washington? How do you figure? If you look at the money that was donated from 1989 to 2010 it would appear that the lion share has gone to Democrats. It’s not even really close at a 2 to 1 ratio. What is even more telling is that of the roughly 1.2 billion dollars the Dem’s have raked in during that time almost half, or about 540 million, came from unions. Just slightly less the the republicans entire take of 565 million.

    Also it would appear that while the unions gave almost exclusively to Democrats the eeeevil corporations donated somewhat fairly to both parties relative to the unions.

    So who really owns DC?

  20. John Cheshire Says:

    Richard,

    Because of NLRB safeguards, employees can cast their vote confidentially, without peer pressure or coercion from unions or employers… If Congress passes the Employee Free Choice Act, employees effectively lose their right to private ballot elections. The bill would establish a so called “card-check” union organizing system, in which a majority of employees simply sign a card in favor of union representation.

    Why are you against private elections?

  21. Ronald D. Hunt Says:

    John,

    Love open secrets great site, however that set of data is flawed at best. It does not account for third parties using money to run ads to influence the elections without donating directly to any candidate or party, and these dollars heavily favor republicans. And after the horrid citizens united ruling their are no limits or discloser on these dollars anymore.

    Also listed on the chart is ActBlue which is not a corporate donor, ActBlue provides a means for individuals to donate to Democratic candidates and the different democrat party organizations through a sorta paypal like web site. ActBlue was how Alan Grayson orchestrated donations for his money bombs, it all came from individuals in 5$-25$ chunks.

    Also some of the Unions listed, the political donation part of the union due is optional so I find it hard to consider that the same as a corporate donation(mostly just teacher unions do this).

    “Democrats the eeeevil corporations donated somewhat fairly to both parties relative to the unions.”

    And notice which ones to, At&t, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, etc. These guys are government contract rent sitters and are a problem both parties need to kick.

    We need publicly funded elections, the Fair Elections Now Act would solve a lot of these problems. I would also support a constitutional amendment to declare that money isn’t speech and corporations are not people.

  22. rmwarnick Says:

    Looks like our perspectives differ. When I say corporatists, I certainly am not ruling out Democrats (just look at Rep. Matheson).

    The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), which is legislation that’s currently dead on Capitol Hill, would not eliminate elections to form a union. Under the current rules, an employer can reject a petition signed by a majority of employees and then hold an election that’s controlled by the company. The election process almost never certifies a union. Many of the intimidation tactics used by employers to discriminate against workers for union involvement carry very light penalties. EFCA would strengthen enforcement of fair labor practices.

    This is an important issue because the American middle class is under attack, and it might be practically eliminated in our lifetimes.

  23. John Cheshire Says:

    Ronald,

    So at number 3 on the list at just under 43 million dollars, ActBlue is a PAC? How about Emily’s List at number 26 and just a shade over 22 million? The only conservative Pac I see on the list is Club for Growth at number 86 on the list at just under 10.5 million.

    So an advantage is ok as long as it benifits the democrats? You can’t have it both ways besides there is no eveidence that PAC dollars heavily favor republicans in ad spending. What about George Soros funding propaganda sites like Think Progress? Does that money need to be disclosed in your mind?

  24. Ronald D. Hunt Says:

    All money needs to be disclosed, These are people trying to influence the outcomes of elections.

    “You can’t have it both ways besides there is no eveidence that PAC dollars heavily favor republicans in ad spending.”

    Actually their is evidence, while we can’t track it based on donations we can track the ad buys themselves. American crossroads(Carl Roves group) and the chamber of commerce will both have spend over $100 million dollars in just the 2010 election and neither of those appear on the list(yea the chambers direct donations do but that is small potato’s). And the Chamber is receiving foreign donations into the same account their funding these ads from. In fact their are 17 democrats being supported by PAC ad’s where as their are over 70 republicans receiving PAC spending in their races.

    Really I don’t like the current situation no matter who it does or doesn’t favor. We need public financing of elections. Until politicians are accountable to Americans and not the interests funding their campaigns this problem won’t go away.

  25. John Cheshire Says:

    Ronald,

    Your comment completely ignores the fact that the Chamber of Commerce gave 43% of it’s political donations to democrats while also ignoring the fact that Obama himself raked in millions of dollars of foreign money during his campaign…Illegally. I find it really sad that he and others like yourself now whine about a mere 300k going to the COC 43% of which would go to Dem’s if any of it went to political donations.

    In addition, even the NYT has said there is no evidence to back Obama’s claim. In a typical display of liberal political hackery it seems that the strategy is to just repeat the false meme until enough ignorant folks believe it.

    Your comment also completely ignores all of George Soros’s foreign money that funds progressive propaganda sites like Think Progress.

    That being said, I would agree there needs to be more transparency for BOTH sides with no loopholes for unions, PAC’s and big business. Also there has to be some teeth to it. Obama has still not accounted for millions of dollars that his campaign has received so there is little incentive politicians to do do things honestly when they simply get away with it…without even a whimper from the so-called main stream media.

  26. John Cheshire Says:

    Ronald,

    I am curious what the ad buys monies looked like in the 2006 and 2008 election? Didn’t PAC add buys heavily favor democrats then?

    Your comment completely ignores the fact that the Chamber of Commerce gave 43% of it’s political donations to democrats. Even the NYT has said there is no evidence to back Obama’s claim. It seems that the strategy is to just repeat the false meme until enough ignorant folks believe it.

  27. John Cheshire Says:

    Ronald,

    You also seem to ignore the fact that Obama himself raked in millions of dollars of foreign money during his campaign…Illegally.

    Liberals were quiet as a mouse when it came to that foreign money and the discloser of it. In fact, they have shut down any possible investigation into it and most MSM media outlets never even mentioned it. Regardless of which party the offender belongs to I am very troubled by how easy it is for politicians to cheat and how willing folks are to accept it when the offender is of their own party. I am doubly troubled that the MSM looks the other way when it suits.

  28. Ronald D. Hunt Says:

    “I am curious what the ad buys monies looked like in the 2006 and 2008 election? Didn’t PAC add buys heavily favor democrats then?”

    We had campaign laws that limited that in 06 and 08, The supreme court decided in 2009 that limiting a fictitious legal construct(corporation) to spend dollars in a maner directed by a partisan executive staff that is effectively compelled speech in the case of publicly own corps was a horrid abolition and put an end to it. Through my retirement account I own shares of all kinds of companies, when they reduce my dividends to lobby congress they are effectively using my investment to compel me to speak against what I believe in.

    So this year it favors republicans, last year it favored democrats, who knows who will be benefiting from the stolen profits from my shares of stock will be benefiting next year.

    “You also seem to ignore the fact that Obama himself raked in millions of dollars of foreign money during his campaign…Illegally. “

    Its about the fungability of dollars, and it doesn’t shock me that both do it.

    again I will say,

    Really I don’t like the current situation no matter who it does or doesn’t favor. We need public financing of elections. Until politicians are accountable to Americans and not the interests funding their campaigns this problem won’t go away.

  29. John Cheshire Says:

    Ronald,

    Apologies, you are right about the PAC limits. I am trying to make comments while on the verge of a flu coma which might be a bad idea.

    What I was referring to is George Soros and others pumping millions of dollars into “news” outlets which are really just propaganda mouthpieces for the left and they were incredibly effective during those election cycles and without a similar advantage on the right there was almost total control of the message.

    My biggest problem with “leveling the playing field” with publicly funded campaigns is that it would not account for the heavy bias of most news outlets. It would give the media almost total control of the narrative which would almost certainly mean a huge advantage for one side…and I think you know which one. Yes, Fox does a wonderful job of shilling for the right but when they are up against the three major networks and MSNBC, CNN and so on, they are simply outmatched. Most major print publication lean left as well.

    Obama got an absolute tongue bath from the media during the campaign and with the recent leaks of the Journo-list emails there was clearly a concerted effort by those in the MSM to kill particular stories that would have damaged Obama and given the public a better perspective on his theory of governing, which the American people are rejecting as evidenced by this election cycle. I guess they had to elect him to find out what was in him.

    We never learned much about Frank the Mentor and his relationship with communism (a card carrying member in fact). We were effectively shielded from the craziness of Rev. Wright as soon as Obama denounced him. But when some nutty pastor endorsed McCain it was a front page story everyday for weeks. McCain didn’t sit in this pastor’s church for 20 years but somehow a political endorsement tied the two at the hip. We never learned much about Obama’s college days or even saw his transcripts. We never saw any of his writings as president of the Harvard law review. We never saw the long form birth certificate (I didn’t care but some people did) and I would be willing to bet that if Palin’s birth status would have been in question there would have been hundreds of reporters digging through dumpsters up in AK and forceful demands made by the media to release the documents. We heard all about Palin’s lack of experience but heard not a peep about Obama’s. In fact, one could argue that Palin had MORE executive experience as a Gov and she wasn’t even the one running for the top spot.

    The MSM sent hundreds of reporters to AK to dig up dirt on the GOP VP nomination but sent very few to HI, IL or DE to dig up similar dirt on the other side. They lent credibility to circumstantial evidence of a McCain affair while ignoring similar evidence against Obama.

    None of these things individually would have hurt Obama much which was the argument the media made in not reporting them, but when you add all these things together it paints a picture in stark contrast to what the media did paint.

    Beyond that, all of the tabloid gossip took away from folks discussing the issues. Maybe the left wins that discussion, but we will never know now. In my opinion ’08 was the year that the MSM officially became nothing more than tabloid gossip rags that I line the bottom of my hamster cage with.

  30. John Cheshire Says:

    Ronald,

    Here is a perfect example of that media bias. Bias that will control the narative if we allow free speech to be removed from the political process.

  31. Ronald D. Hunt Says:

    I don’t fully buy the whole media bias argument, for one Fox news has the most views of any network, but the important number here is that is equal to about 1.38% of total cable viewership. That is to say that the daily show, or the Colbert report “news shows”(term used loosely) have more viewers.

    The real worry is more about the inclusive nature of one political group for one set of media stations or another. Very few republicans will have anything todo with stations not fox news, and very few democrats will have anything todo with fox news.

    Politicians are loosing their understanding of how to deal with the media because they place themselves into a protective bubble with an outlet that will let them portray their narrative in whatever way they like. Every time they go outside of these bubble talk with someone looking for a story rather then getting an interview they are hit by the “gotcha media”, and this isn’t just against republicans trust me they would take a hit of gold from a democrat to if they could pry it from their mouths.

    The republicans need to talk to their local over the air tv stations much much more. They can not win in the media narrative game if they don’t engage the media.

    The way that republicans treat the media currently means that the only way to report the news is via gotcha moments, showing up to events uninvited, rude surprise interviews where they are mostly ignored while the candidate runs to their car.

    The democrats haven’t done this much yet… I can see the start of it however and it worries me.

  32. John Cheshire Says:

    Ronald,

    Fox News is a cable network and I mentioned it in my comment which leads me to believe you aren’t even reading past the first few lines before you start in with your talking points. Besides, viewing statistics show that the vast majority of folks still get their TV news from the network evening news, which is ABC, NBC and CBS. They are certainly biased…and 5 minutes and access to the Lexis-Nexis database is all you need to verify that.

    I find it amusing that liberals go on and on about Fox News when they have NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN and MSNBC in the bag. You are right though, Fox news does dominate when folks have that choice. The free market tends to not favor the democrats which explains why they are hell bent on destroying it. Just Google Air America and the Fairness Doctrine.

  33. Ronald D. Hunt Says:

    “I find it amusing that liberals go on and on about Fox News when they have NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN and MSNBC in the bag.”

    NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN and MSNBC have a “liberal” bias because the bloody republicans won’t engage and talk with them, The republicans allow the democrats the set the narratives on these stations because they the republicans WON’T BLOODY TALK TO UM.

    If we are talking about liberals creating an environment where they can set the narrative then why would they ever screw with that by pushing the fairness doctrine, as the republicans further limit what media outlets they will interact with the more it favours liberals to not have the fairness doctrine. The way it is moving the republicans will have a single easily painted as partisan outlet to portray their narrative, where as the democrats will have half a dozen media outlets the blog’o’sphere, etc where it will be very difficult to paint them all as partisan giving the democrats narrative a lot more credibility without regard to what the real situation is.

    I don’t see how its hard to understand if liberals are the only ones that will talk to the news outlets then of course they will get more time on the news outlets then those who don’t talk to said news outlets.

    The republicans created this situation, now they have to live with it or learn how to talk to the media again and do what any democrat would do, be interviewed at every chance and opportunity by any and all who will listen.

  34. Ronald D. Hunt Says:

    good heavens the republicans are getting really stupid about how they treat the media,

    Joe miller’s private security detains reporter

  35. johncheshire Says:

    “NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN and MSNBC have a “liberal” bias because the bloody republicans won’t engage and talk with them”

    I love how every fault that a liberal has is a republicans fault. I am glad to see you admit they have a liberal bias though.

    By the way, I am not talking about the amount of liberal to conservative guests. I am talking about the liberal bias that is displayed in the way they report the news, the way that they DON’T report the news or the way they flat out manufacture it. The conservative blogoshere and Fox News diligently covered the ACORN voter fraud scandel (legal action pending) but many of those media outlets mentioned above still have yet to cover it. The ones that did only did so after it had been thoroughy hashed through for weeks and they did so with a white wash.

  36. johncheshire Says:

    It’s great that you would link one of the stories that proves my point. The MSM is all over the Joe Miller story but ignored this one and this one and this one.

  37. Ronald D. Hunt Says:

    Actually that one with Bob etheridge made it to both countdown and the Rachel Maddow show. And as i recall the Dailyshow had some fun with it to.

    As to Rahm, … I am surprised that didn’t make it around, the progressive wing of the democratic party hates him.

    I would be careful about stuff that comes from Breitbart he is about the most intellectually dishonest slime balls around.

    “The conservative blogoshere and Fox News diligently covered the ACORN voter fraud scandel”</i>

    More “scandels” about the no longer existent ACORN?, More edited video’s with pretend pimps this time? perhaps they where smart enough to destroy the original footage this time so that no one will figure out that they really called the police on the idiot(who was later arrested for trying to illegally wiretap a congress women’s phone line)?

    “I love how every fault that a liberal has is a republicans fault.”

    The first step to enlightenment is to know yourself, ask yourself how many democrats take interviews on fox, then compare that to how many republicans take interviews on MSNBC.

    The republicans that have my adoration(at least for their courage) is people like Tom Coburn, who is more then willing to answer questions on Dylan Ratigans show, and Maddow, and Countdown.

    You see Ron Paul on Maddow sometimes as well(haven’t figured this one out but ehh whatever).

    For the most part otherwise tho none of them have the guts.

  38. johncheshire Says:

    Ronald,

    Your info about the Acorn scandal AGAIN proves my point. I was not talking about Breitbart or the pimp scandal, you brought that up. I was talking about VOTER FRAUD. If you watched something other than MSM news you might have heard of the numerous charges filed against the numerous chapters of ACORN and its affiliates for VOTER FRAUD, like I mentioned before. Beyond that, ACORN is alive and well under different naming conventions.

    While I do not like James O’Keefe or his practices, the Illegal wiretapping story has been debunked and no charges were filed for that offence specifically. You would know that if you watched anything other than the MSM.

    Beyond that I do not care how many republicans go on MSNBC or liberals on Fox because I don’t watch either. TV will rot your brain. However, if you believe that to be the barometer of liberal/conservative bias then you look it up and find the evidence that will support your argument. Become enlightened and do your own work.

    I don’t need to prove a negative to progress my argument.

    You are right; the Bob Etheridge issue did make it to MSNBC which nobody watches anymore. From my memory they both did the story about “dishonest republican gotcha tactics” while whitewashing violent Bob’s behavior. I see where you get your talking points Ron. Did NBC, ABC, or CBS cover it like they have been all over the Joe Wilson story? No, they haven’t. Are they running stories about Hinchey’s assaulting a local TV reporter? No they are not. They are too busy talking about Joe Wilson’s SECURITY GUARDS handcuffing a reporter.

    BTW have you ever looked up any of Maddow’s or Olberman’s claims on Factcheck.org, or any pundit on MSNBC for that matter? They are not exactly the most well informed or honest bunch. You would do yourself a big favor by not using those smear merchants as evidence that a liberal bias doesn’t exist or that it is somehow Republicans fault. In other words, there is a very good and acceptable reason that many politicians including Democrats do not go on MSNBC. That is nobody’s fault but MSNBC.

  39. Mark Steele Says:

    I do not support the EFCA, but I still have my qualms about this amendment proposal.

    1. Current language already specifies “all elections”. I like the comprehensive and simple language, and don’t see the usefulness of adding additional specifications–protection is already there.
    2. Let’s say the amendment passes, and EFCA passes. What takes legal precedence, federal legislation or state constitution. I’m guessing federal law….

  40. johncheshire Says:

    You are correct Mark. Federal would trump state laws in this case which is why we need to make sure it doesn’t get through in the lameduck session.

  41. Ronald D. Hunt Says:

    “While I do not like James O’Keefe or his practices, the Illegal wiretapping story has been debunked and no charges were filed for that offence specifically.

    Its true, even know they where arrested while attempting to gain access to the telephone equipment closet they eventually entered guilty pleas to lesser charges as part of a plea bargain.

    “I was talking about VOTER FRAUD.”

    ACORN no longer exists, and I don’t buy this nonsense about them commiting the long time GOP tradition of voter fraud, ohh wait when the GOP does it, it is a “voter integrity program”.

    You can come back to this talking point after charges have been filed and they are found guilty.

    “BTW have you ever looked up any of Maddow’s or Olberman’s claims on Factcheck.org”

    I have, they do pretty good not perfect, but pretty good as compared to any other media outlets.

    I pretty much take all media with a grain of salt, And the blog’o’sphere with even less.

  42. johncheshire Says:

    “You can come back to this talking point after charges have been filed and they are found guilty.”

    I will come back to it now as charges have been filed in several states against ACORN and its affiliates. Oh and look a conviction that took all of 30 seconds to find using the internets.

    A little time spent using google will help keep that foot taste out of your mouth.

  43. johncheshire Says:

    By the way, ACORN lives on.

  44. Anon Says:

    Can’t believe no one else brought this up. Do you want an Amendment A-like thing to force a secret ballot for LDS President? You conservatives like to claim that you’re the privacy czars, that you want government out of normal people’s lives. When a local group of people organize a private organization, government should not hammer them with requirements on how they conduct themselves. Otherwise, I want a secret ballot for the LDS Church. And this lie about labor organizers cajoling or forcing their coworkers to sign is malarky. Those who do not want to organize can cajole and force every bit as much. Most important, these people like this method over secret ballot for this particular purpose. The LDS Church prefers a totally arcane way of choosing leaders, and that should remain its prerogative.

  45. Ronald D. Hunt Says:

    “By the way, ACORN lives on.”

    Wow, the intellectual dishonesty their is amazing, you don’t actually think this is a credible news source? That would be as silly as me calling dailykos a credible news source. I mean I can link any story like say this one dailykos story and without further context come up with all kinds of idiotic conclusions, But I don’t because without context and the information to understand the context the argument is just well stupid.

    No, sorry ACORN is still dead no matter what the “useful idiots” at this blog are telling you.

    “I will come back to it now as charges have been filed in several states against ACORN and its affiliates. Oh and look a conviction that took all of 30 seconds to find using the internets.

    Again not good enough, until you have guilty convictions that show the now dead organization itself as having enabled this behaviour and not just a few one off situations of people who happened to work them engaged in criminal behaviour. If a few one off situations is all that is required to paint an entire organization bad then when do we shut down the RNC?

  46. Pops Says:

    I must have missed something. Are you saying that CNN and ABC are on a par with dailykos? I suppose we’ve all suspected that…

    But I could go for shutting down both the DNC and the RNC. Let’s elect people on the basis of their character and competence.

  47. johncheshire Says:

    Ronald I found those links in 30 seconds using google and there were plenty more but I did not feel like posting a bunch of links that you obviously will just dismiss with ad hominem attacks without responding to the content or even any kind of eveidence that the credibilty of that blog or blogger might be questionable. You seem to believe it to be uncredible simply becasue it counters one of your deeply held beliefs. And you call me intelectually dishonest? I suppose I could find you the links about ACORN but you seem so happy in your blissful ignorance. If you want to change that it’s on you to do the work now.

    BTW I just found a link that shows how several chapters of ACORN itself (not it’s members) has been indicted on voter fraud but you can find it yourself now. Hint: Google ACORN voter fraud and hit enter.

  48. Benjer McVeigh Says:

    Very true. When someone calls for a less-than-secret ballot, there must be a motive.

Comments are closed.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,284 other followers

%d bloggers like this: