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Michael Moore rallies pro-union protesters in Wisconsin

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Go Moore! Whether or not you like him and/or his message, he has the people power. I don't like a lot of his stuff, but he does have a lot of good points in his messages to the rich elite. Not only because of this, but this will help, I think the Wisconsin Governor's days are numbered. Expect him to either back down or be thrown out.

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Sorry, but Moore is PART of the "rich elite". He has multiple million dollar homes, sends his kid to an elite private school, he is the ultimate limousine liberal. He is a master film-maker, but to call what he creates 'documentaries' is really stretching the definition of the term.

Wisconsin's legislators need to do their jobs, not run away because they don't like what the result may be.

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@DS Exactly! If the union workers want collective bargaining when it comes to salary hikes, medical benefits, I have no problem with that, but as for leeching off the tax payers when it comes to public pensions, no way! Moore hasn't a clue (as most elite liberals) as to what's going on. He needs to stay in Michigan in his big house and let Gov. Walker do his job and as long as he's steadfast, he'll get through this, he can't back down now, so as long as he keeps to his principals and morals, he'll get through this and the people will eventually come around.

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Sorry, but Moore is PART of the "rich elite".

Sorry, but the thousands of union supporters in Madison know better. The idea that a blue-collar kid from Flint has to become "elite" just because he's earned his dues as a "master film-maker" is completely absurd. It's the type of thinking that Moore effectively lampoons.

He owns a single home in Traverse City, in his home state of Michigan. A very nice place in the northern part of the lower peninsula, but not anywhere near The Hamptons for "elite-ness."

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DS,

Agree.

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Spot on, DS

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Didn't someone tell Moore it's over and he's lost?

(The Brit press had some good stories on Moore abusin' 'the help' during his stays in Brit hotels. What a sorry joke...)

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Michael Moore rallies pro-union protesters in Wisconsin

Is he like the Lady Gaga of pro-union folks?

The crowd roared in approval as Moore implored demonstrators to keep up their struggle against Republican Gov Scott Walker’s legislation, saying they’ve galvanized the country’s against the wealthy elite and comparing their fight to Egypt’s revolt.

U-hu. I remember Charlie SHEEN grumbling the same line when he got sacked.

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I really like this man, Michael Moore. He is never afraid to critisize the wrongs of government and defend the people who suffer. A true hero of our times.

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I really like this man, Michael Moore. He is never afraid to critisize the wrongs of government and defend the people who suffer. A true hero of our times.

The only thing that Moore cares about is his own notoriety. Ever listen to this guy talk??? The man doesn't have the slightest clue about politics, NONE! Moore firmly believes in total wealth distribution and yet, Moore never donates huge sums of cash to help his fellow Union members for whom he has the biggest sympathy for. As long as it is for a Liberal cause and the Government doesn't take away his money it's Okay, but if it is a Conservative, bleed them dry! What a hypocrite!

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Michael Moore should go on a hunger strike like Bobby Sands... and with the same result.

Goodness knows he could stand to lose a coupla kilos.

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Moore lost most of the drawing power he had when Bush completed his second term and left office. He is the ultimate hypocrite, "rallying" a pro-union rent-a-mob and bellowing about support for pub school teachers when he sends his own kids to posh private schools.

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Yabits;

He owns a MILLION dollar home in Michigan, plus a Park Avenue penthouse in New York. His background was very middle class- parents earned enough to send michael and his sibs to parochial school, PLUS university.

The man is a huge hypocrite. He decries the capitalist system that allowed him to accumulate personal wealth in the $50 million range- wealth that he keeps for himself and does NOT use to help others. However, he recently said that other peoples' money "is not theirs. It is ours.It is a national resource".

What a toad.

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@base4funk, when it comes to public pensions??

Who pays? The Public Employees 100% for their pensions. Not tax payers. You better get a record streight.I repeat it again no tax money goes to their pensions!

This will eventually lead to the next Presidential election. This is just beginning............Go Moore! Take it!!!

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GDubya, of course taxpayers pay for almost all of their healthcare and pensions.

Dya think the pittance these particular union members pay even begin to cover their healthcare and lifetime pensions?

Of course taxpayers pick up the near majority of these tabs.

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@globalwatcher

As far as the pensions are concerned, its coming out of the pockets of the taxpayers, this is why people are so ticked off! The Unions of course want the tax payer to foot the pensions and why should they for a cop, teachers etc.that was on the force for 20 years and clocks out at 50 and gets on a pension that we pay and they have the nerve to gripe about it. The Unions have way too much power. My best friend is a high school teacher, teaching French, Spanish and English and he makes about 80K a year! What the hell is that? Why is it that public workers are now making just as much, if not, more than in the private sector?! If they want a pay increase that's fine! Heck, throw in a little medical insurance for good measure, but none of this, the public has to care for 20~30 years after these people retire, the country is broke, there isn't ANY money left! Let them enroll in a 401K if that's the case!

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GDubya, think of it like this... We Americans have something called 'social security'.

None of what wage earners contribute will come close to payin' what they'll take out of it. Kinda like a Ponzi scheme with better intentions, but a Ponzi scheme nonetheless.

Wisconsin public union members should kick in as much as corresponding non-union wage earners if not more . People aren't supposed to join public unions to get it better than the public they serve. That's nutz.

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He still creates waves and stimulates debate wherever he goes so, like him or not, he is relevant to any discussion he decides to take part in. I respect him for his anti-gun stance and for contributing to the debate on the US health insurance system.

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I respect him for his anti-gun stance and for contributing to the debate on the US health insurance system.

Not that tired old argument again....

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DS,

"Sorry, but Moore is PART of the "rich elite"."

Just by saying it doesn't make it so. Last I checked, Moore was neither CEO nor member of the board of directors for any of the dozens of multinational coporations in the U.S. that rake in BILLIONS in salaries, stock options, and golden parachutes while they outsource American jobs to cheaper labor markets overseas. Nice try, but no, you aren't even remotely close to being accurate here.

Personally, I agree with Walker that state workers need to bite the bullet a bit to help reign in budget shortfalls. But stripping away collective bargaining rights in order to accomplish it is not the way to do it.

Honestly, I see both sides at fault here. The union won't budge on keeping the burden its members ay for benefits, but Walker decides to go for the scotched earth approach because he lacks the leadership skills and political acumen to bring people around to his reasoning.

And it doesn't help when his reasoning involves a pinpoint targeted assault on teachers' collective bargaining rights, while leaving other public workers' rights untouched. Not the best way to make friends and influence people.

But then again, it has long been the Republican strategy of using brute force where the application of reason spearheaded by the less-than-competent e tends to fail.

What irritates me the most about this entire debacle is that Republicans relentlessly stage these half-baked attacks on "Big Government," constatnly bleating about how government workers are overpaid, underworked, and largely unnecessary. Yet I can't think of a single instance in which these hypocrits chose not to belly up to the table to collect their share of the generous tax payer-funded public worker salaries and benefit packages once they landed a city, state, or federal job.

I'm just waiting to see when Scott Walker decides to lead by example rather than mandate by devoting a portion of his nearly $250,000 annual income (salary plus benefits, using the asinine formula union opponents do in claims that Wisconsin educators make an average of $100,000 per year). to the cause. With the 19th largest compensation package in the U.S., Walker needs to to look in the mirror before making demands of the people who make Wisconsin work.

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He also thanked the 14 state Democratic senators who fled Wisconsin to block a vote on the bill, saying they’ll go down in history books.

Under the chapter titled "When The Going Got Tough, The Tough Got Going To A Motel Room In Illinois".

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How much money he has is not so important.

Moore hasn't a clue (as most elite liberals) as to what's going on.

Thats nonsense. From an outside point of view, the "liberals" are the last of the true Americans. Michael Moore believes in workers rights and freedom of expression. This is poles apart from the attitudes of the wealthy oligarchs who have destroyed the United States with greed. American politics, business its treatment of the poor is a disgrace. Michael Moore is one of the few people left who has the power and soul to demand accountability from those who have poisoned what was the greatest nation in the world.

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From an outside point of view, the "liberals" are the last of the true Americans.

Yes, from an "outside" point of view that is something that I'm not surprised to hear. If you think that in the US liberals are the best thing for America and the economy, then you are sadly mistaken. I'm not saying that Republicans have all the answers and are the best solution for everything, but at least, they can ring in this crazy spending that liberals seem to love. As for the wealthy oligarchs destroying America, I would argue its Liberals and that the reckless spending now even more so then the last 4 years of the Bush admin. This administration doesn't seem to get it. We keep borrowing and borrowing from China. How long and when will we ever get this spending under control? For most Liberals, they think we have buckets and endless amounts of money at our disposal. People are tired of this, no more! Unions, shovel ready projects, stimulus (which did squat and the Dems talk about writing up another one)So if you want to talk about who is really destroying America, its out of control Liberal, progressive spending and talk about a lack of accountability. Yes, there needs to be a balance, but if we go by Moore and most Liberals in Washington, they would advocate MORE spending and more tax hikes! Something we can't afford, Moore is one of the few people that talks so much nonsense, I actually enjoy watching him make a fool of himself,so Michael Moore should go back to where he came from and stuff his fat face.

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From an outside point of view, the "liberals" are the last of the true Americans.

because they advance the ideologies of outsiders or openly anti-American sources and want to repeal the American Revolution and instead bring something like the French Revolution to our nation.

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LFR, if a net worth of $50 million and multiple homes doesn't qualify one as part of the "rich elite", what does?!? Oh, perhaps the fact that he flew by Concorde to do interviews in London, and insisted on staying at the Ritz? The fact that he refuses to let his child go to public school and mix with regular children? His ownership of 2000 shares each of Boeing and Halliburton stock?

Sorry, he has nothing worthwhile to contribute to the discussion.

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He would, lol.

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My studies were paid on a state sponsored scholarship. I do now have a comfortable life. I do pay way too much taxes but hey! I pay it and help the society. Lot of things should be fixed and of course, I hate paying for "lazy" people. My parents never went to college, didn't get high paid jobs. So, for you I should be penalized? I shouldn't have a right to education? I shouldn't have right do a good health care? You have to fight for your rights. If people had internet when workers were asking for paid holidays, the very same people here would be opposed to it.

All the rants against Moore is bs. He is also "taxed to death". Still, don't like his shortcuts and simplifications in his movies...

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because they advance the ideologies of outsiders or openly anti-American sources and want to repeal the American Revolution and instead bring something like the French Revolution to our nation.

Riiiiiight...

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but at least, they can ring in this crazy spending that liberals seem to love.

Why do people still believe this? I cant believe the level of brainwashing that is going on. Orwell was right!

The Reagan, Bush/Bush administrations bankrupted the greatest economy in the world!

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the French Revolution to our nation

The United States should be begging for a French Revolution. "Liberty, Equality and Fraternity" would be a welcome change from the current "constraint, tyranny and humiliation of the working man". Overthrow the corrupt and shameless system of government which has sold America to China and short-changed the workers who made it a great nation. Confiscate the lands and wealth of the enemies of the United States, the media barons, corrupt Wall Street communists, and military contractors. Install democracy as the form of government in America and make it again "of the people and for the people".

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He owns a MILLION dollar home in Michigan, plus a Park Avenue penthouse in New York.

Moore once did own an apartment in NYC, but it was located in the Upper West Side. It was not a "Park Avenue penthouse," although I understand the great need of Moore's enemies to distort the truth.

His background was very middle class- parents earned enough to send michael and his sibs to parochial school, PLUS university.

Moore's dad was a union worker at GM in Flint. People who worked in union jobs at auto makers could afford to send their kids to Catholic schools -- which really weren't all that expensive -- and public universities, which also weren't that expensive at the time. I understand how Moore's desire to want that kind of life of every worker flies in the face of the dreams of the conservatives who want to hold as many people back as possible so that they and their kids can reach the kind of peak where they can look down on everyone.

The man is a huge hypocrite. He decries the capitalist system that allowed him to accumulate personal wealth

Oh no, he's not. He happens to love people and democracy far more than capitalism and money. I understand how this makes him a traitor and so hated by people who place money over people and democracy.

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From an outside point of view, the "liberals" are the last of the true Americans.

Where you find liberals, you will find the real truth, justice, and the American way.

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Moore's dad was a union worker at GM in Flint. People who worked in union jobs at auto makers could afford to send their kids to Catholic schools

He is Michael MOORE, a celebrity much like his conservative equal Anne COULTER. If COULTER leads a rally much like this one, for a more conservative cause, I'm sure you'd be the 1st to shout W-H-Y!

Oh, perhaps the fact that he flew by Concorde to do interviews in London

Yes, yes, much like a working class. You have to admit though that MOORE leading a pro-union protest is dubious and questionable.

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@DentShop

Oh, yeah! What we really need to be like the French. If that's the case then I would rather have Moore as the President of the US.

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He is Michael MOORE, a celebrity much like his conservative equal Anne COULTER. If COULTER leads a rally much like this one, for a more conservative cause, I'm sure you'd be the 1st to shout W-H-Y!

Stating that Moore resembles Coulter in any way is gross ignorance. It shows you know essentially nothing about either one of them.

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@DentShop

By the way, you do hopefully know that the current admin. outspent Bush 3X over and counting, so as far as bankrupted the greatest economy in the world, you need to re-check your math. Yes, the last year of the Bush admin. he did spend like a Liberal, but this admin. is the largest spender by far, ask the Chinese.

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You have to admit though that MOORE leading a pro-union protest is dubious and questionable.

Do explain why.

His first movie "Roger and Me" was very pro-union/worker as was his book Downsize This! Both of which were made when Moore was relatively unknown.

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Where you find liberals, you will find the real truth, justice, and the American way.

I had no idea April 1st was already here. Now I know you really don't actually believe what you just wrote.

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Stating that Moore resembles Coulter in any way is gross ignorance. It shows you know essentially nothing about either one of them.

A big LoL! Did you feel pity for COULTER or were you spooked by the idea that MOORE could be nothing more than a demagogue? Which is which?

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It's always fun to watch the rightists struggle when Moore comes out. Instead of hating the man himself they should just try changing their ways to make the nation better instead of burying it in the ground.

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What we really need to be like the French.

America needs something - and soon. Its currency is a house of cards, its government is only accountable to corporate interests, its media is agenda driven, the manufacturing sector is long gone and involved in 2 wars costing $500 million per day.

Michael Moore has a right to be angry at what is happening to his country.

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His first movie "Roger and Me" was very pro-union/worker as was his book Downsize This! Both of which were made when Moore was relatively unknown.

Sorry to say this but I'm not as star-strucked as some liberals here. Roger and Me (good grip!) is past, as you know, that the article didn't even bother to mention it. Making a 'very pro-union/worker' movie is not convincing enough for MOORE followers to argue that the film-maker should lead the protest.

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Did you feel pity for COULTER or were you spooked by the idea that MOORE could be nothing more than a demagogue? Which is which?

Unlike conservatives, I see no reason to be "spooked" by any idea. I understand what a demagogue is, and it's clear you can't understand the term if you try to apply it to Moore.

One of the many bombastic things that Coulter has said is that it was a pity that the 9/11 hijackers didn't choose the New York Times building. Wishing violence and destruction on others is a sign of a demagogue.

Moore wishes peace and prosperity for the vast majority of people. Only a conservative fool -- pardon the redundancy -- would equate taking a few more percentage points in taxes from the wealthiest Americans to be somehow equivalent to wishing death and destruction on anyone.

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What we really need to be like the French.

Yes, balance your budget. Dépenser peu d'argent.

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Should the Fed govt bail the state if they can't manage to balance its budget, you think?!

Well heck, the Fed bailed out Bear Sterns, AIG, Citibank, Fannie Mae, Chrysler and GM.

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I understand what a demagogue is, and it's clear you can't understand the term if you try to apply it to Moore.

Yes, yabits, what-ever you say.

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Well heck, the Fed bailed out Bear Sterns, AIG, Citibank, Fannie Mae, Chrysler and GM.

And?

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Making a 'very pro-union/worker' movie is not convincing enough for MOORE followers to argue that the film-maker should lead the protest.

No one has ever argued -- outside the voices you are hearing on your own -- that Moore should "lead the protest."

Had Moore never showed up to support the union people, foolish and dishonest conservatives would be here telling us all how he's selling out the people by hiding in his fancy homes. They'd be asking "Where's Michael Moore??!!" So he shows up and they attack him for that.

What the union people and every honest American knows is that you can't achieve a fair deal with dishonest people who are only out for themselves and who'll turn every situation into a lose-lose situation.

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Stating that Moore resembles Coulter in any way is gross ignorance. It shows you know essentially nothing about either one of them.

True.

One of them is attractive, extremely well educated, gifted at speaking. And the other is Michael Moore.

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No one has ever argued -- outside the voices you are hearing on your own -- that Moore should "lead the protest."

Wow, you're really a narcissist aren't yah. R E A D the argument of other posters here for a change =/

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One of them is attractive, extremely well educated, gifted at speaking.

Huh? Not only is she incredibly ignorant but she is also a coward - two traits that make her very ugly.

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I understand how Moore's desire to want that kind of life of every worker flies in the face of the dreams of the conservatives who want to hold as many people back as possible so that they and their kids can reach the kind of peak where they can look down on everyone.

Ahh, you mean how Liberals always want to have their hands stretched out and hoping for handouts and bailouts from tax payers, basically keeping their hands in everyone's pockets demanding that we pay and if not, resort to physical assaults on politicians.

@elbudamexicano

somehow we do not have enough $$ to pay our educators?? WTF????????????????????????????

Not about paying the educators, but paying for their pensions, massive pensions. We the tax payer shouldn't have to pay for that, especially when there is no money to go around. You do know we are in a recession right now, right?

@smithinjapan

It's always fun to watch the rightists struggle when Moore comes out. Instead of hating the man himself they should just try changing their ways to make the nation better instead of burying it in the ground.

They are doing that, but seeing Moore come out and talking like an imbecile and an irrational loon, of course it bothers logical, rational thinking people!

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Michael Moore has a right to be angry at what is happening to his country.

Me too! I'm angry that I have to see that overweight toad, make petty arguments.

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It is hilarious to see some posts who are bashing Wisconsin pension . Well, you fail to see the next target is your social security. That's what gvts are trying to do. Hope you have enough savings in 401K as there ain't gonna be any. Sayonara, Adios, Goodbye to Social Security. Hahaha......

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R E A D the argument of other posters here for a change =/

What I read was that a conservative stated that Moore had no business "leading" a union protest. Defending Moore's showing up to support the union workers, based on his life's work, is not claming that he should be leading their protest.

The workers roaring their approval of Moore's statements obviously were drowned out by other voices as they headed your way.

It's obvious that your misuse of the word "demagogue" and your coming back on me for your own failure to read with understanding reveals something of a disturbing pattern. It's funny how conservatives react when people stand up to them.

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Ahh, you mean how Liberals always want to have their hands stretched out and hoping for handouts and bailouts from tax payers, basically keeping their hands in everyone's pockets

LOL!! As soon as the financial firms on Wall Street got into real trouble, we all saw who the real "Liberals" were -- by your definition of them.

Of course, conservatives like yourself love the socialization of risk and we all saw how Bush and Paulsen coudn't spread that risk around to all the taxpayers fast enough when push came to shove.

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What I read was that a conservative stated that Moore had no business "leading" a union protest.

No one's coming at you simply because you fail to read other posters-- the thread is not just about you (and, in your head, me attacking you). I think a little recognition of two or three other posters' fair.

Coming at you, you say? LoL

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It is hilarious to see some posts who are bashing Wisconsin pension . Well, you fail to see the next target is your social security.

You do know that superannuation of Wis. govt employees' different to social welfare, right? Some things are not paid for by the US Fed, you see.

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basically keeping their hands in everyone's pockets demanding that we pay and if not, resort to physical assaults on politicians.

I can't name a single instance of Moore's advocating anything resembling violence on politicians. And neither can you.

However, Coulter's statement that it was the New York Times building that should have been attacked on 9/11, qualifies as a clear example of wishing an assault. And not just on people: Wishing an attack on the free press is nothing less than an assault on our Constitution and Bill of Rights. I consider that to be most un-American -- and Coulter's supporters reveal their underlying hatred for American freedoms and democracy -- the things that Moore clearly loves and advocates -- in their defense of her statements, as well as by their attacks on Moore.

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Yabits: Moore's dad was a union worker at GM in Flint.

Ah, so no doubt his Dad was getting a slice of the billions GM was paying in absurd retirement and healthcare benefits to former workers. I can't think of a better spokesperson than Michael Moore on this issue. He's probably thinking, "Hey, why can't this current generation finish off running companies and governments into the ground by paying nothing for healthcare and retirement costs?"

Do I want to stand up for workers? Yeah, I do. Do I want to stand up for workers who pay next to nothing in heathcare and retirement costs? Not really. Right message, wrong group, but they really nailed it with having Moore as their spokesperson. I'm guessing there are quite a few people working with next to no benefits who are looking at these golden union cows and thinking, "Really? The battle is starting with THESE GUYS?"

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bass4funk: "Me too! I'm angry that I have to see that overweight toad, make petty arguments."

Then the idiots win -- you are mad at the person telling you what's wrong instead of the people who made it wrong.

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you are mad at the person telling you what's wrong instead of the people who made it wrong.

No. I am angry at the people who made it wrong, yes, Union Hacks. The person that just got involved, has no credibility whatsoever (watch his one-sided view movies) I am mad that government workers think that they have the right to a pension paid for by the tax payers. This is what the people are upset about. The Unions have TOO much power. Time to rectify that problem.

@yabits

It's obvious that your misuse of the word "demagogue" and your coming back on me for your own failure to read with understanding reveals something of a disturbing pattern. It's funny how conservatives react when people stand up to them.

I think you are reading and believing in something that you want to see as the truth or "so called truth" The disturbing pattern that is pointed out is the people of Wis. have had enough and finally like in New Jersey is someone standing up to reign in the out of control spending and bring financial spending and accountability under control. You have it wrong my friend, its Liberals that think we have an endless amount of money at our disposal and we don't have to worry about anything....typical.

@globalwatcher

It is hilarious to see some posts who are bashing Wisconsin pension . Well, you fail to see the next target is your social security. That's what gvts are trying to do. Hope you have enough savings in 401K as there ain't gonna be any. Sayonara, Adios, Goodbye to Social Security.

You're probably right about that. SS is almost dead. Why is it that you Liberals don't get it? We don't have the $$Money anymore pay out like that and the people have the right to spend THEIR money the way they want to and the government doesn't have the right to force the people to do otherwise! I agree the system needs to be ratified, but NOT at the expense of the tax payer.

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Ah, the stench of capitalism, gotta love it when it shows its true face.

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Oh so no doubt his Dad was getting a slice of the billions GM was paying in absurd retirement and healthcare benefits to former workers.

Did GM set up a pension plan for its executives? Yes. So why not for its workers who elected to make building cars for GM a career? People like the poster quoted above yet again reveal their true colors in being proponents of fundamental unfairness and injustice, as well as their innate loathing of democracy.

After all, once it was evident that GM had set up "absurd(?)" plans for its executives, and since those executives weren't going to get their hands dirty and ruin their health working years on an assembly line, it was quite natural for loyal workers to want the same kinds of fringe benefits. And so they turned to their representatives to sit down and negotiate a deal for them -- just as good exectives do when being offered a position.

So whatever "absurdity" came about, came about as the result of a very free and democratic process. And the way to ensure that no such "absurdities" ever come about again is to destroy that process. This is the fascist way being advocated by the poster -- who wouldn't know what it means to stand up for a basic principle simply because it's the right thing to do -- and not gutlessly quibble that someone might not be paying what they feel is a sufficient amount into this plan or that one.

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@lesgrande

As opposed to what? Socialism??

@yabits

We're NOT talking about private govt. Funded pensions. Not the same thing.

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yabits - So whatever "absurdity" came about, came about as the result of a very free and democratic process.

Hahahaha. There's nothing "free" about government unions using taxpayer dollars to select their own paymasters in the legislature. It's the "taxpaying voters" should be deciding who runs THEIR government and not government union officials.

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We're NOT talking about private govt. Funded pensions. Not the same thing.

Well someone on the right brought up funded pensions by GM in relation to Moore's father. You folks should try to get your stories straight.

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@bass4funk:

I think you are reading and believing in something that you want to see as the truth or "so called truth"

No. It's the real truth. Those of us who love truth have to bombarded with constant lies from the right such as: "It's going to take $7.5 million to repair all the damage to the Capitol"; or "Obama's trip to India will cost taxpayers over $200 million a day"; or "We know exactly where the WMD are." And on and on and on in a barrage of lies.

A person who defends the right-wing can't possibly be in any position to lecture others on truth.

You have it wrong my friend, its Liberals that think we have an endless amount of money at our disposal and we don't have to worry about anything....typical.

No. It is you who are wrong. Liberals do not believe we have an endless supply of money. Liberals do believe that wealth will be created through the labor and ingenuity of ordinary Americans, and that the supply of opportunies and possibilities is endless. The right-wingers in opposing that fundamental belief, reveal their true colors.

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"Thousands showed up Saturday, the vast majority pro-union, though police didn’t immediately have a solid size estimate. Rallies drew huge crowds the previous two Saturdays: about 70,000 on Feb 19..."

Why do these liberal/progressive media types continue to lie about who the 70,000 demonstrators were. Half were pro-Walker supporters.

Wisconsins taxpaying voters can still make their wishes known to their elected representatives by phone, email, twitter or candy-gram without having to standing in the cold, listening to bused-in, BarakObama dot com professional rally speakers.

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After Roger and Me I've pretty much hated every single movie Moore's made. His works are filled with half-truths, publicity stunts, and outright lies. I don't see how he could contribute anything meaningful to this issue.

Half were pro-Walker supporters.

That makes for a bad story. Poor workers vs big politician sells better than overpaid public wokers (and Michael Moore I guess) vs everybody else in the state.

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les grandes: the stench of capitalism

Yes. The proletariat must rise against the ruling bourgeoisie. Workers of the world unite!!! :-D

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Moore is a trouble-maker and should be dealt with

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yabits - No. It is you who are wrong. Liberals do not believe we have an endless supply of money. Liberals do believe that wealth will be created through the labor and ingenuity of ordinary Americans, and that the supply of opportunies and possibilities is endless.

Liberals/progressives believe there is an endless supply of TAXPAYER dollars that they somehow have a right to. Taxpaying voters should decide how their tax dollars are spent, NOT government union leaders or so-called celebrities looking for attention.

There could be an endless supply of opportunites to either WORK for a business or create a business which would hire others. Of course, actually "creating" business would turn the liberal/progressives against them because they would then be capitalists. No business = no jobs = no tax dollars coming in. Flint or Detroit, Michigan are good examples of what NOT to do.

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Liberals/progressives believe there is an endless supply of TAXPAYER dollars that they somehow have a right to.

Liberals and progressives believe nothing of the sort. This is another in a constant stream of conservative distortions of the truth.

There could be an endless supply of opportunites to either WORK for a business or create a business which would hire others.

That is what a majority of liberals and progressives believe.

Of course, actually "creating" business would turn the liberal/progressives against them because they would then be capitalists.

This is ludicrous; another conservative fairy tale. There are a great many progressive business owners. Only those who turn to exploiting and mistreating people are the ones who decent people oppose. The Canadian economy is doing quite well, to name but one example, because it is able to balance the demands of society's major stakeholders.

Flint or Detroit, Michigan are good examples of what NOT to do.

I doubt if any conservative had enough IQ to truly understand the problems of the "rust-belt" states. They certainly don't have any solutions other than looking for a liberal to blame. Indiana has been a red state and its unemployment rate is as bad as Michigan's.

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Liberals and progressives believe nothing of the sort. This is another in a constant stream of conservative distortions of the truth.

Perhaps this isn't the case, but what you are saying, and what libs are doing, is somehow so very, very different.

I doubt if any conservative had enough IQ to truly understand the problems of the "rust-belt" states. They certainly don't have any solutions other than looking for a liberal to blame. Indiana has been a red state and its unemployment rate is as bad as Michigan's.

While Indiana tends to vote Republican in presidential elections, otherwise its much more mixed. For example, the house flipped from Dem control to Republican control in the most recent election. Not only that, they had a Dem senator as well. How is it you can get away with calling it a red state?

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Just what the Union folks don't need, another sideshow distraction.

As for the pensions/healthcare/stuff: they get the pensions as a form of delayed wages. If they were doing the same job in the private sector, the theory goes, they would be making more, and contributing more. But because government pay is so low (contrary to popular belief, they are actually paid relatively low wages). The days of cushy government jobs is long over. Just ask my old mail delivery guy. he was making a decent paycheck, but they had cutbacks, and now we get a different guy making a small portion of what the UPS guy gets, and he doesn't get benefits. Any wonder half of my mail gets delivered wrong?

As much as we Wisconsinites share your concern, America, you can keep your Michael Moore and your Sarah Palin. We don't want either of them.

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but what you are saying, and what libs are doing, is somehow so very, very different.

Viewed by people who distort and miss the obvious about every issue, is it any surprise? Most conservatives don't know anything about liberals. They're much more comfortable in "let's scapegoat them" mode.

For example, the house flipped from Dem control to Republican control in the most recent election. Not only that, they had a Dem senator as well.

While Indiana tends to vote Republican in presidential elections, otherwise its much more mixed.

Tends to? LOL! President Obama was the first Democrat since LBJ's landslide victory in '64 to win in Indiana. Heck, the state didn't even vote for FDR in at least two of his four terms.

Not only that, they had a Dem senator as well.

LOL! Georgia has had Dem senators. So has Texas. Does that make them "mixed?" Hawaii and Massachusetts have had Republican representatives, governors, and senators. Does that make them any less "Blue?"

By your reasoning, which is specious at best, there are no red or blue states.

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Michael Moore is a hyocrite. He didn't even offer health insurance to those working for his production company. Reading comments on this story, it seems that many people don't even realize what the Wisconsin story is about. The public workers are NOT going to be stripped of their benefits. Those benefits will just now not be subject to union bargaining. This is the current situation of Federal workers. Apparently even Obama didn't realize this as he criticized Governor Walker. Jimmy Carter stripped Federal workers of their collective bargaining rights back in the 1970's. If Obama thinks what Walker wants to do is so bad, why didn't he do anything about the workers on his side of the house? Sadly, it seems that he was just ignorant of that fact.

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He didn't even offer health insurance to those working for his production company.

Why do people make up stuff like this?

The public workers are NOT going to be stripped of their benefits.

LOL!! They are protesting because they ARE going to be stripped of their right to collectively bargain.

Jimmy Carter stripped Federal workers of their collective bargaining rights back in the 1970's

Completely false, and just more right-wing fabrications. The Civil Service Reform Act that President Carter signed in 1978 actually expanded the rights of federal employees w/regards to collective bargaining.

"Finally, the act supplies a statutory basis for labor relations in the federal sector and grants federal employee unions a number of rights to collective bargaining." (From a synopsis of the act, available via any search engine.)

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Can't be bothered to argue with the right-wingers / anti-Moore brigade.

But seriously, what does anyone who's 'conservative' actually hope to achieve?

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Liberals/progressives believe there is an endless supply of TAXPAYER dollars that they somehow have a right to.

Man, this Harry Potter magic stuff is getting really boring. The USA does not have a "liberal vs. conservative" problem. Americans have a problem because they have suicidally trashed their economy and financial system, creating a money junkie class that thinks the answer to everything is not sharing the "money". Get it through your heads folks, money is not a collectible, that is not the point of money.

Liberals believe "yada yada yada". Conservatives believe "yada yada yada" How about some reality. Reality is this, there is no such thing as "taxpayer" dollars, and there is an endless supply of dollars. Economics and money work how they work, there is nothing political about it. That is how it works, fantasies are irrelevant except for how they screw things up even more.

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@yabits

Ok, enough MSNBC talking points. I know you want to make us believe that Moore and Liberals are the sacred savior of America, but sadly, the Dems had 2 years to try and turn things around and what did they do, huh? You think that last Nov. the Shellacking the President got was because the voters were happy with his policies??? And you want to talk about Carter? One of THE worst Presidents in the history of the US?

Every time, the far-loony left try to make total irrational arguments to justify their out of touch reality with the folks. Its about me, me, me. Just spend, spend our way into total oblivion and let's borrow more money from the Chinese and print more money. There is no such thing as a recession in the US. It's all fabricated from the left. The people don't have the right to spend their money the way they want, we have to bail the banks, the car industry, fund NPR, Planned Parenthood, ACORN, Union Workers, Pensioners etc.

Amazing...

The Civil Service Reform Act that President Carter signed in 1978 actually expanded the rights of federal employees w/regards to collective bargaining.

As I said, Carter, the nutcase. This is why Walker and Christy are trying to overturn this monstrosity! The Unions have TOO MUCH power and they should be stripped of their collective bargaining rights. Forced to pay Union dues and where does that money go? Right back in the pockets to pay for Liberals and campaign contributions.

Obama and the Liberals still can't come to terms and still are in denial that they just got crushed last Nov. they just go around as if nothing happened and that everything is just another usual day at the office. Yes, the Tea partiers were out of their minds a fringe movement, but the Union workers that physically attack politicians, is totally fine.

This is Liberal madness at its absolute lowest.

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Man, this Harry Potter magic stuff is getting really boring. The USA does not have a "liberal vs. conservative" problem. Americans have a problem because they have suicidally trashed their economy and financial system, creating a money junkie class that thinks the answer to everything is not sharing the "money". Get it through your heads folks, money is not a collectible, that is not the point of money.

Liberals believe "yada yada yada". Conservatives believe "yada yada yada" How about some reality. Reality is this, there is no such thing as "taxpayer" dollars, and there is an endless supply of dollars. Economics and money work how they work, there is nothing political about it. That is how it works, fantasies are irrelevant except for how they screw things up even more.

I guess you know something that Ben Bernanke doesn't. You should apply for his job

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But seriously, what does anyone who's 'conservative' actually hope to achieve?

An end to Union thuggery. I think the people "do" feel for Union workers in general, when it comes to salary, medical benefits, I don't have a problem. When it comes to taking care of Govt. Union workers with my tax dollars people that retire at 45~50 for 30 years is totally unacceptable! This has to stop!

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I doubt if any conservative had enough IQ to truly understand the problems of the "rust-belt" states. They certainly don't have any solutions other than looking for a liberal to blame. Indiana has been a red state and its unemployment rate is as bad as Michigan's.

So now the American people that voted in all the Conservatives in Nov. that crushed and fired all those crazy Dems and that want to bring back fiscally conservative discipline back to Washington have low or no IQ??? So I guess by your logic, Dems have done a good job for the last 2 years and that the Shellacking was a total fluke and the voters are ALL stupid and ignorant, right?

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I guess you know something that Ben Bernanke doesn't.

No, Ben Bernanke knows exactly what I know, his job is to pretend he doesn't. Extend and pretend is what it is called.

I agree with chotto's point above. I fail to see the point of all this nonsense. Scapegoating solves nothing, just means you are going to have to find the next scapegoat. What we have here is an incentives problem, not a political one, and nothing will get fixed until those change.

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No, Ben Bernanke knows exactly what I know, his job is to pretend he doesn't. Extend and pretend is what it is called.

Well, I guess that makes you smarter than the average person. Then might I suggest, you put your smarts to use, testify before capital and bring about a viable solution to this incentive problem, so that we can all get back to being fiscally conservative.

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LOL, what an idiot. Great move by Wisconsin! they just avoided same fate as Detroit.

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GJDailleult - Reality is this, there is no such thing as "taxpayer" dollars, and there is an endless supply of dollars. Economics and money work how they work, there is nothing political about it.

Well that sums up the progressive/liberal position pretty well. They DO believe that there is an endless supply of dollars. Everybody's money actually belongs to everyone. If you don't have enough, simply take it from someone who does, as in Obama's "redistribution of wealth" campaign pledge. Government unions have a "progressive" right to use taxpayer dollars to fund the campaigns of their future paymasters and taxpayers should just shut up and accept socialism, and future bankruptcy, quietly. (FYI - That ain't gonna happen.)

If you don't have a house, the government must give you a no-money-down loan, even if you can't afford to pay mortgage. It's a progressive's "right".

Moore has millions of dollars, why don't you take his? It will be easier to take his money than it would be to take his sandwich. The Federal government can always print more money but you can't grow another finger.

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Yabits: So whatever "absurdity" came about, came about as the result of a very free and democratic process. And the way to ensure that no such "absurdities" ever come about again is to destroy that process. This is the fascist way being advocated by the poster -- who wouldn't know what it means to stand up for a basic principle simply because it's the right thing to do -- and not gutlessly quibble that someone might not be paying what they feel is a sufficient amount into this plan or that one.

You refuse to accept that there is a breaking point where worker benefits can bankrupt the system. There needs to be some kind of balance. I actually agree with everything that you're saying. I just understand that there are limits to what can be done and I tend to stick more to reality than catchphrases. When you're ready to accept the fact that there are some financial calculations that need to be taken into account, then feel free to join the discussion. Until then you're nothing more than a fortune cookie.

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Has Michael Moore donated his millions to the poor union workers yet?

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You refuse to accept that there is a breaking point where worker benefits can bankrupt the system.

You refuse to accept that the breaking point has been passed already, and that breaking point had nothing to do with unions.

Well that sums up the progressive/liberal position pretty well.

There is nothing "liberal" or "progressive" about anything I wrote. Refusing to understand the true situation is not "right-wing" or "conservative" either. Here is the score. We live in a world where we can communicate by 1's and 0's that magically travel through the air and move instantaneously around the world, we can travel the world in long metal tubes powered by fossils, and we can get blown up by either splitting or fusing atoms. And you expect me to believe that nobody has figured out how money and economics work??? No, the system has been intentionally designed to be faulty, only they overdid it and now you have a system failure. Unions didn't design the system, and didn't cause the failure. Attacking them is a completely pointless political game, and is not going to save anybody's butt.

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We live in a world where we can communicate by 1's and 0's that magically travel through the air and move instantaneously around the world,

wow!!!!! Irrelevant.

The unions live in a fairy tale land where money is just hanging from tress. Bust up these union rackets now! They're stealing money from hardworking people.

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No liberal here can seem to explain why the union mobs should have the power to determine who can or cannot work, why they have the power to force people to pay their dues, and why they can have a claim to money collected from hardworking taxpayers when they get better pay, better benefits, pensions, and lifetime employment when most public sector employees around the country (and private sector employees as well) live and succeed on far less.

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GJDailleult - You refuse to accept that the breaking point has been passed already.....

And you expect me to believe that nobody has figured out how money and economics work??? No, the system has been intentionally designed to be faulty, only they overdid it and now you have a system failure.

The fact remains that Wisconsin's debt and deficit is increasing at an increasing rate and the newly elected legislature is attempting to control spending and future debt. Excluding or ignoring the rising costs due to the government unions pensions only makes doing the job that they were elected to do much more difficult.

You can give up and declare the situation hopeless but the State Senators who have actually shown up to work for the taxpaying voters do not.

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The union already conceded to those demands, so that's enough to balance the budget.

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The union already conceded to those demands, so that's enough to balance the budget.

There's more to go. The complete breakup of these union rackets would be a good next step to protecting individual freedom.

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Well that sums up the progressive/liberal position pretty well. They DO believe that there is an endless supply of dollars. Everybody's money actually belongs to everyone. If you don't have enough, simply take it from someone who does, as in Obama's "redistribution of wealth" campaign pledge. Government unions have a "progressive" right to use taxpayer dollars to fund the campaigns of their future paymasters and taxpayers should just shut up and accept socialism, and future bankruptcy, quietly. (FYI - That ain't gonna happen.)

If you don't have a house, the government must give you a no-money-down loan, even if you can't afford to pay mortgage. It's a progressive's "right".

Moore has millions of dollars, why don't you take his? It will be easier to take his money than it would be to take his sandwich. The Federal government can always print more money but you can't grow another finger.

This is another reason as to why we can't dig ourselves out of this hole. Obama doesn't and refuses to recognize that we are financially broke. What does he propose, more green projects. Building a useless Shinkasen that will astronomically throw us over the point of financial oblivion and not to mention the Liberals think that they are entitled to all of the income redistribution and as you said, No money down. Zero interest for 5 years write up another useless stimulus, force Obamacare down our throats and just forget what the majority of Americans feel and want. Progressives have a God given right to every entitlement they can get their slimy hands on. Enough already. I agree, if Moore really has the Union workers best interest at heart, let him donate as much money as he can, preferably "quietly" and put his own money where his mouth is. you think he can do that? I'm so sick and tired of out of touch Hollywood waving their fingers in the air demanding that the govt should do more about the filthy rich and yet, does Babara Streisand or Alec Baldwin, Avril Lavigne, Justin Bieber, most rappers and the rest of these out of touch fools every give up their vast cash of wealth??? NOT IN A MILLION YEARS!

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When you're ready to accept the fact that there are some financial calculations that need to be taken into account, then feel free to join the discussion.....

I believe Union already agreed to accept everything what Gov. originally proposed except collective bargain right. Is there any other recommendation from you to make this situation better?

Has Michael Moore donated his millions to the poor union workers yet?

Does he have to? I am careless. I appreciate his moral courage and concience speaking out what is just and fair.

Just in case, I am pasting a quote from JFK what is a liberal.

"someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people — their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties — someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a 'Liberal', then I’m proud to say I’m a 'Liberal'

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@moa, I see, so it's not about balancing the budget. At least that's clear now.

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@junnama, glad you've got a big picture. You are correct, this is a job issue. There have been many uprising labor movements here including OH, TN, IL, possibly in CA.

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Plus Indianna.

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Obama doesn't and refuses to recognize that we are financially broke.

This is the kind of nonsense I was talking about. Unions must be broken up because the USA is financially broke. Building a shikansen will lead to "financial oblivion". Money is being stolen from hardworking people.

No country that has control over the issuing of its own currency can ever become broke. What happens is that when the money is issued in the form of a debt, the system has an upper limit on the size of debt that the economy can support, both through the real economy and speculation. The USA hit that limit, and the speculation bubble popped, but that is not the same as going broke. The USA, through the Fed, creates trillions of dollars all the time. The problem is not that they don't have the money, the problem is what they are doing with it.

Also, governments do not go into financial oblivion because they spend money on infrastructure. That is what the whole purpose of government is, and how money is injected into the economy. Whether they do that productively or not is a separate question. And money IS being stolen from hard-working people, and has been for a long, long time. It's just not going to unions.

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GJDailleult - Money is being stolen from hardworking people.

No country that has control over the issuing of its own currency can ever become broke.

The State of Wisconsin can NOT issue it's own currency. Money is being stolen in the form of taxes and fees from the taxpaying voters and they are fed up with their free spending elected representatives. That's why they kicked out many Democrats last Novemeber. The current Republican majority is under the watchful eye of the Wisconsin taxpayers and if they can't reduce the deficit and cut waste, they'll soon be looking for honest work too.

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GJD -

Unions must be broken up

Totally agree.

governments do not go into financial oblivion because they spend money on infrastructure. That is what the whole purpose of government is,

disagree.

And money IS being stolen from hard-working people,

Agree, and that's why this union cartel needs to be broken up. Most public sector workers do not have unions, so why should the union mafia in Wisconsin be able to extort taxpayer money?

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Junnama - The union already conceded to those demands, so that's enough to balance the budget.

So why are the Wisconsin Senators-in-hiding still hiding?

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So why are the Wisconsin Senators-in-hiding still hiding?

Maybe they forgot to pay their union dues and the collectors are after them?

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Er, because of the collective bargaining rights issue....

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No country that has control over the issuing of its own currency can ever become broke.

But they can devaluate their currency to such an extent that other countries stop accepting it or the exchange rate falls through. Excessive printing also impacts bond valuation.

The Soviets had that problem, their currency became worthless and delivered a deathblow to their economy. Excessive printing has long reaching, even cataclysmic, consequences.

The USA, through the Fed, creates trillions of dollars all the time.

And that’s why we have time value of money calculators and inflation. Money does not equate to wealth necessarily. If we're going to keep running on a fiat monetary system than it's the government’s role to responsibly control the money supply so that it reflects a growth in production and wealth. If there is no growth that supply should decrease. Just printing money whenever you want to buy something just mucks up valuation and decreases the power of the greenback across the board.

Unless, you know, you felt like playing Russian roulette with inflation rates and investor' already shaky view of U.S federal and state bonds.

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so why should the union mafia in Wisconsin be able to extort taxpayer money?

Because far-left Liberals don't believe in Hard work, sweat and earning what your worth. The Govt. is there to take care of you, cradle to grave. Everyone should be the same and if you happen to earn a highly substantial income, penalize you for it. How dare you enjoy your BMW! Give me everything on a silver platter and when I retire, I still want you to pay for me. Yep, sounds like classic, mafia bribery.

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How dare you enjoy your BMW!

Forget the BMW - the liberal policies are punishing ordinary lower and middle income working class people who want to work but are excluded by unions.

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JFK what is a liberal.

Adlai Stevenson was more liberal than JFK. JFK's speech (on liberals) was more a charm offensive at the time, knowing that these Stevenson Democrats that included Eleanor opposed him from the start.

So why are the Wisconsin Senators-in-hiding still hiding?

It seems they need more media exposure.

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And that’s why we have time value of money calculators and inflation. Money does not equate to wealth necessarily. If we're going to keep running on a fiat monetary system than it's the government’s role to responsibly control the money supply so that it reflects a growth in production and wealth.

Here's something cpy+pasted from Moore's website-- another thing to irate our resident 'liberals' in JT--

"Fighting inflation has come to be seen as the holy grail of central banks; a policy that it is supposed to be outside of the realm of normal political debate. On slightly more careful inspection, the inflation fighting by the Fed and other central banks is actually a policy that is designed to ensure that the wages of ordinary workers do not grow too rapidly."

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Walker informed state employee unions Friday that he intends to issue layoff notices to 1,500 workers that would be effective on April 4.

Go Gov. Walker!

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Walker informed state employee unions Friday that he intends to issue layoff notices to 1,500 workers that would be effective on April 4.

That's exactly what we need a man that has the guts and determination to see this through and NOT being coned or bullied into giving in to these Union thugs! Walker is the man!! Way to go!

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Strange, why would he need to lay people off if he received the concessions he needed to balance the budget :|

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Walker might need to lay off even more union lackeys. What a shame. :-)

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You refuse to accept that there is a breaking point where worker benefits can bankrupt the system. There needs to be some kind of balance.

Agree. Indeed, if unions are the third force in running a business, I think there should be a point when you should ask, what's the use?

This is the fascist way being advocated by the poster

Yes, yes, hon, we all know you love Michael MOORE, but let's not personalize the issue.

So whatever "absurdity" came about, came about as the result of a very free and democratic process.

Let me add a 'liberal' catchphrase in the 50s 'competitive doctrination', and what's the common response from the liberal when attacked by the opposite side in this competitive arena of 'democratic process'... call the person a 'Fascist!'

That's hypocrisy-- get off of your high horse!

(To moderators, a 'horse' is not impolite in English language if used as a noun)

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Moore has it wrong - Obama has overplayed his hand.

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Whoah. Talk about a sea change. Even the New York Times is saying that teachers' unions need re-examining.It's not WI they are talking about but the timing has to make you wonder :

“At a time when public school students are being forced into ever more crowded classrooms, and poor families will lose state medical benefits, New York State is paying 10 times more for state employees’ pensions than it did just a decade ago.”

I can't see the NYT bucking the Democrat Party unless someone pretty high up in the Obama admin was OK with an editorial like this...

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I can't see the NYT bucking the Democrat Party unless someone pretty high up in the Obama admin was OK with an editorial like this...

It's called common sense. Let's pray for more common sense not just in the US labor movement but in our region too.

Good luck to the people of America! Good luck to Gov Scott WALKER!

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There is a compromise that will never happen, but it sure would be the right thing to do. The State is broke and in deep debt. Most of the red ink is due to sweet heart pension and health care deals that the Public Worker Unions have garnered for themselves through collective bargaining agreements. Governor Walker has a budget plan that wants to get rid of future budget busting contracts and set a reliable and sustainable fiscal future. To ensure it he wants it codified in law as to the limits that Public Unions can collectively bargain on. This is good policy. It makes no sense to set a budget, expect local counties, towns and school districts to rely on the set amount of money they can expect from the the state coffers when the unions can change the deal at anytime putting them right back in fiscal hock again. The Unions reluctantly understand that the state is broke and that they will have to give up some things. Though my personal opinion being asked to finally pay part of your pension and a percentage of income equal to about half what the private sector pays in health care premiums ain't exactly what I call real sacrifice. In my opinion if the Unions were serious about getting the budget on track, making the sacrifices that need to be made to ensure it does happen and to score some serious points against Gov. Walker.

They should be the ones asking their members to voluntary suspend all collective bargaining until the budget is back in the black again. They should be leading the way on that instead of facing the prospect of having it forced on them by law. They should be going to Gov. Walker and stating we won't negotiate any new contracts until our fiscal house is order, we ask that you do not need to codify that in law. Now that would be a Union I could support, that would be a Union I could get down with in ensuring they could collectively bargain in the future when economic times were better.

Going to happen......You've got to kidding, the Unions when it comes to protecting their golden parachute racket are just as greedy as any Wall Street Bonus Hog and his or her sweet heart severance pay. I've found that pretty ironic by the way during this debate.

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Go get 'em Mike Moore - the people's champion! Let's all hope he makes another doco on this - just like he did so successfully with the popular "Sicko". That was a real eye-opener as to how awful Americans have it compared to us Aussies, Japanese etc.

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Strange, why would he need to lay people off if he received the concessions he needed to balance the budget :|

@Junenama, the middle class American workers have been financially squeezed since the Wall Street bail out, and now their jobs are in jeopady. These two issues are driving them to go to Madison to protest.

Also, they feel cheated as Gov. Walker's "Budget Balancing" campaign platform did not include banning Collective Barganing Right.

Hope you get a big picture, junnama.

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Yes, the last year of the Bush admin. he did spend like a Liberal, but this admin. is the largest spender by far, ask the Chinese?

Oh, yeah??? A big LOL to you. Who took us to Iraq War with a Visa Card? Why did we have to bail out the Wall Street? Obama INHERITED all financial failures cased by W.

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When will this cow go to pasture.

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That was a real eye-opener as to how awful Americans have it compared to us Aussies, Japanese etc.

BurakuminDesu, I do not know anything about Australia, but I can tell you Japan is not doing any better. A debt/GDP ratio of Japan is very alarming.

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globalwatcher - Obama INHERITED all financial failures cased by W.

SENATOR Obama (remember him) spent 4 years in Congress preventing the attempts to regulate the runaway, sub-prime ARM market or to investigate the underhanded dealings at Fannie and Freddie. SENATOR Obama is just as guilty as anyone for the causing the recession and baleouts.

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I do not know anything about Australia, but I can tell you Japan is not doing any better. A debt/GDP ratio of Japan is very alarming.

I agree with the debt situation glabalwatcher - Japan is basically up to their necks in debt and can barely afford to make interest payments. But I was referring to the health care systems as highlighted in the "Sicko" doco.

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It's called common sense. Let's pray for more common sense not just in the US labor movement but in our region too.

jruaustralia, agree. Your objective thinking with common sense approch is always worth to read. I googled Moore's site, and found some of his Economic views are troublesome. Let's hope we all come out this someday.

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I agree with the debt situation glabalwatcher - Japan is basically up to their necks in debt and can barely afford to make interest payments. But I was referring to the health care systems as highlighted in the "Sicko" doco.

Agree, BurakuminDes. At least Japan has a social infrastructure in place.

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IPDaily When will this cow go to pasture.

Until the end of next US election. Unfortunately, this is just starting.....

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Now that would be a Union I could support, that would be a Union I could get down with in ensuring they could collectively bargain in the future when economic times were better.

Good point, sailwind. But historically, if they do, it will be gone forever like a balloon going up in the sky. There is a legal doctrine "what's been given should not be taken away" in place. For example, if YOU give an engagement ring to your girlfriend, then YOU decide to break that up,the you have no right to get it back unless she is willing to do so at her WILL. As it is considered as a bilateral contract (mutually agreed) in eyes of law. Hope you see a big picture in Wisconsin dispute.

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SENATOR Obama (remember him) spent 4 years in Congress preventing the attempts to regulate the runaway, sub-prime ARM market or to investigate the underhanded dealings at Fannie and Freddie.

LOL!! In a Congress controlled for 6 years out of Bush's eight years by Republicans? If Obama had that much clout, no wonder he was elected president. But, of course, there is the conservative interpretation of events and then there is the truth.

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I cannot help but wonder how many of the people on this thread that have gone out of their way to paint Michael Moore as a hypocrite listen to el rushbo.

I also wonder if they have any sense of irony whatsoever.

Taka

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Michael Moore as a hypocrite listen to el rushbo.

Careful there, taka, some posters here might think that as smear on Dear Michael.

Taxpaying voters should decide how their tax dollars are spent, NOT government union leaders or so-called celebrities looking for attention.

Agree, if unions are the third force in US economy then you have to ask at some point what's the use. Union leaders brought down the UK Labour govt last election by campaigning against key natl economic policies.

A union leader in the UK said this about BROWN's economic policies vs GFC very close to the election date:

"When there is unemployment you need to invest, yes you have to deal with the structural deficit, but if people don’t have money to spend then people don’t buy the products people make.

(Labour) have managed to somehow miraculously convince people that the problem in society is the deficit."

Caveat emptor. Let's hope the US Prez (and the Dems) won't regret this very close ties with organized labor in near future.

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Well I guess the Wisconsin Democrats are coming back to face the music beliveing that the protests have done the appropriate ammount of damage to the Republicans. Congrats to the Union and pro-union folk, you've been used, once again, as a pawn in the greater Red vs Blue game. It's like their stuck in a box-canyon taking pot shots at each other just for the sake of it.

I was referring to the health care systems as highlighted in the "Sicko" doco.

Of all the docs of his I've seen that one was the worst. He deliberatly skewed statistics and failed to add any balance to his argument like how the U.S has the top cancer survival rate, better access to treatment of chronic diseases, a greater variety of medications than Europe or Canada, a higher satisfaction rate (for those with coverage), the shortest surgery recovery times, and the most dynamic medical research industry in the world. And that all costs money.

When I was struggling out of college I got a plan with a five thousand dollar deductible so I'd be covered for emergencies. That same plan was and is still dirt cheap, I could afford it working as a building attendant. Come to think of it that was when I worked for the SEIU in Michigan, 2 hours of my paycheck every week went to Union programs...none of which I was eligible for. Wish my state would have eliminated our mandatory dues.

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Let's hope the US Prez (and the Dems) won't regret this very close ties with organized labor in near future.

Excellent insight, iraustralia! That's why Obama is not really taking an active role on this issue. He is evaluating how this will play out. He is caught in two hard rocks; next election vs ideology.

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I have first hand witnessed how American unions are only serving to drive jobs out of the US. The issue here though is that this is a government union. It's the largest union and puts significant $$$$ into supporting political candidates. The retirement benefits of government employees is out of whack and is unaffordable. The biggest single line item in my hometown's budget is paying the retirement accounts of retire employees, many of whom retired in their forties or early fifties and who padded their last year of revenue by building up leave and working overtime. These guys are getting 90% of their last year's revenue which is more than their annual salary....for the rest of their life with cost of living increases and healthcare. It is unsustainable. Let them have a 401K like the rest of us. The days of retirement salaries are over.

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yabits - In a Congress controlled for 6 years out of Bush's eight years by Republicans?

It's CONGRESS that makes the laws that regulates banking. Obama was one of 50 U.S. Senators who watched as the sub-prime ARM bubble grew and couldn't be bothered to read the bills they were passing. Obama's forte was not voting Yay or Nay but "present" when he bothered to appear on the floor at all. He was running for President, after all. Obama did manage to recieve the 2nd highest amount of campaign donations from Fannie/Freddie while they were under investigation and he did it in half the time of his peers, 4 years instead 8. Michael Moore thinks Obama did such a great job not doing his job as a U.S. Senator that he endorsed him for President.

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Obama was one of 50 U.S. Senators.

If I may be allowed, I would like to correct it to 100 Senators. Each state is allowed to elect 2 senators. Please refer US Constitution Article I.

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Fannie/Freddie

Hagel's Fannie Mae bill was killed in a republican majority senate, in 2005. If you want to see how money was spent by Fannie Mae, read up on which group of senators DCI(a lobby group)lobby to on behalf of Fannie Mae.

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Go get 'em Mike Moore - the people's champion! Let's all hope he makes another doco on this - just like he did so successfully with the popular "Sicko". That was a real eye-opener as to how awful Americans have it compared to us Aussies, Japanese etc.

I don't know anything about Australia, whatever, so it matters little. As for Japan, I agree, they for one, don't fair much better and how on God's green Earth do you want to invoke "Sicko?" a very one-sided documentary (if you want to call it that) What was a real eye-opener was is how terrible Michael Moore is to watch...excruciating to watch.

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Also, Moore's sick, "Sicko" movie was debunked by many people in the medical Prof. that's not to say that the US system doesn't need an overhaul, yes, it does. But with 300+million people with have to find a way that is best without adding more to the massive debt. Australia has a small population as does Sweden maybe they can afford it, we can't and we've already been through that. Most people aren't interested in it. But back to topic. Moore should make a documentary about, "NOT" making any more documentaries. Now, that I will pay any price for a ticket to see that one!

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globalwatcher - If I may be allowed, I would like to correct it to 100 Senators. Each state is allowed to elect 2 senators. Please refer US Constitution Article I.

Ooops. Yes, 50 times 2 equals 100. Obama was one of 100 U.S. Senators who watched as the sub-prime ARM bubble grew and couldn't be bothered to read the bills they were passing.

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Ooops. Yes, 50 times 2 equals 100. Obama was one of 100 U.S. Senators...

Sorry - your credibility has already been shot.

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Sorry - your credibility has already been shot.

Cause, you know, the internet is some serious stuff.

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Obama did manage to recieve the 2nd highest amount of campaign donations from Fannie/Freddie while they were under investigation and he did it in half the time of his peers, 4 years instead 8.

Shocking, would this make him on par with DODD or worse?!

Moore should make a documentary about, "NOT" making any more documentaries. Now, that I will pay any price for a ticket to see that one!

I doubt his endorsement counted-- it came late, more like Humpty Dumpty sitting on a wall till he realized the other one won't win at all.

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Australia has a small population as does Sweden maybe they can afford it, we can't and we've already been through that. Most people aren't interested in it.

It's not fair--and quite one-sided-- to compare Austl and the US when it comes to universal health system. The mere difference in size of population would make it daft.

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It's not fair--and quite one-sided-- to compare Austl and the US when it comes to universal health system. The mere difference in size of population would make it daft.

Wasn't trying to come down on any Aussies buddy, was just trying to make a point about Moore's delusion ranting.

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I did some consulting work with the US government, including Department of Health and Human Services and Social Security Administration. The state of these organizations are a joke. What happens is that the full time government employees don't do jack knowing that they can never get fired and retire happily. Instead they depend heavily on external contractors to do most of the work. Over time, these contractors (who are often paid far more) end up doing the work of the government workers and more, so they won't be fired either. Since government workers cannot get fired and the contractors will never be let go, the tax payers end up paying for both the government works and the contractors.

Of course, Moore is spot on when he talks about the growing income gap in the US. It's about the same level as Chinas and everyone has been talking about how China's unstable because of this. However the unions desperately need changes in both how they work and how their members behave.

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It's not fair--and quite one-sided-- to compare Austl and the US when it comes to universal health system. The mere difference in size of population would make it daft.

I don't think it's "daft". The argument of size is just plain absurd, a universal system can be scaled, what matters is the cost per person, not the total cost. The US could also devolve the administration of a universal system to the States and adopt certain guidelines on what must be covered, this is what Canada does for instance. There is also a system in the US similar to Canadian health care called Medicare, it works despite the size of the country.

The size of the US doesn't preclude universal health care systems at all.

Of all the docs of his I've seen that one was the worst. He deliberatly skewed statistics and failed to add any balance to his argument like how the U.S has the top cancer survival rate, better access to treatment of chronic diseases, a greater variety of medications than Europe or Canada, a higher satisfaction rate (for those with coverage), the shortest surgery recovery times, and the most dynamic medical research industry in the world. And that all costs money.

Cancer statistics are interesting, the US does boast that it has great survival rates... at the same time, the cancer mortality rate of the US is only average amongst western countries. So Americans are more likely to survive 5 years after a cancer is found, but just as likely to die of cancer than citizens of other countries who in fact are on average older and thus should theoretically have higher cancer rates. These results confuse me. What should be mentioned also is that the US spends 50% to 100% more as percentage of GDP on health care as other western countries, to get only middling results is an indictment of the entire system.

It should be mentioned also that since cancers tend to happen in older people, a disproportionate amount of Americans facing cancer are on Medicare, which is an universal, publicly-administered health insurance. Using cancer survival rates as an indication of supposed success of private insurances is quite wrong.

Sicko works well as an argument against the for-profit system of the US, where high quality of treatments can be found but aren't available to many Americans. The question we ought to ask ourselves is: how should medical systems be judged, by how they treat the average person or by how they treat the rich elite? If you answer the latter, surely the American system may look great, but if you answer the earlier, then it sucks.

As to satisfaction rates, you're just plain wrong. Many polls indicate that Americans want a deep remaking of their health care system more than any other western people. What shows through these polls is that those with a lot of means get really, really great care in the US, so more Americans think their care is "excellent" as opposed to "good" when compared to Canadians or British, whose richer folks still get the same quality of care as middle class or poor people, but the difference is small overall.

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DentShop - Sorry - your credibility has already been shot.

HAHAHAHA. You should be sorry. Just what did SENATOR Obama do to prevent the sub-prime ARM mortgage market from collapsing which led to the recession?

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The argument of size is just plain absurd, a universal system can be scaled, what matters is the cost per person, not the total cost.

Actually size does matter--and 'scaling' as you've argued will depend on that 'population'-- even here in Australia esp. in urban cities where upfront fees may be necessary. Don't believe everything you read from textbooks.

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jruaustralia at 07:36 PM JST - 8th March

Obama did manage to recieve the 2nd highest amount of campaign donations from Fannie/Freddie while they were under investigation and he did it in half the time of his peers, 4 years instead 8.

-Shocking, would this make him on par with DODD or worse?!

Worse. At least Dodd appologized for his role in the sub-prime mortgage debacle. Barney Frank, Dodd's partner in crime, still insists that he didn't do anything wrong.

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You should be sorry. Just what did SENATOR Obama do to prevent the sub-prime ARM mortgage market from collapsing which led to the recession?

LOL! Do you even read what you write?

What could then-Senator Obama have done to prevent the collapse? Especially in light of the fact that the Congress and the White House were in Republican control? As Michael Moore correctly points out, the White House was strongly pushing for more home-ownership by every American! It was one of the pillars of their platform at the time.

And it wasn't Fannie or Freddie that were at the heart of the mess. It was private, unregulated entities like Countrywide who were DEEP into it.

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yabits - What could then-Senator Obama have done to prevent the collapse? Especially in light of the fact that the Congress and the White House were in Republican control? As Michael Moore correctly points out, the White House was strongly pushing for more home-ownership by every American! It was one of the pillars of their platform at the time.

And it wasn't Fannie or Freddie that were at the heart of the mess. It was private, unregulated entities like Countrywide who were DEEP into it.

Of course, Obama was only a U.S. Senator.... What possible power could he have????? McCain, another U.S. Senator, actually stopped his Presidential campaigning to address the sub-prime issue as well as attempting to regulate sub-prime market for years. Countrywide, Fannie, Freddie and the rest spent huge sums to prevent any regulation that would have slowed the mortgage bubble. Many donated to Obama's campaign.

The Congressional members of the Progressive Democrat Causus did push strongly for more home-ownership by every American and they chose to ignore the fact that the people buying these homes couldn't afford to pay the mortgages. That would become the taxpayers responsibility under their redistribution of wealth policy.

Barney Franks Congressional committee established the rules for banking and Congress votes those rules into law. Except for Senator Obama, of course, who accepts no responsibility for not doing his job as Senator.

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Worse. At least Dodd appologized for his role in the sub-prime mortgage debacle. Barney Frank, Dodd's partner in crime, still insists that he didn't do anything wrong.

Freddie and Fannie didn't cause the crisis. They were latecomers to the subprime market, starting to buy them massively only in 2005-2006, when the peak had already been reached, in order to catch up on market shares that they had lost over the previous years. This means that they only entered the market massively when much of the damage was already done. They contributed to the crisis, but did not cause it, they just jumped on the subprime bandwagon that turned out to be actually an handbasket going straight to hell.

As to Barney Frank's involvement, he tried to have laws put up to limit predatory lending, which are one of the primary causes of the crisis, and he had supported some reform of Freddie and Fannie for years to avoid possible crashes. Note that Democrats were out of power in Congress from 1995 to 2007, the House being a body where a simple majority can get things done (as opposed to the Senate). Pretending that Barney Frank is responsible for a crisis that started only years after his party was out of power and blaming him for a lack of action when he was in no position to block anything is just completely incorrect. Note that, as soon as Democrats got Congress, Frank sponsored a bill to reform Freddie and Fannie to make sure they had sound financial dealings and enough capital to avoid a crash. It was H.R.1427 Federal Housing Finance Reform Act of 2007, introduced in March 2007. It passed the House but was blocked in the Senate, and at the time the damage was already done.

I'm sure Frank is not perfect and there's a lot he did we can criticize, but blaming him for the subprime crisis is absolutely absurd and has no connection with fact and reality.

Regulations adopted in the 90s only forced them to buy mortgages given to people with low-income, not to buy subprime mortgages. These are two different issues, it's not because a borrower has a low income that the loan is necessarily risky, it just has to be adjusted to fit the borrower's profile and ability to pay.

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McCain, another U.S. Senator, actually stopped his Presidential campaigning to address the sub-prime issue

Wow... If you are referring to his 2008 campaign, which you must be, then you both need noses to match your clown shoes. That was a stunt that proved that McCain was an empty suit with nothing to bring to the table. Besides, the bubble had already burst by that time.

Countrywide, Fannie, Freddie and the rest spent huge sums to prevent any regulation that would have slowed the mortgage bubble.

Countrywide's donations were made to Republicans by a margin of 80-20. We have to assume they got what they are paying for, even though you want to turn this into a "Democrat-only" problem.

The Congressional members of the Progressive Democrat Causus did push strongly for more home-ownership...

Really? And when were they leading the nation? I mean like former president Bush and his "ownership society" whereby every American who wants one can own a home. Why do feel this obsession/compulsion to look for a Democrat to blame for things that are plainly Republican-led fiascos?

and they chose to ignore the fact that the people buying these homes couldn't afford to pay the mortgages.

What does the average Congressperson of any political stripe have to say about the relationship between a loan agency and its potential borrowers, as long as the borrowers meet the requirements the lending agency has set for loans? We know that Republicans would be leading the charge to keep government hands out of that industry, because that's precisely what they did.

Barney Franks Congressional committee established the rules for banking and Congress votes

LOL! Franks was not the head of that committee. Being that Republicans were in charge of the House, a Republican would have headed it. Was it that the Republican was absent, maybe playing golf somewhere with Abramoff, and told Frank to mind the store?

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yabits - What does the average Congressperson of any political stripe have to say about the relationship between a loan agency and its potential borrowers, as long as the borrowers meet the requirements the lending agency has set for loans?

What "requirements"? The House Financial Services Committee oversees the entire financial services industry including the securities, insurance, banking, and housing industries. It was the House Financial Services Committee, including Franks, who was supposed to be looking out for the U.S. taxpayer. For over a decade, many people attempted to rein in the ballooning sub-prime mortgage market that required no down payments and no verification of the information provided by the potential homeowner. Bad loans began flooding the market.

It was the Progressive Democrat Caucus, members of Congress, that led in the defense of these unpayable mortgages. Fannie/Freddie jumped on the gravy train late but they were in a position to shut down the practice instead of encourage it. There is plenty of blame to go around. Republicans for not doing more to regulate the industry. Democrats for blocking attempts to regulate the industry. Banks for taking advantage of the situation. Mortgage companies for making and reselling mortgages that they knew couldn't be paid back. Homeowners for taking out mortgages that they couldn't pay back.

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arrestpaul, you are absolutely wrong. Progressive Democrats have tried for years to pass anti-predatory lending laws, which would have cracked down on people who convinced people to borrow more than they needed. If anything Republicans allowed Freddie and Fannie to join the subprime mortgage securitization market. Not only that but the main proposal put as example of Republicans wanting to supposedly regulate Freddie and Fannie dates from 2002 or 2003, and at the time the subprime market was just getting started and the GSE weren't in on it at all. The proposal in question would have mainly just moved their oversight from Congress to a new agency under control of the Treasure (from Legislative to Executive). One of the main critic was that they didn't hedge enough against an increase of interest rates... for anyone who knows anything about the situation, interest rates remained low until the crisis... then got lower. The Republicans' proposal at the time had thus nothing at all to do with preventing what actually happened.

That being said, there was a bipartisan proposal to tighten regulations on the FMs in 2005, Republicans wrote it and Democrats supported it (Barney Frank supported most of the bill but voted no in reaction to a late amendment that would have discriminated against religious not-for-profit organizations in housing). It was the Bush White House that blocked that bill, the Senate not even bothering to vote on it because of Bush's opposition to it.

BTW, here are some parts of an article published October 1 2006 about how the mortgage securitization sector was mainly fashioned by the private sector. I don't think links would be accepted, but it's on a website called allbusiness, and it was written by "England, Robert Stowe", so if you want, you can look it up yourself. The tone is triumphant, mainly because the crash hadn't happened yet and many analysts still thought it was a positive thing for the economy.

The rise of private label: innovative mortgage products, enthusiastic investor support and consumer demand for new affordable loans have all come together to give extraordinary new power to the private mortgage-backed securities market. This has left the private sector setting the rules once largely dictated by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA.

[...]

Now, issuers of private-label residential MBS are holding the aces that were once held by the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. [??] Once a junior--but powerful--player in the market, private-label residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) are now the leading force driving product innovation and the net overall volume of mortgage origination. Further, it appears that the new dominant role for private-label RMBS may be here to stay. [??] "I do believe it is a permanent change," says Alec Crawford, managing director and head of agency MBS strategy at Greenwich Capital Markets, Greenwich, Connecticut. "There may continue to be a tug-of-war back and forth between agency mortgages and non-agency mortgages, but at this point what's happened is innovation on the non-agency side has accelerated to such a point that it's going to take the agencies a while to catch up."

[...]

Also, due to sharply rising home prices and the limits on the size of loans they can purchase, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are a minimal presence in states such as California, the nation's largest mortgage market.

[...]

It's interesting to note what people in the middle of the bubble thought about it, because the issue of who was leading the market at the time wasn't as politicized as it is now.

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The House Financial Services Committee oversees the entire financial services industry including the securities, insurance, banking, and housing industries.

No. The Committee does not "oversee" the entire financial services industry. It oversees the laws and executive branch agencies which pertain to those industries. There is a world of difference.

Bad loans began flooding the market.

In an attempt to bring this back to the events in Wisconsin, the causes of the bad loans that flooded the market are at the root of the pressures being put on workers everywhere -- union or non-union, private or civil service.

Your attempt to pin blame on the "Progressive Democrat Caucus" is baseless and extremely foolish. You now say that there is plenty of blame to spread around, but anyone with an inkling of fair-mindedness would know that trying to focus attention on a junior senator from Illinois for something he supposedly didn't do (and, in reality, never had the power or influence to do) is also deceiptful. Why won't you openly admit that the president at the time, in full control of the bully pulpit, was cheering on and promoting home ownership for every American, and thus had FAR more culpability for this collapse than did Barack Obama?

So the question "why would mortagage companies 'make and resell' mortgages they knew couldn't be paid back?" is the key one. The nation's number one mortgage lender, Countrywide, was under absolutely no government compulsion to make such loans. None. Nada.

The fact is that mortgage companies did not care if lenders could not pay back their loans. They operated under a false and crazy belief that since the price of real estate in the US had never declined in 60 years, that it would never decline. It mattered not to them if the people agreeing to the "privilege" to pay double for a home (base price plus interest over time) might only be able to pay for a year or two. After all, the mortgage company still owned the underlying property and just KNEW that it would never decline in value. It would simply foreclose and resell the property at a higher price.

Your attempt to cast blame on the temporary inhabitants of those dwellings reveals grossly defective thinking.

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kchoze - It's interesting to note what people in the middle of the bubble thought about it, because the issue of who was leading the market at the time wasn't as politicized as it is now.

Many people were making money, lots of it, and didn't want to "rock the boat". They're all partially responsible but who regulates the industry? Who was supposed to be looking out for the taxpayers?

In order to secure a prime mortgage, the potential home buyer had to fill out papers that proved who they were and if they could pay back the loan. The mortgage companies or banks took 30 to 60 days to verify that information and were required to retain (not resell) a certain percentage of the loans that they made. In other words, they had carry part of the risk that the loans might not be repaid which insured that they actually verified the information.

Sub-prime loans could be completed overnight or within hours. No actual verifications were being done. Mortgage companies were not required to retain any of the sub-primes that they made so there was no danger of them be caught holding bad paper. That risk only applied to the banks, investment companies and countries that bought the unpayable loans.

So who was responsible for allowing this situation to exist? Who was responsible for the laws regulating the sub-prime industry? The House Financial Services Committee, that's who. They had a fiduciary responsibility to stop the unsound practice when it was discovered. It was Barney Frank who said that he "preferred to roll the dice a little more on the issue" and used his position to prevent the unverified sub-prime mortgages from being sold.

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They're all partially responsible but who regulates the industry? Who was supposed to be looking out for the taxpayers?

Questions like that would put you on the side of Michael Moore, who never supported the wholesale deregulation of the banking and finance industry. Quite the contrary.

and yet, in your posts, you come across as far more supportive of the Republican Party -- which stood for that deregulation, as well as the defunding and under-staffing of the enforcement agencies in the executive branch. After all, Congress can pass all the regulations it wants to, but the laws won't have any teeth unless there's an enforcement mechanism.

The House Financial Services Committee, that's who

Even if that were true, which it is not, the Committee was led by Republicans until 2006 -- well after the vast majority of bad loans had been made. How is it that Barney Frank had so much power over the Republican chairs of that committee like Jim Leach and Mike Oxley? Leach, by the way was one of the authors of the bill to repeal one of the greatest taxpayer-protection measures in US history as it regards banking -- that is: Glass-Steagall.

Seems like so many Republicans want things both ways: They claim to want government to get out of the way and off the backs of businesses, and then blame the government first when the unregulated businesses screw things up massively.

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So who was responsible for allowing this situation to exist? Who was responsible for the laws regulating the sub-prime industry? The House Financial Services Committee, that's who. They had a fiduciary responsibility to stop the unsound practice when it was discovered. It was Barney Frank who said that he "preferred to roll the dice a little more on the issue" and used his position to prevent the unverified sub-prime mortgages from being sold.

First, he was a member of that committee, not the chairman nor even a member of the majority party in it. If the Republicans wanted to do something, they could have done it against his will in a flash.

Second, the "roll the dice" dates from 2003, at the time the subprime market was at its beginning and the FMs hadn't gotten into it much. At the time, they weren't in danger. I think he can be forgiven for not having seen the start of the trouble at its beginning. By most accounts, by 2004, when subprimes really started booming and the Bush White House tasked the GSE to buy more of them, Frank supported attempts to restrict them and to regulate the subprime lending market.

Now, I agree that regulators dropped the ball, but blaming it all on Barney Frank is absurd. He wasn't perfect, but he seems to have caught on quite a bit earlier than many others, and tried to do something about it in 2004 and 2005. When his party won Congress, 3 months hadn't passed that he already placed a bill to regulate the GSE and put a stop to unsound lending and securitizing, a bill that unfortunately never passed the Senate.

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I would add the role that the rating agencies and analysts played in all of this. Using mathematical models, which we now know were deeply flawed, the various buckets were given very high ratings,AAA, AA or A grade. This allowed very large investors, such as state pension funds, to purchase these securities, since they have rules that only let them buy safe investments. With the stock market in the doldrums and interest rates on CDs very low, these mortgage backed securities looked like a good, safe investment. The money started pouring in. This resulted in pressure on the mortgage companies to generate more of the stuff to meet demand. That is what led the mortgage companies to relax their lending standards and make more and more sub-prime loans.

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So Americans are more likely to survive 5 years after a cancer is found, but just as likely to die of cancer than citizens of other countries who in fact are on average older and thus should theoretically have higher cancer rates.

So what? People with cancer should just get on with it and kick the bucket? I think most people would spend all their money for a few extra weeks and the U.S offers years.

It should be mentioned also that since cancers tend to happen in older people, a disproportionate amount of Americans facing cancer are on Medicare, which is an universal, publicly-administered health insurance.

And Medicare doesn't cover any cancer treatment program that doesn't involve nuking the body with chemotherapy. By contrast many insurance companies allow clients to use experimental treatments that Medicare doesn't support and that are illegal in most of Europe.

Sicko works well as an argument against the for-profit system of the US, where high quality of treatments can be found but aren't available to many Americans.

What it fails to point out is that many healthcare treatments that used to be only available for the rich have become common practice in the U.S because the companies that make them are constantly trying to reach more and more customers (=more money). Bypass and brain surgery used to be reserved for the rich but became more affordable through private competition between doctors and companies that sold the equipment.

Government regulation and the FDA actually hamper medical innovation in the U.S and in Europe those advances are even less common because of the absurd amount of money it takes just to get a treatment or drug approved.

The question we ought to ask ourselves is: how should medical systems be judged, by how they treat the average person or by how they treat the rich elite?

How about both? The rich finance new medical systems with the wealth they've accumulated. Because businesses want to make money they will naturally look for ways to reduce the cost and expand the number of clients. Vaccinations, bypass surgery, modern prosthetics, and cancer treatments all followed this line in which the rich got it first and it ended up benefiting the average person. By contrast I'm hard pressed to think of a single medical advancement that started off cheap and affordable. Heck, even soap and antibacterials started off expensive.

What shows through these polls is that those with a lot of means get really, really great care in the US, so more Americans think their care is "excellent" as opposed to "good" when compared to Canadians or British, whose richer folks still get the same quality of care as middle class or poor people, but the difference is small overall.

My insurance is pretty cheap and it covers several of my more unique (ie expensive) conditions that require specialists. So color me biased. I looked it up and many of the treatments I went through when I was younger aren't even allowed in Europe and are not covered by Medicaid or Medicare.

In my case 'good' wasn't enough nor is that the case for many people. I needed fast, highly customized treatments that social systems do not provide.

Progressive Democrats have tried for years to pass anti-predatory lending laws, which would have cracked down on people who convinced people to borrow more than they needed.

They what few attempts there were existed to target very specific loan practices, practices that had already fallen out of favor because there was more money to be made elsewhere. Not a damn thing about CDO's and now that the industry got smacked down for it when they collapsed they moved on to something else. Regulation is, and always has been, reactionary.

Anybody with enough intelligence to think of these practices wouldn’t be caught dead working for the feds, they're out in the private sector making money. Meanwhile you have the washouts and failures in the SEC that never fail to be utterly dumbfounded when the next legal but oh so unethical money making fad comes and goes.

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who cares whats happening in some loser state in the middle of the US???

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So what? People with cancer should just get on with it and kick the bucket? I think most people would spend all their money for a few extra weeks and the U.S offers years.

Honestly, I think it's mainly that American companies mandate a lot of diagnostics, which reveal "cancers" in their first stage more often, but which may result in cancers that would have receded naturally or have never become symptomatic being needlessly treated by the different methods which damage the body at the same time. The end result would then tend to be negative instead of positive for the patient. For instance, since the US started screening a lot for prostate cancer, the incidence rate has jumped out significantly, but the mortality rate has actually remained more or less the same, which fits the hypothesis.

Studies comparing Canadian and American cancer survival rates have also shown that the survival rate amongst Canadians is very similar, no matter how wealthy the people actually are, whereas richer Americans had quite significantly better survival rates than the poor. When the researchers took out prostate and breast cancer survival rates, which are screened thoroughly in the US and lead to harmless cancers being treated needlessly, the survival rate on average was the same for both countries. All in all, on average Canadians, French and Germans are no more likely to die of cancer than Americans, so color me unimpressed by the American system in this regard.

I might also point out that systems that take the burden off of patients are much more humane than those where the patients have to constantly worry about how their treatments will impact on the inheritance they may leave to their family or about the likelihood of bankruptcy.

I don't see where you get that experimental treatments are illegal in Europe, I think you're talking with zero knowledge of the situation and with your prejudice. After going on a French site about cancer treatment, there is a database on clinical tests on different cancer research subjects, including treatments. There are about 700 clinical tests of new technologies against cancer active right now in France alone. So much for your idea that only the US innovates.

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This is too easy!! The people have spoken and they have spoken so that THEY WILL ALWAYS BE HEARD. What Scott Walker wants to do is maim these workers and after that it will all be downhill.

Stay out there protesting. The whole country needs to wake up to this. Like a movie coming to a theater near you, this is just the beginning.

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Honestly, I think it's mainly that American companies mandate a lot of diagnostics, which reveal "cancers" in their first stage more often, but which may result in cancers that would have receded naturally or have never become symptomatic being needlessly treated by the different methods which damage the body at the same time.

So early detection is a bad thing now? Also, if a tumor or other growth is benign there are a variety of options in how to deal with it that vary from patient to patient. Most of them have little to no impact in quality of life.

For instance, since the US started screening a lot for prostate cancer, the incidence rate has jumped out significantly, but the mortality rate has actually remained more or less the same, which fits the hypothesis.

Early detection leads to longer life expectancy. So I guess you'd rather live 2 years than 5-7 eh?

Studies comparing Canadian and American cancer survival rates have also shown that the survival rate amongst Canadians is very similar, no matter how wealthy the people actually are, whereas richer Americans had quite significantly better survival rates than the poor.

On average cancer survival rates among the even the poor in the U.S are pretty good but the survival rate of American wealthy blows the Canadians and Europeans out of the water.

I might also point out that systems that take the burden off of patients are much more humane than those where the patients have to constantly worry about how their treatments will impact on the inheritance they may leave to their family or about the likelihood of bankruptcy.

I'd rather have complete control over my healthcare needs and I'd rather have treatments as fast as money can buy. Between my acromegaly, arthritis, and other related conditions and my job related travel I need to be able to switch doctors and treatment often. Fortunately most of the procedures I needed were completed a while ago, procedures I have come to find out are exceedingly difficult to get in Europe.

I don't see where you get that experimental treatments are illegal in Europe, I think you're talking with zero knowledge of the situation and with your prejudice.

No, I know for a fact that the particular surgery that I had to remove the tumor from my pituitary gland would not be performed in the EU until I was in my 20's.

So much for your idea that only the US innovates.

I said advancement was infrequent. You can test all you want but getting it approved as a treatment is a legal Mt. Everest and many drugs don't even pass the first testing hurdles. Without approval the state won't pay for it and because the state won't pay for it there's little incentive to market it. So if you have a condition that only affects a few people in every million I guess you drew the short straw because there's no way those few people are going to have enough money to get it properly tested.

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yabits - Questions like that would put you on the side of Michael Moore, who never supported the wholesale deregulation of the banking and finance industry. Quite the contrary.

and yet, in your posts, you come across as far more supportive of the Republican Party -- which stood for that deregulation,

What "deregulation"? The sub-prime mortgages weren't regulated. How could the sub-prime mortgage lenders give away billions of dollars in loans to people who couldn't afford to pay them back if the sub-prime market was regulated? The sub-prime mortgage lenders didn't accept any risk, they passed all of the bad paper to the suckers waiting to buy them. Those buyers didn't do their job either. They were supposed to verify that these "investments" were actually good investments before they bought them. There are plenty of villians and stupid people to blame for this bubble.

Starting in 1999, anyone could apply for a sub-prime, no money down, no verification required loan. If home owners had attempted to fraudulently apply for a prime mortgage for an amount they couldn't afford, they would have been laughed out of the bank. But sub-prime loans could be easily obtained. The unregulated sub-primes eventually became 40 percent of the mortgage market by 2006. The last of those sub-prime, 5 year, ARM's won't fail until sometime in 2011.

The House Financial Services Committee was responsible to the taxpayers to insure that this sub-prime market was regulated. Their failure led to the recession. Barney Frank was a long time member of that committee and he did serve as Chairman. He didn't put the best interests of the taxpayers first. Senator Obama was a member of a Congress that failed to do its job. Claims that President Obama inherited a sub-prime debacle ignores the fact that Senator Obama helped create that inheritence.

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There are plenty of villians and stupid people to blame for this bubble.

But you seem to want only to name the freshman senator from Illinois and Congressman Frank. Obama was an extremely minor player at best. Relatively speaking, the Republican leadership in the White House and the Congress were FAR more culpable.

Why are you so afraid to openly admit that? How could your great Republicans have been so easily led by someone like Barney Frank? -- assuming there is a shred of validity to your skewed view of events.

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So early detection is a bad thing now? Also, if a tumor or other growth is benign there are a variety of options in how to deal with it that vary from patient to patient. Most of them have little to no impact in quality of life.

Early detection leads to longer life expectancy. So I guess you'd rather live 2 years than 5-7 eh?

Early detection is certainly good, within limits. The truth is that in some cases, it can lead to treatments that are unnecessary, some of these treatments may occasionally even be fatal. A botched operation for a benign tumor for instance, or a disease caught while your body's autoimmune defenses are lowered by cancer treatments. The evidence seems to indicate that the US are on the wrong side of early detection on at least some types of cancers, like breast and prostate cancers.

As to life expectancy, it's actually higher in non-US western countries. The US' life expectancy is below average, so much for that argument.

I said advancement was infrequent. You can test all you want but getting it approved as a treatment is a legal Mt. Everest and many drugs don't even pass the first testing hurdles.

Wrong. A UK comparison study called the "Extent and Causes of International Variation in Drug Usage" compared the advancement in drug use for several diseases amongst 13 countries. Though the US did best overall, it wasn't best across the board. For example, it was only 8th in regards to drugs to treat cancer, the 1st was France. So the US does have good quality of care, for those who can afford it (I always wonder how counting those who fall through the nets in the US would affect its ranking), but considering how much more it spends than other countries, the small advance it actually has is downright disappointing, proof of an highly inefficient system.

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A botched operation for a benign tumor for instance, or a disease caught while your body's autoimmune defenses are lowered by cancer treatments.

You’re talking about obscenely infrequent cases among thousands of routine surgeries and nobody forces a client to have surgery, in fact many are advised against it.

As to life expectancy, it's actually higher in non-US western countries. The US' life expectancy is below average, so much for that argument.

That’s more due to lifestyle choice than healthcare at any rate. There's more crime in the U.S, more obesity, more smokers, and more risk taking behavior. You can't fix diabetes nor can you magically heal a gunshot wound. I've always felt that general life expectancy was a bit dated, of course I'd live longer if I didn't smoke, drink, eat garbage, sky dive, drive to bad neighborhoods for awesome food, and get lost in anti-American districts of foreign cities but where's the fun in that?

proof of an highly inefficient system.

Bogged down by federal requirements and the mountains of paperwork that goes into virtually every doctor visit. My doctor has 3 full time employees whose sole purpose is medical billing and filing for Medicare and Medicaid recipients.

I've got a high deductible so I pay in cash, always have, so several of my doctors give me discounts. I only pay $80 to see my spine specialist, and $50 for my checkups. I went to the specialist three times last year, had a surgery, and got two checkups. I actually paid more into FICA last year than I paid to insurance and out of pocket combined.

I also learn more about my conditions from my doctors because when you're paying up front they actually try to give you your monies worth as opposed to your average check, prescribe, boot assembly line that I was subjected to when I caught the flu in the UK. What the doctor there didn't think to check is that the medication he prescribed conflicted with my acromegaly meds and put me into shock. Fun times. Yeah it might be anecdotal but that's my experience

If more people took responsibility for their own health instead of leaving it to insurance companies or the government to take care of every little thing the costs would plummet. I shop around for my doctors and because of that they give me a better rate than other people paying with insurance or on federal programs. Just look at Lasik eye surgery, it's not covered by insurance or by federal programs, yet the cost has gone down, quality has gone up, and recovery time is down to almost nothing.

I really wish I could opt out of FICA and Medicaid payment so I could use the money for something useful, like receiving my treatments and contributing to my IRA that will actually help me when I'm old as opposed to SS which will either be flat broke or utterly useless by the time I'm old enough to collect.

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The measure passed and public employee unions in WI have been smacked down.

Why no article on the final outcome?

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If you start going after the rich, they'll just find some loophole to stash the cash. Breadline time, baby!

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If you start going after the rich, they'll just find some loophole to stash the cash.

If it's my hard earned money that I made, why not? I would stash my cash too.

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How pathetic. The rent-a-mob and little Trustafarian me-so-Bohemian! college kids have nothing more original than 60s backwash like

“Hey-hey, ho-ho, Scott Walker’s got to go!”

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