***Please Read***

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Media Failed Us Again—The Truth About Wisconsin

As I mentioned in a previous post, Media slants, omits, and to be perfectly blunt, lies. There is no way the American public can make a rational decision when we can’t get unbiased details pertaining to important issues facing our country, and quite frankly, our lives.

There is a state war brewing in Wisconsin, which is probably the first in many to come, with states being cash strapped and cuts imminent. Governor Walker is under attack by many on the Left because he’s taking on the Union. Public workers-- teachers, police officers and fire fighters, are being called “bottom feeder free loaders” by Rush Limbaugh, because they are protesting at the state capital.

And the media, both Left and Right, is making it worse by not giving the public the FACTS.

Rachel Maddow and some left-winged blogs have informed their audience that Governor Walker inherited a surplus of $121 million, and gave away $140 million in tax breaks (there are tax cuts, but they don't go into effect until next year) which caused the projected $137 million dollar deficit and is taking on the union, and its workers, in order to destroy them, the middle class and the Democratic Party. Right-wing media and blogs are telling their audience that public sector employees are selfish, greedy, and should be fired.

Pitting public sector Americans/taxpayers against private sector Americans/taxpayers, in my humble opinion, is not only egregious, but could very well prove dangerous.

In light of how derelict our media has become, I would like to set the record straight and give you some facts. I promise you I’ve researched left and right sites without my political lenses and just want to report the truth.

I am an American, who is the daughter of a retired teacher, and the sister of a police officer, and I most certainly don’t believe that my mom or my brother are “selfish” or “free loaders”. I’ve also paid attention to the unions, public and private, and I’m here to tell you that they don’t have the best interest of the people at heart. There was a time, long ago, when they did, but not anymore. They have a political agenda, just like politicians and the media.

And the media neglected the truth. Wisconsin does NOT have a surplus. Robert Lang, Director of the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, issued a report, and this sentence, Our analysis indicates a general fund gross balance of $121.4 million and a net balance of $56.4 million, seems to have caused the confusion, because that alone doesn’t tell Wisconsin’s entire fiscal story.

Further in his report, Lang lists $58.7 million needed to repay a Minnesota Income Tax Reciprocity Payment and $258 million in Appropriation Shortfalls. Then there’s $200 million due the state’s Patient Compensation Fund, which the former Governor, Jim Doyle, illegally used to offset the general fund. The circuit court has yet to give a date and final amount, which will include interest, to replenish the Patient account. Those added to the so-called surplus gives the state an approximate $340 million dollar deficit.

Governor Walker now wants to tackle this deficit by asking for concessions from the union workers by asking them to pay up to 12% for pensions and health benefits (8% net pay reduction). Walker wants to limit collective bargaining. By this he wants them limited to wages, capping them at the consumer price index, and taking benefits and rules off the table. He wants annual recertification by majority vote of ALL members, not just a majority of those casting ballots. Walker wants to stop the mandatory deduction of union dues from a union employee’s paycheck and he wants to give employees the option to quit the union without losing their job.

From what I’ve read, there isn’t anyone who thinks the pension/health benefit contribution is out of line. It seems to be the collective bargaining that’s the issue. Some say capping the bargaining at wages renders unions worthless because it doesn’t permit them to bargain for hours, shifts or working conditions. Now, one could argue that with all our laws, we don’t need a union to bargain for working conditions, that we have plenty of laws (wage & hour, equal opportunity, discrimination, etc.) to protect us, and that’s true. But maybe Walker felt that police officers and firefighters should still be able to collectively bargain, after all, they’re EXEMPT from this bill, and let’s face it, they do have the worst hours and the most dangerous working conditions of all the public employees. However, Walker said this was an issue of fiscal security, so why aren't ALL public workers included? Another question then, is, how important is collective bargaining? Do employees really NEED it and are states that ban collective bargaining better off or worse than states that permit it?

Here is an interactive map of the United States and it will show you that 11 permit collective bargaining, 5 prohibit it, and 35 have mandatory collective bargaining. This interactive map rates each state on issues like infrastructure, people and economics, resulting in a grade. If collective bargaining were a huge factor in how WELL a state performed, then, according to the Right’s theory, those states that prohibit collective bargaining would out-perform those states that require it, however, that’s not what the data proves. That tells us unions aren’t as defeating as some on the Right would like us to believe, and the data also tells us that unions aren’t the Great Deliverer for the little guy as some on the Left would like us to believe. There are too many factors. Unions alone can’t fix everything—look at New Hampshire, a mandated collective bargaining state, which has a D+ rating, then go to Washington, also a mandated state, it has an A- rating.

We Americans need to get on the same page and put ideologies aside because Wisconsin is tethering with many other states soon to follow. People are angry, and rightly so. They’ve been lied to by the very people who told them their futures were safe and secure only to find out the parachute won’t open, and even if it does, it’s full of holes. The problem isn’t the teacher, the police officer or even the private sector accountant or beautician. There's a whole lot of blame to go around here, but we certainly can't blame people for wanting to make a living and for believing those who told them they could and would.

I understand that unions are important to the Democrats. Unions donate large sums of money to the Democratic Party. What I don’t understand is how the unions and politicians can lie and deceive us time and time again, pitting us against one another. As Americans it’s time for us to come together. It’s not public vs. private employee, as they would have us believe. It’s us vs. them.

While we, private and public Americans, have been working and feeding our families, they’ve been hiding the truth and making promises they KNEW they couldn’t keep, all for political gain. They knew one day the truth would come out, but they wouldn’t be in office or in charge of the unions when that day came, therefore they didn’t care.

Well, the day of reckoning is HERE and it’s time to pay the piper, in more ways than one. Our officials need to stop lying and do the right thing, even if it means telling us something we might not want to hear. The truth isn’t always pleasant, but it sure beats finding out you’ve been lied to, because at least then we can try to rectify the problem before it's too big to fix.

And I can't say it enough, our media needs to do the right thing too! Stop cow-towing to political parties and start reporting the facts, regardless of what they are.

We don't ask for much from our media, but it seems we get even less.

Picture Compliments of: Worth 1000 by pcysmith

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Caption This!

I always see these Caption posts and thought I’d give it a try. If it works out well and readers have fun, I’ll do them more frequently.

The winner will be chosen by my family and me, and in the case of a tie, will be broken by my mom or dad. I’ll announce the winner in a separate blog post.

Here goes...

Caption this...

Picture compliments of: NY Daily News

Thursday, February 3, 2011

ALL Media Are Wrong Sometimes

It’s not unusual to find a story about how Fox News needs a Geography lesson. There are many on the Left who live to bash Fox News for just about-- everything. What IS odd is that the story is from 2009.

Fox News misrepresented Egypt on the World Map, showing it to be where Iraq actually sits. Now, this IS a problem, considering most Americans probably don’t even know what states make up the Midwest and have been hit with the latest winter blizzard. It’s sad, quite frankly, that there are adults who can barely name all 50 states, let alone tell you the location of Egypt or Pakistan. So, yes, Fox was wrong, but what’s even MORE appalling is there were probably very few viewers that even noticed! (Hey Rasmussen do a poll on THAT!)

Okay, Fox was wrong-- can’t defend them. Now to be “fair and balanced”, I’ll admit that it must be challenging to be 100% accurate with 24/7/365 day a year coverage, after all, it IS performed by HUMANS, and people AREN’T perfect. So, while I'm pointing out that Fox was wrong, I can also point out that MSNBC is guilty of mistakes, too.

While discussing the situation in Egypt, Chris Matthews, on his Hardball show, said, “…It’s so strategically located. It has, of course, the Nile River. It has, of course, the Panama Canal.” Now, to be fair, he corrected himself and later said the Suez Canal, but how is it that HE can slip up, assuming that’s what it was, but according to him, Bachmann and Palin can NOT? They are balloon heads, mail-order brides, or exotic dancing spies. No leeway for THEM, but he, Chris Matthews, just had a slip of the tongue. Or did he? We don’t know for sure. All we DO know is that he corrected himself. So, did he catch his OWN mistake, or did someone whisper into his ear piece? I’ll assume he caught himself, because I have dignity. I just wish Matthews would show a little to others who don’t “think” along the same political lines as he does. But I won’t hold my breath.

Then there’s the Rachel Maddow show where she was talking about the state of Indiana but her visual map had Indiana where Illinois should have been. How many Americans noticed THAT oopsie? And how many Left-leaning blogs wrote that MSNBC needed a Geography lesson or misinformed its audience? I’m guessing a big fat zero. I’ll bet the citizens of Illinois and Indiana caught the err right away, but did Maddow notice while reporting? Guess not, or she would’ve said something, right? Is she a balloon-head? Or was she so engrossed in her reporting that she just didn’t notice? I’m going to give her the benefit of the doubt and go with the latter.

Again with Maddow, but this time on her December 9, 2010, Debunktion Junction show, where she verifies the authenticity of rumors. Ms. Maddow confirmed her own prediction from her appearance on Meet the Press that Christine O’Donnell would end up on Fox News, “…it takes precisely zero genius to predict O’Donnell would host TV on Fox News but it has now gone from prediction and rumor to true.” Maddow went on to praise her brilliant prophecy because she had it on good authority that Christine O’Donnell was the new guest host for Fox & Friends. Oops, turns out Maddow wasn’t so brilliant, and seems she may need a crystal ball, because O’Donnell is NOT a guest host on Fox anything. So, Maddow was wrong, but has yet to come out on her show to “debunk” herself. The Left hasn’t demanded that Maddow correct her false claim, you know, like they do when the Right “lies” but “never” retracts. Oh, and we haven't had any head-lines that read MSNBC is misinforming the public by the Left, either. Hmm, maybe they’re still in the works…I won’t hold my breath though.

Fox News makes a mistake and they are Faux News, Fixed News, Fog News, and Fascist News, to name a few. MSNBC errs and it’s no big deal. I don’t like the double standard. If one news source screws up a map and is called ill-informed, stupid and every other conceived name in the book, then every other news source that screws up should be stupid, ill-informed and every other conceived name in the book, too. EVERY news medium SHOULD be held to the SAME standards.

I hear and read that there isn’t bias in the media, but that’s simply not true. It’s sometimes difficult to SEE the bias when the side you’re on is doing the slanting, because it appears normal, therefore you don’t SEE it. We need to look at our media WITHOUT our political lenses. It’s challenging because we tend to see issues from our OWN perspective. But our media is TOO important and MUST be held to different and higher standards. They are supposed to be our watchdogs; therefore we need them to use FACTS, not opinions or prejudices, and they must NOT wear political lenses. They MUST NOT omit facts, even if those facts could harm someone with the same political leanings.

I would really like a reliable, honest news source. One that reports FACTS and omits the slanting and bias. I truly believe it would be the most popular venue that would pull in the highest ratings because it would receive viewership from both sides of the political aisle for reporting FACTS, not opinions. (We have enough of those!) The public wants information, and it deserves the truth.

But hey, I won’t hold my breath.
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