9/24/08

Saul Alinsky's rules guide Barack

More Saul Alinsky stories: here
• "Getting to know Barack: Meet Saul Alinsky"
• IBD Series: The Audacity Of Socialism

Barack follows iconic collectivist's playbook

At a recent Las Vegas rally, Obama poked fun at Sen. McCain for what he described as bragging about "how as chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, he had oversight of every part of the economy."

"Well, all I can say to Sen. McCain is, 'Nice job. Nice job,'" Obama said in a sarcastic tone. "Where is he getting these lines? It's like a 'Saturday Night Live' routine." Then he belittled the 72-year-old McCain for vowing to take on the old boys network. "In the McCain campaign, that's called a staff meeting," he sneered.

The late Alinsky, a trench-warfare socialist who despised American capitalism, advised community organizers like Obama to "laugh at the enemy" to provoke "irrational anger." "Ridicule," he said, "is man's most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, who then react to your advantage."

At another rally in Nevada, Obama called on the crowd of about 1,500 to join him in sharpening their elbows against McCain and his supporters. "I want you argue with them and get in their face," he said, in a naked attempt to "fan hostilities" in the tightening race, something Alinsky also advised from his bag of agitation tricks.

Obama doesn't look or talk like an angry radical. He speaks in measured tones and is rarely seen out of business attire. That, too, is borrowed from Alinsky's playbook. "Don't scare" the middle class, he guides urban revolutionaries in his 1970s manual, "Rules for Radicals" (which he dedicated to mankind's "first radical, Lucifer").

Instead, look like them, talk like them, act like them.

And work for radical change from the inside — "like a spy behind enemy lines," as Obama said in his first memoir. He wrote it before entering politics, while still working with hard-left Alinsky groups and training street agitators known as "community organizers."

As he wrote, he became a community organizer in 1983 because of "The need for change. Change in the White House, where Reagan and his minions were carrying on their dirty deeds."

That's when he set out to "organize black folks" for social revolution, first in Harlem, then the South Side of Chicago. Now he wants to do it on a "large scale." Though most average voters wouldn't know it, he's applying Alinsky's radical rules to achieve his goal.

Alinksy stressed that his rules be translated into real-life tactics responsive to the situation at hand — which right now happens to be something he never could have dreamed of: a disciple who would find himself in a viable battle for the most powerful job in the world.

Obama has already translated several of Alinsky's rules into battle tactics, including:

• Rule: "Rub raw the resentments of the people; search out controversy and issues." In the mortgage meltdown, for instance, Obama vows to prosecute "predatory lenders" for "abusing" minority borrowers. He's also stoking class resentment by painting Wall Street and other executives as villains.

• Rule: "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it." In an ad to woo Hispanic voters, Obama demonized Rush Limbaugh by falsely claiming he made racist statements against immigrants.

• Rule: "A mass impression can be lasting and intimidating." This explains why Obama moved his acceptance speech to a football stadium and bussed in 85,000 supporters. Alinsky's son was so impressed, he praised Obama for learning his father's "lesson well."

• Rule: "Multiple issues mean constant action and life" for the cause. This is why Obama never harps on one issue, as Hillary did with health care. His platform is packed with grievances from "economic justice" to "reproductive justice" to "environmental justice."

Obama is following almost to the letter the blueprint for socialist revolution drafted by the father of community organizing.

While Alinsky may help him behind the scenes, however, he becomes a liability when brought out of the shadows. Sarah Palin proved this in St. Paul when she ridiculed his community organizing. Within hours, Obama surrogates whined about how just bringing up the phrase was racist code for "black."

No, it's code for communist. And McCain should make that point instead of legitimizing such radicalism, as he did recently when he said, "I respect community organizers; and Sen. Obama's record there is outstanding" — which contradicted his running mate.

There's nothing to respect about such anti-American radicals, even if they have traded their tie-dye for business ties.

(ibdeditorials.com)

Ex-DP editor lashes Colorado union thugs

Related story: "The 28 labor-states"

But the Denver Post is now a pro-union organ

In a less complicated world, there wouldn't be seven measures on the Colorado ballot dealing with union issues. There would be just one, asking voters if they wished to enlarge or diminish the power and influence of labor unions.

That question is at the heart of each of the labor-related ballot issues, whether those issues were sponsored by labor unions or by business groups.

It shouldn't be a tough question. Last November, Gov. Bill Ritter set things in motion by issuing an ill-considered executive order essentially inviting the unionization of state workers. Did he really believe there wouldn't be a reaction to what was a transparent usurpation of legislative authority?

As he hoped, the Democrat- controlled General Assembly did subsequently bypass every opportunity to assume its rightful role as policymaker, and thus the voters of Colorado are presented with a rerun of the Shootout at the OK Corral. This time it is labor unions versus business — and versus the taxpayers.

Unless something dramatic happens in the next few days to remove one or more of the ballot measures, voters will have to decide the individual fate of seven labor-related measures.

Some of them are willfully pernicious and even dangerous. One would create a legal cause of action for any worker dismissed for something other than "just cause." The only people who could reasonably support such a notion would be trial lawyers and union organizers.

Another would impose health care requirements on small employers (20 or more employees) that might well sink some of those firms. These two measures, along with two others that are just as bad, are on the ballot for only one reason: to remind the sponsors of Amendment 47 (the right to work law) that two can play the ballot initiative game. Unions are saying to business that people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

A misnamed group of labor organizations called Protect Colorado's Future is pushing the anti-business measures and paying for misleading ads opposing the right to work measure and two others designed to limit the political power of labor unions, especially unions in government.

The ads wrongly suggest that a vote for the three anti- union ballot issues is somehow a vote against the right of firefighters to organize and bargain collectively. This is nonsense. Police and firefighters and teachers and other labor groups have long had the power to unionize. There is nothing on the ballot this year that will affect existing contracts or others like them.

The issue this year is whether to put reasonable limits on the future growth of labor organizations and whether to restrict the ability of public employee unions to collect dues and increase their political influence.

Gov. Ritter started a fight on behalf of labor unions and now those same unions want to pretend they are just a bunch of ordinary workers with no real appetite for union power.

In politics, timing is everything, and it may be that the presidential contest and uncertain state of the U.S. economy will lessen interest in the Colorado ballot issues. It would be sad if that turns out to be the case. Given the political standoff that has developed over the last two years, it is no wonder that the only thing business and labor can readily agree on is that each has a reason to be nervous.

(denverpost.com)

Workers quit Teamsters, cross picket line

Related story: "The 28 labor-states" • "Striking Teamsters face permanent replacement"

Militant unionists trapped in chaotic labor-state strike

A walkout Monday night at Oak Harbor Freight Lines sites in three states by union truckers did not generate much support in Idaho. A spokesman for Oak Harbor Freight said 10 of 23 union members at the company's Meridian site had resigned from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters by midday Tuesday and had returned to work.

Officials with Teamsters Local 483 in Boise did not immediately return a call seeking comment, although a woman who answered the phone at the union's office confirmed that 10 members had resigned in order to cross the picket line.

The union issued a statement Tuesday saying members had walked off the job in response to the company's efforts to bully and intimidate workers. The statement said the National Labor Relations Board is investigating several allegations of labor law violations by the company, including coercing and threatening employees and making unlawful changes to working conditions.

Oak Harbor spokesman Mike Hobby said the walkout was staged after the union received the company's "last, best and final offer" on a new five-year contract. Truckers have been working without a contract since their previous deal expired last Oct. 31, Hobby said.

He said the union called for the walkout without presenting the final offer to its members.

Hobby said one of the sticking points during the negotiations had been Oak Harbor's proposal to offer a company-administered health care plan through Blue Cross and Blue Shield that would have replaced a plan offered by the Teamsters.

"The funny thing about it is that our employees in Boise were already on our plan," Hobby said.

Tyson Johnson, Teamsters' international vice president and freight division director, said: "If these negotiations are any indication of the company's approach to collective bargaining, then I am concerned that Oak Harbor's customers will experience service disruptions up and down the West Coast in the coming days."

Oak Harbor Freight Lines provides trucking delivery services to some of the largest companies and government agencies in the country including the Gap, REI, JC Penney, GM, Chrysler, Whirlpool and the state of Washington.

One Oak Harbor customer in Boise said he did not expect to be affected by the work stoppage. Tom Chelstrom, manager for the REI at 8300 W. Emerald, said the store had already received its stock of fall and winter outdoor gear.

"If this had happened in August, it might have been a different story," Chelstrom said.

(idahostatesman.com)

IBEW defends hate speech in court

More inflatable rat stories: here

The new union label: Giant, inflatable rat

A giant 10-foot rat balloon was at the center of a fight over freedom of speech in arguments heard by the New Jersey state Supreme Court Tuesday involving the partial shutdown of a union's protest against a company's labor practices.

In April 2005, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 269 protested outside a Gold's Gym in Lawrence Township, angry about what it considered to be unfair wages and benefits the contracted Morgan Electric was paying workers. Along with passing out bills to the public, they inflated a 10-foot rat balloon -- a common symbol of notifying the public of allegedly unfair labor practices.

The balloon was taken down initially after Lawrence police officers told the protesters the rat violated a local ordinance prohibiting inflatable balloon signs aimed at attracting the attention of pedestrians or motorists. But it was raised again 45 minutes later. The officers then cited IBEW assistant business administrator Wayne DeAngelo -- now a Democratic assemblyman from the 14th District. DeAngelo was later fined $100 plus $33 in court costs.

"This is a powerful, symbolic message," Andrew Watson, attorney for DeAngelo, told the Supreme Court. "There is no ample alternative means to reach a broad audience like this inflatable rat. Handbilling doesn't do it, interaction with the community doesn't do it."

DeAngelo said later Tuesday the ordinance was inconsistent in the way it applies restrictions because it allows for grand opening signs or searchlights to be used by businesses.

"They would allow us to utilize that same rat for a grand opening or a commercial reason, but we are not allowed to use it for workers' rights," said DeAngelo.

Lawrence Township, however, claims its ordinance is not arbitrary and is narrow in its prohibitions. John Dember, representing the municipality, said the ordinance in no way violates freedom of expression and that the township was not targeting unions.

"The township may enforce restrictions on time, place and manner. The complete ban on inflated balloon signs in a public forum does not provide any differentiation on content," said Dember.

Although the protest took place in a public forum where restrictions on speech are limited, Dember argued the ordinance was constitutional because it was content-neutral and allowed for other means of showing protest.

Two lower courts previously ruled in favor of Lawrence and the constitutionality of the ordinance. The Supreme Court, as usual, reserved its ruling for a later date.

(courierpostonline.com)

Big Bedfellows oppose worker-choice

Related story: "The 28 labor-states" • More worker-choice stories: here

Who's left to stick up for the little guy?

While business and labor leaders continue talks on how they could work together to defeat a "right-to-work" initiative, the group pushing the measure has been touting it to voters all over the Western Slope.

The campaign spokesman for Amendment 47, which would ban agreements requiring workers to pay for union representation, is spending the week visiting roughly a dozen towns and cities - from Rifle to Grand Junction and Durango.

"A big part of the campaign, of course, is reaching out to voters across the state," said Kelley Harp, spokesman for A Better Colorado, a pro-Amendment 47 group backed by executives such as Jonathan Coors of CoorsTek and Jake Jabs of American Furniture Warehouse.

With little chance that right- to-work proponents will withdraw their measure before an Oct. 2 deadline, a group of Denver-based executives continues to discuss the terms under which they could combine forces with organized labor to fight Amendment 47 at the ballot box.

In return, labor groups would agree to pull four ballot measures they hoped to use as leverage to persuade the right-to- work campaign to back down.

Businesses have characterized all four of the labor proposals as potentially devastating, but some local leaders have acknowledged that unions need an incentive to withdraw them after spending millions to get them on the ballot.

The talks between business, labor and elected officials have come down to how much money executives would contribute to a "no" campaign on Amendment 47 and two other amendments viewed as anti-union.

The amount businesses would spend - as much as $5 million - has been a sticking point mostly because such an alliance has little precedent.

"If you can get past the part that it is so unusual for business to raise money for that issue, there's a greater good in it," said Barry Hirschfeld, a longtime Denver businessman who sits on the board of Colorado Concern with some of the business executives trying to craft a deal to work with labor on a "no" campaign.

Hirschfeld stressed that he has not had direct involvement in the discussions with labor groups. But he said he remains hopeful that the members of Colorado Concern talking with union representatives can cement a deal.

Walt Imhoff, whose term on the same board expired last month, expressed frustration that Coors and other "right-to- work" backers have declined to pull their ballot measure despite the "very serious business interests" that have tried to head off the confrontation at the polls.

"The consequences of not trying to work with the unions in this case - because we've already got some pretty good labor laws on the books - is detrimental to future business," said the retired investment banker. "I'm surprised they don't understand that. I'm disappointed in the Coors operation," Imhoff said.

(rockymountainnews.com)

Why not worker-choice?

More EFCA stories: here • "Respected Democrat Rips EFCA"

Mandatory unionism is favored by politicians but not workers

You have probably seen bumper stickers reading "Im Pro-Choice and I Vote." We know the context: abortion. The person who placed the sticker wants us to know that she (or maybe he) does not want any governmental interference when it comes to a womanҒs decision on terminating a pregnancy.

If people who are "pro-choice" on abortion were philosophically consistent, you would expect them also to be "pro-choice" with regard to the matter of union representation. Many, however, are not.

Those thoughts are occasioned by a recent and rather surprising piece in the Wall Street Journal by former Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern. He took issue with the virtually unanimous support in his party for a bill with an astoundingly misleading name: The Employee Free Choice Act. That legislation would require the federal government to certify a labor union as the bargaining agent of the workers based only on signed cards purportedly showing that a majority wants the union's representation.

McGovern deserves praise for taking a principled but unpopular stance. Other Democrats (and indeed all Americans) should rethink the nation's approach to labor relations law.

Our basic law regarding labor relations is the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), passed during the depths of the Great Depression as a campaign favor to the unions for having helped elect FDR. It was and still is special-interest legislation par excellence.

The very worst feature of the NLRA is that it turned the question of union representation from one of individual choice into one of democracy. Prior to the NLRA, unions were no different from other voluntary organizations under the law. People were free to join or quit as they saw fit. After the act, once a majority voted -- in a secret-ballot election -- for union representation, all of the workers had to accept it whether they liked it or not.

That was bad enough, but the "democratization" of unionism had a peculiar aspect. In our political democracy, we get to choose periodically to keep or vote out of office those whom the voters have chosen to represent them. With workplace democracy, however, there are no regular elections in which the workers have the opportunity of dropping the incumbent union in favor of a different union or having no union at all.

Once a union has been certified, it remains in place until it is decertified. While it is possible to do that if enough workers are dissatisfied, the deck is stacked against the decertification process. In many unionized companies, the union has been in place so long that not one of the current employees has ever voted on it.

The "card check" procedure that McGovern rightly criticized would make union organizing much easier. Union zealots could pressure workers to get them to sign or deceive them as to what they were signing. Furthermore, a secret ballot protects the anonymity of each individual in the decision. With "card check," those who tell the union "No" could be making targets of themselves since unions have a long, nasty history of violence against people who go against them.

Any American who really favors freedom of choice Democrats, Republicans, independents, and those who are apolitical ֖ should want to see unions treated the same way under the law as are all other private organizations. People should be free to join them or contract for their services just as they are free to join clubs, churches, or civic groups or to contract with an Internet service provider or lawn care company. We dont insist that those decisions be made democratically, with people who donҒt like the majoritys preference compelled to go along with it. There is no reason why a decision on union representation should be made democratically, either.

The NLRA is one of the worst pieces of special-interest legislation ever passed. It's blatantly contrary to individual choice. So why do so few politicians (and almost no Democrats) want to repeal it? The answer is simple: money. Union officials give lots of it to politicians they like and spend like mad to defeat those who stand against them.

- George Leef is director of research for the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

(lelandtribune.com)

Asia Tribune defines Barack, pt. 3

Related stories: "Asia Tribune defines Barack, pt. 1" • "Asia Tribune defines Barack, pt. 2"

The eyes of the world turn to Barack's America

The research by this Online Newspaper was undertaken with only one agenda: to help the readership to define Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama in placing hitherto unknown facts before them.

In Part OneLiberalism and Conservatism in U.S. Politics – we endeavored to present an academic understanding of the two political shades to help the readers to enter in to the conversation of ‘Defining’ the Democratic Party presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama.

Part TwoCommunist Mentor in His Teen Years – Asian Tribune endeavored to give a glimpse to his ideological bent and the possible influence he would have had due to the association of that ideological bent despite one has no evidence that he was totally influenced by the Marxist-Leninist Doctrine.

This part will go a step further about his association with the international socialist movement.

Appeared suddenly in the national and international scene within three years and went on to clinch the Democratic Party nomination for the November 4 election defeating an already known Hillary Clinton at the closely contested nominating process known as the ‘primaries’ Mr. Obama is still an unknown and undefined politician who has the potential of becoming the Commander-in-Chief of the United States despite in a statistical tie in all opinion polls with his main opponent Republican Party nominee John McCain.

The Asian Tribune investigation, observation and research have found Senator Obama neither a socialist nor a communist.

But one thing we found: The junior senator from Illinois in his formative days, and after, has had lot of association and working relationship with those who held ‘not-so main stream views’, somewhat radical, progressive in nature and pacifist.

These rapports with them neither make Barack Obama a radical nor an ‘out-of-mainstream’ person.

But what is endeavored here is to facilitate the readers, Asian and others, U.S. and in the Asian Region, to have a glimpse in to Obama’s world of politics and policies and what impact they will have in the Asian Region should he become the Commander-in-Chief of the United States on January 20 next year..

Later in this series when we discuss his stated policies, the background Asian Tribune presents here may be useful to discern his overall policy platform and how they fit in to a ‘turbulent’ Asian Region where many countries face internal upheavals unconnected to the national security interests of the United States.

What Cliff Kincaid, a columnist for Accuracy In Media (AIM), wrote in February this year is most interesting to ascertain Mr. Obama’s rapport and connections with ‘not-so-mainstream’ activists.

Campaign workers for Senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama were under fire for displaying a flag featuring communist hero Che Guevara. But Obama has his own controversial socialist connections. He is, in fact, an associate of a Chicago-based Marxist group with access to millions of labor union dollars and connections to expert political consultants.

Obama's socialist backing goes back at least to 1996, when he received the endorsement of the Chicago branch of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) for an Illinois state senate seat. Later, the Chicago DSA newsletter reported that Obama, as a state senator, showed up to eulogize Saul Mendelson, one of the "champions" of "Chicago's democratic left" and a long-time socialist activist. Obama's stint as a "community organizer" in Chicago has gotten some attention, but his relationship with the DSA socialists, who groomed and backed him, has been generally ignored.

DSA describes itself as the largest socialist organization in the United States and the principal U.S. affiliate of the Socialist International. The Socialist International (SI) has what is called "consultative status" with the United Nations.

The international connection is important and significant because an Obama bill, "The Global Poverty Act," was rushed through the Senate Foreign Relations Committee late last year, with the assistance of Democratic Senator Joe Biden, the chairman, and Republican Senator Richard Lugar. The legislation (S.2433) commits the U.S. to spending hundreds of billions of dollars more in foreign aid on the rest of the world, in order to comply with the "Millennium Goals" established by the United Nations.

Another group associated with the SI is the Party of European Socialists (PES).

Following up, in April 2007, PES President Poul Nyrup Rasmussen reported that European socialists held a meeting "in the Democrats HQ in Washington," met with officials of the party and Democratic members of Congress, and agreed that "PES activist groups" in various U.S. cities would start working together.

The Asian Tribune investigation now turns to the composition of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s inner circle and potential office holders in an Obama Administration, their background and where they stood and stand on social issues, their political philosophy and ‘world view’. The composition of this team, Asian Tribune found, is most interesting and revealing when connected to the Senator’s own background and connections. This is the team that will run President Obama’s Executive Office and they are the people with whom the Asian Region nations will have to deal.

Part Four: Barack Obama’s Inner Circle and Their Credentials & Policy Pronouncements)

(asiantribune.com)

Expert reveals long ACORN, Ayers ties to Barack

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Barack has nurtured union-backed voter fraud group for a decade or more

Despite having authored two autobiographies, Barack Obama has never written about his most important executive experience. From 1995 to 1999, he led an education foundation called the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC), and remained on the board until 2001. The group poured more than $100 million into the hands of community organizers and radical education activists.

The CAC was the brainchild of Bill Ayers, a founder of the Weather Underground in the 1960s. Among other feats, Mr. Ayers and his cohorts bombed the Pentagon, and he has never expressed regret for his actions. Barack Obama's first run for the Illinois State Senate was launched at a 1995 gathering at Mr. Ayers's home.

The Obama campaign has struggled to downplay that association. Last April, Sen. Obama dismissed Mr. Ayers as just "a guy who lives in my neighborhood," and "not somebody who I exchange ideas with on a regular basis." Yet documents in the CAC archives make clear that Mr. Ayers and Mr. Obama were partners in the CAC. Those archives are housed in the Richard J. Daley Library at the University of Illinois at Chicago and I've recently spent days looking through them.

The Chicago Annenberg Challenge was created ostensibly to improve Chicago's public schools. The funding came from a national education initiative by Ambassador Walter Annenberg. In early 1995, Mr. Obama was appointed the first chairman of the board, which handled fiscal matters. Mr. Ayers co-chaired the foundation's other key body, the "Collaborative," which shaped education policy.

The CAC's basic functioning has long been known, because its annual reports, evaluations and some board minutes were public. But the Daley archive contains additional board minutes, the Collaborative minutes, and documentation on the groups that CAC funded and rejected. The Daley archives show that Mr. Obama and Mr. Ayers worked as a team to advance the CAC agenda.

One unsettled question is how Mr. Obama, a former community organizer fresh out of law school, could vault to the top of a new foundation? In response to my questions, the Obama campaign issued a statement saying that Mr. Ayers had nothing to do with Obama's "recruitment" to the board. The statement says Deborah Leff and Patricia Albjerg Graham (presidents of other foundations) recruited him. Yet the archives show that, along with Ms. Leff and Ms. Graham, Mr. Ayers was one of a working group of five who assembled the initial board in 1994. Mr. Ayers founded CAC and was its guiding spirit. No one would have been appointed the CAC chairman without his approval.

The CAC's agenda flowed from Mr. Ayers's educational philosophy, which called for infusing students and their parents with a radical political commitment, and which downplayed achievement tests in favor of activism. In the mid-1960s, Mr. Ayers taught at a radical alternative school, and served as a community organizer in Cleveland's ghetto.

In works like "City Kids, City Teachers" and "Teaching the Personal and the Political," Mr. Ayers wrote that teachers should be community organizers dedicated to provoking resistance to American racism and oppression. His preferred alternative? "I'm a radical, Leftist, small 'c' communist," Mr. Ayers said in an interview in Ron Chepesiuk's, "Sixties Radicals," at about the same time Mr. Ayers was forming CAC.

CAC translated Mr. Ayers's radicalism into practice. Instead of funding schools directly, it required schools to affiliate with "external partners," which actually got the money. Proposals from groups focused on math/science achievement were turned down. Instead CAC disbursed money through various far-left community organizers, such as the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (or Acorn).

Mr. Obama once conducted "leadership training" seminars with Acorn, and Acorn members also served as volunteers in Mr. Obama's early campaigns. External partners like the South Shore African Village Collaborative and the Dual Language Exchange focused more on political consciousness, Afrocentricity and bilingualism than traditional education. CAC's in-house evaluators comprehensively studied the effects of its grants on the test scores of Chicago public-school students. They found no evidence of educational improvement.

CAC also funded programs designed to promote "leadership" among parents. Ostensibly this was to enable parents to advocate on behalf of their children's education. In practice, it meant funding Mr. Obama's alma mater, the Developing Communities Project, to recruit parents to its overall political agenda. CAC records show that board member Arnold Weber was concerned that parents "organized" by community groups might be viewed by school principals "as a political threat." Mr. Obama arranged meetings with the Collaborative to smooth out Mr. Weber's objections.

The Daley documents show that Mr. Ayers sat as an ex-officio member of the board Mr. Obama chaired through CAC's first year. He also served on the board's governance committee with Mr. Obama, and worked with him to craft CAC bylaws. Mr. Ayers made presentations to board meetings chaired by Mr. Obama. Mr. Ayers spoke for the Collaborative before the board. Likewise, Mr. Obama periodically spoke for the board at meetings of the Collaborative.

The Obama campaign notes that Mr. Ayers attended only six board meetings, and stresses that the Collaborative lost its "operational role" at CAC after the first year. Yet the Collaborative was demoted to a strictly advisory role largely because of ethical concerns, since the projects of Collaborative members were receiving grants. CAC's own evaluators noted that project accountability was hampered by the board's reluctance to break away from grant decisions made in 1995. So even after Mr. Ayers's formal sway declined, the board largely adhered to the grant program he had put in place.

Mr. Ayers's defenders claim that he has redeemed himself with public-spirited education work. That claim is hard to swallow if you understand that he views his education work as an effort to stoke resistance to an oppressive American system. He likes to stress that he learned of his first teaching job while in jail for a draft-board sit-in. For Mr. Ayers, teaching and his 1960s radicalism are two sides of the same coin.

Mr. Ayers is the founder of the "small schools" movement (heavily funded by CAC), in which individual schools built around specific political themes push students to "confront issues of inequity, war, and violence." He believes teacher education programs should serve as "sites of resistance" to an oppressive system. (His teacher-training programs were also CAC funded.) The point, says Mr. Ayers in his "Teaching Toward Freedom," is to "teach against oppression," against America's history of evil and racism, thereby forcing social transformation.

The Obama campaign has cried foul when Bill Ayers comes up, claiming "guilt by association." Yet the issue here isn't guilt by association; it's guilt by participation. As CAC chairman, Mr. Obama was lending moral and financial support to Mr. Ayers and his radical circle. That is a story even if Mr. Ayers had never planted a single bomb 40 years ago.

-Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

(online.wsj.com)

ACORN voter-fraud now probed in Florida

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Unprecedented national epidemic caused by union-backed ACORN, tied to Barack

Local elections officials are looking into potential election fraud and some of the information is pointing to a Democratic-leaning voter's group.

ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations For Reform Now, has been registering thousands of new voters for this year's election, but in Seminole County, some voter applications are being withheld until it's proven they're legitimate.

Election fraud is a felony, but first it has to be proven and someone has to be charged. So far, elections officials said they are just beginning to gather clues in this case.

Seminole County's elections supervisor is holding up dozens of voter registration applications because they appear to be fraudulent: wrong addresses, bad signatures and more.

James Stanley of Winter Springs said he was contacted by the elections office, and told his date of birth and Social Security number were wrong on his form.

He never filed this paperwork, and the signature is not his, which makes him worry that he won't get a ballot on Election Day.

"My biggest problem is when I show up to vote I want to make sure that I can cast my vote and the problem that I saw is that someone was questioning my validity to be able to cast that vote," voter James Stanley said.

Many of the applications with suspect information were turned-in by the activist group ACORN.

(wesh.com)

ACORN fouls youth vote in NM, probe slated

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Union-backed ACORN accused of illegally registering voters on campus

The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now is under pressure from the UNM College Democrats and Republicans alike for allegedly registering voters illegally.

According to an article in the Albuquerque Journal on Sept. 17, the Bernalillo County Clerk's Office notified prosecutors in state and federal law enforcement agencies that it had received fraudulent registration cards from ACORN.

An investigation of the methods used by ACORN to register students and community members will begin once the prosecutors decide who will take the lead.

Matthew Henderson, ACORN's head organizer for New Mexico, said he has not heard from prosecutors.

"I have not heard any charges against ACORN," Henderson said. "ACORN has registered over 75,000 people in New Mexico since January, and we run very closely with the County Clerk's Office procedures."

Sean DeBuck, a member of NMPIRG, which also registers students to vote, said there are a lot of guidelines to follow in the process, but they are relatively simple.

"There are rules that are set in place that have to do with time restraints, but when it comes to fraud, those rules are pretty hard to mess up," he said.

Lee Drake, president of the College Democrats, said ACORN has been active on college campuses around the country.

"ACORN is a group that is nonpartisan and contracts out to groups that want to do mass voter registrations," he said.

Drake said he has heard complaints from many people who have dealt with members of ACORN.

"A lot of the reports that we get at College Democrats regarding ACORN's practices are dismal," Drake said. "There are some professors that are coming to me and saying that their children are being registered Republican without their child's consent."

Vicky Scheidler, a former worker for ACORN, said that although the company has the right idea, the people it hires do not always do what is best.

Drake said College Democrats have been working to have ACORN evicted from campus.

Debbie Morris, student activities director, said that because none of the complaints have been proven true, UNM will not remove ACORN from campus.

"All of the accusations are just accusations, and I have no legal ability to ask them to not be on campus, because everything is just alleged," she said.

Drake said the College Democrats and other student organizations have been helping students register to vote, and the faulty registrations through ACORN are a major setback.

"We students - either through College Democrats, NMPIRG or grassroots movements - have been registering student voters left and right, and we get the job done," Drake said. "There is no way to get a hold of the students who have been registered by ACORN and let them know that even though they think they will be able to vote, they may not be able to."

(media.www.dailylobo.com)

Voter-fraud groups tackle high-schools

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

If Barack doesn't win, don't blame ACORN

Jahneil McMahon long ago made up her mind about the presidential election. She connected with Barack Obama's speeches, felt his experiences would help him understand her life in Hartford (CT). She prefers his views on education, taxes and the mortgage crisis, issues she says particularly affect her city.

Trouble is, she's only 17. Which is why, on Thursday morning, McMahon paced the aisles of the Hartford Public High School auditorium with a stack of voter registration forms and a handful of pens. She passed them out to her older schoolmates and monitored from the aisle as they filled them out.

"If I could start helping now, maybe someone else's voice can be symbolic of mine," she said.

Although most attempts at registering young voters center on college campuses, a new national effort to reach out to an even wider group of young people is underway.

Because the majority of black and Latino 18- to 24-year-olds don't attend college, researchers have warned that focusing voter registration efforts on college campuses risks missing out on half of the nation's young people, particularly black and Latino youth.

"This is a population that has not been tapped," said Sharon Patterson-Stallings, a member of the Hartford Board of Education and chairwoman of the North End United ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. "We have not really educated people about voting."

Part rally, part voter registration drive and part lecture on the importance of voting, Thursday's program at the high school's Law and Government Academy was one of more than a dozen assemblies held this week at high schools in cities nationwide.

Organized by the community groups ACORN and Project Vote, they are aimed at increasing voting among low-income and minority young people, who have historically been underrepresented in the voting booth.

Among 18- to 24-year-olds in 2004, 59 percent who attended college voted, compared with only 34 percent of those who had not, according to the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement at Tufts University. The gap has been relatively constant for 30 years.

Within that age group, 47.3 percent of eligible black voters cast ballots in 2004, compared with 49.8 percent of white eligible voters. Only 33 percent of eligible young Latino voters voted, according to the center.

In all, 21 people registered to vote Thursday — the vast majority of the academy's 400 students won't be 18 by the election — but all of them got a multifaceted lesson on voting.

Urania Petit, a member of ACORN, asked the students how many let their parents pick out their clothes. That drew laughter. How many of you would go to a restaurant and let your parents order for you? she asked. More laughter.

"Why in the world would you let them elect who you want to represent you?" she asked.

Although the assembly was nonpartisan, Charles Ross, ACORN's quality control manager, conducted a voice vote on the students' presidential preferences. John McCain drew a handful of cheers. Obama drew a roar.

Students had varied reasons for their choice. Brian Barracks, 18, said that based on the two candidates' tax plans, Obama would be more mindful of the underclass and McCain would be more focused on the wealthy. He also liked that Obama did not grow up wealthy.

Obama's biography also appealed to Jeinny Campo, 15. "He chased his dream, he got what he wanted, now he's working for it," she said.

Campo, a junior who wants to be a police officer, said she's especially concerned about taxes and oil prices; her parents don't have much money and should get a tax cut, she said.

"I wish I was old enough to vote," she said during the assembly. "I'd vote like a thousand times for Barack."

Because she's too young to vote for herself, Xiomara Colon, 16, has been trying to influence her relatives' votes.

The high school senior is particularly concerned about the war in Iraq. Colon has several relatives in the Army and Navy and worries that many young people join the military because it's their only way to pay for college or earn money. She thinks the president should make sure that young people have other options to serve the country besides going to war.

Colon is not sure whom her father plans to vote for. Her mother typically doesn't vote — she tends to be too busy working to pay attention to the elections, Colon said. But this year she hopes they will vote on her behalf.

"I hope that they choose the right president," she said.

(courant.com)

ACORN: Count every vote

More ACORN stories: here

Progs deflect attention from voter-fraud effort

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: hereUnion racism stories: here

A handy scapegoat if unprecedented ACORN voter-registration fraud falls short

An often repeated myth by progressives may prove highly destructive.

One of the most infuriating talking points among American progressives is that if Barack Obama loses the elections it will be due to ‘white racism.’ They do not have a whole lot of facts to back their claim up, merely rhetoric and emotional outbursts. And, seemingly, a deep belief in the racist nature of american society.

These claims are breathlessly reported in Europe; here too, no conclusive evidence is offered. ‘It goes without saying that America is racist,’ the general idea seems to be. ‘Why, everybody knows that.’

The main reason everybody ‘knows’ American society is inherently racist is, of course, because progressives keep saying it. Whenever the possibility of an Obama defeat is brought up, the instant reaction is ‘if this would happen, it would be because he’s black.’ Interestingly, these same individuals never admit that, following their logic, an Obama victory would proof that America is not racist; such a victory would merely mean that, somehow, the racist tendencies were overwon… for once.

But, ironically, the ones loudest condemning America for perceived racism aren’t European progressives. They’re Americans. Progressive bloggers and journalists have repeated hundreds of times in the last couple of months that if Obama loses, it’s due to ‘the race issue.’ As Dennis Prager documented, the following people made this claim:

Andrew Sullivan of The Atlantic: “White racism means that Obama needs more than a small but clear lead to win.”

Jack Cafferty of CNN: “The polls remain close. Doesn’t make sense … unless it’s race.”

Jacob Weisberg of Newsweek and Slate: “The reason Obama isn’t ahead right now is … the color of his skin. … If Obama loses, our children will grow up thinking of equal opportunity as a myth.”

Nicholas D. Kristof of New York Times: “Religious prejudice (against Obama) is becoming a proxy for racial prejudice.”

Gerald W. McEntee, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, in a speech to union workers: “Are you going to give up your house and your job and your children’s futures because he’s black?”

Many progressive supporters of Obama have convinced themselves of the above. If Obama loses, it’s not because of his views, but because of the color of his skin.

Sadly for them, however, race will probably not have all that much to do with the outcome of the elections. No, these elections will, clearly, be decided on the issues and on character. American voters will vote for the person they consider best able to deal with America’s problems. This person will win, regardless of his race.

That is not what many progressives want to accept, however. To them, Obama’s policies and past votes make perfect sense; why, they are in complete agreement with each other. When they talk to their friends and colleagues they find that the latter agree 100% with them. If everybody finds Obama’s views great, how can he lose if not for race?

The problem is that their friends are also liberals. Liberals like Obama because he’s a liberal. This makes perfect sense. Conservatives liked Ronald Reagan because he was a conservative. Moderates liked - and to a degree still like - John McCain because he was (is) one of them, or at least compared to most other elected officials in Washington.

What these progressives have to understand is that they will cause a major firestorm, and solely they will be responsible for it, if Obama does indeed lose - and that is a very real possibility. If Obama loses, tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of people will buy into the myth that it was all due to race. This could very well result in massive protests, massive destruction and, not unimportant, growing anger among certain groups towards American society as a whole. That, it seems to me, is not good for anyone. Especially not when the anger is based on a myth.

(poligazette.com)

Franken delights union bigs

More EFCA stories: hereAl Franken stories: here

Local contractors resist union thuggery

More Project Labor Agreement stories: here
Related story: "The 28 labor-states"

Pols fix to milk union-only subsidy in future elections

I continue to obtain construction reports about the contracts awarded for the new San Joaquin County Administration Building.

The San Joaquin County Supervisors voted 3-2 to require all contractors to sign a Project Labor Agreement with construction unions. For bid packages numbered one through four on this project, 144 companies submitted proposals to win contracts. Out of those 144 companies, only 17 were based in San Joaquin County.

That’s a dismal local business application rate of 11.8 percent. In addition, the latest report I have states that the total contracted to local businesses is about $3.6 million, or 51 percent of bid work and procured work.

Once again, dismal.

Apparently, local small businesses are responding negatively to the politicians’ requirements that they sign a union agreement to get a job.

Next time the supervisors plan a large project, board members may want to consider job opportunities for local businesses before they give a monopoly on construction to unions.

- Nicole Goehring, Associated Builders and Contractors, Livermore, CA

(tracypress.com)

Socialists can't decide which side to take

More strike stories: here

Workers go on strike v. Teachers Union

Forty-two members of the Professional Staff Organization (PSO) are on strike against their employers, the Oregon Education Association (OEA)--the teachers' union that represents 48,000 Oregon teachers.

PSO members, whose contract expired on July 2, walked picket lines outside OEA offices around Oregon on September 15. In August, the OEA made their "last, best offer," which included scaled-back pension and medical benefits.

On the picket line in Medford, PSO member Jane Bilodeau told the Mail Tribune, "It's never a happy time when you have to go on strike, but we also feel that if we don't stand up for our union, how could we be trusted to stand up for others' unions?"

The Portland Association of Teachers (PAT), part of OEA, sent out a special edition of their newsletter The Advocate with a statement from President Rebecca Levison that said, "The basic premise of unionism is an injury to one is an injury to all."

"As a unionist, I don't expect anyone to cross a picket line," she continued. "I will not be working at the PAT office." Levison also said she would not be doing the work of the three PSO members in Portland.

The newsletter also included a statement by three striking PSO members, Nancy Arlington, Kathi Koenig and Dee Simmons:

OEA and PSO have been bargaining since last spring. Although the OEA has adopted bargaining standards for school employee contracts that include NO ROLLBACKS, the OEA is proposing rollbacks to our contract.
In an effort to avoid a strike, our PSO bargaining team offered to keep current contract language with only a cost of living based salary adjustment and an adjustment for gas reimbursement. That offer was refused by OEA.

PAT is scheduled to begin contract negotiations with Portland Public Schools next week. The PSO members are part of the negotiating team along with rank-and-file members.

It's expected that Portland Schools are going to play hardball, so it is galling that the language that the OEA used against the PSO is the same kind of language that the Portland Schools will be using against the OEA teachers.

(socialistworker.org)

IAM strike fund depleted for political uses

Related IAM-Boeing stories: hereMore strike stories: here
"Nation gets a preview of Barackonomics" • "Trickle down strike-onomics"

Union doles out a paltry stipend to strikers

After three weeks without pay, $150 apiece sounds pretty good to David and Sharon Cameron.

The parents of four children, the couple walked the Machinists' picket line Tuesday outside Boeing's Everett plant. But on Saturday, they'll join thousands of Machinists in the region to collect $150 union strike checks -- the first of weekly installments in the union's strike against the aerospace giant. "We'll buy groceries," Sharon Cameron said.

The Camerons, like many Boeing Machinists, tried to save up for a possible work stoppage. He has been with Boeing since 1989, she since 1997. But both David and Sharon had recent surgeries with time off work, making them a little less prepared for a long strike than they would like.

The local 751 district of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers went on strike against Boeing on Sept. 6 after negotiators for both sides failed to come to terms on a new three-year labor contract. Although leaders for Boeing and the union speak regularly to a federal mediator, no new contract negotiations have been scheduled.

Boeing's offer to Machinists included an 11 percent general wage increase over three years and a minimum of $5,000 in bonuses in the first year. But union officials said the proposal fell short in the areas of job security, pension, wages and health insurance.

Had Boeing given modest wage increases and simply kept Machinists' benefits the same as the 2005 contract, Sharon Cameron would have been satisfied.

"It's not about the money, it's about the medical insurance," she said.

The company increased the deductible for families by $75 annually and increased the yearly out-of-pocket maximum for a family by $2,000. The Camerons have a child with epilepsy who occasionally is admitted to the hospital for medical care. Under Boeing's new medical plan, the family would need to pay $250 per hospital stay.

For Machinists Cora Santa Cruz and Mylene Cabanos, Boeing's offer failed to provide the job security the two union members wanted. Both have been with the company for more than a decade. Like the Camerons, the two women stood on picket duty Tuesday afternoon in Everett.

Both Santa Cruz and Cabanos said they worked as much overtime as possible before the strike to save up for the lack of a weekly paycheck. Santa Cruz said she'll put the money toward paying the mortgage or use it for her children.

The weekly checks, which can be collected at the Evergreen Fairgrounds in Monroe, won't come close to the $1,250 the average Machinist makes weekly including overtime. But it will come in handy as union members prepare to lose their medical coverage at the end of the month. Machinists can defer some monthly payments, not home mortgages, through Boeing Employee Credit Union, which also is approving personal loans to members to see them through the strike.

The times may be getting tougher for the Machinists, but spirits remained high Tuesday. Machinists will host a barbecue to benefit members in need. The event begins at 10 a.m. Friday at the local hall in Everett.

"We need to stay united at this time," Cabanos said.

(heraldnet.com)

Teamsters take dues hit in Pittsburgh

More union-dues stories: here

Free market threatens militant union

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette plans to buy out workers or lay them off in a broad cost-cutting move, barely two years after its Ohio parent threatened to sell the struggling newspaper if it didn't get concessions.

Management needs to "cut staff throughout the company," Executive Editor David Shribman said in a memo to employees. It blamed the newspaper's "revenue situation." Shribman declined to comment. He referred questions to marketing director Tracey DeAngelo, who did not return phone calls.

Between 10 and 20 Teamsters will lose their jobs in circulation, transportation and the stock room by year's end, said Joseph Molinero, president of Local 211, which represents 295 workers at the paper. He suspected steeper layoffs would occur elsewhere.

The full depth and scope of potential staff cuts were not immediately known.

Post-Gazette management plans to brief leadership of the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh on details of the buyout Monday, said one union official, who declined further comment. The guild is the only union of P-G workers whose contract requires a buyout offer before layoffs can occur.

"I don't like it, but I'm a realist," said Molinero. "I've been to 11 different cities this year, and all 11 newspapers there were citing financial problems."

Newspapers generally have seen accelerated decreases in revenue in the past two years as advertising moves to the Internet.

The industry's year-over-year ad revenue declined 1.5 percent in second-quarter 2006; 8.6 percent a year later; and 15.1 percent last spring, according to the Newspaper Association of America.

For example, the McClatchy Co., which owns more than 30 newspapers, has reduced its work force by 30 percent and cut its shareholder dividend in half. Early this year, its chairman said staffing would again be cut to 10,000 from 14,000 at newspapers such as the Miami Herald.

The Post-Gazette is owned by Block Communications Inc. of Toledo, Ohio, which also owns The Blade there. Block said it lost $11 million from 2003 through 2005, then lost $12 million through August 2006, the last time figures were made publicly available.

"These are hard times to be sure," Shribman said in his memo.

"We are looking at all of our employees, union and non-union," including cuts to the news department, it said. Shribman wrote that he hoped the buyout incentives would reduce staff enough so that layoffs would not be needed.

"If the P-G is following this course, it is one that virtually every major newspaper company has taken this year," said Ralph Martin, CEO of Trib Total Media, which publishes the Tribune-Review. "It's a business decision based on tough economics."

Company Chairman Allan Block in September 2006 threatened to sell the Post-Gazette if the two sides didn't reach an agreement that addressed "the issues of rapidly rising costs and declining revenue."

The Post-Gazette's last significant layoff was in early 2007, when it let go about 80 workers in circulation, transportation, stock room, garage and warehouse operations.

The Newspaper Guild's contract states management must offer staffers "voluntary incentives" to leave before laying off union members. The paper must also first cut the budget by 20 percent for "stringers," or contributing writers, as well as eliminate intern programs.

Last year's cost-cutting followed a three-year contract agreement reached in February 2007 between the newspaper and the Pittsburgh Newspaper Unions Unity Council. The council negotiated for 10 labor unions, whose contracts covered about 1,040 P-G workers. The agreement expires on March 31, 2010.

"I don't think you can find a newspaper in this country who is happy with how they are doing financially these days. Not a one," said Don McConnell, president of the Pittsburgh Typographical Union No. 7. It represents 162 composing, finance and advertising workers at the P-G.

McConnell was unfamiliar with management's buyout or layoff plans.

(pittsburghlive.com)

Machinists strike, month 3

More strike stories: hereIAM stories: here

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