FEC, Justice bend over for Barack

Barack Obama stories: here

U.S. government proves reliable at shielding insiders from accountability

An auditor for the Federal Election Commission is attempting to have his bosses seek a formal investigation into the collection by the Obama for President campaign of more than $200 million in potentially illegal political donations, including millions of dollars of illegal, foreign donations, and has sought a request for assistance from the Department of Justice or Federal Bureau of Investigation. But the analyst's requests have largely been ignored. "I can't get anyone to move. I believe we are looking at a hijacking of our political system that makes the Clinton and Gore fundraising scandals pale in comparison. And no one here wants to touch it."

One reasons cited by his superiors, says the analyst, is that involvement by the Justice Department or FBI would be indicative of a criminal investigation, something the FEC would prefer not take place a month before the presidential election. Such actions, though, have been used to scuttle Republican campaigns in the past, the most famous being the Weinberger case in the days leading up to the 1992 re-election bid of President George H.W. Bush.

The analyst, who declines to be identified for fear of retribution, says that on four different occasions in the past three months, he sought to open formal investigations into the Obama campaign's fundraising techniques, but those investigations have been discouraged. "Without formal approval, I can't get the resources I need, manpower, that kind of thing. This is a huge undertaking." And the analyst says that he believes that campaign finance violations have occurred.

The Obama campaign has already had to deal with several FEC complaints about fraudulent donors and illegal foreign contributions, and the FEC says it has no record that those complaints have been resolved or closed. As well, the Obama campaign has been cagey at times about the means by which it has made its historic fundraising hauls, which now total almost $500 million for the election cycle. The Hillary Clinton campaign raised questions about the huge amount of e-retail sales the Obama campaign was making for such things as t-shirts and other campaign paraphernalia, and how such sales were being tracked and used for fundraising purposes. While the profits of those items counted against the $2,300 personal donation limit, there have always been lingering questions about the e-retail system.

"The question has always been, if you buy a $25 t-shirt and you go back to that purchaser eight or nine times with email appeals for $200 or $500 donations, and you have people donating like that all the time, at what point does the campaign bother to check if the FEC limit has been exceeded?" says a former Clinton campaign fundraiser. "There are enough of us from the 1992 and 1996 and 2000 races around to know that many of these kinds of violations never get caught until after the election has been won or lost. In this case, there is no way the Obama campaign will be held accountable before Election Day, unless someone raises holy hell."

The FEC analyst says that Obama's filings indicate he has received large, bundled sums of donations from overseas, sometimes exceeding a quarter millions dollars. "It's suspicious, but it's the small donations made by credit card that need to be examined. We've raised red flags on many of these and the Obama campaign just ignores us. After this election, after we've sifted through everything -- if we're allowed to sift through everything -- I am confident that we are looking at perhaps the largest fine every leveled against a national campaign entity."

Just as frustrating as the lack of desire on the part of his bosses to act, says the analyst, is that major media outlets have ignored the story he has been attempting to tell. Thus far, Newsmax is one of the few publications to cover the Obama campaign finance scam story.

House Democrats are concerned that it wasn't just Rep. Barney Frank who was having extracurricular relations with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac executives, and that those relationships will come to light before the election a month from now.

According to a former Democrat staffer working for the House Committee on Financial Services, there were a number of stories involving Democrat members of the committee, as well as staffers for those Democrats, participating in retreats and getaway weekends paid for by Fan and Fred executives and lobbyists.

"Republicans were in the majority, and they weren't getting invited on these trips," says the former aide, who now works for an investment house in New York. "It's not that Republicans weren't enjoying themselves, but not the way my guys were. If I were a Democratic member in the mid to late 90s and dealt with financial services or housing issues, I'd be real nervous right now."

Frank has not hidden the fact that he was in a romantic relationship with a former executive for Fannie Mae. Frank now chairs the Financial Services Committee and was one of several longtime Democrat members who sought assurances from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi that no action would be taken on Fan or Fred investigations until after the election in November.


'Gag order' by Barack cuts ACORN talk

Related: "Union-backed voter fraud group in full swing"
More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

ACORN Should Have Been Obama's Undoing

We will never know exactly how many fraudulent votes ACORN will be responsible for in the upcoming presidential election, but If the whole truth about ACORN and its long and intimate relationship with rookie United States Senator and 2008 Democrat presidential nominee Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. becomes fully and generally known, on Election Night 2008 Obama and his ACORNites will moan.

Very shortly after my article entitled “Blame Obama’s ACORN for the Financial Crisis” was posted, I received an email invitation to appear on “Your World With Neil Cavuto” (FoxNews being a channel that seeks to be fair and balanced instead of to support Obama, either overtly or covertly).

A Fox producer whom I did not know emailed me, “Hi Mike – I saw your column ‘Blame ACORN for Financial Crisis’ – would be interested in having you on our show today during the 4pm est hour on this topic. Would you be available? Let me know! Thanks!”

Be assured that it was the substance of the article that attracted interest. Yes, I had been invited to appear (and appeared) as a guest on Neil Cavuto’s show once, because an article of mine protesting eBay auctioning consecrated Communion wafers had been noticed, but that was years ago.

The surprise (to most, but not all) House defeat of the proposed rescue or bailout plan kept Mr. Cavuto focused on the current politics of the crisis instead of its origin and the ACORN/Obama relationship, but count on Fox News to focus on them after the revised plan is approved.

Email reaction to my article was uniformily positive. (The Obama supporters who send vile email either weren’t paying attention or wisely opted not to give me ammunition.)

Example: A contract specialist with the United States Army Medical Materials Center in Germany emailed to thank me for posting the article and to tell me that he had forwarded a copy to Rush Limbaugh because Rush was saying “the exact same thing.”

THAT is really bad news for Obama and ACORN!

I posted a follow up article entitled “Beware Obama, ‘The Senator from ACORN.”

A pleased New Yorker emailed: “This is great, if only the truth could get out there! Americans need to understand it was not Bush, McCain or the Republican's that caused this mess. It is time for the Democracts to finally be held responsible for what they have done. We need McCain and Palin to read a list of these facts off during the debates!!!!!”

That lady is right!

A Missourian queried:

“Why is it that most of the USA does NOT know the facts about ACORN? Also,why are you NOT on FoxNews having the opportunity to tell the truth to America?

”I, for one, would sure like to see this happen.”

I have faith that FoxNews will publicize those facts…and I’d like to see Stanley Kurtz, a senior fellow with the Ethics and Public Policy Center and a contributing editor to National Review Online, who had researched and written on this matter, sharing the fruits of his labor on every news program.

A deeply concerned American working in Canada emailed:

“Excellent piece in Web commentary. There is also a good history of the current mortgage crisis in the Pittsburgh Tribune - Review (Sept. 29) – ‘Roots of Rotten Mortgages’.

“I'm sorry to say that these facts need to be reiterated on a DAILY basis. Otherwise, the fox, who has been killing the chickens will get elected as king of the coop.

“The math is relatively simple:

“Democratic Party + Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac x Obama + ACORN = financial meltdown

“Thanks for your thoughts and expertise... YOU MUST KEEP SHARING THEM UNTIL ELECTION DAY. Work the media if you can... radio... tv!”

He added, very thoughtfully: “I would be interested to see the number of foreclosures in those areas where ACORN has been active.”

So would I!

“Marianne” emailed: “Thank you Mr. Gaynor. I found this very very enlightening. Reading this, I believe I have made up my mind. I have been against Obama from the very beginning. I thank you again very much for this information!!!”

There are plenty of great reasons to be against Obama and his Far Left extremist ACORN allies!

At the 2008 Republican National Convention, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani made a very basic point: “There is good change and there is bad change.”

Likewise, there are good community organizers and bad community organizers.

ACORN’s history needs to be known, not kept a mystery.

Stephanie Block, in “Dissing the Organizer: Obama, ACORN and Catholic Action” (September 24, 2008):

“’Last year, The Seattle Times reported the biggest voter-registration fraud scheme in Washington history. Three ACORN employees pleaded guilty, and four more were charged for filling out and submitting more than 1,800 fictitious voter-registration cards during a 2006 registration drive in King and Pierce counties.’ (Keith Ervin, ‘Three plead guilty in fake voter scheme,’ 10-30-2007)

This year, an ACORN employee in West Reading, PA, was sentenced for to up to 23 months in prison for identity theft and tampering with records. A second ACORN worker pleaded not guilty to the same charges and is free on $10,000 bail.

“Those are convictions from the past year. There are also examples of indictments this year, such as the four ACORN employees in Kansas City charged with identity theft and filing false registrations during the 2006 election and the Reynoldsburg fellow indicted on two felony counts of illegal voting and false registration, after being registered by ACORN to vote in two separate counties. And there are current investigations into ACORN for voter fraud all over the map: the Milwaukee ACORN for 200 to 300 fraudulent voter registration cards; the Cleveland ACORN for its submission of 75,000 voter registrations, many of which are fraudulent; the New Mexico ACORN, which claims to have taken 72,000 new voter registrations in the state since January, is under suspicion for 1,100 possibly fraudulent voter registration cards turned in to the Bernalillo County clerk’s office recently.

”These are recent complaints, but ACORN’s history is riddled with criminal activity. During the last major election, the Wall Street Journal did a story about ACORN. Four ACORN workers had been indicted by a federal grand jury for submitting false voter registration forms to the Kansas City, Missouri, election board; other ACORN workers were convicted in Wisconsin and Colorado and investigations, at the time the article was written, were under way in Ohio, Tennessee and Pennsylvania. [‘The Acorn Indictments, WSJ 11-3-06].

”The Wall Street Journal article points out some additional facts that have particular interest to us, two years later. ‘Operating in at least 38 states (as well as Canada and Mexico), ACORN pushes a highly partisan agenda, and its organizers are best understood as shock troops for the AFL-CIO and even the Democratic Party. As part of the Fannie Mae reform bill, House Democrats pushed an ‘affordable housing trust fund’ designed to use Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac profits to subsidize ACORN, among other groups. A version of this trust fund actually passed the Republican House and will surely be on the agenda again next year.’

“ACORN was a tremendous force for the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), created in the late 70s to force banks to make loans to low-income borrowers. Besides fighting for passage of this act, ACORN monitored…compliance. Some analysts of the current housing crisis contend the CRA policies are in good part to blame. Representative Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota), a member of the House Financial Services Committee, takes the analysis a step further. The ‘housing bailout’ package signed into law to rescue Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae with an unlimited credit line not only increases the federal debt but also gives millions of dollars to La Raza and the ACORN. [Elizabeth Williamson & Brody Mullins, ‘Democratic Ally Mobilizes In Housing Crunch: Acorn Leads Drive to Register Voters Likely to Back Obama; New Federal Funds,’ WSJ, 7-31-08]Elizabeth Williamson & Brody Mullins, ‘Democratic Ally Mobilizes In Housing Crunch: Acorn Leads Drive to Register Voters Likely to Back Obama; New Federal Funds,’ WSJ, 7-31-08]

Why not vote for Obama? Obama is Far Left extremist ACORN’s guy! That’s a huge reason why!

- Michael J. Gaynor


ACORN embezzlement case delayed for Barack

Wade Rathke stories: here
Related: "ACORN dirty laundry to be aired in court"
• "ACORN crime covered-up by Drummond Pike"

Legal probe threatened Obama's election

The initial court hearing over a leadership crisis at the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now and a possible cover-up of a $1 million embezzlement scandal were scuttled Thursday when it became clear that defendants hadn't been properly served notice of the proceedings.

"It appears that due to hurricanes Ike and or Gustav, there was a service problem," Civil District Court Judge Michael Bagneris said after an hour and forty five minutes of delays.

But Bagneris took the opportunity of having lawyers for most of the stakeholders in the room to craft a solution that could enable ACORN to work through some of its challenges without facing a messy court battle.

ACORN is facing tough times after it was recently revealed that in 1999 and 2000 Dale Rathke, the brother of ACORN founder Wade Rathke, allegedly embezzled $948,507 in faulty credit card charges while working as comptroller of an organization that kept the books for all of the ACORN-affiliated groups around the country. When Wade Rathke was alerted of the fraud in 2001, he set up formal repayment schedule for his brother to repay the debt at a rate of about $30,000 a year. After $214,000 had been repaid on the debt, a California donor stepped in this summer and paid the rest.

But not everyone on the board knew of the arrangements, and when questions were raised by an ACORN donor this spring about the incident, the board smelled a cover-up and asked Rathke to step aside. The situation has since disintegrated into leadership fights at the organization.

ACORN leaders from around the country assembled at the New Orleans court Thursday morning after two members of an interim management committee had filed suit to make sure that financial records at Citizens Consulting Inc., the entity where Dale Rathke worked, would be preserved and made available to the board. In their suit, they also sought to enforce a board resolution directing Wade Rathke to step aside from all ACORN organizations, after he left his post as chief organizer of the group's domestic operations but went to work for ACORN International.

Later, the full 51-member board said the two management committee members had exceeded their authority and sought to have the suit withdrawn.

But Bagneris found a way to resolve the issues without holding a hearing. He secured a pledge from Citizens Consulting that the records would not be destroyed, then instructed the national board to figure out who was authorized to represent the group at its Oct. 17 meeting in New Orleans in the presence of a court reporter. If there's still a dispute over who gets to inspect the records after a Nov. 7 status conference in the case ACORN v. Wade Rathke et al, Bagneris said he'd schedule a hearing.

But as the court helped shape how the inquiries would proceed into the affairs of one of the nation's most prominent social justice groups, many people around town were filled with questions about the embezzlement.

Chief among them:

How could Dale Rathke allegedly spend some $40,000 a month? Why did it take two years for anyone to notice lavish spending on food, travel and entertainment? When Wade Rathke devised the repayment plan, was he trying to protect his brother's interests or the organization's? And while ACORN was dealing with the theft, did the group keep a lower than normal profile, thereby short-changing its supporters on issues of the day?

Another set of questions exists over ACORN's legal liability over the financial scandal and Wade Rathke's handling of it.

Dane Ciolino, a Loyola Law professor with experience in criminal and ethical questions, said that ACORN officers who knew about the embezzlement may have violated their fiduciary responsibilities to the board by failing to report what happened. It is also possible that they may have committed the federal crime of "misprision" if they did anything to conceal the theft, Ciolino said.

But Tania Tetlow, a former federal prosecutor who teaches at Tulane Law School, said that the statute of limitations on most federal crimes is five years, so it may not matter.

Bertha Lewis, a New York ACORN leader who replaced Wade Rathke on an interim basis as chief organizer, said the answers to these questions will become more clear in a few weeks when Sidley Austin LLP, the Chicago-based global law firm that ACORN hired to assess its legal exposure over the handling of the embezzlement, reports to the board. ACORN has hired another law firm to assess its corporate structure and a financial firm to overhaul its accounting controls to ensure it has the credibility to move forward.

Vanessa Gueringer, chair of the Lower 9th Ward chapter of ACORN and a national executive board member, said the most important thing is that her group's work continue. "Work goes on," she said.


Big Bedfellows gang up against the little guy

More worker-choice stories: hereBig Bedfellows stories: here

'Tony Soprano-style politics come to Colorado'

With just about a month to go before Election Day, a group of business leaders and unions announced Thursday they will team up to fight a right-to-work ballot proposal and two others opposed by unions.

In exchange, union groups will drop four measures they placed on the ballot that business groups had called "poison pills" filed in retaliation for the right-to-work measure.

The deal followed three weeks of negotiations and came just hours before the deadline to cancel a vote on the union-backed measures. The measures will still be on the November ballot but the votes won't count.

A backer of one of the measures that will be targeted for defeat by the business-labor coalition derided the deal as "protection money." Supporters of the deal say it will help preserve years of labor peace in Colorado.

The right to work measure would bar unions from requiring nonunion workers to pay dues. The others measures the new coalition agreed to fight would prohibit governments from deducting union dues from paychecks and bar political donations by government workers' unions and anyone with a no-bid government contract.

Business groups pledged to raise $3 million for the campaign to defeat the three measures.

Dan Ritchie, a member of a group of business executives known as Colorado Concern, said the deal isn't a sellout by unions or a labor squeeze on business.

"Neither are true. These big expensive fights don't make any sense when you think about all the things we could do with this money," said Ritchie, chairman of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

Others agreeing to fight the anti-union measures include the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce and Colorado Concern members Walter Isenberg, CEO of Sage Hospitality, Patrick Hamill of Oakwood Homes and Denver lawyer Steve Farber.

The unions will yank measures that would have required employers to give formal explanations before firing any workers, required businesses with more than 20 workers to provide health insurance, made it easier for CEOs to be held criminally responsible for corporate fraud and allowed injured workers to sue for money beyond what workers compensation pays.

Independent pollster Floyd Ciruli said three of the measures didn't get much backing in a recent poll he conducted for the Economic Development Council of Colorado, but the one targeting CEOs had support in the "high 50s."

Ciruli attributed that to public outrage over the Wall Street financial crisis. There has been little campaigning on the issue so far.

Jess Knox, head of a union-backed group called Protect Colorado's Future that was campaigning for the labor measures, maintained they were legitimate proposals, but he said the focus needs to be on defeating the three remaining measures.

The right-to-work measure, listed on the ballot as Amendment 47, would change existing rules that let unions require dues from nonunion workers if a majority of workers agree. Other states, known as right-to-work states, bar the practice completely.

Amendment 47 is backed by brewing heir Jonathan Coors, the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry and chambers of commerce in Grand Junction, Fort Collins and other cities.

It's also gotten a contribution from American Furniture Warehouse, run by Jake Jabs, who's widely recognized for his television commercials.

Another member of the Coors family joined Gov. Bill Ritter in announcing the deal to fight the measures: Bill Coors, the 92-year-old grandson of brewery founder Adolph Coors.

Bill Coors' relationship to Jonathan Coors wasn't immediately known.

Bill Coors acknowledged the brewer's past tensions with unions but said Colorado's unique labor law has served it well and shouldn't be changed.

Kelley Harp, a spokesman for the pro-Amendment 47 group, said the deal won't change the campaign's strategy. The group has been distributing mailers and launched its first television ad last week.

"We've always expected to get outspent in this campaign but our message is stronger than any amount of money," he said.

Jon Caldara, president of the conservative Independence Institute think tank and a backer of the ban on government paycheck deductions for union dues, called the business-labor agreement "protection money."

"It's Tony Soprano-style politics come to Colorado," he said.

Caldara said it opens the door for anyone to get money from business groups by proposing ballot measures they fear.

Caldara tried to make a deal of his own, offering to pull his measure if Ritter rescinded an executive order giving unions the right to negotiate contracts for state workers. Ritter refused.

The payroll-deduction measure is listed as Amendment 49.


What difference does a secret ballot make?

More EFCA stories: hereMore card-check stories: here

Persuasive unions wouldn't need card-check

Small business creates most of this country's jobs and is the heart and soul of Alabama's economy, employing about half the state's workforce. But this powerful economic engine could quit running if the labor unions succeed in getting Congress to pass a law allowing them to bypass secret ballots in favor of something called card check.

Secret ballots let people vote their conscience without fear of intimidation. Card check would take that freedom away.

With card check, the unions would simply go about "persuading" employees to sign cards agreeing to organize. They could corner people in the parking lot at work or visit them at home. Once a majority of employees sign cards, the workplace is unionized.

What's the difference between secret ballots and card check? Imagine going to the polls on Election Day and having the candidates, their supporters and maybe your co-workers follow you to the voting station and pester you about voting one way or the other.

That's what card check would be like.

It's encouraging that a majority of Americans think card check is a really bad idea.

Last year, when the issue was last before Congress, a survey by the polling firm McLaughlin and Associates found that almost four in five voters nationwide opposed card-check legislation that would have the government to dictate wages and benefits if employers couldn't come to terms with the unions on their own.

But despite the overwhelming public opposition, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the so-called "Employee Free Choice Act" by a vote of 241-185. In the Senate, supporters failed to get the 60 votes needed to end debate and allow a vote on the bill. Still, the vote was 51 for ending debate and 48 against.

I am especially concerned about what all this means to small, family-owned businesses.

People seem to think that anyone who owns a business is rich, but there's a big difference between an auto plant and a repair shop.

The truth is small business owners work for a living. They do the books, but they also sweep up and take out the trash. They're struggling with everything from higher fuel costs to finding -- and keeping -- affordable health insurance. Small business owners take pride in the work they do and in treating their employees fairly. They're not making piles of money, but they believe in taking care of the people who work for them.

If the labor unions and some members of Congress have their way, these small businesses -- and the people who work for them -- would have unions shoved down their throats.

And if the unions and federal bureaucrats get to decide how much a small business pays its employees and what benefits it gives them, small business owners are going to have to make some tough decisions.

They're going to have to decide whether they can afford to grow. They're going to have to decide whether they can afford to add jobs. They're going to have to decide whether they can even afford to stay in business.

I'm not defending greedy business owners who reap big profits on the backs of workers, but we must defend small, family-owned businesses from organized labor.

Secret ballots are a sacred part of the democratic process. It's how we elect the president and Congress, the governor and the Alabama Legislature. Let's not throw it away simply to save the unions.

- Rosemary Elebash of Montgomery is state director of the National Federation of Independent Business.


GOP laments pervasive ACORN voter-fraud

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Too little, too late to stop the "Man from ACORN"

An official with the Republican National Committee said Thursday that a group involved with voter registration drives in Milwaukee is “engaged in systematic fraud and attempts to undermine our electoral system.”

The comments came from Sean Cairncross, the party’s chief lawyer, during a conference call with reporters in the wake of a report that the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) had hired at least seven felons as voter registration workers in the city.

The Journal Sentinel has reported on problems with voter registration cards submitted to the city by workers for the group and another liberal group, the Community Voters Project.

The newspaper reported on similar registration problems in 2004, which led to charges against some voter registration workers, as well as state reforms that bar groups from paying workers based on the number of signatures collected.

So far this year, Milwaukee election officials have referred to the Milwaukee County district attorney’s office 49 cases of people who submitted potentially fraudulent registration cards. In some cases, the groups flagged the problems for the city.

On Monday, a 21-year-old Community Voters Project worker became the first person charged with voter fraud in the matter. Authorities say they expect more charges, but note that charges will not be filed in all cases cited by the city.

This week, the Associated Press reported that ACORN had hired as voter registration workers in Milwaukee at least seven felons convicted of crimes including cocaine possession and robbery.

Carolyn Castore, state political director for the group, told the AP: “We have a lot of folks with felony records and, frankly, they need jobs.”

The staff of the state Government Accountability Board issued an opinion April 3 that convicted felons are not allowed to serve as registration workers.

The City of Milwaukee elections office was unaware of the opinion and interpreted state law in the area to apply only to those felons still on probation or parole.

ACORN interpreted the law the same way, Castore told the AP. Nowhere in materials provided by state election officials did it say that felons were barred from registering voters, she said.

The city will change its procedures, officials told the AP.

It is unclear if any of the seven felons are among the 49 individuals already referred to authorities.

In a statement, state Democratic Party chairman Joe Wineke accused Republicans of “fabricating stories about widespread voter fraud in attempts to scare voters and divert attention away from the financial crisis that marks the final verdict on the disastrous Bush-McCain economic policies.”

In the conference call, Cairncross cited other examples around the country where ACORN and its workers have faced investigations.


Voter-fraud advisory issued in West Virginia

Related: "ACORN advances swing-state objective"
More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Banner year for union-backed voter-fraud group called ACORN

West Virginia Secretary of State Betty Ireland recently issued a release to address concerns about voter fraud in the state.

"My office takes the matter of election fraud very seriously, and every precaution is being taken to make sure no voter is disenfranchised by this activity," Ireland said.

It has been discovered that "several hundred" voter applications have been filed with forged signatures, wrong addresses or changed party affiliation. Ireland's release stated some submitted registration forms contained names and addresses "that have simply been lifted from the phone book."

Ireland said cases of voter registration fraud have cropped up in Kanawha County. The U.S. Attorney's Office of Southern West Virginia, the FBI and the U.S. Postal Service are investigating the issue statewide, along with other agencies.

Ireland released a list of precautions citizens should take to avoid becoming a victim of voter fraud.

* If you are approached by a group or individual asking you to register to vote, keep in mind that if you have already registered, you don't need to register again.
* If you register to vote using a form from a third party, fill out and sign the form yourself. Don't allow someone else to sign your name on the form.
* Do not give out your voter registration information over the phone.
* If you receive notice from your county clerk that your registration status has changed, call the county clerk's office immediately and let them know the change was not made by you.
* If you are voting for the first time, and haven't verified your name and address with your county clerk, state law requires that you do so at the polls.


ACORN misinforms, confuses Florida voters

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Union-backed ACORN unfamiliar with new anti-fraud rules

You can't wear a campaign T-shirt when you go vote. Your driver's license must exactly match your voter registration card. New voters who run afoul of Florida's new ''no-match'' law can't vote at all. None of these voting rumors is true.

Yet Secretary of State Kurt Browning is having a tough time stopping them anyway, saying his office is spending too much staff time responding to all the falsehoods.

Browning said the volume and persistence of rumors ''may be hyped up this year'' because there's no presidential incumbent, because of the viral effect of Internet conspiracy theories and because ``Florida is still in the shadows of 2000, which just disgusts me.''

Some of the most unshakable rumors involve the new ''no match'' law. Under the law, the driver's license or Social Security numbers of new voters who registered after Sept. 8 must match their registration cards.

Voters who have a data mis-match are informed by mail of the problem. If it's not cleared up before Election Day, they'll have to cast a provisional ballot. Then, within two days, they'll have to furnish their proper identification to have their votes count.

Sound confusing? It is to many voters, especially when both proponents and opponents refer to the law as ''no match, no vote'' -- even though a mis-matched voter can still cast a provisional ballot.

Nearly everyone involved in the election process seems to think that the amount of misinformation is growing. A recent e-mail that voters and elections officials received told them they couldn't vote if all the information on their driver's license didn't match their card. Not the case, said Browning, noting that voters just need to bring a valid picture ID to the polls.

''This is the issue that won't go away,'' he said.

Another anonymous e-mail making the rounds begins this way:

``Please advise everyone you know that they absolutely can NOT go to the polls wearing any Obama (or whoever you are voting for) shirts, pins, hats, etc. It is AGAINST THE LAW and will be grounds for polling officials to turn you away.''

Not true, Browning said. His office notified elections supervisors of the widely circulated but incorrect e-mail. Voters -- not poll workers -- can wear campaign paraphernalia, though they can't pass out literature, wave signs or politic within 100 yards of a polling place.

Voters like Shedrick Grimsley, a 39-year-old Fort Lauderdale Democrat, are getting sick of all the misinformation.

''Everyone needs to know the truth,'' Grimsley said. ``And it's not always getting out there.''

The Barack Obama campaign has been alarmed by some of the misinformation and plans to launch rumor-busting website. John McCain's campaign couldn't be reached.

Groups like the Florida Voters Coalition and some election supervisors, such as Miami-Dade's Lester Sola, want to make it easier for mis-matched voters to cast a regular ballot.

Sola said that poll workers should be given the authority to consult with the county elections headquarters to clarify simple mismatch cases to allow a new registrant to vote a regular ballot.

Sola has asked the state for clarification on just what his office can do.

But Browning's spokeswoman, Jennifer Krell Davis, said the law doesn't appear to give supervisors the authority to clear up the mismatch at the polls.

The brouhaha over the no-match law has nettled Browning for months.

He said the liberal-leaning voting-rights groups such as ACORN, which have bashed the no-match law, are unwittingly sending the message to voters: ``You can't go in [the polling place]. You're not going to be able to vote.''

ACORN's Florida organizer, Brian Kettenring said that's not the case: ``We're just informing our voters.''


Ohio election officials circle the wagons

Crisis attributed to union-backed group

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Doesn't trust community organizing

The Barack Obama campaign says it wants to keep this election focused on issues. So do I. The Obama campaign says the main issue is the economy. So do I. I have another issue, though. It is called trust. I do not trust Sen. Obama.

Additionally, I think he and his ilk had much to do with the banking crisis, which is the economic issue of the day.

I believe, with John McCain, that the economy is fundamentally sound. If there are ups and downs, they are part of a normal business cycle. It is the banking crisis that makes the economy unsound, The banking crisis, however, can be attributed to the following: the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977; the orchestrated use of the Cloward-Piven Strategy; the intimidation and illegal activities of ACORN; President Clinton's national home ownership strategy; the activities of the leadership of both Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac, especially Franklin Raines and James Johnson; and Obama's involvement with all of the above.

If you are unfamiliar with these terms, use Google to look up each one and then tell me you trust Obama. I repeat, I don't trust Obama, not as a community organizer, not as a senator, and, especially not as president of the United States.

- JOSEPH H. DEMPSEY, Morristown


ACORN slush fund described

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Barack's connection to union-backed fraud group delays the harvest of taxpayer cash

Last night, the Senate approved a $700 billion Wall Street bailout bill. Absent from the legislation was a provision aimed at building and rehabilitating affordable housing stock. For that, you can blame conservatives.

For days, Republicans of various stripes have fumed about a section of the bailout bill they believe was written principally to redirect taxpayer money to ACORN, the low-income community group right-wingers love to hate. Earlier this week, the local conservative blog Backyard Conservative flagged a Ken Blackwell article in which the vote purging extraordinaire writes that "repeated rumors leaked out that the Democrats were trying to funnel money to a hyper-partisan organization involved in criminal voter fraud." House Minority leader John Boehner told reporters the trust fund idea was a "left-wing giveaway Democrats are pushing to force taxpayers to bankroll a slush fund for a discredited ally of the Democratic Party.” Even 10th District GOP Rep. Mark Kirk told The Hill last Friday that centrists might not vote for a bill that included funds for ACORN.

So what are they talking about? As originally written, the bill contained a stipulation that promised 20 percent of the government’s profits from the sale of a troubled asset be deposited, with 65 percent of the deposit directed to the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund. Why was it negotiated out? Because conservatives raised a ruckus without understanding the mechanics or aim of the fund.

Wonk Room provides some specifics about how the resources are allocated:
But conservatives are completely mischaracterizing this part of the bill. Directing funds to the Housing Trust Fund does not mean that money is being given to ACORN. In fact, state and local governments - not the federal government - choose which organizations receive money from the fund.

While it is conceivable that ACORN would receive money, it “was not specifically directed any funds in the previous proposal.” For its part, ACORN, in order to maintain independence, “does not accept government funding and is not tax exempt.”
So if it's not an "ACORN slush fund," what does the trust fund actually accomplish? The National Low Income Housing Coaltion explains:
The Housing Trust Fund was established on July 30 when President Bush signed the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. It is a new federal housing program that will provide funds to state governments for the purpose of building and rehabilitating homes for the very lowest income people in the United States. These are the people who work in the low wage work force, as well as seniors and people with disabilities and people who are homeless. The states are to make grants to housing developers with demonstrated capacity and experience who will build and operate these homes.

The Housing Trust Fund is the first new federal housing production program since 1974 that is specifically for extremely low income renter households. The need for this new program is acute. Today in the United States, there are 9 million extremely low income renter households and only 6.2 million homes with rents these families can afford. Consequently, 71% of extremely low income renters spend more than half of their income for housing, leaving them without enough money for other essentials and at high risk of losing their homes and joining the ranks of the homeless. This is a housing crisis of major and longstanding proportions that the federal government must address.
So thanks to conservatives' scare tactics, we may see even more tent cities spring up across the country.


Anti-capitalist ACORN

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Teamster strike big triggers picket-line violence

Related: "Teamsters expand strike to CA, NV"
More strike stories: here

Militant union picks an expanding fight

A Teamster business agent was hit today by a truck driven by a replacement worker as she was picketing legally in support of striking Oak Harbor Freight Lines' trucking employees in Pasco. Police have charged the driver with assault.

Oak Harbor employees in the Northwest walked off the job Sept. 22 in response to hostile efforts by company representatives to bully and intimidate workers, which are unfair labor practices in violation of federal law. The Teamsters are picketing Oak Harbor Freight Lines' trucks in California, Nevada, Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

Eydie Dean, a business agent for Local 117 in Tukwila, was walking the picket line when a truck driven by a replacement worker pulled into the Oak Harbor Freight facility in Pasco.

"I was standing on the picket line with my sign way up high and the driver could see it," Dean said. "He pulled forward and I said stop and he just laughed and kept going, pushing me about three feet."

A security guard then came out and told the driver that Dean and other picketers had a right to be on the property, Dean added. The police were called and the driver was cited with simple assault, according to a police report filed by the Pasco Police Department.

Dean said she was unhurt, but shaken, saying that nothing like this has ever happened to her before on a picket line. Dean left the picket line to go to a private luncheon being held today for Gov. Christine Gregoire, where she planned to let the governor know what had happened.

This is just the latest incident of unsafe driving practices by replacement drivers.

"Our guys have actually videotaped safety violations and the safety issues are immense," said Tom Strickland, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 81 in Portland, Oregon. "You see people driving with the back doors open, swerving into traffic, blocking traffic."

In Washington State, there have been incidents where replacement drivers have been seen driving while talking on their cell phones; overweight violations; and several incidents of drivers damaging property, said Rick Hicks, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 174 in Tukwila.

"We are concerned that the public's safety is at risk," Hicks said.

Oak Harbor Freight Lines, one of the largest trucking companies on the West Coast, provide time sensitive delivery services to some of the largest companies in the country including The Gap, Safeway, JC Penney, Sylvania, Graybar Electric, HD Waterworks, Honda, McKesson, Cardinal Health, Tec Equipment, Siemens, Georgia Pacific, Owens & Minor, GM & Chrysler Parts, Urban Outfitters and Maytag.


Labor-state musicians out on strike

Related story: "The 28 labor-states"

Typical collective-bargaining impasse previews Barackonomics

Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra musicians have gone on strike just two days before the orchestra is set to open its 45th season. Twenty chamber musicians picketed the Overture Center on State Street during what would've been a scheduled rehearsal.

The orchestra's opening Masterworks concert scheduled for Friday at the Capitol Theatre -- featuring international violin virtuoso Kyoko Takezawa -- might have to be canceled.

"After the progress that has been made, this is disheartening, frankly," said WCO Executive Director Doug Gerhart. "We were through a lot of tough stuff. We had agreements and this is very rash to walk out at this point."

"They went backwards on their last proposal," countered Todd Jelen, a bassoonist and a member of the WCO musicians committee. "Everything we want is in earlier contracts. We realize we're not going to get everything, but we need certain things to go forth."

The orchestra contract expired Aug. 31, but the two sides began negotiating in early March of this year. The musicians said they would strike if the two sides couldn't reach an accord by 4 p.m. today.

Both WCO management and its employees were hopeful earlier in the afternoon that a new contract was close at hand. The sides will meet again Thursday morning to attempt a resolution.

Friday's concert is about 70 percent sold. If it must be canceled, Gerhart said orchestra staff will be in contact with every person who bought a ticket offering a full refund or the option to exchange for another concert.

Though the chamber musicians had been hinting at strike for months, Gerhart called it "shocking," saying staff had compromised on several major issues -- including wages, a pension plan for musicians, peer review and the number of rehearsals and performances (called "services") each contracted musician must attend.

The WCO wants a contract with 87 percent mandatory attendance. For the last two years, musicians had to attend 90 percent of services, which Jelen called "impossible to maintain."

Industry standard, he argued, is closer to 50 percent, because so many musicians have multiple jobs, sometimes in different states.

Gerhart pointed to a large pay jump, going from about $68 per service to $140 for rehearsals and $170 for concerts, as the reason why the WCO management shaved only three percent off required attendance.

"We are now one of the highest-paid per service orchestras in the country," Gerhart said. "So in exchange for that, the commitment in return was the orchestra would make 90 percent of the work offered to them."

More money aside, that's not acceptable, Jelen said. "We've told them so many times, this is not about money."

Also at issue is the process of "just cause," or how a musician is fired for nonartistic reasons such as insufficient attendance and insubordination. The procedure for just cause includes a series of steps that seem standard: Was the employee told about the problem? Did he or she have time to change behavior? Was punishment doled out equally?

As it is now, Jelen said, someone can be fired "on the spot" for certain offenses without recourse.

Gerhart said the orchestra staff had already agreed to the wording for just cause.

"It's in the contract," he said.

Another point of contention in the contract is peer review. Without it, a musician can be fired for "artistic reasons" by a conductor without any recourse. Peer review involves a group of fellow musicians who decide whether the conductor's decision was valid or arbitrary. It might not change his decision; Jelen said that peer review committees side with the maestro more than 80 percent of the time.

WCO management agreed to peer review with a 6-7 ratio to overturn a conductor's decision; employees want a 5-7 ratio. That, and many other things, might have to be re-negotiated now.

WCO employs 34 contracted musicians and produces 29 concerts annually, including the popular Concerts on the Square, the Masterworks Series, a Halloween concert and Holiday Pops.

Friday marks the opening of the 2008-09 season. Guest artist Kyoko Takezawa is scheduled to play the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E Minor.

Both sides say they hope the show can go on.

"I've negotiated many contracts, and I've never had an orchestra walk out," said Gerhart, who joined the WCO as executive director on June 1. "We care about them. We're proud that they're our musicians."

Jelen said the timing of the strike was deliberate, to give patrons a few days' notice and keep the staff from stalling.

"Last week we were there and they were trying to stall through playing the concert and not sufficiently taking care of our needs," Jelen said. "We hope they'll come back with a better proposal tomorrow so we can actually play the concert. That's the best possible scenario."


IAM-Boeing strikers preview Barackonomics

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

SoCal travelers, businesses feel the pain

A strike by Boeing Co. factory workers in the Seattle area has begun to hit Southern California travelers and local aerospace companies as the walkout has left at least one airline without the new planes it needs and aircraft parts makers facing layoffs.

V Australia, a new airline started by British billionaire Richard Branson, said Thursday that it was postponing by more than two months the launch of its first flights between Los Angeles and Sydney, Australia.

The service was scheduled to start Dec. 15 but has been pushed back to Feb. 28, leaving thousands of passengers who had already bought tickets in the lurch.

In an e-mail to passengers, the airline's top executive said V Australia was "very sorry to have to tell you" but that it didn't expect to get the first three new jets it ordered from Boeing in time to launch the service as scheduled. The first plane, a 365-passenger 777-300ER, was nearly complete when the strike began Sept. 6.

"Boeing has advised us that it cannot predict the duration of the strike," the airline's general manager, Scott Swift, said in the e-mail. "It is in these circumstances that we feel we have no choice but to delay our V Australia launch."

As airline passengers were left scrambling to make alternative plans, hundreds of Boeing suppliers in the region were facing prospects of laying off workers as the strike neared its one-month mark and didn't appear to be anywhere near its end.

More than 27,000 members of the International Assn. of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, most of whom work in factories in the Seattle area, walked off their jobs after the union and Boeing could not come to terms for a new labor contract. The strike does not involve Boeing workers or operations in Southern California, most of which are military-related.

"It is at an impasse," said Scott Hamilton, an aviation consultant who has been closely following the labor dispute. "They are still very far apart on the core issues," which include how much work could be outsourced to foreign companies.

The strike has stopped final assembly of all Boeing commercial jets, including the company's most popular 737 single-aisle jet and the new fuel-efficient 787 Dreamliner, leaving suppliers with no new orders for aircraft parts.

"We're going day by day, but we will have to start laying off some people if this continues," said Joseph C. Berenato, chief executive of Ducommun Inc., which makes wing parts for Boeing's 737 jet at its Monrovia plant. So far the company has reduced the production rate and has been retraining some of its 400 employees to work on other programs to avoid job cuts.

Ducommun is one of more than 5,700 California companies that supply parts and services to Boeing, and most are based in Southern California.

"The longer the strike goes, the deeper the cuts will be," Berenato said, echoing several Los Angeles-based suppliers.

As for travelers, V Australia said Thursday that it had begun notifying passengers of the delay in the launch of the LAX-to-Sydney flight. The start of flights from LAX to Brisbane, Australia, next March is not affected, the airline said.

Airline spokeswoman Heather Jeffery, citing competitive reasons, declined to say exactly how many passengers were affected by the delay but that they numbered in the "several" thousands.

Passengers can either get a refund, rebook the trip with another airline at the carrier's expense -- or reschedule the trip on V Australia on or after March 1. Passengers who reschedule the trip with the airline will receive a $200 voucher for air travel within Australia on its sister carrier, Virgin Blue.

The airline's launch was announced with much fanfare this year and was viewed as welcome competition for travel to Australia, a popular destination long dominated by flights operated by that country's flag carrier, Qantas Airways.

V Australia offered a promotional rate of $777 for an economy-class round-trip ticket, or about half of what Qantas had been charging. Qantas quickly responded by dropping fares below $1,000 as well as offering limited $380 round-trip fares on its new Airbus A380 super jumbo jet that is expected to begin service from LAX to Melbourne this month.

The airline, which could lose millions of dollars in revenue, is likely to seek some compensation from Boeing for the aircraft delay.

"We will certainly be examining our position at a later date, as current focus is on guest re-accommodation," Jeffery said.

V Australia isn't alone. "We are one of a number of airlines impacted by the strike," Swift said in the e-mail to passengers.

Earlier this week, Boeing officials said that because of the strike the first delivery of the 787 jetliner could be delayed again, further frustrating the plane's first customer, Japan's All Nippon Airways. The plane, which the airline had hoped to begin flying a few months ago, may not even be ready for the revised delivery date of August 2009.

"Frankly, we do not know when the strike will end," Boeing's vice president for marketing, Randy Tinseth, said during a news conference in Tokyo this week. "Only when it's over can we develop a production schedule."


Fat and happy IAM big updates Boeing strike

Related: "IAM strike bigs still being paid by Boeing"

Teamsters smacked down by NLRB

More Teamsters stories: hereMore NLRB stories: here

Barack Obama's NLRB will back unions, not management

The National Labor Relations Board has dismissed a complaint by Hawaii Teamsters against Times Super Market. Times management believes the ruling effectively ends a bitter, year-long dispute between the union and the 12-store Oahu grocery chain.

Hawaii Teamsters and Allied Workers Local 996 had asked the NLRB’s Honolulu office earlier this year to determine whether Times had violated the National Labor Relations Act.

The Teamsters charged that Times had engaged in surveillance of bargaining unit members engaged in strike activities at Times locations last year, had unlawfully withdrawn recognition of the union, refused to bargain with and provide information to the union, and discriminated against union employees.

Over 100 unionized meat cutters and other employees struck for three weeks beginning Dec. 17. Times hired many of the workers back, and a majority later voted to decertify the Teamsters as their union.

A Teamsters official said Wednesday the union will appeal the decision.


Barack calls for secret-ballot union vote

Daily Secret-Ballot News: here
Related video
: "Employee Forced Choice Act"More EFCA: here

Pro-unionization candidate also backs a new law that would end secret-ballot union elections

Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama has joined the call for free and fair union elections at California’s St. Joseph Health System, saying caregivers are standing up for “American values.” Obama's message will be read the night of October 2 at a Candlelight Vigil outside Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo seeking reinstatement of a hospital worker unlawfully fired in retaliation.

The caregivers will share a letter of support from Sen. Barack Obama that urges the Sisters of St. Joseph to cooperate with caregivers and negotiate a settlement to the current conflict. In the letter, Sen. Obama says to caregivers: “the values you are fighting for aren’t just the values of working folks or organized labor. They are American values.” SEIU-UHW’s organizing drive at St. Joseph’s is the nation’s largest, and the opposition has increasingly engaged in strongly anti-union tactics.


Do what unions to best

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