4/26/09

Sunday wrap

Leftwing helps itself to TARP, bailout booty ... The same left-wing groups (like ACORN) who complained that bailout companies shouldn’t be awarding bonuses to their executives, might be getting their hands on some of the bailout money according to one senator. CNBC’s Larry Kudlow asked Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., about that possibility on his April 22 program. The senator had sent out a press release the same day which said ACORN, Friends of the Earth, Planned Parenthood, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Conservation International Foundation, could be receiving TARP funds, at least indirectly. The Oklahoma Republican said the ideology of the people running the country in Congress and the presidency makes it possible for money to get to these groups from beleaguered TARP-receiving institutions. “Well, I tell you what I think about it,” Inhofe said. “The problem is we have a majority of liberals running the House and the Senate and the White House right now. And their mentality is you want to micromanage companies, we want to make sure that money gets to the groups that support us.” “Now we find out that Geithner was back behind this thing all the time, too,” Inhofe said. “So it’s that crowd, they actually put money – do you remember what they said, they promised they would use this money to buy damaged assets. They didn’t buy one damaged asset. They lied to Congress.(businessandmedia.org)


Would Obama meet GOP without preconditions? ... President Barack Obama recently attended a conference at which he greeted Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez with a handshake and a smile, accepted his gift of a book (a diatribe against the United States), and extended his goodwill, apologizing for past U.S. policies and promising to be a better international partner. At a later news conference, he dismissed critics of his actions, challenging them to give any evidence how his polite conversation with the leader of a country with 1/600th the defense budget of the United States could damage our national interest. Past presidents of both parties have limited their direct contact with adversarial leaders to extensively planned official meetings with a specific purpose. There are three reasons why unplanned direct contact may not be in our nation’s interest: First, it confers legitimacy on the other leader. Being seen conversing with the U.S. president elevates even the most murderous dictator. Second, it emboldens other dictators to continue their oppressive and aggressive policies. They interpret the images of cordiality toward a like-minded comrade as a free pass for their corrupt and murderous ways. And third, it disheartens our allies who struggle to establish or maintain freedom in their countries. Colombian President Alvaro Uribe was probably saddened, if not weakened, by President Obama’s action. The United States does not have the luxury of giving encouragement to its adversaries or discouraging its allies. President Obama’s dismissal of his critics is either thoughtless or disingenuous. As leader of the world’s most powerful nation, the president should be ever conscious that his actions are being watched and judged by both allies and enemies, and that everything he does affects our national interest. (lasvegassun.com)


Stern's SEIU: Plenty of chutzpah, little concern for others ... Even in a time of scarcity, one thing never lacking in California's Capitol is political chutzpah. But the leaders of the Service Employees International Union – by contributing a half-million dollars to try to defeat Proposition 1A – may have set a new standard. The SEIU unit that includes state employees, Local 1000, is neutral on 1A. But the local's parent union has contributed $500,000 to try to defeat the measure. This is an outrageous gambit. As we've said on these pages before, we don't expect public employee unions to advocate positions in the public interest. They exist to serve a private interest – their members. (sacbee.com)


Oppressive curb of union political speech spreads ... The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday reversed itself and ruled to uphold a Utah statute prohibiting union officials from using payroll deductions to divert teachers' and other government workers' money into union electioneering. "Utah has a legitimate interest in avoiding the reality or appearance of government entanglement with partisan politics," the ruling said, and Utah's Voluntary Contributions Act "plainly serves the state's interest in separating public employment from political activities." Five Utah labor unions and one association of labor unions — representing several thousand Utah public employees — brought the lawsuit against Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, seeking a declaration that the Utah law, passed in 2001, is unconstitutional as applied to all public employers other than the state itself. After initially siding with union attorneys who argued that the law somehow violated the constitutional rights of the union, the 10th Circuit Court put the case on hold pending the outcome of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling involving a similar Idaho statute. "The recent Supreme Court's decision and now this 10th Circuit ruling make clear what should have been obvious: Union officials have no constitutional right to use government resources to line their pockets," said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation, which advocates for right-to-work states, including Utah. "It is bad public policy for government bodies essentially to act as bagmen for union political monies." (deseretnews.com)


Latin communists predict surge in U.S. funeral industry ... Guess it’s time to pack it in, guys. The heads of state of Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Honduras, Nicaragua and Venezuela have all declared that capitalism is, and I quote “leading humanity and the planet to extinction.” If we wanted to lead humanity and the planet to extinction, we have no shortage of examples from the 20th century on what to do. We’d just adopt straight-out socialism (rather than the watered down version we have now). Let’s take a quick tally of democide in the 20th century. This excludes war casualties, and reflects the number of citizens killed by their own government (from U. of Hawaii historian R.J. Rummel’s website): China (1949-1987) 76,702,000 • U.S.S.R (1917-1987) 61,911,000 • Germany (1933-1945) 20,946,000 • Total 159,559,000. One thing that all of these governments had in common (besides leading humanity to extinction) is that they were virulently anti-capitalist. Most of them produced documents similar in moral and tone to the one these jokers just published, blaming capitalism for everything under the sun. That is, until they took power, and began killing everything under the sun, including (and especially) their constituents. The majority of the above deaths were from starvation, an incredibly inhumane way to die. Why starvation? They took food production out of the market pricing mechanism, which resulted in shortages and rationing. Capitalism means the freedom to exchange goods and services based on mutual benefit, and has resulted in the largest explosion of wealth creation and life expectancy since the big bang or whichever day it was that god created earth (depending on your superstition). I do sympathize with a few points from the memo - but of course the authors have it completely backwards. War and Imperialism (despite Lenin’s protests) are not extensions of capitalism, but government acts which can only be undertaken at the expense of the capitalist economy, financed through taxation or inflation. Our economy would be much more capitalistic (and much, much healthier) if we abandoned our overseas bases and adventures and let individuals decide what they wanted to do with their share of the defense budget. Capitalism is the absence of government. Don’t these people read their Rothbard? There are many very real problems that we face. Abandoning capitalism and the free market will exacerbate all of them. With regard to Hugo Chávez and his entourage, Clint Eastwood (libertarian) said it best: “A guy like him should shut his face.” (examiner.com)


Union-backed, tax-funded fraud group survives condemnation ... ACORN, the community activist group embroiled in controversy over its voter registration practices during the presidential campaign, caused one of the livelier discussions at the Pennsylvania Association of Township Supervisors' annual conference last week in Derry Twp. A resolution calling for ACORN -- the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now -- to disband was narrowly defeated, but not before several supervisors stood up to condemn the organization. In a related resolution, also defeated, the Lycoming County contingent asked the organization to seek legislation to prohibit tax dollars from being used by nonprofit agencies to perform a government function like voter registration. The resolutions committee had recommended against action on either resolution, saying it is not a township issue. During the presidential election, some ACORN employees were accused of fraudulently registering voters. ACORN officials, however, said those registration forms were flagged as suspicious and those voters did not make it on to voter lists. (pennlive.com)


ACORN, LWV fight oppressive U.S. Supreme Court anti-fraud rule ... The bills attack grass-roots groups that lead mass voter registration drives, which usually benefit Democrats. Behind the move is anger at the Association of Communities Organized for Reform Now, the liberal group accused by many Republicans - but not Florida Secretary of State Kurt Browning - of fraud while signing up more than 1 million new voters nationwide before the November election in which President Obama carried Florida. Instead of 10 days to submit registrations, the House bill would allow two. Groups like ACORN would have to register. Fines would increase tenfold. "Those fines can put organizations like ours out of business," said Pamela Goodman, past president of the nonpartisan League of Women Voters of Palm Beach County. Senate Majority Leader Alex Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami, argued that the bills are meant to eliminate voter fraud. (palmbeachpost.com)


Announcing Union Bullsh*t Watch ... The Editors of LaborUnionReport.com are pleased to announce an added new feature to LaborUnionReport.com: Union Bullsh*t Watch. “Since today’s union leaders have replaced truth, justice, and the American Way with deception, injustice, and European-style socialism, we feel that it is important for us to inform all Americans when union bosses are bullsh*tting them,” says LaborUnionReport.com’s editor-in-chief. ”Based on the amount of union bullsh*t put out thus far, it appears that Americans will be hearing from us very often.” “When it comes to the selling of the hallucinogenically-named Employee Free Choice Act, it seems that today’s union bosses and their fecal-filled followers secrete bullsh*t on an hourly basis. Thankfully, however, our staff is up to what we anticipate to be a 24/7 project.” (laborunionreport.com)


Union B.S. Watch #1: Card-Check is NOT About ‘Forming’ Unions, It’s Purely About Union Power ... You would think that living one’s life in a campaign of constant deceit must eat at one’s soul. However, it doesn’t seem to stop the labor bosses of today’s union movement and their paid pushers. Contrary to the propaganda put forth by Big Union Bosses, their paid pushers like American Rights at Work shills David Bonior and Mary Beth Maxwell, and scores of others, the hallucinogenically-named Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) is not about workers forming their own unions—a claim that is constantly repeated by a media that is either naive or in league with the bearers of B.S. If passage of the deceptively-named bill was really about workers “forming” unions, why would Union Bosses have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on a campaign of deception, liarbuying a Congress and a President if they did not expect a payoff? The truth is, the unions bosses’ multi-million dollar propaganda push for the Employee Forced Free Choice Act has nothing to do with worker forming their own unions and everything to do with getting workers into the union bosses’ unions….And the union bosses’ hands into the workers’ pockets. (laborunionreport.com)


Nurses use oppressive NLRB secret-ballot to oust union ... In a setback for local organized labor, Centerpoint Medical Center nurses in Independence removed their union as their bargaining representative. Centerpoint nurses decisively voted to oust Nurses United Local 5126, with 226 nurses choosing to remove the union and 78 voting to keep the bargaining unit. The National Labor Relations Board conducted the election Thursday and Friday. Fifty-two votes were challenged and not counted, and 24 employees chose not to vote. Both Centerpoint and Nurses United confirmed the vote counts. The union's ouster comes 17 months after nurses voted to bring the union in. During that time, Local 5126 negotiators could not reach a first contract with Centerpoint management, leading a group of nurses to seek the decertification election last November. "We are very pleased with the results of the election," said Carolyn Caldwell, the hospital's CEO, in a statement. "Our nurses finally had their voice heard, and they told the union they didn't need a third party stepping in between them and hospital management." Mary Nash, Local 5126 president, said she was still trying to understand what went wrong for the union. (economy.kansascity.com)


Will: Union-backed President is no Ronald Reagan ... Ordinary politicians cannot comprehend that it is possible for the public to see and hear too much of them. In this sense, Obama is very ordinary. A few leaders of democracies have understood the importance of being economical with their demands for the public's attention. Charles de Gaulle believed that remoteness nurtures a mystique that is an essential ingredient of leadership. Ronald Reagan, an actor, knew that the theatrical dimension of politics requires periodic absences of the star from center stage. He spent almost an eighth—a year—of his presidency at his ranch. But when he spoke, people listened. If Obama, constantly flitting here and there, continues to bombard the nation with his presence, he will learn how skillfully Americans wield the basic tool of modern happiness, the TV remote control with its mute button. (newsweek.com)


Corruption begins at desks of union bosses ... Polls show that union members are opposed to the "Card Check" procedure. This act will have negative effect because it will add costs on businesses already struggling with the economy. It will also force millions of additional working Americans to pay union dues under the threat of losing their jobs. Union officials are almost unanimous in support of this bill. It has even been labeled "Big Labor's Forced Unionism Bill." Many believe that our congressmen will be voting for "Card Check" because unions contribute "big bucks" for their campaigns. There is talk that our own U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu may end up casting the deciding vote to determine whether this bill will pass. Therefore, I suggest that those of us who are against this forced unionism bill express our feelings by calling Sen. Mary Landrieu, as well as our other senators and representatives, urging them to vote against this union boss power bill. The major deciding factor on this issue for this voter is the current bankrupt condition of our major carmakers, mainly brought on by big labor-backed demands. (theadvertiser.com)


City garbage strike opens taxpayer's eyes, nose ... I'm sorry, but my idea of union solidarity doesn't include sitting in my backyard gagging from the stench of rotting meat while watching maggots wriggle free from slimy garbage bags crammed with putrescent leftovers. It also doesn't include being held for ransom as a city taxpayer by an all-powerful national union which refuses to recognize that Windsor is an economic disaster zone in desperate need of a helping hand, not a 9 mm pistol to the noggin. It comes to this. If the garbage guys (sorry, waste disposal engineers) won't come to us, we must go to them. And so I set off this week on a couple of no-fuss, no-muss trash runs to privately operated Windsor waste disposal facilities. Did I mention cheap and convenient? We began our dump discovery mission Tuesday morning with a made-in-Windsor trailer, boasting the wheels and axle from a cannibalized Chrysler minivan, piled with scrap lumber, broken porcelain tiles, old doors and a collection of garbage bags that had been working up a rank turkey-and-ham sweat since Easter weekend. We arrived at the Windsor Disposal Services Ltd. yard on Deziel Drive, south of E.C. Row, expecting the usual line-up and runaround that patrons endure at the city's Central Avenue transfer station. Wrong. For starters, there was no waiting. And only a handful of busy-bee workers, not the customary bloated platoon overseeing the rigmarole. I swear we were in and out in under seven minutes. And the bill for close to 240 kg. (520 lbs.) of junk and garbage? The grand sum of $13.10. It pains me to think how many times I've been to the city facility and paid through the nose for a trailer-load, thinking that was the only option, while this alternative, offered by an award-winning Windsor company, was just minutes away. (windsorstar.com)


Labor-state workers strike over givebacks ... Workers at manufacturer Penn-Union have been on the picket lines for three weeks. The Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics & Allied Workers International Union, or GMP, says threats to employees' vacation, seniority and retirement plans forced them to go on strike. "Wages are not the issue here," GMP Union Representative Kim McNeil says. "It's all the benefits that the union has strived for over a 50-year duration. Now they want to take it all away with the swipe of a pen." Gery Nietupski, the lawyer representing Penn-Union, called the strike "disappointing, unfortunate and frustrating." He says the workers' main complaint with the company's offer has to do with vacation time, though the company says workers currently get more vacation than managers. (yourerie.com)


International Collectivism

Unchecked power: In the short run is it OK for democracy? ... The African National Congress came within a whisker of receiving a two-thirds majority in the national election, according to the IEC results system. The party received 65,90 percent of the 17,680,729 valid votes cast. The Democratic Alliance, the official opposition party, received 16.66 percent of the votes, with 2,945,829 South Africans backing the party. Reacting to the final results, United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa said his party was concerned about the "looming spectre of a near two-thirds majority". He said the major win brought with it an arrogance of power. "One-party dominance is not healthy for democracy in the long run." (themercury.co.za)


Iceland's Leftists heed Rahmbo, don't waste crisis ... The cranes that once symbolised Reykjavik's economic miracle now loom over idle building sites. "Nothing is being built now, it is almost impossible to get work," says Maggi Einarsson, a former construction worker, as he toys with a beer in an empty downtown bar. His views are shared by many in a nation traumatised by its recent past and divided over its future, and which today faces its most important election since independence in 1944. Seven months on from the collapse of its banking system, Iceland is on the brink of another landmark shift, with the election of its first leader intent on joining the European Union. "This is an economic crisis, a political crisis, but also an identity crisis," says Mordur Arnason, a parliamentary candidate for the ruling Social Democrats. "We looked at ourselves as the wonder of the world, as modern Vikings bringing back the wealth of our exploits. Now we look like morons." Polls suggest a landslide victory for the leftwing Social Democratic Alliance, which became the country's dominant party after a coalition government led by the rightwing Independence party was toppled in January amid street protests over the country's banking crisis. (ft.com)


Hasta Siempre Commandante Che



State of emergency declared in Venezuela ... The Libertador Experimental Pedagogic University, once a flagship for President Hugo Chávez' plan to introduced non-traditional teaching methods, has declared itself to be in a state of emergency in protest against the government's 6% cutback in state funding for higher education. The cut has sparked suspicions that the government is out to "put the universities in their place" because it sees them as hotbeds of opposition. (laht.com)


Communists predict Marxist uprising in Japan ... Under a big red flag, the headquarters of the Communist Party of Japan are the center of the most vibrant grass-roots movement in the country. The party's ranks are swelling, it has 24,000 branch offices and more than a million people read its newspaper. Only one party - the one that runs the country - beats it at fundraising. As Japan's economy withers, communism is coming to life. Dormant in the boom years and marginalized even as Japan more recently clawed its way out of recession, the party's litany of capitalist evils is now resonating deeply with many Japanese - especially the young - who are feeling the pain of an economic downturn that some say has reached depression dimensions. While the Communist Party - which is the fourth-largest party in parliament, but has only 16 of the total 722 seats - is not likely to take over anytime soon, it is making itself felt. On college campuses, in particular, Karl Marx is popular again. "I have never voted before, but I intend to vote communist in the next elections," said Suguru Yagi, a Tokyo college student. (pww.org)

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