Wednesday wrap

Dem-Prog vision of economic, social justice revealed ... Judging from the funding proposed in the plan, the kinds of jobs Democrats want to create is clear: primarily low-income and aimed at expanding the base of the working class. Meanwhile, some of the clean-air protections called for in the plan actually create a burden for those same working class Americans by elevating manufacturing costs for things like vehicles. Thus, the "stimulus" plan actually creates more poverty-level jobs, while at the same time ensuring that any chance for upward mobility is next to impossible. And that's the very essence of the Democrats' liberal agenda in America: Since Democrats pitch themselves as the party of the working class, it is in their interest to make sure there is an ample working class to, support them. This means expanding the the base of poverty-level working class Americans and ensuring that they remain poverty level working class Americans. (usconservatives.about.com)

Obama-ACORN P2P payback earmark exposed ... But the biggest chunk of the $5.2 billion comes in the form of $4.19 billion for foreclosure relief through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. Although ACORN operatives usually get their hands on such funds only after they have first passed through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development or state and local governments, the new spending bill largely eliminates these dawdling middle men, making it easier to get Uncle Sam's largess directly into the hands of the same people who run ACORN's various vote fraud and extortion rackets. And the legislative package provides these funds without the usual prohibition on using government money for lobbying or political activities. The current version of the stimulus package would allow nonprofit groups to compete with states and localities for $3.44 billion from the $4.19 billion Neighborhood Stabilization Program allocation. The remaining $750 million from the program plus the $10 million in SHOP funds would be set aside exclusively for nonprofit groups. Probably chief among the groups to benefit from stimulus spending will be ACORN, the infamous network of 100-plus left-wing activist groups. As everyone who hasn't been in a coma for the last year knows, ACORN and President Obama go way back. (spectator.org)

Bam re-election worry governs D.C. porkulus package ... Not just ACORN would be in line to receive these funds. Other "nonprofit entities or consortia of nonprofit entities” will be lining up with their hands out. And for what purpose? What exactly does "neighborhood stabilization" mean? It means the federal government is about to give a huge amount of money to the very same people who helped get us in this mess in the first place. ACORN could now profit from the crisis by purchasing foreclosed homes for a song and selling them at a tidy profit - ensnaring more luckless victims in their mortgage scams. The chances of the Obama administration investigating the illegal political activities of this so-called "non-partisan" group are just about zero. But this is one fight the GOP cannot afford to back down from. They must not only raise a ruckus about this codicile giving ACORN and their friends billions of dollars, they must also push for a federal investigation of the activities of ACORN in previous elections for purposes of revoking their tax exempt status as a non-political entity. But in politics, without the votes, it is very hard to get your way on anything. Further enriching Democratic allies will no doubt be the rule rather than the exception over the next 4 years. (americanthinker.com)

Government is the problem

Single-party rule has destroyed voting rights ... One of the major reasons for this now is our one-party system, in which Democratic incumbents rarely feel threatened by Republican challengers, no matter how viable they would be in another state. So the members of the majority party do whatever they want in their own best interest. This is the fault of the voters, who are taken in by the power of incumbency almost every time. I still don't understand why this is more true in Massachusetts than in other states, but it's the root of all our problems. However, we Bay State voters have had one advantage that citizens of half the other states don't — the initiative petition process. Despite their penchant for re-electing politicians who treat them badly, most voters were usually able to make intelligent decisions directly on issues through ballot questions — or at least so I thought and have often said. (newburyportnews.com)

Dems, unionists revel in Communist Party support ... Banned from the ballot in Arizona and officially a "subversive organization" in Massachusetts, the Communist Party has turned to a new political strategy and joined forces with the Democrats. More than Fidel Castro's friendly remarks about our new president, the Communist Party USA formally endorsed Obama before the November election. The switchover to the Democrats, which has left some Marxists sputtering, has been ongoing for a number of years. Richard Winger, editor of Ballot Access News, explains the transformation from the margins to the mainstream of politics of the controversial political party. "The Communist Party never runs candidates anymore. Their last presidential campaign was in 1984. Their last congressional nominee was in 1992. Their last nominee for any partisan office was in 1996. Communist Party members participate in politics and electoral life mostly by participation in unions, and inside the Democratic Party. The Communist Party's weekly newspaper supports Democratic presidential nominees and tends to be critical of 'left' parties that run their own presidential candidates." (examiner.com)

Andy Stern pulls trigger on ugly SEIU dues war ... The leaders of an Oakland union were removed from office Tuesday by their Washington bosses, the culmination of months of fighting over who will represent tens of thousands of home health aides. The Service Employees International Union served the officers of the 150,000-member United Healthcare Workers West with a trusteeship notice Tuesday afternoon. It appointed its executive vice presidents, Eliseo Medina and Dave Regan, as trustees. UHW said in a statement that it has "rejected this imposition." Word quickly spread among rank-and-file UHW members, some of whom began leaving their hospitals and other workplaces to converge on their Commerce office, the union's Southern California headquarters, for a meeting. "We knew it was coming, and now we have to get real and decertify" SEIU, said Eleanor Mendoza, a receptionist for Kaiser Permanente in Cudahy and a UHW member. UHW staffers have complained that SEIU recently hired a surveillance officer to photograph those coming and going from UHW's offices. They said the man, who did not identify himself, was aggressive. They called the police. On Jan. 20 and 21, it was SEIU staffers who called police after UHW members pushed their way into SEIU offices in Los Angeles and Alameda and took documents showing SEIU's trusteeship plans. Inside, they confronted SEIU employees, saying they would fight attempts to oust their leadership. Ringuette said some were hurt in the scuffle. "We will not allow you to come in and take away our members. You want a fight? You will get a fight," Beverly Griffith, a UHW member who works at Summit Medical Center in Oakland, said angrily to an SEIU staffer in a video of the confrontation posted on the Internet. "As you open up this Pandora's box, it will not be closed." (latimes.com)

Oakland: Ground Zero for Andy Stern's SEIU thugs ... UHW members are preparing to defend their union office and worksites against the International's raid. "We see no reason we shouldn't have a voice," one member told the crowd, which shouted back, "That's right!" In anticipation of this move by the International to take over the UHW, members have been sleeping in the office for days, and hundreds more are on call in the event that there is a showdown. The battle between the UHW and the International stems from the Stern machine's attempts to curtail union democracy and local leadership. According to Stern, unions need to streamline and centralize their operations. But in practice, this has meant the International leadership concentrating power in its hands and pursuing collaboration with employers. The multiracial crowd that gathered at the UHW offices--mostly rank-and-file members who work in home health care and hospitals workers--expressed their outrage at this high-handed behavior by the International. As the rally broke up, a small multiracial group of mostly women continued chanting, "We are the union, the mighty, mighty union." They're right--the struggle of UHW members against the SEIU bureaucracy represents the future of the labor movement. They deserve our support. (socialistworker.org)

Palmetto State sets constitutional clash with Congress over No-Choice unionism ... It sounds far-fetched, but the truth is Congress is poised to eliminate the secret ballot for some elections. Specifically, Congress is set to consider the disingenuously labeled "Employee Free Choice Act" that would eliminate union-organizing secret ballot elections in workplaces across South Carolina. South Carolina workers would no longer have the right to a secret ballot when deciding to have a labor union represent them, essentially overturning South Carolina's right-to-work law. Instead, a labor union would need to collect authorization cards from only 50 percent of the workers -- and the union bosses would have total control over which workers to cajole, coerce or even intimidate. In the face of such daunting odds of passage of this disastrous bill, is there anything that we can do about it? The answer is yes, and it's because our federal system of government is based upon the premise that rights not enumerated in the U.S. Constitution are reserved by the people, and those rights can be enumerated through a state constitution. I recently introduced a constitutional amendment that guarantees the right of workers to a secret ballot in a union-organizing election (H3305). Amending our state constitution requires a higher threshold for passage, including a two-thirds vote of both bodies of the General Assembly and majority approval by the voters. But the right to a secret ballot is fundamental to our democracy, and I believe it cannot be weakened as a political payback to Big Labor. This amendment will only pass the General Assembly if workers, employers, consumers and voters engage in the political process. While I'll be working with any lawmaker who supports this initiative, they need to hear from the source of their political power: you. Please contact your state representatives and state senators today, and ask them to support this constitutional amendment to guarantee workers a secret ballot, protect privacy in the workplace and maintain a competitive business climate. (greenvilleonline.com)

Worker-choice states prosper, forced-unionism states suffer ... The latest state unemployment figures, released this morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, show that state right-to-work laws have a significant effect on unemployment rates, said Paul Kersey, director of labor policy for the Mackinac Center. In December 2008, states with right-to-work laws had an average unemployment rate of 6.2 percent, compared to 7.0 percent for states without right-to-work. Under a right-to-work law, individual workers cannot be forced to pay union dues or agency fees under the term of a collective bargaining agreement. "Right-to-work laws make unions more accountable to their rank and file," said Kersey. "When you make unions more accountable to workers, you make a state more attractive to employers. A right-to-work law by itself doesn't guarantee prosperity, but it does seem to help. Allowing workers to decide for themselves whether or not to support a union does attract job-creating businesses, making work easier to find. These numbers bear that out." Michigan has the highest unemployment of all 50 states, at 10.6 percent. Rhode Island, another non-right-to-work state, had the nation's second highest unemployment rate, at 10.0 percent. The six states with the lowest unemployment rates all have right-to-work laws. (mackinac.org)

Bonus link: "Spotlight: The 28 labor-states"

AFL-CIO promotes forced choices ... AFL-CIO boss John Sweeney says, "[O]ur top priority is passage of the Employee Free Choice Act, legislation that will restore workers' freedom to bargain for a better life". That sounds nice. But it really means that workers will no longer have the privacy and safety of a secret ballot when voting on a union. If a union can round up signatures from more than half the employees at a plant, other workers will be forced to unionize, too. Unorganized labor -- better known as most of us, or free people making our own way -- won't be helped by this coercive limiting of choice. Parents have little choice when they send their children to school. Government forces everyone to pay into a system that locks most kids into a unionized monopoly. If low-income parents were allowed $11,000 vouchers (that's about how much government spends per student), that would give poor parents a choice. But liberals don't want that. If you take risks with your own money to build a business, liberals want to limit your choice as to what you can say, how much you pay, and whom you can hire or fire. Freedom of association? Fugeddabout it. (realclearpolitics.com)

SEIU-Blago P2P audiotapes played at impeachment trial ... State senators swept ahead with the impeachment trial of Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich on Tuesday, hearing testimony from an FBI agent who said secret wiretaps recorded the governor calling President Obama's vacant U.S. Senate seat a “golden” opportunity to make money. For the first time, FBI recordings were played of the governor himself. Investigators say he was attempting to pressure a racetrack owner for campaign contributions in exchange for signing legislation that would benefit the horse-racing industry. On the tinny recordings, Mr. Blagojevich never mentions money, but discusses a future fundraising event and his wish to “start picking some dates to do a bill signing.” (washingtontimes.com)

Illinois Dem: Use free-speech ban to cement union-only P2P ... What the national media could have asked, should have asked, again and again until the governor cried "uncle" was about the money, the jet fuel of his regime and of politics in this state and nation. What about the money you tried to get from a CEO of Children's Memorial Hospital before you unlocked state funds for children's health care? What about that $25,000 check that the now-convicted head of your Finance Authority, Ali Ata, said he delivered to your office, one of several apparent down payments on his state job? What about Tony Rezko, your friend and prodigious fund-raiser who sits in a federal prison cell, convicted of orchestrating all manner of pay-to-play schemes on behalf of your administration? What about that $1,500 birthday check to one of your daughters from a close friend whose wife was getting a state job? "We are in a post-Watergate space in the Legislature," state Rep. Will Burns, a freshman Democrat from Chicago, said Tuesday. "What drove the impeachment of this governor was the need for campaign cash. Same for George Ryan in the licenses-for-bribes probe, money for his campaign fund." Burns is working with Citizen Action to come up, quickly, with a way to push public financing of campaigns so candidates don't have to rely on big-bucks donors to finance their campaigns. (suntimes.com)

Hoffa OKs Dem - Trial Bar P2P payback ... Teamsters General President Jimmy Hoffa today praised Congress for passing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which restores a worker's right to seek redress for illegal pay discrimination. "The Lilly Ledbetter Act is an important step toward restoring fairness in the workplace and strengthening the middle class," Hoffa said. "It takes civil rights law back to the way it was interpreted for many years." Before a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2007, employees could sue within 180 days of their last paycheck showing lower wages. In Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., the Supreme Court ruled that employees had to sue within 180 days of their first discriminatory paycheck. (news.prnewswire.com)

Mission Impossible: Disempowering P2P teacher unions ... The issue: Should school committees -- not teachers unions -- have greater power over teacher assignments, class sizes and layoff rules? “Right now, it seems like the tail wags the dog with regard to administration and management of school systems,” said North Providence Rep. Arthur J. Corvese, who sponsored the proposed changes to state law and presided over the House labor committee reviewing it. “It seems like the school committees’ hands are tied. They can’t do their best … sometimes the [collective bargaining] contracts are counterproductive.” Giving school departments more latitude to impose the policies they consider most effective could help improve the quality of education, Corvese offered. Union representatives accused lawmakers of unfairly targeting teachers and the rights they’ve worked to build. As the squabbling wore on, state Deputy Education Commission David Abbott offered his take. “The idea that school committees should be accountable to teachers’ unions and that is necessary to improve public education? I’m sorry, I cannot just sit here and hear that statement made,” he told the lawmakers. (projo.com)

Club Fed for typical IUOE-big ripoff artist ... The head of a Springfield,-based union local was sentenced today to three years and 10 months in federal prison for participating in a bribery scheme tied to the building of the Goldman Sachs office tower in Jersey City. Kenneth Campbell, of Basking Ridge, had risen from a crane operator to the business agent of Local 825 of the International Union of Operating Engineers. He admitted in October to taking more than $250,000 in kickbacks and spending workers' money on televisions for himself and a Lincoln Town Car for his father. "I wish I had stayed a crane operator," Campbell said, his husky voice cracking as he stood before U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler. Chesler ordered Campbell to pay a $40,00 fine and about $247,000 in restitution to the union. The crime, the judge said, was not simply a lapse in judgment. "It was sheer unmitigated greed," Chesler said. In exchange for the kickbacks, the contractors were allowed to circumvent their collective bargaining agreement obligations, including using non-union labor on some jobs and having fewer than the required number of operators on certain pieces of equipment. (nj.com)

International Collectivism

Communist monarch is OK ... Kim, 68, suffered a stroke last August, according to South Korean and U.S. intelligence. He was also reportedly operated on by Chinese doctors. After he failed to attend a series of events, including enormous military parades of North Korea's strength, it was rumoured that he had died under the knife. However, Kim Jong-Nam, his 37-year-old son with his father's first mistress, Song Hye-rim, insisted that his father was healthy and able to rule North Korea. He stopped to speak to reporters in Beijing and Macau on his way to a holiday in the former Portuguese colony. "He is in good health," he said in English of his father. When asked who would be the next leader of the country's communist party, he said: "It's very sensitive. Nobody can assert anything. Only my father will decide." (telegraph.co.uk)

Chávez: Term-limit idea confuses voters ... Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez said the opposition sectors have based their campaigns on confusing voters prior to the constitutional referendum on February 15. "They are desperately trying to confuse some sectors. Don't be misled. Don't let them herd you like cattle," the president told Radio Nacional de Venezuela. Nearly 17 million Venezuelans will be able to vote at the referendum on a limit to the terms in office for the head of the State, governors, mayors, deputies and regional lawmakers, so that they can run for office several times. (plenglish.com)
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