1/29/09

Thursday wrap

The United States of Social Justice ... The National Association of Scholars reports that the term "social justice" is today understood to mean "the advocacy of more egalitarian access to income through state-sponsored redistribution." That is academic verbiage for Barack Obama's assertion that he wants to "spread the wealth around." David Horowitz of the California-based David Horowitz Freedom Center is more blunt. He says that "social justice" teaching is "shorthand for opposition to American traditions of individual justice and free-market economics." He says it teaches students that "American society is an inherently 'oppressive' society that is 'systemically' racist, 'sexist,' and 'classist' and thus discriminates institutionally against women, nonwhites, working Americans, and the poor." (rightsidenews.com)


It's good to be a union-backed fraud group ... Another abuse is to be found in the $4.2 billion provided to the Neighborhood Stabilization Fund, which provides the funds to local governments to purchase and rehab vacant housing due to foreclosure. The congressional report accompanying the stimulus bill states, "Up to $750 million may be used for a competition for nonprofit entities to enhance the funding included under this heading through capitalization of the funds." Reportedly, this funding is intended to be siphoned off to ACORN, the far-left, rogue, lawbreaking organization prosecuted across the country in the past couple of years for voter fraud. ACORN has also used violent intimidation tactics in the past to pursue its goals, and was heavily involved in housing programs in the past that led to widespread bad loans. (spectator.org)


Two-faced Bam triggers renewed D.C. feeding frenzy ... President Obama promised during his campaign that lobbyists "won't find a job in my White House." So far, though, at least a dozen former lobbyists have found top jobs in his administration, according to an analysis done by Republican sources and corroborated by Politico. Here are former lobbyists Obama has tapped for top jobs: Eric Holder, attorney general nominee, was registered to lobby until 2004 on behalf of clients including Global Crossing, a bankrupt telecommunications firm; Tom Vilsack, secretary of agriculture nominee, was registered to lobby as recently as last year on behalf of the National Education Association; William Lynn, deputy defense secretary nominee, was registered to lobby as recently as last year for defense contractor Raytheon, where he was a top executive; William Corr, deputy health and human services secretary nominee, was registered to lobby until last year for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, a non-profit that pushes to limit tobacco use; David Hayes, deputy interior secretary nominee, was registered to lobby until 2006 for clients, including the regional utility San Diego Gas & Electric; Mark Patterson, chief of staff to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, was registered to lobby as recently as last year for financial giant Goldman Sachs; Ron Klain, chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden, was registered to lobby until 2005 for clients, including the Coalition for Asbestos Resolution, U.S. Airways, Airborne Express and drug-maker ImClone; Mona Sutphen, deputy White House chief of staff, was registered to lobby for clients, including Angliss International in 2003; Melody Barnes, domestic policy council director, lobbied in 2003 and 2004 for liberal advocacy groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the American Constitution Society and the Center for Reproductive Rights; Cecilia Munoz, White House director of intergovernmental affairs, was a lobbyist as recently as last year for the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic advocacy group; Patrick Gaspard, White House political affairs director, was a lobbyist for the Service Employees International Union; Michael Strautmanis, chief of staff to the president’s assistant for intergovernmental relations, lobbied for the American Association of Justice from 2001 until 2005. (politico.com)


Bush discredited free-market economics ... Not even Republicans behaved in power as if they believed in free markets. One hates to pile onto President Bush, who did many things right and has received more undeserved calumny than anyone in recent memory, yet it must be said (and has been said before in this column) that President Bush, along with a sloppy and incontinent Republican majority in Congress, managed the feat of discrediting free-market economics without ever practicing it. It was the Republicans who passed the Medicare prescription-drug bill, and the bloated farm bill, and the transportation pork. This disqualifies most Republicans from challenging the gigantic new trough feeding that is about to begin under the Democrats. (nationalreview.com)

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Disgraceful rent-seeking CEOs outed ... Mr. Obama characterized them as being "on the frontline of people who are seeing enormous problems in the economy right now" and said the economic difficulties were a reason for Congress to "act now" on his stimulus plan. Among the chief executives were Eric Schmidt, chairman and CEO of Google; Sam Palmisano, chairman, CEO and president of IBM; Debra Lee, president and CEO of BET Holdings, Inc.; David M. Cote, chairman and CEO of Honeywell; and Anne Mulcahy, chair and CEO of Xerox. "It was a very sober meeting," Mr. Obama said of his session with the business leaders. (washingtontimes.com)


Unions, other rent-seekers sue to block new anti-corruption law ... One of the only ballot initiatives passed by voters in November faces two separate legal challenges from groups and individuals arguing that Amendment 54 violates the constitution by limiting free speech. Among the parties filing one of the lawsuits: Children's Hospital, the University of Denver, Denver City Councilman Charlie Brown, Dan Ritchie of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts and Oakwood Homes CEO Patrick Hamill. A group of labor unions, including Aurora firefighters, Douglas County teachers and other officials, mounted their own legal challenge. The amendment prohibits political gifts by holders of contracts worth $100,000 or more if the government awards them without a competitive bidding process. The ban covers officers and board members of companies and nonprofits, as well as unions that represent government workers. Legal experts have been arguing that narrowly approved Amendment 54 casts too wide a net because it not only bans political contributions by everyone from union members to prominent business leaders but also extends to family members. (rockymountainnews.com)


SEIU corruption threatens anti-democratic labor agenda ... Fortunately, word is getting out about how bad this bill really is. It's not just businessmen like former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney who call the bill "calamitous." Traditionally pro-labor Democrats such as former presidential candidate George McGovern and the Rev. Al Sharpton have spoken strongly against it. Both of Arkansas' Democratic U.S. senators, Mark Pryor and Blanche Lincoln, have recently reversed course by making statements indicating zero enthusiasm for bringing it up for a vote. And a new poll by McLaughlin and Associates shows that even 74 percent of members of union households oppose the card check provision. Finally, union bosses themselves are falling out of favor. The Service Employees International Union is implicated in last week's indictment of former New York State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno. Across the country, members of an Oakland (Calif.) local were threatening to "take it to the streets" over a dispute with the national SEIU in which the locals say the SEIU is taking away their union voting rights. (dcexaminer.com)


Dem - Trial Bar P2P exposed in Empire State ... Here’s the REAL crux of the Paterson/Kennedy/Gillibrand senate seat story that the mainstream media won’t touch with a 10-foot pole…apparently becaue they’re all too busy flapping their lips about Blago and his really great hair: Senate appointee Kirsten Gillibrand’ s former law firm is Boies, Schiller & Flexner. David Boies, the senior partner at the firm, contributed $25,000 to Gov. Paterson’s campaign committee on December 23, 2008, while the governor was considering Gillibrand’s candidacy. Boies’ son Chris, also a partner in the firm, contributed another $25,000 on the same day. Source: The Village Voice (Jan. 22, 2009) (journals.democraticunderground.com)


FDR Progs made things worse ... The Davis Bacon Act of 1931 enforced prevailing wages on public works projects so that they were forced to pay higher wages instead of hiring more people. Ever heard of the phrase "good work if you can get it." It was coined during this time. Hoover also pushed business to increase pay to employees. Manufacturing hourly wages actually increased while production rates fell; more relentless free marketeering. Sweden, France and Great Britain all had less intrusive government action than that of the U.S. during the FDR presidency and all of their economies faired much better than the U.S. economy during the depression. (standard.net)


A crisis is a terrible thing to waste ... “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” Obama Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel - More of the same old leftist waste of taxpayer resources, and nothing more. The biggest federal grab of private industry and assets is underway in Washington DC. Trillions in deficit spending and new taxpayer debt is being forced down the throats of the very Republicans who tried for eight years to head off impending disaster, and every American who must now tighten their belt once again, to pay for the disastrous policy decisions of the Washington leftist elite. (canadafreepress.com)


EFCA bait-and-switch? ... Conservative Sen. Jim DeMint (R.-S.C.), warned conservative bloggers in a conference call earlier this year he fears Democratic leadership would push both provisions to rile Republicans and then strike secret ballot language. “They could load it up to begin with and fight everyone and then pull a few things to say they’ll compromise,” DeMint said. As he put it, Democrats could “go out with a secret ballot and be magnanimous and withdraw it. Then some Republicans may breathe a sigh of relief and vote for arbitration” which “could actually be worse in the way it slows decision making.” (townhall.com)


We don't need no stinkin' card-check union bailout ... Union membership in the United States rose in 2008 for the second straight year, accelerating a turnaround begun in 2007 that followed decades of decline, the government reported on Wednesday. Union members accounted for 12.4 percent of employed wage and salary workers in 2008, up from 12.1 percent in 2007, said the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. That increase meant the number of workers belonging to a union rose by 428,000 to 16.1 million, said the annual report. (reuters.com)


Big Labor propaganda exposed ... Television commercials range from humorous to annoying to presenting gross misinformation. The commercials promoting the Employee Free Choice Act are in the latter category. The proponents of this dangerous and misleading proposition would have you believe that without it, employees couldn’t join unions. Nothing could be further from the truth. What the act does, in effect, is eliminate secret votes by employees on whether or not to join or form unions. To take away a person’s right to an open and unbiased election by eliminating the secret ballot would open the door to intimidation and worse. We would not tolerate that in the elections of our representatives, nor should we permit unions to impose it on prospective members. The Employee Free Choice Act is despicable and should be soundly rejected. (blogs.denverpost.com)


Jumbo Calif. union blasts Stern, SEIU corruption ... Citing concerns about erosion of RN and patient care standards, the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee today criticized the action by the Service Employees International Union to take over its largest California affiliate, United Healthcare Workers-West. In a statement today, Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of CNA/NNOC, which represents registered nurses in most of the hospitals where UHW represents ancillary staff, noted, "the appalling track record of SEIU International in signing substandard agreements with employers in exchange for additional dues payments is a major cause for alarm in a state that has set the national standard in hospital patient care conditions and RN standards." (sev.prnewswire.com)


The New UHW tests Stern, SEIU ... There’s a new union in town, National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW), which was formed today by the United Healthcare Workers leadership team that was yesterday ousted by UHW’s parent union, Service Employees International Union. NUHW might as well stand for the New UHW. SEIU has imposed a trusteeship on UHW, which involved suspending local bylaws, taking over UHW lists and contractual obligations, formally kicking out more than 70 elected UHW leaders, and appointing as trustees two SEIU executive vice presidents: David Regan and Eliseo Medina. But UHW leaders continue to occupy the union’s Oakland headquarters, which they’ve used as the base of operations to launch the new union that they hope will be populated by many of UHW’s 150,000 members, who must vote to disaffiliate with SEIU to join the new union. (sfbg.com)


Tragic anti-democratic union dues war erupts in desert ... At a time when Big Labor is pushing for one voice to win its most ambitious priority since the Great Depression — “card check” legislation that would make it easier for workers to organize — one of the country’s largest and most progressive unions is busy fighting its own civil war. Unite Here General President Bruce Raynor has sued the man with whom he shares power, former Las Vegas union leader John Wilhelm, for allegedly attempting to seize control of the international union. “There’s a fundamental difference between a dictatorship and democratic trade unionism,” Taylor said. “We do not think we should have a dictatorship of one or two people. We think democratically elected bodies should be able to have authority over the future direction of the union. The idea that you would try to stifle a democracy that is the norm in most unions is besides sad, it’s tragic.” (lasvegassun.com)


Teachers union demand outrages readers ... After the Register posted a story online about Des Moines teachers seeking a 6.5 percent salary and benefits increase, readers had plenty of comments. Many expressed outrage that educators would ask for more in such hard times. "Let me explain. Our nation is in an economic crisis," wrote one reader. "The teachers are teaching us to be greedy and self-interested." Similar comments were made following Register stories about pay increases sought by state employee unions and school operations and child-care staff. (desmoinesregister.com)


International Collectivism

U.S. poses new challenge to global leftists ... With a disparate cast ranging from Roman Catholic nuns to anarchists, there is one thing the 100,000 leftist activists at the World Social Forum in Brazil can agree on -- it's hard to hate Barack Obama. A week after Democrat Obama's inauguration as U.S. president, the sentiment against Washington at this year's forum in the sweltering Amazon city of Belem was markedly more subdued. "People just come up and say 'Oh my God, thank you so much' or give you the thumbs up, stuff like that," said Chad Gray, a 28-year-old graduate student from the United States. Effigies of Bush were often burned at leftist rallies but that particular form of protest is now much more unlikely with Obama, the United States' first black president. "Certainly this will present a difficulty for the movement," said Altenir Santos of Brazil's Revolutionary Communist Party, who was handing out leaflets and selling hammer-and-sickle T-shirts on the first full day of the forum on Wednesday. (uk.reuters.com)


Trotskyite Lula picks sides ... Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is shunning the World Economic Forum in Davos this week and the chance to hobnob with business leaders and 41 heads of state. Instead, he’ll join more than 100,000 activists from around the world at an anti-capitalist jamboree in the Amazon. Lula’s government is spending 78 million reais ($34.4 million) to bring groups from 59 countries to the 8th World Social Forum. They include a sex workers union from India and Belgians seeking to abolish the World Bank. Today, he’ll discuss the global financial crisis on a panel with Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, one of the U.S.’s harshest critics, and Chávez’s presidential allies from Bolivia, Ecuador and Paraguay. “He’s picked sides,” said Oded Grajew, a former businessman who organized the first Social Forum as a counterpoint to Davos in 2001 and has been a friend of Lula’s for 20 years. “Lula doesn’t want go to Davos and hear the same ideas that led the world into bankruptcy.” (bloomberg.com)


Moscow welcomes Raúl Castro ... President Raúl Castro on Wednesday began the first visit to Russia by a Cuban leader since the end of the Cold War, the latest sign of reviving ties between the two former close allies. Castro stepped off a jet into Moscow's freezing weather to be greeted by a military band and a salute. "From this visit, we hope to strengthen and consolidate what we have already achieved together, and it is necessary to make one more step in this direction," Castro said in an interview shown on Russia's state-run Vesti 24 television channel. (theusdaily.com)


Wade Rathke in Caracas to organize Chávez voter-fraud ... Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez holds a slim lead before a February 15 referendum on whether to allow him to seek continual re-election, polling firm Datanalisis said on Wednesday. The socialist, anti-U.S. president who has been in power a decade has consolidated his support this month and overtaken the opposition, according to the firm, which is one of the OPEC nation's most respected pollsters. The "Yes" camp is ahead 51.5 percent to 48.1 percent, according a poll conducted mid-month of 1,300 people. Chávez's lead was slightly bigger than the survey's margin of error of 2.7 percentage points. "This reflects a country divided into two, basically equal parts," the pollster's director Luis Vicente Leon said. The close race means the referendum will hinge on which side can best motivate its supporters to go to the polls, he added. (theusdaily.com)


Chávez boosts global trade ... Turkey’s recent discovery of an explosives lab hidden among 22 containers labeled “tractor parts” en route from Iran to Venezuela has renewed fears that strongman Hugo Chávez harbors dangerous nuclear ambitions. No nuclear materials were detected in the Turkey shipment, and an Iranian embassy official in Ankara told the Associated Press that the shipment contained “nothing important.” But it was the latest in a series of reports linking Chavez with secret international arms deals. Last month, for example, Newsmax reported that Tehran was using Conviasa Airlines, the national airline of Venezuela, to ship missile parts to Syria. (newsmax.com)


Chávista goons pose as students ... A group of students supporting President Hugo Chávez barged in a forum discussing endless reelection of public officials that was taking place at the auditorium of the Architecture School, Central University of Venezuela, with the attendance of Caracas mayors and Miranda state governor Henrique Capriles. Students broke in shouting slogans against Caracas Metropolitan Mayor Antonio Ledezma, calling him "student killer." "This is the other Venezuela; this is a Venezuela that is not convenient for the future of the country. This means violence, irrationality. They are trying to disrupt an act that is marked by civic behavior," Ledezma stated. Vicente Moronta, a pro-government student, said they only wanted to take part in the discussion. He rejected the fact that the Central University has opened the doors to Ledezma, who, according to Moronta, is accountable for the death of a student named Sergio Rodríguez back in 1993. (english.eluniversal.com)


Chávez woos Jews ... While Hugo Chávez's Venezuela expelled Israel's diplomats on January 6 and then declared a total break of ties on January 14, the country kept its three-person embassy here open until it was ordered by the Foreign Ministry to close. The embassy employees were given 72 hours to leave the country. Venezuela has not had an ambassador in Israel for years, and has been served by a chargé d'affaires. Israel's interests in Caracas will now be represented by the Canadian Embassy. It is not yet clear who will represent Venezuela here. Venezuela, meanwhile, said it was proud that Israel had expelled its diplomats, calling Israel's leaders criminals while denying allegations of anti-Semitism at home. "The response of the State of Israel is weak, late, and in any case for us it's an honor," Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro told Al-Jazeera. "We're proud that the State of Israel that exists today, led by these criminals, made this decision." (jpost.com)
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