Tuesday wrap

Chávez agrees to sit-down during socialist cruise ... U.S. President Barack Obama will have a face-to-face meeting with his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chávez in April in Port of Spain, when the two leaders will be among three dozen heads of government and state at the three day Summit of the Americas. This information was confirmed by Summit Secretariat Communications Co-ordinator, Felipe Noguera. Noguera confirmed also that two cruise ships had already been booked to provide floating hotel space to accommodate visitors for the Summit. Works and Transport Minister, Colm Imbert had said a week ago that every available room in hotels and guesthouses have been booked, forcing the Government to lease the cruise ships. (caribbeannetnews.com)

We don't need no stinkin' Middle Class Task Force ... A report released last week by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics contains encouraging news for organized labor. Despite massive job losses tied to the slumping economy, union membership grew by 428,000 last year, to 16.1 million. That accounts for 12.4 percent of the nation's work force in 2008, an increase from 12.1 percent in 2007. (jconline.com)

U.S. wakes up to Post-Constitutional Era ... "There is no native criminal class except Congress." - Mark Twain • Traditionally Americans have loved to hate their Congress. But in the last several years our country has changed. Most clear thinking Americans no longer hate our Congress -- we now fear it. The reason for this fear is, and should be, deeply disturbing. Those who have carefully followed the bailout bills that Congress has recently passed know just how pervasive the corruption has become. But the whole story goes much deeper than mere trillions of dollars. America is losing (or has already lost) its constitutional republic. (americanthinker.com)

Bam tactics would make Alinsky proud ... Clearly following Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” – “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it and polarize it” – Obama was almost successful as the desultory congressional Republicans sought direction and nearly fell in with the liberals. Representative Phil Gingrey of Georgia even came out against Limbaugh, saying, “It’s easy if you’re Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh or even sometimes Newt Gingrich to stand back and throw bricks.” Smarter minds apparently got through to Gingrey, since he called into Limbaugh’s show to apologize for the comments. (newuniversity.org)

Bonus links:
Summary of Saul Alinsky's 'Rules for Radicals'
'Rules for Radicals' at amazon.com

President of the United States of P2P Lobbyists ... Yet within weeks it became clear that this new ethical standard was merely so much window dressing. Now, lobbyists abound in Obama’s administration and have since day one. Not only that, but tax cheats seem to be particularly drawn to the new president. Several high profile Obama appointees have had major tax issues chief of whom is Timothy Geithner, Obama’s new Secretary of Treasury. But, late last week, it also came to light that Obama’s choice to head the Department of Health and Human Services, Tom Dsaschle, seemed to have conveniently forgotten to claim a free car and driver as income on his taxes and had somehow made this tax faux pas for years. Then there are the many lobbyists that have joined the anti-lobbyist president in Washington. Recently Politico detailed a list of some of the many lobbyists that Barack Obama has seen fit to “bend his rules” to allow into his administration. They find “at least a dozen” lobbyists have entered this purportedly anti-lobbyist administration. Here is the list of lobbyists joining the Obama administration Politico came up with: (stoptheaclu.com)

Pay-to-Play becomes 'union-only' ... The current recession is wrapping its tightfisted hands around its latest victim: political fundraising. The price for top-flight donors to attend one of the California Democratic Party's biggest annual fundraisers – a May weekend of golf at Pebble Beach – has been slashed by $10,000 from a year ago. One of California's political movers and shakers, the 76-year-old California Retailers Association, last week decided to simply turn off the donation spigot for the "foreseeable future." The California Chamber of Commerce, meanwhile, says small contributions to its political action committee have plummeted by 20 percent in recent months. "Everyone, from what I am seeing and hearing, is going to be cutting back this year," said Rob Lapsley, the political director for the chamber. Interest groups tend to tip-toe around what exactly campaign contributions buy, whether it's a returned phone call, an opened door, or simply the election of more allies in the Capitol. But some business groups and their allies fear the balance of power in the Capitol will increasingly shift toward organized labor as corporate donations are curtailed. Unions, especially those whose members (and thus dues) come from the public sector, have not suffered as severely as their business counterparts in the current economic climate. "We haven't discussed that at all," Jeanine Meyer Rodriguez, a spokeswoman for the state council of the Service Employees International Union, said of cutting back on donations. "If we're going to be able to win for our members, which is our goal every day, we're going to engage in more political action, not less," she added. Lapsley said he feared a resulting "competitive disadvantage" for business. "This will potentially make the imbalance even greater," Hauck said. "But it was already there." (sacbee.com)

MoveOn.org, ACORN at the porkulus trough ... Another group that could benefit from the bailout bill is MoveOn.org, an organization that has advocated for sweeping gun control laws. According to Rep. Darrell Issa, a California Republican, “MoveOn.org’s civic action committee could receive stimulus funds such as money earmarked for energy ‘activities’, since MoveOn.org lists one of its goals to ‘reduce America’s dependence on oil.‘“ Both ACORN and MoveOn.org have also been heavily involved in supporting Secretary of State candidates, thus placing allies in a position where they can help swing close elections in their favor. (americandaily.com)

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B of A forks over $2 million to ACORN ... Your tax dollars at work: Yet another timely reminder to GOP Senators: Government bailouts = Left-wing boondoggles. It’s true of the Generational Theft Act of 2009. It was true of the banking bailouts last year. Dan Mitchell of Cato sends the following new tidbit about bailout beneficiary Bank of ACORN and fraud racketeer ACORN: This is from the January 29 Chronicle of Philanthropy. Economic emergency: For efforts to prevent foreclosures and educate people about finances and purchasing homes: $2,000,000 to Acorn Housing Corporation (Chicago, Illinois) Bank of America and ACORN (as well as open-borders radicals at La Raza) have been intertwined for years: (michellemalkin.com)

New Prog hypocrisy comes with with hubris ... The image of President Obama admonishing Wall Street for excessive executive bonuses while tax-avoiding Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner stands by his side is laughable if it wasn't so hypocritical. If that wasn't enough, Obama moves on to greater heights of duplicity standing with heads of well-known manufacturing and technology giants flushed with big compensation packages, up to $21 million, making disparaging comments about Wall Street. For the next act we have VP Joe Biden saying the amount of "bonuses" paid out are offensive and he thinks all of those Wall Streeters should go to jail. Meanwhile, the mob on The Hill passes a stimulus that gives ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) $4.19 billion, $2.4 billion for carbon capture products, $400 million for global warming, $50 million for National Endowment for the Arts, with 1 percent of the so-called "stimulus" for tax cuts for small businesses. Don't worry though, ACORN will provide organization, you'll get free captured carbon, and told the Earth is doomed while enjoying great art works, such as urine-filled jugs. (thereporter.com)

Stimulating partisan pro-union shock troops ... From tiny acorns, mighty government debacles grow. House Republican Leader John Boehner last week rightly sounded the alarm over billions in stimulus tax dollars that could potentially go to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). But the Republican leadership has only scratched the surface over what amounts to a bottomless slush fund for a bigger coalition of housing entitlement thugs. ACORN, you may recall, is the left-wing activist group with longtime ties to community organizer-turned-President Barack Obama. The nonprofit, which now takes in 40 percent of its revenues from American taxpayers after four decades on the public teat, has a history of engaging in voter fraud, corporate shakedowns, partisan bullying and pro-illegal immigration lobbying. The Democrats' stimulus proposals could make the group - and its lesser known but even more radical ideological allies - eligible for upward of $5 billion in new public cash. Talk about subsidizing failure. These are the same activists that helped sow the seeds of the subprime meltdown. They aggressively played the race card and pressured banks to loosen standards, throw out down payments and lend to some of the nation's riskiest borrowers. Now, these mobs protest across the country, disrupt foreclosure auctions, threaten bank executives and accuse lenders of, yep, racism for lending to those riskiest of borrowers. (washingtontimes.com)

Congress has cut federal waste to the bone ... The economic downturn has forced private industry and state and local government to shed jobs, but one major employer in the country is hiring: The federal government. While the nation's 11 million unemployed and the millions more who fear losing their jobs may feel Washington should streamline too, economists say a strong federal work force is key to economic recovery. Were President Barack Obama to put any of the nearly 2 million federal civil servants out in the street in the middle of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, the consequences could be dire. (cnsnews.com)

Union political ad recruits GOP to porkulus ... A new radio ad running in Sen. Richard Burr's community of Winston-Salem urges him to support the economic stimulus package now being considered by Congress. The ad, sponsored by Americans United for Change, references conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh, who said on his program on January 16, "I hope he fails," of President Barack Obama’s economic recovery plan. The ad urges listeners to call the U.S. Capitol switchboard. The radio spot, narrated by a female voice, points out that the bill received no Republican votes in the House, and that it now goes to the Senate. "The question is, Will our senator, Richard Burr, side with Rush Limbaugh too?" (mcclatchydc.com)

SEIU disorganizers get right to work ... The ousted leaders of a California health care workers' union local that a week ago was taken over by its parent, Service Employees International Union, have asked that its members at 60 facilities be able to vote to dismiss SEIU as their labor representative. Petitions were filed Monday at the National Labor Relations Board office in Oakland seeking board-run elections at which SEIU members can vote whether to decertify SEIU and join a new union. (sfgate.com)

Oakland: Ground Zero for SEIU fascism ... I’ve forgotten the technical term, a senior moment perhaps. What do you call a mob of white people, who, with the police standing by, attack a handful of defenseless people, in this case mostly women of color, a few youngsters, humiliate them, drive them from their home? This mob, thirty, maybe forty strong, mostly very nicely dressed white men for this side of struggling Oakland, was led by a young female lawyer – there were a couple of nasty ex-cops in tow, just in case. They used bolt-cutters to get through the parking-lot gates in back; they smashed their way through a second floor window, then pushed their way to the front, where they opened the doors, let in the rest of the mob in and then ended the occupation – evicting the (former) members of United Healthcare Workers-West (UHW) from their union hall, their house. “Who’s House, Our House!” No more. The Oakland cops arrived just in time to see to it that the freshly evicted behaved themselves. They were not impressed, apparently, by the fact that the workers actually had the building’s deed in hand. Neither were they concerned that no court had sanctioned this invasion – a Sergeant Kelly assured the workers that everything was just as it should be. (counterpunch.org)

Devil checks in to Andy Stern's SEIU Hotel California ... The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) wants its members to believe that their union is just like the alluring but ultimately nightmarish hostelry immortalized by The Eagles. It’s a place of permanent imprisonment only "programmed to receive" workers and their dues money, not let either go elsewhere when the rhetoric of “progressive unionism” wears thin and the rank-and-file becomes restive. According to proprietor Andy Stern, once you’ve checked into SEIU, you can never leave. Tens of thousands of Stern’s disgruntled “guests,” who work in west coast health care facilities, are about to disprove this claim. Their bags are packed and they’re headed out the door of Stern’s “Hotel California,” as soon as federal (or local) labor law permits. After a bruising internal battle—in which an estimated ten million dollars of their own money was used by Stern to undermine and attack them—rank-and-filers in Oakland-based United Healthcare Workers (UHW) have formed a new union of their own. Launched on January 28, the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) is seeking to retain bargaining rights long held by UHW, until Stern placed it under trusteeship the day before. (counterpunch.org)

U.S. Organizer-in-Chief Gets Right To Work

Bam to non-union workers: Get under the bus ... Our new president made the comment that the U.S. could lose "millions of jobs" next year; he is right. His agreeing on the "Card Check" bill and with the labor leaders and their congressional friends would make his prediction come true. Why would these people do this to American workers and our fragile economy? They don't realize what they are doing; they don't care what they are doing or could they, after permanent political power? (highlandstoday.com)

Disillusioned unionist knows better ... Don’t be fooled by the innocent name and the propaganda commercials playing on the TV. The “Employee Free Choice Act” is corruption with a pretty bow on it. I know first hand that card check is a corrupt system by design. There is a reason why unions want this so badly and why they want to push this legislation through Congress and if they succeed they will severely damage workers rights in this country. Trust me, I am very much pro-labor, but I am not blindly pro-union. There are pros and cons to unions and many of them have become nothing more than their own “Big Business.” I have seen seen “unionization” from the inside and I have seen how the blind adherence to an ideology and to the “Cause” of unionization will over-ride all free thought and all fairness. This is what happened (the short version). (disillusionedwords.com)

Labor Dems in power: We don't need no stinkin' democracy ... However, when the public debate is done, workers deserve the right to weigh the momentous decision about joining a union with only their own consciences and considerations as guides. Anything less than a protected secret ballot is simply anti-democratic. Both sides agree that the Employee Free Choice Act would be the biggest change to labor law since the 1930s. Unions are demanding it in part because they've seen their numbers decline as a percentage of the work force in the last few decades. Passing this bill may help them recoup membership losses, but not on fair terms. The Employee Free Choice Act is divisive politics and bad policy. The measure won't help workers. It certainly won't help Mr. Obama as he seeks to change the tone of Washington. (mlive.com)

Lost: 10th Amendment gone missing ... Unions bring only lower productivity and higher prices! They bring intimidation, strikes and loss of companies able to operate in the United States. If they were indeed needed under today’s environment they wouldn’t need the Democrats pandering for their votes and contributions. They wouldn’t need special legislation taking away the secret ballot from the independent minded workers of this country. Comment: We need to press our state to provide a law or amend the constitution to protect our right to a secret ballot for any meaningful vote. The federal government couldn't supersede that legally (because of the 10th amendment of the U. S. Constitution). (jacksonville.com)

Feds to list free enterprise ... Wall Street and businesses look ahead-stock prices reflect the future value of companies; businesses hire to prepare for the future. Conversely, when stock prices collapse (the Dow is down nearly 9% since the New Year began, the S&P 500 about 8.6%) and companies lay off workers (almost 600,000 and counting since Barack Obama won in November), hope is just not happening. It is just a word, after all. Why? I won't linger over the policies being promoted that send a clear message: free enterprise is on the endangered list. But a brief recap might help to explain why I have this prognosis. (americanthinker.com)

International Collectivism

Anti-capitalists commune in Caracas ... The summit today of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of our America (ALBA) plus Ecuador and other regional guest countries will evaluate the group's goals for 2009 and plans to face the world economic crisis. President Hugo Chávez (Venezuela), Evo Morales (Bolivia), Rafael Correa (Ecuador), Manuel Zelaya (Honduras), Daniel Ortega (Nicaragua), Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, and Cuban First Vice President Jose Ramón Machado Ventura will attend the event. Foreign delegations will attend activities on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of Chávez' inauguration on February 2, 1999. Delegations will also discuss ALBA advances in 2008, debate the Sucre project, and elements of financial and economic protection to allow regional countries face 2009 and 2010 due to the effect of the capitalist economic crisis. (escambray.cu)

Latin socialist smacks down Catholicism ... President Evo Morales of Bolivia said last Thursday in Brazil during the World Social Forum that the Catholic Church in Bolivia is the “main enemy” of the reforms his government hopes to implement in the country and that the Church needs to be replaced. During his remarks, Morales said, “In Bolivia new enemies have appeared, not only now in the right-wing media but also in groups from the Catholic Church, the leaders of the Catholic Church who are the enemies of peaceful transformation.” Later, referring to the theme of the World Social Forum, Morales continued, “I want to say to you what we hear shouted all the time: ‘Another world is possible,’ I want to tell you another faith, another religion, another church is also possible, brothers and sisters.” Morales attended the World Social Form together with his counterparts from Brazil, Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, Ecuador, Rafael Correa, Paraguay, Fernando Lugo and Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, and representatives of some four thousand left-wing social movements. (catholicnewsagency.com)

Supreme social happiness achieved in workers' paradise ... In rural or urban areas, gradual deterioration of respect for private property has been felt in Venezuela, as appears from countless squatting for multiple reasons, despite the fact that this right is enshrined in the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. But the most direct attacks, even from a legal point of view, against property and its attributes, come from top government officials: first, through the proposed constitutional reform that was rejected in a referendum, then with several decrees issued under the Enabling Law; and in a broader way, in the short and medium term, under the guidelines of the Simón Bolívar National Project, the first 2007- 2013 Socialist Plan, approved by President Hugo Chávez and his Cabinet. The first socialist plan states that by virtue of the supreme social happiness, "social relations of production in socialism are based on forms of social ownership, which include self-managed, associated and community ownerships; with certain forms of individual and public property." (english.eluniversal.com)

Ghana turns hard left ... On Jan. 7, John Evan Ata Mills was sworn in as the new President of Ghana, the third since the country became a multiparty democracy in 1992. Mills and his party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), swept elections last month, deemed free and fair by observers, and which solidified Ghana’s reputation as an African “success story.” As importantly, Ghanaian voters repudiated neo-liberalism by booting out of office a right-wing party closely tied to George W. Bush’s administration. A lawyer and former Vice President of Ghana, Mills calls himself a “social democrat” and embraces the politics and legacy of Kwame Nkrumah, the Marxist who led Ghana’s anti-colonial struggle and its first government after independence in 1957. Nkrumah, who advocated industrialization, social welfare programs, and solidarity with oppressed peoples, was ousted in a 1966 coup many believe was orchestrated by the CIA. (pww.org)

Nativist UNITE workers continue strike ... An emergency Parliamentary debate has further angered protesters at Lindsey Oil Refinery – who claim it has made them even more determined to fight on. Yesterday, top ministers from all parties met in the House of Commons to discuss the on-going strike action currently spreading across Britain, which is now in its fifth day. As reported, workers are angry a construction contract at the plant has been given to Italian firm IREM over British workers. However, calls from local MPs Shona McIssac and Austin Mitchell for the Government to step in and resolve the crisis fell on stony ground, with many condemning the strikers. Ms McIssac – who has been involved in discussions with the workers – said: "For many engineering and construction workers who are out of work at the moment, seeing jobs going elsewhere can be very toxic." (thisisgrimsby.co.uk)

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