Thursday wrap

D.C. Dem union-organizers misrepresent non-union nation ... Unlike labor unions and their affiliated front groups who refuse to release any of their polls’ methodology, the Center for Union Facts poll is a straight-forward measurement of Americans interest in joining a union. In addition to gathering basic demographic information, we asked the following two questions to respondents (n=1,142) who indicated that they were currently employed. "Are you or is someone in your immediate family in a labor union? Yes: 20%, No: 79% • "Of those that answered “no”, we asked: Would you like your job to be unionized? Yes: 13%, No: 82% • "Margin of Error: +/- 2%. Download a complete description of the poll methodology: here. (dcexaminer.com)

Alinsky's Rules: Required Reading In Organizing Era ... The organizer must "rub raw the resentments of the people of the community, fan the latent hostilities of many of the people to the point of overt expression. . . . stir up dissatisfaction and discontent." Alinsky trained his community organizers to adopt a "middle-class identity" and familiarity with their "values and problems." After achieving "the priceless value of his middle-class experience," he will "begin to dissect and examine that way of life as he never has before." Alinsky's trainees are instructed to return to the suburban scene of the middle class with its variety of organizations, from PTAs to League of Women Voters, consumer groups, churches and clubs. Alinsky boasted: "With rare exceptions, our activists and radicals are products of and rebels against our middle-class society. . . . Our rebels have contemptuously rejected the values and way of life of the middle class." Put "Rules for Radicals" on your must-read list if you want to understand much of contemporary politics. (ibdeditorials.com)

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

Mastermind of Colo. union corruption exposed ... You think I'm exaggerating the influence of Big Labor on Denver elections? Allow me to connect a few dots for you. The huge, glowing dot in the center is attorney Mark G. Grueskin of Isaacson Rosenbaum. Grueskin is a registered statehouse lobbyist for AFSCME, Colorado AFL-CIO, Service Employees International Union and Teamsters Local Union No. 435. Denver is a rogue's playground for powerful special interests seeking to mold the city's election rules to their purposes. (examiner.com)

Quorum requirement grounds organizers ... JetBlue Airways Corp., the giant discount carrier based in Forest Hills, will remain the largest U.S. airline without any organized labor groups after its pilots cast fewer votes than needed to establish an independent union. In results announced late Tuesday, the National Mediation Board said that 646 ballots were cast in support of the JetBlue Pilots Association. But a majority of the airline's 1,937 pilots was needed to establish a union. (newsday.com)

Unionized workers set to strike v. AT&T ... Communication Workers of America is preparing its members employed by AT&T Mobility to strike if bargaining agreements can't be met a Feb. 7 negotiating deadline. According to CWA's Web site, picket signs are being sent to every CWA local as the expiration looms. At a leadership conference yesterday, 200 CWA officers from AT&T, Alcatel-Lucent, Frontier, and others, showed unanimous support for the strike. (mobileburn.com)

CNN takes on SEIU

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

Unethical Solis reflects Obama double-standard ... In a written exchange with Solis, Republican senators indicated they are wary of her ties to a tax-exempt group dedicated to helping workers unionize. Solis is treasurer of the organization, American Rights at Work. Federal records show that the group lobbied Congress last year to pass the measure, known informally as "card check." In their questionnaire, the senators noted that American Rights at Work has lobbied for passage of the bill. They asked Solis whether she would seek a waiver from the Obama administration or avoid any role in passing the legislation. Highlighting another worry, Republican lawmakers cited House ethics rules that bar members from lobbying, "or advising on lobbying," on behalf of a private organization -- even if the work is done for free. In disclosure forms filed with the House from 2004-07, Solis omitted any mention of American Rights at Work. She sent a letter to the House clerk on Jan. 29 correcting those documents, saying she was both a board member and treasurer. A White House spokesman chalked up the omission to an "unintentional oversight." (latimes.com)

Bam stands by unethical Solis ... Amid threats of a Republican hold on Labor Secretary nominee Hilda Solis, President Obama has asked a top department official to serve as Acting Labor Secretary until she's confirmed. Edward Hugler, currently the deputy assistant secretary for administration, has spent more than 30 years in a variety of functions in the department. Solis's fate is unclear. Her status as treasurer of the pro-EFCA American Rights at Work (ARW) is what's causing concern. Republicans point out that ARW was a lobbying for labor, and the position of treasurer includes the moving around of lots of money. It's not clear where the lines of demarcation are between her ARW duties and Congressional ethics rules, which look askance at members who help to run organizations that lobby Congress. (politics.theatlantic.com)

Ethical challenges dog Organizer-in-Chief ... President Obama won praise for overseeing a White House transition that started off smoothly and proceeded at record pace, with most of his Cabinet nominated within two months of the election. But after three of his nominees withdrew their nominations over embarrassing revelations, questions have been raised about Obama's vetting process. Tax problems forced former Sen. Tom Daschle, who would have headed the Department of Health and Human Services, and Nancy Killefer, nominated as a government performance officer, to withdraw their names Tuesday. And a pay-to-play investigation in New Mexico knocked Gov. Bill Richardson out of contention for commerce secretary last month. (foxnews.com)

Experts: Doing nothing would be better than unpopular partisan porkulus package ... President Obama's economic recovery package will actually hurt the economy more in the long run than if he were to do nothing, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday. CBO, the official scorekeepers for legislation, said the House and Senate bills will help in the short term but result in so much government debt that within a few years they would crowd out private investment, actually leading to a lower Gross Domestic Product over the next 10 years than if the government had done nothing. CBO estimates that by 2019 the Senate legislation would reduce GDP by 0.1 percent to 0.3 percent on net. [The House bill] would have similar long-run effects, CBO said in a letter to Sen. Judd Gregg, New Hampshire Republican, who was tapped by Mr. Obama on Tuesday to be Commerce Secretary. (washingtontimes.com)

Dem bigs obsess over unpopular forced-labor unionism ... The unions' grass-tops groundswell is just the latest blip in a multi-million dollar PR campaign. They recently released a strategically worded poll, suggesting the vast majority of Americans are clamoring for EFCA. Meanwhile, business groups have conducted other surveys, and those results suggesting that the vast majority of Americans support secret-ballot elections. What can the public take away from all of this? The simplest answer is also the most likely: Americans support commonsense laws that protect all workers, and stealing the secret ballot fails to meet that standard. Union officials and a handful of politicians will suggest that today’s parade of petition signatures is the equivalent of a million-member march for crucial legislation. In reality, they're little more than postcards from the edge. (dcexaminer.com)

Shameless D.C. Dems stimulate union-backed fraud ... Shameful. That’s the word President Obama used when dressing down bankers for the bonuses they awarded recently. Mr. Obama called them to his office and told them that now is the time to show restraint, not a time to issue bonuses. But did the President go far enough in his criticism? The answer is: no. Others should be called to task by the President – and paraded before Congress for grilling – they are the very people whose actions gave birth to our present economic dilemma. They are the men who headed and the men and women who sat on the boards of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Those are the political appointees who fostered and profited by the sub-prime mortgages that eventually grew into the boondoggle called mortgage “bundling”, where mortgages were sold as good paper when they were, in fact, debt and caused banks to fail or teeter on the brink of failing and brought America’s economy to the brink of a possible depression. Why is President Obama saying nothing about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? Why isn’t congress calling former board members to testify? Why isn’t ACORN, the “grass roots” group, called before Congress? After all, it was ACORN that protested in front of banks and bankers’ homes to force them into issuing sub prime mortgages to people who couldn’t afford such mortgages. Does this absence of investigation fall under the heading of “politics”? After all, ACORN campaigned boldly for President Obama, illegally signing up people multiple times to vote. Could their actions possibly be giving their group protection? (cdobs.com)

Hoffa waltzes into The White House ... Joe Biden will be meeting this afternoon with Jusuf Kalla, the Vice President of Indonesia. He will then meet with Teamsters president Jimmy Hoffa. Both meetings are closed press. (tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com)

Chicago Teamster big linked to criminal corruption ... At the same time he was the $150,000-a-year president of Teamsters Local 743 — one of the largest unions in the Chicago area — Robert Walston was involved in a cocaine-trafficking scheme, according to a new federal indictment against him. For at least several months in 2007, Mr. Walston and another man "did conspire . . . to knowingly and intentionally distribute and possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance, namely, 5 kilograms or more of mixtures and substances containing cocaine," according to the indictment returned Jan. 22. Mr. Walston was head of the South Side-based union — which represents, among others, clerical and blue-collar workers at the University of Chicago and Rush University medical centers — at the time he was allegedly traveling between Chicago and Houston to score drugs, records show. During one trip to Texas, authorities seized $135,000 in cash from Mr. Walston and his co-defendant — money that was allegedly intended to pay for cocaine, according to the indictment. (chicagobusiness.com)

Related video: Teamsters make history

Teamsters set boycott ... Teamsters and allies are rolling out the "Gap Hurts Kids" campaign today highlighting the retailer's role in prolonging a bitter labor dispute at Oak Harbor Freight Lines, an Auburn, Wash.-based freight company where workers have been on strike for more than four months. The campaign includes the launch of the web site www.gaphurtskids.com, as well as nationwide actions at Gap stores this weekend. (redorbit.com)

Dems' free speech ban would protect union-only P2P in Garden State ... Michael Kasparian is advocating public financing for political campaigns as a remedy to political patronage. "If there was a level playing field, then I think this idea of pay-to-play goes away," the newly minted chairman of the Bergen County Democratic Organization said Wednesday night. "Until you stem the demand for dollars, the desire for dollars is not going to ebb." The statements came at his first appearance before Bergen Grassroots, a reformist wing of the party that advocated opposition to Kasparian's run for chairman. Before his ascendancy, Kasparian's critics compared him to former Chairman Joseph Ferriero, who is under federal indictment for conspiracy to commit fraud. Former party counsel Dennis Oury, an advocate of pay-to-play, is named in the same indictment. Their trial is scheduled for September. (northjersey.com)

Garden State high court expected to protect union hate-speech ... The state Supreme Court today will rule on the future of a 10-foot, pink-eyed inflatable rodent that has joined union picket lines across New Jersey and is now in the middle of a free speech debate. The state's top court is set to issue a decision on whether a Mercer County town can prohibit a rat used by a labor union to bring attention to its cause. Lawrence Township believes the union's use of the rat by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers is a form of commercial speech that does not deserve the same protections as political or religious speech. The town's ordinance bans inflatable signs, except for those in store grand openings. The inflatable rat idea was first pumped up in 1990, when a Chicago union asked an outdoor advertiser to come up with a flashy way to catch the attention of nonunion employers. Union lawyers have maintained it sends a powerful symbolic message. Rats were used during the writers strike in Los Angeles last year. The rat in New Jersey's debate gets out about 50 times a year. (nj.com)

SEIU agitators needle pro-union Dem Gov ... Leaders of the three largest unions representing state employees addressed reporters after the budget presentation. They sported big green buttons reading "Whine -- Scream -- Holler." That was a blunt response to Mr. Rendell's often-repeated statement that he didn't want to hear any whining about budget cuts. "We will whine, we will holler and we will scream," said Kathy Jellison, president of the Service Employees International Union Local 668. "This is exactly the wrong time for government to be making cuts or laying off workers who provide essential services" such as processing unemployment compensation checks and providing drug and alcohol counseling. (post-gazette.com)

Union embezzlement epidemic an international problem ... A former Town of Bracebridge employee landed six months in jail for helping himself to thousands of dollars from a union account. Terry Curtis, 62, who was Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) Local 305 president for 20 years, pleaded guilty to theft charges Oct. 2 in Bracebridge court. He was sentenced on Jan. 27 to six months in jail and two years probation, confirmed assistant Crown attorney Lyndsay Jeanes. Curtis was a town employee for 27 years. He worked as the facility manager for arenas. According to Jeanes, he was found responsible for taking $18,928.97 from the local union account between the years 2002 and 2006. The investigation was limited to only the four years mentioned, because that is as far back as the bank and Curtis’s records went, Jeanes said. (gravenhurstbanner.com)

International Collectivism

Bam expected to favor Ecuadorian socialist over U.S. industry ... Chevron executives are renewing efforts to have Ecuador's preferential trade status with the U.S. revoked next month, although the oil company is unlikely to find a sympathetic ear with President Obama. Chevron and its subsidiary Texaco have been locked in a legal battle in the South American country since 1993 when about 50 Ecuadorean Indian residents of Lago Agro sued Texaco, maintaining that American oil exploration and extraction had created an "Amazonian Chernobyl." Chevron executives expect an Ecuadorean court to file soon a judgment against them in the class-action suit on behalf of tens of thousands of Indians. The company says the judgment, which could reach up to $27 billion and which Chevron says has been whipped up by populist President Rafael Correa, should give the U.S. grounds to cancel Ecuador's benefits under the Andean Trade Preferences Act. "The only remedy is for the preferences to be suspended," Chevron spokesman Kent Robertson told The Washington Times on Wednesday. But Chevron faces a large hurdle in the form of Mr. Obama, who has previously supported Ecuador's trade privileges and is a schoolmate of the plaintiffs' top lawyer. (washingtontimes.com)

Vatican thrown under Hugo's socialist bus ... Tear gas canisters were lobbed into the Vatican's diplomatic compound in Caracas on Wednesday, the head of the mission said, days after armed men vandalized a synagogue in the capital. The Vatican's Nunciature had been the target of tear gas attacks in January blamed by some officials on hard-line supporters of socialist President Hugo Chávez who say the Roman Catholic Church meddles in the country's politics. Venezuelan media said two canisters landed inside the compound and two fell outside. (reuters.com)

Socialist Evo blasts Catholic Church ... President Evo Morales of Bolivia said last Thursday (January 29) 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.” 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. (speroforum.com)

Ex-comrade: Chávez has betrayed Bolivarian principles ... Retired military officer Carlos Guyón, one of the officers who joined rebel forces in the failed coup of 1992, said on Wednesday that Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez betrayed the principles of the attempt and deplored the imposed celebration as a holiday. "We have nothing to celebrate. We rose up against imperfect democracy, which had problems, but today the poor majority is still excluded," Guyón told DPA. The retired army officer formed part of the forces that tried to topple President Carlos Andrés Pérez, accused by them of widespread corruption and exclusion of the rank and file. The rebel movement commemorated by Chávez's government as a decent military rebellion was suffocated. However, the failure promoted Chávez, who led a paratroopers' division, for his short, impressive surrender speech. (english.eluniversal.com)

Are Venezuelans better off than 10 years ago? ... Venezuelans who understand that democracy means more than just elections have little reason to celebrate today. Ten years into the Chávez era, Venezuela is a more violent, less tolerant and far more divided country than it was. Despite an oil boom that has brought an unprecedented gush of petrodollars, Venezuela's economy is more oil-dependent than ever. And while the oil boom has brought a much needed decline in poverty, the price we've paid has been the gradual debasement of our democratic institutions, our public discourse, and our capacity to co-exist peacefully, side-by-side, with people whose political ideas we do not share. Let's be clear: by 1999, Venezuela's democratic institutions had become ossified and corrupt. They were in dire need of reform; nobody sane would deny that. Rather than reforming them, Chávez has relentlessly undermined them, purging all but die-hard loyalists from every state body right up to the supreme tribunal and leaving notionally independent agencies unable to curb on a hyper-empowered executive. Egged on by a relentlessly polarising discourse, the Venezuelan state has morphed into an extension of a single man's will, where every dissenting idea is presumed treasonous and where only unquestioning submission to the president's ideology protects you from the increasingly brazen abuse of state power. (venezuelanalysis.com)

U.S. Congress expected to OK Latin socialists ... U.S. Congressmen and experts told a hearing on Wednesday that Obama should consolidate relations with The U.S.' Latin American allies including Brazil, Mexico and Colombia. "I hope we keep committed to focus on Venezuela," Connie Mack, Republican minority leader on the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere said at the hearing. Sergio Bendixen, President of Bendixen and Associates, warned of Venezuela's growing influence in the Latin American region and its close ties with other leftist states including Nicaragua, Bolivia, Cuba and Ecuador. "They are not friends; they have worked to diminish (US) power" in Latin America, he added. (presstv.ir)

Syria thanks anti-U.S. organizers ... Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was invited to attend a ceremony in Syria to celebrate the Israeli retreat from the Gaza Strip, local satellite Press TV reported Wednesday. Press TV did not refer to the identity of the organizers and the date of the ceremony held in the Syrian capital of Damascus. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani were also invited to the ceremony, according to the report. (news.xinhuanet.com)

Gov't threatens to jail striking teachers ... Schools failed to open to start the 2009 academic year on Tuesday last week after teachers refused to report for duty in protest at the government's refusal to pay their salary in foreign currencies. The teachers are demanding the government to pay them at least 2,300 USD a month. They currently are paid only 30 Zimbabwean dollars, not enough to buy even a banana in the African nation where inflation rate has reached 231 million percent according to official reports, while independent sources put the inflation at 89.7 sextillion percent. The progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), which called for the strike, said some teachers have gone into hiding especially in big cities following the government's threat to arrest them for not going to work. (presstv.ir)
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