2/25/09

Wednesday wrap

U.S. Supreme Court smacks down state, local political thugs ... Bill Wilson, President of Americans for Limited Government, hailed the Supreme Court’s 7-2 decision in Ysursa v. Pocatello Education Association. "This a victory for taxpayers who do not wish to be forced to fund union politics," he said. The decision determined that a state government may prohibit its counties, cities, and towns from subsidizing union political activities via its government payroll systems. The Supreme Court stated in its opinion, “The First Amendment prohibits government from ‘abridging the freedom of speech’; it does not confer an affirmative right to use government payroll mechanisms for the purpose of obtaining funds for expression. Idaho’s law does not restrict political speech, but rather declines to promote that speech by allowing public employee checkoffs for political activities. [Our] decision is reasonable in light of the State’s interest in avoiding the appearance that carrying out the public’s business is tainted by partisan political activity. That interest extends to government at the local as well as state level, and nothing in the First Amendment prevents a State from determining that its political subdivisions may not provide payroll deductions for political activities.” (netrightnation.com)


Arizona Judge in hot water with SEIU operatives ... A judge refused Monday to stop further state layoffs. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Andrew Klein said he heard nothing during the hearing to entitle the Service Employees International Union to an immediate restraining order against the state. In fact, the judge questioned arguments by union lawyers that the state was not following its own “reduction in force” rules. Klein agreed with the contention of Gene Mechanic, the lead attorney for SEIU, that the state personnel rules generally require a five-day notice to affected workers. But the judge also pointed out those rules specifically say that notice applies “if circumstances warrant.” And the judge said the state’s $1.6 billion deficit would appear to give sufficient reason to conclude that the advance notice is inappropriate. (eastvalleytribune.com)


SEIU P2P in Rahmbo's House seat



Dead Goose Of No Use to New Progs ... It is a conveniently overlooked fact: The federal budget is very dependent on the "rich." Not only do the rich produce wealth that benefits the overall economy, but that wealth produces revenue in quantities other brackets currently do not. For this reason, the latest IRS data show that the top 10% of income tax filers pay 71% of all federal income taxes. Social levelers are reminded to be careful of what they wish for. In their zeal to pluck the goose, they must be careful not to kill it. Despite the unapologetic and undisguised class warfare of many liberals, they are the most heavily dependent on the wealthy. The absence of the wealthy would have a devastating effect on a tax structure liberals would like to see made more progressive, and on progressive social spending they would like to see increased. The only viable path to reducing income disparity remains the same. To grow the wealth across the income spectrum, not see it vanish — or even shifted — from the top. (ibdeditorials.com)


D.C.'s masterful Kleptocrats ... The shocking collapse of our financial system should have taught us an important lesson about the structure of our economy, heavily-dependent on consumption expenditures paid for with borrowed dollars. When the flood of borrowed dollars abruptly stopped, the over-inflated housing market collapsed and other markets followed with frightening speed. The lesson should have been that you can’t just keep on borrowing forever, spending lots of money that you don’t have. Instead we seem to have learned the opposite–that we just need to find fresh piles of money to keep the whole thing going. As my friend Jim Pfaff noted at his anti-stimulus rally in Denver last Tuesday, this is Madoff-nomics, writ large. Bernie Madoff kept his scheme going by constantly bringing in a new stream of dollars to pretend to make good on his promises to earlier investors, who thought they owned assets that were growing in value. In reality, there wasn’t much of value there, but as long as fresh money was pouring in, people were getting paid and the scheme kept working. Of course, his whole scheme was a fraud, and when there wasn’t enough new money available to prop it up the whole thing collapsed and he was prosecuted. Isn’t the madness of Ben Bernanke, Hank Paulson, Tim Geithner, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, George Bush, and Barack Obama the same gruesome scandal on a vastly larger scale? (foxnews.com)


D.C. organizers back a 'lose-lose' proposition ... As a manufacturer, I am writing in opposition to the misnamed Employee Free Choice Act, and to urge members of Congress to protect our workers’ right to a private ballot and help keep the workplace in the control of the employers and employees. The so-called Employee Free Choice Act is a “lose-lose” situation for businesses and employees, and threatens the fundamental rights of the very workers that the unions claim to want to protect. The erroneously named Employee Free Choice Act would strip employees of the privacy and protection of a private ballot, and replace it with the hostile approach of the “card check recognition system.” By removing the workers’ privacy, they will be forced to make their decision on whether to unionize in front of coworkers and union organizers. This could subject them to undue pressure and even coercion. This is undemocratic and, frankly, un-American. Under card check, employees would have nothing more than a process that is designed to allow pro-union workers and union organizers to intimidate, harass and coerce employees into joining a union. The U.S. government has denounced this type of process in other countries, and called for honest and private elections to ensure fairness. We should expect nothing less in our own country. (hollandsentinel.com)


AFL-CIO exposes EFCA as a Trojan Horse for staggering collectivist agenda ... A top priority of organized labor and its Democratic allies, the controversial legislation has yet to be reintroduced this year in either the House or the Senate. “This definitely represents a major loss of momentum in this legislation,” said Steven Law, chief legal officer and general counsel at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “This delay is helpful.” The legislation — well known by the moniker “card check” — is vehemently opposed by business. The bill would allow workers to organize a union by signing a card instead of holding secret-ballot elections. Union lobbyists say they are not bothered by the delay, which they blame on an already packed congressional agenda being overtaken by the current economic crisis. “I was not discouraged by that at all,” said Bill Samuel, legislative director of the AFL-CIO. “We’re on target for introducing the bill shortly, with enough co-sponsors to pass the House.” (politico.com)


In their own words: Union organizers rip EFCA



Expert reveals Canada's ugly experiment with Card-Check ... A careful look at the Canadian experience suggests that it has very little to recommend itself. Labor relations policy in Canada is conducted at the provincial level. All Canadian provinces operated under some version of a card check regime until the 1980s, which enabled unions to organize large percentages of Canadian private-sector workers. Even today, one-third of Canadian private-sector employees are unionized. It is no coincidence that labor economists do not cite Canada as an engine of economic productivity. Economic growth in Canada, measured by GDP and traditional constructs of labor productivity, has lagged well behind the United States. For most of the last twenty years, GDP growth in Canada has been roughly 80 percent of that seen here. The economic consequences of card check were not lost on Canadians. At various times over the past two decades, voters in six Canadian provinces supported conservative political candidates who enacted legislation calling for mandatory elections for certifying unions instead of card check. Studies show that union certification rates in those provinces promptly declined by about 20 percent. Indeed, some Canadian politicians have made the card check problem a key part of their agendas. After being elected premier of Ontario on an "open for business" platform in 1995, Mike Harris eliminated card check. Yet, even after these politically driven changes, the Canadian economy remains relatively burdened. The Canadian experience confirms the inverse relationship between union density and economic productivity. It is likely no coincidence that Canada's unemployment rate has traditionally been two or three percentage points higher than that of the United States. Adopting the Canadian process here would result in a substantial increase in organized labor's success rate--perhaps to levels comparable to Canada's. This is because, under the card check process, the union remains in control of the timing of the election by deciding when to file the petition. Those Canadian provinces that require elections limit the election campaign period to two weeks or less, compared to the forty-day period typically available in the United States. Business interests across Canada complain about having inadequate time to counter unions' promises. They have tried, thus far without success, to get longer campaign periods enacted into law. (aei.org)


Dems warned of creeping union fascism ... Regarding card check, George McGovern, hardly a stooge for Big Business, has written this to fellow Democrats: "We cannot be a party that strips working Americans of the right to a secret-ballot election. We are the party that has always defended the rights of the working class. To fail to ensure the right to vote free of intimidation and coercion from all sides would be a betrayal of what we have always championed." (fredericksburg.com)


Georgia's in-you-face to D.C. organizers ... The Senate Insurance and Labor Committee voted 7-2 to recommend passage of a constitutional amendment, Senate Resolution 108 sponsored by Johnson, R-Savannah, that guarantees secret ballots in all elections, including questions of union representation for an employer. Cagle said, "We have prided ourselves as a state that is a right-to-work state and work very, very hard to create a pro-business environment." As a right-to-work state, Georgia's law prohibits union membership to be a condition for employment, making it harder for unions to expand. Johnson's measure would attempt to pre-empt federal legislation that would make union organization easier, even in right-to-work states. The federal bill, the so-called Employee Free Choice Act, would allow organizers to bypass elections if a majority sign cards that would authorize a union, a process known as card check. The cards are not secret, and supporters of Johnson's measure say that lack of secrecy would open employees to intimidation from co-workers. During the committee hearing Tuesday, Sen. Jeff Chapman, R-Brunswick, said as a former union worker, he recognizes the risk of intimidation. "It can become very violent," he said. (insideradvantagegeorgia.com)


Meyerson: Infighting exposes union bigs' greed ... By another measure, though, it wasn't a good day at all for American unions. In Oakland, Calif., the Service Employees International Union -- with nearly 2 million members, the nation's most vibrant union and California's largest -- took direct control of one of its stellar locals, the 150,000-member United Healthcare Workers West, ousting the elected local officers, who in turn announced that they would seek to form a rival union to the SEIU. In New York, meanwhile, another of the nation's leading unions, UNITE HERE, is engaged in all-out civil war. The union was created in 2004 through a merger of UNITE, which represented workers in the dying domestic apparel and textile industries, and HERE, which represented hotel workers. The logic behind the merger was that UNITE had limited organizing opportunities, but significant financial resources. HERE had considerable organizing opportunities but not enough money to exploit them. (detnews.com)


Hoffa: We don't need no stinkin' oppressive global trade ... Teamsters General President Jimmy Hoffa issued the following statement following President Obama's presidential address: "Too many employers have shirked their responsibilities to America's workers, and President Obama understands that. It was wonderful to hear him say he would end the tax breaks for corporations that ship our jobs overseas. "It doesn't help our economy to develop cutting-edge technology if we send it to China, along with the new jobs that go with it. Keeping good jobs in America is critical to restoring our economic strength. I applaud President Obama for his continued leadership on this important issue." (prnewswire.com)


Unionists: Disregard the inconvenient truth ... Joining a labor union provides the most direct path to improving a worker's standard of living. If done on a large enough scale, unionization could help revive the entire US economy. Beth Shulman, co-director of Fairness Initiative on Low-Wage Work, said that in working with low-income workers, she discovered that as workers joined unions they quickly saw higher incomes, better health care benefits and a sense of dignity and empowerment in the workplace. "At the end of the day, having a union for millions of workers across the country really is the difference between having a decent wage and impoverishment," Shulman pointed out. Unions also make a huge difference for communities by raising standards of livings and providing a tax base for improved public services, she added. Think tanks like the Center for American Progress Action Fund are working closely with labor organizations like the AFL-CIO, SEIU and American Rights at Work to release a series of reports with state-by-state analysis of the benefits to working families that would come as a result of higher rates of unionization. (politicalaffairs.net)


News Unions cripple S.F. Chronicle ... The company did not specify the size of the staff reductions or the nature of the other cost-savings measures it has in mind. The company said it will immediately seek discussions with the Northern California Media Workers Guild, Local 39521, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 853, which represent the majority of workers at the Chronicle. "Because of the sea change newspapers everywhere are undergoing and these dire economic times, it is essential that our management and the local union leadership work together to implement the changes necessary to bring the cost of producing the Chronicle into line with available revenue," Frank A. Bennack, Jr., Hearst vice chairman and chief executive, and Steven R. Swartz, president of Hearst Newspapers, said in a joint statement. (sfgate.com)


Labor-state News Union takes dues hit ... Some 100 jobs will be eliminated at the Providence Journal Co., including 18 news and 34 advertising positions, the president of the Providence Journal Unit of the Providence Newspaper Guild confirmed this afternoon. “It’s very sad, there are some very good people that are going out the door on this,” said John Hill, union chief and a reporter for The Providence Journal, the state’s major daily newspaper, which is owned by Dallas-based A.H. Belo Corp. (pbn.com)


Obama sympathizes with organized labor bigs ... Obama is a neo-marxist. He supports “spreading the wealth,” nationalizing healthcare, higher taxes and more handouts for the poor. Nancy Pelosi’s bill is representative of all these things. It is the largest spending bill in the history of America, is full of ridiculous expenditures (The National Institute of Standards gets $357,000,000 for the “construction of research facilities.” The Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration gets $427,000,000 for the same, equating to about $2.50 from every American), and reaches the hand of government further into the lives of its citizens than any before it. The European Welfare State is the model, despite all its failures (which we could discuss at length), but lets just debunk government spending and the economy. (newsrecord.org)


International Collectivism

U.S. media to blackball critic of Latin socialism ... With anti-American Marxist Hugo Chávez now dictator for life, his top opponent in Latin America Alejandro Peña-Esclusa, http://www.unoamerica.org, will visit Washington (Feb 27 - March 4, including CPAC) seeking meetings to warn media, government, academic and religious leaders that neo-Marxists and Jihadists seek control of Latin America right up to the border of a weakening United States. Peña warns that the secretive “Sao Paulo Forum” (SPF) established in 1990 by Fidel Castro with “Lula” da Silva (now Brazilian president) has made huge advances, including: · the creation of Chávez himself as a major Marxist force and his installation as dictator for life days ago · joining Latin American governments with revolutionary movements, Islamic Jihadist forces and heavily armed drug lords as an anti-democratic, anti- American alliance · infiltrating non-member governments and the Catholic and evangelical churches and many other institutions. Its existence only recently proved by Peña and Brazilian Professor Olavo de Carvalho, the SPF undermines democracy, economic, religious and political freedom and the rule of law in every Latin American country. (canadafreepress.com)


Castro and Chávez: Same horror movie ... It sounded weird when Hugo Chávez, president and communist dictator of Venezuela, said recently: "You won't be seeing Fidel Castro anymore in photos or films. Last time he was photographed was July 26th, 2006.” Before we go ahead, let's make it clear that Fidel Castro was on TV on Jan. 22 with the president of Argentina, then in February, he appeared with Michelle Bachelette, president of Chile. Both ladies are communists to the bone. I have asked some of my friends what they think about today's Cuba. One of them said he believes that Chávez is trying to take over Cuba because it's a strategic site close to the United States. We all remember that Chávez insulted former President Bush in public, including at the United Nations. Chávez has declared himself an open enemy of the United States. No doubt about it. (dodgeglobe.com)


Latin socialists subdue U.S. ... Chávez has been saying that winning the right to contest again was crucial for the consolidation of the socialist revolution he has started. Already two other leftist Presidents in the region, Evo Morales of Bolivia and Rafael Correa of Ecuador, have won constitutional approvals to extend their terms in office by holding national referenda. All the three leaders subscribe to the goal of regional integration and the elimination of the long-standing American hegemonic influence in Latin America. Hence, the United States has reasons to be perturbed. The U.S. and its allies had launched a vituperative campaign against the Venezuelan President in the run-up to the referendum. The U.S. State Department poured in huge amounts of money to aid the anti-Chavez campaign, which was spearheaded by right-wing student groups and conservative sections of the Catholic Church. The opposition in Venezuela, supported by the U.S., tried to hammer in the message that the lifting of the constitutional curbs on presidential terms would lead to a dictatorship under Chávez. The campaign theme of the opposition was that it would make Chávez “President for Life”. (frontline.in)
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