Sunday wrap

D.C. job-killers prep surge in U.S. unemployment ... America’s unemployment rate could top 10 percent under the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), if it boosts union membership as much as some supporters have predicted, according to a new economic study. Every three percentage point gain in union membership would be accompanied by a one percentage point increase in the unemployment rate the following year, said Dr. Anne Layne-Farrar , who conducted the study. She is an economist with LECG, a non-partisan Chicago-based economic consulting group. Proponents of EFCA say union membership would grow by 1.5 million members every year over the next 10 to 15 years under EFCA. But EFCA opponents point to the new study to back their argument that EFCA will hurt the economy. “Job losses attributable to the passage of the employee free choice act in that respect would be equal to the entire population of the city of Boston,” said Phil Miscamarra, a legal counsel with the Alliance to Save Main Street Jobs. A 1.5 million member increase would “lead to the loss of 600,000 jobs by the end of the following year,” he said. Layne-Farrar’s study entitled: “An Empirical Assessment of the Employee Free Choice Act: The Economic Implications” concludes that EFCA’s economic impact would be felt within a year of becoming law. Unemployment could rise anywhere from one-and-a-half to three percentage points by January 2010 if EFCA passes this year, Layne-Farrar said. (dcexaminer.com)

Disunited States: Out of One, Many (sic) ... Newsweek cheers, "We are all socialists now!" MSNBC's Jim Cramer calls Barack Obama's budget a "radical agenda" and points out "This is the greatest wealth destruction I've seen by a President." None of this should be a surprise to anybody who was paying attention to Obama's Hawaii links to the Communist Party, USA or his years of Chicago work with the Democratic Socialists of America. But many voters -- and most of the media -- aggressively avoided paying attention. Now they are literally paying the price. One Obama mentor who did get some media attention was ex-Communist Saul Alinsky. Alinsky, a harsh critic of Johnson's "War on Poverty," is not usually tied to gigantic federal spending proposals such as Obama's mis-named 'stimulus' package. Alinsky's claim to fame stems from gritty street-level community organizing. His books on the subject guided a generation of leftist activists. (americanthinker.com)

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

Victims of Socialism ignored ... A reasonable person would see the record of repeated failures in government-run medicine as evidence that such a system is not sustainable. Yet every central planner thinks he or she — or his or her immediate group — is smart enough to correct the flaws of socialist programs and therefore has the moral authority to force others to participate in his experiments. It is the same thinking that will move a person to say we are the ones we've been waiting for. Medicine needs experimentation to progress. But experiments need to stay in the laboratories, not spread to the domain of public policy. Americans are not lab rats. They deserve to be treated with dignity and not shoved aside as expendables to be sacrificed in deference to a sacred totem of the political left. (ibdeditorials.com)

Union-backed fraud group gives writer the 'cold sweat creeps' ... When I talk about the baby boomer new left, I know what I'm talking about from direct observation. ACORN and other ''community organizing'' schemes were a set-up from the start. I was there and saw it. The radicals had it all planned ahead and when the "Great Society" instituted these, they were set up so they were the only ones jumping in immediately to staff them. It was 100 percent scam. There never was any intent or even thought of honesty, justice, or actually doing what the law was sold to the voters and taxpayers to do and nothing to actually benefit people or the nation. Power. Subversive power and a respectable hiding place and reliable income ''from the man'' for the radicals was the whole picture. The radicals are not normal people. They have no decency, conscience, or morals. They are dedicated to the destruction of Western Civilization and all the good it has produced. They are pathologically self referenced. I get the impression they lust for this destruction and evil as some sort of fantasy mechanism of getting back at their parents for real or mostly imagined grievances. Calling them sick is an understating metaphor. ACORN functioned this way for 40 years before anyone even noticed. 40 years! And then all we did was cluck and go back to sleep. While we were doing this, we elected a new president whose only prior real life experience was "community organizer." That gives me the cold sweat creeps because I seem to be the only one who knows what that actually means. As soon as he was in, the first thing he did was hand ACORN a huge extra measure of our money. Now we will all go back to sleep. (post-journal.com)

SEIU readies political ambush v. Blue Dog Dem ... The battle begins: We now have our first Congressional Democrat who has openly confirmed that he’ll vote against the Employee Free Choice Act — and the Service Employees International Union is blasting him for it and vowing a public campaign against him. This is significant — it’s a harbinger of the intramural wars that lie ahead and an indication of what the big unions will do to discourage moderate Dems from breaking ranks and opposing the measure, which is labor’s top priority. The Democrat in question is Blue Dog Dem Rep. Dan Boren. He confirmed that he’ll vote against Employee Free Choice during a “Webinar” earlier this week that the Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce held for local CEOs, according to SEIU, which recorded Boren’s remarks. The SEIU sends over the video. I’m told that the SEIU will follow up next week with an aggressive campaign against Boren. Battle lines are drawn. (theplumline.whorunsgov.com)

Related video: 'Blue Dog Dem' comes out

Here come the union goon squads ... Known as the "Employee Free Choice Act" by supporters and the "Card Check Bill" by opponents, the legislation would allow laborers to organize simply by having a majority of employees sign a union card. This elimination of the required secret ballot is troubling and is the focus of the debate from the streets of Mount Prospect to the halls of Congress. "A union election should be conducted just as any fair and open election for any office. That means workers should be able to hear from both sides of the issue - management and the union," wrote Jim Uszler, executive director of the Mount Prospect Chamber of Commerce, in a recent letter to the editor. The chamber's members recently voted to oppose the act. Uszler is right. It makes no sense to take away a worker's privacy. Face-to-face invitations to sign the card sound like ideal conditions for intimidation. (dailyherald.com)

Kaus: EFCA a 'parody of D.C. meddling' ... That seems like a parody of liberal Washington meddling. It's one thing for employer and union to have to abide by the decision of a mutually selected third party. It's another to have a strange bureaucrat from D.C. come and tell everyone how to run things--not just setting a minimum wage but setting wages and job categories up and down the hierarchy. I figured Rubin was being alarmist. But it turns out Rubin is right. Or at least she might be right. The arbitration parts of the card check bill are so vaguely drawn that nobody knows who the arbitrators will be. The job appears to be delegated entirely to the Federal Mediation Service. The FMS might decide to use its own employees. It might decide to use arbitrators from the private sector selected along more traditional lines. The two breakfast debaters (Prof. Richard Epstein and attorney Anthony Segall) did seem to agree that, since thousands of arbitrators might quickly be needed for the expected explosion of mandatory arbitration, it's unlikely they would all be newly hired GS-12s. But they don't know. (slate.com)

Secret ballots protect workers ... When the Rev. Al Sharpton and former Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern are on the same side as Republican strategist Karl Rove and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the issue must cut across the political spectrum to reach a fundamental American value. So it is with a proposal to take away the right to a secret ballot in union-organizing elections. The proposal is wrong. Sharpton, McGovern, Rove and the Chamber of Commerce are right to oppose it. Yet the proposal, perversely named the Employee Free Choice Act, remains one of congressional Democrats' highest priorities for this year. It even picked up momentum this week when President Barack Obama repeated his support. It's time for the public to tell Capitol Hill, "No! Americans demand the freedom of choice that prevails in the secret ballot." (madison.com)

Related video: McGovern smacks down Job-Killer Act

Labor-state put-down for No-Vote unionism ... Let's get one thing straight: Unions have been good for Wisconsin workers. There are plenty of statistics that back up this claim, but we'll focus on one in particular: Union members last year had median weekly earnings of $886, compared with $691 for nonunion workers, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. So more unionized workers would be even better, right? Sure, but not at the expense of worker rights and not too much at the expense of the companies that provide the paychecks. We believe that the woefully misnamed Employee Free Choice Act could well hurt the very workers in Wisconsin that it professes to help. (tmcnet.com)

Union uses ugly secret-ballot to terminate bad marriage ... Thousands of union members, representing 150,000 workers, gathered today to vote on disaffiliation from the UNITE HERE International Union. Delegates and elected leaders represent workers in the apparel, textile, laundry, food service and hospitality industries, including nearly 40,000 members of the former HERE. "This vote was an important step that takes our union in the right direction," said Edgar Romney, Manager of the New York Metropolitan Area Joint Board. "Our joint board's elected leaders voted to end our affiliation with UNITE HERE. In so doing, we can move ahead toward forming a new union - one that better serves its members and one that empowers those that do not yet have a union." "Our merger with the former HERE was a total failure. Their way of operating was authoritarian, secretive, and undemocratic. John Wilhelm and his faction worked to disenfranchise the workers on the UNITE side of the union and gain control of the resources those workers helped to build," said Cristina Vazquez, Manager of the Western States Regional Joint Board. (newsblaze.com)

Jumbo, fat-cat gov't unions pitch a D.C. hissy fit ... The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the Service Employees International Union walked out of a coalition in discussions on ways to change the healthcare system, the New York Times reported. The coalition, dubbed the Healthcare Reform Dialogue, is led by American Hospital Association president Richard Umbdenstock, and includes representatives of doctors and nurses, patients and consumers, insurers, drug companies and employers. The two unions left the coalition on Friday following a conference at the White House. (modernhealthcare.com)

Union leaders blasted at memorial for Carey ... Tim Sylvester, a shop steward with the Local 804 union, surveyed the ballroom packed to remember Ron Carey. While he did so, Sylvester focused on one of the few empty chairs among a couple hundred at Saturday’s memorial, a reminder of the late union leader, who died in December. The first democratically elected president of the oft-corrupt Teamsters, Carey’s profile remains familiar to organized laborers. But those in the room called out for Carey’s spirit. They sought to exalt Carey for “putting the members first,” while denouncing current heads of the Teamsters for a Democratic Union, and Local 804, for shunning opinions below the executive level. Their fervor grew as supporters noted that Carey, in death, still has no standing in the union, and no labor leaders attended the memorial. (zwire.com)

Obama's Rush to the bottom ... During the campaign, Barack Obama drew criticism that he would look foolish as president by talking to the wrong kind of people: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad; Hugo Chávez; even Sean Penn. Instead, President Obama made himself look foolish by talking about the wrong kind of people: Rush Limbaugh. Three days after being sworn in, Mr. Obama told Republicans whom he had invited to the White House that they "can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done." That was a mistake for two reasons. First, President Obama won in November, despite the ravings of Mr. Limbaugh and the echo chamber that is right-wing talk radio. (Yes, that shriveled medium known as left-wing talk radio has its own echo chamber.) Which brings us to the second point: The president elevated Mr. Limbaugh and his medium to a level of importance they don't deserve, and sparked a distracting spat that has continued. (palmbeachpost.com)

International Collectivism

Hollywood Left genuflects to socialist dictators and killers ... The saccharine conventions of showbusiness were thrown out of the window last week, when the Hollywood actress Maria Conchita Alonso was collared by paparazzi and asked if she was pleased about her former co-star Sean Penn's recent Oscar victory. "He's an amazing actor. I can't take that away from him," she said of Penn, who worked with her on the 1988 cop film Colors. "It's just that he has no clue at all what's going on in Venezuela. He's been praising Hugo Chávez, who is a dictator and a killer. He should shut up about what he doesn't know." Alonso, who was raised in Venezuela, was apparently upset by a glowing article that Penn had written for The Nation magazine about her homeland's charismatic but increasingly dictatorial left-wing President. In normal circumstances, Alonso's interview might have been brushed under the carpet. But for the first time a Hollywood insider was saying what much of America thinks: left-wing luvvies in the movie business should wake up to the real nature of their hero. For one thing, Mr Chávez throughout his career has criticised Hollywood as a medium of American "cultural imperialism". And Penn, who since his Oscar-winning performance in Milk has become a vociferous gay rights activist, is also open to allegations of hypocrisy. The Venezuelan leader's political hero, Fidel Castro, imprisoned and executed gay men, and once declared: "In this country [Cuba] there are no homosexuals." Penn has plenty of company. On Thursday, Benicio del Toro made headlines when he took tea with Mr Chávez at his palace in Caracas. The actor, in Venezuela to promote Steven Soderbergh's film Ché, told journalists that his host was "nice" and that he'd "had a good time". Del Toro's comments caused apoplexy on the political right in the US, but lately even Democrats have been perturbed by Mr Chávez's intolerance of media criticism and political opposition. Last month, through a referendum, Mr Chavez managed to alter the constitution to allow him to run for as many terms of office as he likes, and last week he caused further ructions by nationalising a rice mill owned by the US agricultural giant Cargill. He has frequently threatened to halt all oil exports to the US, and to seize the assets of American petroleum firms with operations in Venezuela. Other Hollywood liberals face public criticism, most notably Oliver Stone, currently filming an adulatory authorised biopic of Mr Chávez. Stone could be joined in the pillory by Danny Glover, who was given $18m by Mr Chávez in 2006 to make a left-leaning film about Haiti's 19th-century leader, Toussaint Louverture. Harry Belafonte sparked outrage two years ago when he appeared on a platform with Mr Chávez to call George Bush "the greatest terrorist in the world". (independent.co.uk)

Global Communists eye U.S. release of Cuban terrorists ... Jozef Hdrlicka, president of the Communist Party of Slovakia and his accompanying delegation met, in this capital, with leaders of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC). They were received by Abelardo Alvarez Gil, member of the Secretariat and head of the Department for Officials Policy, Cuban newspaper Granma reported Saturday. Alvarez Gil thanked, on behalf of the Cuban people, the work of solidarity carried out by the Slovakian Communist Party, in particular for the support given in the battle for the liberation of the Cuban Five, antiterrorist fighters now imprisoned in the United States. The visitors highlighted how, in spite of the aggressive politics and blockade to face in these 50 years, Cuba has maintained and developed important social achievements that now represent a hope for the peoples of the world. Slovakia was represented by Communist Party vice-presidents Anna Sotakova and Peter Nishponsky and national direction member Jozef Shishka. On the Cuban part, Jorge Marti Martinez, head of the Department of International Relationships of the PCC Central Committee, and other officials. (plenglish.com)
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