4/3/09

Friday wrap

SEIU admits typical, wanton violation of election law, ethics ... Chula Vista's city attorney is investigating whether a city phone line and building were used to campaign for the Proposition A sales-tax ballot measure, which would violate state law. Residents told city officials they received calls from campaign workers seeking support for Chula Vista's proposed sales tax rate increase and that caller ID showed the calls were coming from a city phone line, said Councilman John McCann. He said City Attorney Bart Miesfeld is investigating. The state's government code prohibits the use of public resources, such as office equipment or staff time, for campaigning. Possible penalties range from fines to jail time. Although no penalties for a violation would come from the City Attorney's office, city officials are concerned that if the measure passes, it could be challenged, said Assistant City Attorney Mike Shirey. Multiple calls to Miesfeld were not returned. McCann said the Service Employees International Union, parent organization for the Chula Vista Employees Association, wrote a check yesterday to the city to reimburse it for the phone costs. He did not know the amount of the check. “After the fact, they're going to write a check,” McCann said. “That shows they were wrong.” (signonsandiego.com)


Enormous union slush-fund, tax-cheating exposed ... Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) today announced the results of a new study, conducted by George Mason University’s John M. Olin Institute for Employment Practice and Policy, showing that from 2000 to 2007, construction labor unions spent more than $1 billion in union wages to underbid nonunion contractors in a practice called “job targeting.” In job targeting programs, also known as market recovery funds, organized labor officials collect fees from union members and then funnel that money to union contractors – and in a few cases, nonunion contractors – to compete on projects on which they would otherwise not be competitive. “The study documents the lengths to which unions have gone to hide these slush funds, raising serious questions about how their contributions are being treated for tax purposes and, consequently, whether these programs may be adversely affecting tax revenues at the federal, state and local levels,” said Jim Elmer, ABC 2009 chairman-elect and president of James W. Elmer Construction Co., Spokane, Wash. “There is no reason on earth why unions should be able to use job targeting programs – which are nothing short of using kickbacks from a slush fund – to give them an unfair advantage over their competition,” said Elmer. “The bottom line is that job targeting hurts U.S. workers, taxpayers and the economy, and it’s a practice that should be stopped.” (amerisurv.com)


Collectivist, fascistic MSM in the tank ... You wouldn’t know it by watching television news or thumbing through the newspaper but a backlash of opposition to tax-and-spend solutions has been increasing in both momentum and size since early this year. Conservatives, libertarians and a smattering of disgruntled Democrats are already aware that gatherings around the country have been occurring to voice their concern about a juggernaut of legislation that is being passed and enacted without much deliberation. People in the Orlando area were some of those fortunate to benefit from media coverage of the 4,000+ person Tea Party on March 21st, but the vast majority of the Tea Party gatherings have come and gone only to disappear down the memory hole. They have been documented only by their attendees and discussed over coffee or in Internet forums. It is precisely the lack of centralized planning that preserves the Tea Parties’ genuine grass roots pedigree but hamstrings any progress toward the goal of any protest movement: getting the message out to people beyond those directly involved. Groups like ACORN or large unions draw upon paid volunteers and a Rolodex brimming with media contacts to achieve critical mass. So far, Tea Parties have spread the word through social networks available on the Internet such as Twitter, Facebook and host of Ning-supported networks like Smart Girl Politics and America c2c. Despite the apocryphal principle of six degrees of separation, grass roots efforts need media exposure before they can affect the behavior of politicians. Popular opinion follows what is perceived to be the majority opinion, and that perception will never be created without significant exposure in the mainstream media. (examiner.com)




Ayn Rand saw it coming ... Another Tea Party expressing the public’s opposition to President Obama’s fraudulent stimulus package is scheduled for Wednesday, April 15, at 4:30 p.m. in downtown Asheville. The rally will be in the City-County Plaza, and there are several nearby parking garages. Attendance at these non-partisan rallies is increasing as more people become aware of the outrageous spending in Obama’s budget and stimulus package, as well as his ill-advised attempts to control the management of banks, insurance companies and automobile manufacturers. If Obama’s firing of GM’s CEO doesn’t motivate you to protest, nothing will. No public figures will be speaking at the rally in Asheville. Instead, several local private citizens will express their concerns, including a Democrat, a Republican and a Libertarian. You can get more information by visiting www.ashevilleteaparty.com. One Tea Party supporter has created an excellent six-minute video with scenes from prior gatherings (http://tinyurl.com/cehsya). The video ends with the well known oath of John Galt, one of the heroes in the 1957 novel Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, to wit “I swear — by my life and my love of it — that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.” (blueridgenow.com)

Related video: We The People




U.S. adopts Obama's grandiose collectivism ... In domestic affairs, however, in the economy, Mr. Obama's actions since February have left him not so much more deeply defined as tagged. They can arguably be understood not as a conglomeration of moderate impulses but an expression of a kind of grandiosity. He thinks big! His plans are all-encompassing! There is so much busyness, and so much spending, that journalists have been in an unofficial race to keep track of the flurry of numbers. From Bloomberg News this week: "The U.S. government and the Federal Reserve have spent or lent or committed $12.8 trillion" in new pledges. This they note is almost the value of everything the United States produced last year. The price tag comes to $42,105 for every man, woman and child in the U.S. I happened to be rereading the economics section of Mr. Obama's second book, "The Audacity of Hope," [N.B. Ghost-written by Bill Ayers?] when I read the Bloomberg story. Mr. Obama scores President Bush for contributing to a national debt that amounted to a $30,000 bill for each American. Those were the days! The tagging was done, definitively, by an increasingly impressive (because unusually serious and sincere) member of the U.S. Senate, who happens also to be Mr. Obama's friend. Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican, has been close with the Illinois Democrat since their Senate orientation in 2004; he's the man the president hugged after his big joint sessions speech last month. Thursday, in a column on RealClearPolitics.com, Mr. Coburn wrote, "I believe President Obama has proposed the most significant shift toward collectivism and away from capitalism in the history of our republic. I believe his budget aspires to not merely promote economic recovery but to lay the groundwork for sweeping expansions of government authority in areas like health care, energy and even daily commerce. If handled poorly, I'm concerned this budget could turn our government into the world's largest health care provider, mortgage bank or car dealership, among other things." (wsj.com)


SEIU furious as Arizona corrects Napolitano's P2P order against worker-choice ... Gov. Jan Brewer issued an executive order on Thursday wiping out efforts to bolster union authority for state employees. The order renders moot a December directive by then-Gov. Janet Napolitano, a Democrat, to give union representatives the ability to meet and confer with agency directors about issues such as workplace conditions and disciplinary matters. More than 5,000 state employees had petitioned for representation under the Napolitano directive, according to the Service Employees International Union. But Brewer saw the union specter as a threat to Arizona's right-to-work prohibition against mandatory union membership as a condition of employment. "It was long ago decided by the citizens of Arizona to provide protection in the Arizona Constitution to ensure the freedom of workers to choose whether to join and participate in a union," Brewer, a Republican, said in a statement. She became governor after Napolitano's resignation in January to join the Obama administration. Additionally, Brewer argued that meet-and-confer union authority would expose the state to lawsuits, and her executive order suggested that it would hamper "efficient and responsive state government." Not so, said Scott Washburn, Service Employees International Union director. He called Brewer's rationale "incoherent," and added, "meet-and-confer has nothing to do with right-to-work." (azcentral.com)


Kids learn labor arithmetic: 'Sneaky' teachers union operatives add insult to injury ... Teachers’ union leaders, bent on unseating school board incumbents, have used $21,000 from the association’s general fund to support campaign efforts for challengers, tripling their prior political action budget without informing members, according to reports, the union’s president and members of the group’s representative council. The move, although lawful, has sparked concerns among union members who feel that leaders have abused their privileges by taking $21,204 for political purposes from the operating budget, without informing members of the action or telling them why the step had been taken. Asked about whether the Glendale Teachers Assn. had moved the money without informing its members, President Allen Freemon initially refused to discuss specifics of the union’s campaign efforts. “There will be a full accounting to ensure the members know everything that is done once the campaign’s over,” he said. But when confronted with official campaign disclosure reports that list the union’s $21,204 contribution to its political action committee, Freemon explained the allocation, which dwarfed the total of $4,714 the committee received between Jan. 1 and Feb. 26, according to the statements. “We forwarded $21,000 in advance of the dues that we would receive through this year, and this is a common practice that’s been done many times,” he said. The umbrella California Teachers Assn. has previously “front-loaded” political committee budgets by borrowing against future dues and has done so without the approval of its members because such moves are not against the group’s rules, said Frank Wells, a communications consultant for the organization. But when the state union made those decisions, it notified its members, something that leaders of Glendale’s association have not done, said Sandra Fink, who was Freemon’s predecessor as president from 2003 to 2005 and is a union member. “I should have the right to say, ‘No,’ when it comes to how my money is being spent, especially when it’s tied to politics and supporting or not supporting an issue or a candidate,” Fink said. The association allows members to opt out of political contributions, she said. By taking money from the general fund, union leaders have gained financial support for political actions from members who would not have supported the move and who don’t know that it happened. “Well, now that they’ve used the dues money for political action, how do they justify to those people who have chosen to opt out?” Fink said, later adding, “If this came to a vote where the members of the representative council had an opportunity to vote on it and the members agreed, then I can support the issue, but if no one gets told and no one has a chance to voice their opinion on it, then I have a problem.” The decision was seen as “wrong” by other former union leaders. “While it may not be illegal, I think it’s unethical because it’s sneaky,” said Gerald Lancaster, who was the union’s secretary-treasurer for three years and a six-year member of its executive board before he grew opposed to its aggressive tactics and left in 2006. “It lacks character,” Lancaster said of the decision to borrow union funds without asking its membership. “It really lacks openness.” (glendalenewspress.com)


SEIU front-group picks, freezes, personalizes, polarizes Rite-Aid ... A group of protesters rallied outside a Bangor Rite-Aid store Thursday, to condemn what they say is the company's abuse of worker rights. Members of "Food and Medicine," based in Brewer, waved signs outside the Rite Aid at the corner of Union and Fourteenth Streets. They say the Rite Aid corporation has threatened and fired employees who wanted to unionize. Almost a year ago, Rite Aid employees voted to join a union, but according to Food and Medicine, the company has delayed reaching a contract with workers. The protesters held signs asking Mainers to urge Congress to support the so-called Employee Free Choice Act. (wabi.tv)

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


SEIU militants in rolling strike v. Red Cross ... Barrie Red Cross homecare workers hit the picket line today (Thursday) for a local one-day strike. Members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) have been holding rotating strikes across the province since March 24, demanding their travel expenses be paid. "We have been trying to get this through negotiations, and lobbying the provincial government on the issue," said Cathy Carroll, secretary-treasurer from Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1. "Essentially, they have to travel between their clients and they aren't paid for it." While the homecare workers are paid mileage, they are not paid for the time spent on the road. Carroll said they should be compensated. (barrieadvance.com)


D.C. organizers weigh News Union bailout ... Editor & Publisher looks at the list of solutions being proposed to the newspaper industry’s troubles and adds a new one into the mix: the Low-Profit Limited Liability Company, or L3C. An L3C “is a corporation that qualifies as a charity under IRS rules but runs as a for-profit business,” Mark Fitzgerald explains, and it’s gathering momentum as a rescue strategy among various chapters of the Newspaper Guild. That’s right: The Newspaper Guild may get into the business of running newspapers, if only to save its membership from annihilation. An L3C is allowed to take investments from charities and nonprofits because it has a “social benefit.” This new kind of nonprofit is now permitted in several states and the Guild “is lobbying for federal legislation - expected to be introduced later this spring - that would explicitly include newspapers among businesses that have a ’social benefit.’” Apparently, the thinking is that a lot of newspapers are going to come on the market selling at pennies on the dollar this year and this new tax structure would allow owners to spread out ownership among a great many entities, including businesses like printing press makers and auto dealers who have a vested interest in maintaining the business. Foundations would also be able to treat their donations as investments that could earn a return. Another school of thought is to tear down antitrust rules that prevent newspapers from cooperating on fixing prices, E&P says. This could be a solution to the “content wants to be free” problem: If newspaper owners can legally collude to set prices and licensing fees for their content, then they can conceivably reverse the tide and charge for their product. One thread is clear throughout the feature, though: No one is seriously arguing that newspapers should be publicly supported like National Public Radio. (newspaperdeathwatch.com)


Union-backed House Baron threatens to follow through with probe of union-backed fraud group ... Just last year Conyers defended ACORN, describing it as ”a longstanding and well regarded organization that fights for the poor and working class.” But that was before the damning congressional testimony of GOP lawyer Heather Heidelbaugh about ACORN’s protest-for-hire services and the “muscle for the money” program. Much of the evidence against ACORN comes from whistleblower Anita MonCrief, a former employee of ACORN’s affiliate, Project Vote. As anyone who has been following the ACORN story knows, ACORN and Project Vote are joined at the hip. As investigative reporter Robert Stacy McCain has noted, the ties between ACORN, Project Vote and the 2008 Obama campaign were so close that the New York Times spiked a story that editors thought might harm Obama’s chances of winning the White House. (canadafreepress.com)


Sen. Jay Rockefeller placed on Dirty Money Watch ... WHO: Sen. John Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), a co-sponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act (aka Card Check). WHAT: Rockefeller received the following dirty money: Communication Workers of America (PAC) $10,000 in 2008 election cycle. Boilermakers Union (PAC) $4,000 in 2008 election cycle. American Federation of Government Employees (PAC) $3,000 in 2008 election cycle; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (PAC) $5,000 in 2006 election cycle. United Steelworkers of America (PAC) $10,000 in 2008 election cycle. Service Employees International Union (PAC) $10,000 in 2008 election cycle. PMA Group (PAC) $1,000 in 2008 election cycle. WHY IT’S DIRTY: At least eight members of these unions including several division presidents, secretary-treasurers and business managers have been convicted since 2001 of felonies ranging from embezzlement, falsifying official reports to government, mail fraud and conspiracy. The Boilermakers have had at least 10 of its members convicted and the IBEW has had at least 14. The amounts of embezzled funds range from over $5,000 to over $100,000. PMA Group (Paul Magliocchetti and Associates) was primarily a defense lobbying group based in Washington D.C. that was raided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) last year. In total, PMA Group's employees and its political action committee gave current members of Congress $3.4 million since 1989, with 79 percent of that going to Democrats, according to OpenSecrets.org. WILL ROCKEFELLER GIVE IT BACK? Sen. Rockefeller did not respond to a phone call requesting comment. (washingtonexaminer.com)


Long-running D.C. reverse-Robin Hood scheme tags new victims ... Does anyone else feel like you have been robbed? My IRA funds are down more than 50 percent over the past year; my stocks have fallen 25 percent since November; the stock market, until just recently, was at its lowest point since 1997; and, finally, my home value is down more than 30 percent. In the meantime, the greatest destroyers of wealth ever - Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Barack Obama - rushed to spend the taxpayers' money on bailouts, a so-called "stimulus" plan and earmarks to an omnibus budget, putting my grandchildren at risk with more than $2 trillion in new debt in just 50 days. Quoting the late Dr. Adrian Rogers, a conservative author, "You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else." We members of the middle class, who pay more than 60 percent of the total tax burden, also have been lied to regarding pledges not to raise our taxes. The so-called "cap-and-trade" taxes on carbon emissions will cost us all a great deal more money for power, transportation, food and anything else related to energy production. A recent MIT study shows that the average family will pay $1,600 to $3,000 more per year for power under President Obama's proposal. (newschief.com)


Picketing labor-state unionists miffed by bankruptcy ... Around 50 union members protested a two-year wage freeze and loss of pension funding outside an auto parts company in North Bergen that recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Members of the Retail Warehouse and Department Store Union and representatives of affiliated unions demonstrated in front of Strauss Auto on Kennedy Boulevard near 24th Street in the morning. Strauss Auto has three stores in Hudson County, in North Bergen, Jersey City and Harrison, and more than 80 stores in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The union had been negotiating a new contract with management since its last one ended in August, when the company made a new offer after filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection. (nj.com)


Union political power creates labor-state economic wreck ... Nobody who knows me or has read my MidWeek columns over the past 21 years could accuse me of being anti-union. I'm just against some things that unions do, or want to do. For instance, I strongly oppose that union card-check proposal before Congress. President Barack Obama and Hawaii’s U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie are supporters because the labor unions have backed their political careers. But taking away the secret ballot in union elections is a travesty. The reasons given to support the proposal are bogus. That's just fact - and that’s why the bill has now stalled in Congress. I don't like some of the things that management has done over the years to appease labor and avoid strikes at any cost. That's what did in United Airlines. Its management never confronted the Machinists Union and gave in every time. In the end UAL went into bankruptcy and everyone who held its stock (the workers among them) lost everything. Now we see where those enviable wage and benefits contracts between General Motors and the United Auto Workers are headed - probably into organized bankruptcy in which the union will have to bow and holders of stock and bonds could be wiped out. We see the same mentality in Hawaii. I don't begrudge state and county workers good wages and adequate health and pension benefits, but how much is enough? Very few people in the private sector at a similar pay grade can secure similar vacation, sick days, bumping-at-same-pay and other long-term benefits such as perpetual health care. (hawaiireporter.com)


Forced-labor unionism plagues Michigan ... Steve Moore, Co-author, "The End of Prosperity": It is such a tragedy. And, Greta, like you, I am a Midwesterner like you. I know you're from Wisconsin. I am from Illinois. I love the Midwest and I love the rugged, individualist, hard hat spirit of the people in the Midwest, especially a state like Michigan. But what's happened in that state - and, by the way, this is an amazing statistic. About 10 to 12 years ago when John Engler was governor, Michigan was one of the leading job creators. And now it is, of course, losing jobs. I think they lose about one job every six minutes in Michigan. It is just a tragic story, and I think it is a result of too much regulation, overspending, high taxes, and also, Michigan is not a right to work state. And so a lot of factories have moved out of Michigan to states like Tennessee and Texas and Florida. (foxnews.com)


Militant machinists still on strike ... Close to 70 union workers at the SK Tool factory remained on strike today due to an ongoing labor dispute with the company. Represented by International Machinists Union Local 1356, the workers are disputing wage and benefits in connection with the company's latest contract offer. Workers picketing Wednesday included Brian Fox, Joe Thompson, John Hanson and Devin White. The union workers plan to picket 24 hours per day in six-hour shifts until the strike is over. (crescent-news.com)


International Collectivism

Global collectivist takeover exposed



Darfur genocide: Obama, Chávez on the same page ... Omar al-Bashir, the president of Sudan, is succeeding admirably in making a mockery of the International Criminal Court. The court issued a warrant for his arrest a month ago, on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, for the part played by the Sudanese government in the slaughter in Darfur, where up to 300,000 people have been killed. Bashir has paid no attention, travelling regularly. This week he attended an Arab summit in Qatar, and has gone on from there to Saudi Arabia, where he is visiting Mecca. At the same time, President Barack Obama's new envoy has arrived in Khartoum, urging "stronger relations" with Sudan: "The United States and Sudan want to be partners and so we are looking for opportunities for us to build a stronger bilateral relationship," Scott Gration said on the first day of his visit to Sudan. "I come here with my hands open and it would be up to the Sudanese government to determine how they want to continue with that relationship. Hopefully it will be with hands open and friendship," he told journalists. And Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez, always eager to annoy the United States, says he has invited Bashir to visit Caracas. (nationalpost.com)


Chávez cracks down on opposition ... Former Venezuelan defence minister Raúl Baduel has been arrested on charges of corruption. For many years, Mr Baduel was a close associate of President Hugo Chávez, but he left the defence ministry in 2007. He has been playing a major role in the opposition ever since. Opposition leader Manuel Rosales has reportedly gone into hiding. He has also been indicted in a corruption case and fears he will not receive a fair trial because he is opposed to President Chávez. (radionetherlands.nl)


Latin leftist tyrant subdues oppressive U.S. capitalist ... U.S. food giant Cargill Inc. will be forced to turn over a Venezuelan rice processing plant following the publication of a nationalization decree enacted by President Hugo Chávez. The decree became law after its publication in the Official Gazette distributed Thursday. It will be followed by negotiations for the takeover. Last month, Chávez ordered the expropriation of Cargill's rice processing plant in Portuguesa state because the company allegedly failed to distribute rice at prices imposed by the government. Cargill spokesman Mark Klein in Minneapolis, Minnesota said at the time the company would respect the president's decision. He said Cargill wanted to clarify the situation. (pr-inside.com)


Venezuela's Miss Universe smacked down by Chavistas ... Miss Universe Dayana Mendoza took down the post on her blog about her “fun” visit to the US Guantanamo Naval Base and replaced it with a statement from Paula M. Shugart, the head of the Miss Universe organization. (http://www.missuniverse.com/missuniverse/blog.php) The case is a good example how some good times involving a couple beauty queens and a slew of soldiers can turn sour if human rights and other political issues are unwittingly mixed in. Mendoza traveled to the occupied Cuban territory with Miss USA Crystle Stewart. Together they visited bars, beaches and took boat and land excursions with the troops. They also got to see some tricks from the “cute” military dogs used to break hapless prisoners. “We visited the detainee camps and we saw the jails, where they shower, how the recreate themselves with movies, classes of art, books. It was very interesting,” said Mendoza who grew up in Venezuela but has lived in the US as a model for several years. When it was time to go Mendoza, said: “I didn’t want to leave; it was such a relaxing place, so calm and beautiful.” (havanatimes.org)


Striking gov't unionists shut down Greece ... Greece will be paralyzed again on Thursday due to the latest of a series of 24-hour strikes staged by the two largest syndicates in the country. Civil servants, employees in the state tax administration, insurance funds, local governments and the teachers will take part in the demonstrations. They will be joined by the employed in the public transportation, state-run hospitals, public enterprises, banks, private sector and the journalists. (mrt.com.mk)


Latin communists huddle ... Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega is to begin Thursday a working visit to Cuba, on an invitation by his Cuban counterpart, Raul Castro, Granma newspaper reported. Ortega's agenda includes a meeting with the Cuban statesman, the daily stated. Daniel Ortega, general secretary of the Sandinista Front for National Liberation since 1999, started his second mandate in 2007. He was president of his country from 1984 to 1990. The Sandinista leader has fostered Nicaragua's entry to the Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of Our America, a regional integration initiative his country shares with Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Dominica and Honduras. (escambray.cu)


'Che' flops ... I came across a synopsis of "Che: Part Two" on the Web site for Yahoo! movies and it said, "Through this story, we come to understand how Che remains a symbol of idealism and heroism that lives in the hearts of people around the world." At first this was difficult for me to understand because after the success of the Cuban Revolution, Ernesto "Che" Guevara left his family, his friends and a country in which he was beloved to organize another revolution in a country to which he had no visible connection. To some, this may look like a man obsessed with violence, war, and power. This film suffers from the fact that Soderbergh's film was split in two because it was far too long for commercial audiences to endure in one sitting. It doesn't help that the first hour of the two hour and 15 minute film is extremely slow moving. (marquettetribune.org)
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