4/10/09

Friday wrap

U.S. adopts Mussolini-style fascism, Alinsky cited ... A pair of socialist former auto workers, whose union has all but destroyed their industry, have recently railed on these pages against capitalism while touting the pathetic pipedream of the “workers” owning and controlling the economic system. The one, lashing out at a critic of the other, resorts to an oxymoron – “state capitalism” – in an attempt to absolve socialism of the failure of the Russian “workers’ paradise.” In my Merriam-Webster, all of the definitions of socialism, except one that might apply to a hippie commune, describe a system in which the state controls production and distribution. The lessons of history show us that socialism soon evolves into fascism. Obvious examples are Mussolini, a socialist leader who became a fascist; Hitler’s Nazi Soza (National Socialist Party); the Lenin and Stalin-engendered Union of Socialist Soviet Republics and Mao’s so-called People’s Republic of China. The closest to a “socialist role model” are the Israelis, whose indomitable resolve is protected by their “never again” mantra and American (capitalist) largesse. Meanwhile, we now have a president who interned under the disciples of socialist guru Saul Alinsky. (delawareonline.com)

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


Who is David Fenton? ... Liberals have created a powerhouse propaganda machine that helped Moveon.org smear a four-star general, promotes endless environmental scares and brags it can place its left wing themes in the nation's leading newspapers. Fenton Communications pitches for trial lawyers, collectively the largest contributors to the Democrat Party, as well as for the hard line environmental group Greenpeace; Venezuela's socialist leader Hugo Chávez; anti-war demonstrator Cindy Sheehan; and gay and abortion advocates. Its account executives arrive from such left wing outposts as the office of ultra liberal Rep. Dennis Kucinich, abortion provider Planned Parenthood, the anti-Bush ACLU, Greenpeace and the news media. Conservatives know liberals have built a powerful network of pressure groups who have entree -- where right wing groups do not -- into the newsrooms of the New York Times, Washington Post, NBC News and other left-leaning outlets. What is not well known is that Fenton Communications, founded by liberal activist David Fenton, binds the two together to produce explosive public relations campaigns that conservatives have trouble matching or rebuffing. Understanding Fenton's connections to the press, liberal Washington lawmakers, pressure groups and trial lawyers is increasingly important for conservatives if they are to emerge from their decidedly minority status in Washington. (humanevents.com)


I wish they would leave me alone



Capitalism loses favor ... This poll made our day. According to a recent Rasmussen Report, only 53 percent of American adults believe capitalism is better than socialism. Not a very good spread for the profits-before-people, greed-is-good crowd. Ayn Rand must be rolling in her grave. These numbers of course reflect the deep, transformative moment we are living in. An economic depression is a powerful force for people to experience, leading them to question the system that got us here. Then there is the 20 percent that say socialism is better than capitalism, according to Rasmussen. Another wow! Twenty-seven percent are not sure which is better. As the population gets further away from the Cold War years, the more they are open to socialism. The under 30 population is essentially divided: 37 percent prefer capitalism, 33 percent socialism and 30 percent are undecided. Thirty-somethings are a bit more supportive of the current system with 49 percent for capitalism and 26 percent for socialism. But the ones over 40 strongly favor capitalism, and just 13 percent of those believe socialism is better. What happened to the radical baby boomers?! As you may imagine, those who have money to invest chose capitalism by a 5-to-1 margin. But for the rest of us who have no money to invest – a quarter of us say socialism would be o.k. Only 40 percent of non-investors think capitalism is better. These are amazing statistics considering Rasmussen did not define either capitalism or socialism in their questions. In an earlier survey by the polling firm they found, 70 percent of Americans prefer a free-market economy. When using the term “free market economy,” Rasmussen asserts, it attracts more support than using the term “capitalism.” (pww.org)


Hearst unilaterally cancels News Union contract ... Management at the Times Union on Thursday canceled its collective bargaining agreement with a union representing about 240 of the newspaper's 450 employees. The move, announced late in the afternoon, came after nine months of negotiation with The Albany Newspaper Guild, part of the Communications Workers of America, failed to produce agreement on a new labor contract. The newspaper, owned by New York City-based Hearst Corp., had previously given the union 30 days' notice of its intention to terminate the agreement. Publisher George R. Hearst III on Thursday said the termination notice was given to spur negotiations toward a new contract. The decision to cancel the agreement came "after making every effort to reach an agreement at the bargaining table," he said. The contract cancellation comes as the newspaper tries to cut costs by at least 20 percent, which Hearst has said will require a reduction in the size of the newspaper's staff. Such cuts are not unusual as many newspapers and other media outlets struggle with revenue decreases caused, in part, by Internet competition and the recession. Central issues in the Times Union-Newspaper Guild negotiations have been the newspaper's desire to lay off workers outside of seniority rules and whether the company can outsource some jobs. "We currently have no ability to consider the business needs of the Times Union," Hearst said. (timesunion.com)


GOP hopeful drinks Hoffa's Kool Aid ... U.S. Rep. Peter Hoekstra, a Republican candidate for governor, said he would oppose a ballot issue to make Michigan a right-to-work state. "It would be very divisive, I think it would scare away investors for another year and a half as Michigan went through that struggle as to whether we would or would not be a right-to-work state," Hoekstra said this morning. "I think it would be a bad idea to put that on a ballot. I don't know if it would pass or not." He added, "I probably would not vote for it." Right-to-work laws give workers the option of whether to join unions that have collective bargaining agreements with employers. Hoekstra said he has had good relations with organized labor, particularly the Teamsters union. (freep.com)


Obamunism permutations ... An "-isms" arms race is under way in America. Turn on cable news or talk radio and you're likely to hear a conservative host, right-wing pundit, or Republican elected official accuse President Obama and the Democratic Congress of just about every "-ism" in the book. Socialism, Marxism, Leninism, fascism, Nazism, Stalinism, Maoism -- few, if any, "-isms" have been spared as the right escalates its daily verbal assault on the progressive agenda. In fact, according to a search of broadcasts on TVEyes.com, since Obama's inauguration in January, these terms and others like them have been thrown around on cable news at least 3,000 times. Take the third most-listened-to radio voice in America, San Francisco's Michael Savage, who recently called Obama "a neo-Marxist fascist dictator in the making." That's one of the kinder things Savage has said of the president during his daily three-hour hatefest. He's also claimed that the "radical left," including Obama, "dream[s]" of "Maoist revolution" with "death camps" and that Obama appointees "actually have almost the same exact policies as the Nazi Party did." (enewspf.com)


Rep. Neil Abercrombie placed on Dirty Money Watch ... WHO: Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii), a co-sponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act (aka Card Check) WHAT: Abercrombie received the following dirty money: Communication Workers of America (PAC) $3,300 in 2008 election cycle; $8,100 in 2006 election cycle. Boilermakers Union (PAC) $10,000 in 2008 election cycle; $6,500 in 2006 election cycle. American Federation of Government Employees (PAC) $3,800 in 2008 election cycle; $1,000 in 2006 election cycle. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (PAC) $10,000 in 2008 cycle, $7,500 in 2006 cycle. The Service Employees International Union (PAC) $1,000 in 2008 cycle. PMA Group (PAC) $2,000 in 2008 election cycle; $3,000 in 2006 election cycle. WHY IT’S DIRTY: Multiple members of these unions, including several division presidents and secretary-treasurers, have been convicted since 2001 of felonies ranging from embezzlement, falsifying official reports to government, mail fraud and conspiracy. Those convicted include at least 10 members of the Boilermakers and 14 IBEW members. The amounts of embezzled funds ranged from just over $5,000 to over $100,000. The PMA Group (Paul Magliocchetti and Associates) was primarily a defense lobbying group based in Washington D.C. and closely associated with Rep. John Murtha, D-PA. The firm’s main office was raided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) last year. In total, PMA Group's employees and its political action committee have given current members of Congress $3.4 million since 1989, with 79 percent of that going to Democrats, according to OpenSecrets.org. WILL ABERCROMBIE GIVE IT BACK? Abercrombie did not respond to an Examiner request for comment. (washingtonexaminer.com)


The ACORN Census



Imposing debt burdens future generations ... Gov. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), widely seen as a conservative dark horse candidate for the 2012 Republican nomination, is going on the air with a national TV ad explaining his opposition to deficit spending as a way out of the recession. “Going further into debt will not solve a problem that was caused by too much debt,” says the ad running under the aegis of “Carolinians for Reform,” and just put online. “We’ve proposed a budget that responsibly addresses our state’s critical needs without more debt. To get there, we have to restructure the broken ways that our government operates.”





Supremes smack down SEIU over mandatory arbitration ... In a reactionary, pro-business ruling that reverses decades of settled law, the Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 last week that workers lose their right to file federal discrimination lawsuits under the 1964 Civil Rights Act whenever a union collective bargaining agreement includes a mandatory arbitration clause. Mandatory arbitration means that a party agreeable to the company rather than a federal court and jury will decide a dispute, and can do so without making findings of fact or explaining reasons for the decision. There is no right to an appeal, even where the arbitrator disregards the applicable law. Such clauses have become ubiquitous, as businesses insist on compelling arbitration to keep from being hauled in front of juries and forced to defend their actions. With last week’s Supreme Court decision, it is now the rule that contracts negotiated by union bureaucrats trump federal laws enacted to protect against workplace discrimination. The plaintiffs in the case, 14 Penn Plaza, LLC v. Pyett, were security guards represented by Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 32BJ, which had a collective bargaining agreement with a consortium of New York City commercial landlords. The contract contained a provision to force workers to arbitrate their federal discrimination claims along with alleged violations of the contract itself, such as seniority provisions and work rules. (wsws.org)


Judge rules for SEIU, against rival upstart ... A U.S. District Court judge in Oakland issued a temporary restraining order Wednesday against former leaders of Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West to return all information, files and property belonging to the union. The ruling comes in response to a lawsuit filed by SEIU-UHW against its former leaders and the National Union for Healthcare Workers, formed the day after SEIU assumed control of the local and fired them. The court concluded that when SEIU threatened to impose trusteeship, the former leaders “embarked on a vigorous resistance strategy, including a plan to disrupt union operations so as to make the situation ungovernable.” When SEIU took control, they walked away and formed the new union. They also took or hid materials, including grievance and collective bargaining files SEIU needs to run the union, court documents allege. “Forming a new union after the fact, of course, was lawful,” U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup states in the ruling. “What was not lawful, however, was filching or sabotaging the UHW property and information or aiding and abetting others in doing so.” The ruling says the former leaders must return all physical property or information — and that they “may only use what they happen to have remembered.” The court demanded $50,000 bond by noon April 14 and return of all documents and information by noon April 16. (bizjournals.com)
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