4/17/09

Friday wrap

Bloggers expose Obama 1970's-style paranoia ... Republicans on Wednesday said a Homeland Security Department intelligence assessment unfairly characterizes military veterans as right-wing extremists. House Republican leader John Boehner described the report as offensive and called on the agency to apologize to veterans. The agency's intelligence assessment, sent to law enforcement officials last week, warns that right-wing extremists could use the bad state of the U.S. economy and the election of the country's first black president to recruit members. The assessment also said that returning military veterans who have difficulties assimilating back into their home communities could be susceptible to extremist recruiters or might engage in lone acts of violence. "To characterize men and women returning home after defending our country as potential terrorists is offensive and unacceptable," said Boehner, R-Ohio. The commander of the veterans group the American Legion, David Rehbein, wrote to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano expressing concern with the assessment, which made its way into the mainstream press after conservative bloggers got wind of the analysis. (washingtonexaminer.com)


Never Again: Union operative fights feverishly against voter-approved anti-corruption Amendment ... “You don’t want to make constitutional changes without seriously vetting the proposals,” Friednash said. “If there are fundamental problems [with an amendment], we’re basically stuck with it. We can’t fix it.” Friednash is presently representing anti-Amendment 54 plaintiffs challenging the clean government amendment passed last November, which concerns campaign contributions and, according to supporters of the amendment, aims to combat pay-to-play political corruption. The action following the amendment’s passage is a sort of suspended animation, as the amendment goes into effect at the same time the suit to prevent it goes forward. (coloradoindependent.com)


Gov't unions pour dues-cash into Dem coffers ... The first-quarter fundraising reports are in, and according to the data made available so far, Democrats are not taking their majority status for granted but are instead raising millions to defend their most threatened seats in both the House and Senate. House Democrats list as vulnerable about 40 first- and second-term members, and the initial reports indicated those representatives were busy collecting enough cash to protect their typically swing-district turf. Rep. Dan Maffei, D-N.Y., for instance, raised $436,000, an impressive amount for a freshman. Rep. Zack Space, D-Ohio, who will be fighting for a third term in a district that had been held for years by a Republican, raised $410,000 in the first quarter, according to campaign documents filed with the Federal Election Commission. (washingtonexaminer.com)


Dems term tax protesters 'Nazi' extremists ... The suggestions that these tea parties are driven by DC-based groups is laughable; Liz Mair takes a critical look and concludes the charge is baseless. Besides the points that Mair makes, it's worth noting that while there have been dozens of tea parties, few have featured conservative candidates or representatives of DC think tanks and lobbying groups. As far as the charge that these rallies are composed of Nazis and terrorists, that's hard to reconcile with the pictures of participants. There are too many young children and grandparents. Further, even a strong Obama supporter like Susan Roesgen didn't turn up any violent types at the Chicago Tea Party, despite her best attempt to provoke a strong reaction. There probably aren't many Democrats who genuinely believe the charges levied by their leadership. Nate Silver guesstimates that about 250,000 people have attended the tea parties - so far. Do Ms. Pelosi and other Democrat leaders think they're all neo-nazis? If this is a conversation they want to have, however, perhaps Ms. Pelosi can explain the role of Marxists and North Korean sympathizers in the U.S. anti-war movement, or discuss how George Soros bought such influence in the Democratic party. It's not a debate that would help Democrats, since it's relatively easy to show the role of fringe extremists in the Democratic grassroots. (weeklystandard.com)

Related videos: Founding Bloggers rip CNN

Susan Roesgen takes a different tone



Fascism misunderstood, protest should be silenced ... Tea parties are not the way to show our patriotism. Paying taxes is, and I should remind everyone that 95 percent of the people are getting a tax cut, but maybe the ones that organized the tea party are the remaining 5 percent. And it is much easier to follow than to lead. If we don't pay taxes, who will pay the troops to safeguard us or educate the children or provide health care? Before we use words we should know what they really mean. If people think this is fascism, they probably should move to a real fascist country to have a taste of totalitarianism. (mercedsunstar.com)

Related video: ACORN busted at Dayton Tea Party



GOP attempts to infiltrate Tea Party activism rejected ... Republican officials were trying to figure out how they could tap into this new force in American politics, as many of the protesters and local organizers said they did not identify with the main national parties. Republican Party strategists were already warning of the dangers if they failed to respond effectively. "This is an opportunity for the Republicans or an opportunity lost, depending on how quickly they act," said John Brabender, a Republican Party campaign strategist. "If Republicans don't take advantage of this opportunity, you are looking at the real birth of a third party in this country." (washingtontimes.com)


Cynical congressional pro-union thugs exposed ... Former President Bush's "No Child Left Behind," "Clear Skies Initiative," and "Healthy Forests" laws were all criticized for doing the exact opposite of what the names led voters to believe. According to many on the left side of the political spectrum, they could have more aptly been named "Some Children Left Behind," the "Mercury Polluters' Relief Act," and the "Clearcutters' Stimulus Bill." While historians and political scientists will continue to debate the merits of Bush's legacy for years to come, the practice of titling a piece of legislation with a phrase that stands in stark opposition to its intended effect is still alive and kicking. The "Employee Free Choice Act," which President Obama and the overwhelmingly Democratic U.S. Congress support, has the stated goal of "allowing employees to make their own decision about whether they want to bargain together ... without the threat or fear of harassment and retribution and fear of losing their livelihood," according to the Democrats on the U.S. House Committee on Education & Labor. If they told the truth, it would be called the "Sign Up or We'll Break Your Kneecaps Act." (thewestgeorgian.com)


Obama refuses capitalist payback ... The bank allowed to return funds, Shore Bancshares of Easton, Md. will repay its $25 million taxpayer loan Thursday, bank CEO Moorhead Vermilye told CNSNews.com. Shore wanted to return the money because it felt persecuted by Congress and the administration, said Vermilye. “We have heard, we got approved, we’re paying it back today,” said Vermilye. The biggest reason for returning the funds, he said, was the public perception that the banks taking TARP money were weak banks that were getting bailed out. “Number two, they [Treasury] changed the rules after the game had started and made the rules retroactive,” said Vernilye. “The basic feeling was that Congress might change these rules anytime they felt like changing them.” TCF Financial, based in Wayzata, Minn., also thinks that Congress has changed the rules and would like to return taxpayers’ money as soon as possible. However, according to TCF spokesman Jason Korstange, the Treasury Department has not approved the return yet, nor have they told TCF why they are taking so long. Korstange explained that Treasury had originally invited TCF to apply for TARP funds, saying it wanted the participation of healthy banks to mitigate the shock to the financial system from the failure of large firms like Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns. TCF agreed, wanting to do its civic duty by aiding the government in keeping the nation’s hobbled financial industry going. “They came to all the banks,” said Korstange. “They did come to us and suggested that it would be a good idea, that if you didn’t take it you would be looked on as a bank that couldn’t get it, that you were too bad to get it. “It made sense to do it at that time. We thought we were being good citizens. We didn’t need the money,” Korstange added. (cnsnews.com)


Socialist mess easy to create ... The administration is crushing capitalism one omnibus bill after the other, and the media issues a yawn. They shred the North American Free Trade Agreement over ties with the Teamsters and the Obamabots turn up the volume on American Idol. Is this country deaf, dumb, blind, or all three? We have elected a man who shows no understanding about the historical importance of the free market system and creates situations of class warfare to distract from his own incompetence. It will be generations before we can clean up the mess Mr. Obama has created in less than 90 days. (timesunion.com)


FDR complicit in unions' ugly history of force, violence ... For decades, labor unions struggled for power, but until the 1930s they had made little headway. Unions were based on force and violence, which repelled a substantial number of employees as well as employers. The aim had been to raise the wages of members above market levels, but this was only possible if they went on strike, forcibly prevented employers from hiring other employees, shut down businesses, and ultimately forced employers to accept union demands. Union bosses talked about securing the “right to strike,” but they didn’t mean the right to quit which everybody already had. In practice, the “right to strike” meant the right to forcibly prevent others from filling jobs that strikers had left. Union bosses proclaimed the ideal of “collective bargaining,” even described this as the essence of “industrial democracy,” but what they sought was compulsory unionism — a labor market monopoly. They weren’t satisfied if some of a company’s employees chose to join one union, while others joined another union, and still others continued to bargain individually on their own. Union bosses demanded a “closed shop” that made union membership a condition of employment. When unions were violent, courts sometimes provided equity relief by issuing injunctions to stop the violence. Often injunctions prodded police to do their job of protecting life and limb. Historian Howard Dickman reported, “the lion’s share of injunction cases involved physical coercion of the nasty variety.” On March 23, 1932, President Herbert Hoover signed into law the Norris-LaGuardia Anti-Injunction Act. Among other things, Norris-LaGuardia exempted labor unions from the Sherman Antitrust Act. Even when unions used violence in an effort to stop production or stop the interstate shipment of goods, they couldn’t be prosecuted under the Sherman Act for acting “in restraint of trade.” Moreover, Norris-LaGuardia declared that federal courts couldn’t protect companies and non-union members from labor union violence by issuing injunctions to cease and desist. New York Senator Robert F. Wagner, Sr. introduced a bill to promote compulsory unionism. This became the National Labor Relations Act, also known as the Wagner Act, that FDR signed on July 5, 1935. Section 7 provided that employees could be bound by “an agreement requiring membership in a labor organization as a condition of employment.” (fff.org)


Socialistic capitalism requires many different taxes ... America was not broke 100 years ago. We had no debt and taxes were low. While we have increased our national debt, we have also invented new taxes that did not exist 100 years ago including: Accounts Receivable Tax, Building Permit Tax, Capital Gains Tax, CDL license Tax, Cigarette Tax, Corporate Income Tax, Dog License Tax, Excise Tax, Federal Income Tax, Federal Unemployment Tax, Fishing License Tax, Food License Tax, Fuel Permit Tax, Gasoline Tax, Hunting License Tax, Inheritance Tax, Inventory Tax, Liquor Tax, Luxury Tax, Marriage License Tax, Medicare Tax, Personal Property Tax, Property Tax, Real Estate Tax, Social Security Tax, Road Usage Tax, Sale Tax, Recreational Vehicle Tax, School Tax, State Income Tax, State Mortgage Tax, State Unemployment Tax, Telephone Federal Excise Tax, Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax, Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Tax, Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax, Telephone Recurring and Non-recurring Charges Tax, Telephone State and Local Tax, Telephone Usage Charge Tax, Utility Tax, Vehicle License Registration Tax, Vehicle Sales Tax, Watercraft Registration Tax, Well Permit Tax, and a Workers Compensation Tax. This does not include other numerous state, county and local taxes, tolls, fees and fines invented by our government to take money from the people. Yet, the Democrats have attempted to impose even more new taxes such as a Ticket tax on movies and concerts, iTunes Tax on music, Tractor Tax, Fertilizer Tax, Carbon Tax, Sports Utility Vehicle Tax, Internet Tax, a return of the Death Tax and even a Garage Sale Tax that would require people to report profits from items sold to neighbors. The Democrats have also introduced a Global Tax, International Tax, Bullet Tax, Bottle Water Tax, Plastic Bag Tax, Toilet Paper Tax, and a Windfall Tax, which place a special tax on all stock market profits, including retirement funds, 401K's, and mutual funds. This does not include a Mileage Tax to go with the increases taxes placed on gasoline. Even with all our debt, the government finds more ways to waste our money. In front of the cameras, President Obama says he is against earmarks; but he and the Democrats still recently approved a recent bill with 8570 earmarks of government waste including billions of dollars for pig oder research, walrus rehabilitation, termite research, study of the spawning habits of shrimp, center of grape genetics and 50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts. This also does not include the billions of dollars the Democrats forced through in political paybacks to their donors including ACORN, Planned Parenthood, AFL-CIO Unions and Hollywood producers. Congress even had the gall to give themselves an 11% increase to 4.4 billion for their own legislative operations to spend more time with lobbyists. This is just one bill. How much more will we spend? (mantecabulletin.com)


Sen. Harry Reid placed on Dirty Money Watch ... WHO: Sen. Harry Reid, D-NV, a co-sponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act (aka Card Check) WHAT: Reid received the following dirty money: Communication Workers of America (PAC) $5,000 in 2008 election cycle. Boilermakers Union (PAC) $1,000 in 2008 election cycle. Service Employees International Union (PAC) $5,000 in 2008 election cycle. PMA Group: $3,000 in 2008 election cycle. WHY IT’S DIRTY: Multiple officers and members of these unions, including 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 10 convictions, while the CWA has had eight and the SEIU has had nine. The amounts of embezzled funds range from over $5,000 to over $70,000. PMA Group (Paul Magliocchetti and Associates) is 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 have given current members of Congress $3.4 million since 1989, with 79 percent of that going to Democrats, according to OpenSecrets.org. WILL REID GIVE IT BACK? Reid did not respond to The Examiner’s request for comment. (washingtonexaminer.com)


France shows workers of the world how to strike ... The workers here at Caterpillar have been on strike for more than a month, and they see themselves in a battle for all the workers of France. They have "boss-napped" management officials, blocked intercity trains, stopped and interrogated the local police prefect, set up picket lines and organized assemblies to seek more solidarity with workers at other companies whose jobs are also at risk. Asked if France will experience a hot summer of protest, Pierre Piccarreta, a factory representative with the main union here, the General Confederation of Labor, or CGT, said, "It's already a hot spring." A sign on a factory fence reads "Les Cater en lutte" -- the Caterpillars at battle -- and many workers spent a rainy Wednesday night on the site in tents, in what has become the most prominent labor conflict in France. (heraldtribune.com)


Striking ambulance drivers cause pile-up ... “Nobody wants to be on strike,” said BJ Chute, director of public education for the Ambulance Paramedics of B.C., CUPE 873. “Paramedics want to be at the bargaining table.” “Members of our senior management are saying we are not in the same danger as police and fire,” said Andrew Britton, a View Royal councillor and paramedic. “I would invite them to come out in the ambulance and see what we do. I’ve had knives pulled on me. I have gone into assaults where the assailant is still there with no police.” Response from the public has been very supportive, Chute said. “The bureaucracy of the ambulance service is starting to pile up,” he said. (bclocalnews.com)


Hoffa sets Teamster P2P with pro-ACORN Elections Official ... The Teamsters have announced they are supporting Secretary of State Robin Carnahan in her bid for the U.S. Senate in 2010. Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa plans to announce the labor union's support Friday in Kansas City. A news release regarding the announcement cited Carnahan's work to combat investment fraud and her margin of victory when she was re-elected as secretary of state. (cw11tv.com)


Police union big shocked by union-backed pol ... North Haven (CT) First Selectman Janet McCarty’s attempt to secure union concessions was met with strong words last week. McCarty had hoped that the unions’ agreeing to forgo wage and salary increases for the next fiscal year would help drive down a potential tax increase. North Haven Police Union Local 3087 President Michael Compare expressed displeasure with the first selectman’s request in a letter to McCarty written on behalf of the union, which had endorsed McCarty’s 2007 run for office. Compare also accused the first selectman of playing politics at the expense of union employees. (zip06.theday.com)


Gov't union objects to savings scheme ... Ohio wants to use prisoners to replace Statehouse janitors and groundskeepers who were laid off because of budget cuts, angering a labor union. The state board that operates the building says it will probably use two inmates to do grounds work and another five for night cleaning. The Ohio Civil Service Employees Association, the state's largest public employees' union and the one that represented the laid-off workers, filed a grievance Wednesday to reverse the plan. "These aren't phantom jobs — these are real jobs, real people," said Sally Meckling, union spokeswoman. (google.com)


Guam tries to protect oppressive secret-ballot ... A bill introduced in the Guam Legislature would preserve the current system of employees voting by secret ballot to form labor unions. Sen. Ray Tenorio, who introduced Bill 98, said it would protect the decision-making process of employees by not having it open to outside influence. The Employee Free Choice Act, which is working its way through the U.S. Congress, would allow employees to form unions by signing petitions or cards. Labor groups say this new method would free workers from employer intimidation, but business groups say it would lead to intimidation by the labor groups. If the federal bill does pass, a provision in it means it would trump local law. However, the Tenorio legislation is intended to protect the process locally in case the federal measure does not pass, or the "card check" provision is taken out, according to the senator's office. (guampdn.com)


Boycott Starbucks? ... When Bank of America hosted a conference call to discuss how to defeat the Employee Free Choice Act, one executive used a new formulation: "the Starbucks problem." His worry: workers might follow the example of Starbucks baristas and form their own unions without waiting for bigger "traditional" unions to organize them. (socialistworker.org)


UFCW fed up with Walmart defense of oppressive secret-ballots ... The United Food and Commercial Workers union (UFCW) has stepped up efforts to organize employees at the world's largest retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday. UFCW's efforts at the company, after a five-year lull, combine with its attempt to win Congressional support for a bill that makes unionizing easier, the paper reported. Last month, Wal-Mart Treasurer Charles Holley had said the retailer was opposed to a bill introduced in the Congress that would let employees form a union if a majority signed authorization cards. (reuters.com)


Labor-state Teamsters OK give-backs ... A second city union has agreed to forgo a wage increase and pay more for health insurance. Teamsters Local 170, which represents about 35 clerical workers in the Department of Public Works and Parks, has agreed to a fiscal 2010 contract that includes no wage hike and increases the workers’ share of health insurance premiums from 20 percent to 25 percent. (telegram.com)


Dynastic Unionists raked for typical smear campaigning ... A Labour peer and one of Tony Blair's former closest advisers today launched a scathing attack on a "smear campaign" aimed at derailing his daughter's hopes of becoming an MP. Georgia Gould, whose father Philip Gould was Mr Blair's polling guru, has become embroiled in a nepotism row amid allegations she was "parachuted" into a safe Labour seat. The 22-year-old Oxford graduate is hoping to become one of the youngest MPs ever if she is elected for the London seat of Erith and Thamesmead. But the selection process has caused a rift within Labour, with Gordon Brown's former press secretary Charlie Whelan backing Ms Gould's competitor, union official Rachel Maskell. One MP reportedly called Ms Gould's inclusion "a stitch-up", saying: "The New Labour machine has swung behind her, and nobody else has a look-in." On a blog used by Kent Labour activists, one post read: "A 22-year-old upper-middle-class daughter of a smarmy high priest of New Labour would go down as well here as a bucket of week-old vomit. If she is selected, my money's on a shock Tory gain." Lord Gould today hit back at accusations of favouritism in his daughter's efforts to succeed retiring Labour MP John Austin, who held a majority of 11,500 at the last election. He told the Standard: "Georgia spends every day at the constituency. (timesonline.typepad.com)


International Collectivism

Taiwan uses secret-ballot to ease strikes, curb employer-intimidation ... The Executive Yuan (Cabinet) approved a draft revision of labor laws yesterday to make it simpler for workers to hold strikes, despite widespread concerns from employers. Currently, workers of a company or organization must call a general meeting of union members and take an open ballot to adopt a resolution to strike. The proposed new rules will simplify the procedure. A strike can start after half of the union members directly cast their ballots or send in non-registered ballots -- secret voting in which the ballots bear no voters' names -- without having to hold a formal general meeting, according to Wang. This will ease pressure on workers who are afraid to attend the general meetings, which are usually watched by representatives from the management. Employers who obstruct employees' participation in the unions or undermine the efforts to organize unions will face fines ranging from NT$30,000 to NT$150,000. (chinapost.com.tw)






Latin socialists expand empire ... Attending the meeting in Cumaná, some 250 miles east Caracas, are also the presidents of Bolivia, Evo Morales; Honduras, Manuel Zelaya; Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega; y the Prime Minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit. The guest presidents attending the summit are Paraguay's Fernando Lugo, the Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves, and the Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Fander Falconí. (english.eluniversal.com)


How Obama can get Chávez to shut up ... But hitting the reset button, distasteful though it may seem, would be a smart move. If Obama doesn't proactively work to defuse tensions, Chávez and his big mouth could be tempted to cause trouble, especially for U.S. allies such as Chile, Colombia, and Brazil. In that respect, he could hamper progress on arguably more important regional issues, such as the economy, Mexico, or Cuba. Even a photo op between Obama and Chávez might get the ball rolling. A follow-up conversation between U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Thomas Shannon and a Venezuelan counterpart would be an added bonus. Obama doesn't have to hit it off with Chávez. He just has to make sure the Venezuelan leader doesn't have an excuse to interrupt the real work of the summit. (experts.foreignpolicy.com)


All socialist eyes on Trinidad & Tobago ... Lula and Chávez are the two leaders to watch at the Americas Summit, according to Cynthia McClintock, Professor of International Affairs at George Washington University. At the fourth Summit of the Americas they took leading roles in the opposition to former President George Bush’s for a Free Trade Area of the Americas, which would have opened the hemispheric markets to investors, and invalidated local financial regulations. Chávez personifies a belligerently anti-American strand of leftism, and is often blamed for the deterioration of hemispheric relations. “[It was] the combination of Chávez and a very dismal view of Washington during the years of the Bush Administration [that were] the recipe for divergence,” Hakim tactfully puts it. But while Chávez does have some legitimate grievances, his Ahab-like obsession with the United States has made him dangerously unpredictable. “[Since his sweeping 2006 electoral victory] he has been becoming more confrontational rather than less,” McClintock warned. “Logic would suggest that he adopt a friendlier stance to Obama. So let’s keep our fingers crossed.” (campusprogress.org)


Chávez pre-empts, rejects Obama Latin Doctrine; denounces dollar ... President Hugo Chávez Thursday announced that Venezuela "together with other countries" will veto the final declaration of the Summit of the Americas to be held April 18-17 in Trinidad and Tobago. "Venezuela is vetoing the (final) declaration (of the Summit of the Americas) right now. We do not agree with the declaration, just like other countries," said the Venezuelan ruler upon his arrival in the city of Cumaná, Sucre State, east Venezuela, to preside over the Summit of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), AFP reported. Chávez insisted that on Thursday the leaders of ALBA are to "prepare the ammunition" that they will take to the Fifth Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago. The Venezuelan ruler stressed that the top priority in the agenda of the ALBA meeting is addressing topics that are significant for the organization. Such issues include the creation of a regional currency called Sucre. "The Sucre will be born here today as a liberating monetary system." He added that the system would be effective as of January 1, 2010, "not only in the member countries of ALBA, but also in other nations that are interested in the Sucre, such as Ecuador and Paraguay." (eluniversal.com)


Bolivian Leftist thug skates assassination plot ... Morales has announced several similar plots against him in the past although the results of investigations have not been made public. The Bolivian president, a socialist, is Bolivia's first indigenous president and has faced determined opposition from wealthy regions of the country, including Santa Cruz, over his plans to redistribute land to the poor. Last year, opposition groups launched violent protests against a new constitution promoted by Morales. (aljazeera.net)
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