4/28/09

Tuesday wrap

'Guardian of Worker Freedom' gets nitpicked, frozen, personalized, polarized ... Democrats just can’t get enough of Rep. Michele Bachmann, the always controversial, always quotable Minnesota Republican. In fact, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has built a website — www.bachmannwatch.com — devoted entirely to Bachmann’s rhetoric, slamming what they believe are overstatements or exaggerations about everything from ACORN to the stimulus. “The same woman who once said Congress should be investigated for those with anti-American leanings and once argued that she couldn’t support the economic recovery act because America was ‘running out of rich people,’” the site blares. But if the DCCC couldn’t knock off Bachmann in the wildly successful Democratic congressional campaign of 2008, it may have a tough time in 2010. Bachmann’s office seems more amused than upset about the attention. “When you can’t defend your policies and you’re so far out of touch with the American people, I guess there’s nothing more you can do than nitpick your opposition,” said Bachmann spokesman Dave Dziok. (politico.com)

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


This is not the United States we used to know ... Anyone who reads my blog will know that I did not support Barack Obama in last year’s election, but that I was gracious in defeat and more restrained in my criticism than many conservative voices online. I was willing to give him his hundred days. Now he’s had them. Fiscally, the Obama presidency has been a disaster, but that’s only partially Mr. Obama’s fault. He could not have spent those ungodly sums of taxpayer money without Congress, after all. It took Harry and Nancy and Barney and all the other big spenders on Capitol Hill to pass the spending bills, but President Obama signed them all too gladly, and so he bears part of the blame. And then there’s Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was so unprepared for her visit to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City that she asked who did the painting of the Virgin, and who recently replied to a question about U.S. policy toward Venezuela and other Latin American countries hostile to the U.S.: "Let’s put ideology aside; that is so yesterday." (newmexicoindependent.com)


Obama P2P: Union operatives tapped for labor-management slots ... On Monday, President Barack Obama announced two nominations – both with extensive backgrounds as Big Labor lawyers – to the National Labor Relations Board, the quasi-judicial body which administers federal labor law. Craig Becker, one of the nominees, is the Associate General Counsel to both the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the American Federation of Labor & Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO). Sources indicate he was a key player in Obama’s early executive order aimed at blacklisting non-union contractors and keeping employees in the dark about their right to refrain from supporting union political activities. Worse, and perhaps more tellingly, Becker wrote in a "labor studies" journal in 1998 that employees should not have to "petition the NLRB" or "cast an affirmative vote simply to establish a 'representative process' in the workplace" (see page 15 of this PDF). In other words, Becker has indicated he would be fine with installing a union monopoly even if mere "majority support" had not been established, through either a secret ballot or the more abusive "card check" process. These appointments are just the latest payoffs by President Obama to Big Labor for spending well over one billion dollars electing him and other pro-forced unionism politicians nationwide in 2008. (nrtw.org)

Related video: SEIU P2P bagman Balanoff sounds off



Obama anti-Democracy Czar exposed ... Barack Obama's nominee for "regulatory czar" has advocated a "Fairness Doctrine" for the Internet that would require opposing opinions be linked and also has suggested angry e-mails should be prevented from being sent by technology that would require a 24-hour cooling off period. The revelations about Cass Sunstein, Obama's friend from the University of Chicago Law School and nominee to head the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, come in a new book by Brad O'Leary, "Shut Up, America! The End of Free Speech." OIRA will oversee regulation throughout the U.S. government. Sunstein also has argued in his prolific literary works that the Internet is anti-democratic because of the way users can filter out information of their own choosing. "A system of limitless individual choices, with respect to communications, is not necessarily in the interest of citizenship and self-government," he wrote. "Democratic efforts to reduce the resulting problems ought not be rejected in freedom's name." (worldnetdaily.com)


New Prog Perestroika: We don't need no stinkin' separation of Church and State ... A Jacksonville blogger filed a lawsuit Monday claiming police and state prosecutors violated his constitutional rights to anonymity and free speech in a 2008 criminal case “fabricated” solely to uncover his identity for First Baptist Church. The lawsuit also claims the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and State Attorney’s Office violated the First Amendment’s establishment clause by disclosing the blogger’s name to the downtown megachurch. Doing so amounted to taking sides in a religious dispute between the blogger, Thomas Rich, and the church, according the suit. Rich launched his blog in August 2007. In it, Rich chastised Pastor Mac Brunson and other First Baptist Church leaders on everything from salary and housing to fundraising priorities and ministry objectives. The investigation, which lasted from Sept. 29 to Nov. 13, ended with no criminal findings. Sheriff’s spokeswoman Lauri-Ellen Smith had no comment on the suit. Assistant State Attorney Stephen Siegel is named as a defendant because he approved Hinson’s requests for subpoenas to Google and Comcast for all information related to the blogger. State Attorney Angela Corey, who was not in office at the time of the investigation, said she hadn’t seen the lawsuit but added she believes proper procedures were followed in issuing the subpoenas. She said she plans to look into the matter. (jacksonville.com)


Organizer-in-Chief turns blind eye to anti-worker corruption ... In August of 2008, the president of the largest SEIU local in the country, former-Los Angeles local member Tyrone Freeman, resigned after the Los Angeles Times revealed that Freeman fleeced his fellow union members — who make about $9 an hour caring for the infirm and disabled — of over $1 million in 2006 and 2007 alone. When Freeman was first faced with the charges, he sent out “lieutenants” to force other union members to sign loyalty oaths supporting his continued presidency. Now President Barack Obama has made it easier for future Freemans to get away with their crime. What did union officials do to protect the union dues of its members? Nothing. According to the Los Angeles Times, SEIU national president Andy Stern had been repeatedly made aware of Freeman’s nefarious activities since 2001 but declined to do anything about them. His spokeswoman told the LAT: “Until we read these allegations in the L.A. Times, nobody ever brought before us serious credible evidence of wrongdoing.” If it had not been for the Los Angeles Times, this story never would have broke and Freeman would still be stealing from hospital workers. How did the LAT break this story? By examining LM2 reporting forms that, thanks to Bush administration regulations, increased union transparency. Now the Obama administration has moved to gut those transparency rules. (blog.heritage.org)


SEIU militants continue strike v. oppressive Red Cross ... SEIU's 104 members in Sault Ste. Marie joined peers across northeastern Ontario in staging a one-day strike, a month after talks broke down and rotating strikes started across the province. A hiatus ended Monday after Toronto's Community Access Care Centre threatened to fire 350 workers for picketing. PSWs provide care in patients' homes such as hygiene, meal preparation and housekeeping. (saultstar.com)


Sen. Tim Johnson placed on Dirty Money Watch ... WHO: Sen. Tim Johnson, D-SD, a co-sponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act (aka Card Check). WHAT: Johnson received the following dirty money: Communication Workers of America (PAC) $10,000 in 2008 election cycle. Boilermakers Union (PAC) $5,000 in 2008 election cycle. American Federation of Government Employees (PAC) $6,000 in 2008 election cycle. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (PAC) $5,000 in 2008 election cycle; $5,000 in 2006 election cycle. United Steelworkers of America (PAC) $10,000 in 2008 election cycle. The Service Employees International Union (PAC) $1,000 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 Communication Workers of America and the American Federation of Government Employees have each had at least eight convictions, while the Service Employees International Union has had at least nine, the Boilermakers at least 10, and the IBEW at least 14. The United Steelworkers of America, which includes Paper, Allied-Industrial Chemical and Energy Workers International Union (PACE), has had at least 30 convictions among its membership. The amounts of embezzled funds range from over $5,000 to over $100,000. WILL JOHNSON GIVE IT BACK: Johnson did not respond to The Washington Examiner’s request for comment. THE SCORE: Number of Democrats who have given it back: 0 • Number of Republicans who have given it back: 0 (washingtonexaminer.com)


Update: Collectivist News Unions tighten death grip on Tree-Killers ... Some of journalism’s most prestigious brands took it on the chin in the new round of circulation figures released this morning by the Audit Bureau of Control. Collectively, the 395 newspapers reporting numbers experienced a 7% year-over-year decline, with some of the worst declines occurred at big-city titles in the Northeast. There was little good news, except for The Wall Street Journal’s continued gravity-defiance. The paper squeaked out a .61% circulation gain and is now more than twice as large as The New York Times. Some other troubled papers, like the Chicago Sun-Times and the Minneapolis Star Tribune, also showed only minor declines in the most recent six months. USA Today, which has managed to maintain relative stability in previous reports, fell with a thud, dropping almost 7.5%. Marriott Corp.’s recent decision to stop delivering the paper to hotel guest rooms won’t affect the numbers until the next reporting period (newspaperdeathwatch.com)


Government Motors update: Would you buy a car from a bankrupt union? ... It seems that Chrysler could eventually end up under the majority ownership of the UAW, its main union, with Fiat holding a minority stake. It sounds awfully like the revisiting of a past era. In the 1980s, there was a rash of employee-owned companies emerging out of troubled private ownership. In 1994, United Airlines became majority owned by its employees after all had failed. The employee share ownership movement was popular as an alternative to bankruptcy for unionised companies in financial trouble. It was supposed to cement the commitment of workers. But it did not deliver the goods. United Airlines went bankrupt in 2002, despite hopes that co-operation between management and the unions would solve previously intractable problems. Now, the UAW apparently stands to gain a 55 per cent stake in return for giving up contract entitlements. This is intended to head off the threat of Chrysler’s going into Chapter 11 bankruptcy. (blogs.ft.com)


Union Bullsh*t Watch #3: If Unions are as American as Apple Pie, EFCA is the worm that spoiled the whole bushel ... Are unions taking to baking, or are their minds just cooked? In yet another union stunt to convince lawmakers to pass the hallucinogenically-named Employee Free Choice Act, unions are running around claiming that unions are as American as apple pie while handing out slices of the English-origined pastry. According to one AFL-CIO post, APWU activist Tony McKinnon stated: "We believe that the Employee Free Choice Act and a workers right to bargain for better wages is as American as apple pie." Tony said many people have the wrong idea about unions. “Unions don’t want to destroy a company. We want companies to prosper…” Oh really, Tony? It’s too bad your record doesn’t match your words. Unfortunately, with their parasitic pushing of the unpalatable EFCA, today’s union bosses and their disciples of doom seem to want to turn America into the industrial wasteland that Detroit has become. (laborunionreport.com)


Missouri union bigs throw secret-ballot democracy under the bus ... Workers seeking to form a union would have a constitutional right to a secret ballot election under a resolution the Missouri House endorsed on Monday. The proposed constitutional amendment is aimed at the federal Employee Free Choice Act, legislation currently being considered in Congress that would make it easier to form a union by bypassing secret ballot elections. Under the resolution, individuals would be guaranteed the right to a secret ballot election for all public offices, ballot initiatives and referendums and authorizing the creation or dismantling of a labor union. "Everyone should be entitled to a secret ballot," said Rep. Mike Cunningham, R-Rogersville, who sponsored the resolution. The Employee Free Choice Act, also know as card check, if approved by Congress, would make it easier to form a union by getting a simple majority of workers to sign a card and avoid a contentious vote. Democrats opposed the resolution on the House floor, saying it is nothing short of a legislative attempt to bust up unions, which typically support Democratic Party candidates. "What this is about is union busting," said Rep. Tim Meadows, a Jefferson County Democrat and card-carrying member of the Teamsters union. Meadows said the secret ballot is an unnecessary step in the process of forming a union. (news-leader.com)


Reliably Leftstream media ignores anti-Card Check protest ... Free-marketers have momentarily staunched organized labor’s effort against using secret ballots in unionization elections, making it clear their desire to keep it that way, yesterday at the Capitol Rotunda. Commonly known as “card check,” the federal legislation would automatically certify a union for any workplace with more than 50 percent of employees signing organization petitions. Current law gives the employer the option of recognizing a union that gets that level of support. Alternatively, the company can allow the union to proceed with a secret-ballot election after 30 percent of workers have signed the cards. Card-check opponents worry that allowing unions to bypass the secret-ballot process will permit intimidation on the part of labor organizers who accost workers to gain support for unionization. They also argue it will, in turn, put too much pressure on businesses and stunt economic growth. A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey last month found 61 percent of Americans support secret ballots in the organizing process while 18 percent do not. President Barack Obama and most Democratic public officials support the legislation, but it appears to have too few votes in the U.S. Senate to pass. In case the resistance to card check ever thaws, some state legislators are voicing a critical take on the legislation. State Rep. Curt Schroder, R-155th, of Chester County, and state Sen. Mike Folmer, R-48th, of Berks, Chester, Dauphin, Lancaster and Lebanon counties, are each sponsoring resolutions asking Congress to reject the measure. (thebulletin.us)


International Collectivism

Getting to know Barack's new Best Friend ... In December 2007, a group of paramilitary fighters armed with machine guns ransacked and vandalized a farm in northwest Venezuela. It was not the first time that government-backed thugs had paid a visit to this property. The owner of the farm, Diego Arria, is a prominent opponent of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez, the radical leftist. “It was a strong message,” Arria says of the December 2007 attack. (He was not at the farm when it occurred.) “The government has a lot of groups like that. “I know they are tapping my phones,” Arria says of Venezuelan authorities. “There is a climate of intimidation.” Government intimidation was especially fierce during the weeks prior to a February 15 referendum on political term limits. That referendum was a big triumph for Chávez: Voters cleared the way for him to seek reelection in 2012 and beyond. Chávez, a former paratrooper, has now been in office for a decade. As Human Rights Watch (HRW) reports, two hallmarks of the Chávez presidency have been political discrimination and “an open disregard for the principle of separation of powers enshrined in the 1999 constitution — and, specifically, the notion that an independent judiciary is indispensable for protecting fundamental rights.” (Implementing a new constitution in 1999 — to replace the 1961 constitution — represented Chávez’s “first major achievement.”) (article.nationalreview.com)


Communist human rights violations no longer of concern to restructured U.S. ... A senior U.S. diplomat met Monday with Cuba's top Washington representative, but a State Department spokesman cautioned that the session did not signal a renewed U.S. push to improve relations. Spokesman Robert A. Wood said Thomas A. Shannon Jr., the assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs, met in an undisclosed location with the head of the Cuban interests section, Jorge Bolanos. Wood told reporters ahead of the session that the two men, who also met April 13, would discuss a range of issues related to President Barack Obama's decision April 14 to lift a ban on Americans visiting relatives in Cuba and easing restrictions on money transfers to relatives there. "I'm sure that there will be a discussion of the president's steps that he announced recently. But beyond that, I don't have much of an agenda." (google.com)


Progressive Latin leader disrespects Peru tradition ... Venezuela has recalled its ambassador in Lima to protest Peru's decision to grant political asylum to a prominent opponent of President Hugo Chávez. According to an official statement, "the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has decided, in protest, to immediately return its ambassador to Caracas, to suspend of the proceedings leading to the transfer of the newly appointed Ambassador to the government of Republic of Peru and to initiate an evaluation phase of their relationship with the Government." Peruvian Foreign Minister José Antonio García Belaunde had announced Monday that his government, "loyal to the historic tradition" of Peru providing refuge, had granted Rosales political asylum. (laht.com)
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