Tuesday wrap

More Obama Stimulus Fraud, Corruption ... The agency mailed 52 million checks in total and says some of them went to the dead because the feds had no record of their deaths. Social Security officials blame a rushed schedule, because all the checks have to be cut by June. Bridgett Warner of the Heritage Foundation points out that the error may be a sign of more troubles to come... "Given that the ‘stimulus' money is being rushed out the door, one can only imagine how much waste and fraud will occur," she writes on the Center for Fiscal Accountability's website. (760kfmb.com)

Corrupt Rahmbo Exposed ... Rahm Emanuel wanted answers. Funds from a $2 million state grant to a school in his congressional district had not arrived, so he went straight to the man in charge: Gov. Rod Blagojevich. For four successive days in 2006, then-Rep. Emanuel called for Blagojevich, with one message noting it was about the Chicago Academy, according to thousands of pages of call logs reviewed by The Associated Press. Emanuel's chief of staff followed the next week with four more calls to a top Blagojevich aide. The school grant is at the heart of an extortion allegation against Blagojevich, who was thrown out as Illinois governor in January and faces multiple federal corruption charges. Prosecutors claim Blagojevich learned the congressman was inquiring about the school and hatched a scheme to squeeze Emanuel — now President Barack Obama's chief of staff — to get his Hollywood superagent brother to hold a fundraiser for him in exchange for releasing the school funds. (washingtonexaminer.com)

Big Labor's Card-Check Hoax ... The problem is not that unions are losing secret-ballot elections. To the contrary, unions win two out of every three federally supervised organizing elections. An analysis of National Labor Relations Board data by the Bureau of National Affairs' research division, BNA Plus, found that in 2008 unions won 66.8 percent of the votes and that the number of unionization elections held increased to 1,579, from 1,519 in 2007. Only in Washington can special interests winning two-thirds of the time see a crisis requiring a legislative fix that would place unreasonable burdens on small businesses and dismantle worker privacy rights. (washingtonpost.com)

Dem NLRB: We don't need no stinkin' rule of law ... On Monday, the National Labor Relations Board issued its determination to thumb its nose ("with great respect") at the US Court of Appeals DC Circuit's decision that the NLRB acted improperly by having two-member rulings. Read the NLRB's statement here (in PDF). By deciding to move ahead with its two-member rulings, the NLRB escapes the dilemma of having to void out the more than 300 cases it ruled on in 2008. (LaborUnionReport.com)

No wonder tree-killers are in the tank ... Message to Public Editor Hoyt: ACORN has been an unofficial arm of the Democrat Party for years, Obama misrepresented his connection to ACORN in the last presidential debate, ACORN's Project Vote and the Obama campaign were improperly coordinating and the Obama donor list (2d quarter, 2007) that the Obama campaign provided to Project Vote in 2007 was the COMPLETE list, including the small donors, not the much shorter list that it filed with the Federal Election Commission. Last October, The New York Times killed an ACORN-Obama campaign expose, fearing that it would be a game changer and preferring no change. Although The Times had never mentioned this matter, its Public Editor, Clark Hoyt, finally did, in a column titled "The Tip That Didn't Pan Out" and published on May 16, 2009. (postchronicle.com)

Related video: ACORN face-off

Union-backed Prez wears on rank-and-file Dems ... I was with three friends recently, all Democrats, and we rarely discuss politics because I am a Republican. I thought they were kidding me when they started bad-mouthing Barack Obama. They were talking about Obama traveling the world and wasting their money, being buddy-buddy with left-wing socialist thugs, bowing to a king, apologizing for our country and accepting anti-American gifts from Hugo Chávez. One said he believed we made a terrible mistake electing Obama. I really couldn't believe what they were saying but I readily agreed. It is a terrible mistake to bring into power a president that raises taxes, increases spending, cuts defense spending and embraces left-wing dictators. (yumasun.com)

New Prog Era: Same as the Old Prog Era ... Obama said, “You’re taught to chase after all the usual brass rings… You chase after the big money and you figure out how big your corner office is…that through material possessions, through ruthless competition pursued only on your own behalf – that’s how you measure your success… Such an approach won’t get you where you want to go. It displays a poverty of ambition.” To Obama, private property, represented by material wealth, is bad. In fact, private property to him is not just bad – it’s downright evil. Liberal statists like Obama try to diminish the value of property as they bow firmly at the altar of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Marx and Engels themselves called for the destruction of private property in the Communist Manifesto. Obama believes that private property should be destroyed or controlled by the government. Obama went on in his speech to condemn competition and by extension the capitalist free-market system as ruthless. This is typical for liberal statists, because capitalism entails a number of different products, services and ideas all of which compete. Capitalism consists of competition and free choice and people choose what’s best on their own behalf. This gives people freedom – which the liberal statists like Obama despise because they believe in a centralized system of control. Obama doesn’t want these young graduates choosing what’s best for them; he believes that’s the government’s job. You see, to Obama, these things that make America great and has made America what it is today are all negative ambition. He believes things like these make the country worse off. (unlvrebelyell.com)

Union thuggery at work: SEIU subdues CNA ... On March 19, California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee (CNA/NNOC) and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) announced they had reached an agreement to work together to organize unorganized healthcare workers nationally, to push for the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), and to support single-payer healthcare on the state level. This came as a total shock as, one year ago, SEIU organized hundreds of members to storm an awards dinner at the Labor Notes conference where CNA/NNOC Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro had been scheduled to speak. One SEIU member died from a pre-existing health condition following the fracas and several members of other unions were injured. (socialistalternative.org)

Union bigs oppress rank-and-file workers ... The Center For Individual Freedom (CFIF.org) on May 15, 2009 produced what they call their “Lunchtime Liberty Update” where they asked this question: “Shouldn’t hardworking and dedicated unionized employees be allowed to earn bonuses, raises or other merit-based rewards from thankful employers? Especially during these tight economic times, when productivity and efficiency are at an even higher premium?” The CFIF graciously answered their own question with: “Not according to Big Labor and jealous union bosses, who prefer that workers’ rewards flow only through them.” These are the same union bosses that are always telling the employees how hard they work to get better benefits and pay for the “struggling” workers. When all the facts are in, it seems more like the workers are “struggling” to put out extra effort in order to be more productive and enhance their performance for possible future compensation and promotions. (canadafreepress.com)

Typical Steelworker big embezzled dues, awaits wrist-slap ... A Watertown man admitted Friday in U.S. District Court that he embezzled more than $25,000 from a union local, of which he was treasurer. N. Joseph Stefanik, 51, former treasurer of United Steelworkers International Union Local 1450, Watertown, pleaded guilty to embezzlement before Judge David N. Z. According to court documents, he admitted that from February 2004 through November 2007 he stole at least $25,808 from the local while serving as its treasurer. The local has about 75 members, all of whom are employees of Knowlton Technologies, Engineered Composites & Media, 213 Factory St. Mr. Stefanik is due to be sentenced Sept. 25. He faces up to five years in prison and fine of up to $10,000. (watertowndailytimes.com)

Jumbo unions smack down one of their own ... In a coordinated campaign using radio advertising, mail and other pressure mechanisms, three top unions are urging Oregonians to voice their displeasure to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), whose proposal may be stalled in the Senate. The radio ads, purchased by the National Education Association, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the United Food and Commercial Workers, take Wyden to task for his Healthy Americans Act, a bill that would provide universal coverage while removing the tax exemption employers get when they provide health benefits to their employees. (thehill.com)

Oppressed school workers teach labor-state kids a lesson in collective bargaining ... A school district in Luzerne (PA) County is on a half day schedule because of a strike by support workers. After eight years and no new contract, more than 100 workers walked off the job Monday in the Crestwood School District. Secondary students are being dismissed at noon and elementary students leave at 1 p.m. because the district's support workers are on strike. Kathy Nichols has a 12-year-old son who attends class at Crestwood. She supports the striking teachers aides, secretaries, janitors and cafeteria workers. "It's so sad. It is. I'm sorry. These people deserve everything they get," Nichols said. "All we're asking for is a fair and decent treatment," said union president Rose Sturgeon. (wnep.com)

Chicago union thugs move to kill off charter schools ... Last week, the Chicago Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff, or ACTS, filed two complaints against Civitas Schools with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board. Civitas operates three of 12 campuses of the Chicago International Charter School. The complaints, over unfair labor practices, came after 30 members of the Illinois General Assembly signed a May 5 letter to Chicago Public Schools chief Ron Huberman, demanding that the district side with the charter-school teachers. The teachers have formally sought union representation since early April, when they filed a petition with the state labor board that deals with public school unions. The IELRB certified their petition, signed by a majority of teachers at the three campuses, later in April. Meanwhile, administrators at Civitas have sought jurisdiction through the National Labor Relations Board, which governs collective bargaining in the private sector. They argue that since charter schools have private boards of directors, they are not bound by state laws regarding public school unions. (chitowndailynews.org)

Radio picket line fails ... Employees of Spanish-language radio station KDNA are on strike. It's an ironic turn of events for the Granger station, which was founded as part of the farm worker's movement. The signs read "KDNA continues. We are open." The station planned to go on the air Monday morning without most of their staff, but a faulty transmitter has weakened their signal. Executive Director Maria Fernandez said KDNA will be at full broadcasting power by Tuesday. Workers went on strike Saturday. Fernandez said the station will go on with volunteers running the station, something the strikers hope doesn't happen. "We wish they wouldn't cross the picket line," Guadalupe Sotelo said. "[They should] support us so we can get the radio station back to work again." (kndo.com)

Rosselli, Stern gird for battle ... Local healthcare union activists charge that the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is run by unelected, out-of-town bureaucrats who negotiate sweetheart deals behind closed doors with corporate CEOs. Organizers and members of the National Union for Healthcare Workers (NUHW) believe labor unions should be militant, member-driven organizations that fight for better pay and benefits for their members. They are in a David & Goliath–like struggle with SEIU (aka Goliath), which has everything money can buy, but NUHW (aka David) has a secret weapon—the support of the workers. Fresno is ground zero in this struggle over the future of the union movement because more than 10,000 home care workers will vote this month (June 2009) to decide which union will represent them. This is the first major election in the country where workers will get to chose between NUHW and SEIU. The outcome of this election will determine whether home care workers will have a grassroots democratically elected union or one that imposes leadership from the top down. (indybay.org)

A heartbeat away: Obama's insurance policy ... Good news for Vice President Biden’s office! The Veep successfully delivered the commencement address at Wake Forest University without disclosing top secret information. The problem is, he may have done that a few weeks ago. Newsweek is reporting that Biden may have revealed where former Vice President Cheney’s undisclosed location was. After the 9/11 attacks, Cheney’s whereabouts were frequently unknown. And that was on purpose. White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer coined the phrase “undisclosed location” and it stuck. And no one, save a few with the highest of clearances, knew where it was located. Enter Joe Biden. Known for his entertaining conversational skills, the vice president apparently thought the topic might be interesting. So while chatting at the Gridiron Dinner last March, he brought it up. He reportedly told his companions that the secret location was a “bunker-like room” at the the Naval Observatory. This is where all the vice presidents have lived (not together) since 1974. (features.csmonitor.com)

International Collectivism

Latin anti-capitalists see eye-to-eye ... The President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez Frias, said on Saturday that “the capitalist world needs a revision” because “it generates social, political and moral destruction,” Telam informed. The statements were made during Chávez's visit to Argentina, in where he held bilateral meetings with his Argentinean counterpart, Cristina Fernandez. Regarding the meeting held past Friday with the President Fernandez, Chávez said that “the crisis of the world capitalism force us to assure the integration between Argentina and Venezuela, and we are decided to carry it out.” (webnewswire.com)

Newly-elected CNN Marxist genuflects to Chávez ... Mauricio Funes, El Salvador's president-elect, will travel to Caracas on Tuesday to meet with President Hugo Chávez, reported on Monday an official source Funes, who was invited by Chávez, will travel to Venezuela in a commercial flight. He will be accompanied by his Vice-President, Salvador Sánchez Cerén, and other future government officials, said spokesman David Rivas, as reported by AFP. (eluniversal.com)

Workers' Paradise: They shoot union organizers, don't they? ... Two shots to the head, fired from a van, put a sudden end to the life of Argenis Vásquez, the organising secretary of the Toyota assembly plant workers' union in the city of Cumaná, 400 kilometres east of the Venezuelan capital, as he was leaving his home at 09:00 local time. But his death was just one of the cases that marked the start of another bloody month for Venezuelan trade unionists. The day before, on May 4, 29-year-old Keller Maneiro, a delegate of the Union of Construction and Lumber Workers in Ciudad Guayana, 500 kilometres southeast of Caracas, was murdered in the parking lot of a supermarket. A few days later, Sergio Devis, leader of another construction union in Ciudad Guayana, was intercepted along a rural road by men who roughly forced him out of his car and dispatched him with shots to the head, according to witnesses. So far this year, four activists belonging to different construction industry unions have been murdered. One was shot inside a hospital in Ciudad Guayana. (alternet.org)

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