Saturday wrap

Ongoing union threat sustains U.S. job freeze ... The House and Senate will be out for their Memorial Day break May 25 to May 30. During this time, your two Senators and Representative may be home, meeting with constituents on the issues that matter most to them. This time is a great opportunity to communicate with your elected officials on the disastrous impact the “Employee Free Choice Act” (EFCA) and proposed pro-EFCA compromises would have on your business. The compromises offered by pro-EFCA supporters are no compromise. So far, the compromises whispered in Congress—mail-in authorization cards and changes to the arbitration method—are the same original bad EFCA demands just wrapped up in a new package. (hotelinteractive.com)

Oppressed U.S. workers toil in dystopian nightmare ... This year Americans have been faced with the question “do we need the Employee Free Choice Act?” The answer has increasingly come back as “no.” But here’s another way to ask whether our nation really needs to pass the blatantly misnamed legislation: “Do modern employees toil in a dystopian nightmare so oppressive that the only way to liberate them is to take away even more of their rights (and even some of their jobs)? After all, we don’t normally perform a complete overhaul of a legal area that has stood for six decades. So it stands to reason that it would take a bleak work existence, a Dickensian world of hunger, privation, and abuse of orphans named Oliver Twist -- to generate a mass outpouring of cries for a bill that would: 1) effectively eliminate secret ballot elections for U.S. workers deciding whether or not to join a union; and 2) impose government arbitrators to set legally binding contracts between unions and employers. (opposingviews.com)

Obama's massive union warchest recalled ... These and many other similar matters have engaged the public in highly partisan debate while the president has conducted a blitzkrieg-type assault on the country’s capitalist, free enterprise system of private business ownership. He is following to the letter the advice of his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, to never let “a serious crisis go to waste.” The deep recession of the latter part of 2008 and extending to the present time provided an ideal setting for the president to ram major legislation through Congress and for him to exercise his executive privilege to force precedent-shattering policies on this country. For one reason or another, the public seems almost to be in a stupor, unwilling or unable to wake up to what is going on. Granted, during his campaign for the presidency, Obama called for “change,” but did those who voted for him have any idea he would try to change so much? Sure, many voted for him because they didn’t like President Bush, and with his massive war chest, Obama was able to run a picture-perfect campaign. (ljworld.com)

Related video: Leftwing CREW in the tank

Public sector unions rule politics ... Across the private sector, workers are swallowing hard as their employers freeze salaries, cancel bonuses, and institute longer work days. America's employees can see for themselves how steeply business has fallen off, which is why many are accepting cost-saving measures with equanimity -- especially compared to workers in France, where riots and plant takeovers have become regular news. But then there is the U.S. public sector, where the mood seems very European these days. Call it a tale of two economies. Private-sector workers -- unionized and nonunion alike -- can largely see that without compromises they may be forced to join unemployment lines. Not so in the public sector. Government unions used their influence this winter in Washington to ensure that a healthy chunk of the federal stimulus package was sent to states and cities to preserve public jobs. Now they are fighting tenacious and largely successful local battles to safeguard salaries and benefits. Their gains, of course, can only come at the expense of taxpayers, which is one reason why states and cities are approving tens of billions of dollars in tax increases. (citywatchla.com)

Liberty rejects Democrats ... Liberty University says the school's College Democrats chapter can no longer be recognized as an official club because its principles are anathema to the Lynchburg, Va., school's Christian doctrine and because club officials misled the school. "It's a symbolic thing," said Liberty President Jerry Falwell Jr. "These are great Christian kids. I sit with them at ball games, they mean well, but they're not doing what they said they were going to do when they formed." He said club organizers promised to stand for pro-life, pro-family causes and to work to move the Democratic Party in that direction, but have instead supported pro-choice candidates who work at cross-purposes to the school's Christian beliefs. In the week since the decision, the club has become a cause celebre, being mentioned in Virginia's Democratic primary for governor and becoming the subject of a fundraising campaign. Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, who is also chairman of the Democratic National Committee, urged the school to reconsider. (washingtontimes.com)

Conservative: Why I can no longer be a Republican ... From this point forward I will no longer refer to myself as a Republican. Why? To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, I didn't leave the Republican Party, the Republican Party left me! I became a conservative 21 years ago in the early autumn of 1988 while a graduate student at Harvard. Coincidentally, a young Barack Obama had that same year also matriculated to Harvard, being formerly educated by such communist and socialist luminaries as Frank Marshall Davis, Saul Alinsky and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright in the fundamental rudiments of nation annihilation. The narrative of how I became a conservative can be found in this previous column. Twenty years ago as a neophyte conservative I had an inexplicable feeling of unease as I entered the polling booth to cast my first Republican vote for Bush 41. Something in the air was amiss … but what? Now I know through maturity and hindsight that Bush 41 wasn't a true conservative, neither was Clinton that followed him, nor Bush 41's son, Bush 43, that followed him. All of these American presidents over the past 20 years who frequently imitated the style, words and rhetoric of Ronald Reagan were in effect impostors. Today, America is paying a terrible price for electing such inept, phony leaders. (worldnetdaily.com)

IBEW strikers invoke ugly rhetoric ... Penelec employees with the electrical workers union hit the picket line Friday in Bradford County as they began striking following unsuccessful negotiations. "Workers aren’t slaves" was the message on one sign carried by a worker in Towanda picketing the company. Scott Surgeoner, a spokesperson with First Energy, the parent company of Penelec, confirmed on Thursday that the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 459 notified the company that it intended to exercise the employees’ rights under collective bargaining to strike. (thedailyreview.com)

Socialists urge U.S. boss-napping ... While workers around the world have taken to the streets to demand a stop to the layoffs and failed capitalist policies, workers at Sony, Michelin and 3M in France have chosen a much more immediate target: their bosses. In the midst of a bitter fight over severance packages, workers at a Sony factory in Southwest France took hostage the CEO and Human Resources Director of Sony France. The workers were protesting the company’s attempts to force them to accept severance packages that were inferior to the packages that other French workers received. After being held overnight, Foucher re-entered negotiations and caved into most of the workers’ demands. Workers at a 3M factory in Pithivers locked their boss, Luc Rousselet, in his office for two days and two nights after hearing about major layoffs at their facility. Workers eventually let the boss go when the company agreed to the framework for a layoff plan with a lucrative severance package. With the kidnapping actions drawing widespread public support and resulting in real material gains, bosses across France are beginning to take notice of the social unrest, and worry for their safety. In the coming weeks and months we can anticipate continued kidnapping actions as layoffs are announced and increasingly militant demonstrations in the streets as economic conditions worsen. It remains to be seen, however, whether or not French workers and civil society will be able to translate this major unrest into a real rebellion. (news.infoshop.org)

Union-backed, tax-funded fraud group boosts Obama ... Thank God we have an election coming up that will hopefully turn Congress around. They are already making sounds like people who know they're in trouble running for office. My biggest worry is Acorn; the Obama brown shirt committee paid billions of dollars by him to cheat in his name (again) making false voter registrations. He is even trying to put them in charge of the census. Obama is well in command of every possible way to cheat and lie his way to his main goal which seems to be the destruction of the U.S. freedom and economy so that we are "fair" and match the rest of the world in their poverty and one-world government. Yes, you may call me a terrorist and a hate group. I hate what he is doing to our country. No, blaming the past president who did not do a good job at some things does not excuse him. By the way, Obama has just named an unqualified person to run the Forestry Service. Strange isn't it how no one goes to jail, it is no one's fault, they are all blameless and helpless. I'll do my part to stop the destruction of our country and I know others are out there trying too. (newssun.com)

Labor economist rips EFCA ... Not everyone committed to labor-law reform is mourning card check. Columbia economist Jagdish Bhagwati, one of EFCA’s most prominent sympathizers, told TBM earlier this spring that he regretted the card-check provision of the bill: “I think that it was a mistake for us who are supporters of unions and unionization to go for card check. I agree that some employers intimidate workers who wish to unionize, but those who do not wish to unionize can also be intimidated by union organizers.” (thetruthaboutefca.com)

Sen. Kent Conrad, D-SEIU ... The Service Employees International Union, the organization last seen underfunding pension plans for its members and staffs even as the plan for the union’s bosses was 103% funded, is sponsoring a 16 state “get out the support for taking the secret ballot away from America’s workers” project, and low and behold North Dakota’s very own Kent Conrad is participating. Which is interesting. See, North Dakota is a right to work state. The citizens of this state have made it so that workers don’t even have to join a union even if the rest of the labor force they’re part of does. So I doubt many here are in favor of a law that would remove a worker’s ability to vote on organizing into a union via a secret ballot. (kxmb.com)

Delta Airlines exhibits Stockholm Syndrome ... The U.S. Senate has confirmed the Obama administration’s nominee for the mediation board over airline labor disputes, a pick that also had the support of Delta Air Lines Inc. and the labor union for pre-merger Northwest Airlines flight attendants. Senators confirmed Linda Puchala to the National Mediation Board May 21. Puchala was tapped to replace Read Van de Water, chairman of the NMB board and a former Northwest lobbyist. Puchala received the endorsement of Atlanta-based Delta and the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, the union for Northwest Airlines. Puchala has been a top mediator for the NMB and is a former president of the AFA-CWA union, which represents 8,000 pre-merger Northwest flight attendants. (bizjournals.com)

Leftwing tree-killer deals dues hit to News Union ... The Newspaper Guild of St. Louis is reporting that The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is laying off 39 workers and outsourcing their positions. A notice from the Guild indicated that Lee Enterprises, the paper's owner, sent the jobs to another facility in Muster, Indiana. The Guild said that all of the outsources employees except one worked in the Post-Dispatch circulation department. The Guild said that the affected employees were notified last night. (stlamerican.com)

Union-backed Dem dismisses union air attack ... Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden is firing back at labor unions that have criticized him for supporting a health care plan that could tax some health care benefits for upper-income workers. Three labor unions have spent $60,000 on radio ads in Portland and Eugene charging that Wyden's plan would tax health care benefits as income. Wyden, a Democrat, responded Friday with his own ad, noting that his proposed "Healthy Americans Act" is opposed by both "insurance company lobbyists" and "a couple of D.C. labor unions." The ad, running on radio stations in Portland and Eugene, calls the union claim false. It says Wyden's plan would save middle-class taxpayers about $300 a year. (kgw.com)

Collectivist News Union controls its own future ... Leaders of the largest union at the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram have tentatively agreed to contract concessions that could pave the way for the sale of Blethen Maine Newspapers to an investment group led by Bangor native Richard Connor. The Portland Newspaper Guild announced to members in a hastily called meeting Friday that Connor has secured the necessary financing to make the purchase, and that a package of wage concessions and other changes would be voted on next Friday. There is some urgency in the union vote because a 2 percent wage increase is scheduled to take effect June 1 -- a pay raise that the current owner of the paper had not budgeted because of a widespread belief that the sale would have been concluded by now. Friday's vote will determine whether the wage increase is rescinded -- avoiding an immediate round of layoffs -- and whether to put in place a new contract that will meet the demands of those financing the purchase. The new contract calls for a 10 percent pay cut, a suspension of all retirement and 401k contributions by the company and a two-year wage freeze. In exchange, all employees of the Blethen daily newspapers -- the Press Herald, the Kennebec Journal in Augusta and the Morning Sentinel in Waterville -- would receive a 15 percent stake in the company. The guild would be awarded two seats of the seven to nine seats on the company's board of directors. (morningsentinel.mainetoday.com)

H.G. Wells and the roots of U.S. progressivism ... Modern American liberalism, as it emerged in the 1920s, was animated by a revolt against the masses. Liberal thinkers accused the great unwashed of smothering creative individuals in a blanket of materialist, spiritually empty cultural conformity. The liberal project was, so to speak, to refound America by replacing its business civilization—a “dictatorship of the middle class,” as Vernon Parrington put it—with a new, more highly evolved leadership. But along with the ideal of the spontaneous, creative individual, liberals also embraced government economic planning, which depended on making people more predictable. The tension between the two aspirations was resolved, rhetorically at least, by proposing to place power in the hands of scientists, academics, artists, and professionals, a new and truly worthy aristocracy that could govern based on what was good for both leaders and the led. These antidemocratic and elitist assumptions were nowhere better illustrated than in the extraordinary career of a Briton, H. G. Wells. Wells is best remembered today as the author of such late-nineteenth-century socio-scientific fantasies as The Time Machine, The War of the Worlds, and The Invisible Man. But he was much more than that. His political writing achieved extraordinary influence in America, not just through his defense of liberal freedoms such as free speech but through his hostility to population growth, capitalism, and democracy itself. (city-journal.org)

International Collectivism

Obama to apologize for WWII, Cold War ... Bloggers are wondering if President Obama’s trip to Dresden is to apologize to the Germans for World War 2. The bloggers are citing a German newspaper that I cannot read, since I don’t read or speak that language. (I am working on my Austrian, though.) Pamela Geller said he will stop in Dresden as part of his D-Day tour. Germans have long contended that the Allies should not have bombed Dresden. Too bad. That is what happens when you start a fight: The other guy hits back and usually harder. Wrote Geller: “Obama should spend the day tending to the graves of our brave and glorious dead, who sacrificed their lives so that Europe could live on to descend into a pathetic, amoral collectivism. Europe owes us an apology for squandering our blood and treasure on a morally bankrupt transnational gobbledy goop EU wallowing in pathetic collectivism.” (blogs.dailymail.com)

Workers taking control in Venezuela ... This week the Venezuelan government nationalized a gas compression plant in the eastern state of Monagas and five prominent steel and iron briquette companies as part of its two year-old national development plan to integrate the country's strategic industries under state control. President Hugo Chávez said the nationalized companies should gradually be placed under worker control. (venezuelanalysis.com)

Swiss banks vie for piece of huge kickback to Chávez ... Venezuela will pay $1.05-billion (U.S.) for a Banco Santander SA unit in the country, as President Hugo Chávez extends his control of foreign businesses. Santander and the Venezuelan government have reached a preliminary agreement on terms of the sale and intend to sign a final accord at the start of July, the Santander, Spain-based lender said today in a filing with regulators in Madrid. Mr. Chavez, who has nationalized key parts of the economy, including the oil, cement, steel and telecommunications industries, originally announced the purchase of Santander's Banco de Venezuela last July 31. Santander bought 93.4 per cent of the shares of Banco de Venezuela for $351.5-million in 1996, according to the bank's website. SAN (Madrid) rose 15 euro cents to €7.28. (theglobeandmail.com)

Chávez inspires democratic reformers ... Uribe told a business forum in Bogota this week that he considers it "inappropriate to stay on as president because the country has a lot of good leaders". He said he would not want future generations to look on him with bitterness as someone who is clinging to power. “I have been a fighter for democracy”. However he publicly admitted his doubts: “I have a responsibility with Colombians. When I take in the balance of everything, I find myself at what I call a crossroads of the soul, how difficult," the president said on Thursday night. A campaign by allies to change the constitution and allow the popular conservative to seek re-election is raising fears about Colombia's democracy. The idea of re-election is drawing comparisons to Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, a populist leader who also stayed in office after the constitution was amended and is not seen with good eyes in the rest of Latinamerica. Uribe's remarks came just days after the Colombian Senate approved a proposed referendum on re-election, edging him closer to a possible run. A special legislative commission and the constitutional court must still approve the proposal before a ballot can be held this year. (en.mercopress.com)

Wade Rathke of ACORN-SEIU leads Peru workers out on strike ... Workers plan to go on strike on Saturday at Peruvian gold miner Poderosa, the leader of the country's largest federation of mine workers said on Friday, as the group prepares for a nationwide walkout. Miners at Poderosa, which last year produced just over 3 million fine grams of gold, want higher wages and better working conditions. The company is in the northern region of La Libertad, some 311 miles (500 km) north of the capital, Lima. "Everyone will go on strike," Luis Castillo, leader of Peru's federation of mining unions, told Reuters about the 800 or so workers at the small mine. Elsewhere, he said miners at Morococha (MORi.LM), which last year produced some 40,000 tonnes of zinc, are on strike and have been since Thursday. (reuters.com)
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