Thursday wrap

Capitalist bigs exhibit Stockholm Syndrome ... As the House Energy and Commerce Committee prepared to pass a landmark climate change bill earlier this month, committee leaders received a glowing letter from an unexpected source: the chairman of Dow Chemical Co., one of the firms that would be forced to limit the amount of pollutants it emits and pay new fees for the privilege of polluting. "America is at its best when it leads," gushed Andrew Liveris. "Sound and predictable policy to address climate change will unleash investment in new technologies that will advance both energy security and sustainability." Such accolades are increasingly common from business leaders to Democratic congressional leaders, who are ushering in a new era of regulations on the environment, healthcare, and finance. Confronted by Democratic majorities, a Democratic president, and a voting public furious over Wall Street lapses, the business community, which once adamantly opposed almost all forms of government regulation and mandates, has opted to join rather than fight. "The crass political answer is that you're either at the table, or on the menu," said Peter Molinaro, a spokesman for Dow, explaining why Liveris chose to work with Democratic representatives Edward Markey and Henry Waxman on the climate change bill. (boston.com)

Halcyon Strike Era Remembered

Striking city workers cross the line ... Members of CUPE's national strategy team must be pulling their hair out in frustration today as they contemplate their next move from their Windsor hotel rooms. After six weeks on strike here, the union's battle against Windsor taxpayers is now going very badly indeed. The setbacks CUPE endured on Tuesday alone should have been enough to make the national reps weep. There was the advertising campaign that backfired, the damning A Channel television news report, topped off with a damaging reversal of a curiously helpful ruling from the Ministry of the Environment. CUPE officials should have started their Tuesday doing high-fives over the initial MoE order. The ministry told the three private disposal companies which have been accepting an amazing 70 per cent of the city's residential garbage they had to stop doing so for the duration of the strike. The order didn't make sense. The ministry was essentially ordering Windsorites to start piling garbage outside again in unsanitary open piles. And sure enough, CUPE's victory was short-lived. Hours later, higher-ups at the ministry overruled the minions who issued the suspicious first order. On Tuesday morning, CUPE members appeared with their picket signs at the private residence of the mayor as he was preparing to drive his two-year-old daughter to daycare. A picket captain said the group wasn't specifically targeting his home or the street. Who do they think they are fooling? At times like this, credibility counts for a lot. Surely, it's no coincidence that the mayor's home has never before been part of a walking tour for unionized city hall employees. The mayor's wife, Michelle Prince, who is five months pregnant, thought not. "I won't stand for it," she said. "I don't have to. This is my house, my family and I will protect it." She and a few city councillors, who have also been targeted, are right. The CUPE workers have the right to strike, but they do not have the right under any circumstances to intimidate children and families. (canada.com)

Related video: Striker Dumps Bag of Garbage In Front of Child

Welcome to John Podesta's New Progressive Era ... John Podesta is a 60-year-old son of Italian/Greek immigrants, raised in Chicago tenements, graduated from Knox College (Illinois) and Georgetown Law School, campaigned for George McGovern and Eugene McCarthy — where he met Bill Clinton. He eventually became Mr. Clinton’s fourth and last chief of staff. By 2002, Mr. Podesta had founded the Center for American Progress, which he now directs as CEO. The goal of this center is nothing less than a political revolution. Mr. Podesta says so clearly in his new book The Power of Progress: How America’s Progressives can (Once Again) Save our Economy, our Climate, and our Country (2008). Most Americans are probably not familiar with Mr. Podesta’s progressive movement, though they know vaguely the term “progressive” from their high-school history classes. Their teacher probably extolled the virtues and vices of leading early progressives like Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson and Robert LaFollette. A crucial point in understanding Mr. Podesta’s modern-day progressivism is the validity of his claim that this movement is but a continuation of the original progressive movement, usually dated 1890-1920. In his book, and 70 some articles published over the last eight years, Mr. Podesta embraces many government programs initiated by the old progressives. Significantly, however, he goes much further and claims that the New Deal and Great Society were but later chapters in a century-long development of progressivism. (thebulletin.us)

U.S. Leftwing circles wagons around union-backed, tax-funded fraud group ... John Podesta's left-wing Center for American Progress Action Fund has invited many liberal and radical groups to a meeting Thursday morning to discuss how to use rhetorical misdirection to take the focus off ACORN's increasingly well publicized corruption. One of the groups, Alliance for Justice, is advertising the crisis management meeting called "Reframing the Attack on Voter Registration" on its website. The intrepid investigative journalist Kevin Mooney of the Washington Examiner reports: "Nearly a dozen left-wing advocacy groups are meeting Thursday at the Center for American Progress (CAP) to discuss how to respond to a growing barrage of damaging news reports and editorial criticism of the Association of Community Organizers for Reform (NOW). The strategy meeting at the liberal think tank is being described as a “briefing and discussion” on how to respond to the negative coverage. ACORN is currently under investigation for voter registration fraud and related allegations in at least 14 states. Among the organizations expected to attend the strategy session are: Advancement Project, Alliance for Justice, Center for American Progress Action Fund, Center for Community Change, Common Cause, Fair Elections Legal Network, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, and People for the American Way. Bertha Lewis, billed as “ACORN's new chief organizer and CEO,” is a featured speaker. [...]" (spectator.org)

ACORN apologists converge ... In a related development, The Examiner has learned that the John Merck Fund (JMF), one of ACORN’s many corporate funders, demanded last year that the group prove its work is non-partisan and document that it is spent grant money as it said it would. Ruth Hennig, JMF’s executive director, said in an Aug. 1, 2008, letter to ACORN that a “due diligence” audit raised questions about how the group had spent a company grant. “Additionally, our due diligence has revealed the appearance of a very close connection between ACORN, certain ACORN affiliates and Project Vote, notwithstanding the fact that they are separate corporate entities corporate entities. In light of this close connection please provide us with documentation establishing that all JMF grants to Project Vote were or are being expended for the purposes stated in the governing grant letter agreements. In addition please confirm whether any such grants were transferred to ACORN or Citizens Consulting Inc.” Hennig also asked that a “complete expense” report be provided. Her letter was addressed to Michael Slater, deputy director of Project Vote, one of ACORN’s voter registration campaign arms. ACORN dissidents, including current and former officers and members, have described what they view as a lack of transparency and accountability by the organization’s leadership, which, they also contend, exercises centralized control over its many affiliates through Citizens Consulting Inc. (CCI), a New Orleans-based non-profit associated with ACORN. Federal tax records show financial and other links between ACORN and many of its affiliates, including Project Vote. (washingtonexaminer.com)

AFSCME members picket oppressive Red Cross ... Mark Roberge of Salem said one reason he was picketing a blood drive in front of the Bristol Elks Lodge Wednesday is that Red Cross management was adding more and more duties for him and other workers. “I enjoy doing what I do and want to keep the blood supply safe, but it’s getting harder,” he said. Roberge, a phlebotomist, and 10 other members of Local 3145 of Council 4 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, representing 225 blood-collection workers at the American Red Cross, picketed on South Street. Local 3145 members held “informational pickets” around the state Wednesday to raise public awareness about what they say is their employer’s unwillingness to reach a fair agreement. (newbritainherald.com)

Police union members use oppressive secret ballot for decertification ... A recent ruling by the state Public Employees Relations Commission that gives the Board of County Commissioners the final say in settling bargaining disputes between the county sheriff’s office and the police union could disappear if sheriff’s deputies vote next week to decertify themselves from the union. At issue is PERC’s ruling on Friday, May 22, that settles a three-year-old contract dispute between Sheriff Rick Beseler and the county’s police union, which was formed about a year after Beseler took office in January 2004. The commission’s ruling, which directs the BCC as well as commissioners in Pasco County to resolve collective bargaining issues that reach an impasse, has far-reaching implications for constitutional officers and other elected officials throughout Florida, Beseler said. (claytodayonline.com)

Militant labor-state gov't unionists picket v. oppressive taxpayers ... Members of the seven units that make up the county CSEA were joined by members from other unions including Teamsters, Sheriff’s and the New York Nurses Association, which last year picketed at Oneida Healthcare Center board members’ homes and in front of the hospital until getting a new contract ratified in October. From the Highway Department was Jeff Colburn, president of Local 827, Madison County. From Local 14 was Sue Jones of the CNY Developmental Disabilities Services Offices. Jones works in Rome, Kate Rogers from public health and Bill Walker from mental health, Sue Case and Robert Hale from Canastota Schools CSEA unit, New York State Nurses Association Co-Chair Nicole Murphy. Brian Merz from Teamsters 182 out of Utica said, “We were asked to join in solidarity. Our four-year contract is coming up in December.” “It’s not just a CSEA event,” said Marc Heatley, CSEA negotiator and chief spokesperson for White Collar negotiations. (oneidadispatch.com)

Kaiser plagued by anti-SEIU picketers ... More than 100 Kaiser Permanente employees took to the hot sidewalks surrounding the health care provider's massive West Lane complex Wednesday afternoon to protest what they say are Kaiser's unfair attempts to stop them from organizing and joining a new union. The red T-shirt-clad demonstrators - medical assistants, licensed vocational nurses, radiology technicians, member services employees and others - want to leave their existing union - SEIU-UHW, the Oakland-based local of the Service Employees International Union - and vote to join a new group, the National Union of Healthcare Workers, or NUHW. Kaiser, in a statement handed out to some of its 165,000 county members who visited its campus Wednesday, said it "is not a party in this dispute. We have not, and cannot, take sides in this matter, or any disagreement between unions." (recordnet.com)

Rep. Shelley Berkley placed on Dirty Money Watch ... WHO: Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.), a co-sponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act, (aka Card Check). WHAT: Rep. Berkley received the following dirty money: Communication Workers of America (PAC) $7,000 in 2008 election cycle; $2,000 in 2006 election cycle. Boilermakers Union (PAC) $2,000 in 2008 election cycle; $1,000 in 2006 election cycle. The American Federation of Government Employees (PAC) $2,000 in 2008 election cycle; $1,500 in 2006 election cycle. The Service Employees International Union (PAC) $10,000 in 2008 election cycle; $2,000 in 2006 election cycle. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (PAC) $10,000 in 2008 election cycle; $10,000 in 2006 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 had eight convictions, The Service Employees International Union has had nine convictions and The Boilermakers have had 10 members convicted, while the IBEW has had 14 members convicted. The amounts of embezzled funds range from over $5,000 to over $100,000. WILL BERKLEY GIVE IT BACK: Rep. Berkley did not respond to The 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 • YOUR TURN: You can reach Rep. Berkley’s Washington D.C. office at 202-225-5965 (washingtonexaminer.com)

Workers warned about federal gov't takeover of healthcare ... Taking aim at the public health plan option backed by President Obama and a wide range of consumer and health care advocates, this strangely anonymous group declares, “The Washington vision of making health care ‘affordable’” will mean “arbitrary bureaucratic standards and taking choices away from patients.” It warns ominously, “Whether you have one dollar or a billion dollars, once Washington mandates that all Americans participate in a government-controlled health care plan and every doctor and treatment are required to be a part of the government plan, you will have no right to be in control of your health care decisions.” “We are people just like you,” this faceless web site claims. “We are Americans just like you. We believe patients and doctors should make health care choices, not Washington bureaucrats.” (pww.org)

Obama sells out in Hollywood ... President Barack Obama looked not for votes in California on Wednesday but for millions of dollars to aid Democratic campaigns, including at a fundraiser hosted by such Hollywood names as Steven Spielberg. Like Bill Clinton and other top Democrats before him, Obama visits the Golden State now and then to tap wealthy, liberal-leaning activists, especially in the Silicon Valley and Hollywood. Wednesday night's two-tiered event at the Beverly Hilton Hotel offered tickets ranging from $1,000 to $15,200. The lower prices bought access to a ballroom where Obama was scheduled to speak in the evening. The higher prices bought a place at a dinner for about 250 people, plus the president. (lehighvalleylive.com)

International Collectivism

Fabian Society Rules

Chávez improves Latin democracy by limiting disagreement ... Peruvian journalist and author Alvaro Vargas Llosa this week joined a growing list of foreign intellectuals and commentators whose transit through Venezuela's main airport, Maiquetia, has been anything but pleasant. Vargas Llosa, son of the novelist Mario Vargas Llosa and a former op-ed page editor of El Nuevo Herald, was detained for more than two hours on his arrival Monday to attend a conference. He said Venezuelan authorities finally released him with a warning not to make political comments during his stay. Wednesday marked the second anniversary of the closure by President Hugo Chávez of the opposition-run RCTV television channel. In that time, according to specialists in freedom of speech, the space for open dissent against the government has been steadily reduced. "It goes way beyond the issue of the media," said journalism professor and columnist Andrés Canizales. "There is a climate of intolerance towards any form of criticism." (miamiherald.com)

Chávez: It's a family affair ... Peruvian author Mario Vargas Llosa was detained for more than one hour at the Maiquetia international airport by immigration officials upon his arrival in Venezuela to take part in a forum of intellectuals hosted by a private organization opposed to the government of President Hugo Chávez. On leaving the airport, the writer told reporters that a customs officer "warned me with good manners that I, as a foreigner, had no right to make political statements" in Venezuela, AP quoted. "I, also politely, replied that, being in the land of (Simon) Bolivar, the Liberator of South America, nobody may put obstacles to free expression, and that I was to talk in full freedom, as usual." "They checked my whole luggage and made sure that I am not smuggling anything in; no explosive or subversive materials, except for some poetry books," he added. The event was similar to what happened to his son, journalist Alvaro Vargas Llosa on Monday when he was detained for a couple of hours before, finally. being allowed to enter the country after authorities had reviewed his identity papers. (vheadline.com)

Obama, Clinton subdued by NK Communists ... North Korea launched a tirade Wednesday against world powers threatening to punish it for conducting its second nuclear test, saying it is not afraid of sanctions and calling South Korea's decision to join an operation to prevent the spread of weapons a declaration of war. The North also has reportedly restarted its weapons-grade nuclear plant. It staged a rally in its capital, Pyongyang, on Tuesday to celebrate the test. The isolated communist regime said through its official news agency that it would respond with military action if South Korea tries to stop or search any of its ships as part of the U.S.-led Proliferation Security Initiative. "Those who provoke (North Korea) once will not be able to escape its unimaginable and merciless punishment," the North's official news agency said. (washingtonexaminer.com)
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