6/3/09

Wednesday wrap

Bailout kicks back: GovMo to boost lobbying budget ... General Motors will continue its multimillion-dollar lobbying operation in Washington, even after the federal government takes ownership of it. The automaker may even maintain its high-dollar lobbying contracts with some of the wealthiest and most influential K Street firms. “We believe we have an obligation to remain engaged at the federal and state levels,” General Motors stated in an e-mail after President Barack Obama announced his plan for the federal takeover of the carmaker, “and to have our voice heard in the policymaking process." As a result, some of the jobs that the White House will save with this unprecedented nationalization could be on K Street in downtown D.C., rather than in Detroit. GM spent $13.1 on lobbying in 2008. In the first quarter of this year, while surviving on federal bailout money, the company’s lobbying tab was $2.8 million. (washingtonexaminer.com)


Stimulus Abuse: Lawyer-lobbyists smell blood in the water ... As law firms ramp up traditional lobbying and specialized practice groups in hopes of snagging economic stimulus funds for clients, a few have adopted a more esoteric strategy. Unlike traditional lobbying, which focuses on pursuing stimulus dollars through legislative means, these firms are allying themselves with outside consulting firms to advise clients on the intricacies of the stimulus contracting process -- both before and after obtaining federal grants. Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal announced on May 20 a strategic alliance with RoseRyan Inc., a California consulting firm that matches companies with experts in federal contracting rules. In April, Palo Alto, Calif.-based Cooley Godward Kronish announced an exclusive partnership with McBee Strategic Consulting LLC to help clients in fill out applications for stimulus loans and grants. McBee has offices in Washington, Seattle and Palo Alto. Whiteman Osterman & Hanna, based in Albany, N.Y., recently struck an alliance with accounting firm UHY LLP and Thacher Associates LLC, a New York consultancy that specializes in risk management, to help municipalities wade through the compliance requirements associated with stimulus grants. (law.com)


Gang of Four scripts Obamanation each day ... The GOP is very unlikely to filibuster Sotomayor’s confirmation. However, the real battle will be in the confirmation hearings themselves, and see how the media and other interested parties react to the questioning of the first female Hispanic Supreme Court nominee, with the opposition party led by Sen. Jeff Sessions. Paul Begala, one of the talking heads on CNN famous for being James Carville’s sidekick on the canceled show “Crossfire,” warned that Sessions “could become famous, for better or worse.” “How he handles this will be critical,” Begala said to Politico last week. And Begala is not just a random talking head who gets some airtime on CNN. According to several reports earlier this year, he’s a participant in a daily conference call with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Carville and ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. (lagniappemobile.com)


Escalating Prog-Labor warfare fixes nationwide job freeze ... After spending hundreds of millions of dollars to win Democratic majorities in Congress and elect Barack Obama president, the labor movement’s No. 1 legislative priority — a bill that would make it easier for workers to organize — is in severe jeopardy, in large part because of high-profile infighting among some the country’s most progressive unions. (lasvegassun.com)


Obama legalizes pro-union theft ... Investor's Business Daily remains a publication bold enough to challenge the trance from which many Americans seem to be watching "Obama-nomics" unfold. The White House plan for General Motors' bankruptcy "pushes bondholders aside in favor of the U.S. government and the UAW," the daily noted on Monday. "The government, with roughly two times what private bondholders have on the table, gets a stake five times bigger. And the union, with about a third as much 'invested,' gets a 70 percent bigger stake," IBD notes. "They call it 'restructuring.' We call it theft." The deal "will make investors -- domestic and foreign alike -- think twice about investing in an American stock or bond in the coming years," the business daily warns. But beyond that, "We don't believe the government's actions are even legal." ... "Our Constitution is very specific. It limits the executive branch's rights to those enumerated therein. ... That's why in 1952, when President Harry S. Truman tried to seize control of the U.S. steel industry during a debilitating strike, the Supreme Court made him back down. ..." The business daily concludes by asking "Next stop: Federal court?" It would indeed be interesting to hear this White House explain where, in our written Constitution, it finds the delegated power to step in, seize, and dole out ownership shares in a privately held American enterprise. (lvrj.com)


Obama silences Sotomayor ... Judge Sonia Sotomayor is, sadly, unable to speak for herself. The New York-born daughter of Puerto Rican parents who would be the first Hispanic on the Supreme Court spent the day in the Senate on Tuesday, stopping by to say "Hi!" to at least seven senators. But that is only conjecture - she was never once filmed speaking, and reporters captured nary a response to questions peppered at her as she visited with nine lawmakers at the Capitol. "She didn't even clear her throat," said one photographer after the mute judge popped in to see Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The hardest hit: Radio reporters. "It's mostly just the senators saying, 'Thank you for coming,' " Annie Berman of talk radio said just after trying for the fifth time to get some sound - any sound - from America's most sought-after judge. (washingtontimes.com)

Related video: In praise of ignorance



Constitutional mistakes will stand for life ... Now our president has the audacity to appoint a bigot to the Supreme Court for life. Her comments that she can do a better job because she is a woman and Latina demonstrate her disdain for men and non-Hispanics. Supreme Court justices are supposed to be unbiased. She is also 0-for-6 in her opinions that have been appealed to the Supreme Court. Five have been reversed and the other is still pending, but the court has already disagreed with her reasoning. Once on the high court, her bad decisions will stand, as there is no appeal. When you hear the upcoming ads praising her that are sponsored by the “Center for Constitutional Values” look up their record, as they are a leftist, anti-American organization. Their clients, with whose views the Center’s leadership have always identified and supported, have included Tom Hayden, the Black Liberation Movement, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Students for a Democratic Society, Women’s Strike for Peace and the Communist Party. (blueridgenow.com)


La Raza: Will membership in Alinskyite group help Sotomayor? ... Current wisdom has it that judicial nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor – a member of the National Council of La Raza – is a shoe-in to the Supreme Court. “Today is a monumental day for Latinos. Finally, we see ourselves represented on the highest court in the land,” said Janet Murguía, President and CEO of the National Council of La Raza, a national organization with about 300 local affiliates. So, what is this La Raza of which Judge Sotomayor is a member? The National Council of La Raza is interesting enough without embroidery. It’s a development of Saul Alinsky’s work in California among the Mexican Americans, where Alinsky, another organizer trained by Alinsky’s Industrial Areas Foundation – Fred Ross, a college graduate named Herman Gallegos, and Father Donald McDonnell, pastor of an East San Jose Catholic parish, formed the Community Service Organization (CSO) in 1947. CSO, assisted by Alinsky’s Industrial Areas Foundation, grew to have a national staff and became the training ground for a number of prominent “Hispanic” organizers, among them Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta, and – of course – young Herman Gallegos, first president of CSO’s San Jose chapter and later as its national president. Gallegos stayed with CSO until the early 60s. He then went on to become a consultant at the Ford Foundation, which in 1968 funded the creation of the Southwest Council of La Raza (SCLR), whose founding president was… Herman Gallegos. The SCLR was created by Ford as “an intermediary organization between Ford and the barrio-based organizations” that received sub-grant money. This allowed for some distance to be placed between Foundation grants – and later, US government grants – and local organizations with activities that “might be regarded as political.” (speroforum.com)

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


SEIU organizer: Bury Them



Kokomo braces for uptick in arson ... The lay-offs that long had been expected finally hit the Kokomo Fire Department last week, but the number of firefighters shown the door far exceeded expectations, causing the union - Fire Fighters Local 396 - to express grave concerns for public safety. City director of operations Randy Morris delivered a memo to the Kokomo Board of Public Works and safety on May 20, asking for the immediate lay-off of 12 firefighters. According to mayor Greg Goodnight the reductions will not negatively impact service. "There is absolutely no threat to response times," said Goodnight. "The only way that could happen is if some firefighters choose to act unprofessionally and put their demands before the safety of our communuity. (kokomoperspective.com)


Legalize the U.S. Constitution! ... I propose the United States of America change its name to the Federalized States of America, or better yet the Coerced States of America. We should either make this change or return to a literal reading of the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. The Tenth Amendment reads, “the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.” In other words the federal government, which is what the states created with the Constitution, has only the authority to govern in the areas directly stated in the Constitution. All other areas of government fall to the state governments or to the people of those states. In the last 100 to 150 years the federal government has grown like a rabbit warren in springtime. In this growth it has expanded its control into areas that were meant by our Founding Fathers to be governed by the states. (tenthamendmentcenter.com)


Obama OK's smackdown v. Catholics ... White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told CNSNews.com Tuesday that President Barack Obama is comfortable with the membership of his faith-based advisory council, despite calls from conservative Catholics to remove a member who has repeatedly made offensive statements about Pope Benedict XVI and the Catholic Church. Gibbs’ response comes nearly a month after House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Rep. Thad McCotter (R-Mich.) signed a letter, along with 20 other prominent conservative Catholics, asking Obama to remove Harry Knox, director of the faith and religion program at the homosexual activist group Human Rights Campaign, from the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Among the comments the letter’s signatories found offensive was a statement Knox made in March when he called the pope a “discredited leader” and that the Knights of Columbus were a “discredited army of oppression,” and another comment where Knox said the pope was “harming people in the name of Jesus.” Knox, in 2007, also referred to a Catholic bishop’s directive to refuse Holy Communion to a lesbian couple in Wyoming as “immoral and insulting to Jesus.”(nsnews.com)


Steelworkers still out on strike v. oppressive Chrysler dealership ... Thirty striking Mike Doyle Dodge Chrysler workers have rejected the employer's latest contract offer, their union announced Monday. "I am sure that everyone was disappointed that the strike wasn't resolved, but the decision of the membership is a clear signal that the employer must move on its offer," Gerry Loranger, area co-ordinator for the United Steelworkers, said in a release. "We continue to wait upon Mike Doyle to make the moves necessary to end the strike." (thesudburystar.com)


Rep. Timothy Bishop placed on Dirty Money Watch ... WHO: Rep. Timothy Bishop (D-NY), a co-sponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act, (aka Card Check). WHAT: Rep. Bishop received the following dirty money: Communication Workers of America (PAC) $10,000 in 2008 election cycle; $8,500 in 2006 election cycle. Boilermakers Union (PAC) $7,000 in 2008 election cycle; $7,000 in 2006 election cycle. American Federation of Government Employees (PAC) $2,000 in 2008 election cycle; $1,500 in 2006 election cycle. Service Employees International Union (PAC) $6,500 in 2008 election cycle; $10,000 in 2006 election cycle. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (PAC) $10,000 in 2008 election cycle; $10,000 in 2006 election cycle. United Steelworkers of America (PAC) $5,000 in 2008 election cycle; $5,000 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 United Steelworkers of America, which includes Paper, Allied-Industrial Chemical and Energy Workers International Union (PACE), has had 30 convictions among its membership. The amounts of embezzled funds range from over $5,000 to over $100,000. WILL BISHOP GIVE IT BACK: Bishop 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. Bishop’s Washington D.C. office at 202-225-3826 (washingtonexaminer.com)


Obama calls on deadbeat Kerry to make sacrifice ... The Internal Revenue Service has filed a tax lien seeking more than $800,000 from Sen. John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign, escalating a dispute over payroll taxes that the lawmaker's office blames on faulty government paperwork. The episode has left a candidate who fell just a few percentage points short of winning the White House trying to convince the government's tax collector that his campaign already paid the taxes and doesn't owe any more. The IRS filed the lien in the District of Columbia earlier this year, claiming that a previous attempt to collect the money was unsuccessful. "We have made a demand for payment of this liability, but it remains unpaid," the tax filing stated. The IRS is taking action more than a year after the campaign closed its books and sent nearly $200,000 in leftover presidential campaign money to Mr. Kerry's Senate election fund. (washingtontimes.com)


Progs seize nation's capital ... Thousands of progressive leaders and activists who have descended on this town this week for the America’s Future Now conference are having to adjust to something new. A delegate who has been coming to the meeting of leading labor, political and social justice activists for years put it this way: “For the first time the nation’s capital doesn’t feel like occupied territory. The White House, the Congress, the federal government — it’s all different now with the Bush occupation forces gone.” The gathering here this week even had to change the name of the annual meeting which, during the years of the Bush “occupation,” was called the “Take Back America” conference. “Now that we went and took it back,” explained the Rev. Pierre L. Williams, “we are here in friendly territory and I feel like I have the wind at my back.” (pww.org)


International Collectivism

Conservatives' problem: Collectivism ... By any measure, modern conservatism is suffering. The Republican Party, long the home of America’s conservatives, has become little more than a watered-down version of the socialist Democrat Party, and has been turned out of office from the congress and White House, to the state houses and governor’s mansions across the country. Commentators have proclaimed the death of conservatism, and the Republican Party apparatus continues to helplessly grope in the darkness for a plan to regain lost power and influence. Endless articles have been written about the “future direction” of the party; some see a move toward conservatism as the solution, while others seek to increase the size of the party by offering Democrat-like goodies and giveaways to targeted demographic groups. The time has come for classical liberals to light the way and lead the fight defend western civilization and human freedom from the strangulation of collectivism; the time has come for us to justify for posterity our brief moment on this Earth, and do all that can be done to save the last best hope for human liberty. (examiner.com)


What's good for collectivism is good for the U.S., and vice-versa ... “What’s good for the country is good for General Motors, and vice versa.” GM president Charles E. Wilson uttered these memorable words back in 1953, when he was asked during hearings before the Senate Armed Services Committee if as President Eisenhower’s new secretary of defense he could make a decision adverse to the interests of General Motors. Poor old Ike, in his farewell address, warned about “the military-industrial complex,” because he feared the agglomeration of power wielded by the military, the government, and industry would lead to socialism. If only he could see us now! Monday, in a move that would make even the Fabian socialists do a double-take, President Obama announced the much-anticipated takeover of General Motors by the federal government. Obama defended the government’s takeover of GM as the auto maker enters Chapter 11 bankruptcy, saying the actions are part of a "viable, achievable plan that will give this iconic company a chance to rise again." Under Obama’s plan, the government would own 60% of the new GM, but the president promised that auto executives "will call the shots and make the decisions about turning this company around." He said the government would make only “critical” decisions. Since the government already regulates such automotive areas as CAFÉ mileage standards, safety standards, pollution control standards, reformulated gasoline standards, and labor standards, it is hard to imagine that the president and congress will be able to resist the temptation to meddle in the management of GM. (examiner.com)


Pharma giant preps Chávez bribe ... U.S. drugmaker Pfizer has been in emergency talks with the government of Venezuela after being threatened with seizure of a pharmaceutical production plant earmarked for closure. The company has said it would be prepared to sell the plant to the Venezuelan government, but also noted that it was in discussion with "other interested parties". The row started after Pfizer said it was planning to close one facility in Valencia, Carabobo state, and consolidate production into another in the same city. Products made at the threatened plant include the antihypertensive medication Norvasc/Istin (amlodipine) and antibiotic products Zithromax (azithromycin) and Unasyn (ampicillin and sulbactam). (pharmafocus.com)
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