Friday wrap

Tainted Stimulus cash boosts welfare over work ... Remember the "shovel-ready" projects lined up for all that stimulus money? It turns out social spending, more than construction, is hitting pay dirt in the huge federal effort to turn the economy around. The public face of the stimulus package has been the worker in a hard hat, getting back on the job to rebuild the nation's infrastructure. Earlier this spring, for example, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appeared before the cameras at a job site along a freeway east of San Francisco. He declared that the stimulus-financed project would provide paychecks for 235 construction workers who otherwise would have to "stand in the unemployment line." The reality of how the vast majority of the stimulus money will be spent is quite different, and that raises questions about how much help the Recovery Act achieved by President Barack Obama will be to the economy in the long run. Most of the roughly $300 billion coming directly to the states is being funneled through existing government programs for health care, education, unemployment benefits, food stamps and other social services. (newsmax.com)

Collectivism gets free pass from state-run media ... Tom Krisher of the Associated Press, writing with no independent thought apparent in his “report” of a government edict, effectively sanctified another government power grab over independent business in the United States. He carefully detailed the government proclamation, abandoning the skepticism that is critical to a reporter’s code of ethics. Missing is the fact that, with no apparent constitutional authority, the current president is dictating manufacturing standards to an entire industry. The media covered the government proclamation unchallenged. The president cannot legitimately decree what sort of cars Americans can buy, but this has had little effect on the current administration or its complicit “news” media admirers. (mensnewsdaily.com)

Job Killer Act: We don't need no stinkin' secret ballots ... If you thought "card check" legislation that would kill off workers' right to a secret ballot is dead, think again. Despite public repudiation, it's back — with its advocates using sneakier tactics. The Employee Free Choice Act would permit the establishment of new unions solely on the signatures of a company's employees, taken either on the fly or with union thugs standing in their doorways. Besides denying workers a right to a secret ballot, "card check," as it's known, also forces federal arbitration onto companies for union contracts, ensuring that either unions dictate the wages they want or a federal bureaucrat will step in and do it for them based on politics, not economics. It's a formula for disaster. This still-undead bill will shut plants, drive jobs abroad and ensure that few new jobs are ever created. Little wonder the public has turned a thumbs-down on it, and Congress has backed away. A recent Pew poll shows that 61% of Americans think labor unions have gotten too powerful. But it hasn't stopped Big Labor. Card check remains its top goal, and instead of dropping a bad idea, it's switching tactics. Card-check supporters have begun a new lobbying effort that targets a few wavering senators including Democrats Dianne Feinstein, Arlen Specter and Mark Pryor. The idea is to put the squeeze on Congress instead of taking the case to voters. It may be one reason why card check has morphed into new incarnations, the latest a "compromise" bill from Feinstein. She has proposed a mail-in card-check format, which still amounts to a denial of secret ballot. (investors.com)

Fraud-by-Mail: Why has no other state aped Oregon? ... Union-backed U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley: “Unfortunately, opponents of the Employee Free Choice Act have chosen to target vote-by-mail as part of their misguided attempts to make it harder for workers to choose whether or not they want to form unions. This simply shows that they are grasping at straws to derail this important legislation without regard to the facts or the proven history of vote-by-mail. Incredibly, one opponent even went so far as to say that, ‘You can’t sidestep coercion by moving it from the parking lot to the living room.’ I would challenge him to make that statement to the people of Oregon who have happily made their electoral decisions in the comfort and security of their living rooms and kitchens for a decade." (allamericanpatriots.com)

In the 1920's it was called 'Fascism' ... "I," said the president, who is inordinately fond of the first-person singular pronoun, "want to disabuse people of this notion that somehow we enjoy meddling in the private sector." He said that in March, when the government already owned 80 percent of AIG, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. "When a difficult decision has to be made on matters like where to open a new plant or what type of new car to make, the new GM, not the United States government, will make that decision." But the government is GM's largest shareholder, customer, tax collector, regulator, partner in determining employees' compensation, protector of dealers and pension guarantor. GM's other large owner, the United Auto Workers, is increasingly a government dependant. Yet Steve Rattner and Ron Bloom, two of the president's fixers of Detroit, recently wrote in USA Today that government "will play no role" in running GM. They were not under oath. The administration is determined to prop up GM as a jobs program for the UAW and Midwestern states rich in electoral votes. This frenzy will intensify as the administration's decisions deepen the debacle. (pasadenastarnews.com)

Oversight would hinder Bailout political kickbacks ... House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said that the Obama administration’s plans for General Motors are “lunacy,” and that Congress needs to establish a special oversight body to serve as a watchdog now that the administration has purchased a controlling stake in the company. Speaking at his weekly press conference Thursday, Boehner said that when the government aided Chrysler in the 1970’s, the legislature was involved. This time, Boehner said, the administration did not use the normal legislative process. “When the government got involved with helping Chrysler in the late 1970’s,” said Boehner, “there were hearings, there were oversight hearings afterward and we ought to have the same thing happen here.”(cnsnews.com)

MM takes on 'Social Justice' ... The U.S. Department of Justice seal bears a Latin phrase: "Qui Pro Domina Justitia Sequitur." The motto refers to the attorney general, "who prosecutes on behalf of Lady Justice." But under President Barack Obama's politically corrupt DOJ, Lady Justice is getting the shaft. To wit: Let's examine the uproar over Attorney General Eric Holder's decision to protect hate-mongering thugs who harassed and bullied precinct workers and voters on Election Day in Philadelphia. Oh, wait. There's been no uproar. Let me tell you why. Two weeks ago, in a highly unusual move, Holder dismissed default judgments his department had won against two of three defendants charged with violating the Voting Rights Act. On Nov. 4, 2008, a billy club-wielding militant in military-style boots and beret stood outside a Philly polling location with a similarly dressed partner. Citizen journalists from the Pennsylvania-based blog Election Journal captured the menacing duo on video. One of the watchdogs observed: "I think it might be a little intimidating that you have a stick in your hand." (vdare.com)

Related video: Securing Philly polling places

Why oppressive unions suppress wages ... Few Americans know it, but most union contracts dictate the maximum that union members can earn, no matter how hard they work. Collective bargaining is exactly that — collective bargaining. One contract covers all workers, and pay is based on union job classifications and seniority. Unions boast that collective bargaining agreements force employers to raise wages. They never point out that they also cap the wages of workers trying to get ahead. No matter how hard employees work, the National Labor Relations Act prevents from paying individual workers more without negotiating with the union. If they could, many unionized businesses would give merit raises above the union contract. After all, they want to encourage hard work. But the National Labor Relations Board strikes down as illegal “direct dealing” any individual raises employers attempt to pay. Employers must negotiate everything with the union, and unions don’t want workers to earn more than the seniority-based raises they collectively bargain. Why? Because then workers earning more than union rates would understand that their individual productivity — not their union — enabled them to get ahead. This would weaken unions' attraction to their members. Why pay union dues when a worker can, on his initiative, earn more than his union-negotiated rate? (corner.nationalreview.com)

Union-backed, tax-funded fraud group pops up in Ohio ... A Cuyahoga County man has been charged with registering to vote nine times using fraudulent names and addresses between May 31 and Sept. 30, 2008. Darnell Nash has been indicted on felonious charges of tampering with records, false registration and illegal voting. The Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation. Nash is accused of registering to vote nine times using fake names and addresses in Shaker Heights and Cleveland. Nash registered via ACORN, or the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. He is accused of registering and voting at the Board of Elections using a false address on Lee Road in Shaker Heights. (newsnet5.com)

Proposed ACORN rebuke dead on arrival ... Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., introduced a bill today which would prevent organizations from receiving funds from the the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) if they have been “indicted for violations of state or federal election laws.” “This is about how Congress spends the people’s money and about setting the bar high,” Bachmann said in a statement. “Accessing federal funding is a privilege, not a right, and it must be earned. Congress should not allow groups, such as ACORN which has been repeatedly investigated and indicted for voter registration fraud, to receive taxpayer dollars. You can’t violate the public trust with one hand and take the taxpayers’ money with the other.” (politicalblogs.startribune.com)

Union-backed, tax-funded fraud is alive and well in Kansas ... In my campaign for the office of Kansas secretary of state, I have argued that voter fraud is a well-documented reality in Kansas, and that we must take reasonable steps to protect the integrity of our elections. An Eagle editorial declared that there's no problem ("Beware of claims of voter fraud," May 28 Eagle Editorial) . The editorial said I shouldn't be allowed to "cast doubt on the integrity of the state's election system without proof." OK, here's proof. Before I begin, it should be noted that the editorial conceded that there have been eight convictions for voter fraud in Kansas over the past decade. But apparently eight is not enough. In addition, the editorial failed to acknowledge the prolific criminal activity of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now in Kansas City, Mo. After the 2006 election, four ACORN workers in Kansas City (and eight in St. Louis) were convicted of submitting fraudulent voter registration cards. ACORN operated offices in Wichita, Topeka and Kansas City, Kan., in 2008. Does The Eagle editorial board seriously expect us to believe that ACORN was squeaky clean on the Kansas side of the state line while engaging in rampant voter fraud on the Missouri side? Committing voter fraud is relatively easy to do in Kansas. We must take steps to prevent this crime -- from implementing a photo-ID requirement to vote to requiring proof of U.S. citizenship at the time of registration. (kansas.com)

Big bank tied up in jumbo union divorce ... An Associated Press headline reads: “Leader of UNITE HERE resigns as labor feud grows.” But, that is only part of the story. UNITE HERE is the bank holding company for Amalgamated Bank of New York. The Chairman of Amalgamated Bank, Bruce Raynor, said the bank’s holding company “is in total chaos.” When is the NY State Banking Department going to investigate Amalgamated Bank’s Holding Company, UNITE-HERE? How many workers’ forced dues are tied up in Amalgamated Bank and its holding company? What is the state doing to protect the depositors? (nrtwc.org)

Worker smacks down fascistic CWA ... A field technician for Verizon Communications in Tampa has settled a dispute she had with a California union that will allow her to work in that state whether or not she’s a member of a collective bargaining organization. Angela Leitzel received compensation for lost income and a promise from the Communications Workers of America that they refrain from blocking employees from working in California based on their union membership. “California should take a lesson from Florida: No employee should ever be forced to join or pay fees to an unwanted union,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation in a release. “The only way to eliminate collusion between ‘big business’ and ‘big labor’ to discriminate against independent-minded employees is to eliminate forced unionism altogether.” (tampabay.bizjournals.com)

Dem kickback probe making waves ... Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., on Thursday asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to urge Rep. Peter J. Visclosky to resign from the Appropriations Committee pending the outcome of an ongoing federal investigation into his congressional and campaign activities. "With public confidence in Congress at an all-time low it is imperative, when faced with situations such as Rep. Visclosky's, that House leaders act responsibly and without delay to safeguard the integrity of the House," Issa said in his letter to the speaker. Issa's request comes one day after the House passed a resolution requiring the Ethics Committee to announce whether it is investigating lawmakers in connection with PMA. (foxnews.com)

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi: Never Mind ... Contrary to her claim that the CIA “misleads” Congress “all the time” – in reference to the waterboarding of three al Qaeda terrorists – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Claif.) has presented no proof that the CIA misled, nor has anyone else, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) told CNSNews.com. Pelosi made her remarks at a May 14 press conference. When asked whether the CIA had lied to her in a September 2002 briefing about the use of waterboarding (simulated drowning) as an interrogation technique, Pelosi said, “Yes, misleading the Congress of the United States.” When asked later at the same press conference about whether the CIA’s actions, Pelosi said, “They mislead us all the time. … Yeah, they did. They misrepresented every step of the way.” (cnsnews.com)

Blame Andy Stern ... Months after helping put Barack Obama in the White House, organized labor's most important unions are sliding into vicious internecine warfare. The strife has become so intense that the senior Democratic leadership is intervening. At the heart of the dispute is a three-way fight between the Service Employees International (SEIU), the country's second-biggest union, and two factions of Unite Here, until recently one of the fastest-growing unions. The two leaders of Unite Here, Bruce Raynor and John Wilhelm, have fought bitterly over strategy and finances. On May 28, Raynor quit the union and joined 100,000 of his followers who had affiliated in March with the SEIU, which is commanded by Andrew L. Stern. The much larger SEIU might now organize the same workers as Unite Here, and could claim a large share of the troubled union's $400 million in assets. Wilhelm is fighting back. "The unified approach that the labor movement hoped for has been derailed by Andy Stern and SEIU," says Wilhelm. Stern vehemently disputes that notion. "I don't think the labor movement has ever worked more closely on an issue than it has on EFCA," he says. (businessweek.co)

Typical union-dues embezzler awaits typical wrist-slap ... A union official from Mount Vernon, Ind., has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Indianapolis for embezzlement after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Labor-Management Standards. Keith W. Hart Jr., 31, was the financial secretary for the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union, Local 315-G. The indictment alleges between Nov. 1, 2006, and July 9, 2007, Hart embezzled $13,904.69 by writing checks, making unauthorized cash withdrawals and receiving cash back from a bank deposit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd S. Shellenbarger, who is prosecuting the case, said Hart faces a maximum prison sentence of five years and a maximum fine of $10,000. An initial hearing will be scheduled before a U.S. magistrate judge in Evansville. (courierpress.com)

Future of U.S. healthcare on display in Canada ... Frustrated local paramedics took their information pickets to the Campbell River Hospital Tuesday as their strike dragged past the two-month mark with no end in sight. (canada.com)

International Collectivism

Chávez determined to keep up with Obama ... Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has threatened to sanction private banks which fail to co-operate with his administration's drive to construct a socialist economy. Mr Chávez said that banks should facilitate exchange by providing credit to people buying houses or producing food, rather than generating massive profits for their owners. "If private Venezuelan banks don't follow the path, comply with the constitution and the laws, they'll have to be sanctioned," he said. "The only way this government and this socialist project will accept private banks is if they fulfill their duty to intermediate and join the government to promote economic development," Mr Chávez warned. Caracas has stepped up its role in the banking sector since it reached an agreement with Spain's Santander to purchase its local unit Banco de Venezuela last month. Once it formally assumes control of the bank on July 3, the government will become the nation's top financial player. (pww.org)

Rust never sleeps ... Venezuela moved to nationalize the country’s chemicals industry as President Hugo Chávez tightens his grip over South America’s third-largest economy. A law requiring private sector chemicals-makers to become minority partners in joint ventures with the state passed its first reading in the national legislature today and will be debated Tuesday, National Assembly Deputy Angel Rodriguez said. Chávez, a self-described revolutionary socialist, has already forced all of the country’s private oil companies into minority positions in joint ventures. In the past month, Venezuela ordered the seizure of property from at least 74 oilfield service companies and also this week started taking over gas compression plants, Chávez said yesterday. (bloomberg.com)

Critic of Latin Progressive framed ... enezuelan prosecutors charged the head of an anti-government television station with usury on Thursday, ending a weeks-long investigation into his business activities that he called politically motivated. Globovision president Guillermo Zuloaga was charged with usury after a police raid uncovered 24 Toyota vehicles outside his Caracas office last month, prompting an investigation into two car dealerships he owns, prosecutors said in a statement. Trade Minister Eduardo Saman accused Zuloaga of keeping the cars off the market while waiting for their price to rise — involving a possible violation of foreign exchange rules that give importers access to dollars only if they aren't used to gain a "disproportionate advantage" over rivals. It was not clear if Zuloaga received dollars that way from the government, but importers who violate those terms can be prosecuted under Venezuelan usury law. A spokesperson for the prosecutor's office did not immediately answer calls seeking comment. Zuloaga, 67, dismissed the investigation as political intimidation, saying he has no reason leave the country or be afraid. He said he'd stored the vehicles outside his office for safekeeping because one of his dealerships had been robbed. "This is something to try to somehow frighten Globovision, shut up Globovision," he told reporters. "The government knows very well that shutting or closing down news media is no way to hide the reality of what is happening in Venezuela." If convicted, Zuloaga could face up to 3 years in prison. (google.com)

Union thugs Down Under

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