Tuesday wrap

Unions rip innovative, voter-approved anti-corruption law ... A philanthropist, a politician and a union leader took the stand Monday in Denver District Court to decry the effects of Amendment 54, which bans some government contractors from making campaign contributions. Under the voter-approved rules, if an entity receives no-bid government contracts totaling more than $100,000, the executives and their relatives are banned from giving money to candidates or political parties. The rules also limit political contributions some unions can make. Lawyers from the attorney general's office, which is defending the amendment, pointed out that all candidates in FitzGerald's race are equally affected by the limitations. They said the rules are aimed at cutting ties between business interests and public policy decisions. They held up the 51 percent of voters who supported them in November as proof of an appearance of corruption. Additional testimony from union interests is expected today. (denverpost.com)

Very special interest: Dems to exempt unionists from socialized healthcare tax ... The best chance for compromise legislation on health care may be a plan under construction in the Senate Finance Committee that would pay for a public plan in part by taxing some worker health benefits. But the union workers who helped Democrats win Congress and the White House and whose support will be key in getting a health bill signed into law would not pay the tax. With cost estimates already as high as $1.6 trillion, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., has proposed paying for the bill in part by taxing health care benefits for workers who earn more than $100,000, or $200,000 for married couples, according to those familiar with the discussions. Baucus is also weighing a tax based on the value of health care benefits that exceed a yet-to-be determined cap. A tax on benefits that exceed the cap by a mere $3,000 could amount to $750 in taxes annually for a worker who earns as little as $34,000, say experts. But those union members serving under collective bargaining agreements would not be subjected to the tax, according to proposals under discussion. (washingtonexaminer.com)

Congress may probe Obama firing of gov't watchdogs ... The ousted inspector general who reported that his office found misuse of AmeriCorps funds granted to a charity run by a political ally of President Barack Obama sees an assault on the institution of government watchdogs, noting that besides himself, the inspectors general in both the Treasury Department and the International Trade Commission (ITC) have faced reported hurdles in doing their jobs. He says he wants Congress to hold a hearing on his firing. “I certainly don’t know the facts about any of the other IGs. But I don’t think you can find in the history of IGs such an administration attack on and terminating IGs before the last few weeks,” Gerald Walpin, the recently fired inspector general of the Corporation of National and Community Service, told CNSNews.com on Friday. The agency runs the youth volunteer program AmeriCorps. (cnsnews.com)

Let's Make a P2P Deal ... Obama appears to be more suited as a game show host than a president. He is running the government like a game show. AIG, come on down; GE come on down; General Motors, come on down; Chrysler, come on down; UAW come on down; SEIU, come on down; Sierra Club come on down; ACORN, come on down. These are just some of his contestants and we taxpayers are the sponsors who provide the prizes. In the Obama game show, all selected contestants win, while we sit in the audience and watch our money being poured down the filthy drain of socialism. Monty Hall couldn't do a better job of giving away jobs and money to his personally selected winners, but he could probably do a better job of running the executive branch of government. At least Hall knew something about capitalism, American industry and products, and running a business. That would give him the advantage over Obama if the two were applying for the job. Obama's czars are running the country while Obama is playing game show host. Obama needs to stop this play acting presidency and resign from office on the grounds that he is not qualified, neither constitutionally as a natural born citizen, nor by executive experience, nor by an understanding of, and respect for, the Constitution. I'm sure they would welcome him in Hollywood where he could begin a new career in reality shows. I don't know how long our country can endure this amateur celebrity pretending to be a leader, who couldn't lead a dog to water or fleas to a dog. (renewamerica.com)

Gov't union pensions bankrupt taxpayers ... We are becoming an nation of government aristocracy, much like Russia was in the days before it collapsed from the weight of it. There was a time when a government job didn't pay very well, but came with great benefits and lifetime employment (you had to kill someone to lose your job). Today, many government jobs include all three (great wages, benefits and lifetime employment), wrapped in a nice taxpayer gift given by elected officials who should be jailed for it. Take the former San Francisco police chief, for example. Heather Fong just retired at 53 years old and will receive a pension of $229,500 per year FOR LIFE. Assuming Ms. Fong lives an average lifetime (say ... 75), her pension is potentially worth more than $5 million. I'll bet Ms. Fong didn't earn $5 million over her 30-year career, but they calculate retirement these days on your best, or highest, earning year, not an average. That's why you see the musical chairs routine for top government employees as they scramble to get the best-paying job just before pulling the plug. So how is your 401(k) performing these days? How close to $5 million is it? (theunion.com)

GOP wants a vote on Jim Crow-era, union-backed racial discrimination law ... A piece of legislation introduced last week by U.S. Rep Connie Mack, R-Fort Myers, would eliminate minimum compensation provisions for construction workers on public works projects. Mack is proposing the legislation would stimulate the economy by creating more jobs by repealing the Depression-era Davis-Bacon Act, which requires workers on large, federally-funded projects to be paid a “prevailing wage.” Though the wages set by the government under the act are intended to represent the normal wages of an area, a statement from Mack’s office said they often fail to do so. The wage-minimums actually reflect the “inflated pay scale of union workers,” the statement said. “Davis-Bacon prevailing wage requirements are wrong for our country,” Mack said. “Instead of pandering to big labor, Congress should be fostering a competitive environment for businesses to be able to hire more people for more jobs.” (naplesnews.com)

ACORN: The names have been changed to protect the innocent ... ACORN may be about to embark on a huge rebranding effort in order to reinvent itself. As I told the Washington Times, the revelation that disgraced ACORN founder Wade Rathke has renamed ACORN International, which is ACORN's international consultancy, is a sign that Rathke is trying to dissociate the ACORN affiliate from the oceans of bad ink ACORN has received in the U.S. over the last year. There's no point in reinventing the wheel so to speak, so I'll just quote myself (which I confess feels a little weird). "The brand is tarnished and he doesn't want to be associated with ACORN because of all the problems that he is, ironically, largely responsibly for," the Washington Times quoted me saying. "He just wants to keep up his community organizing without being burdened by the bad public relations." The new name for the international affiliate is Community Organizations International. "This may indeed be the beginning of an ACORN network-wide rebranding, but a rotten ACORN by any other name still stinks," Newsmax quoted me saying. Newsmax reported that I described ACORN International as "a nonprofit group that aspires to spread the gospel of [radical community organizer] Saul Alinsky across the globe." (spectator.org)

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

Related video: ACORN changes name

ACORN mullahs crack down ... As I noted a few days ago, the thoroughly corrupt activist group ACORN is threatening the ACORN 8, a reform group headed by Marcel Reid and Karen Inman, because it's afraid of them and wants to shut them up. The group argues the ACORN 8 is violating ACORN's intellectual property by using the word "ACORN" in its name. It recently sent the ACORN 8 a "cease and desist" letter. Here is a PDF of the June 11 letter from ACORN lawyer Arthur Z. Schwartz of the New York City law firm of Schwartz, Lichten & Bright PC. Blogger Procrustes has some background information on the longtime activist lawyer. Lying and threatening is standard operating procedure at ACORN. ACORN is also suing whistleblower Anita MonCrief to shut her up. (spectator.org)

Rules? We don't need no stinkin' rules. ... A Republican lawmaker accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and congressional Democrats of "shutting down the process" in the House of Representatives to block his effort to investigate the national community organizing group ACORN. Rep. Steve King, Iowa Republican, said in an interview on The Washington Times' morning radio show "America's Morning News" that Mrs. Pelosi and the Democratic majority had recently authorized an unprecedented change in House rules to curb the right of the minority to offer amendments to appropriations spending bills. The debate over the new rules governing how bills are dealt with sparked a bitter partisan clash in the House last week. (washingtontimes.com)

Obamunists have plans for Charter Schools ... As the Obama administration pushes for more charter schools, a teachers' union is pushing for a bigger role in them. It's a new development for the charter school movement, a small but growing — and controversial — effort to create new, more autonomous public schools, usually in cities where traditional schools have failed. On Tuesday in New York, the United Federation of Teachers expects to formalize a contract with teachers at Animo South Bronx Charter High School, which is run by Green Dot, a nonprofit group that operates charter schools. Ten other New York charter schools are unionized. And last week in Chicago, teachers voted to unionize three Chicago International Charter School campuses run by Civitas, a Chicago-based nonprofit organization. Education Secretary Arne Duncan made a point of talking about unions in a speech Monday in Washington to a national charter school conference. "Charters are not inherently anti-union," Duncan said. "Many charters today are unionized." (google.com)

Fehrless MLBPA: Members need not vote ... Donald Fehr announced his retirement Monday as head of the baseball players' association after a quarter-century marked by a strike that canceled the World Series, record salaries and finally 14 years of labor peace. Fehr, who turns 61 next month, said he will leave the powerful union no later than the end of March. Fehr recommended that he be succeeded by union general counsel Michael Weiner, the No. 3 official and his longtime heir apparent. The move is subject to approval by the union's executive board and possible ratification by all players. (google.com)

SEIU's Vietnam: Fresno ... But just as the massive bombing of North Vietnam failed to bring the United States an ultimate victory, SEIU’s Fresno campaign left its opposition unvanquished, and likely better positioned than SEIU to win future elections. SEIU’s Fresno campaign leader Dave Regan echoed Air Force leader General Curtis LeMay’s “total war” strategy toward the Vietnamese when he promised “to drive a stake through heart of the thing that is NUHW,” and “put them in the ground and bury them.” Regan insisted, “this is not an election that we want to win 52 to 48, or by a few hundred votes. We want them to believe when we are done here that it is hopeless. We got to give them a butt whipping they will never forget ... And a year from now or three years from now or five years from now we are all gonna sit back and say, 'I was there when we kicked those SOBs in Fresno County.'” But Fresno is more likely to be recalled as the place where NUHW survived SEIU’s “total war” strategy, leaving SEIU in a Vietnam-like quagmire. (indybay.org)

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee placed on Dirty Money Watch ... WHO: Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), a co-sponsor of The Employee Free Choice Act (aka Card Check). WHAT: Rep Jackson Lee received the following dirty money: Communication Workers of America (PAC) $1,000 in 2010 election cycle; $10,000 in 2008 election cycle; $10,000 in 2006 election cycle. Boilermakers Union (PAC) $1,000 in 2010 election cycle; $3,000 in 2008 election cycle; $1,000 in 2006 election cycle. American Federation of Government Employees (PAC) $2,000 in 2010 election cycle; $2,000 in 2008 election cycle. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (PAC) $2,500 in 2008 election cycle; $5,000 in 2006 election cycle. Service Employees International Union (PAC) $5,000 in 2008 election cycle; $1,500 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 JACKSON LEE GIVE IT BACK: Jackson Lee 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. Jackson Lee’s Washington D.C. office at 202-225-3816. (washingtonexaminer.com)

Disorganizing Toronto ... City of Toronto unionized employees, bags of garbage were piling up outside some waste transfer stations where civic officials told residents they could drop off their junk in the event of a strike. Dozens of black garbage bags were sizzling in the soaring summer temperatures yesterday outside the Commissioners St. transfer station. Unionized workers manning the picket kept anyone from crossing their lines. Strikers warned residents not to drop the garbage along the road or else city managers would send bylaw officers after them for illegal dumping. At the Bermondsey transfer station, pickets kept all vehicles from crossing their line. That meant the garbage wasn't the only thing simmering, with tempers between residents and pickets flaring as members of CUPE 416 maintained the hardline approach that no garbage should pass. Sure enough, some garbage toters didn't heed the warnings and dumped the trash onto a growing pile. (cnews.canoe.ca)

International Collectivism

Correa pays dues for ALBA entry ... Facing billions of dollars worth of legal claims for failure to complete contracts, President Rafael Correa issued a blunt warning to the companies on Saturday. "The policy is going to be: gentlemen if you bring legal cases against us, very well, but you will get out of the country," he said during a television and radio address. Ecuador faces claims totalling around 13 billion dollars before the World Bank's International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Many of the claims come from foreign businesses, notably France's Perenco and, from the US, Occidental Petroleum and Burlington, an AFP report said. "I am not going to accept that foreigners come to this country to make claims against us while robbing us of our natural resources," Correa said. (upstreamonline.com)

Chávez World Order ... Ecuador, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Antigua and Barbuda are going to formally integrate into the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas on Wednesday. "The ALBA continues to grow in Latin America. Now we have nine nations to build a new project. It is the most dynamic core," Chávez said on Sunday during his weekly address, Xinhua reported. Established in 2004 by Cuba and Venezuela, ALBA was meant to counter the increasing influence of the United States in the region. It is in fact a socialist response to the US-led Free Trade Area of the Americas (ALCA) initiated by Canada, Mexico, Colombia and Peru. (presstv.ir)

LatAm anti-capitalist enforcer makes the rounds ... The President of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, confirmed on Sunday his attendance to the upcoming summit of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) to be held in Venezuela, in which Ecuador is planning to join the cooperation mechanism, reported EFE. So far, Ecuador has attended the ALBA summits as an observer country. The group, which aims to integrate countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, comprises Venezuela, along with Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua, Dominica and Honduras. Ortega also reported that he will attend the inauguration of Panamanian president-elect, Ricardo Martinelli. (english.eluniversal.com)

Trouble in Workers' Paradise ... The level of unemployment in Venezuela heightened in May for the first time in 2009, reported on Monday the government, at a time of substantial economic slowdown due to the impact of the global financial crisis. While President Hugo Chávez has insisted on saying that his so-called socialist revolution has taken the appropriate measures to weather the storm of the "capitalist crisis," resulting in plummeted oil prices, the domestic economy has cooled off a lot after years of oil boom. The National Statistics Institute (INE) put unemployment in May at 7.7 percent; higher than 7.0 percent recorded in May 2008 and similar to the numbers reported in April, Reuters quoted. (english.eluniversal.com)
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