6/24/09

Wednesday wrap

Obama fumbles anti-capitalist agenda ... Acknowledging that his $787 billion economic stimulus package has not worked as well as he'd expected, President Obama on Tuesday said Americans should not be satisfied with the pace of the recovery, even as he found himself on the defensive over Democratic health care reforms. In the testiest news conference of his young administration, the president said forcing insurance companies to compete against government-subsidized plans would make the private plans better, even though he backed away from his pledge that no Americans would have to change plans. (washingtontimes.com)

Related video: Barack gets testy



Obama flunked economics ... The likelihood of severe unemployment extending into the 2010 midterm election campaign season and beyond poses a significant political hurdle to President Obama and congressional Democrats, who are already under fire for what critics label profligate spending. Continuing high unemployment rates would undercut the fundamental rationale behind much of that spending: the promise that it will create new jobs and improve the prospects of working Americans, which Obama has called the ultimate measure of a healthy economy. Analysts say the high levels of joblessness will bring increases in child poverty, strained government budgets and black and Latino unemployment rates approaching 20 percent. (startribune.com)


The 'Anti-business President' perpetrates U.S. job freeze ... Earlier today, US Rep. Pete Sessions whacked President Obama at a luncheon on the government's role in corporate America, at the US Chamber of Commerce, saying the administration is pushing a legislative agenda to help organized labor and harm publicly traded companies for political gains, while hurting free enterprise. “We’re seeing a one-two sucker punch with corporate governance reform and card check aimed at helping labor unions – who helped Obama to the White House – regain lost membership to keep themselves afloat,” Pete says. (bisnow.com)


Stimulus Agonistes ... President Barack Obama says he is not ready to offer a second stimulus plan even though the U.S. economy continues to struggle. The president said Tuesday that more time is needed to assess the effectiveness of the $787 billion economic stimulus plan enacted early this year. Obama said the U.S. unemployment rate is likely to exceed 10 percent even though he originally predicted it would not go over 8 percent. (washingtonexaminer.com)


Obamanistas have bold plans for Charter Schools ... The late satirist Art Buchwald once wrote of an anti-establishment, hippie leader who was flattered to suddenly find himself invited to a number of A-list gatherings and dinner parties. It wasn't until he attended a few that he realized the hated "establishment" had successfully destroyed his coveted status as an outsider. It's a lesson that supporters of charter schools should heed. Charter schools were originally intended to be public campuses operating outside the demands of the typical educational bureaucracy, freer to innovate and experiment. There are now 4,600 charter schools across the country, and many of them are among the nation's finest public schools. So on the surface it would appear a good thing that the Obama administration -- through Education Secretary Arne Duncan -- has been pushing for states to allow the creation of more charters. Not so fast. In return for the support of the teachers unions -- who don't want to be seen as obstructing the expansion of a model that has often proved wildly successful -- Mr. Duncan and others have been tacitly encouraging charter schools to allow collective bargaining and other labor trademarks. And that's why charter school supporters should be very careful about welcoming the smiling teachers union bosses into the fold. (lvrj.com)


SEIU powerbroker herds Obamunists ... Earlier this year, Mr. Gaspard, a Brooklyn-based, 41-year-old Democratic operative, succeeded Karl Rove as the White House director of the office of political affairs. Unlike Mr. Rove, Mr. Gaspard is at his most comfortable making his presence felt without actually being seen. “He’s become a real player in the White House, the president himself told me,” said Representative Gregory Meeks. “He’s a low key, behind-the-scenes, no-fingerprints kind of guy. I need something, I call Patrick. And if he calls, it’s a big deal. He’s close to the president.” Mr. Gaspard’s official responsibility is to provide the president with an accurate assessment of the political dynamics affecting the work of his administration, and to remain in close contact with powerbrokers around the country to help push the president’s agenda. (politickerny.com)


Brusque First Lady offends in Fog City ... San Francisco Supervisor Sophie Maxwell and other African American leaders in the Bayview are not at all happy about how this week's visit by first lady Michelle Obama was handled. "One look at the picture on the front of The Chronicle says it all," Maxwell said. "The people in the neighborhood had to climb fences to even get a look at what was going on. "The people I have talked with felt very disengaged and somewhat offended," Maxwell said. (sfgate.com)


Obama decoder ring discovered ... Obamanotics, by my definition, is really more of a language in a way. And in understanding how to interpret that language, I focus primarily on just the fourth syllable of the term ‘Obamanotics,’ which if broken out on its own is just the simple little three-letter word ‘not’. Not is a key word in Obama’s rhetoric, and what is most interesting is how often he uses it and how rarely he means it. On the flip side, he also quite often fails to use it when he really should. Just a few of his past strong statements make this point very clear (keep in mind that sometimes the word ‘not’ is part of a contraction): "I don’t want to run auto companies, and I don’t want to run banks." - (April 2009). As we know, Obama fired the president of GM and brokered bankruptcy deals for GM and Chrysler. In addition, he and his treasury secretary have been heavily involved with how banks are conducting business these days, including trying to set compensation limits on their employees. For someone who says he does not want to run auto companies and banks, he is obviously doing far more than most company presidents and CEOs do. "I am a strong believer in the power of the free market." - (March 2009). This would be a good example where there needs to be a ‘not’ inserted after the word ‘am’ in this statement. Clearly Obama’s own actions in the GM and Chrysler cases refute this statement. The free market had spoken and that led to the failure of those two automakers. Those companies produced unappealing products of inferior-quality that consumers did not care to buy at the prices the companies were forced to charge for them (primarily because of their high production costs attributable to over-inflated union pay and benefits). Both companies should have simply been allowed to fail or go into bankruptcy on their own in hopes of getting themselves out from under the control of their unions. Instead, Obama intervened in the free market system, gave even more power to the unions (especially in the Chrysler case), subverted the bankruptcy laws designed to protect free-market investors, and stuck the American taxpayers with the bill for it all. Hugo Chávez could not have orchestrated a greater abuse of power. (examiner.com)


Lion of the Senate roars for organized labor bigs ... With health care nationalization apparently headed for the morgue in the House and Senate, the latest scheme to revive it is to give union health plans a special tax break. This will create a Frankenstein. Spending a trillion dollars as a down payment for a government takeover of health care is a dream of many Democrats. The current plan in Congress would create a government insurance plan that would drive out the private ones. The problem, though, is the cost. Even moderate Democrats are having second thoughts about that, as well as all the quality problems associated with socialized medicine. Even so, health care nationalization's biggest boosters are cooking up bad new plans. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., both would like to slap a tax on private health plans to pay for a new government one. But they've carved out one very big exception: unions and their gold-plated benefit packages. This effectively gives Big Labor an advantage in the market and forces nonunion workers to subsidize unions for their share of this bad idea. (investors.com)


Amtrak IG scandal: All in the Biden Family ... Stacy McCain detects the faint odor of cronyism and corruption: "Eleanor Acheson is vice president and general counsel at AmTrak, where inspector general Fred Wiederhold resigned Thursday without warning or explanation. Sen. Charles Grassley says Wiederhold’s unexpected resignation came after he was asked to provide “specific examples of agency interference with OIG audits and/or investigations.”" A bit more Googling shows Eleanor Acheson to be a Friend of Joe — Joe Biden, that is, Amtrak’s most famous rider and currently vice president of the United States. Wiederhold has said nothing publicly since his resignation five days ago. Google doesn’t tell us whether the former Amtrak IG’s curious silence has anything to do with the well-connected legal honcho at Amtrak. At least, not yet. The relationship goes beyond a campaign contribution. Flasbhack 2007. Cozy: "Amtrak, the national passenger rail service that comes under regular congressional fire for its persistent deficit, has hired Jonathan Meyer as deputy general counsel. Meyer, who leaves Capitol Hill after six years as nominations counsel to Sen. Joseph Biden Jr., D-Del., was hired by Amtrak’s new general counsel, Eleanor “Eldie” Acheson. The two worked together at the Clinton Justice Department when Acheson was assistant attorney general in charge of the Office of Policy Development, now known as the Office of Legal Policy." Biden regularly rides Amtrak between Washington and his home in Wilmington, Del., and is one of the rail company’s staunchest Hill supporters. (Biden’s son is also on Amtrak’s board.) Despite those connections, Meyer says his hiring at Amtrak is merely a “happy coincidence. His relationship with Acheson, he says, predates his work on the Hill. “When Eldie was brought on to be general counsel in January, she wanted to bring in someone of her own, and she immediately asked me,” says Meyer. “I’ve really enjoyed working with her in the past.” In his career Meyer has also practiced at then-Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering in Washington, D.C., and with Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York City. And Biden’s son, Hunter, sits on Amtrak’s board of directors. Take a whiff. Yep, smells like old-school cronyism to me, too. All aboard! (michellemalkin.com)


Oppressive SEIU organizers use shameful tactics against worker-choice ... For years, the powerful Service Employees International Union has played a lead role in the campaign for a landmark federal law that would allow workers to join a labor organization simply by signing petitions. Now, as part of a high-stakes battle in California, the union is urging federal officials to throw out petitions signed by tens of thousands of its own members who have asked to be represented by a rival upstart group. The David-vs.-Goliath face-off pits the SEIU, its $300-million annual budget and its legions of staffers, lobbyists and lawyers against a band of about 150 insurgents who are either volunteers or being paid from donations. Most have defected from the SEIU's 2-million-strong ranks. In lodging legal challenges to the roughly 80 petitions filed by its fledgling competitor, the SEIU has moved to block organizing elections at hospitals, clinics and nursing homes up and down the state. And it has used some of the same tactics that employers often use to thwart union drives. (latimes.com)


Union-backed fraud group can't ditch disgraced Wade Rathke ... The group also threatens a lawsuit to any person who speaks ill of the group, especially if they were former members, which many claim is in attempt to silence dissenters who may threaten the organization’s future. The organization has been investigated in no less than 14 states in relation to voter fraud and members of ACORN have admitted in court to voting multiple times in swing vote states and to registering deceased people, criminals, and those who were not directly contacted by the organization, to vote. Dale Rathke, a prominent member and brother of Wade Rathke, the founder of ACORN, embezzled about $1 million through ACORN partner and New Orleans, Louisiana based non-profit Citizen’s Consulting Inc (CCI). ACORN members were one of the organizations behind a push for President Barack Obama’s election and were used to get citizens to register, many in poor and inner-city neighborhoods, and were behind the Project Vote campaign. 40% of ACORN funds come from federal and state funding (meaning your tax dollars), and during the recession last year, they received $11 million, which is enough to keep over 100 teachers in a job. Because Project Vote is a non-profit, it is not supposed to promote partisan activities, but even a lawyer of ACORN, Elizabeth Kingsley, could not confirm whether the Project Vote campaign was conducted in a non-partisan manner or not, and many who have come across Project Vote volunteers feel that it was not. There were also rumors that President Obama was once a “leadership trainer” for ACORN. (examiner.com)


Worker-Choice 'Dashboard' Exposed ... New unemployment figures demonstrate the need for Michigan to become a right-to-work state, according to Mackinac Center Labor Policy Director Paul Kersey, who today announced the posting of an online "Right-to-Work Dashboard." This regularly updated feature will compare the economic performance of right-to-work states to that of non-right-to-work states, with a spotlight on the struggling Michigan economy. The Dashboard will serve as a resource for policymakers, reporters and residents. Under a state right-to-work law, workers cannot be forced to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment. "A quick look at the Dashboard will show that Michigan is getting its doors blown off by right-to-work states," Kersey said. "For instance, the newest unemployment figures show that Michigan has the worst jobless rate in the country, hitting 14.1 percent in May. Average unemployment rates are substantially lower in those states where employees have the final say on financial support for unions; 7.8 percent for right-to-work states versus 9.0 for non-right-to-work. That's the kind of performance we should be trying to emulate." In spite of the current recession, the Dashboard shows that right-to-work states are doing better in terms of holding onto jobs and holding incomes steady; median family incomes are actually rising faster in right-to-work states compared to non-right-to-work states. (mackinac.org)


Garbage strike: Toronto cracks down on residents ... Got trash? Hope you've got time. Frustration and lengthy delays left Toronto residents wanting to legally dump trash at the Bermondsey Rd. transfer station hotter than the black garbage bags in their trunks yesterday. Police officers were keeping a watchful eye on the pickets outside the station and warning residents they'd have about a two-hour wait. Picketing CUPE members were letting one resident walk their trash to waiting garbage trucks behind the picket line every 15 minutes. A pile of illegally dumped rubbish sat in front of the station. Strikers said the trash was dumped overnight. The pile included recyclables, boxes of Christmas lights and bags of unopened shirts. A city bylaw officer was also on hand, ready to issue fines to anyone who decided to avoid the wait by simply leaving their garbage on the pile. (torontosun.com)


Mayor trashes irate citizens ... Toronto's Mayor David Miller both begged and warned Torontonians not to engage in the illegal dumping of garbage as the municipal strike entered its second day. "I know the vast majority of Torontonians respect their city and are proud of it," he told a news conference on Tuesday. "However, it is becoming clear that there is a small group of people that are taking advantage of this strike to use Toronto as their personal dumping ground. This is not and should not be acceptable to any of us." Miller said it was important to take a stand now and show such activity won't be tolerated. "People who witness illegal dumping can report it to the city by calling 416-338-0338," he said. "The city will act on reports of significant dumping." (toronto.ctv.ca)


Troubling Carpenters' unionism ... The CRC spends millions of dollars promoting national and local elections, encouraging members to vote. But then when they have their own election with in the union the rules change. Members are deliberately not informed about the elections. The union officials use undemocratic tactics to stay in power. All one has to do is view the records, almost all of their elections are won by acclimation [members do not participate]. [redacted to remove personally identifiable information] The union has become part of the problem, they could create more jobs if they were not charging so much money, supply and demand, but the union charges more money so more members will have to drop out and new members can be brought on board. EFCA will be a disaster for the future of the CRC, it will enable the union to get richer, while the union gets weaker. (thetruthaboutefca.com)


Defunding the Left ... A major New Mexico teachers’ union wants a Texas-based investment firm to pony up to $75 million for the losses New Mexico taxpayers’ experienced thanks to the spectacular fraud perpetrated by Bernie Madoff, according to a lawsuit that was unsealed Tuesday. The National Education Association of New Mexico (NEA-NM) is taking aim at Austin Capital Management in an effort to recover three times the amount of money the state lost in what officials have called one of the biggest Ponzi schemes in history. According to the complaint, the Texas firm is guilty of professional negligence because it missed several “red flags” when it invested money from the state’s Educational Retirement Board and State Investment Council into a hedge fund that itself was heavily invested in Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, LLC. (newmexicoindependent.com)


International Collectivism

Stalin makes a comeback ... Billboards with the face of Communist leader Joseph Stalin have appeared on the streets of the city of Voronezh in Central Russia. The dictator’s return is due to the Communist Party, who bought ten advertisement panels throughout the city, paying 8.000 roubles (around $260) for each one, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports. The campaign was launched on June 22, the day Russia commemorated the victims of the Great Patriotic War. On that day, the German Nazi forces suddenly invaded the Soviet Union without a declaration of war. (russiatoday.com)


Deadbeat LatAm Progs back Mullahs ... Unfortunately, various foreign officials--mainly from Middle Eastern countries and authoritarian regimes--did congratulate Ahmadinejad. Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez was among them. He applauded the Iranian president's "very big and important victory." Meanwhile, the Venezuelan government denounced foreign criticism of the election as a "vicious and unfounded smear campaign." Prior to the election, Chávez had referred to Ahmadinejad as "a courageous fighter for the Islamic Revolution, the defense of the Third World, and in the struggle against imperialism." Elsewhere in the Western Hemisphere, Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega sent Ahmadinejad a congratulatory note that began with "Beloved Brother Ahmadinejad" and ended with this: "With love and admiration always, your brother salutes you." In the middle of his letter, Ortega wrote: "I send you a fraternal revolutionary greeting, from this country and this revolution that saw the light of victory in the same year of 1979 when Iran rose up and liberated itself to found the Islamic Republic and its own Revolution." (Ortega must still appreciate the millions of dollars in aid that Iran sent his Sandinista government in the years following their respective revolutions. Those loans, incidentally, have never been repaid.) (weeklystandard.com)


Foreign billionaire collectivist pushes U.S. Leftward ... If you believe the White House, there are 30 million Americans who support a government health care takeover. But if you look at the funding behind the Obamacare campaign, it's the same few leftist billionaires, union bosses and partisan community organizers pushing the socialized medicine agenda. Let's connect the dots. On Thursday, a national "grassroots" coalition called Health Care for America Now (HCAN) will march on Capitol Hill to demand universal health care. The ground troops won't have to march very far. HCAN, you see, is no heartland network. It is headquartered at 1825 K Street in Washington, D.C. -- smack dab in the middle of Beltway lobby land. In fact, 1825 K Street is Ground Zero for a plethora of "progressive" groups subsidized by anti-war, anti-Republican, Big Nanny special interests. Around Washington, the office complex is known as "The Other K Street." The Washington Post noted in 2007 that "its most prominent tenants form an abbreviated who's who of well-funded allies of the Democratic Party. … Big money from unions such as the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, as well as the Internet-fueled MoveOn, has provided groups like those at 1825 K Street the wherewithal to mount huge campaigns." MoveOn, of course, is the recreational political vehicle of radical liberal sugar daddy George Soros. (townhall.com)


Obama's global NIMBY: Emptying Gitmo in the dark ... Palau Senator, Tommy Remengesau, says a committee should be established to brief the community of the government’s decision to accept detainees from Guantanamo Bay. Palau has tentatively agreed to a United States request to temporarily resettle Chinese Muslim Uighurs. But Senator Remengesau says the people of Palau are not fully informed and this issue is too important. He says that the Palau Congress has to be fully briefed on the matter too. The former president also says other senators share his view of the need for a full briefing. He says the social, economic and political impacts of allowing the detainees into Palau must be fully researched. He says there’s also a security concern since China has protested the move. (rnzi.com)


Iran unionists to fight back ... The fact remains that demands of almost an absolute majority of the Iranians go far beyond the demands of a particular group. In the past, we have emphasized that until the freedom of choice and right to organize are not recognized, talk of any social or particular right would be more of a mockery than a reality. The Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Vahed Bus Company fully supports this movement of Iranian people to build a free and independent civil society and condemns any violence and oppression. In line with the recognition of the labor rights, the Syndicate requests that June 26 which has been called by the International Trade Unions Organization ‘Day of action’ for justice for Iranian workers to include the human rights of all Iranians who have been deprived of their rights. (pww.org)
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