Thursday wrap

Anatomy of U.S. Job Freeze revealed ... Here are some of the moves Congress and the White House are considering that could sap business profits, at least in the short term. Democrats argue many of these steps are needed to protect the country's long-term economic health. Pay or play. As part of a health insurance overhaul, employers could be presented with a mandate requiring they either contribute to their workers' insurance or pay a fee to the government. In Massachusetts, which has such a mandate, the fee is $295 per full-time worker and applies to firms with 11 or more workers. Organized labor's dream. If the Employee Free Choice Act (card check) passes, it's likely to be a compromise version despite the fact that both sides are still sticking to their "no compromise" message. A compromise might substitute a "quickie" election for the controversial proposal to let workers say yes to a union simply by filling out sign-up cards. A Democratic labor board. Since taking office Obama has promoted former union attorney Wilma Liebman to be chairman of the National Labor Relations Board and nominated two others --both with union ties--for the board. It is predictable that the new board will overturn decisions adopted by the Bush-era board. After all, Bush's labor board appointees overturned Clinton-era rulings. (forbes.com)

Obama: Vastly increase regulatory powers of the Federal Reserve ... Of your job, home, and savings, which do you need to lose before you get upset? Upset enough to open your mind and consider that some unthinkable things may be going on in our government? How can $2 trillion plus be printed and given away (with little oversight or disclosure of who received it) without seriously weakening the dollar? Have the mainstream media and government schools taken you to the point that you can’t even consider the question? How can the price of gold stay relatively flat with trillions (allegedly) injected into circulation? Once your job is gone – save government employees – you’ll have some time to look into it. Are you aware the Federal Reserve Bank is as much a government agency as is Federal Express? It controls the value of our money, is a cartel of private banks, and has never been subjected to a financial audit. The Fed’s actions have pointed us toward hyperinflation. Like a man who can’t lift himself out of a bucket, a country can’t tax and spend itself into prosperity. (nwherald.com)

Hugo Chávez: Community organizer for the Americas ... Ecuador, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Antigua and Barbuda formally joined the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) on Wednesday, local media reported. Ecuador supports the ALBA for its revolutionary ideals which express the sovereignty of the people, said Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa during the accession ceremony. Winston Baldwin Spencer, prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, said that his country was satisfied with being part of these integration projects. Ralph Gonsalves, prime minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, also attended the ceremony, saying his country has expressed the desire of joining the bloc since 2007. The ALBA is a regional block created in 2004 by Cuba and Venezuela to counter the U.S.-led Free Trade Area of the Americas (ALCA) supported by Canada, Mexico, Colombia and Peru. Nicaragua, Bolivia, Dominica and Honduras are also members of the ALBA. (news.xinhuanet.com)

Would U.S. accept invitation to join ALBA? ... The decision reverses tit-for-tat expulsions last year and represents a clear improvement in relations since Barack Obama came to office in November. Speaking on Wednesday, Venezuela's foreign minister Nicolas Maduro said the reinstatement of the envoys in Washington and Caracas would take place "in the coming days". He also said both ambassadors - Venezuela's Bernardo Alvarez, and American Patrick Duddy - would begin work almost with immediate effect. Mr Obama met with Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez at the summit of the Americas back on April, with the pair sharing a controversial handshake. (inthenews.co.uk)

Chávez displays his Progressive militarism ... Leaders of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) attended a military parade in the Venezuelan city of Valencia on Wednesday to celebrate the 188th anniversary of the battle of Carabobo that determined the independence of Venezuela. Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, Bolivian President Evo Morales, and Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa attended the parade, which also commemorated Venezuelan Army Day. Some 250 armored vehicles, 45 planes, 50 horses and more than 5,200 troops from the Venezuelan National Armed Force participated in the parade, together with troops from Cuba, Honduras, Nicaragua and Bolivia. (english.people.com.cn)

Worker-choice states prosper while labor-states lag ... Kansas was named the seventh most pro-business state in the nation Wednesday by Pollina Corporate Real Estate, an influential brokerage and consulting firm in Chicago. The state finished 10th in 2008. The top 10 states were, in order: Virginia, Utah, North Carolina, Wyoming, South Carolina, South Dakota, Kansas, Georgia, Florida and Nebraska. This is a particularly good ranking for Kansas, which more often scores in the 20s and 30s in business-related rankings. Some rankings look narrowly at business tax rates, others expand to include business costs such as labor and electricity, while others try to measure business climate such as education levels and how pro-business the legal system is. Kansas tends to do better in the broader studies. The Pollina study is broad, using 33 factors, such as taxes, human resources, right-to-work legislation, energy costs, infrastructure spending, workers compensation laws, economic incentive programs and state economic development efforts. (kansas.com)

B.H. Obama outdoes P.T. Barnum ... It seems more obvious every day that America is now under the leadership of a far greater pitchman than even P. T. Barnum could have ever imagined. President, or should I say, pitchman Obama’s understanding of humanity seems eerily similar with that of P. T. Barnum. For starters, Obama obviously believes, as Barnum did, that “there’s a sucker born every minute,” and that selling his entire socialist plan for America depends on it. Obama’s delusional circus has been traveling around our great land for six months now with the Ringmaster-in-Chief telling everyone that his economic plans are working to perfection, even though the facts tell a completely different story. Obama knows he has to convince enough “suckers” that his plans are actually working in order to continue his socialist agenda. (canadafreepress.com)

Unionists smack down innovative, voter-approved anti-corruption law ... A voter-approved ban on some political contributions is in legal limbo after being temporarily blocked by a Denver judge. Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said Wednesday that he'll likely continue to defend Amendment 54 even though he thinks it has "serious constitutional problems." The law bars anyone tied to businesses that hold at least $100,000 in no-bid government contracts from making contributions to political candidates. If the amendment is permanently blocked, it would be the first voter measure since Amendment 2 - which barred cities from passing anti-discrimination laws to protect gay people - to be struck down by the courts, said Bob Loevy, a political science professor at Colorado College. That legal battle lasted four years and ended with the U.S. Supreme Court overturning it in 1996. (gazette.com)

Labor-state judge: Pay-to-Play is union-only ... Speaking to reporters after the ruling, Mark Grueskin, who represented the unions in the suit, exhibited visible relief. “It’s over,” he said. “Amendment 54 remains a part of the constitution but it will not be enforced. [The amendment] was legal duct tape for certain businesses and nonprofits. Its aim was to tell specific interests to be quiet about politics.” Laws in Connecticut and New Jersey, she said, limit campaign contributions contractors can make only to officials who can directly influence the terms of the contract. To attempt to do more than that, she suggested, is mere fishing and opens up all variety of legal complications and questions of enforceability. There must be solid evidence of actual corruption to make such a leap. She said that there simply is no such evidence in Colorado — no evidence of pay-to-play corruption and no evidence even of the appearance of pay-to-play corruption. (coloradoindependent.com)

Union-backed labor-state A.G. too close to criminals ... New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo recused himself from any investigation of EnTrust Capital Inc., a hedge fund firm that handled his personal and campaign money and received state pension funds from a company he linked to alleged illegal kickbacks, his office said. Cuomo, 51, turned any EnTrust matters over to Special Counsel Linda Lacewell when he took office in 2007, said Chief of Staff Steven Cohen yesterday. Later Cohen said he would have made the ultimate decision on any formal probe. The recusal and the EnTrust investment, which Cuomo sold, according to Cohen, present a potential conflict of interest, ethics experts said. (bloomberg.com)

We don't need no complaints about stinkin' garbage ... As the walkout enters its fourth day today, the city will announce 19 new drop-off locations for residential garbage, mostly arena and parking lots in parks. In 2002, 12 locations were used. Hot, humid weather is forecast through the weekend and garbage is piling up, but the city's medical officer of health says it's not a concern yet. "A well-managed temporary garbage site, even if it's a large one, does not necessarily create a health hazard," Dr. David McKeown said yesterday. "It may be unattractive and cause odours, but this will not cause human disease. (thestar.com)

Wade Rathke fakes separation from ACORN ... Scott Levenson, a spokesman for organization’s national leadership, has issued statement claiming that the name has not been dropped and that Rathke is no longer connected with ACORN. It is as follows: “ACORN is not changing its name. ACORN International, is a five-year old organization from which ACORN withdrew a year ago as part of an overall restructuring process and requested that they stop using the ACORN name, which they have now done. Wade Rathke was fired as Chief Organizer of ACORN in June 2008.” But ACORN 8 activists who have raised questions about the organization’s internal finances believe Rathke still exerts control and that a name change is in the works. “The idea is to carry on in the same way without changing anything about their finances or their overall practices and just do this under a different name,” said Karen Inman, a former board member from Minnesota who co-founded ACORN 8. “I don’t believe for a minute that Rathke has been removed from the organization in any practical sense.” (washingtonexaminer.com)

Disgraced Alinskyite ACORN-SEIU founder plays name games ... And lies issue from his mouth -- or in this case, from his computer keyboard. Wade Rathke responds on his blog to the news reports about ACORN International changing its name. "I'm just an organizer of lower income families around and not someone on either side of the fence with an axe to grind," writes Rathke who participated in an eight-year coverup of his brother's nearly $1 million embezzlement from ACORN. So now he's being victimized? He also says in a roundabout way that he resigned from ACORN. Not true. He was dismissed, as shown in the ACORN national board minutes of June 20, 2008. (See pages 10 and 11 in linked document.) (spectator.org)

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

Union-backed, tax-funded fraud group outrages GOP ... Human Events has reported that the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now, more commonly known as ACORN, is changing its name. The new moniker, Community Organizations International (COI), is the organization's attempt to change its image. Congressman Steve King (R-Iowa), who has been battling for accountability from the organization, says it is already under investigation in more than a dozen states for alleged voter fraud, the result of widespread allegations during the 2008 presidential campaign. "It appears to be a criminal enterprise. They have 250 to 270 affiliates. It's a spiderweb of a corporate entanglement," he contends. "They produced over 400,000 fraudulent voter registration forms. They are under investigation in at least 14 states." And King finds it outrageous that ACORN, or COI, is going to have an active role in the 2010 census. "The very people who gave us over 400,000 fraudulent voter registration forms are, at this point, poised to give us, I suspect, millions of fraudulent people counted in the right places to empower Democrats," he says. "They are a get-out-the-vote machine for the Democrats, and they are being funded by American tax dollars -- and that is outrageous." (onenewsnow.com)

Defunding the Left: NEA attorneys slow to the draw ... Both lawsuits – one filed by Frank Foy, the other by the National Education Association of New Mexico – seek to recover damages from Texas-based Austin Capital Management under a state statute that allows a private party to sue to recover money believed lost because of fraud. The lawyers who filed the cases also agree that Austin Capital is liable for $25 million, plus damages, that the state lost when New York investor Bernie Madoff admitted to bilking investors of billions of dollars. The difference of opinion involves whose lawsuit should get first dibs on trying to recover that money. “The first filed case proceeds,” Victor Marshall, attorney for Foy, the former Educational Retirement Board investment officer, said in an e-mail Wednesday. Foy’s complaint was filed in First Judicial District Court in Santa Fe April 12, compared to the NEA-NM suit, which was filed May 12. (newmexicoindependent.com)
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