7/15/09

Wednesday wrap

Anti-investment agenda yields predictable results ... President Barack Obama on Tuesday declined to predict how high unemployment will climb but made clear he expects it to keep worsening for a while as hiring lags behind other signs of economic recovery. "How employment numbers are going to respond is not year clear," the president said on a day when he was headed to Michigan, home of a particularly battered economy. "My expectation is that we will probably continue to see unemployment tick up for several months." (washingtontimes.com)


Liz Cheney: Narcissist Obama flunked U.S. history ... Asked at a NATO meeting in France in April whether he believed in American exceptionalism, the president said, "I believe in American Exceptionalism just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism." In other words, not so much. The Obama administration does seem to believe in another kind of exceptionalism -- Obama exceptionalism. "We have the best brand on Earth: the Obama brand," one Obama handler has said. What they don't seem to realize is that once you're president, your brand is America, and the American people expect you to defend us against lies, not embrace or ignore them. We also expect you to know your history. (online.wsj.com)


Obama, Chávez, Zelaya: Birds of a feather ... I am quite concerned to read that President Barack Obama stands with Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez in asking for the reinstatement of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya. Three things stand out glaringly: Chávez is so clearly not an ally of the United States and, along with Cuba's Raul Castro, he has been advising Zalaya to take over leadership of Honduras in a nonconstitutional manner (which is the reason for his ousting in the first place). Obama taking a stand in concert with Chávez sends a message to the Honduran people who called for Zalaya's resignation that the U.S. is not in support of their right to protest Zalaya's improper methodology to attempt change of the Honduran constitution, in order to secure a longer term of office. (theledger.com)


Not the United States we used to know ... We have a president, a state department, a U.N., and an Organization of American States (OAS) that is now backing the communists, Marxists, socialists, and tyrants that want to take over Honduras. This is a case study of how a radical socialist president, backed by Congressional majorities, and a mainstream media in the tank, can do the most outrageous things and get away with them. But it is also a grim reminder that we have not only elected a radical, left-wing president with a history of questionable associates, but a president that can now be fairly labeled a socialist and communist sympathizer and supporter. Don’t try fobbing this all off. The facts are clear to anyone who wants to take the time to find them. This is light years behind incredible and outrageous and what is happening is clear as a bell to anyone who is awake: We have a president, Barack Obama; a state department headed by Hillary Clinton; and a government that is now on the side of the Communists, the Marxists, the tyrants and dictators of South America. I knew Obama was a fraud, a faker, a phony, and a fibber. I knew he was a socialist, but the new evidence suggests you have to add communist sympathizer and/or communist to that long list of Obama descriptives. (thebulletin.us)


Sotomayor: Unwise Latina didn't mean what she said ... Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor retreated from her praise of the "wise Latina," endorsed a privacy right to abortion in the Constitution and insisted she was not opposed to gun ownership during a day of questioning on a string of hot-button issues before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. In her first extended public exchanges since President Obama nominated her in May, Judge Sotomayor said her widely cited 2001 remark that a "wise Latina woman" would tend to make better judgments than a white man was a "failed rhetorical flourish that fell flat" - and not, as critics charge, evidence of racism. (washingtontimes.com)

Related video: Sotomayor throws Obama under the bus



The Obama Brand ... “We have the best brand on earth: the Obama brand,” Rogers says. “Our possibilities are endless.” Like all brands, the Obama brand has a “crown jewel,” she explains, and that crown jewel is the White House. Think of it like Unilever’s Dove, a consumer brand Rogers says she admires. Having started with a simple bar of soap, the utilitarian Dove brand now boasts such grooming products as shampoo, body wash and deodorant. In 2004, its “Campaign for Real Beauty” featuring plus-size and older models generated a flood of publicity, boosted sales and made the brand seem approachable and public-service-oriented. “You basically need to understand what your customers want and need,” Rogers says. (magazine.wsj.com)


D.C. union organizers buck public opinion ... Recently, Rasmussen did a poll on the basic concept to see what the prevailing feelings were and it looks like the union position comes out heavily on the losing end of the stats with this one. What’s more, most people agree with the Republican position that opposes the union’s. "Thirty percent (30%) of Americans say it is fair to form a union without having a secret ballot vote if a majority of a company’s workers sign a card saying they want to unionize. But a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 52% of adults do not believe it is fair to form a union without a secret vote. Eighteen percent (18%) are not sure. "Sixty-five percent (65%) of Republicans believe it’s unfair to establish a union without a secret ballot. Democrats and adults not affiliated with either party are more closely divided, although pluralities of both groups agree with the majority of Republicans." And that isn’t the only part of the EFCA that most people oppose. "Just 21% of all Americans believe the federal government should be allowed to mandate an agreement defining pay and benefits for a company’s employees if the company and their employees’ union cannot reach an agreement on a contract within 90 days. Fifty-six percent (56%) are opposed to giving the government this power which is another provision of the EFCA." (theunionlabelblog.com)


Mission Accomplished: Obama completes Europeanization of U.S. economy ... Economic policy, which became startling when Washington began buying automobile companies, has become surreal now that disappointment with the results of the second stimulus is stirring talk about the need for a . . . second stimulus. Elsewhere, it requires centuries to bleach mankind's memory; in Washington, 17 months suffice: In February 2008, President George W. Bush and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who normally were at daggers drawn, agreed that a $168 billion stimulus — this was Stimulus I — would be the "booster shot" the economy needed. Unemployment then was 4.8%. In January, the administration, shiny as a new dime and bursting with brains, said that unless another stimulus — Stimulus II wound up involving $787 billion — was passed immediately, unemployment, which then was 7.6%, would reach 9% by 2010. But halfway through 2009, the rate is 9.5%. For the first time since the now 16-nation Eurozone was established in 1999, the unemployment rate in America is as high as it is in that region, which Americans once considered a cautionary lesson in the wages of sin, understood as excessive taxation and regulation. (ibdeditorials.com)


Poor management blamed on extra-constitutional Czar creep ... President Obama gave his so-called "czars" responsibilities that might have been divided among different Cabinet secretaries in past administrations. But by some accounts, Obama has nearly three dozen czars in his administration, managing everything from closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility to ending the genocide in Darfur. Obama has pledged his full support to all of them. But when you add his 15 Cabinet secretaries to his policy and political advisors and his chief of staff and throw in his military advisors and a couple dozen selected other officials, that equals a lot of officials who have Oval Office walk-in rights. "I think the number probably is getting closer to a 100," said James Bailey, a leadership professor at George Washington University, who noted that's not the norm at most Fortune 500 companies. "Most CEOs have about seven to 10 people reporting to them," he said, adding that Obama has perhaps 100 people reporting to him. "Can they reasonably and responsibly state up with all of the elements that are required to execute their job responsibly," he said. (foxnews.com)


Unionist Czar to rule over U.S. auto industry ... The Obama administration’s efforts to revive the auto industry will now have a union member at its helm. Ron Bloom, a senior adviser in the U.S. Treasury Department for auto industry restructuring, has been named to head the administration’s auto task force. Bloom succeeds Steven Rattner, a former investment banker, who resigned after less than six months on the job. Before moving to Treasury, Bloom served as an assistant to United Steelworkers (USW) President Leo Gerard. As USW’s director of corporate research, he helped revive and restructure 50 companies in bankruptcy. Bloom began his career negotiating union contracts for low-wage workers under AFL-CIO President John Sweeney when he was president of SEIU. (blog.aflcio.org)


What is Card-Check? Play the Game. ... Learn about the effect of Card-Check and the so-called "Employee Free Choice Act" on small business in America while trying to keep your job. The so-called Employee Free Choice Act, aka “Card Check”, would take away numerous rights and protections currently afforded to workers employed at companies where unions are actively seeking to organize. The bill would remove workers’ rights to a federally supervised private ballot election. Instead, workers would be asked to sign cards in front of organizers and colleagues, potentially subjecting them to harassment or intimidation. Once a majority of employees have signed cards, the union is immediately recognized. (whatiscardcheck.com)


Obamanistas H8 Worker-Choice ... Card Check legislation is something clever the unions and Democrats came up with as a way to overrule the secret ballot majority needed in order for a place of business to be required to unionize. The unions call it the Employee Free Choice Act to make it sound like employees have a choice, but there isn't choice when there is no secret ballot. The protection of free choice is dependent on the secret ballot and the unions want that last protection taken away. Workers rights are not the goal of unions--widespread forced unionization is the goal of unions because that means money and power for the unions and for the left. Texas is a right to work state, which means that no employees are forced to join or financially support a union unless they choose to do so. Teachers are a good example. In Texas, a teacher can decide to belong to none or any of three recognized teachers unions: Texas State Teachers Association (an affiliate of the National Education Association), American Federation of Teachers (an affiliate of the AFL-CIO), or the Texas Federation of Teachers. Union dues vary by the teaching area and the types of insurance, but they are generally not over $200 per year. On the other hand, consider a state like California, which is not a right to work state. All teachers are required to be members and to pay dues to the California Teachers Union (which is affiliated with the NEA)—there is no choice in California. Union dues are usually around $900 a year depending on where you teach in the state. Employees in non-right to work states must pay an equivalent of dues even if they decide to opt out (which can be a harrowing process and usually is only allowed under strict religious grounds, so it is hardly ever allowed). Forced payments of union dues are used to promote left-leaning politicians and policies. (examiner.com)


Job-Killer Act: It's all about the 'O' ... Congress should help to remove barriers that stand in the way of business opportunities instead of advancing costly measures like the Employee Free Choice Act (also known as Card Check), according to Jonathan Johnson, president of Overstock.com. Under Card Check the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) would be required to certify a union without a secret ballot election, if labor representatives obtained signatures from 51 percent of a company’s workforce. The arbitration provision of the proposal requires that labor and management have just 120 days to reach an agreement before a two year contract is imposed by a federal mediator in a compulsory process. “The government should make it easier for people to get hired, not harder,” Johnson said. “Binding arbitration says to me we are going to have federal agents come in and determine what the labor contracts are going to be.” The end result of binding arbitration would be the “nationalization of small businesses by the federal government,” he said. (washingtonexaminer.com)


Labor-state GOP Gov. gets up in Obama's face ... Gov. Linda Lingle vetoed a controversial bill Tuesday that would have allowed Hawaii labor unions to more easily organize workers by having them sign authorization cards. House Bill 952, the so-called card-check bill, would have taken away the right of workers to vote by secret ballot on whether or not they would want to join a union, replacing it with authorization cards. If a majority of a company’s workers signed the cards, the union would automatically be recognized and free to bargain with management. Lingle included it with four other bills she said would discourage job creation. (bizjournals.com)


Sending out an SOS for Worker-Choice ... Unions have challenged the language of a ballot initiative that would amend the Colorado Constitution to guarantee employees' right to a secret ballot in unionization elections. Meanwhile, legislation is pending before Congress that would remove that requirement from federal law. “The purpose for this amendment is to guarantee the fundamental right of an individual to vote by secret ballot,” said Patrick Davis, a Colorado Springs political consultant backing the measure. The Employee Free Choice Act would repeal federal requirements for private voting and clear the way for a method called “card check.” Workers would still have a choice to opt for a secret ballot election, but unions are unlikely to back such a move. Since signature cards may be filled out anywhere and may take various forms, critics are concerned the process is more susceptible to fraud and intimidation. The 39-word proposal reads, “The right of individuals to vote by secret ballot is fundamental. Where state or federal law requires or permits elections or designations or authorizations of employee representation, the right of individuals to vote by secret ballot shall be guaranteed.” A state board has approved a title for the initiative, which is now being challenged by organized labor. (facethestate.com)


Scandal could test vaunted Obama transparency ... "We're not there yet," one Democratic source on Capitol Hill said last week, when asked about the prospect for hearings on the Obama administration's firing of AmeriCorps inspector general Gerald Walpin. Congressional investigators are still conducting interviews in the case, so the question of whether to "pull the trigger" on a full-blown inquiry -- with subpoenas for witnesses to testify under oath at committee hearings -- has yet to be decided. The fact that both Democrats and Republicans are involved in investigating the Walpin dismissal is, however, highly significant. With Democrats controlling both houses of Congress, bipartisanship is absolutely necessary to getting the truth about the AmeriCorps case, as with the other cases in the smoldering "IG Gate" scandal. Sensitive political considerations are involved, given the potential fallout from investigations into whether the Obama administration -- which promised to be the most "transparent" in history -- is trying to muzzle the independent watchdogs tasked with preventing waste, fraud and abuse in federal agencies. In the span of barely a week, beginning with the White House's quit-or-be-fired ultimatum to Walpin on June 10, two other inspectors general left their posts in what appears to be a pattern of administration pressure against IGs: (spectator.org)


Update: Obama-related, union-backed marketing scam exposed in Palmetto State ... The Smosska company has created an official website, which features more detailed information about the company and its products. According to the website, http://www.Smosska.com, “Smosska e-health was founded in 2001 by President and CEO, Michelle Adams to save money and make healthcare records management easier.“ The website goes on to say, “We offer an affordable electronic healthcare card that links a patient to their medical records from anywhere in the world, any time of the day or night.“ Smosska recently held a job fair in Florence in which they charged applicants a $40 assessment fee. That charge, along with the fact that the company has no current building to house potential employees, a lack of a solid business history, and the fact that company officials said they would increase their workforce from about 10 people to 3,000, prompted concerns from the Better Business Bureau. Smosska company officials are now saying on the website, “We expect to employ 1500 to 3000 people by the end of 2009 and 50,000 within 5 years.“ Previously, the company did not have a website and there were limited references to the company on the internet. The B.B.B. still has an open investigation into Smosska, and says the results of the investigation are contingent upon whether or not applicants hear back from the company about potential positions. (scnow.com)


Shame on The Washington Post ... The Washington Post’s ill-fated plan to sell sponsorships of off-the-record “salons” was an ethical lapse of monumental proportions. Publisher Katharine Weymouth and Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli have now taken full responsibility for what was envisioned as a series of 11 intimate dinners to discuss public policy issues. For a fee of up to $25,000, underwriters were guaranteed a seat at the table with lawmakers, administration officials, think tank experts, business leaders and the heads of associations. Promotional materials said Weymouth, Brauchli and at least one Post reporter would serve as “Hosts and Discussion Leaders” for an evening of spirited but civil dialogue. While Brauchli and Weymouth say they should have realized long ago that the plan was flawed, internal e-mails and interviews show questions about ethics were raised with both of them months ago. They also show that blame runs deeper. Beneath Brauchli and Weymouth, three of the most senior newsroom managers received an e-mail with details of the plan. (delawareonline.com)


Reversal: SEIU discards failed policy of the past, organizes in favor of term limits ... A local union wants term limits imposed on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. KPBS reporter Katie Orr says a union member filed paperwork today that begins the process of putting term limits on the ballot. The current Board of Supervisors hasn’t changed since 1995. But the Service Employees International Union Local 221 thinks it’s time for new representation. Union member and long time county employee Margaret Johnson has filed paperwork that would let voters decide if the supervisors should be subject to term limits. “This country was built on the principle that monarchies are not okay. The President of the United States can only serve two terms, yet the Board of Supervisors have the ability to serve for life,” she says. (kpbs.org)


International Collectivism

NPR smacks down Hugo Chávez' socialist experiment ... In Venezuela, President Hugo Chávez's government has made the expropriation of farmland — taking land from big landholders and giving it to the poor — central to his so-called revolution. The idea is to spur production and end dependence on food imports. But the results have fallen short, making the country more dependent on foreign food than ever before. (npr.org)


Chávez orders workers to join Socialist Party ... Venezuela's oil workers will be suspected of conspiring against President Hugo Chávez's socialist revolution if they do not join socialist workplace groups in the OPEC nation, the oil minister said on Tuesday. Ramirez, who told oil workers to support Chávez ahead of his 2006 reelection, has long headed the president's drive to bring politics into Venezuela's main industry. "By now, there should not be a single counter-revolutionary in the heart of our company, our industry," Ramirez said at a rally with workers taken on by state-oil company PDVSA after it nationalized dozens of oil service companies earlier this year. "There cannot be a single PDVSA installation where socialist committees do not exist," he said. "Whoever is not in a committee will be suspected of conspiring against the revolution." (reuters.com)


U.S. backs global war on democracy ... A war is being waged on the democratic process around the world, a war which poses ultimately a greater peril than the bombs and bullets from militant Islam. The two, however, are closely allied, at least for now. The pattern of attack is similar around the world: a popularly elected leader uses his office to ensure that he remains perpetually in office and establish a socialist/communist regime allied with similar governments; freedom of the press is muted, freedom of expression is suppressed through militant youth gangs, and all meaningful opposition is criminalized. The most obvious example of this perversion of the democratic process is the bumptious Latin American communist, Hugo Chávez, president of oil-rich Venezuela. A self-described follower of the long-dead Bolshevik revolution leader Leon Trotsky, Chávez used his election victory in 1998 to install a neo-communist dictatorship. Chávez controls most major media outlets, and uses a youth gang called the Bolivarian Circle to intimidate those protesting his regime. Chávez has criminalized his opposition and forced politicians, military officers, business leaders, and oil executives to seek asylum outside Venezuela. (canadafreepress.com)

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