9/23/09

Wednesday wrap

Obama: Worse than Jimmy, shamed by ACORN, arts-for-politics, takes ethics hit, hearts Buffy, Dalai Lama under the bus, takes down U.S., H8s Paterson, plays dumb.

Mismanagement: Union big in Obama corruption probe, Alinsky bedevils The Left, ACORN-SEIU hearts Dem politics, corrupt AGs exposed, social justice fraud, Ratner fail, Catholics defund ACORN, ACORN hiring, whitewash set, BOHICA ACORN, unions use students, labor-state anarchy, Dem P2P.

International: U.S. backs LatAm anarchy, meet Chávez wingman, VeneProg fail.


The worst Presidents in U.S. history? ... On Sept. 16, ex-president Jimmy Carter excoriated opponents of President Barack Obama as racists. "I think people who [attack] Obama have been influenced to a major degree by a belief that he should not be president because he happens to be African-American," Carter blathered. Obama's spokespeople quickly backed away from Carter's statements; Obama went so far as to remind David Letterman that he was black before the presidential election, and that the American public had elected him anyway. The fact is this: the American public is not racist. In fact, we're downright evenhanded -- we elect incompetents of all color to high office. We don't just elect Jimmy Carter president -- we elect the black Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama. Obama resembles Carter in virtually every way. Carter handed over the Panama Canal, built by the United States, to leftist dictator Omar Torrijos; Obama is currently in the process of handing over Honduras to leftist would-be dictator Manuel Zelaya, and he has already kowtowed to Venezuelan leftist dictator Hugo Chávez, Nicaraguan communist dictator Daniel Ortega and Cuban communist dictator Fidel Castro. Carter hated Israel, and along with his National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, sought to undermine it; Obama, along with covert foreign policy adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, hates Israel and seeks to undermine it. (patriotpost.us)


Is the White House secretly ashamed of ACORN? ... Since first reporting that Serve.gov was listing activist positions with ACORN it seems now that all ACORN listings have been scrubbed from the taxpayer-funded site without any explanation as to why they were on it in the first place. The government was using our taxpayer dollars to advertise for volunteer opportunities to promote the president’s partisan agenda via a corrupt organization under investigation for voter registration fraud, among other things. (biggovernment.com)


ACORN-SEIU cash pollutes U.S. ... Republican Congressional candidate Allen West called on Congressman Ron Klein to return all campaign contributions Klein has received from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in the wake of recent allegations about ACORN and Klein’s recent vote in Congress to stop Federal funding of ACORN: “While it was admirable that Congressman Ron Klein voted against taxpayer funding to ACORN last Thursday, Klein’s history of campaign contributions reveals some disturbing news. In the past two election cycles of 2006 and 2008 Ron Klein accepted $20K of campaign contributions from SEIU (Service Employee International Union). SEIU is directly involved with ACORN. SEIU’s President sits on the ACORN Board of Directors. SEIU gave ACORN and its affiliates more than $4 million in 2006-7 according to ACORN’s own Department of Labor filings. Ron Klein is nothing more than a hypocrite for his vote not to fund ACORN if he does not also break ties with ACORN’s largest union supporter. It is evident that SEIU is a large contributor to Klein. I call upon Ron Klein to publicly explain his acceptance of these funds and if he wishes to restore any sense of integrity and character, return the $20K to SEIU.” (postonpolitics.com)


Shame: O-Progs use tax-funded art for politics ... The Obama administration sought to distance itself Tuesday from a simmering controversy swirling around a National Endowment for the Arts conference call that appeared to urge artists to endorse White House positions. The administration’s response followed a renewed assault from conservatives on Monday after the right-leaning blog Big Hollywood posted a full transcript and audio recording of the call. “The point of the call was to encourage voluntary participation in a national service initiative by the arts community,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest. “To the extent there was any misunderstanding about what the NEA may do to support the national service initiative, we will correct it.” (fredericksburg.com)


Obamaunist union big in political corruption probe ... Federal investigators are probing whether a local union president at a Pennsylvania U.S. Energy Department laboratory improperly helped President Barack Obama's 2008 campaign on government time by using government facilities, union lawyers said. The U.S. Office of Special Counsel is probing whether Ronald Demicheli improperly taped a video criticizing 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain in an office at the National Energy Technology Laboratory near Pittsburgh, said Ward Morrow, a lawyer for the American Federation of Government Employees. (theconservatives.com)


Obama takes another shameful ethics hit ... “Government agencies are not supposed to be engaged in political activities,” Sloan said. “Here, because they didn’t veer off into ‘This is about the election,’ where you’d get into violations of the Hatch Act, it’s not illegal. But it doesn’t look good — it looks terrible. It’s inappropriate.” The Hatch Act restricts the political activity of executive branch employees of the federal government. Said Sloan of the conference call: “It’s not what the NEA was created for, it’s not supposed to be helping the president’s agenda; that’s not the point.” Burton added that the White House will be issuing a formal memo for White House staff “to that effect and will be doing training sessions and personal visits with staff here to make sure the message gets across.” (bighollywood.breitbart.com)


Meet Buffy the Integrity Slayer ... Right, so let’s say you’re Buffy Wicks. You’ve were the director of the Obama campaign in Missouri, probably doing some “organizing”, you were there during those raucous Texas caucuses, and you were Obama’s California Field Director. You love you some Barack Obama, and you’re great at what you do, which is rabble rousing, “organizing”. Now you call it “engaging”. You were great at this when you went after Walmart for the UFCW Union as political director of the WakeUpWalmart campaign. Anyway, people noticed, and now that your candidate won, there’s a spot for you in the White House! In fact, when you visit one of your immediate bosses, whether it’s Christina Tchen or Valerie Jarrett, you probably have to pass the Vice-President and Rahm Emanuel’s office before you reach the stairs to the second floor. Oops, careful Buffy, because if you walk much past those stairs you could walk right into the Oval Office….you are definitely in the White House! (bighollywood.breitbart.com)


Obama throws the Dalai Lama under the bus ... This October, on a scheduled visit to the United States, the Dalai Lama will not be welcomed at the White House. Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett was recently dispatched to Dharamsala -- the Dalai Lama's place of exile in northern India -- to gently deliver the message. The Tibetans took the news, as usual, nonviolently. "A lot of nations are adopting a policy of appeasement (toward China)," observed Samdhong Rinpoche, prime minister of Tibet's government-in-exile. "I understand why Obama is not meeting with the Dalai Lama before his Chinese trip. It is common sense. Obama should not irritate the Chinese leadership." (patriotpost.us)


Obama takes the U.S. down ... Barack Obama’s Gallup approval rating of 52 percent may well be lower at this stage of his presidency than any US leader in recent times with the exception of Bill Clinton. But he is still worshipped with messiah-like adoration at the United Nations, and is considerably more popular with many of the 192 members of the UN than he is with the American people. The latest Pew Global Attitudes Survey of international confidence in Obama’s leadership on foreign affairs shows strikingly high approval levels for the president in many parts of the world – 94 percent in Kenya, 93 percent in Germany, 88 percent in Canada and Nigeria, 77 percent in India, 76 percent in Brazil, 71 percent in Indonesia, and 62 percent in China for example. The Pew survey of 21 countries reveals an average level of 71 percent support for President Obama, compared to just 17 percent for George W. Bush in 2008. Obama’s popularity at the UN boils down essentially to his willingness to downplay American global power. He is the first American president who has made an art form out of apologizing for the United States, which he has done on numerous occasions on foreign soil, from Strasbourg to Cairo. The Obama mantra appears to be – ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do to atone for your country. This is a message that goes down very well in a world that is still seething with anti-Americanism. The president scores highly at the UN for refusing to project American values and military might on the world stage, with rare exceptions like the war against the Taliban. His appeasement of Iran, his bullying of Israel, his surrender to Moscow, his call for a nuclear free world, his siding with Marxists in Honduras, his talk of a climate change deal, have all won him plaudits in the large number of UN member states where US foreign policy has traditionally been viewed with contempt. Simply put, Barack Obama is loved at the UN because he largely fails to advance real American leadership. This is a dangerous strategy of decline that will weaken US power and make her far more vulnerable to attack. (telegraph.co.uk)


Rules for Radicals used against the Left ... “Alinsky’s basic insight was, what would happen if you used the sort of hardheaded, very realistic negotiating tactics that labor uses when they negotiate with management, what if you took those techniques and adapted them to the relationship between your average citizen and public officials? Lizza said in a recent interview on NPR. The idea was to use confrontational methods to galvanize public opinion and hold elected officials accountable. The idea was to gain some attention for your cause. So he did, you know, all kinds of silly, confrontational events with public officials.” (newswithviews.com)

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


Obama plays dumb on ACORN ... Keeping up her long-standing pressure on ACORN, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., sent a letter Monday to President Obama, demanding executive action to halt all federal funding for the embattled organization. In the letter, Bachmann also asked that Obama authorize a formal investigation through the Office of Management and Budget of ACORN and its affiliates. Referring to comments Obama made about the group on one of the Sunday talk shows, Bachmann wrote that it "was disappointing to hear that this issue hasn't made it to your radar screen. ... The American people view ACORN's pattern of criminal activities as a serious issue and you must hold this organization accountable for its actions." (startribune.com)


ACORN exposes corrupt Dem AGs ... ACORN being called a criminal enterprise. Despite years of warning signs that ACORN was violating the law, many state attorneys general have not investigated the organization or brought enforcement actions. State attorneys general, besides being the chief enforcement officers for violations of state laws, claim unique law enforcement authority over nonprofits. The reasons for inaction by state attorneys general may explain why ACORN is such a problem. ACORN has developed close ties, to put it mildly, with many state attorneys general as well as others deep in the Democrat establishment. The relationship between ACORN and Democrats may be described as symbiotic. Democrats have not only provided taxpayer money to ACORN, but have benefited from ACORN's endorsements, its other election-related activities such as get-out-the-vote, and even its litigation on behalf of leftwing policies. ACORN actually considers itself a "partner" with liberal big government on many matters ranging from the United States Census to programs run by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). State and local politics, of course, act as feeders for national politicians. Steve Malanga's excellent book, The New New Left explains how ACORN, various unions and other leftwing causes have come to dominate politics in some cities and states, and have relied largely on taxpayer money and ties to Democrat politicians to do so. The position of state attorney general has become a particularly big feeder, and we see many national politicians who are former state AGs. This begs the question: where ACORN has been violating laws, was it doing so with the imprimatur if not outright assistance of Democrat attorneys general, who seek to curry favor with the Democratic establishment? (americanthinker.com)


Union-backed social justice fraud exposed ... No one was more delighted by the recent ACORN pimp 'n' prostitute, hidden-camera sting than Marcel Reid, the former ACORN board member who was booted in summer 2008 when she tried to examine the organization's books. "If we'd known all it took was a half-naked 20-year-old, we'd have done this a year and a half ago," Ms. Reid said. By now most Americans are familiar with ACORN - the un-pithily named Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now - and all its attendant problems: charges of voter registration fraud, embezzlement, tax arrears, corruption and, now, accusations of aiding and abetting illegal immigration, prostitution, tax evasion and child abuse. Quite a dirty laundry list for an organization that once engaged the purest of ideals: to help the poor and disenfranchised through education and employment. (baltimoresun.com)


WTF were you thinking? ... This is a good news/bad news story. First the good news: The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) cut off all funding to ACORN at some point in 2008, after revelations of the embezzlement of nearly $1 million dollars by the brother of Wade Rathke, the founder of ACORN. Rathke, who is also a powerful figure in the SEIU, is a veteran of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) who went on to bigger and better things--from a leftist standpoint--in union and community organizing. You can read about his background here, as well as this summary of his outrageous and certainly criminal decisions regarding his brother's embezzlement of ACORN funds (his brother also held financial positions for unions) ... The article goes on to relate a CCHD spokesman's claims that CCHD subjects its grantees to a a great deal of scruty, and that they had no suspicion of irregularities in voter registration drives. You can take those claims for what they're worth, but the fact remains that CCHD -- which is to say, the Catholic Church in America -- has for decades been funneling millions of dollars into an organization founded by radical leftists. That's bad news. Bad for the bishops, bad for the Church, bad for America. I can imagine Jon Stewart yelling at the good bishops: "WTF were you thinking?" (americanthinker.com)


ACORN taint colors jumbo developer ... Despite a string of scandals that recently led Congress to cut off its federal funding, ACORN still stands to make millions of dollars off its support for Brooklyn’s controversial Atlantic Yards project, The Post has learned. The left-wing organization — longtime boosters of the $4.9 billion NBA arena and residential- and office-tower project — says it expects to be tapped to market and help decide who gets to live in the coveted, but long-delayed, 2,250 affordable-housing units planned for Atlantic Yards. This, after Atlantic Yards developer Bruce Ratner helped bail ACORN out of financial trouble last September with a $1 million loan and a $500,000 grant, according to memos. (nypost.com)


Union-backed, tax-funded fraud group hiring ... The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), under fire for its employees' widespread alleged misconduct on tape, has placed an ad in the Washington Post for a new social media coordinator. Duties include: * Helping to create or upgrade a presence for Bertha Lewis, ACORNs Chief Organizer, on various social media, including: Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, etc. * Establishing a presence for ACORNs campaigns for example campaigns to stop foreclosures and to fight for immigrants rights on various social networking websites. * Developing new and innovative methods for the use of social networking technologies, including video, to enhance community organizing. (washingtonexaminer.com)


Union-backed fraud group sets whitewash ... The community activist group ACORN said Tuesday it has selected a former Massachusetts attorney general to investigate its housing program and other public service projects after employees were caught on video giving advice to a couple posing as a prostitute and pimp and Congress moved to cut off its federal funding. Democrat Scott Harshbarger, a lawyer whose specialties include corporate governance, will handle the internal investigation. He said he will "conduct a full and complete independent investigation" and give the group a report on his findings and recommendations. (sfexaminer.com)


BOHICA: ACORN ... Asking Harshbarger to investigate ACORN is like asking Belichick to look into Spygate. Does anyone really believe that there will be a fair and proper examination of the recent outrageous activities caught on film at several ACORN offices? If you do, I have a mansion in Chicago next to Tony Rezko I’d like to sell you at a $300,000 discount. Last week ACORN’s Federal Cash flow was shut off, when videos appeared showing ACORN employees telling two filmakers, posing as a pimp and a prostitute, how to LIE to qualify for a mortgage. Where I come from, that’s fraud. And quite frankly, that’s the kind of behavior that put us into the financial nightmare we are in now in this country. ACORN has been pressuring banks to lend money to UNQUALIFIED MINORITIES for years-don’t you wonder how long they’ve been telling the people they “advocate” for to lie to get a mortgage? The ACORN investigation should be conducted by the Justice Department under the RICO statutes but that will never happen. Instead we get the proverbial fox checking out the hen house. It’s business as usual and you’re the one who pays for it. (blogs.waaf.com)


Leftwing union organizers use students ... University of California students, faculty and staff will be holding strikes and walkouts Thursday at all UC campuses, including Berkeley, San Francisco and Santa Cruz, to protest how the university's Board of Regents has dealt with reductions in state funding. The protests are being organized by the University Professional and Technical Employees-Communication Workers of America union Local 9119 and will last throughout the day Thursday as a reaction to "a move to privatize the university and decimate public education," Tanya Smith, president of the UPTE-CWA Berkeley chapter, said. (kgoam810.com)


Dem cannibals plague N.Y. ... President Obama inflicted a stunning series of slights and snubs on Gov. Paterson during a visit to upstate New York yesterday, making it plain for all to see that Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is his governor-in-waiting. The awkward stopover by the Democrat-in-chief came just days after an Obama aide delivered the ominous message that Paterson's planned run for governor next year would not have White House support. Although the pair shared some cordial words, polite handshakes and a stiff hug on the tarmac in Albany, many observers agreed the visit was conspicuous for the courtesies Obama denied Paterson -- and for his effusive praise for Cuomo. (nypost.com)


Labor-state Dems: We don't need no stinkin' rules ... Tarr said he believes the bill is unconstitutional because it contains an emergency preamble making it effective immediately but was not approved by the two-thirds majorities in both houses required for emergency preambles. State Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante, D-Gloucester, voted for the interim appointment by the governor, and explained that the fishing industry and other district interests would be weakened without the continued presence of Kennedy's staff, which would be required to disband in next month without an appointee to lead the office. Tarr said he was voting against the expediency behind the legislation. "Clearly, this was a situation of changing the rules to suit particular contingency," he said after the session. (gloucestertimes.com)


Rep. John Larson placed on Dirty Money Watch ... WHO: Rep. John Larson, D-Conn., a co-sponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act (aka Card Check). WHAT: Larson received the following dirty money: Communication Workers of America (PAC) $5,000 in 2008 election cycle; $1,000 in 2006 election cycle. Boilermakers Union (PAC) $1,000 in 2010 election cycle; $1,000 in 2006 election cycle. The American Federation of Government Employees (PAC) $1,000 in 2006 election cycle. The Service Employees International Union (PAC) $3,000 in 2010 election cycle; $10,000 in 2008 election cycle; $2,500 in 2006 election cycle. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (PAC) $5,000 in 2010 election cycle; $5,000 in 2008 election cycle; $14,000 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 convictions, while the IBEW has had 14 members convicted. The amounts of embezzled funds range from more than $5,000 to more than $100,000. WHAT: Larson received the following dirty money: PMA Group (PAC) $2,000 in 2008 election cycle; $1,000 in 2006 election cycle. WHY IT'S DIRTY: PMA Group (Paul Magliocchetti and Associates) was a defense lobbying group that is now the focus of multiple federal investigations concerning allegations of influence peddling and other corrupt activities, mostly associated with earmarks. Before it was disbanded earlier this year, PMA Group's employees and its political action committee gave current members of Congress $3.4 million between 1989 and 2008, with 79 percent of that going to Democrats, according to OpenSecrets.org. WILL LARSON GIVE IT BACK: Larson 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. Gave donation to charity: Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., Rep. David Price, D-N.C. YOUR TURN: You can reach Larson's Washington office at 202-225-2265. (washingtonexaminer.com)


International Collectivism

U.S. backs leftwing LatAm anarchy ... The United States pledged Tuesday to do whatever it can to help Brazil's embassy in Honduras, which was surrounded by soldiers and had its lights, water and phone lines cut off after deposed President Manuel Zelaya took refuge there. "Our embassy in Tegucigalpa is in contact with their counterparts in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa and we're discussing what kind of assistance that we can provide to help them during this crisis," said State Department spokesman Ian Kelly. "It's a very sensitive situation there on the ground, and I don't want to get into the details of what kind of assistance we're discussing." (google.com)


Trotskyite Lula triggers LatAm violence, civil unrest ... One hundred and forty-three people were detained and 18 others injured when police dislodged supporters of ousted Honduran president Manuel Zelaya from the front of the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa, where Zelaya is staying, the police said, according to Xinhua. Honduran police spokesman Daniel Molina said the detainees were taken to the sports center "Jose Simon Azcona" in the northeast of Tegucigalpa. Police and soldiers used tear gas and gum shoots to disperse the protesters. Police said some detainees were detained for violating the curfew. Molina said that officials from the Honduran National Commission of Human Rights (Conadeh) and the Human Rights Prosecutor's Office went to the sports center. "There are more than 140 detainees, among them three minors, but there is staff of human rights who are guaranteeing the police actions were legal and in the right form," Molina added. (unian.net)


Brazil's Lula: Hugo Chávez' leftist wingman ... It could be a calculated political decision on the part of Zelaya – to distance himself from Chávez, a polarizing figure in Honduras. Though Zelaya denies it, his foes say he was following the steps of his Venezuelan ally, particularly in regard to his alleged desire to change the Constitution to scrap presidential term limits, which was the reason for his ouster. Yet whether calculated or by default, Zelaya's refuge in the Brazilian embassy eclipses any role, for now at least, that Chávez may have hoped to play in this political crisis. "Seeking asylum with Brazil shows that [Zelaya] thinks Brazil is the neutral voice in the crisis, not the US, Costa Rica, [or] Venezuela. He's essentially throwing in his lot with the party he thinks has the best chance to get him restored to power," says Eric Farnsworth, vice president of the Council of the Americas, a consultancy based in New York. (csmonitor.com)


VeneProg wears thin ... The majority of people in Venezuela say that the government led by president Hugo Chávez is threatening the country’s democracy, according to a poll by the Venezuelan Institute for Data Analysis (IVAD). 56.7 per cent of respondents agree with this view, while 39.2 per cent disagree. Chávez—a left-leaning leader—has been in office since February 1999. In July 2000, he was elected to a six-year term with 59.5 per cent of all cast ballots. In August 2004, Chávez won a referendum on his tenure with 59 per cent of the vote. The special election was called after opposition organizations in Venezuela gathered 2.5 million signatures to force a recall ballot. (angus-reid.com)


You can run, but you cannot hide ... Venezuela's press block chairman, David Natera, told a local radio station in Caracas that the editor of El Nuevo Pais, Rafael Poleo, did not attend the emergency meeting of the Inter-American Press Association (IAPA) because he was accused for comparing President Hugo Chávez with Mussolini in an interview on the Globovision Channel's show, Hello Citizen. According to the professional association executive, Poleo may be subject to detention and the human rights abuses "which we are accustomed to in the Chávez regime." According to the same source, the editor of El Nuevo Pais was vacationing in Italy, then learned of the situation upon his return, causing him to decide to stay in Miami. (vheadline.com)
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