12/8/08

Monday wrap

Obama exposes Bush as a Collectivist ... Liberals are growing increasingly nervous – and some just flat-out angry – that President-elect Barack Obama seems to be stiffing them on Cabinet jobs and policy choices. Obama has reversed pledges to immediately repeal tax cuts for the wealthy and take on Big Oil. He’s hedged his call for a quick drawdown in Iraq. And he’s stocking his White House with anything but stalwarts of the left. Now some are shedding a reluctance to puncture the liberal euphoria at being rid of President George W. Bush to say, in effect, that the new boss looks like the old boss. (wvgazette.com)


Era of Prosperity ends, again ... The bailouts could cost taxpayers 2 or 3 trillion dollars, or more. Wall Street doesn’t know where the economic bottom is. All they know is that the federal government is becoming a partner in the largest businesses in America. That means you and I and the all the rest of taxpayers are subsidizing our once great free enterprise system. It’s almost like our centralized government is nationalizing the private sector. Isn’t that Marxism, otherwise known as Communism? (bayshorenews.com)


Progs mount defense of 1930s economic policies ... The progressives count FDR a national savior and see Barack Obama as the Second Coming. Yet, while the term “progressive” evokes concern for the poor and community spirit, it names the politics of taking people’s wealth by force and controlling their lives. Progressive sophistry extends to the New Deal. For example, in a column for The New York Times, Paul Krugman writes, “Now, there’s a whole intellectual industry, mainly operating out of right-wing think tanks, devoted to propagating the idea that F.D.R. actually made the Depression worse. So it’s important to know that most of what you hear along those lines is based on deliberate misrepresentation of the facts. The New Deal brought real relief to most Americans.” Beyond the fact that left-wing academics and newspaper columnists hardly prove more reliable, a large body of scholarly work shows the destructiveness of the New Deal and earlier policies. Historians Paul Johnson and Jim Powell take a dim view of FDR, as does Amity Shlaes in her book “The Forgotten Man.” Shlaes is an economist at the Council on Foreign Relations. (gjfreepress.com)


Communists' package is bigger than Obama's ... Chinese leaders began weighing possible plans Monday to expand a massive stimulus package with higher spending on health and social programs amid signs an economic slowdown is worsening. The meeting of top planners also might consider proposals to boost exports, cut income taxes and to inject government money into slumping Chinese stock markets, according to state media and analysts. The government has released no agenda for the meeting. The meeting comes as Beijing tries to figure out how to get the most out of a 4 trillion yuan ($586 billion) package announced Nov. 9 that is meant to shield China from a global slowdown with spending on construction and other projects. (seattlepi.nwsource.com)


Obama, Chávez agree on economy, policy ... Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez said his country’s economy will face difficult years ahead as the world financial crisis expands and demand for oil, Venezuela’s principal export, wanes. Venezuela is prepared to confront the crisis and should restrict spending to strictly necessary items while saving as much as possible, Chávez said in comments on state television. “The world is in crisis,” he said. “It hasn’t hit Venezuela yet, but we can’t say that a crisis of this magnitude, depth and impact won’t affect us. The economy will go through difficult moments in coming years without a doubt. But Venezuela has what it takes to navigate through the storm.” (bloomberg.com)


Fascistic Forced-Choice union scheme advances ... So in an effort to bolster their membership rolls, the big labor bosses have come up with a solution, bail them out by eliminating the secret ballot through passage of the misnamed "Employee Free Choice Act" and forcing unions on millions of American workers. This legislation -- which should really be called "The Employee FORCED Choice Act" would allow a union to be formed through the presentation of signed cards of a mere majority plus one of employees indicating support for a union. This new system is known as "card check" and by law would eliminate the secret ballot process. Former Democratic Presidential candidate George McGovern, a strong labor stalwart, has called this unprecedented grab for power a "disturbing and undemocratic overreach." (humanevents.com)


Turning profits into union dues ... According to Nick Shapiro, a spokesperson for the next administration, "President-elect Obama supports the Employee Free Choice Act and is committed to its passage. "Card check gives a better opportunity for workers to have an easier way to form a union at their workplace," explains Bill George, president of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO. George pushes back at critics who say card check goes against the fundamental American right to a secret ballot: "Bottom line is that there is too much power in the hands of employers and middle-class workers are not getting their fair share of the profits." "If you want to say 'yes' or 'no' to a union, you should be able to do that in the privacy of the voting booth," counters James Sherk, a Bradley Fellow in Labor Policy at The Heritage Foundation. (familysecuritymatters.org)


Congress to replay failed Canadian experiment ... The bill would permit a government-appointed third party - who has no stake in an employer's business or any understanding of the company's inner workings - to impose a binding two-year collective bargaining agreement upon a company. A quick review of history shows why this is a bad idea. In Canada, all 10 provinces once operated under a law similar to the Employee Free Choice Act. Today, that law has been abolished in all but four provinces. Recently, an arbitrator in one of the Canadian provinces still operating under the free-choice-act-like law increased wages by 33 percent. The company eliminated jobs. Basic labor economics show that when jobs are eliminated, unemployment (supply) increases and wages elsewhere (demand) decrease. Under the Employee Free Choice Act, an arbitrator may increase wages. Labor claims that an increase in wages would be good for the economy. This is true only if the employer can afford to pay them. Let us not repeat the Canadian experiment. (sfgate.com)


Prez Bam backs sit-down protest ... A factory occupation in Chicago that began as a show of defiance by 250 workers has been transformed into a focus of national and international labor solidarity. Grassroots activists, rank-and-file union members, labor leaders, members of Congress and Rev. Jesse Jackson have all come to Republic Windows & Doors factory just north and west of the city's downtown to show their support for the overwhelmingly Latino workforce. In a matter of a few days, news of this fight has spread far and wide--even gaining the attention of President-elect Barack Obama, who declared that the workers' struggle was just. (socialistworker.org)


IWW-backed truckers slate strike ... North Carolina log haulers and container drivers - many who are misclassified as "independent contractors" - will be holding a work stoppage. They are demanding paper giant Weyerhaeuser and its subcontractors recognize their newly formed union, the United Truckers Cooperative. On Monday Dec 8, the drivers of the United Truckers Cooperative will hold a work stoppage and picket outside of Weyerhaeuser Mills in Plymouth and Vanceboro, North Carolina. The workers are demanding Weyerhaeuser arrange a meeting between mill management, subcontractors, and representatives of the truckers to address the drivers’ legitimate grievances and negotiate a formal agreement on wages and working conditions. (infoshop.org)


Chávez revolutionizes socialism ... He argued that unlimited reelection was needed "to successfully complete, with no possible backtracking, the revolutionary process that now has profound ideological content: Bolivarian socialism." It was a reference to Chávez's purported inspiration by the work of independence-era hero Simon Bolivar. "We must be victorious on the path of the revolution. Only with a socialist revolution does Venezuela have a future. That is the path," Chávez said, taking a much clearer cue from the everyday rhetoric of his communist Cuban allies. Opposition party members made it plain that they would not make it easy for Chávez. "We are preparing to fight on all fronts -- in the courts and in the streets," said Julio Borges, of the opposition center-right Justice First party. (france24.com)


Russian bear embraces liberal reformers ... The liberal Russian pro-reform and pro-democracy party, Union of Right Forces (SPS), disbanded and joined two other parties loyal to Kremlin to form a new party on 15 November. The majority of delegates of arguably the only genuine opposition party voted in favor of the party's dissolution after a long and divisive session. The Union of Right Forces was the most contentious critical opponent of Vladimir Putin's regime. It was associated with free market reforms, privatization and the legacy of the "Young Reformers" of the 1990s. In coalition with other opposition groups, its leaders organized protest marches in Moscow and St Petersburg, criticizing the regime for reversing the country's course and moving towards its authoritarian past. (isn.ethz.ch)


West-Coast socialists honor Clarence Thomas ... The eight-hour shutdown of West Coast ports last May Day continues to resonate internationally. On Nov. 10 in Vancouver, Longshore Workers Union Local 400 Maritime Division and Longshore Local 500 sponsored a dinner for Clarence Thomas, ILWU Local 10 Executive Board member. Thomas is co-chair, along with Jack Heyman, of the Portworkers May Day Organizing Committee. The dinner, held at the Maritime Labor Centre auditorium, was attended by officers, rank-and-file members, pensioners and their families. Terry Engler, president of Vancouver’s Local 400, said this about May Day: “It is unfortunate that there was virtually no reporting of the May Day shutdown in our media, and therefore many of our members have no knowledge of this important action ... (workers.org)


Forecast: Four-year honeymoon ... The mainstream media paid little attention to ACORN, the organization that is the headquarters for election fraud, and its long-time and close association with Sen. Obama. Nor would it spend time reporting on some of the strange expenditures of the Obama campaign, such as the one for 400,000 temporary Obama tattoos. Of course, the mainstream media doesn't question how Sen. Obama spent his campaign money. In the eyes of the mainstream media, the Messiah, the Savior, the Chosen One, a.k.a. Sen. Obama can do no wrong. (thebulletin.us)


We're the UAW: Bail Us Out

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