How Obama seduced 'Middle Class' America

More ACORN stories: here collectivism: here Alinsky: here

Part Six of a series: "What did Barack Obama teach ACORN?"Read the entire series: here
5 • How Obama organized America: Alinsky-style
4 • Obama's Organizers: The Rat Patrol
3 • Barack Obama trained ACORN in Ethics
2 • Barack trained ACORN organizers in Class Warfare
1 • What did Barack Obama teach ACORN?

"Start them easy, don't scare them off." -- Ace organizer Barack Obama followed the Alinsky playbook.

When Barack Obama trained community organizers for an ACORN subsidiary, Project Vote, he taught from the 1971 book 'Rules for Radicals', by the late socialist Saul Alinsky.

Obama calls his Alinskyite experience "the best education I ever had." (He also attended Occidental College and graduated from Columbia University and Harvard Law School.) Let's find out more about the man expected to be elected President of the United States next month.
Related video: "Middle Class"

The selection from 'Rules for Radicals', below, reveals:

• A Marxist category called the 'middle class' consists of people who are "numb, bewildered, scared into silence" and whose lives are "tedious."
• To engage a revolution, the 'middle class' must be targeted with an appeal for "Hope."
• Community organizers must deceive the 'middle class' in order to win its support.
• When the 'middle class' is radicalized, the private sector will cease to exist and corporate executives will surrender to radicals' demands.
excerpted from "Rules for Radicals", by Saul Alinsky: The Way Ahead

[...] The middle classes are numb, bewildered, scared into silence. They don't know what, if anything, they can do. This is the job for today's radical - to fan the embers of hopelessness into a flame to fight. To say, "You cannot cop out as have many of my generation! "You cannot turn away - look at it - let us change it together!" "Look at us. We are your children. Let us not abandon each other for then we are all lost. Together we can change it for what we want. Let's start here and there - let's go!"

It is a job first of bringing hope and doing what every organizer must do with all people all classes, places, and times - communicate the means or tactics whereby the people can feel that they have the power to do this and that and on. To a great extent the middle class of today feels more defeated and lost than do our poor.

So you return to the suburban scene of your middle class with its variety of organizations from PTAs to League of Women Voters, consumer groups, churches, and clubs. The job is to search out the leaders in these various activities, identify their major issues, find areas of common agreement, and excite their imagination with tactics that can introduce drama and adventure into the tedium of middle-class life.

Tactics must begin within the experience of the middle class, accepting their aversion to rudeness, vulgarity, and conflict. Start them easy, don't scare them off. The opposition's reactions will provide the "education" or radicalization of the middle class. It does it every time. Tactics here, as already described, will develop in the flow of action and reaction. The chance for organization for action on pollution, inflation, Vietnam, violence, race, taxes, and other issues, is all about us. Tactics such as stock proxies and others are waiting to be hurled into the attack.

The revolution must manifest itself in the corporate sector by the corporations' realistic appraisal of conditions in the nation. The corporations must forget their nonsense about "private sectors." It is not just that government contracts and subsidies have long since blurred the line between public and private sectors, but that every American individual or corporation is public as well as private; public in that we are Americans and concerned about our national welfare. We have a double commitment and corporations had better recognize this for the sake of their own survival. Poverty, discrimination, disease, crime - everything is as much a concern of the corporation as is profits. The days when corporate public relations worked to keep the corporation out of controversy, days of playing it safe, of not offending Democratic or Republican customers, advertisers or associates - those days are done. If the same predatory drives for profits can be partially transmuted for progress, then we will have opened a whole new ball game. I suggest there that this new policy will give its executives a reason for what they are doing - a chance for a meaningful life. [...]

Wade Rathke's worms: ACORN, SEIU, Tides

Wade Rathke stories: here ACORN: here collectivism: here

ACORN's co-founder started SEIU, serves on Hollywood Left political-charity board

ACORN, the national activist group dogged by a high-profile voter registration fraud scandal, has another bruising item on its agenda when its board of directors meets here this weekend.

Leaders of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now are locked in a legal dispute stemming from allegations that the brother of the group's founder misappropriated nearly $1 million of the nonprofit's money several years ago.

The embezzlement case, a recent revelation to some board members, has spawned a lawsuit and set off a power struggle inside ACORN at a time when the liberal group's voter registration practices are the subject of fraud investigations and fodder for presidential campaign attacks.

Bertha Lewis, ACORN's interim chief organizer, called the lawsuit "a distraction from us marshaling our forces to deal with the Republican right-wing attacks" over ACORN's voter registration.

The lawsuit filed in August by two board members accuses ACORN founder and former chief organizer Wade Rathke of either concealing or failing to properly report that his brother Dale embezzled around $948,000 from New Orleans-based ACORN and affiliated charitable organizations in 1999 and 2000.

Instead of reporting the allegations to law enforcement authorities, a small group of ACORN executives allowed the Rathke family to repay the misappropriated money, according to the lawsuit brought by board members Karen Inman and Marcel Reid.

Inman and Reid said the agreement, which called for the stolen money to be carried on the books of an ACORN affiliate as a loan to an officer, was kept a secret from the full 51-member board until earlier this year.

"We need to find out what happened, when it happened and make sure that ACORN is viable," Inman said during a press briefing about the dispute Thursday in New Orleans. Inman also says she wants an independent audit of ACORN's books.

Rathke, who founded ACORN in 1970, defended the decision to keep his brother's actions an "internal matter" and resolve it with "private restitution." Reporting the case to law enforcement could have left the group at risk of financial ruin, Rathke said.

"One choice would have been to go that way, but then we wouldn't have been able to collect that money," he said.

No working phone number for Dale Rathke could be found and a request by The Associated Press to contact him through his brother wasn't immediately answered.

Lewis said the group's board recently hired attorneys to explore whether Dale Rathke's actions warrant a criminal investigation or could be the subject of a civil case.

"Remember, we just found this out in June," she said.

Rathke said he took responsibility for his brother's "mistakes" by resigning, while Inman says he was fired. Rathke blames a "small group of dissidents" for the turmoil that has followed his departure.

"I wish they would have kept the internal affairs of the organization internally," he said.

Inman and Reid filed suit for access to ACORN financial records that staff members allegedly refused to give them.

During their meeting this weekend, board members are expected to discuss the lawsuit and explore ways to resolve it. A state judge presiding over the case has asked for a transcript of the board's discussion.

Lewis said Inman and Reid don't speak for the entire board and didn't have authority to file suit on the board's behalf.

"As you can well imagine, any organization that just fired its founder after 38 years would have internal issues," she said.

Wade Rathke says he stepped down as ACORN's chief organizer in June, but remains chief organizer for ACORN International. A spokesman for ACORN said the two organizations are separate entities, although they have shared office space in New Orleans.

Rathke shrugged off the board members' lawsuit, calling it a "minor matter," and expressed confidence that the voting registration controversy won't consume the group.

"ACORN is a big organization now, and they're big enough to weather this," he said.

ACORN, which says it has more than 1,200 chapters in 110 cities, has become a household name in this year's presidential election. During his debate Wednesday with Democrat Barack Obama, Republican John McCain said ACORN could be on the verge of "destroying the fabric of democracy."

ACORN is accused of submitting false voter registration forms for some of the 1.3 million young people, minorities, and poor and working-class voters it has registered. The FBI has joined nearly a dozen states in investigating.

Some of ACORN's rank-and-file members in New Orleans fear the double dose of bad publicity could have a chilling effect on fundraising and jeopardize the group's work on the city's fragile recovery from Hurricane Katrina.

Vanessa Gueringer, who chairs ACORN's chapter in the city's Lower 9th Ward neighborhood, said the embezzlement case isn't stopping volunteers from gutting homes, registering voters and campaigning for better access to health care in storm-battered New Orleans.

"We look at this as a ripple in the pond — something that happened eight years ago and has been resolved," she said. "Our hope is that people won't focus on the negative and focus on the positive."


LA Times: SEIU corruption scandal update

More SEIU: hereAndy Stern: here embezzlement: here

Still no comment from Andy Stern about misuse of union members' dues

A Los Angeles labor leader now the target of a corruption probe routinely ordered employees of a charity he headed to work on campaigns for political candidates -- a practice barred by law -- according to people who said they participated in such activities.

Tyrone Freeman, president of the Service Employees International Union's largest California local, later denied to the Internal Revenue Service that the charity employees were required to do campaign work, said a person close to an IRS inquiry into the matter.

Because they are subsidized by taxpayers, charities are forbidden to take part in campaigns for public office, directly or indirectly. Violations can cost charities their tax exemptions and lead to other penalties.

It is unclear what resulted from the 2006 IRS inquiry into Freeman's nonprofit, a training center for low-income workers. Citing privacy statutes, an IRS spokesperson declined to discuss any investigation of the group. The charity's tax-exempt status apparently remained unchanged.

Six people who worked for either the union or the charity told The Times that Freeman, and others at the labor organization acting on his behalf, ordered the nonprofit's staffers to join partisan get-out-the-vote drives and other campaign efforts during and after their regular hours. The former employees spoke on condition of anonymity because they feared retaliation and legal jeopardy.

"We constantly told Tyrone that it was inappropriate, but he constantly had us out in the field," said one former charity worker. "Lists were always provided to him. If you weren't there, you got ratted out."

Freeman could not be reached for comment, and attempts to interview his attorney were unsuccessful. An SEIU spokeswoman in Washington, D.C., said the union knew nothing about any campaign work by the charity workers or an IRS examination.

"They did not report it to us, as far as we can tell," Michelle Ringuette said of Freeman's local.

A staffer made an anonymous tip to the IRS in late 2004 or early 2005, and the agency eventually sent a letter to the charity raising questions about the alleged political activities, two people familiar with the events said.

An IRS examiner subsequently interviewed Freeman at the union's Beverly Boulevard headquarters, and he denied that the work was performed, according to the source with knowledge of the inquiry. By that time, Freeman had stopped using the charity staffers on campaigns, former employees say.

The March 2006 letter specified the 2004 race by future Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, a Los Angeles Democrat; John Kerry's presidential run that year; and former Gov. Gray Davis' 2003 bid to defeat a recall, one source said. There was no indication that they or the other politicians who benefited from the work knew the employees were from a nonprofit, several sources say. Bass became speaker this year.

Calls to her and Davis for comment were not returned.

"We campaigned very heavily for Karen Bass, very heavily," said a former charity staffer. "You didn't have a choice."

The former workers say that employees were required to distribute fliers, walk precincts and staff phone banks for individual candidates and the Democratic ticket during the days leading up to primary and general elections.

"Generally, it was door-to-door," said a former union employee. "Every single person was required to work."

Freeman and his local, the United Long-Term Care Workers, are the subjects of a criminal investigation by the U.S. Labor Department, the FBI and the U.S. attorney's office, people with knowledge of the probe say.

The investigation grew out of Times reports in August that the charity and Freeman's local had paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to home-based companies owned by his wife and mother-in-law. The SEIU has removed Freeman from the payroll pending an internal review of his actions.

The former workers say Freeman called meetings at which he directed all employees to show up for election duty at union or campaign offices. "Tyrone said there would be consequences for anybody who didn't sign in," said one former charity employee.

A former union staffer said of the nonprofit workers: "It was mandatory that they attend all the meetings. They would complain about it."

Freeman founded the Homecare Workers Training Center in 2000. It is located at the union's offices near downtown, where it provides programming services and space for vocational classes and English language courses.

The charity came under scrutiny after The Times reported that it has paid a home-based day care service owned by Freeman's mother-in-law nearly $100,000 annually for the last several years.

The union also has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on resort golf tournaments, expensive restaurants, a Beverly Hills cigar club and a Hollywood talent agency. And the SEIU has accused Freeman of billing the union for $8,100 in costs incurred during his Hawaiian wedding.

Most of the local's 160,000 members earn about $9 an hour caring for the elderly and infirm in their homes. Freeman also heads an affiliated local, California United Homecare Workers, which has about 40,000 members.

The spending scandal has spread to other SEIU chapters as well as the union's national headquarters. An SEIU executive vice president, Annelle Grajeda, has gone on leave because of allegations that a former boyfriend received improper union payments. Grajeda also is president of the SEIU's California council and a second L.A.-based local.

The president of the union's biggest Michigan chapter, Rickman Jackson, a former chief of staff to Freeman, has been removed from office. The Times reported that his Bell Gardens residence was used as the address of a housing corporation associated with Freeman's local. The SEIU later said that the corporation improperly paid to lease the house; the union has required Jackson to return $33,500 in payments.

The housing organization never obtained the tax exemption it sought when it was founded as a nonprofit, and had lost the right to do business in California. The city of Compton is investigating whether it was defrauded when the corporation enlisted it as a partner in the nonprofit enterprise to develop homes for low-income workers.

In the meantime, the SEIU has fired four of Freeman's top managers and assistants. Two other employees either were fired or resigned after being accused of threatening colleagues suspected of speaking to The Times, according to an SEIU official.


ACORN greases the skids for Organized Labor

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Union-backed voter fraud group dominates Missouri election

Sandwiched between two heavily populated urban centers where voter roles are swelled by inner-city voters recruited by ACORN is the rest of Missouri, the rural heart of a bellwether state where presidential nominee John McCain is still the candidate of choice.

“Senator McCain has to win Missouri to win the White House,” said Jared Craighead, executive director of the state’s Republican Party. On Sunday, McCain was five or six points behind Obama in most state polls with a plus or minus error factor of four. The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now -- usually referred to as ACORN -- wants to keep it that way.

Missourians have voted for the presidential winner in all but one election since 1904, and brings 11 electoral votes to the table.

This election, however, the influence of ACORN with neophyte voters without the sophistication or interest to registers themselves may overpower the traditional voice of consistent conservative voters in rural Missouri, worried Republicans predict.

Time after time since ACORN developed into a social and political force in St. Louis and Kansas City two decades ago, it has used means fair and foul to influence local and statewide elections by energizing the otherwise ignored inner-city precincts, events have shown.

In November 1993, ACORN helped register more than 100,000 voters from poor urban neighborhoods in St. Louis and Kansas City to pass an amendment to the Missouri Constitution to legalize gambling. The same amendment was defeated by 1,200 votes the preceding April on the strength of heated rural voters when ACORN wasn’t involved.

When another edition of the amendment was rolled out for the November general election with strong ACORN support funded by $12 million paid by gambling interests to finance the campaign it passed by about 54,000 votes.

In 2006, ACORN was credited by Republicans with helping to defeat Congressman Jim Talent in his race against Democrat Claire McCaskill for the U.S. Senate.

Last April, eight of the ACORN organizers who ran the voter registration drive in St. Louis during the vicious campaign pleaded guilty to election fraud charges in federal court. They were accused of submitting registration cards with false names and addresses in the 2006 election.

Two weeks ago, officials in Jackson County, home to Kansas City, joined two other states in investigating ACORN when hundreds of bogus registrants began popping up.

"I don't even know the entire scope of it because registrations are coming in so heavy," Charlene Davis, the county’s elections board co-director, told The Associated Press at the time.

Ultimately more than 400 registration cards with false names and addresses were discovered. The forms, she said, came from ACORN.

Missouri is particularly important to Republicans, both parties agree, as they trail in most of the other swing states, including Florida, Ohio and Virginia.

Both candidates have blitzed the state with political ads and multiple visits, with Sen. Barack Obama reportedly spending $6 million on media advertising and McCain almost $5.5 million.

It may not be enough for McCain. ACORN has enjoyed strong support from organized labor since its founding in 1970.

Its founder and chief organizer is Wade Rathke, who also serves as chief organizer for Service Employees International Union Local 100, which represents about 5,000 workers in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas.

The union is powerful in neighboring Missouri as well, particularly in St. Louis and Kansas City where about 25,000 SEIU workers staff hotels, restaurants, hospitals and the gambling industry. It has endorsed Obama and offers a voter registration guide on its Web site

ACORN admittedly targets well-funded registration drives in close-race states like Missouri.

Talent lost to McCaskill by less than 50,000 votes, about the same number of voters ACORN claimed it had registered.

During that contest, city election officials in St. Louis, overwhelmed by more than 5,000 suspicious-looking voter registration cards, sent letters to the registrants asking them to contact the election office. Fewer than 40 people responded, officials later said.

The city’s election director, Scott Leiendecker, said at the time that only about 10 percent to 15 percent of all ACORN registration cards reaching his office were legitimate.

In neighboring St. Louis County, election officials came across hundreds of bogus voter address changes in the months leading up to November. Most of the suspicious information had been submitted by ACORN, voter registration officials there said.

Across the state in Kansas City, election official Ray James, along with his Democratic counterpart, Sharon Turner Buie, announced that more than 15,000 registration forms were “questionable.”

On Nov. 2, 2006, a federal grand jury indicted four ACORN employees for “knowingly and willingly” submitting false information to Kansas City election authorities.

A U.S. district court judge subsequently dismissed a two-count indictment against one of the defendants at the recommendation of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. It turned out ACORN had used her identity “without her permission.”

This year ACORN claims the political action group has registered about 34,000 voters in St. Louis for the presidential election.

Currently there are no problems to report at the St. Louis Election Board, Leiendecker said.

Despite the assurances from Leiendecker, former U.S. Sen. John Danforth, a St. Louis Republican, spoke out and condemned the continued problems Missouri election officials in St. Louis and Kansas City have endured in every recent election. Danforth and former U.S. Sen. Warren Rudman head McCain's "Honest and Open Elections Committee."

“It's an outrage," Danforth said in his press conference. "It breaks the system down. There's a big difference between registration drives -- that's great -- and turning in bogus names. Register people, but register real people. Don't register, as was the case in our state in the last presidential election, where a dog was registered."


ACORN connects Obama to Big Labor

More EFCA stories: here ACORN: here

Obama to unleash ACORN signature gathering ops on non-union U.S. workforce

Speaking of organizers coercing people to sign cards to subvert an election, there is another group of organizers attempting to do the same thing with American workers: unions.

The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) was passed by House Democrats last year and blocked in the Senate. Union leaders are intent on a Democrat-run Senate and White House to make the bill law in 2009.

Currently, union organizers are required to submit signed cards to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) showing at least 30 percent of employees are interested in union representation. The NLRB then oversees a private ballot election, ensuring it is not fraudulent or unfair. Unions now want to skip private ballot elections all together and submit publicly signed cards to certify union representation.

Under the EFCA (often called the "Card Check Bill"), union organizers will be required to simply gather enough signatures (51 percent) to present to the NLRB to certify union representation. The EFCA does not provide for any oversight or regulation, or protect the rights of workers to privately decide for themselves without fear of repercussions.

Because employees would publicly sign the cards in front of union organizers, workers would be subjected to the intimidation practices for which union organizers are notorious. Workers questioning or unwilling to side with union organizers have been subjected to a wide range of harassment, including fear of losing their jobs, identity theft and having their families targeted.

Jen Jason, a former UNITE HERE union organizer, testified before the House Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions on such practices. According to Jason, "In jurisdictions in which 'card check' was actually legislated, organizers tended to be even more willing to harass, lie and use fear tactics to intimidate workers into signing cards."

Even Democrat icon George McGovern is against the bill. In an interview, McGovern told The Hill: "I believe in the secret ballot as a very important part of our democracy. When we elect a president, sheriff or member of Congress, we walk into the voting booth and pull the curtain free of anyone trying to twist our arm."

McGovern has launched an ad campaign with the Employee Freedom Action Committee. "It's hard to believe that any politician would agree to a law denying millions of employees the right to a private vote. I have always been a champion of labor unions. But I fear that today's union leaders are turning their backs on democratic workplace elections," McGovern states in the ad.

According to the Center for Union Facts, "Seventy-five percent of Americans think secret ballots are the most democratic method of choosing a union." Yet Democrats in the Senate are likely to push for passage of EFCA, given their deep-pocketed support from Unions. According to USA Today, "The Democratic majority in Congress, which was elected with the help of $57.6 million in campaign contributions from unions, has pushed measures to increase wages on public projects, ease rules for unionizing workplaces and cut funding for corruption investigators."

An Associated Television News / Zogby poll of likely voters also shows that a clear majority (78 percent) of Americans support workers' rights to a secret ballot when deciding whether or not to unionize. According to the poll, only 15 percent side with the union bosses who want to do away with secret ballots.

For his part, Barack Obama owes a debt to organized labor for helping him defeat Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary. Obama has made it clear that he will repay this debt in he becomes President. One way for him to do so is to sign the EFCA and do away with secret ballots.

After the House passage of EFCA in 2007, Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) wrote in The Washington Times: "Not even two months into the new Congress, the bipartisan façade of the highly orchestrated first 100 hours is a distant memory. The real agenda of the new Democrat majority is coming to light and many special interests that helped rally support for Democrat candidates during the election cycle are lining up to cash in. At the front of the line: Big Labor."

Price cited colleague George Miller's (D-CA) letter to a Mexican labor arbitration board, in which Miller wrote: "We feel that the secret ballot is absolutely necessary in order to ensure that workers are not intimidated into voting for a union they may not otherwise choose." Miller co-sponsored EFCA.

Union membership has steadily declined. Today only 7.5 percent of private-sector workers belong to unions. Because an increasing number of workers no longer elect to join a union, union organizers must now rely on strong arm tactics and a Democrat Congress to increase membership and dues. The only way unions can win an election is not to have one.

- Brad O'Leary is author of The Audacity of Deceit: Barack Obama's War on American Values.


Worker-choice is a civil rights issue

More worker-choice stories: here

Union bigs pull out the stops to preserve forced-labor unionism in Colorado

Left-wing columnist David Sirota's July 25 column praised what he called a "six-word stroke of genius" - an amendment to the Civil Rights Act banning discrimination "on the basis of union membership."

I generally oppose Sirota's politics, but I strongly support his idea of making labor union membership a civil right.

Just as the Civil Rights Act protects equal employment opportunity for people of both minority and majority race, and both women and men, it would protect the right of workers to join, or not to join, a union.

Although Sirota might not agree, there can be no "members-only" civil rights. If an employer may not discriminate against union members, then it may not discriminate against nonmembers.

This is why I also support Amendment 47, the Colorado Right to Work Amendment.

Please read it. It simply guarantees our right of free choice in employment.

- Quin Roberts, Fort Collins


An ACORN career

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Getting the UFCW message out

PA pol begs union members for Obama

Union members may waive non-bargaining fees

More worker-choice stories: here union-dues: here

Teamsters charged with union dues violation

A national legal defense organization has filed unfair labor practice charges against a Teamsters Union affiliate, alleging that non-union workers at a Northwood Industrial Park firm were forced to pay annual union dues for services unrelated to collective bargaining if they failed to opt out.

The National Right To Work Legal Defense Foundation Inc. also charges that the International Brother-hood of Teamsters/Graphic Communications Conference District Council 9 union reneged on an agreement with the National Labor Relations Board that would have stopped the opt-out requirement, said Will Collins, spokesman for the defense foundation.

Ten workers at the Standard Register location on Marvel Road in the north Salisbury industrial park claim that the union forces non-members to annually sign documents that would prevent the deduction of dues for non work-related purposes from their paycheck, Collins said Friday.

By law, non-union workers are required to pay union dues that pay for workplace representation and collective bargaining activities, he said.

At issue, Collins said, is the union practice of collecting non work-related deductions from non-union workers who don't act annually to opt out.

As part of an Oct. 2 settlement with the NLRB regarding a similar case involving a Philadelphia firm, union leaders agreed that non-union workers would not be required to opt out of paying dues for non collective bargaining purposes.

The agreement involving workers in Philadelphia also was intended to apply to non-union workers at Council 9 associated companies throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, Collins said.

"The case was settled on Oct. 2, and the union agreed to get rid of the opt-out policy and it was supposed to apply to every worker who was in the workplace," Collins said.

"On Oct. 6, Council 9 forwarded a letter to Salisbury workers saying they would be required to annually opt out of dues for unrelated work representation."

An attempt to reach Standard Register late Friday for comment was unsuccessful.

Collins said the National Right To Work Legal Defense Foundation is awaiting an NLRB review of the charges.


Prefers worker-choice to forced unionism

Related story: "The 28 labor-states"
More union-dues stories: hereMore worker-choice stories: here

A matter of choice

Not being a native of Colorado, and coming from a right to work state, I have to ask, why the fuss over Amendment 47? If you want to pay union dues and join a union, you can. Conversely, if you don't want to join the union and not pay dues, you're not forced to. That's it. No destruction of any union is implied, enacted nor enforced.

The vagueness of the anti-Amendment 47 commercials is embarrassing. In the state of Texas we had, and from what I know of, still have firemen, policemen teachers and other union employees. Are Colorado businesses being accused of union-busting? Giving the employee the right to choose is as American as we get. By voting yes on 47, unions will be able to sell their worth and justify their existence to the individual worker.

- Harley Westerholt


Andy Stern's reputation tarnished

More SEIU: hereAndy Stern: hereRickman Jackson: here

LA Times reports on SEIU President's regime of embezzlement

The president of the Service Employees International Union's biggest Michigan local has been removed from office and must refund $33,500 in housing payments that have been linked to a spending scandal at the parent organization's leading California chapter.

Rickman Jackson has agreed to return the money, will no longer serve on the SEIU's executive board and is cooperating with a federal criminal investigation of the Los Angeles-based chapter and other locals, according to union spokeswoman Michelle Ringuette.

Jackson, who has been on leave and could not be reached late Tuesday, has been reassigned to a staff organizing job at a reduced salary and is barred from seeking union office for three years, Ringuette said. "These are serious penalties," she said.

Jackson, whose Michigan local has 55,000 members, received $196,000 in total compensation last year from the L.A. union and the national office, financial statements show. He previously served as chief of staff to the president of the L.A. chapter, Tyrone Freeman. The union has removed Freeman from the payroll pending the completion of an internal probe.

The Times disclosed in August that a housing corporation associated with Freeman's local listed Jackson's Bell Gardens home as its administrative address.

At the time, Freeman and representatives of the Long-Term Care Housing Corp. would not say whether Jackson was paid for any use of his residence. Ringuette said the $33,500 was the amount paid by the corporation to lease Jackson's home.

The corporation had been founded as a nonprofit, but never received a tax exemption, lost its right to do business in California and claimed on its website to have a relationship with the prominent California Community Foundation, which said it had never heard of the group.

Compton is investigating Freeman and the corporation because the municipality provided land to the housing entity with the understanding that it was a nonprofit, officials said.

Meanwhile, The Times reported that Freeman's 160,000-member local, United Long-Term Care Workers, and a related charity have paid home-based firms owned by his wife and mother-in-law hundreds of thousands of dollars. The local has spent similar sums on a Four Season Resorts golf tournament, restaurants such as Morton's steakhouse and a Beverly Hills cigar club.

According to the SEIU, Freeman also billed the local for $8,100 in costs incurred during his Hawaiian wedding.

A third SEIU official, Annelle Grajeda, has stepped aside because of the widening scandal. Grajeda, who remains on paid leave, is an SEIU executive vice president, and heads the union's California council and another L.A local. She went on leave because of allegations that her former boyfriend received improper payments from the union.

Grajeda has denied any wrongdoing. Her former boyfriend, Alejandro Stephens, is the former president of a local that merged with Grajeda's.

Freeman, Jackson and Grajeda were all appointed to their posts by SEIU President Andy Stern.


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AFL-CIO bigs licking chops over 'trifecta'

More EFCA stories: hereMore card-check stories: here

Obama, Unchecked

Hopes of a Republican victory on the presidential level are already distant this year, but further down the ticket, hopes are simply nonexistent.

To be sure, there has been some good news. Rep. Jack Murtha (D., Pa.) could lose after calling his constituents "racist." His opponent, retired Lieutenant Colonel Bill Russell, will have at least $500,000 to spend in the campaign’s final weeks. Rep. Tim Mahoney (D., Fla.) could well fall after revelations that he engaged in numerous extra-marital affairs, paying hush-money to one mistress before obtaining a federal earmark for the other.

But these represent just two of 435 races in the U.S. House of Representatives. The cold, hard fact remains that Democrats are in position to win perhaps 30 House seats from Republicans, perhaps more. Members once believed to be safe now find themselves struggling to survive. According to sources in Florida, Rep. Tom Feeney (R., Fla.) may be the latest to enter this category.

In the Senate, Republicans finally gave up this week on their only serious pickup opportunity — the chance to defeat Sen. Mary Landrieu (D., La.). The pressure to spend money on defense had simply become too great. GOP Senate seats in New Mexico and Virginia were written off months ago. Seats in Alaska, New Hampshire, Minnesota, North Carolina, Colorado, and Oregon are all looking shaky. Republicans in Kentucky and Mississippi face uncomfortably close races. A filibuster-proof Democratic majority has become a real possibility.

In the absence of a Senate firewall or a significant coalition of opposition to his policies in the House, a President Barack Obama could make many permanent and sweeping changes to America’s economic policies. It is worth examining this conservative nightmare — the possible consequences of an unchecked Obama presidency.

Although a significant bloc of House Democrats has in the past provided a working majority against the most offensive pro-abortion legislation, this may no longer be possible after the election of 2008. Obama promised on July 17, 2007 that he would sign the Freedom of Choice Act, which would strike down all of the incremental gains that pro-lifers have made in state and federal law on the issue of abortion. The bill would re-legalize partial-birth abortion, strike all state restrictions on government funding of abortions, and overturn state laws requiring parents to be notified when their minor daughters seek abortions. The bill has 19 Senate co-sponsors (including Obama) and 109 co-sponsors in the House. It will likely receive a vote in the 111th Congress, and it could well pass. Obama, who has opposed all restrictions even on late-term abortions, called this bill a top priority.

Obama’s economic policies will also move quickly and make a deep impression in law. His tax policy has been hard to pin down, as it keeps changing with the election season. But he appears to be serious about raising capital gains taxes from 15 to 20 percent (or higher, as his previous statements suggested) for the sake of “fairness,” as he has put it. That change could be made — and made permanent — if there are 60 votes in the Senate. Employers — both corporations and small businesses that pay personal income taxes on profits — could pay permanently higher taxes under Obama that make them less competitive, facilitating the further shipping of American jobs abroad. President Obama will be able to explain away any damage this does to the economy by blaming his predecessor, who is an easy enough target.

The failed cloture votes of the current Congress provide further indications of what an unchecked Obama presidency could look like. Exhibit A is the Employee Free Choice Act, an effort to expand union membership by removing the guarantee of secret-ballot elections in the workplace. It received 51 votes toward the 60 needed for cloture in June, with one Democrat absent, and it could easily achieve cloture in the coming Congress.

When Democrats decided to make “speculators” the bogey-men for a rise in world oil prices, their plans to limit trade on commodities markets hit a snag in the Senate. In June, they could only deliver 51 votes toward cloture, in the absence of Ted Kennedy and Barack Obama. With Obama in the White House and larger majorities in the House and Senate, Democrats have good odds of keeping their promise to reinstate the ban on offshore energy production that lapsed at the beginning of October. Caps on carbon emissions received 48 of the 60 Senate votes needed for cloture in June, and that was in the absence of Obama, Hillary Clinton (D., N.Y.), Joe Biden (D., Del.), Ted Kennedy (D., Mass.) and two other Democrats. With their enlarged Senate majority and a willing president, this scheme of limiting carbon emissions by raising consumer energy prices could become reality as soon as next year.

As depressing as the future under total Democratic rule may appear for conservatives, far worse is the role Republicans have played to bring the United States in the direction of a centrally planned economy. Democrats cannot claim credit for nationalizing the mortgage market or directing nearly a trillion dollars to sustain a credit bubble on Wall Street. They cannot claim credit for recent years’ growth in government spending. They cannot claim credit even for the new entitlement that is paying for even the wealthiest senior citizens' prescription drugs at the expense of younger wage-earners, at a ten-year cost of $395 billion, according to new estimates from August.

Americans are already depending on government today as much as they ever have since the Great Depression, and Barack Obama cannot be blamed for it. If he wins and his unchecked presidency can make America drink of socialism, it will only be after President Bush and Congressional Republicans brought her to its waters.

— David Freddoso is a staff reporter for National Review Online and author of The Case Against Barack Obama.


ACORN: Organized Labor's shock troops

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud: here collectivism: here

ACORN's purpose: Subdue capitalism with 'social justice'

Presidential candidate John McCain has said ACORN, the liberal-leaning voter registration outfit, may be destroying the fabric of democracy. That's overstating it.

But there's no doubt ACORN is doing its part to mess things up wherever it goes, including Southern California. In San Diego County, where ACORN concentrated its efforts, the organization's $11-an-hour crews have registered 24,664 voters, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Statewide, ACORN signed up a total of 39,600, none of them in L.A. County or Orange County. Problems in San Diego County surfaced right away, and the registrar there offered ACORN workers training on how to register voters correctly.

Even so, the registrar's office told the Union-Tribune, monthly rejection rates of ACORN's registration cards ranged from 12.9 percent to 23.5 percent, much higher than the usual rejection rates.

After tedious work by elections staff members, most missing information and other problems were corrected, and the final rate of invalid registrations was lowered to 7 percent.

Nationally, ACORN is being investigated by the FBI for possible voter registration fraud, although the FBI declined to comment on the situation in San Diego.

ACORN (the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) describes itself as a nonprofit social justice organization that, among other things, registers voters in historically underrepresented populations such as young voters, African-Americans, Latinos and the poor.

ACORN has registered 1.3 million voters in 21 states. The organization says there is no danger of fraud because the problem is sloppy work or cheating for money, not an attempt to affect election outcomes fraudulently.

That seems true. Nobody registered as Mickey Mouse is going to show up at the polls, and even if he did, in California he'd have to show a driver's license or Social Security card before being allowed to vote the first time.

ACORN's actions won't destroy democracy. But it sure has made a costly and unnecessary mess.

- The Editors


Vote from Home?

Voter-fraud stories: here

ACORN cited over Louisiana vote tampering

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Union-backed voter fraud group disregards the rules for Obama

Although Louisiana isn’t considered one of the key swing states, state political leaders have their guard up for instances of voter fraud and purging for what pundits are predicting will be a very close presidential election.

The Louisiana GOP is concerned about registration efforts in Caddo Parish by the organization Voting Is Power. The group is accused of turning in unverifiable voter registration applications, said secretary of state spokesman Jacques Berry.

“We sent out a press release in June calling for an investigation only to find out the Secretary of State already had (started one),” Louisiana Republican Party spokesman Aaron Baer said.

Baer said recent allegations against ACORN’s pay-per voter registration effort in Nevada have been a cause for concern in Louisiana because it is “certainly possible they’re doing those here, although I don’t know any instances of that.”

On the Democratic side, party officials are worried attempts to block voters at the polls in other states could be repeated in Louisiana. In Michigan, Republicans were reported to back an effort to challenge voters at precincts if their names were on a foreclosure list, arguing they could not claim residency at a home they did not rightfully own. The Michigan Republican Party denies the claim.

The New York Times reported Oct. 8 that “tens of thousands of eligible voters in at least six swing states have been removed from the rolls or have been blocked from registering in ways that appear to violate federal law.”

The article reported Louisiana had dropped at least 18,000 people from the rolls between July 23 and Aug. 27, and in doing so violated a federal guideline that says voters cannot be removed within 90 days of a federal election. Secretary of State Jay Dardenne said 25,165 were dropped from rolls, but the state did not break the law.

Dardenne said Louisiana can remove voters within the 90 days of an election through a variety of procedures, the broadest being a 21-day challenge. If a parish registrar of voters believes a voter no longer resides at the address they list for voting, is believed to have died or registered to vote in another parish, the registrar is compelled by law to send the voter notice by mail. It gives the voter 21 days to prove their residency or identity to the registrar.

“If you don’t do that, you’re going to be canceled,” Dardenne said. “It is in state law and it is the process by which registrars of voters ensure that people are who they say they are and are living where they say they are.”

The secretary of state also “canvasses” registered voters every December for questions or validation of residency. The residency information typically comes from the U.S. Postal Service regarding people who have changed addresses, Dardenne said.

“If the mail out we send to everybody comes back as undeliverable, that’s an alert to us that the person may not be at the address that they’re registered to vote,” Dardenne said. “When that happens, under the law, we’ve been required to send a second notice to that same address. That second notice is actually forwardable so it’s going to be forwarded to your new address.”

If Dardenne’s office does not receive validation of residency within two federal elections — generally a four-year cycle — a voter is removed from the rolls.

But Louisiana Democratic Party Chairman Chris Whittington says there has “never been a purging of the rolls” such as Dardenne, a Republican who’s been in office since late 2006, has performed.

“There’s a law on the books that says the secretary of state can purge voters if they hadn’t voted in two federal elections, but no one’s ever done that,” Whittington said. “But that’s the first thing this secretary of state has done.”

“That’s not true,” Berry said. “It’s been in accordance with state law every two years at least all the way back to 1998.”

Dardenne said because Louisiana is not a battleground state, “we are not seeing a hotbed of activity” to either block or purge voters

His job, he said, is all about supporting the legal voter.

“Everything that I have done since I’ve been in this office has been designed to encourage voter registration for eligible voters and to make certain that ineligible voters were not allowed to register and were removed from the rolls in accordance with the law,” Dardenne said. “I have not been made aware of any specific voter suppression efforts in Louisiana, and I don’t condone them if they were to exist.”


Divisive Alinsky tactics compromise Obama

More collectivism stories: hereSaul Alinsky: here

Using 'Rules for Radicals' to subdue mainstream Americans

I'd like to thank Stanley Howey and Ralph Ward for speaking out for the American people about what Obama and his left wing cronies stand for. I recommend every voter read "The Case Against Barack Obama, the Unlikely Rise and Unexamined Agenda of the Media's Favorite Candidate" by David Freddoso. This book gives details about the people Obama was and still is associated with.

People should question just what Senator Obama did as a community organizer. He did nothing for the people in South Chicago besides making some housing developers and himself rich off taxpayer money. To name a few Tony Rezko, Allison Davis, Valerie Jarrett, and Cecil Butler.

As voters, we should also question the Woods Fund of Chicago. This fund funnels money to many radical groups. One that should stand out is the Arab-American Action Network. This network held a fundraiser for Senator Obama in 2000. The group received $75,000 in grants in both 2001 and 2002 to create an oral history project on "An-Nobka" the great catastrophe of Israel's founding. Obama and Ayers served on the Woods Fund board together from 1990 to 2002.

ACORN - the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now - receives 40 percent of its funding from taxpayers money. Its a left-wing group that has historically helped elect Democrats and effect social change through intimidating public official and large companies in the Saul Alinsky tradition.

ACORN was behind the register and vote at the same time in Ohio. It all boils down to small time bribery.

As citizens we need to check out Saul Alinsky's ideology and ask ourselves if we want people like Obama's associates running our government. Investigate other views before you make your decision. Barack Obama is a divider, not a uniter and certainly no reformer.

- Bob Martin, Wheeler


Obama, Alinsky: Fraud is good

ACORN: hereVoter-fraud: hereAlinsky: here collectivism: here

Student penetrates the MSM fog

Where is the line between telling the truth and smear?

In my opinion, defining the difference between alliances and mere coincidental associations is that line. To that end, I will have to disagree with Mario Moretto and his piece published on Oct. 9. It is surprising that Mr. Moretto would have such a laissez-faire attitude toward such obvious American antagonists like William Ayers and Reverend Jeremiah Wright.

Moretto attempts to vindicate Ayers by saying that since he served his sentence, he somehow cleared himself of hatred for America, becoming a loveable little progressive activist. This could not be further from the truth. In 2001, Ayers stated in the New York Times that he thought that he and his organization did not do enough. Early in Obama's senate campaing, Ayers hosted a "meet the candidate" event in his home. Obama worked with Ayers in a project called the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. This project emphasized social activism as the catalyst for real learning. It also taught teachers should indoctrinate their students so that they would rise up against the establishment. The Challenge was funded with private and public dollars, but provided no positive results. The organization was connected to ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now). ACORN has been defended by Obama and has been implicated in many cases of voter fraud.

Bill Ayers and Barack Obama are linked not only in alliances but also in political theory. This is where Saul Alinsky comes in. His book "Rules for Radicals" was, and still is, the bible for "community organizers." This is a statement that he makes in his book: "From all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins - or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom - Lucifer."

Moretto stated the candidates are not an extension of their radical supporters, and I agree in part. The candidate is not an extension of the coincidental supporter; the candidate is an extension of radical supporters when there is a clear alliance.

While Moretto did not mention Reverend Jeremiah Wright by name, we can assume the premise of his piece extends to the anti-semitic radical racist. The problem with this is that Obama's relationship with Reverend Wright goes back 20 years. Considering the Obamas' financial support of the church, and the moral and spiritual advice of the Reverend, this is truly an alliance and not a coincidental association.

While we agree Obama is not a Manchurian candidate, and the Weather Underground bombings cannot be attributed to Obama since he was a child; I differ with Moretto on the point of adult alliances and the influences these highly defined relationships have on a candidate's view of the world. Obama is an adult, and he is responsible for his actions and his circle that he keeps. If he cannot be truthful about his alliances in his past, what can we trust him on?

- Michael Craft is a senior history and education student.

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