Monday wrap

Tom Balanoff: Andy Stern's Pay-to-Play Chicago bagman ... Nov. 5 (approximately) -- Blagojevich meets with Tom Balanoff, head of the Illinois chapter of the Service Employees International Union, to discuss the soon-to-be vacant Senate seat. Blagojevich understands Balanoff to be "an emissary" to discuss Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett's interest in the seat. [Criminal complaint.] ... Nov. 7 -- Jarrett speaks with Balanoff. "Mr. Balanoff told Ms. Jarrett that he had spoken to the Governor about the possibility of selecting Valerie Jarrett to replace the President-elect" and that the governor raised the prospect of being appointed Health and Human Services Secretary. ... Nov. 12 -- Balanoff again meets with Blagojevich, who tells him "he had heard" Obama wanted others beside Jarrett to be considered for the seat. Balanoff says he'd find out if Jarrett wants him "to keep pushing her for senator." [Criminal complaint.] (suntimes.com)

IBEW defends L.A. Pay-to-Play ... Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and his team of lobbyists, strategists and pay-to-play cronies have sued the eight people who signed the No. on Prop. B ballot argument - an attempt at intimidation under the guise of law. This measure isn't about solar energy and has nothing to do with the largest solar energy initiative ever undertaken. The City Council and mayor could initiate that by their own actions. This is solely about paying blackmail to the DWP and its IBEW union which have blocked solar projects for a decade and would have exclusivity on large-scale projects under this measure. (citywatchla.com)

Earmarks: Federal Pay-to-Play ... How out of step are these people? Within a prolonged recession and steadily declining city revenues, they have nonetheless commissioned a $240,000 design of this building, which they are not even sure they can ever fund. Kiss that money goodbye. Remember that when they whistle past your wallet crying about essential public services that may need to be cut back. Remember also that, without comment, the council spends $40,000 per year in order to just talk to Patty Murray, Maria Cantwell and Jay Inslee. Waste has many faces. We must hire a lobbyist who sets up a meet and greet with these three. Is it at one of the city manager's regular coffee klatches here in Terrace where all three were elected? No; to get their attention about our legitimate infrastructure needs, city officials must fly to D.C. Don't these people have local staff who drink coffee? Doesn't the city receive grant money all the time without expensive intermediaries? If every town our size needs a line item in their budget of $40,000 to talk with the people they elect to D.C., what does that say about those people in D.C.? Pay to play isn't just selling Senate seats in Illinois. You have to pay to play the federal earmarks game, too. What do you think? It's your money. (heraldnet.com)

Other People's Money

Useless fat-cat unionists a drag on U.S. ... Once again, unions, the scourge of the U.S., have proven themselves to be completely useless in this day and age. Unions have already cost the people of the U.S. thousands of jobs by being greedy and sending work elsewhere for lower wages. The workers at Smithfield will be sorry in the end by voting the union in. They already make as much or more than plants that have a union. All they will get now is paying union dues that go into someone’s pocket to live high on the hog. Unions are relics that need to be outlawed in the U.S. There is so much corruption in most of them that they have to borrow money to pay the members should they strike, while the executives live the good life with the dues they receive from the workers. (fayobserver.com)

Typical labor-state Teamsters

Feds Rope-a-Dope SEIU Pay-to-Play ... The special impeachment committee of the Illinois House of Representatives will not subpoena key aides of President-elect Barack Obama, including incoming White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, following a request from the U.S. attorney's office that doing so may compromise its investigation that Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich tried to sell Obama's Senate seat. U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald sent a letter to the 21-member special committee on Saturday asking that they not subpoena Emanuel and Valerie Jarret, an Obama adviser and co-chair of the presidential transition team. Fitzgerald also asked that U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson (D-IL) and Nils Larsen, a Tribune Co. executive vice president, not be called to testify. (allheadlinenews.com)

Pay-to-Play was not a factor ... One of southern Illinois’ largest contributors to Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s campaign fund denied pay-to-play politics were a factor in his appointment to the state Department of Employment Security. Since 2002, Hunt Bonan, owner of Market Street Bancshares, the holding company for Peoples National Bank, made personal contributions to Friends of Blagojevich totaling $20,375, according to the State Board of Elections. Contributions listed as provided by Market Street Bancshares total $124,225. (sj-r.com)

Fat-cat teachers union hoodwinks, bamboozles voters ... NEA spent the bulk of their money on state races and donations to state party organizations (Democrats, of course), PAC's, and 527's. Much of it went to incumbency protection, which buys continued access. And NEA budgeted $20 million just for the state ballot initiative campaigns. These ballot initiatives are getting popular. And they annoy the NEA. Sometimes they are a real threat to the union's bread and butter. Like Colorado's right-to-work amendment. Or Florida's 65 percent-to-the-classroom amendment ( which actually got killed by the Florida Supreme Court). The NEA was mostly victorious in the ballot initiative wars. So what did the NEA get for their efforts? Mostly just a sigh of relief. Especially in the ballot initiative states. Used to be $50 million would get you more than that. (examiner.com)

Labor-backed solon confuses one end of cow for another ... According to Schumer, the "pay-to-play'' system was designed to help reduce emissions in situations where behaviors can be changed, such as lowering carbon emissions at factories by switching to cleaner fuels. Cows can't change their behavior, the senator said, adding that the rule would not only put some farms out of business, but start the rest on a long walk to their demise. "I want to be clear, these are not permits for burning dirty coal or for processing harmful chemicals or for the use of gas-guzzling tractors," Schumer said, "they are permits for the methane emission of farm animals, which effectively amounts to a tax on cows when they belch." (observertoday.com)

Job-Killer Act now on back burner? ... "I suspect that there's been a bit of a rethink going on," said Seth Borden, a labor-law attorney representing management groups at Kirkpatrick Stockton. "A lot of the enthusiasm - and fear, on our side - has tempered off a bit." With business lobbies and conservative Republicans geared up to fight EFCA, the Obama administration is seen as not wanting a distraction in his critical first days in office. "We're hearing [EFCA] probably won't happen right away, and we feel good about that," said Leigh Strope, spokeswoman for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters union. "It maybe will not happen in the first 100 days, but we don't take that as a bad signal." Gerald McEntee, president of the influential American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, told The Washington Times in an interview that EFCA was "payback" for the labor movement's massive campaign effort for Mr. Obama and the Democrats. But he acknowledged the Republican Senate roadblock and the need for Mr. Obama's coalition to "be more interested in the bigger picture." ... When Mr. Obama introduced Mrs. Solis as his labor pick, neither mentioned EFCA. (washingtontimes.com)

NeoCons hunker down ... The Heritage Foundation will raise enough to meet its $61 million 2008 budget, Vice President John von Kannon said, but the group is now in get-lean mode: Starting next year, the foundation will review its income and expenses every month. “We’ll be more like a business,” von Kannon said. Scanlon hasn’t cut staff, but he says he has added a new ritual to close out the week. “On Fridays, I’m checking each thermostat,” he said. “It’s going down for the weekend.” (dcexaminer.com)

Why pay union dues in a worker-choice state? ... These have been terrible times for state workers, with two years without raises and the threat of layoffs constantly looming. But state workers have a powerful friend on their side that millions of workers wish they had. A union. Why should state or university workers pay union dues? Florida is a "right to work" state, meaning that union dues are not compulsory even if a worker is covered by a union contract. ... I know times are tough for state workers, but the union is there for them. (tallahassee.com)

International Collectivism

Chávez faithful tempted by sin ... President Hugo Chávez is criticizing a top Roman Catholic leader for opposing a planned referendum that would end presidential term limits. Chávez accuses Cardinal Jorge Urosa of "trying to manipulate" public opinion ahead of the vote, which is expected in February. Urosa has criticized the proposed constitutional amendment, which would let Chávez run for re-election indefinitely. Voters last year rejected a package of constitutional changes, including an end to term limits. Urosa says the constitution prevents such a proposal from coming to vote twice in the same presidential term. Chávez on Sunday said the Catholic leader was wrong and accused him of lying, which he called a "serious sin." (etaiwannews.com)

Latin expert: Bam must romance Lula ... This change is supported by our most important allies in the region, such as Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and nothing could rearrange the regional chess board as dramatically. As the 50th anniversary of the Castro regime approaches, it is also time to admit that U.S. policies have been a failure and have contributed to the endurance of the Cuban dictatorship. And what about Mr. Chávez? Like Cuba and Mr. Castro, he will only be empowered by direct confrontation from the United States. Do not roll around in the mud with Mr. Chávez or one of the Castros; ignore his rants and support our allies and he will be diminished. Mr. Chávez has chosen to use considerable resources to challenge and goad the United States. With oil prices collapsing and Venezuelan revenues shrinking, those decisions will be increasingly exposed as bankrupt. (washingtontimes.com)

Latin socialist issues warning ... According to the Venezuelan leader, current figures show progress in the economy and society, so the challenge is to remain untouched by the crisis. Chávez said Venezuela has not suffered the impact of the world's worst crisis because it is building another type of economy different from Capitalism. He warned, however, that the situation is so serious that it is affecting Europe, South America, Central America, Asia and Africa. In his criterion the current crisis proves that Capitalism is falling down and can not be sustained. (plenglish.com)

Uncle Joe makes a comeback ... Millions of Soviet citizens perished from famine during forced collectivization, were executed as "enemies of the people" or died in Gulag hard labor camps during Stalin's rule which lasted for almost 30 years until his death in 1953. "We now have to think very seriously, why the nation chooses to put Josef Vissarionovich Stalin in third place," prominent actor and film director Nikita Mikhalkov, one of the contest's judges, said after the results of the vote flashed on a screen. "We may find ourselves in a situation where absolute power and voluntarism that ignores people's opinions may prevail in our country, if a fairly large part of the nation wants it." At the top of the list was 13th century prince Alexander Nevsky, who defeated German invaders, followed by Pyotr Stolypin, a prime minister in the early 20th century known for agrarian reforms and a clampdown on leftist revolutionaries. (reuters.com)

Global democracy in recession ... Once upon a time, Americans also assumed that the rise of democracy and freedom was the world's unstoppable destiny. The best thing you could say for the state of human rights in 2008 is that they didn't sink as far as the world economy ... Chávez is one of many rulers of oil-producing nations who are watching their chief export plunge in value and hoping fervently for a strong rebound. He will gain no consolation from reflecting that human rights are also subject not only to busts but, if memory serves, to booms. (postchronicle.com)

Common anti-capitalism ascending ... Member nations of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) will move in 2009 with the conviction that it is possible to create a common currency zone as a means to confront foreign crises. This is one of the main arguments expressed by the Venezuelan minister of the Economy and Finances, Ali Rodriguez, defending the initiative recently presented by President Hugo Chávez to the ALBA assembly. (plenglish.com)

Sleepy socialists sacked ... A local authority in China has sacked six officials caught snoozing during a meeting, with the photographic evidence posted on the Internet. The six, some company managers and some Communist Party chiefs, were attending a meeting marking 30 years of economic reforms. (burnleyexpress.net)
Related Posts with Thumbnails