1/14/09

Wednesday wrap

Reid, Pelosi Would Force Unions Down Workers' Throats ... A quick look at the case of the United Auto Workers union is all that is necessary to see the damage that has been done to American industry through greedy union hegemony. As they threatened Congress with the collapse of an industry, they refused to part with their own money-losing, multi-million dollar golf course. To them, the rules are quite simple: Secure the support of the workers by promising benefits the company can’t afford—and once the company threatens bankruptcy, appeal to the government for more money. But whatever happens, no matter the cost, do not relinquish any of the power accumulated by bludgeoning management and destroying jobs. Those are the rules by which the SEIU, as well as the UAW and others, play. And now they want push-button unionism card-check skullduggery to help them dragoon more workers into their shrinking ranks. Having failed to earn allegiance, they now turn to coercion—and demand the government’s compliance. More than three decades ago, the highly esteemed columnist for the Washington Post, William Raspberry wrote of compulsory unionism: “Good unions don’t need it, and bad unions don’t deserve it.” Mr. Reid and Madame Pelosi, please take note. (dakotavoice.com)


Bam favors unpopular, hypocritical forced-union measure ... The deceivingly titled EFCA (also known as "Card Check") forces workers sign the cards in front of peers, bosses and union leaders. Under the pressure of union officials and co-workers, the individual can be easily intimidated into voting for union membership. President-elect Barack Obama has expressed support for EFCA and with an extremely left leaning Congress, it has a good chance of passing. However, according to Istook, when individuals around the country are polled, it is an 80-20 split against EFCA ... Most interestingly, those supporting the Act expressed just the opposite move for the Mexican government in 2001. EFCA principle author Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) wrote a letter to the Mexican government saying, "we feel that the secret ballot is absolutely necessary in order to ensure that workers are not intimidated into voting for a union they might not otherwise choose." (culture11.com)


Progs seek 1930's replay ... What will Obama do if he suffers stinging defeats for such progressive measures as the Employee Free Choice Act? By the time FDR started his second term, big business and the right wing opposed him every step of the way. Bipartisanship was waning. With the support of the union and other grassroots movements, Roosevelt began using populist attacks against the rich and powerful, which in turn gave more legitimacy the movements from below. His second acceptance speech at the 1936 Democratic convention attacked the "economic royalists" and "privileged princes" of "economic dynasties" who had "created a new despotism." In that campaign's final speech Roosevelt said, "I should like to have it said of my first Administration that in it the forces of selfishness and of lust for power met their match. I should like to have it said of my second Administration that in it these forces met their master." FDR used revolutionary rhetoric to voice "anger and resentment," Jonathan Alter writes in The Defining Moment, writes, "without destroying the system." (blog.nj.com)


Unionist blasts Job-Killer Act ... I have no idea if they know each other, but it is remarkable that they think so much alike (especially the three whose letters were verbatim copies). Now then, what about this "Employee Free Choice Act" all four of these folks are championing? Well, to make the explanation simple, they are against the secret ballot. Imagine going to the polls on election day and having to go up to a blackboard in front of any/everybody and writing your name and your choice for president, governor, etc. That's essentially what these folks want for union elections; the secret ballot, in their minds, is not fair. After all, the employee who is intimidated into signing a union card in public might not hold fast to that intimidation in the privacy of a voting booth. Can't have that, now, can we? Even though I've been in a union for most of my working career, I would still strongly object to this so-called "Employee Free Choice Act." If unions can't convince their potential constituents to side with them in a secret ballot, then I think they should work on self-improvement rather than forcing themselves onto companies whose workers do not voluntarily vote them in. (dailyherald.com)


Bam touts union bigs for federal management slots ... The times they are a changing! As the most anti-labor president since Calvin Coolidge vacates the White House, the incoming administration is mulling over the names of labor leaders it is considering for many government slots. Although the unionists are not slated to get top-level Cabinet jobs, the posts they may end up filling are often ones where important policies are decided. After some phone calls and checking with sources, Press Associates and the Peoples Weekly World can confirm that at least seven leading trade unionists, including two former union presidents and one current union president, are being considered for jobs in the Obama administration. A major portion of the names are of unionists in the area of transport, but the list is far from complete. Among those confirmed as under consideration for key posts are Linda Foley, former Newspaper Guild president, Duane Woerth, former Airline Pilots Association president, and Robert Scardelletti, current president of the Transportation Communications Union. (pww.org)


Obama and the Winds of Change (Déjà Vu Remix)



Illinois corrects new Pay-to-Play ban ... House lawmakers today begrudgingly voted to knock a hole in the new pay-to-play ethics law aimed at curbing Gov. Rod Blagojevich's prolific fund-raising because Washington officials threatened to block federal dollars for roads and bridges The legislation, sent to the Senate on a 77-35 vote, would exempt transportation projects from the new law that prohibits businesses that have or seek state contracts worth more than $50,000 from donating to statewide officeholders who dole out the business. The fate of the legislation in the Senate is uncertain. The move was ridiculed by opponents who questioned why the law is being watered down only days after the governor was impeached for allegations that included shaking down state contractors for campaign contributions ... Rep. Bill Black (R-Danville) protested the change "doesn't make a lot of sense" given the federal charges that Blagojevich tried to auction the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama, who actually supported the Illinois law. Further, Black feared the lawmakers will create a loophole that will spur a future "scandal." Even so, Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) downplayed the change, saying the legislation seeks to plug a minor hole in the law. "If it turns out to be a big hole in practice, we will find a better way to deal with it, a different mouse trap," Harmon said. Outgoing Senate President Emil Jones (D-Chicago) was less certain the bill would be addressed before he leaves office Wednesday. "I don't know anything about it, and after tomorrow I'll be the hell out of here," Jones said. (chicagobreakingnews.com)


Dem Pay-to-Play unravels in New Mexico ... A new political scandal will greet New Mexico legislators, who begin their 2009 session Jan. 20 in Santa Fe. They will take their place at the capitol building while federal and state investigators look into the latest allegations involving state officials. "I've heard from others that several indictments are coming down," said Senate President pro tem Timothy Jennings, D-Roswell. The FBI and a federal grand jury in Albuquerque are investigating whether CDR Financial Products received $1.5 million in fees from the New Mexico Finance Authority for contributing $100,000 to Richardson's PAC's. Richardson and CDR have denied any wrongdoing. New Mexico had hired CDR to advise the state on a $1.6 billion bond package to finance projects of Governor Richardson's Investment Partnership (GRIP), which included the new Rail Runner train service between Belen and Santa Fe and road improvements throughout the state. (elpasotimes.com)


Another Friend-of-Bam in Pay-to-Play corruption ... A Southern businessman in a legal battle with the city's pension boards claims Detroit's former treasurer pressured him to donate $100,000 to then-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's legal fund in exchange for another $15 million pension investment in his now-failed airline. "I felt pressured to engage in a pay-to-play scheme," Donald V. Watkins said in documents related to a federal lawsuit and obtained by The Detroit News. Watkins, an attorney and banker based in Florida, was a onetime board member of Kilpatrick's defense fund. But he claims his relationship with the city's two pension boards -- police and fire and the general retirement system -- soured after he refused the request from Jeff Beasley, then-treasurer for both boards. That request and other "unsavory" demands from pension board members were included in a sworn statement recently submitted to the pension boards. (detnews.com)


Grand Theft Franken-Soros



Left defunds itself ... The Madoff fundraising scandal has had some beneficial fallout for the pro-life movement. Combined with the current economic downturn, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America is feeling the pinch and has laid off 20 percent of its staff. The nation's largest abortion business, which does 25 percent of all abortions in the United States annually, laid off about 30 people this week. Executives at Planned Parenthood confirmed the layoffs in an interview with the Crain's New York business publication ... The Florida-based Picower Foundation, which gave substantial donations to the abortion business, shut down in December because Bernard Madoff had mismanaged its assets. The foundation was worth $1 billion and one of the top financial backers of pro-abortion groups. The charity has given away more than $189 million since 1999 and a sizable chunk of the money went to abortion advocates, including $3.2 million to NARAL, $2.5 million for the Center for Reproductive Rights, $2.4 million for Planned Parenthood, and $625,000 for the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy, according to the American Spectator. The JEHT Foundation, which gave away $24 million last year to groups, including pro-abortion organizations, also announced in December that it would be shutting its doors. JEHT gave $1.7 million to the ACLU and its foundation and $4.2 million to the Tides Foundation, which heavily funds pro-abortion groups. (lifenews.com)


Unfinished Teamster police business in Nashville ... Police said three Nashville officers were placed on restricted duty after they were found meeting with a convicted felon -- a violation of police policy. Police spokesman Don Aaron told The Tennessean that the three officers were spotted Friday at a Hooters restaurant with Calvin Hullett, a former Nashville officer who pleaded guilty last week to charges of identity theft and conspiracy to embezzle from a labor union. Hullett, a former Teamsters union organizer, was charged in the installation of cameras at a children's camp run by the rival Fraternal Order of Police. At the time, the two unions were competing to represent Nashville police officers at the bargaining table. Aaron said Sgt. Marvin Keith, Sgt. Pat Bianconi and Detective Randy Martin were placed on desk duty because it's against policy to associate with known felons outside of work. (wztv.com)


State gov't pensions need federal bailout ... State governments from Rhode Island to California have run up estimated pension-fund losses of $865.1 billion, forcing some to cut benefits for new hires. Assets for 109 state funds declined 37 percent to $1.46 trillion over the 14 months ended Dec. 16, according to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index of stocks fell 41 percent in the period. (bloomberg.com)


Gov't unions are out of touch with reality ... Good morning, and a special big hello to all you public sector unions: In case you haven't noticed, there is a global economic downturn. Hundreds of thousands of people in the forestry and manufacturing sector in this province alone have lost their jobs. Hundreds of thousands more fear they may be next. Families are hanging on by their fingertips. Astonishingly, the response by the unions representing the province's public elementary school teachers, jail guards and striking instructors at York University has been to dig in their heels and demand more. And the silence from Premier Dalton McGuinty's government has been deafening. First, York University: More than 50,000 students have been out of class since Nov. 6, hostage to the demands of CUPE Local 3903, representing 3,400 contract professors and teaching and graduate assistants. At the request of the university, members will vote in a special labour ministry supervised vote next Monday and Tuesday. (torontosun.com)


UAW royalty abuses rank-and-file ... I am getting sick and tired of our politicians in Washington wanting to bail out everyone they owe a political debt to. George Bush is about to pass the ball off to Barack Obama, and God knows where it’s going to wind up. I was staunchly against it when it started with the Wall Street debacle, and now it’s the auto manufacturer’s turn at the trough. The reason I’m so adamant about this auto bailout comes from years of living in an auto industry environment in Flint, Mich., where the United Auto Workers union was king. Their members were and still are like a bunch of robots. Whatever the union said was gospel. They didn’t seem to mind that the UAW executives were living like royalty as long as they were given some crumbs from the table. The UAW showed me their true nature in 1967 when the union I belonged to went on strike against the Kroger Co. in Flint, and GM union workers crossed our picket lines when we pleaded with them not to. (delawareonline.com)


AFSCME embezzler disputes fed charges ... The former treasurer for the union representing corrections officers at Mansfield Correctional Institution pleaded not guilty in federal court Monday to embezzling $15,192. An arraignment for Jack Hooks, of Mansfield, took place in U.S. District Court in Cleveland. Hooks is a former treasurer of the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association, Local 11, Chapter 7010, of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. He is accused of embezzling union funds between Dec. 23, 2003, and Jan. 2, 2005. Hooks was indicted Dec. 17 after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor-Management Standards. (mansfieldnewsjournal.com)


Fight Philly corruption by subsidizing politicans ... Ok, We’re not that naive to think that P2P is part of our past. But if what the feds say about former State Senator Vince Fumo is true, that he used his influence to steer money for his personal benefit, then he would likely go to jail. If that happens, would this create an opportune time to pass to tougher campaign finance laws? (whyy.org)


U.S. unions to emulate China ... Emboldened by the election of President Barack Obama and Democrat control of the House and Senate, Big Labor is no longer hiding its true beliefs. It wants total control of all business in the United States even if it means a huge leap backward for American workers. In a recent commentary, Jonathan Tasini, former head of the National Writers Union and American Rights at Work (an AFL-CIO front group) and blogger who supports forced unionism, stated: “When it comes to unions, we should be more like China.” Tasini then praised the Chinese government for its 2008 legislation that granted huge privileges to the Communist Party-controlled All-China Federation of Trade Unions but prohibited all unions that were not part of the ACFTU. (ldnews.com)


U.S. union bigs in solidarity with Hamas, Iran ... New York City Labor Against the War (NYCLAW) joins millions around the world in condemning Israel's ongoing murder and maiming of hundreds of Palestinians in Gaza. Who are the real terrorists? Israel claims that it is fighting "terrorism"--the same hollow excuse with which the U.S. tries to justify wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the erosion of civil liberties and labor rights at home. But as South African Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu points out, Israel's massacres "bears all the hallmarks of war crimes." (socialistworker.org)


International Collectivism

Chávez taps Russia for gold ... Venezuela and Russia have created a joint company to operate the Las Cristinas gold mine, which is thought to possess one of the largest gold reserves in South America, President Hugo Chávez said Tuesday. Venezuela will take over the Las Cristinas gold mine from Canadian mining company Crystallex International Corp. (KRY) in 2009, Chavez reiterated. "The Venezuelan state will take control of production of Las Cristinas in 2009," Chavez told the National Assembly during his yearly address, confirming previous announcements months earlier by Mining Minister Rodolfo Sanz. Chávez said that Venezuela had created a joint company with Russia to exploit Las Cristinas. Chávez made no reference to Crystallex during his speech. (marketwatch.com)

Bam shapes bailout for Castro, Cuba ... The U.S. taxpayer remains among the few in the industrialized world not screwed and tattooed by Fidel Castro. But fear not! Most "analysts" see Obama moving quickly to rectify this shameful state of affairs, by scrapping his country's obnoxious (to liberals and foreigners) penchant for "unilateralism" in foreign policy. "Will Obama Shift Policy on Cuba?" pants a recent BBC headline. After all, as the AP reported from the Latin American summit in Brazil last month: "Latin America leaders demand U.S. end Cuba embargo." And as the Russian News Agency, Novosti, reported back in October: "UN General Assembly demands U.S. lift embargo on Cuba." Needless to say, MSM commentary overwhelmingly supports these "demands." U.S. policymakers must immediately take heed of these "demands," from those more internationally sophisticated parties, who have all been doing business with Cuba for decades. (americanthinker.com)


Lebanon praises Chávez ... The town of el-Birreh (85 Km north of Beirut) officially named one of its streets on Monday after the name of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. "The dedication comes following the president's decision to expel the Israeli ambassador from his country," said Muhammad Wehbe, el-Birreh municipality head. President Chávez earlier expelled the Israeli ambassador from Caracas in protest against the on-going war on Gaza. Chávez's photos and supporting slogans were in full display throughout the road leading to the town. "What we did is the least of what we could offer this great man, who managed to return hope to our hearts," Wehbe said. El-Birra's Sheikh Bilal al Rifai commented saying: "We don't have any religious or linguistic connection with this man. However, he felt our pain and this should be appreciated, we appreciate and respect President Chávez." Last week during anti-Israeli demonstrations in Beirut Hugo Chávez took center stage as protesters carried his photos. One banner read, "That's what men are made of." (naharnet.com)


Hamas Press Conference Translated

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