4/4/09

Saturday wrap

Daily Hate: Prescient Orwell was 25 years off ... As I flipped through the channels days ago, a gray and grimy image stopped me. It was the movie “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” the British film made that year based on George Orwell's dystopian novel 1984. What caught my attention was a crowd of people screaming invectives at those found guilty of the treason of thought crime in one of Big Brother's show trials. This “Daily Hate” was one of the collectivist rituals of Ingsoc, Orwell's Newspeak name for the English Socialist totalitarian state he depicted. This movie was airing only days after ruling Democratic Party congressmen had savaged AIG employees receiving bonuses with televised demands that they give the government their perfectly legal contracted payments. Committee Chairman Barney Frank ordered the head of AIG to give him the names and home addresses of bonus recipients, then refused to promise not to make these addresses public after being given descriptions of horrifying death threats against them and their children. Soon thereafter, the radical left group ACORN, which once employed community organizer Barack Obama, bankrolled a journalist bus tour to visit and photograph protests in front of the Connecticut homes of AIG executives. Companies are being expropriated as if this were a Central American banana republic after a Marxist coup, and the president demands carte blanche to seize companies that took no government money, based solely on his judgment whether a company could influence the economic health of the country. While planning to gag conservative talk radio, the president also is tripling the size of Americorps to 250,000 paid “volunteers” will. Obama administration literature says openly that the aim is to create a “cadre” of trained “community organizers” and political shock troops to promote Obama's agenda. As in Orwell's novel “1984,” Obama uses Orwellian Newspeak and Double Think. The political dictionary has been rewritten to delete the word terrorist. The war on terror has been renamed Overseas Contingency Operations. And Guantanamo enemy combatants now have no euphemistic tag whatsoever; they have become Big Brother's nonpersons. (newsmax.com)


Never Again: Anti-corruption reform turns public servants against voters ... State lawmakers, warning that Colorado's initiative system is rife with evidence of fraud in past elections, approved a bill that would require that groups and companies that hire people to circulate initiative petitions be licensed. The bill also would allow the secretary of state to reject whole pages of petition signatures if the state finds evidence that state laws were violated, and to take action against companies or individuals who give voters false information about the petitions they are signing. The bill was approved Tuesday by the House State Affairs Committee and now goes to Appropriations. House Speaker Terrance Carroll, D-Denver, who sponsored the legislation, said concerns were raised in recent elections about the use of paid petition circulators, some from out of state, who could not be located to answer questions after the election. Rep. Kent Lambert, R-Colorado Springs, said the bill raises significant constitutional questions, including a plan to charge companies that pay petition solicitors for training, saying it could be interpreted as a poll tax designed to prevent voters from exercising their right to petition their government. (cbs4denver.com)


In Iran, Chávez sees eye-to-eye with Obama ... Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez ridiculed the G-20 summit's attempts to deal with the global financial meltdown, saying that the "values of capitalism are in crisis" and capitalism "has to end." Speaking to Venezuelan state television late Thursday, Chávez said the United States and Britain are "the most guilty" for the financial crisis sweeping the globe because of the financial model "they've been imposing for years." "It's impossible that capitalism can regulate the monster that is the world financial system, it's impossible," Chávez said. "Capitalism needs to go down. It has to end. And we must take a transitional road to a new model that we call socialism." The Venezuelan leader's comments came during a trip to Iran. In recent years, Chávez and Iran's hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -- both well-known for their anti-U.S. rhetoric -- have boosted economic and political ties. (google.com)


SEIU front-group picks, freezes, personalizes, polarizes Rite-Aid ... Half a dozen local protesters gathered at Rite Aid yesterday in support of California workers currently fighting to join a union and their larger cause, the Employee Free Choice Act. Protesters believe the Rite Aid in Lancaster, Calif., with its violations and attempts to halt a union, shows the importance of the Employee Free Choice Act. "I'm here in part for Jobs with Justice, and they are powerful. If we wanted 500 people here, we could have them here, but that's not what we are about," Delaney said. Upon his arrival, Delaney stated his purpose to the Rite Aid manager in Amesbury. After 5 minutes, the manager instructed protesters to leave the property or he would call the police. Amesbury police Sgt. William Sholtz appeared on the scene but did not ask them to leave. "We want people to know the public is working against these national companies, and we need to be heard," Delaney said. "It's about developing the middle class, which will save the country." (newburyportnews.com)

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

Related video: Fascistic SEIU demands payback



Labor-state workers use oppressive secret-ballot to reject AFSCME ... A group of more than 200 Rogue Valley Medical Center technology and patient-care employees won't be carrying union cards — at least for now. By more than a 2-to-1 margin, RVMC workers such as respiratory therapists, mammography technicians, licensed practical nurses and radiation therapists voted Thursday not to join the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees. The count was 138 against and 60 in favor of joining the collective bargaining unit in the election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board. The hospital reported 11 challenged votes, for various legal reasons. The decision affects 214 full-time and regular part-time workers in more than 20 job descriptions. "RVMC is a good place to work, but like most places it has things to improve on," RVMC chief executive Kent Brown said. "We have 2,800 employees, so it can get a little complex. What we need to do is to listen and to make sure what issues are facing our employees, and then for us to address them." Registered nurses at the hospital have been part of a collective bargaining unit for more than two decades and last went on strike for six weeks during August and September in 1990. Brown sees the election as a referendum on the way employees want to relate to their employer when issues crop up. (mailtribune.com)


But it's supposed to rebuild the 'Middle Class' ... Card check would be the most drastic, anti-business, anti-job growth legislation to perhaps ever pass in Congress. Now that the Democrats are in charge, it's time for them to repay all the special-interest groups for their patronage. The first group hungrily waiting in line is the labor unions. They desperately want to pass the so-called Employee Free Choice Act, also known as "card check," which would be the most drastic, anti-business, anti-job growth legislation to perhaps ever pass in Congress. The card-check bill effectively will eliminate the long-standing tradition of secret-ballot elections for workers to vote on joining a union. Instead of the protection of a private ballot, workers will have to sign a card in public, indicating whether they want to join a union. Once more than half the workers sign these cards, the union will be automatically certified. A government arbitrator will tell employers what wages to pay, what benefits to offer, and what work rules have to be in place. The bill will also allow unions, for the purpose of organizing, to divide employees up into arbitrary groups in order to organize smaller groups at a time. The bill does not say how groups can be determined, leaving this up to the discretion of the union. So if a union believes they cannot get a whole business, they can try organizing smaller segments at a time. This bill will put businesses out of work and will severely hamper job creation at a time we need it most. (pittsburghlive.com)

Related video: Kill American Jobs Act



NYT: In union-backed fraud we trust ... Now two whistle blowers, Anita MonCrief and Marcel Reid, who used to work for ACORN, have testified under oath before the House Judiciary Committee that the organization took money to intimidate capitalist organizations like the Carlyle Group and H&R Block, and worked closely with the Obama presidential campaign to get voters to the polls. According to MonCrief, New York Times reporter Stephanie Strom was getting close to documenting a story directly linking the Obama campaign to ACORN through the "Project Vote" organization. Barack Obama worked for "Project Vote" in the 1990s. There is speculation that "Project Vote" did a number of illegal things last November during the voter registration process. But the Times' investigation suddenly stopped dead, prompting a call from Strom to MonCrief, her source. A voice mail from Strom was left on Oct. 21, 2008: "Hi, Anita, it's Stephanie. I've just been asked by my bosses to stand down. ... They want me to hold off on coming to Washington. Sorry, I take my orders from higher up." The Times did run a story about ACORN's left-wing partisanship, but stopped there. The paper would not make Strom available to talk with me. Spokeswoman Catherine Mathis sent a statement saying: "Every day we make news judgments about which stories to publish and which ones not to pursue. Political considerations played no role in our decision about whether to cover this story." (sun-sentinel.com)


Greedy, collectivist nest of News Unions bedevils NYT labor-state unit ... The New York Times Co. has threatened to close down the Boston Globe unless the newspaper's unions quickly agree to $20 million in concessions, the newspaper reported on its Web site Friday night. The Times, which owns the Globe and Worcester Telegram, made the demands Thursday morning in meeting with leaders of the newspaper's 13 unions, union officials said. The Boston Herald reported that the unions had 30 days to make concessions. The possibilties include pay cuts, the end of pension contributions by the company and the elimination of lifetime job guarantees now enjoyed by some veteran employees, said Daniel Totten, president of the Boston Newspaper Guild, the Globe's biggest union. Times management told the unions that the Globe will lose $85 million in 2009, unless serious cutbacks are made, the newspaper reported. (thebostonchannel.com)


CWA strike captains prep picket lines v. oppressive AT&T ... AT&T operators, line workers and service crews could go on strike as early as Sunday, the Communications Workers of America said Friday. The union's contract with the telecommunications giant expires after midnight today, and the sides have yet to reach a new agreement. The CWA authorized the strike Friday, but talks often go beyond deadlines without a strike, union leaders say. About 2,600 AT&T workers in Cleveland, Akron, Canton and Youngstown are among the 125,000 CWA members nationwide working for AT&T. "All of the locals have their picket roster schedules ready," said Linda Hinton, a Cleveland spokeswoman for CWA's District 4, which covers Ohio and other Midwest states. The union wants the company to offer stronger job protection guarantees. Richter said the company has been preparing for a strike for two years by training managers in field work and lining up vendors and contractors. "We prepare for every contingency, whether that's a tornado or a flood or a work stoppage," he said. (cleveland.com)


Stubborn gov't unions cause lost dues, jobs ... The town's unions have rejected health insurance proposals that would have saved jobs by increasing co-pays and deductibles - even though the town offered to pick up additional out-of-pocket expenses for employees. Town Administrator Mark Fisher said he is not sure how the unions reached their decision, adding he was contacted by a spokesperson from the unions who said the plan had been rejected. "We're disappointed the unions have declined and somewhat confused," Fisher said. Other towns are facing similar circumstances. Mansfield teachers have so far rejected a modified health plan that would have meant slight increases in costs to employees, but would have saved the town money and jobs. Under North Attleboro's current health insurance plan, premium costs will increase by 10 percent for both the town and enrollees - costing the town about $768,200 and costing employees about $226,000. The cost increase for the town equates to 21 jobs. (thesunchronicle.com)


SEIU home care workers continue strike v. oppressive Red Cross ... Halton Red Cross home care workers walked off the job yesterday, the latest in a series of one-day job actions continuing across the province. The 132 Halton workers began their strike at 9 a.m. at the Halton Red Cross office on Guelph Line and ended it at 4 p.m. Pat Chastang, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) spokesperson, said the workers looked after their priority clients before joining the demonstration yesterday. The union began a series of rotating, one-day strikes in Sudbury March 24. The main issues are higher pay and compensation for travel time. The 3,000 SEIU members who work as Red Cross personal support workers have been in a legal strike position since March 23, having voted last summer 88 per cent in support of a strike to address key issues. The action affected about 700 Red Cross clients in Halton. Each SEIU member in the province has an average of five or six clients each, Chastang said. The SEIU represents 550 home care workers in the Halton, Hamilton and Niagara areas. (thespec.com)


SEIU outcast helps workers flee oppressive union ... A growing battle between labor giant Service Employees International Union and a new union that broke away from the SEIU fold will be played out among thousands of Monterey County's government employees. The National Union of Healthcare Workers, an Oakland union formed in January by leaders who split from the SEIU, filed petitions this week for an election to decide whether employees in two bargaining units for county government workers will switch from SEIU Local 521 to the new union. Supporters of the new union estimate about 2,600 health care and general government workers are in the two bargaining units. About 20 supporters of the new union, including consultant Sergio Sanchez, a former SEIU organizer, held a rally at midday Friday at Natividad Medical Center. They expressed frustration over what they say is poor service and representation by the SEIU since a merger of union locals a few years ago. Linda Nall, a child support-services worker, said, "We're asking for local representation." (montereyherald.com)


SEIU desert debacle: Unionized nurses abandon jumbo union ... Nurses at St. Rose Dominican Hospitals' three campuses in Henderson and Las Vegas have voted to switch unions. The registered nurses voted 409-135 to be represented by the California Nurses Association, dropping the Service International Employees Union Local 1107, Stephen Wamser, deputy regional attorney for the National Labor Relations Board, said. The result was expected, given the national agreement the SEIU and the California Nurses Association signed last month. The vote affects 1,100 nurses at St. Rose Dominican's Siena, de Lima and San Martin campuses. It brings them into the same union as 10,500 other nurses who work for Catholic Healthcare West, the company that owns the St. Rose Dominican hospitals, California Nurses Association spokesman Chuck Idelson said. (lasvegassun.com)


Labor-state pols at the trough ... Yet the 212 legislators in Albany—including 19 from Western New York— stick it to us without flinching. None of them cut so much as a dollar from their $79,500 base salaries for part-time work. The Legislature’s whopping $228 million salary/staff/perks budget survived intact. There was no slicing of the 170 million tax dollars that state lawmakers hand out to favored groups, a legalized form of vote-buying known as “member items.” Typical of the thousands of legislator giveaways reported by the Empire Center was $6,500 to the Utica Curling Club and $15,000 to the Urban Yoga Association. Your tax dollars at work. Beyond that, the governor’s talk of shaving jobs from the state’s mammoth work force and lopping unneeded agencies ended up in the three-men-in-a-room’s wastebasket. If New York were a democracy, we could take out our frustrations on Election Day. But lawmakers rig the system —from drawing their own election districts to “member items”—to inoculate themselves against voter rage. That is why anti-tax “tea party” protests are popping up across the state. Frankly, I’m more in the mood for a mutiny. (buffalonews.com)


International Collectivism

Where in the world is SEIU-ACORN's Wade Rathke? ... An independent study says impact of retail chains on the traditional hawkers and shopkeepers is tremendous. Over 80 percent of the hawkers and shopkeepers are of the opinion that their business is on the decline following growth of the corporate and retail chain stores. The study, carried out in five cities of India, also focused on Bhubaneswar where at least 79 percent hawkers and 85 percent shopkeepers experienced such a fall in trade. Interestingly, while they blamed the government for their plight and alleged harassment, those in Bhubaneswar reported that they do not pay any bribe to police. The study was unveiled by Wade Rathke, US ACORN and trade union leader. President of All Orissa Vendors Association Pratap Sahu was present. (expressbuzz.com)


Critics lash back against Latin tyrant ... Opponents of Hugo Chávez unleashed a fresh burst of accusations against the Venezuelan president Friday, a day after a former close collaborator of Chávez turned ardent foe was arrested at gunpoint on corruption charges. One Chávez rival, Antonio Ledezma, the mayor of metropolitan Caracas, denounced the president as a tyrant who's trampling on the Venezuelan Constitution by stripping officials such as he of power and punishing political enemies with jail. "This government is absolutely authoritarian," Ledezma shouted at a noon rally in Caracas' Plaza Brion. "I'm announcing today that we must begin a permanent civic protest." Hundreds of supporters interrupted him with chants. "Dictatorship, no! Democracy, yes!" they shouted. "Let's take it to the streets!" (miamiherald.com)


Obama: We can learn from Latin Communists ... President Barack Obama intends to lift the U.S. ban on family members traveling to Cuba and remittances to the island, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday. The move would fulfill a pledge Obama made during the presidential campaign and could signal a new openness with the communist nation, the newspaper said in an article posted on its Web site. Democrats in Congress are also moving to loosen restrictions on family travel to Cuba, but Obama plans to use presidential powers to ease the rules on his own, the Journal said, quoting an unidentified senior administration official. (newsmax.com)

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