5/29/09

Friday wrap

Worker disinterest plagues fascistic AFL-CIO ... Just 15 people turned out Thursday for a rally in Fort Wayne to support legislation intended to make it easier for workers to unionize. The rally, held at Union Baptist Church on the city’s east side, was one of three Thursday at Indiana churches in conjunction with the state’s AFL-CIO. The labor organization is trying to generate support for the Employee Free Choice Act, or “card check” legislation, before Congress. (journalgazette.net)


The truth about ObamACORN raises fraud concerns ... Left-wing groups in Washington, D.C., are panicked. The New York Times and other Team Obama whitewashers are downplaying the connection between the Obama presidential campaign, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) and Obama's old employer Project Vote (ACORN's nonprofit canvassing arm). Alas, the truth keeps seeping out. At a closed-door powwow hosted Thursday at John Podesta's leftwing Center for American Progress, activists discussed how to combat a relentless stream of corruption charges from ACORN/Project Vote whistleblowers. But it's too late for a reputation bailout. Former Project Vote official and whistleblower Anita MonCrief has harnessed the Internet to crowd-source a massive cache of documents showing ties between Obama staff members and the supposedly "nonpartisan" ACORN operations. Last fall, The New York Times abandoned an investigation into whether Obama had shared donor lists with Project Vote, a 501(c)(3) organization that is prohibited from engaging in political activity. Public editor Clark Hoyt earlier this month called it "the tip that didn't pan out." Critics suggested the donor lists could have been compiled through public records. But I have obtained the lists—not only of Obama donors, but also lists of Democratic National Committee, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry contributors. The records include small donors to the Obama campaign, who are not disclosed in public campaign finance databases. It's information only a campaign could supply. (vdare.com)


Lawmaker demands probe of union-backed, tax-funded fraud group ... House Judiciary Committee member Steve King (R-Iowa) is demanding congressional hearings about the twisted finances of the radical activist group ACORN. "This spider web, this myriad web of ACORN dollars and revenue streams, every bit of them should be looked at, all the corporations that they are networked with all of the boards of directors of those corporations, the inner locking connecting, the faces that are the same from board to board," King said. I explored this very topic at length in the November Foundation Watch. King's call came the same day that Judicial Watch released a pile of documents from the Department of Commerce. The documents show internal communications at Commerce regarding ACORN and the U.S. Census Bureau. (spectator.org)

Related video: ACORN financial probe looms



A brief history of ACORN (1)



Justice: Leftwing Double Standard Rules ... When you think about it, Sonia Sotomayor is the perfect pick for the Supreme Court—in Barack Obama’s America. Like Obama, himself a beneficiary of affirmative action, she thinks “Latina women,” because of their life experience, make better judicial decisions than white men, that discrimination against white men to advance people of color is what America is all about, that appellate courts are “where policy is made” in the United States. To those who believe the depiction of our first Hispanic justice as an anti-white liberal judicial activist, hearken to her own words. Speaking at Berkeley in 2001, Sonia told her audience, “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion (as a judge) than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.” Imagine if Sam Alito had said at Bob Jones University, “I would hope that a wise white male with the richness of his life experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a Hispanic woman, who hasn’t lived that life.” (cnsnews.com)

Related video: Can Schumer back Sotomayor?



Sweeney, Trumka mum as fraudlent AFL-CIO finances exposed ... The AFL-CIO, the largest U.S. union organization, masked deteriorating finances through “creative accounting,” according to a union leader. Tom Buffenbarger, president of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, said in a report that the labor federation obscured its financial difficulties heading into last year’s presidential election campaign, in which it backed Democrat Barack Obama. Net assets of the 11 million-member AFL-CIO declined to a negative $2.3 million as of June 30, 2008, from a $66 million surplus on July 1, 2000. “A new leadership -- leaders chosen by our members, leaders help accountable by our members -- is needed,” wrote Buffenbarger, who is a member of the AFL-CIO’s finance committee and the president of one of the nation’s largest unions. Alison Omens, a spokeswoman for the AFL-CIO, declined to comment on the report. (news.yahoo.com)


Typical AFL-CIO embezzler awaits wrist-slap ... A McPherson man has been indicted on federal theft charges, accused of embezzling union funds. Daryl D. Becker, 56, former financial secretary of Steelworkers Local 558, AFL-CIO, was indicted by a federal grand jury meeting in Wichita. The embezzlement is alleged to have occurred July 2, 2005. If convicted, Becker faces a penalty of up to five years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000. (salina.com)


Innocent Carpenters Union bigs victimized ... Federal authorities today indicted a Las Vegas man on charges of giving kickbacks to the former head of the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and stealing $4 million from a local carpenters’ pension trust fund. Joseph Jewett, 68, is charged in a 12-count indictment with conspiring to commit wire fraud, to embezzle union funds and laundering the proceedings, according to U.S. Attorney Terrence Berg. “Looting millions from a union pension fund and paying kickbacks to a union official are criminal acts that harm the members and retirees who rely on the security and availability of those pension funds,” Berg said. “Today’s charges show that such acts of theft within the ranks of organized labor will not be tolerated.” The indictment states Jewett conspired between March 2002 and March 2008 to defraud and embezzle money from the Carpenters’ Pension Trust Fund and the Operating Engineers Local 324 Pension Plan from investments made in the construction of a Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Biloxi, Miss. (freep.com)


Unions continue to flirt with RICO violations ... The Houston Chronicle reported on Change To Win’s protest efforts against pharmacy retailer CVS, providing a revealing look at how unions operate intimidation and misinformation campaigns. Change to Win, a labor conglomerate which includes unions like the SEIU and UFCW, has targeted CVS for “questionable business practices.” But in reality, the campaign is a union-coordinated effort to pressure the retailer because the company wanted to preserve the secret ballot option for its employees. Unions, who are trying to make it easier to organize by bypassing the secret ballot option through card check, opposed this measure. But since they couldn’t actually force CVS to change its mind, they decided to wage a retaliatory campaign in order to shame and humiliate the company. (laborpains.org)


UNITE drags down Stern's SEIU ... Workers United, the new name for the UNITE half of UNITE HERE — if you're following this labor battle — drafted a memo asking for substantially more support from SEIU, which Workers United has joined. The memo from former UNITE president Bruce Raynor was apparently obtained by the HERE side of the union when it physically took over his Manhattan office last week and posted on a website it controls. An accompanying cover sheet says it's been drafted as a memo for Workers United chief Edgar Romney "for legal purposes" but is really aimed at SEIU President Andrew Stern. The memo says that the actual number of dues-paying members of the new union is closer to 100,000 than an initially claimed 150,000 and is falling as employers take advantage of the unions' disputes over representation. The union is running a deficit of more than $300,000 a month, the memo says, noting that a $1 million loan from SEIU won't last long. (politico.com)


Rep. Arthur Davis placed on Dirty Money Watch ... WHO: Rep. Arthur Davis (D-Ala.), a co-sponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act, (aka Card Check). WHAT: Rep. Davis received the following dirty money: Communication Workers of America (PAC) $1,000 in 2008 election cycle; $5,000 in 2006 election cycle. Boilermakers Union (PAC) $2,500 in 2008 election cycle. The American Federation of Government Employees (PAC) $1,500 in 2006 election cycle. The Service Employees International Union (PAC) $1,000 in 2006 election cycle. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (PAC) $10,000 in 2008 election cycle; $5,000 in 2006 election cycle. WHY IT’S DIRTY: Multiple officers and members of these unions, including division presidents, secretary-treasurers and business managers, have been convicted since 2001 of felonies ranging from embezzlement, falsifying official reports to government, mail fraud and conspiracy. The Communication Workers of America and the American Federation of Government Employees have had eight convictions, The Service Employees International Union has had nine convictions and The Boilermakers have had 10 members convicted, while the IBEW has had 14 members convicted. The amounts of embezzled funds range from over $5,000 to over $100,000. WILL DAVIS GIVE IT BACK: Rep. Davis did not respond to The Examiner’s request for comment. THE SCORE: Number of Democrats who have given it back: 0 • Number of Republicans who have given it back: 0 • YOUR TURN: You can reach Rep. Davis’ Washington D.C. office at 202-225-2665 (washingtonexaminer.com)


Union political operatives resist transparency ... When an unprecedented $60,000 of union money was ponied up for the election of county Supervisor John Leopold last fall, concerns emerged about the power of special interest money in local politics. Six months later, a committee established to examine the county's campaign finance laws has concluded that little can be done to limit such hefty outlays. However, the committee says campaign expenditures, which many believe have begun to corrupt the local elections landscape, can be more transparent and made more readily available for public scrutiny. "Personally, I would have loved to have magically done away with huge independent expenditures. But I just don't see that there's a legal way to do it," said committee member and former Sentinel Editor Tom Honig. "I think that transparency is the biggest protection we have." (santacruzsentinel.com)


How to get rid of a jumbo union boss ... One of the country's biggest labor leaders is about to be expelled from his own union. At an internal hearing to be held at Chicago's Drake Hotel Friday, officials of UNITE-HERE will review charges that their president, Bruce Raynor, improperly organized a breakaway faction to join a rival labor group, the Service Employees International Union. Raynor is also accused of conspiring to siphon millions of dollars of UNITE-HERE's assets, including those of the union-owned Amalgamated Bank, for the benefit of SEIU. American labor has rarely seen such a massive raid by one union against another, or such a public power struggle within a major union. You'd have to go back to 1942 for anything of comparable scale. That was when the legendary John L. Lewis of the United Mine Workers expelled his second-in-command for forming the independent United Steel Workers Union. (nydailynews.com)


Ground Zero for Stern's jumbo union war ... Fresno has become the battleground for an intense labor struggle. Homecare workers will soon decide which union will represent them. It all started in January when leaders within the Service Employees International Union, or SEIU, were removed from office. The breakaway group, NUHW, or National Union of Healthcare Workers, on Wednesday brought in a high-profile supporter. United Farm Workers co-founder Dolores Huerta came to Fresno to pledge her support for NUHW. They braved the hot sun to turn up the heat on SEIU, the union they wish to break away from. Huerta told NUHW supporters, "You're going to be voting for your dignity, the respect of the organization and yes, for your voice." SEIU-UHW is now running TV ads urging union members to stay put. NUHW broke off on its own after elected leaders were removed from office. (abclocal.go.com)


Workers oust Teamsters using oppressive secret ballot ... While Teamsters Local 406 strikers might continue to picket at Metalworks Sixth Street plant, the company said the employees of the plant have voted to leave the union. “We hope it is the end,” Tom Paine, Metalworks president/CEO, said this morning. “It depends on how the union wants to proceed.” In a news release received late this morning, Paine stated, “Metalworks Inc. received an employee petition signed by a majority of its employees stating that they no longer wish to be represented by, or be members of, the Teamsters Local 406. Because the Teamsters Union is no longer the majority representative of the employee unit, Metalworks is legally precluded from recognizing or bargaining with the Teamsters. Local 406 has been notified that as a result of the employee petition, recognition has been withdrawn from the Union.” (ludingtondailynews.com)


Old-school unionists threatened by change ... For Karen Diane Thomas, a construction worker, transitioning to the opposite gender hasn’t been an easy road. Twice in her journey, Thomas reverted back to presenting as a male, due in large part to workplace harassment. At one point, she underwent breast-reduction surgery so that she could assume her former identity, as Ken. “I was isolated and hassled at work,” she said. “I got death threats. I had guys saying they want to kill me, fight me in the parking lot, different goofy stuff.” She said graffiti was scribbled on walls at job sites, stating: “Ken sucks dick,” “Ken’s a homo” and “Ken takes it up the ass.” No one acted on those threats, she said, but it was enough to push her back into the closet. (epgn.com)


U.S. harbinger: Bus drivers now earn more than doctors ... A DEAL sealed by Johannesburg’s Metrobus drivers will soon have them earning more than junior doctors in the public sector. After a month-long strike, Metrobus drivers agreed this week to a pay structure that will have senior bus drivers, with more than three years experience, earning R8800 a month. All they need are public driving permits. Metrobus employees who are artisans will have starting salaries of R9466. Junior doctors, according to the United Doctors Forum, earn R8000 after six years of university study. A labour law lecturer at the University of Pretoria, Ezette Gericke, said yesterday it was unfair that salary increases for doctors had been delayed. “This is an absolute disgrace,” she said. (businessday.co.za)


International Collectivism

On the road to totalitarian communism ... Peruvian author Mario Vargas Llosa on Thursday sharply criticized the Venezuelan government of President Hugo Chávez. "The Venezuelan government is ever closer to a communist dictatorship and ever further from a liberal democracy," he said during a forum in Caracas. "If that path is not cut off and stops, Venezuela will become Latin America's second Cuba." Vargas Llosa, 73, ignored Venezuelan authorities, who had demanded that he refrain from making political comments in while visiting Venezuela. "We do not want Venezuela to become a totalitarian, communist society," he said. (topnews.in)


Obama cedes U.S. military base to Iran ... As the United States military prepares to vacate an airbase in Ecuador in the fall, the leftist government responsible for its upcoming departure is looking to Iran as a future military partner. Iranian television quoted Ecuadorian Defense Minister Javier Ponce as saying his country wants to collaborate with countries such as Iran that are willing to help Ecuador develop its defense industry. (cnsnews.com)


Alive and Well in Latin America ... "Anti-Semitism: Alive and Well and Growing in Latin America" was the topic of a talk by Joseph Schraibman, professor of romance languages and Jewish studies at Washington University, to the Missouri/Southern Illinois Regional Advisory Board of the Anti-Defamation League. About 50 members and guests of the ADL board attended the meeting last week at the Center of Clayton. (stljewishlight.com)


Latin Progressive blames U.S. ... Prices for home appliances have skyrocketed, pharmacies are reporting shortages of drugs, and General Motors is planning to stop car production here next month, as measures by the Venezuelan government to conserve dollars ripple through the weakening economy. "Today, there's no milk, no rice, no beans, no chicken, no meat, no butter and no cooking oil," Francisco Quintero said as he shopped at a government store that sells subsidized staples for the poor. President Hugo Chávez, a socialist, blames capitalism for the world's economic problems, but in this case he's partly at fault for Venezuela's troubles. (miamiherald.com)

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