6/9/09

Tuesday wrap

Obama Rx for Job Freeze: Accelerate anti-business policies ... President Obama on Monday pushed to reinvigorate his $787 billion economic-stimulus program, promising to accelerate efforts to get money out the door, while dealing with critics who said some of his claims to create or preserve jobs have been exaggerated. Mr. Obama said he was "not satisfied" with the results of the stimulus program so far, though he highlighted some of the achievements he said were the result of the massive spending bill, which he signed into law in mid-February. He said it was "good news" that $135 billion obligated so far has saved or created "at least 150,000 jobs." (washingtontimes.com)


Unpopular unions drag down U.S. retirement savings ... The average union pension has resources to cover only 62 percent of what is owed to participants, according to the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC). Less than one in every 160 workers is covered by a union pension with required assets. These figures demonstrate that the liability challenge to the long term of health of union funds is systemic and across the board, said Brett McMahon, vice-president of Miller and Long, a Maryland-based concrete construction company. Demographics figure prominently in the erosion of pension assets now that a smaller percentage of union workers are available to support an expanded group of retirees, McMahon said. Only 7.6 percent of private sector employees are members of a labor union, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. (washingtonexaminer.com)


Fraud group diversifies: ACORN hitchhikes on global warming bandwagon ... Now the ACORN crime family is jumping on the global warming alarmism bandwagon, according to (the left-leaning) Worldwatch Institute. The radical community group, which is now facing voter registration fraud charges in Nevada, has joined forces with Al Gore and other groups for the ultimate taxpayer shakedown: carbon emission controls. From the Worldwatch article: "Brian Kettenring, ACORN's deputy director of national operations, said his group - the largest grassroots community organization of low- and moderate- income people in the United States - was inspired to join the Climate Equity Alliance and work with groups such as the Sierra Club after seeing the vulnerability of cities such as New Orleans to rising sea levels and more intense climatic events. The group, which lobbies for affordable housing and improved education in urban areas, is also encouraged by the hope of "green jobs," environmentally sustainable employment opportunities. ACORN families understand that building a green economy that's sustainable and builds jobs for working families is good for them, good for the environment, and good for communities," Kettenring said. ACORN's contribution will include direct lobbying of Congress. In the long term, Kettenring expects more ACORN chapters to become involved in green jobs initiatives, such as efforts to collect federal funding for weatherizing urban buildings. [...]" Maybe the corrupt ACORN network needs more money to pay its back taxes and mounting legal bills. (spectator.org)


AFSCME-backed Clintonista carpetbagger lags in Virginia ... Virginia voters head to the polls Tuesday to determine which of three Democrats will be the party’s nominee in this year’s race for governor. State Sen. Creigh Deeds, former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe and former state Rep. Brian Moran are vying in the Democratic balloting, the party’s first contested primary for governor in more than three decades. The three Democrats raised more than $12.5 million through the end of May — most of it from McAuliffe, who has raised most of his money from donors outside Virginia. Former president Bill Clinton campaigned for McAuliffe and helped him secure support among the state’s large black population. But McAuliffe also has high negative ratings from voters who see the first-time candidate as an interloper in a state political culture in which he has never participated. (cqpolitics.com)


Labor-state offering free health-care is #2 in the nation in joblessness ... I learned today that state workers in Oregon do not contribute anything to their health insurance premiums, and apparently Gov. Ted Kulongoski won't push them to start paying despite a $4.2 billion state budget shortfall. From the article: "Oregon state workers enjoy some of the best health benefits of any public workers in the nation. They pay no premium for their insurance. Full-time employees pay no deductible. It's a benefit they've earned through years of sacrifice and negotiation, union officials say. During the years, state workers have agreed to small wage increases or no increases at all to protect their health benefits." We commented on the issue of state worker health care premiums during legislative session here. Perhaps the governor of Oregon could reconsider his position, strike a better deal for taxpayers, and work to create some parity between public and private sector jobs. (libertylive.org)


How to drain a labor-state swamp ... A dozen years after the Supreme Judicial Court struck down a voter attempt to impose legislative term limits, a Shrewsbury lawmaker is proposing to cap State House service at 12 years following recent ethics scandals. "I think it would be a very healthy cleansing of the system and would restore the balance and credibility that is necessary," said Karyn Polito, who was elected in 2001 and is one of 16 House Republicans. Under a bill Polito filed yesterday amending the state constitution, legislators could serve no more than 12 years over the course of their lifetimes, unable to renew their limit by leaving and coming back or by switching chambers. To become law, Polito's bill must pass both chambers before the governor considers signing it. The full Legislature would then meet to amend the constitution, with successful votes required at two different sessions. Finally, residents would weigh in at the polls, with Polito aiming for 2012. "I feel it's time we look at ways to refresh the legislative body," she said, estimating that 40 percent of current legislators have served 12 years or more. "It seems like the ones who get in trouble are the ones who have been in a long time." (metrowestdailynews.com)


NLRB, Wobblies bring oppressive Starbucks to heel ... The National Labor Relations Board has reached a settlement with Starbucks over unfair labor practice violations committed by the world's largest coffee chain, a "watershed victory" in the ongoing effort to organize Starbucks baristas, according to the International Workers of the World (IWW) Starbucks Workers Union. "Faced with the prospect of having its widespread union-busting campaign exposed in a public hearing," the IWW says, Starbucks agreed to remedy the alleged violations committed against workers in the ongoing union campaign. It was the sixth such settlement in three years, the union noted. (cch.com)


Social Justice: Union front-group pickets oppressive employer group ... The Employee Free Choice Act would change union formation from a secret ballot system to one where employees sign cards to vote. Monday, the bill and the war of information surrounding it prompted a protest of the Knoxville Chamber. The group "Jobs with Justice of East Tennessee" had a couple dozen members protesting the Knoxville Chamber Monday afternoon, saying that chambers of commerce across the country are distributing misleading information about the bill. The chamber said that is not the case. "It would have a very detrimental impact on the economy going forward, and that is not an anti-employee statement," said Mike Edwards with the Knoxville Chamber. (wbir.com)


Rep. Lois Capps placed on Dirty Money Watch ... WHO: Rep. Lois Capps, D-CA, a co-sponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act (aka Card Check). WHAT: Capps received the following dirty money: Communication Workers of America (PAC) $500.00 in 2006 election cycle. Boilermakers Union (PAC) $1,000 in 2008 election cycle; $2,000 in 2006 election cycle. American Federation of Government Employees (PAC) $2,000 in 2010 election cycle; $500.00 in 2008 election cycle; $1,000 in 2006 election cycle. Service Employees International Union (PAC) $10,000 in 2008 election cycle; $1,500 in 2006 election cycle. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (PAC) $5,000 in 2010 election cycle; $10,000 in 2008 election cycle; $10,000 in 2006 election cycle. United Steelworkers of America (PAC) $2,500 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 United Steelworkers of America, which includes Paper, Allied-Industrial Chemical and Energy Workers International Union (PACE), has had 30 convictions among its membership. The amounts of embezzled funds range from over $5,000 to over $100,000. WILL CAPPS GIVE IT BACK: Rep.Capps 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. Capp’s Washington D.C. office at 202-225-3601 ()


Congress Watch: UPS railroads rival ... FedEx Corp. is set to launch a multimillion dollar marketing campaign on Tuesday against chief rival UPS Inc., arguing the world's largest shipping carrier is the driving force behind a bill that would make it easier for FedEx workers to unionize. The bill currently before Congress would switch FedEx to the jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Act from the National Railway Labor Act. The Railway Labor Act allows workers to organize, if all workers vote on a union at the same time. That has been a roadblock to unions that could not afford nationwide organizing campaigns. (newsmax.com)


Smells like strike season ... I couldn't help but admire the CUPE union brass when they announced late last week that their 24,000 members will be in a legal strike position in just 13 days time. As much as I find the demands of CUPE locals 416 and 79 in this economic climate ridiculous and reprehensible -- and would bet the majority of the city's inside and outside workers have no interest in walking off the job -- they've managed to back the city's negotiators and our beloved politicians into a corner, yet again. What better way to make a statement that they deserve everything they want -- and more -- than to threaten to strike a few days before more than one million people are expected to verge on downtown to take in this year's Pride parade. (torontosun.com)


Oppressive corporate scabs remove their own trash ... Windsor's striking CUPE workers vow they will continue to picket downtown merchants who try to clear back alleys and sidewalks of litter and garbage that hasn't been collected by municipal employees in almost two months. "It's Local 82's work they're doing," Jean Fox, president of the striking inside workers, said of the job that used to be done by the city's outside workers until April 15. CUPE claims outside workers are being paid to perform the cleanup. On Monday, police responded to at least two calls for assistance from merchants, as CUPE pickets blocked the owners of Papa Cheney's Whiskey Well from removing trash during the midday, before doing the same thing later in the afternoon with the owners of the Boom Boom Room nightclub. "This is part of our survival. We're a restaurant, we can't have garbage piling up," said Papa Cheney owner Shane Coutts. (canada.com)


International Collectivism

Communist totalitarianism dons a poncho ... As part of that new stage came a redesign of the OAS. The institution no longer had any purpose as an anti-communist trench, and a new role had to be found for it. Now it would serve to consolidate democratic behavior and defend the market economy, more or less as the nations within the European Union did with the Copenhagen Criteria and the Maastricht Accords. It was the end of the story: The only choices were liberal democracy and the market. A vain illusion. The Democratic Charter that redefined and specified the political profile of the OAS' member countries was signed in Lima on Sept. 11, 2001, precisely the day when al Qaeda terrorists attacked New York and Washington. Suddenly, the brief period of U.S. hegemony, without enemies, ended. Once again, U.S. security was being threatened. And the OAS? Curiously, it no longer serves the political or strategic interests of the United States. It is influenced by the trend of the so-called ''21st-century socialism,'' led by Hugo Chávez under the direction of the Castro brothers and the control of the Cuban secret services. (miamiherald.com)


How Poland defeated Communism ... Twenty years ago last week post-war Poland conducted its first so-called partially free elections, in which the ruling Communist Party suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of Solidarity. Today this anniversary is being marked in an atmosphere of dispute and conflict among people who were once comrades in the anticommunist movement. As a result of the June 1989 elections, Poland became the first socialist-camp country in which representatives of civil society (mostly from the Solidarity labor movement) were given a real opportunity to share in the governing of the country. The decision to hold these partially free elections (under which 65 percent of the seats in the lower house of the legislature were guaranteed for the Communist Party, while elections to the Senate were completely open) came as a result of a compromise between the authorities and Solidarity that was struck at the legendary "Roundtable." Solidarity leader Lech Walesa promised an end to a wave of national strikes, while the authorities pledged to allow the opposition to participate in the elections. (isn.ethz.ch)


Lebanon: Obama takes credit for subduing Hezbollah ... Sunday's election dealt a setback to Iran-backed Hezbollah and its allies who had hoped to play a larger role, if not take outright control, of the country's government. This would have boosted the influence of both Iran and Syria in Lebanon and could have hurt U.S. outreach efforts there and in the region, officials said. President Barack Obama and his foreign policy team had invested heavy diplomatic capital in urging Lebanese voters to choose a path of moderation in the election that many predicted would see heavy Hezbollah gains. Asked if he believed Obama's speech may have made an impact on the vote, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said he thought it was "certainly important" that the president had spoken about the importance of elections. (cnsnews.com)

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