Wednesday wrap

Spread-the-wealth corruption plagues U.S. ... From billion-dollar Ponzi schemes to bad mortgages and pay-to-play dealings by public officials, some are asking: Is there a crisis of ethics in America? The swirl of corruption, fraud and greed stretching from Wall Street to Main Street has many U.S. church leaders saying the answer is a resounding yes -- America is facing not only an economic meltdown, but also a moral one. And they are rushing to bring flocks back into the fold. The list of examples of dishonest dealings ranges from disgraced financier Bernard Madoff, who has been accused of fleecing investors out of $50 billion in what may be the largest Ponzi scheme ever, to Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, accused of trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat formerly held by President Barack Obama, to the more than 400 people charged last summer in a $1 billion U.S. mortgage fraud investigation. (uk.reuters.com)

FDR, New Deal earned well-deserved mockery ... For 65 years libertarians and conservatives have mocked FDR's vision, either as a utopian dream or a sinister collectivist plot. But they have lost the argument. The great social insurance programs of the New Deal liberal presidents, FDR's Social Security and LBJ's Medicare, remain popular among Republican as well as Democratic voters. When George W. Bush proposed the partial privatization of Social Security, the idea got such a lukewarm reception from Republicans that a Republican Congress killed it without a vote. After two Wall Street meltdowns in less than a decade, only the most fanatical libertarian ideologues still favor diverting Social Security payroll taxes to the stock market. (salon.com)

Dem Congress completes union-backed takeover of Executive Branch ... All over this country, activists, union leaders and members are full of hope that the Obama administration will not only fix the broken economy and health care systems, but will also pass much-needed reforms to rebuild the American dream for the working class. "Electing Barack Obama and expanding the pro-worker majority in the House and Senate was dramatic," said Anna Burger, chair of the Change to Win federation. "And I think we set the stage for putting workers and working families back at the top of the agenda as opposed to the bottom of the agenda." (workdayminnesota.org)

States struggle to protect workers, jobs from D.C. union thugs ... When Washington abuses its power, voters can and must repair the damage. Thanks to the 10th Amendment, we have powers to do so. The current threat to eliminate voting by secret ballots in certain elections, so-called "card check" legislation, is the perfect opportunity for citizens to unite and defend against an out-of-control Congress. This is why Save Our Secret Ballot (sosballot.org) is organizing in multiple states for the purpose amending state constitutions to specifically protect the fundamental right to vote by secret ballot. The new Congress and President are poised to enact the grossly misnamed "Employee Freedom of Choice Act" (EFCA), which actually reduces workers' rights to a secret ballot election when deciding whether to unionize their workplace. (humanevents.com)

Job-Killer Act: Dem-Labor P2P ... Similarly, unions don’t care much for individual liberties, as evidence by the deceptively-titled “Employee Free Choice Act,” which in typical two-faced Washington-speak actually takes an employee’s free choice away and puts it squarely into the hands of the labor goon squads. Basically, what this bill would do is eliminate an individual employee’s right to a secret ballot in deciding whether or not he or she wants union representation at a specific company - paving the way for an unprecedented increase in illegal coercion and, coincidentally, union membership. Not only that, the bill would force a fast-tracking of union contracts, and deny employees’ the right to vote on ratifying those contracts. Having seen its strength drop to a mere 7.5% of the private sector workforce, organized labor needs a ‘Hail Mary’ to get back into the game, and this is the play they’ve come up with. Perhaps not surprisingly, President Barack Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress appear positioned to give it to them, too. After all, Obama and the Democrats owe labor big time. (fitsnews.com)

Congressional attack on workers' rights cited ... Unfortunately, the "Employee Free Choice Act", has little to do with employee choice and everything to do with big labor unions trying to rake more money into their swollen coffers. Unions want to take away the workers' secret ballot during votes to unionize, and that should be deeply troubling to every freedom-loving American. Taking away the secret ballot would open the door for intimidation and coercion on a scale we've never seen before. (kennebecjournal.mainetoday.com)

Dems cultivate small business ... The Chamber of Southern Saratoga County is hosting a free seminar on Jan. 28 to warn businesses about the legislation, called the Employee Free Choice Act. The bill strengthens labor unions and creates the chance that the government would dictate wages and benefits at a newly unionized company. “This bill would undermine long-standing principles of workplace democracy and fairness and would harm your company’s ability to survive,” the chamber says in an announcement about the event on its Web site. “Find out what you should be doing now to prepare! It will be too late when the union shows up on your door!” Added Peter Aust, chamber president: “A lot of small businesses don’t even know what this legislation is all about. We need to make sure they’re prepared to do the right thing.” (bizjournals.com)

EFCA bait-and-switch: Binding arbitration ... Mike Eastman, executive director of labor policy for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, says that the bill has a better chance of being defeated rather than passed, since so many businesses are lobbying against it. "The more people know about it, the less people like it. People have started to figure out that they didn't like what this did to union elections," says Eastman. "This year, they are figuring out how bad arbitration hearings [would be]. People are becoming more wary of this bill than two years ago." EFCA detractors are also trying to block Obama's appointment of Rep. Hilda L. Solis (D-Calif.) -- a co-sponsor of the bill in 2007 -- as labor secretary, although confirmation hearings indicate her appointment is likely. If confirmed, Solis will not have a vote on the issue, but some think she will use the position to lobby in EFCA's favor. "She only has the power of the pulpit," says Martin F. Payson, senior labor partner at the White Plains, N.Y., office of Jackson Lewis. "She has the ability to get press coverage, the ability to speak out on behalf of the administration on workplace issues ... so her role is administrative cheerleader for EFCA." Payson says that the bill as currently written has a "good but not excellent" possibility of passage. (hreonline.com)

Bam's Most Dangerous Gal ... Hilda Solis, a congresswoman from California, has been selected to head the Obama Labor Department. She will be the most dangerous woman in America. Solis will spend much of her time promoting the legislation with the ridiculous euphemism of “Free Choice Act.” In reality, this is the “card check” program that denies workers a secret ballot but allows labor organizers to trap workers in their homes while they bludgeon them into signing a card that commits them to the union. This is legislation that would make it almost impossible for workers and employers to avoid unionization. With Obama's intention to significantly increase the taxes on successful entrepreneur employers and saddle them with aggressive unions, there is no reason for them not to resort to outsourcing or to moving the company out of the country. If you love importing your goods, high taxes, big labor and no secret ballot for employees, Solis is your gal. (mydesert.com)

IBEW out on strike v. AT&T ... Reno NV- AT&T employees walked out Monday morning due to a strike announced by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Union. According to the Union, AT&T is in violation of contract. The company is proposing a change to a Letter of Agreement made on Aug. 6, 2005 which would demand higher sales performance from employees. If the employees do not meet the standards, they could lose their jobs. The company offered early retirement packages back in December, however not enough people decided to leave. This could be the company's way of firing employees in order to slim down their ranks by increasing sales performance standards during hard economic times. IBEW union members all over Northern California and Northern Nevada are officially on strike until negotiations begin and the issue is resolved. (rgj.com)

Fed wrist-slap for LIUNA big embezzler ... A one-time trusted employee of Laborer's Union Local 500 appeared in U.S. District Court in Toledo Tuesday to be sentenced for embezzling thousands of dollars. Thomas Leonard of 2731 Glendale Ave. was sentenced to one year probation for using a union credit card to pay for visits to strip clubs in 2004. Judge David Katz said that restitution was not a part of the sentence because Leonard had already paid back the nearly $4,400 he was convicted of taking. (toledoblade.com)

Union-backed fraud group criticized ... The conservative blog RightMichigan has an interview with Michelle McManus, a state senator who plans to run for Secretary of State in 2010, in which she aims the usual outlandish Republican rhetoric at ACORN: "We’ve seen renewed voter interest in recent elections, and while I applaud that, the price we pay for increased participation cannot be guerrilla tactics by groups like ACORN. This might sound silly to some, but I believe only real, living people should get to vote. I do not support no-reason absentee voting. Anything the Democrats want so badly, I am naturally suspicious of and almost always opposed to. I get a little nervous when I hear people start talking about some of these “voter convenience” issues, like no-reason absentee voting." (michiganmessenger.com)

ACORN member errs on handouts ... Julia Botello, 83, came to the event even though she doesn’t speak English. The Guadalajara native said she left 11 of her 12 children behind when she came to the United States in 1967, working in factories and as a housekeeper among other jobs to make ends meet. Her children have since joined her and all have become citizens — and all voted for Obama. "Just like we came out to elect him, we will come out to hold him accountable," said Botello. She wants him to reform immigration policy, normalize the status of the undocumented and help turn the economy around, so that jobs are plenty. "When there’s work, everything else falls into place," said Botello, a member of the community group ACORN, which is closely allied with labor interests. "Those of us who came here, came here to work. We didn’t come for handouts." (latimesblogs.latimes.com)

International Collectivism

Latin Leftist orders violence against peaceful students ... Police used tear gas, plastic bullets and a water cannon on Tuesday to break up a protest by university students against President Hugo Chávez's attempt to eliminate term limits. Officers in anti-riot gear scattered more than 2,000 students after they set out from a Caracas plaza to demonstrate against a proposed constitutional amendment that would lift term limits for all elected officials, including Chávez. No injuries were reported. Several dozen students later regrouped nearby and tossed rocks at police before fleeing. "We didn't provoke the police. We've been victims of violence just as Chávez ordered," said student leader Juan Mejia. "We are not going to stop. We will stay in the streets." Caracas Police Chief Carlos Meza told state television authorities detained the driver of a sound truck used by the students and impounded it. Meza said police found bottles and gasoline, allegedly for making Molotov cocktails, inside the truck. Student leaders insisted their demonstration had been peaceful. They accused police of planting the bottles and gasoline in the truck after seizing it. (google.com)

Violence in Venezuela as Chávez government policy ... Examples abound. One of the most astounding was when, amidst blows, scuffles, and explosions, Táchira Governor César Pérez Vivas was prevented from taking office. Another, which borders on the unbearable, is the systematic attacks on the Greater Caracas Mayoralty. Its offices were practically destroyed by supporters of former Mayor Juan Barreto before they were handed over to the new incumbent, Antonio Ledezma; and the last straw was when, this weekend, a violent Chavista mob that has taken over the center of Caracas, prevented Ledezma from entering the Mayoralty under the impassive, complacent gaze of the Metropolitan Police and the National Guard. On the other, similar official violence or state terrorism is being meted out to anyone –- media, the Church or anyone else -- who dares to publicly demonstrate their opposition to the unconstitutional re-election amendment; and the student movement is currently being singled out for special treatment. It is being attacked on all fronts, starting with the Presidency of the Republic. Chávez has held up the students to public ridicule and has launched a campaign against them, using forged “evidence” to accuse them of trying to set fire to El Ávila National Park. (laht.com)

Sean Penn romances great Latin reformers ... Penn has been criticized as a "stooge for left-wing dictatorships" as he's been known to meet with douchebags like Hugo Chávez and Fidel Castro and then "write nice things about them." If you recall, Penn was even hanging out with Chavez just this past October. His rep, Buxbaum, says in Penn's defense that "Sean does not endorse dictators. Like him or not, Hugo Chávez is a democratically elected official." She incredulously adds that "Sean is a champion of civil rights." Yea, you go Champion! Despite what his publicist says, Penn continues to praise the Castro and Chávez regime. Sean even said, "Chávez may not be a good man. But he may well be a great one." (perezhilton.com)

Chávez victory sets global example ... Hundred of students, called by the Basij Islamist volunteer movement, demonstrated on Tuesday at Tehran University to celebrate the "Palestinian victory" in Gaza and to denounce the Western imperialist practices while cheered Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez. Iranian students cried out: "No more hypocrisy," "Where is respect for human rights?" "Death to America, Death to Israel, we will support the Palestinian people." Demonstrators flew the flag of Palestine, Iran and the Lebanese Shiite party Hezbollah, Efe reported. They also hailed President Hugo Chávez, who was described as a "hero" for having cut diplomatic ties with Israel. "Chávez is an example of the struggle against oppression," said one of the organizers of the event, as reported by Efe. (english.eluniversal.com)
Related Posts with Thumbnails