Tuesday wrap

President Alinsky lives by Rules for Radicals ... Obama's attempt to make conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh the bogeyman in the stimulus debate more than suggests the merits of his plan are weak. As Mr. Limbaugh himself notes, the tactic is straight out of the playbook of radical Obama mentor Saul Alinsky -- "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it and polarize it." For the nation's sake, Republicans can ill afford to roll over and play dead. And, based on Sen. McCain's stance, they're not going to. But it's the first indication that the GOP has a spine and that the honeymoon is over for the new president. (pittsburghlive.com)

Bonus link: Summary of Saul Alinsky's 'Rules for Radicals'

Related video: Saul Alinsky takes the White House

Union-backed fraud group gets $4.2 billion bailout ... Two Senate committees are set to take up the stimulus today. The House has scheduled a full vote Wednesday. A House Democratic leadership aide said he believes Republican leaders will make their points and then "let their members go and vote. I just can't see them voting no at a time like this. This is not like 1993." A Virginia advocacy group called Americans for Limited Government is pressuring moderate Democrats to vote against the stimulus bill, listing $4.19 billion that it said would go to the liberal housing activist group ACORN, $200 million for beautification of the National Mall and other items. (sfgate.com)

AFL-CIO OK's ex-Teamster big to run NLRB ... The union movement is praising President Obama’s nomination of Wilma Liebman as the next chairwoman of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Liebman was first appointed to the NLRB by President Clinton in 1997. Her current term expires in 2011. Before joining the NLRB, Liebman served from 1994 to 1997 at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, first as special assistant to the director and then as deputy director. She began her legal career as an NLRB staff attorney in 1974, then served on the legal staff of two unions: the Bricklayers and the Teamsters. (blog.aflcio.org)

Pro-union Dem: Job-Killer Act to hibernate ... Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the Senate will likely turn its attention this summer to the Employee Free Choice Act — the union organizing bill being watched in Las Vegas and across the nation. The union organizing bill, sometimes called card check, is an "important piece of legislation," he said. "We’re going to get to that," Reid said. "We’re hoping to get to it sometime this summer." (lasvegassun.com)

Bam creates a long season of employer anxiety ... What Jordan objects to is the removal of a secret ballot from the process. “It is a fundamental violation of basic rights; the right to a secret ballot,” Jordan said. Jordan and other critics believe the changes open employees to possible coercion and intimidation. “We think it is bad for business growth and economic growth in our state and our country. But also it violates the fundamental rights of workers to be able to decide whether they want a collective bargain unit to be on a secret ballot,” Jordan said. The bill passed the U.S. House last year but stalled in the Senate under a veto threat from President Bush. Now, President Obama has voiced support for the bill and a vote may come in a few months. “Every business owner is nervous about this,” Jordan said. (whiotv.com)

Reich: U.S. jobs depend on anti-democratic unions ... Clinton-era Labor Secretary Robert Reich says bank bailouts won't revive the U.S. economy, but an expansion of union membership might, and he says controversial “card-check” legislation should be passed by the Congress now in order to stimulate job growth. If passed, union organizers would no longer have to conduct a secret ballot election to get employees of a small business represented by a national union. "Organized labor's highest legislative priority is the misnamed Employee Free Choice Act, which effectively replaces traditional secret ballot organizing elections with publicly signed cards," writes economist James Sherk on the foundation's Web site. "Workers would have to voice their choice in public, in front of union organizers, exposing workers who do not want a union to pressure, threats, and harassment from union organizers. This legislation is popular with union bosses but opposed by large majorities of workers." (moneynews.newsmax.com)

We don't need no stinkin' secret-ballot elections

Dems stoke conflict between workers, employers ... While many find it convenient to paint a picture of business owners and workers having separate and contradictory interests, the economic situation illustrates how shallow that thinking is. When businesses fail, workers lose their jobs. And when workers aren't treated well, businesses do not thrive. The interests of workers and business owners are not in conflict - they coincide. But it is in the interest of union bosses to foment conflict - it leads to more unions being formed and greater revenue for their coffers. With recent Democratic gains in Congress, they are hopeful that the Employee Free Choice Act will become law. This legislation's ironic name is an attempt to hide the fact that it would remove employee choice and foster a variety of confrontational practices that would harm both workers and business owners. (theledger.com)

Why do Democrats hate workers? ... * Three out of four voters (74%) oppose the "The Employee Free Choice Act." Union households also strongly oppose the Employee Free Choice Act, 74% oppose to only 20% support. * When given a more detailed description of the Employee Free Choice Act, nearly 9 out of 10 voters, 86%, feel the process should remain private and only 8% feel it should be public information. Again, even union workers feel strongly that the process should be kept private, as 88% said private and only 8% said public. * Four out of five voters, or 82%, favor having a federally supervised election as a means to "protect the individual rights of workers." The voters clearly see this as a basic right, especially given that only 11% of voters feel the card check would be the best way to protect the individual rights of workers. Support increases to 85% among union households. * The majority (52% to 26%) of American voters believe that the Employee Free Choice Act is not good for job creation. Even among union households, the plurality (48%) believes that the Employee Free Choice Act will cost America jobs. * In the current economic climate, 52% of voters are particularly opposed to any measure that would risk jobs or job growth. * Further exemplifying the electorates' distaste for the Employee Free Choice Act, 71% agreed that this legislation would be "unwise" and "risky." In today's economic climate, the electorate has little confidence in the federal government's ability to make such major business decisions. (sev.prnewswire.com)

National Worker-Choice Act introduced

SEIU-UHW: Corruption abounds ... In a telephone press conference held today at his Oakland headquarters, Sal Rosselli was sounding conciliatory. Or was he? Earlier this month, when the executive board of the Service Employees International Union voted to merge three long-term health-care locals into one mega-unit, Rosselli's local, known as the United Healthcare Workers-West, announced it was exploring the option of disaffiliating from the parent SEIU group. Rosselli has been fighting SEIU president Andy Stern's plan to remove 65,000 of Rosselli's 150,000 members and place them in a super-local that until recently was headed by disgraced president Tyrone Freeman. Stern has also been seeking to further neutralize the rebellious UHW by placing it in a trusteeship that would basically make it a ward of the SEIU. (blogs.laweekly.com)

Having faith in SEIU extortion ... For Caritas Christi, a chain of six hospitals owned by the Archdiocese of Boston, the accord guarantees a period of peaceful labor relations. In turn, SEIU receives a promise that management will not interfere with its organizing efforts, making it easier to unionize many of Caritas Christi's 13,000 Massachusetts employees. As part of the agreement, expected to be made official today, management will allow "free and fair" union elections. A majority of employees in proposed bargaining units must still sign cards requesting representation, and a secret-ballot vote would be conducted, with oversight by the National Labor Relations Board. (boston.com)

SEIU-Dem P2P exposed ... Impeached Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, defending himself in television interviews but not in person, went on trial in the Illinois Senate on Monday less than two months after his arrest for trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat once held by President Barack Obama. The chief justice of the Illinois Supreme Court gaveled the trial to order at the state capitol building in Springfield. The 37 Democrats and 22 Republicans serving in the Senate are likely to render a guilty verdict and toss him from office by week's end. "This is a solemn and serious business," Chief Justice Thomas Fitzgerald told the senators, urging them to obey their oath to be fair. (uk.reuters.com)

It's 1931 all over again ... So yes, it is like early 1931. Citigroup and Bank of America have more or less disintegrated. JP Morgan’s health is failing fast. General Motors and Chrysler survive only on life-support from the US taxpayer. But it is not yet like 1933. That second leg down was the result of “liquidation” policies by a Dickensian leadership blind to the dangers of debt deflation. By then, the Gold Standard had degenerated into an instrument of torture. It forced the Fed to raise rates from 1.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent in October 1931 to stem gold loss, with predictable results for shattered banks. It is worth glancing at the front page of New York Times on Monday, March 6, 1933 to see what the world looked like three days after Franklin Roosevelt moved into the White House. The newspaper splashed with the story that FDR had closed the US banking system – invoking the Trading with Enemies Act – and ordered the confiscation of private gold. From left to right, the headlines read: “Hitler Bloc Wins A Reich Majority, Rules Prussia”; “Japanese Push On In Fierce Fighting, China Closes Wall, Nanking Admits Defeat”; “City Scrip To Replace Currency”; “President Takes Steps Under Sweeping Law of War Time”; “Prison For Gold Hoarders”. (themalaysianinsider.com)

Teamsters take dues hit as corrupt seniority system rules ... UPS Airlines is laying off about 60 mechanics throughout the United States next month and a Teamsters leader says many of them could come from the Louisville work force. UPS Airlines spokesman Mike Mangeot said union seniority will determine which employees are laid off and from where, but more than 40 percent -- about 590 of the 1,363 mechanics -- are in Louisville where UPS has its main air hub. Mangeot blamed the economy for the decision to have layoffs, which he said are the first sizable layoffs in the history of the airline. Because UPS is flying less, the company doesn't need as many mechanics, he said. Twelve jobs are being eliminated in Louisville, but Teamsters Local 2727 President Bob Combine said more workers here could lose their jobs to more senior mechanics at other locations. (courier-journal.com)

Just what we need: Bam to unionize TSA ... Transportation Security Administration employees gave agency management low marks for recognizing and rewarding performance and encouraging creativity and fairness in the workplace, according to a 2008 internal survey TSA conducted and the American Federation of Government Employees recently released. From April 29 to June 27 of last year, 16,116 agency employees responded to the survey. Of that total, 21 percent of respondents said the process for rewarding and recognizing employees was fair, with 29 percent reporting that pay raises depend on job performance. Twenty-one percent of employees surveyed said the promotions process was fair and transparent, and 25 percent said differences in performance were recognized in a meaningful way. (govexec.com)

Hollywood unions prime the bribery pump ... The Writers Guild of America has launched a political action committee, soliciting members for $25 or more in the wake of Barack Obama's inauguration. "It is imperative that writers' voices are heard in our nation's capital during this critical time," the guild said in a recent message to members. "Many issues of crucial importance to us as content creators could be debated in the near future: Internet neutrality, media consolidation, independent production, and the Employee Free Choice Act." The WGA West noted that members' dues may not be used to fund the PAC. "With Obama's nomination of a tech-savvy Federal Communications Commission chair (Julius Genachowski) and a pro-worker secretary of Labor (Hilda Solis), we have unprecedented opportunities," it added. "In the past, Hollywood's lobbying efforts have been conducted by leaders of the studios and networks. The conglomerates' interests often differ from ours. We cannot entrust them with our political future." The guild also noted that other Hollywood unions -- the Directors Guild of America, the Teamsters, the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists and the Intl. Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees -- all have PACs. (variety.com)

Police union-big embezzler defended ... Prosecutors said their investigation found that Sgt. Sylvia, a 24-year police officer who served as the club's treasurer from January 2006 through February 2007, embezzled approximately $107,000 by forging withdrawal slips and failing to deposit receipts in the club's bank account. Meanwhile, Sgt. Sylvia, a longtime club member and onetime president of the police union, contends he embezzled $55,000. His defense attorney, Daniel W. O'Malley, said Sgt. Sylvia paid the club back that amount from wages he earned as a private contractor training police officers in Iraq. "This is someone who has gone above and beyond taking responsibility for his actions," Mr. O'Malley said. (southcoasttoday.com)

International Collectivism

Trotskyite Lula to host Latin socialist huddle ... Presidents Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Brazil), Evo Morales (Bolivia), Rafael Correa (Ecuador), Hugo Chávez (Venezuela) and Fernando Lugo (Paraguay) confirmed their participation at the World Social Forum to be held in the Brazilian city of Belem on February 27-March 1st, reported Brazilian Minister of the Presidency Luis Dulci. According to the spokesperson, one of the closest officials to President Lula, the five leaders "were invited to participate by the organizers of the World Social Forum," AFP quoted. (english.eluniversal.com)

Marxist strikers in India demand bailout ... Kerala’s two major infrastructure projects, the International Container Transshipment Terminal (ICCT) being built by the Dubai Port World in Kochi, and massive expansion works at the international airport here, have been hit hard by labor militancy. The India Gateway Terminal Limited (IGTL), the DP World’s Indian arm, and the Airport Authority of India (AAI) have now approached the state government for political intervention to end the stalemate. The leftist trade unions are playing spoilsport in both cases but Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan and his cabinet colleagues are busy battling for supremacy within the Communist Party of India (Marxist) that leads the ruling coalition. The IGTL reportedly lost 12 of the last 22 working days to frequent strikes by truck drivers and crew while head-load workers at the airport stalled construction demanding ‘nokku kooli’, wages for the work they would not do. (gulf-times.com)

Chávez turns police against 'fascist' students ... Student leaders opposed to President Hugo Chávez' bid to secure the right to successive re-election by changing the constitution called on the government to stop accusing them of being violent when their intentions were peaceful. Although their latest march went off without incident late last week, an earlier protest the previous Tuesday was marred by clashes between students and the Metropolitan Police, who fired volleys of tear gas and rubber bullets. Afterwards, leaders of the march accused the police of trying to stir up trouble. From the president downwards, the government has accused students – most of whom hail from middle class families and those of them who are politically active align with the opposition – of being "fascists" bent on "destabilizing" democracy and the country. Officials have also spoken of students implying they are the spoilt brats of rich parents. (laht.com)

Anti-Semitism endorsed by leading "21st Century" socialist ... The president of the Jewish community in Venezuela on Monday accused Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez of promoting anti-Semitism and giving the phenomenon legitimacy. Speaking at the World Jewish Congress conference in Jerusalem on Monday, Abraham Levy Ben Shimol said "you probably hear of many anti-Semitic incidents, but where we live, the anti-Semitism is sanctioned; it comes from the president, through the government, and into the media. Since the government is very involved in the day-to-day lives of its constituents, its influence is much more effective." Ben Shimol added that in recent days, swastikas have been spray painted on the walls of the Caracas synagogue and a Palestinian flag was waved during a parliament session. "We Jews are going through a difficult time. We hope it will be over soon and that the future will shine upon us," Ben Shimol added. Earlier this month, Chávez announced that Venezuela had severed diplomatic ties with Israel in protest of its military offensive in the Gaza Strip, calling Israel's military actions a "holocaust." (haaretz.com)

The opening of 'Hugo Chávez Road' ... In Lebanon, where diplomatic relations with Israel have never been great, Chávez's reaction to the assault on Gaza received a particularly warm welcome. So much so that in the small town of Bireh, 45km north of Tripoli, the mayor decided to dedicate a road to the president. (observers.france24.com)

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