Friday wrap

Bam taps America's first community organizer ... President Obama quoted Tom Paine in the conclusion to his inaugural address last week, but did not name him. After Obama named the values (honesty, hard work, courage, fair play, tolerance, loyalty, and patriotism), after he urged us to our duties and responsibilities, and to be ready to pay the price of citizenship, after invoking God, and stating that these values comprised our liberty and creed, he asked us to remember America’s birth (an odd name for independence or revolution when you think about it). Lester Ward, the Iowa reformer, in a 1912 Tom Paine birthday dinner noted that the political struggle was not enough: “There was another great struggle to be gone through … a contest for the attainment of social and economic equality. It is the effort of the fourth estate which used to be called the proletariat, the working classes, the mass of mankind, to secure social emancipation.” (counterpunch.org)

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

Bam celebrates mentor's 100th birthday today ... Saul Alinsky, the father of community organizing, had a big year in 2008, even though he had been dead for 36 years. And 2009, Alinsky's centennial, is off to a terrific start. Just ten days before Alinsky's 100th birthday, his community organizing disciple was sworn in as president. Barack Obama's link to Alinsky has been noted countless times, especially in the conservative blogosphere where one not-so-happy camper thinks the appropriate name for the 44th president should be Barack Hussein Alinsky. On the eve of the inauguration, another similarly disenchanted blogger said he wouldn't be surprised if Obama took the oath of office with his left hand firmly on the Alinsky bible, Rules for Radicals. (huffingtonpost.com)

Governing for Dummies: 'Rules for Radicals' ... In his eight full years as the recipient of endless vile, often-delusional slander, President George W. Bush rarely grumbled, much less counterattacked his tormentors. Yet before he completed his first week in office, President Barack Obama -- a dedicated disciple of Saul Alinsky, who is to left-wing radicalism and social agitation what Karl Marx is to communism -- declared war on Rush Limbaugh. This was a calculated move by a man who professes to be open to all ideas but apparently brooks no dissent. He not only does not tolerate dissent well but also really doesn't even like to be questioned, as we saw during the campaign, when he accused the normally fawning press of grilling him for merely asking a follow-up question. We caught another glimpse of this last week, when he showed irritation at the White House press corps for daring to ask him a policy question after he had decreed that the sole purpose of his visit was to press the flesh. (townhall.com)

Unions attack anti-corruption, defend P2P ... On its face and in reality, the amendment barred unions from influencing candidates or parties who would reward those unions with no-bid contracts. "No-bid," also comprises projects with two competitive bids (just fewer than three); it extends to union members and all of their family members. So if you're in a union, your family members -- a stepbrother, an estranged grandchild -- would be similarly blocked from participating in the political process. And it extended out for two years past the end of the contract. It passed with 51 percent of the vote in November. Its name -- "clean government" -- may well have had something to do with that. Supporters of the amendment still vigorously support it, but two lawsuits have challenged its broadness and its constitutionality. (dailycamera.com)

Bam's bus to make private sector arrive on time ... President Barack Obama issued a withering critique Thursday of Wall Street corporate behavior, calling it "the height of irresponsibility" for employees to be paid more than $18 billion in bonuses last year while their crumbling financial sector received a bailout from taxpayers. "It is shameful," Obama said from the Oval Office. "And part of what we're going to need is for the folks on Wall Street who are asking for help to show some restraint, and show some discipline, and show some sense of responsibility." "There will be time for them to make profits, and there will be time for them to get bonuses," Obama said. "Now is not that time." (washingtontimes.com)

Unions target worker-choice states ... Between 1992 and 2002, states with less unionization, such as ours, generated twice as many non-farm jobs with better benefits than more unionized states. If our decision-makers in Washington are looking for a way to keep employers and jobs from fleeing Rust Belt states, where unions have proliferated, to states like North Carolina, where they are not an impediment to competitiveness and growth, then card check may be their answer. But North Carolina still loses if card check passes, and it's the Rust Belt states that gain ground. (newsobserver.com)

SEIU's P2P ordeal is not over ... Illinois lawmakers ousted the state's corruption-tainted governor, capping a political saga sparked by his arrest on charges of trying to sell President Barack Obama's Senate seat for personal gain. The state Senate voted 59 to 0 that Democrat Rod Blagojevich abused his power and should be removed from office. He was banned from holding future political office in Illinois and immediately replaced by Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn, who declared that "the ordeal is over." (google.com)

SEIU workers oppose Andy Stern, form rival union ... NUHW is a new union formed by the democratically elected Executive Board members and stewards of SEIU United Healthcare Workers - West (UHW) who were forced from office by SEIU President Andy Stern for insisting that frontline healthcare workers have the right to vote on who should represent them and the right to participate fully in bargaining contracts with their employers. NUHW seeks to carry forward the practices and principles of UHW, America's oldest and fastest growing healthcare workers union, with the nation's best wages and working conditions; best quality care protections; and best political and policy programs. NUHW seeks to spark the birth of a principled and powerful, vibrant and democratic movement of healthcare workers across our nation, dedicated to the achievement of dignity and justice for all healthcare workers and quality, affordable healthcare for all, and in doing so seeks to restore member democracy and effective representative for UHW members who are now under the dictatorial control of SEIU's appointed trustees. (nuhw.org)

Congress throws small business under the bus ... Perhaps the most frightening (and least obvious) consequences of the proposed card-check system is that workers could face binding contracts if negotiations between labor and management stall — contracts that workers are not allowed even to vote for. Small businesses already are near the breaking point as they try to cope with the crippling credit crunch, skyrocketing healthcare costs and paralyzing recession. Meanwhile, organized labor is spending hundreds of millions of dollars in political campaigns. Small-business owners certainly do not need the additional challenges that would be brought upon them by card check. Are members of Congress so out of touch with the interests of workers that bringing dramatic and unwanted conflict to the American workplace would constitute their top legislative priority? (grandforksherald.com)

Anti-business, pro-union Congress sets arbitration trap ... Under this bill, once a union is formed, employers would be under a strict deadline to reach an agreement on all of the union’s demands. If no agreement is reached after just 120 days, the matter would go to a federal arbitration panel, which would then write and hand down the union contract. That contract would bind both parties for two years with the same force as if it had been agreed to through full and fair negotiations. For the first time a federal authority would set private sector wages, specific work rules and other work place restrictions, including forcing employees into underfunded and unsustainable pension plans. This one provision would overturn more than seven decades of American labor law, all built on the principle that the government’s proper role is to ensure fairness and protect workers — not to dictate outcomes. (canadafreepress.com)

Unions seek to trample workers' rights ... First, their employees' rights would be restricted and they would be vulnerable to harassment and misinformation. Second, card check organizing would occur outside the workplace and without the knowledge of the small business owner. Third, card checks would divide employees and employer, creating an adversarial environment in the workplace and eliminating the family-like relationship many small business owners have with their employees. Finally, a federal government bureaucrat could decide the wages and benefits for their employees; instead of the owner and individual employees deciding what best meets their needs. Additionally, worker's rights under Texas' status as one of 22 right-to-work states would be under significant threat. Certainly, had Texas been a forced-union state we would have seen far fewer businesses relocating here and a job market in far worse shape than it is now. (gosanangelo.com)

3 of 4 workers reject fascistic union thuggery ... Those who oppose card check will doubtless surprise you, because among them are ... union members. A new national survey of voters by the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW) shows that three out of four voters (74 percent) oppose. More significantly, union households also strongly oppose it, again by 74 percent. But even that does not tell the tale. Avast majority of union members, according to the poll we cited, dislike and oppose card check and its opposition to secret ballots - and democracy. Unions, of course, are not democratic; they're socialistic. Which is why unions are in decline. The only way to reverse that decline, obviously, is for them to reject democracy in favor of socialism. That's what Reich supports. In its latest incarnation, it's called card check. (vvdailypress.com)

Another state sets constitutional clash with Congress over No-Choice unionism ... State Sen. Eric Johnson (R-Savannah) has introduced legislation defending Georgia workers’ ability to vote by secret ballot in union organizing elections. Johnson proposed a state constitutional amendment to protect Georgians from a national attempt to end the use of the secret ballot called The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). Johnson filed his constitutional amendment today, which secures the right to a secret ballot for nearly all elections, including those for union representation. “A voter’s right to a secret ballot is an essential and fundamental principle in our society. Without the ability to vote secretly, individual political freedom will decline and be subject to threats and intimidation by those who want voters to pursue a specific course of action or ideology,” he said. (northwestgeorgia.com)

Union-controlled Congress bankrupts nation ... Even though the U.S. congress has been mucking up the banking industry since 1916, few Americans are familiar with GSE's, (Government Sponsored Enterprises). As a result, the people have hired the same people who destroyed the US economy to begin with, to fix the US economy. Those people are now attempting to save the nation from complete economic collapse via the same failed economic policies that caused the crisis. Although the US Constitution affords the federal government no such power whatsoever to engage taxpayer revenue in banking or any other economic enterprise, Congress has been recklessly meddling in private enterprise for almost one hundred years now, with a devastating track record of unparalleled failure. The 2008-2009 collapse of the US banking system is not the result of failed free market mechanics, but rather a clear demonstration of just how unqualified the federal government is to regulate industry and private enterprise. It is not the result of the last eight years, but rather the last eighty years or more... It was not an accident, but instead a natural end to a bad idea. (rightsidenews.com)

Fat-cat unions sponsor pro-porkulus Bamaganda ... A coalition of liberal Democratic groups -- including Americans United for Change, MoveOn.org Political Action, AFSCME and SEIU -- will run 30-second TV spots starting today in four states and Washington, D.C., that urge five GOP senators to support the Senate's $888 billion economic stimulus plan. This comes a day after the House's $819 billion stimulus plan got a total of zero Republican votes. The targeted senators: Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Charles Grassley of Iowa. The ad, called "Factory," features audio clips of President Obama delivering speeches about the need to create jobs to fix a "crisis unlike any we have seen in our lifetime," while viewers see images of an empty factory suddenly filling up with cars, workers and equipment.

Porkulus will be needed forever ... The U.S. economy will still need support in two years' time from a massive fiscal stimulus currently in the works, the White House said on Thursday, signaling that it expects only a very slow recovery. "We are not likely to wake up on the 1st of January in 2011 and find everything going so great," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told a daily press briefing. (newsmax.com)

Dems stimulate union P2P payback ... Congress has included a little-known provision in the economic stimulus legislation that wastes tax dollars and costs jobs. All $188 billion worth of construction projects funded in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (H.R. 1) must pay Davis-Bacon prevailing wage rates. This requirement will inflate construction costs by $17 billion and depress the economy. If, on the other hand, Congress paid market wages, the same appropriations would fund more projects and create more jobs. Alternatively, Congress could give every American household a $150 tax rebate for the same cost. Including the Davis-Bacon requirements gives some workers a windfall with no benefit to the public. Before extending prevailing wage requirements to the stimulus bill, Congress should require the Department of Labor to use an accurate and scientific methodology to calculate prevailing wages. (hawaiireporter.com)

More union P2P payback from Bam ... President Barack Obama intends to overturn four Bush-era executive orders that unions opposed, officials said Thursday. Obama planned to reverse one order Friday that allowed unionized companies to post signs informing workers that they were allowed to decertify their union, an order some claim is unfair because nonunion businesses are not required to post signs letting workers know they were legally allowed to vote for a union. Two Democratic sources also said Obama would prevent federal contractors from being reimbursed for expenses that were intended to influence workers' decisions to form unions or engage in collective bargaining. A third order would require federal vendors with more than $100,000 in contracts to post workers' rights under the National Labor Relations Act. The final order would require service contractors at federal buildings to offer jobs to qualified current employees when contracts changed. For instance, rank-and-file workers could continue working on the same federal project even if the administrative contract expired. The officials disclosed the plans on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to pre-empt the White House's plans. (suntimes.com)

International Collectivism

Gov't union strikers shut down France ... Police in riot gear battled with demonstrators as more than a million French workers went on strike yesterday. Protesters took to the streets to demand more government action to fight the economic crisis and protect jobs. Eight national unions banded together to support the stoppage. Rioters launched arson attacks, trains were halted, flights delayed or cancelled and banks closed. A quarter of postal workers and more than a third of teachers also took part. (dailyrecord.co.uk)

Raúl trips down Soviet memory lane ... Cuban President Raúl Castro was served salted boar's fat and vodka on Thursday in a nostalgia-tinged lunch at a former Politburo hunting lodge he and his brother Fidel visited two decades ago. "I recalled with nostalgia the moment when we roasted salted salo (salted pork fat) in the forest," Castro told Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. "I don't know if I will eat salo with brown bread this time but I am here," Castro told Medvedev as the two sat in front of a fireplace in Zavidovo, a presidential residence in the Tver region west of Moscow previously used by Soviet leaders. During the Cold War, Cuba was a key ally for Moscow in its standoff with the United States and Fidel Castro and his younger brother Raúl, then an aide, were frequent guests at the Kremlin and the Zavidovo lodge. Relations cooled after the collapse of the Soviet Union, in part because the economic meltdown that followed left Russia with no cash to continue subsidizing its Caribbean ally. (reuters.com)

Iran feeds Latin Progs via Chávez ... Iran is increasing its military and espionage presence rapidly throughout Latin America, according to U.S. and Israeli officials, turning the region into a major base for terrorism and subversion. The disturbing trend has been building for several years and has deep roots in a presence that Hezbollah, Hamas, and other terrorist groups have had in South America for at least two decades, experts say. Now, though, it’s becoming quite open, with Iran using its consulates to erect front companies for smuggling and forging strong ties with an emerging anti-American coalition led by Venezuela and including leftist regimes in Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Bolivia. Since 2000, Chávez has been to Tehran seven times for extensive deal-making that has produced at least $20 billion of arrangements “more opaque than the funds of Bernie Madoff,” according to Douglas E. Schoen, author of “The Threat Closer to Home: Hugo Chávez and the War Against America.” In mid-January, Turkey stopped an Iranian shipment headed to Venezuela with 22 containers labeled as tractor parts. "The equipment was enough to set up an explosives lab," a customs official told the Associated Press. Further, Chávez has welcomed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Caracas several times to strengthen their connection and extend to him oil dependencies in Cuba, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua. “Chávez is an expert in asymmetric war and deception, a strategic ally of Iran in a declared war against the ‘evil empire’ of America and a harbormaster for Hezbollah, Hamas and terrorist groups in Latin America,” they write. “He has all the weapons needed to terrorize the U.S., including the capacity to build a dirty bomb — or another biological weapon — and the ability to move money or materials across American borders at will through the 14,000 American gas stations he owns.” (newsmax.com)

Brazil goes socialist with Trotskyite Lula ... The left-wing presidents of Venezuela and Ecuador on Thursday urged anti-globalizationists gathered at the World Social Forum in Belem, Brazil, to pursue their struggle against a capitalism weakened by the global crisis. The forum has to "go on the offensive" to counter free trade pacts and other US-sponsored neoliberal economic initiatives in Latin America, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez said as he arrived by plane to go to the meeting. "We are in a moment of offense, not debate," he said, according to state Venezuelan media. Rafael Correa, his ally who leads Ecuador, said he hoped to see an alternative to capitalism come out of the forum, which has brought together 100,000 unionists, feminists, Catholic activists, environmentalists and representatives of indigenous groups. "The system has collapsed, this perverse neoliberal system... and the forum is part of the solution," he told journalists. Chávez and Correa were among five Latin American presidents scheduled to appear at the forum. The three others are: Brazil's Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Bolivia's Evo Morales and Paraguay's Fernando Lugo. Their presence added political celebrity to the gathering, which was started nine years ago as an ideological counterweight to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, which each year in January brings together dozens of the world's most powerful and wealthy figures. (petroleumworld.com)

Chávez seeks unlimited power ... Controversial Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez will celebrate ten years in power on Monday and has made it clear that he has no plans to leave anytime soon. Chávez became president on February 2, 1999. On February 15, Venezuela is to hold a constitutional referendum, which would abolish term limits and enable Chávez to seek unlimited re-elections. Under the present constitution, Chávez's second term ends in February 2013 without the chance of re-election. (monstersandcritics.com)

Chávez: Eat the rich ... Chávez told his followers that they should make a great effort to encourage the "Bolivarian masses, the humble people, to cast their ballots, because they (the rich people) drive their cars, their polling station is nearby, they have not health problems, and in any case, they solve them because they have a personal doctor." (english.eluniversal.com)

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