Friday wrap

The business of America is organized labor ... With the election of President Barack Obama and a Democratically controlled Congress, business fears a sharp reversal of the enterprise-friendly labor policies of the past eight years. Obama himself sent a strong message last week when he invited labor leaders to the White House for the signing of three executive orders reversing measures he said were anti-union. Vice President Joe Biden summed up the change in tone: “Welcome back to the White House.” (lasvegassun.com)

Bam taps socialist union bigs for economic wisdom ... President Barack Obama is naming a team of outside economic advisers to help him steer the nation's economy out of the tailspin that has dominated his first two weeks in office. The president was to announce the team members Friday as the White House braced for more bad news in the unemployment report for January. Obama planned to use the Economic Recovery Advisory Board announcement as a way to address the millions of out-of-work Americans. Two labor officials — Anna Burger of Service Employees International Union and Richard Trumka of the AFL-CIO — also were named to the 15-member board designed to offer Obama advice as he seeks a way to weather the crisis and rebuild the economy. (google.com)

Andy Stern's ugly campaign tactics exposed ... Impersonating nurses in a multimillion dollar campaign replete with deceptive mailers, phone calls, a website linked to a phony RN group, and the diversion of groups ostensibly working on "healthcare reform," the Service Employees International Union has sharply escalated an offensive to seize control of the nation's largest nurses' organization, the California Nurses Association/NNOC charged today. SEIU is trying to take over the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee (AFL-CIO) by soliciting SEIU-allied individuals to run for the CNA/NNOC national board of directors, as well as attempting to harass and intimidate the CNA/NNOC leadership, said CNA/NNOC. The SEIU playbook bears sharp resemblance to a hostile corporate takeover -- and emulates tactics SEIU and its agents have used against other unions, said CNA/NNOC. (sev.prnewswire.com)

Union organizers frighten workers

Cramer knows his Marxist-Leninism ... Prominent left-wing blogger Matt Yglesias claims Jim was misquoting both Barack Obama and Vladimir Lenin when he criticized Obama for saying, "There is a time for profits and bonuses. Now is not that time." Jim said that line was right out of Lenin's "What Is to Be Done," his game plan for building a Communist Party in Russia, and critique of non-Bolshevik forms of communism. I never expected to get into this kind of thing on the Voice of Cramerica blog, but I can't let this attack on Jim's Leninist cred stand. First of all, Obama did use that line. Maybe our usually eloquent president chose his words poorly, but telling us there will be a time for profits, and now is not it, certainly sounds like something torn from the pages of Marx or Lenin. So there was no misquotation there. But more importantly, at least from my perspective, Jim didn't take Lenin out of context. (cnbc.com)

Fed workers' union blasts Bam labor pick ... The union for federal employees at the Department of Labor complained this morning about Obama's choice of Edward Hugler to be acting secretary of labor while the president's nominee for the job, Hilda Solis, struggles through her confirmation process. Hugler, who had been deputy assistant secretary for administration and management at the Department of Labor, was a point person in the Bush administration's push to privatize parts of the department's work functions. The Government Accountability Office recently concluded that the privatizing effort disproportionately and adversely impacted women, African Americans and employees over the age of 40. The American Federal of Government Employees said it complained to Hugler in 2006 about what they considered the discriminatory nature of the privatization process, but received little response to their concerns. (voices.washingtonpost.com)

U.S. Organizer-in-Chief sucks up bandwidth

Bam stands by Rep. Solis corruption ... Another White House Cabinet pick is dealing with questions about unpaid taxes, but White House officials insist the confirmation of Labor Secretary-nominee Hilda Solis is not in jeopardy. A Senate committee vote on Solis' nomination was abruptly postponed on Thursday after it became known that her husband had unpaid tax liens on his California auto repair business that were only settled this week for about $6,400. But Solis's confirmation was already stalled amid complaints from some Republican lawmakers about her role as a board member and treasurer of American Rights at Work, or ARW, a group pushing for passage of a bill to make it easier for workers to form unions. (tdn.com)

Unionists' ethical conflicts exposed ... It is beginning to have sounds like a broken record; the old type that went round and round on a turntable. As reported in USA Today, the latest bombshell to explode today was that President Obama's Labor Secretary's nomine's husband, Sayyad, had tax liens outstanding for 16 years. If that was not enough, it turns out that Rep. Hilda Solis was an unpaid board member and treasurer of the pro-union American Rights at Work. The group spent $110,000 in 2007 and $200,000 in 2008 on lobbying to support legislation to make it easier for union to organize. Solis said it was "an unintentional oversight." (examiner.com)


Self-fulfilling prophecy: From hope to fear ... “I think you’ve heard him speak before of what is going to happen in our economy if we don’t act,” Gibbs said of Obama. “Our failure to act is going to worsen the deficit.” A risk for the president in using anxiety as a wedge is making the situation worse by creating disproportionate fears about the economy. “You have to walk a fine line,” said Aubrey Jewett, a political scientist at the University of Central Florida. “If the president goes too far in talking about how terrible things are, he runs the risk of getting people to believe it so the economy gets worse.” (dcexaminer.com)

Obama's union payback revealed ... President Barack Obama is fond of telling how Abraham Lincoln “saved the union,” but it looks like the only unions he’ll be trying to save during his presidency are those tied to America’s organized labor movement. After decades of being weeded out by the capitalist system due to their negative impact on profitability –and as a result, employment – unions seemed to be on the wane prior to the onset of the Obama presidency. In less than three weeks, Obama has already signed three pro-union executive orders, with another two on the way designed to steer money from his massive public sector bailout toward union firms. And then there is labor’s top priority – the so-called “Employee Free Choice Act,” which among other provisions would strip away workers’ rights to a secret ballot in determining whether or not they wish to be represented by a union. Some estimate that the “Employee Free Choice Act” could double the number of union employees in America within a decade, taking us back to the dark days of the 1970’s when America’s economy sputtered along following the implementation of Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society.” (alg31blog.timberlakepublishing.com)

We'd don't need no stinkin' union payback ... In raw terms, unions were able to add about 151,000 members in the private sector and about 275,000 in the public sector. The economy lost more than 640,000 jobs last year, but government hired 252,000 more employees. What remains clear is that unionization rates in the public sector are increasing dramatically faster than those in the private sector. In 1980, there were 14.3 million union members in the private sector and 5.8 million in the public sector. Last year, there were fewer than 8.3 million in the private sector and more than 7.8 million in the public sector. If current trends continue, by 2012 there will be more union members in government than in private enterprise. The organizational health of unions is becoming less and less tied to the health of America's market economy, and more and more tied to the growth of government. And with government now fully involved in the operations of banking, finance and automobile manufacturing, we can start asking whether the line between private sector and public sector has any meaning. (eiaonline.com)

Obama shrugged ... "Many of us who know Ayn Rand's work have noticed that with each passing week, and with each successive bailout plan and economic stimulus scheme out of Washington, our current politicians are committing the very acts of economic lunacy that Atlas Shrugged parodied in 1957, when this 1,000-page novel was first published and became an instant hit." So writes Stephen Moore, formerly of the libertarian Cato Institute and now the senior economics writer for the Wall Street Journal. As Moore notes about Rand's magnum opus: "... the moral of the story is simply this: Politicians invariably respond to crises -- that in most cases they themselves created -- by spawning new government programs, laws and regulations. These, in turn, generate more havoc and poverty, which inspires the politicians to create more programs ... and the downward spiral repeats itself until the productive sectors of the economy collapse under the collective weight of taxes and other burdens imposed in the name of fairness, equality and do-goodism." Having read Rand's book (long ago), I agree that the United States government and its self-styled political saviors in Washington have by now surpassed the worst case scenario Rand spelled out in her best-selling book. The similarities of the plot to the present are uncanny -- and disturbing. (baumanblog.sovereignsociety.com)

Sen. Gregg snubbed, ACORN-La Raza to control census ... The director of the Census Bureau will report directly to the White House and not the secretary of Commerce, according to a senior White House official. The decision came after black and Hispanic leaders raised questions about Commerce Secretary nominee Judd Gregg ’s commitment to funding the census. Gregg, New Hampshire’s senior senator, voted in committee and on the floor for a 1995 Republican budget that envisioned the elimination of the Commerce Department. Of even more concern to black and Hispanic leaders, Gregg battled President Clinton over a request for “emergency” funding for the 2000 census. “Secretary of Commerce-designate Judd Gregg ’s record raises serious questions about his willingness to ensure that the 2010 census produces the most accurate possible count of the nation’s population,” the National Association of Latino Elected Officials said in a release on Tuesday, the day Gregg was named to the post. (cqpolitics.com)

Nativist Hoffa OK's Green Pork, Trade War ... Teamsters General President Jimmy Hoffa vowed to step up with labor and environmental allies today in the fight to create more green jobs in the United States - and to ensure that they are good union jobs. "We must define the rules of the new green economy," Hoffa said, addressing 2,500 attendees of the Good Jobs, Green Jobs national conference in Washington. "We want job creation that won't harm workers or our planet. "If we're going to go solar, the panels must be union-made in America," Hoffa said. "If we're going to capture hydroelectric power, then the generators must be union-made in America. And if we are going to capture wind power, then the turbines must be union-made in America. It doesn't do us any good to buy the hardware from China." (news.prnewswire.com)

Disrespected CWA strike captains prep AT&T walkout ... Well when employees have to pay the price they begin to want to take action and this is what apparently is happening with AT&T employees over an announcement that 12000 jobs will be cut and 120,000 managerial salaries are to be frozen. This announcement may bring down the wrath of the Communications Workers of America as the CWA has stated that if acceptable benefits and compensation cannot be negotiated by the 7th of February they will initiate strike action. Apparently the CWA is preparing to man the picket lines and says their members should be prepared to strike in order to “get some respect from AT&T Mobility.” (phonesreview.co.uk)

As expected, Garden State protects pro-union hate-speech ... A large inflatable rat placed at a job site as a labor protest is protected speech under the First Amendment, the state Supreme Court ruled today. The high court overturned a municipal ordinance that bans any inflatable signs not being used for a store grand opening. The court ruled the sign ban was overly broad and violates the First Amendment right to free speech. The justices ruled in a case involving International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 269 in Lawrence. "Content-based restrictions that bar noncommercial speech must be subjected to the most exacting scrutiny," the justices said. "There is no evidence to suggest that a rat balloon is significantly more harmful to aesthetics or safety than a similar item being displayed as an advertisement or commercial logo used in a seven-day grand opening promotion. Nor is there any evidence to suggest that the ordinance 'is necessary to serve a compelling state interest and that it is narrowly drawn to achieve that end.'"(nj.com)

B of A favors union-backed fraud group ... Conservatives have been justifiably peeved that Bank of America’s charitable foundation has given heaps of money to ACORN over the years, but the foundation’s donations to the radical community activist group are much larger than commonly reported. The bailout money-receiving bank’s charity has not given just $2 million to ACORN — the total is closer to $3 million. The foundation has paid $2,999,000 to ACORN Housing Corp. in the form of 28 grants since 2004. (canadafreepress.com)

Iowa weighs subsidy for union racial discrimination ... Companies doing Iowa construction projects with public money would have to pay a certain wage under a proposal state lawmakers are considering. A so-called “prevailing wage” bill was introduced this afternoon in the Iowa Legislature. This is a perennial wish-list item for labor unions because it would likely boost wages for construction workers. Opponents said if it passes, it would inevitably increase building costs for taxpayers. The last state to pass prevailing wage legislation was Minnesota in 1973 and since then nine states have repealed their laws, according to the Master Builders of Iowa, which represents general contractors and opposes the legislation. (desmoinesregister.com)

International Collectivism

Hugo Chávez: Deadbeat socialist ... Venezuela's state oil company owes billions of dollars to hundreds of private oil contractors from Oklahoma to Belarus -- but that hasn't stopped President Hugo Chávez from drawing on the industry to fund social programs as he campaigns to extend his time in power. State oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA, or PDVSA, said unpaid invoices jumped 39 percent in the first nine months of last year -- reaching $7.86 billion in September. (boston.com)

High Court rolls over for Chávez ... If President Hugo Chávez loses a referendum next February 15, he has no legal impediments to convene again a referendum to amend Article 230 of the Venezuelan Constitution in order to run again as candidate and be reelected indefinitely as president. This is the major conclusion drawn by Justice Francisco Carrasquero - former chair of the National Electoral Council (CNE) - in his construction of Articles 340, 342 and 345 of the Constitution, a question that was raised by Fundación Verdad Venezuela, a Venezuelan NGO. Carrasquero's decision was upheld by most Justices of the Constitutional Court, Supreme Tribunal of Justice. According to the paper submitted by Carrasquero, the prohibition referred to in Article 345 of the Constitution only refers to the initiatives seeking a constitutional reform, rather than amendments. (english.eluniversal.com)

Cagey Russians woo Latin socialists, add Trotskyite Lula to list ... Russia's ambassador to Spain Alexander Kuznetsov said that the policy of rapprochement with Latin America countries, such as Venezuela or Cuba, should not be considered a matter of concern. Kuznetsov said that Brazil is Russia's major strategic partner in the Latin American region. The Russian diplomat highlighted that Brazil is the "truly strategic partner" of Russia in the region for "his status as a global power." He said that the interest of enhancing the relationships with Cuba is "the result of a most pragmatic approach, particularly in the economic area." Kuznetsov said that "the same goes for Venezuela," although he stressed that in this case, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez took the initiative of signing arms and energy agreements. The envoy said that his country "has been very careful" that the weapon contracts signed with Venezuela "do not have negative implications" for other countries like Colombia and "do not fall into someone else's hands." (english.eluniversal.com)

Latin socialist cash-cows gain traction ... The U.S. is stepping up scrutiny of Iranian security and military personnel in the Lebanese communities of Latin America, even as its proxy, Hezbollah, gains new momentum and strength there, U.S. officials said. Part of Hezbollah's alarming expansion is being fueled by narco-dollars coming from Latin American drug cartels, and American concern stems from the possibility that al-Qaida and Hezbollah, both of which have contacts with wealthy and powerful Latin American drug organizations, could use the area to stage attacks on U.S. interests in the region or at home, these officials said. (metimes.com)
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