Tuesday wrap

Global War on Small Business ramps up ... Aren’t you irate? I am furious. Our presidents, our congressmen and our government are the most inept buffoons imaginable. They are driving the economy and society further into the economic doldrums daily. Congress spent a day raking AIG CEO Liddy, a man they appointed with a $1 salary, over the coals for a situation that they created. Chris Dodd, Senate Banking Committee chairman, posturing and denying he had anything to do with the bonuses situation then does the Potomac shuffle blaming Geithner, the secretary of treasury that can’t even do his own taxes accurately. Geithner, denying any responsibility, knew of the AIG bonus contracts since September as Federal Bank member. The last group about which the administration thought has been small businesses, which contribute over 50 percent of productive non-government taxpaying jobs, not government wastrels. (blueridgenow.com)

Union operative uses Corporate Progs to divide EFCA opposition ... Three leading companies in the areas of employee advocacy and innovative employment practices--Costco Wholesale Corp., Starbucks Coffee Corp. and Whole Foods Market, Inc.--today announced the formation of an ad hoc "Committee for a Level Playing Field for Union Elections." The group has come together to open dialogue about a "third way" approach to reform labor law. The Committee's purpose is to offer a new solution wholly distinct from the recently-introduced and controversial "card check" bill, the Employee Free Choice Act ("EFCA"). The founding companies that formed the Committee have consistently appeared on Fortune Magazine's 100 Best Companies to Work For. Their CEO's--James Sinegal of Costco, Howard Schultz of Starbucks, and John Mackey of Whole Foods Market--today introduced a "Statement of Principles," that, according to the Committee, would "substantially level the playing field for union organizers, improve their access to employees and provide a fair chance to make their case for a union election." Lanny J. Davis, an attorney with the Washington D.C. office of the global law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, pointed out that, contrary to assertions made by supporters of EFCA, the card-check bill would, in fact, permit the exclusion of the secret ballot option. "It defies logic to say that once 51% of eligible voters sign the cards, the union that is entitled to automatic certification under EFCA would then ask for a secret ballot. That deprives the 49%, and perhaps some who signed the cards under pressure, the right to demand a secret ballot." (foxbusiness.com)

Stupid Card-Check Tricks Revealed ... At the end of the 19th century, unsuspecting workers were "shanghaied" -- a practice originated in that Chinese city -- to work on British ships, which desperately needed the labor. All manner of tricks were used to hoodwink the poor souls into service at sea. According to one legend, press gangs, or "crimps," would put a coin -- "the king's shilling" -- in a man's drink. If the mark drank the ale only to see the coin at the bottom of an empty glass, it was too late and he was a member of the Royal Navy. The proposed Employee Free Choice Act, colloquially known as "card check," might be better named "The Democrats' Shilling Act." It would radically revise the National Labor Relations Act, primarily by diluting the practice of requiring workers to vote for unionization via an election with a secret ballot, and by changing the rules by which a government official can force labor rules on employers -- making the choice to unionize less free. Basically, under card check, labor can unionize a company's employeesif 50% of the workers sign a card saying they want to unionize. The cards can be signed in the presence of others, including union organizers. Indeed, the press gangs much prefer it that way. There is a bloody spin war over whether card check abolishes the secret ballot or not. Pro-card-check forces insist that it doesn't. Unfortunately, these voices include many mainstream reporters who consistently use the language preferred by Big Labor. They note that if 30% of the workers sign a card asking for an election, they can have one. But this ignores the unions' crimp tactics. For starters, the cards are written in ways that make "predatory lending" mortgages seem like paragons of full disclosure. (latimes.com)


Jumbo Teachers Union sets P2P with GOP ... Michael Steele has been taking a little heat for the RNC's accepting $15,000 from the National Education Association, the biggest teachers' union in the country, with a candidate for Governor of New Jersey, Steve Lonegan, demanding he return it. "What's next? Accepting money from the National Abortion Rights Action League, Handgun Control, Gay Marriage PACs and George Soros?" Lonegan asked. An RNC official, speaking on background, defended Steele's education reform credentials. “As one of the most outspoken advocates for school choice in the Republican Party, Michael Steele’s credentials on conservative education reform are very strong and well-documented," the official said. (politico.com)

Perestroika remakes U.S. ... It is hard to decide any more which current government-spawned disasters and those to come one should dwell on. As on the popular TV program, ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," President Barack Obama is overseeing the demolition of the remnants of a republic that upheld individual rights and of the construction of a socialist "republic." The country is "needy," he claims, and must be housed in a new habitat, which is looking more and more like a minimum security prison, with all medical records managed by the government, movement monitored by the TSA, diet regulated by the warden, and one’s time spent on guarded work details (otherwise known as chain gangs). For example, there is the move to draft all Americans into "voluntary" national service -- presumably a servitude with the encouragement of bribes if one submits or promised reprisals if one does not. In Congress, Senate and House Democrats and Republicans are shepherding through legislation which, taken altogether, is pretty much a civilian cradle-to-grave Selective Service System. Accompanying the article on the Senate bills is a propaganda poster straight out of Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia: a drawn figure of a youth shouldering a shovel, his upward glance presumably focused on a cause higher than himself. The shovel could be used to dig ditches, or as a club against the recalcitrant, non-volunteer. What about examining the "spontaneous" demonstrations by scruffy, soup-kitchen caliber "community activists" who take buses to the homes of AIG executives who received some of the $165 million in bonuses that Congress and the news media are frothing at the mouth over? These semi-literate individuals look suspiciously like recruits of ACORN, Obama’s public service alma mater. Wasn’t the list of AIG executives who received bonuses supposed to be confidential to protect the executives from harassment or worse? Are these demonstrators destined to be drafted into Obama’s "civilian national security force," which he called for in July 2008, and sent to Rahm Emanuel’s Public Service Academy? (capmag.com)

Rahmbo: Rules, What Rules? ... President Obama failed to consult Congress, as promised, before carving out exceptions to the omnibus spending bill he signed into law — breaking his own signing-statement rules two days after issuing them — and raised questions among lawmakers and committees who say the president's objections are unclear at best and a power grab at worst. In at least one case, lawmakers charge, Mr. Obama used his first signing statement, on the catch-all $410 billion spending bill, to go beyond the Bush and Clinton administrations in swatting away Congress' attempt to protect whistleblowers. "Not only is your signing statement contrary to your campaign statements, it also goes beyond the traditional broad signing statements authored by previous presidents," said Sen. Charles E. Grassley, Iowa Republican and a leader in pushing for whistleblower protections, who wrote a letter saying Mr. Obama goes after those who divulge classified information to Congress. White House spokesman Bill Burton acknowledged the administration didn't follow its rules this time on working with Congress. (washingtontimes.com)

NYT's News Union protects readers from anti-socialism ... A left-wing "bus tour" protest prowled the affluent neighborhoods of Fairfield, Conn. on Saturday afternoon, looking for AIG execs to harass. The protest, run by a group sponsored by unlabeled leftists ACORN, were railing against the bonuses paid out to employees of the struggling insurance giant. The New York Times found the stunt worthy of a full story in the national section of Sunday's paper: "Carrying a Populist Message Into A.I.G. Territory." The Times didn't reveal the organizer, the Connecticut Working Families Party, until the middle of paragraph nine. Left unmentioned: CWFP itself is merely a front group for the controversial left-wing housing group ACORN. A Nexis search indicates the Times has yet to devote a full story to any of the grassroots "tea parties" in opposition to Obama's big-spending package that have been held in various cities -- including one held in Connecticut on Saturday. Blogger Don Surber noted that "300 people in Ridgefield stag[ed] a Tea Party against the entire $700 billion bailout and the subsequent $787 billion stimulus," in a post focusing on the disparate coverage in the Connecticut Post. The New York Times had nothing on this tea party brewing in its own backyard. The Times has only mentioned the "tea parties" sporadically and dismissively, in stories on related topics. (newsbusters.org)

Update: Probe of union-backed fraud group stalls ... Whatever happened to the investigation of ACORN, the community group suspected of fraudulent voter registration practices in Cuyahoga County before the November presidential election? After five months, detectives with the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Office are still gathering and reviewing evidence for the "ongoing" investigation. Cuyahoga County was one of several places around the country where ACORN's voter registration cards were questioned before the election. National media attention ensued when John McCain and the Republican party attempted to link opponent Barack Obama to ACORN and election fraud. But the spotlight on ACORN disappeared after President Obama's victory. Chief Doug Burkhart said three Cuyahoga sheriff's detectives and a supervisor remain committed to the case here. They must review more than 70,000 voter registration cards the group turned in to the Board of Elections. "It is not being brushed aside by any means," Burkhart said. "We're taking it very seriously." The inquiry started when workers at the Board of Elections flagged dozens of registration cards ACORN turned in. The group paid workers hourly wages to sign up unregistered, low- and moderate-income people. They were encouraged to meet a quota of voters to register. Election workers found cards with identical names and different addresses; or identical names and different birth dates. They suspected ACORN workers shared information and altered it slightly to meet their quotas. (cleveland.com)

Fat-cat jumbo union bulks up ... The nation's fastest growing labor union just got bigger. About 150,000 breakaway members of the trade union UNITE HERE have formed a new organization and say they will affiliate with the Service Employees International Union. The influx of textile, restaurant and hotel employees will push SEIU's membership to nearly 2.2 million workers. UNITE HERE was the product of two unions that merged five years ago. But a culture clash produced months of infighting that divided its 400,000 members. The dissident workers are calling their new union Workers United. Some critics say SEIU president Andy Stern encouraged the rift by luring the breakaway group to join his union. Stern denies that. (google.com)

Goodbye Purple and Gold ... To my union I once was so proud to declare. I now have the following to say in despair. I once believed that you truly had my back. But now this thought I sadly must retract. You've caused me pain and a lot of grief. You made my once restful nights lose some sleep. You've pointed the finger at me as if I was wrong. And have said to me I was weak and you was strong. And yet you take what is rightfully mine. And try to shh me time after tim. Well I will not cease, for it's my dues. And I pay as a member to whom I choose. It's my right; it's my right and my union of choice. I am a member so hear my voice. You say their misleading us, let us members decide. So as I stand with the rest of the brave and the many. Once again we'll be the voice of the strong and the plenty. While our colors may change from purple and the gold. Our story of our struggle will forever be told. Of how we the members stood together in unity. Fighting for our voice, our choice against scrutiny. While you work for the member; let this be a lesson learned. The one who pays you, should never get burned. Casting us members aside as if we have nothing to say. No more, a change is here, democracy again starts today! Written by: Lisa Hill-Sanders, removed UHW Steward. (perezstern.blogspot.com)

Oppressive Obama Administration smacks down SEIU rival Rosselli ... The effort by a new labor union to represent 14,000 Catholic Healthcare West workers in California has been dismissed by a National Labor Relations Board regional director who ruled that the contract between the employees' longtime union, Service Employees International Union, and the hospital chain bars such overtures. The ruling, filed last week, would seem to be a setback for the National Union of Healthcare Workers, launched this year by officials who were dismissed by the Service Employees International Union. Sal Rosselli, president of the new union, rejected that idea, saying many thousands of workers are saying they want to be rid of SEIU. (sfgate.com)

Labor-state New Progs kill golden goose ... Restaurants in Wisconsin are typically considered small businesses. Restaurants are as “Main Street” as it gets. Even those with national identification are usually independently owned franchises. Restaurants, along with the rest of Main Street, are struggling. Consumers are pulling back and, to make matters worse, so-called “experts” on the economic downturn are appearing on talk shows suggesting that a way to cope is to stop dining out. Thanks a lot! How many more storefronts do these experts want boarded up? How many more people do they want unemployed while they put the money from their appearances and book sales in the bank? If this is not enough, here comes the government. The first bill, SB1, passed by the Wisconsin Senate, raises the minimum wage to $7.60 on Sept. 1, 2009—that’s 35 cents more than the raise already scheduled to take effect July 24, 2009. The bill also indexes future annual raises to the Consumer Price Index and reinstates the right of local government to set their own minimum wages. The result of this would be a hodgepodge of minimum wages throughout the state and wage inflation in the face of a declining economy. Voters in the city of Milwaukee approved a referendum to mandate up to nine days of paid sick leave for full- and part-time workers. This is being challenged in court, but if it stands it will institute a new benefit with potentially huge costs. The activist group behind this ordinance has stated that it plans to use it to help pass the law at the state and federal levels. Federally, there is the Employee Free Choice Act or “card check.” (gazettextra.com)

UAW sets P2P with next Detroit Mayor ... The United Autoworkers of America has thrown its weight behind interim Mayor Kenneth Cockrel Jr. for the May special election. The Detroit Free Press noted that the UAW’s endorsement adds to a pile of support from organized labor to Cockrel, including the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights and the Detroit Police Officers Association. Cockrel might have been helped in his effort to win the union’s endorsement by pushing for federal loans for General Motors and Chrysler in Washington, D.C., last year. This episode demonstrated the power of incumbency as a mayor, interim or not, has the ability to speak on behalf of a city, where insurgents don’t. Ironically, Bing had UAW workers at his Bing Group automotive supplier plant, without a work stoppage or strike. However, Bing fended off allegations that he was anti-union based on previous support for charter schools (which don’t use unionized teachers) and a complaint from an unspecified union that he wasn’t interested in hearing them out. (michiganmessenger.com)

Green Pork Hoax Exposed as P2P Jobs Bank ... While President Barack Obama touted a greener future for America on Monday, free-market economists expressed skepticism about the prospects of green jobs and how effective government spending will be for long-term energy policy. But for a sustainable future, green jobs will have to prove more valuable than a means to get a government subsidy, said Patrick McLaughlin, a research fellow for environmental economics at the pro-free-enterprise Mercatus Center at George Mason University. “I would speculate, in the short run, the government throwing money at any industry will create jobs,” McLaughlin told CNSNews.com. “For green jobs to be sustainable beyond the existing stimulus money, it would require market support.” Concerning the alternative, green-energy ideas, “If these are profitable industries, why aren’t they creating profit in the market” rather than relying on federal subsidies? McLaughlin said. Obama said that innovators nationwide are creating private sector jobs using alternative energy sources, but he also stressed the need for government investment. (cnsnews.com)

International Collectivism

Soviet-style socialism in Venezuela ... The armed forces occupied Venezuela's main ports and airports over the weekend to enforce the transfer of their administration from regional authorities to the central government, in the face of protests by a handful of state governors belonging to the opposition. ”We have begun the process of reversing everything that signified the dismemberment of national unity, territory and sovereignty,” because under previous governments ”the country was fractured into pieces,” said Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. This is the highest-profile move yet to claw back the powers and resources that, over the past two decades, were allocated to the 23 states and 330 municipalities into which the country is divided, and it is part of a re-centralisation process that started as soon as some opposition politicians won important posts in the regional elections held in November 2008. The anti-Chávez governors who head five out of 23 states, including the three most populous, ”did not come to govern,” the president said on his Sunday television programme, Aló Presidente. (australia.to)

Russian communists set terms of coming U.S.-Latin appeasement ... Antonio Guerrero, Rene Gonzalez, Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino and Fernando Gonzalez, known as the Cuban Five, have been imprisoned in the U.S since 1998 for having infiltrated Miami-based anti-Cuba groups to prevent criminal actions against the Cuban people and government leaders. The Deputy in the State Duma (Lower Chamber of Parliament) and leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation said the Amicus Curiae procedure, supported by world personalities has no precedent. Signed by former presidents, legislators and important personalities, including ten Nobel Prize winners, the Amicus Curiae constitutes a legal tool that is very effective for an appeal to the Supreme Court, reports Granma newspaper. Ziuganov noted that numerous people worldwide, from different political and philosophical trends have united in defence of the freedom of the Cuban Five. For that reason, he insisted, it is impossible to ignore their claim. The Russian politician also added that the U.S economic blockade against Cuba is unjustified and urged president Barack Obama to lift it. (cubanews.ain.cu)

Cement makers just don't get it ... Holcim, one of the world’s biggest cement makers, yesterday said it was taking a complaint against Venezuela to a World Bank panel for nationalising the company’s Venezuelan subsidiary without compensation. “Holcim Ltd has initiated international arbitration proceedings against the Republic of Venezuela before the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes in Washington D.C,” said the group in a statement. “The Group seeks full compensation for the expropriation of its subsidiary, Holcim Venezuela, by the Venezuelan Government.” Holcim last August signed a memorandum of understanding to sell 85 percent of Holcim Venezuela to the Venezuelan authorities after President Hugo Chávez announced in April that he would nationalise the entire cement industry in the country. Both parties then proceeded to negotiate terms of the deal, but Holcim claimed that the Venezuelan government “ceased communications” with the group in October. “No agreement was ever signed, and Holcim has received no compensation for the expropriated assets,” it said in Monday’s statement. (newera.com.na)

Spaniards just don't get it ... Spanish Economy Minister Pedro Solbes on Monday said the Venezuelan government's decision to nationalise Banco de Venezuela, a unit of Spanish bank Santander (SAN.MC), was not justified. Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has long threatened to nationalise the bank and recently said he would go ahead with the process to free up its funds. "It doesn't seem to me that conditions are justified for a nationalisation in Venezuela," Solbes said at a financial conference in Madrid. Solbes said financial markets and the private sector in general would take into consideration Venezuela's move. (reuters.com)
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