Sunday wrap

Union organizers leave scars of division among workers ... EFCA signatures, like current organizing methods, are collected in public. However, the stakes are much higher. Currently, a worker may be willing to sign a card to express an interest in unionizing or their support for allowing the employees to vote on the issue, knowing their final opinion is ultimately protected by the sanctity of the private, secret ballot. Under EFCA, each signature is a public vote and the only vote, conducted in the open, with the full view and knowledge of their fellow workers, management and the union organizers. Imagine for a moment you work in a 10-person shop, and five of you have signed EFCA cards. Imagine for a moment the kind of pressure the remaining five may face from both sides on this issue. And finally remember, everyone will know who tilted the balance for, or against, joining the union. Lastly, without the protection of the secret ballot, imagine the potential for long-term division in that workplace between fellow workers, and between workers and management, should this effort succeed or fail. (morningsentinel.mainetoday.com)

City bigs to dis IAFF picketers, Obama shames Dem gay Mayor ... The U.S. Conference of Mayors said Saturday that it will proceed with its annual meeting here next weekend even though the group is disappointed that Vice President Joseph Biden and other high-ranking Obama administration officials will not attend. On Friday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said the federal officials, out of respect for the Providence firefighters’ protest, will not cross their picket line. The International Association of Fire Fighters Local 799 is locked in a contract dispute with Providence Mayor David N. Cicilline. Paul A. Doughty, president of Local 799, said on Friday that the Obama administration asked if the union would call off its pickets if Cicilline stayed away from the meeting. According to Doughty, the local agreed to do that. In an interview Saturday, Cicilline denied that any such compromise had been offered. “No suggestion was made by the Obama administration or anyone else that I stay away,” the mayor said. (projo.com)

GovMo: UAW payback drags down Obama ... For the first time in his presidency, Barack Obama has hit zero. The Rasmussen Reports' daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Friday showed that 34 percent of Americans "strongly approve" of President Obama's job performance, but for the first time, 34 percent also "strongly disapprove." "For most of his five months in office, the presidents approval ratings have remained quite stable. However, that has not been the case over the past couple of weeks," the Rasmussen Web site said. After a bounce from the president's nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, who would become the first Hispanic on the Supreme Court, his approval rating began to fall, in part because of the GM bailout, which the poll found just 26 percent of Americans support. (washingtontimes.com)

Gov't union pension P2P probe closes in on Obama's Car Czar ... Steven Rattner had but one assignment when the president brought him to Washington in February. But it was a big one: Save the American auto industry. The job has consumed the 56-year-old investment banker. Working long days out of a basement office in the Treasury, the task force Rattner leads with former steelworkers official Ron Bloom has orchestrated near-complete overhauls of two of the nation's most storied companies, General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC. The stakes are high, but so is the potential prize. Along with potentially saving thousands of jobs, Rattner, whose career already includes star turns as a New York Times reporter, Wall Street brainiac and Democratic Party fundraiser, could be in line for a permanent place in the administration and maybe in U.S. history. And yet, his big moment has occurred under a cloud. Back home in New York, Rattner has emerged as a player in an influence peddling scandal involving a giant state pension fund that provides retirement benefits for more than 1 million government employees. The case has already led to criminal charges against six people, including the retirement system's former top investment official. (columbian.com)

State-based P2P: Dem Govs tagged in abuse of power ... If Gov. Ed Rendell ultimately faces trouble like that which caused New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson to withdraw his nomination as U.S. Commerce secretary -- or worse -- he'll have his penchant for rewarding campaign donors with no-bid contracts to blame. Mr. Richardson, who expects to be vindicated, withdrew amid a federal grand jury probe of the same company, headed by the same political insider, that's now the target of a federal investigation for which the Allegheny County Airport Authority and Port Authority of Allegheny County records have been subpoenaed. At issue is whether CDR Financial Products of Los Angeles overcharged cities and airports for advice on bond issues. Nothing suggests wrongdoing by either authority. But the feds' new focus on Pennsylvania must worry the governor. CDR President David Rubin donated $40,000 to Rendell's campaigns and was a member of Rendell's transition team for the Department of Revenue in 2003. It's the same year that CDR received a no-bid contract to advise the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency that has paid it almost $600,000. (pittsburghlive.com)

Hopenchange turns America upside down ... Why would any nation respect us when we complain, criticize, condemn, and apologize for America's faults in the past 200 years? Are we more secure when we prosecute members of the military and the CIA for defending America, then demand constitutional rights for the terrorists that plot to kill us? Should we be proud of America when a Marxist dictator delivers a protracted, degrading, insulting indictment of America and our president fails to respond with one word in our defense? Did the global apology tour, labeling America as "arrogant, dismissive, and derisive" prevent a defense? Saul Alinsky is the author of "Rules for Radicals." He dedicated the book to the timeless prince of all radicals -- Lucifer. The community organizer(s) used the book to train radicals to persuade people that they will protect them from the hostile industries. (postbulletin.com)

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

Sotomayor: Often misunderstood ... Sonia Sotomayor was in her 30s and not yet a judge when she noticed that a paralegal at the law firm where she worked broke out in hives whenever she entered Sotomayor's office. After six months, they laughed about it. "'I don't know what was wrong with me, but it took me six months to realize that you don't bite,'" Sotomayor recalled the paralegal telling her. "But her reaction was not uncommon and it is unfortunately the reaction of many people who don't get to know me immediately in a social setting. But they can get over it, fortunately," Sotomayor acknowledged. The encounter offered clues to the complex temperament of the Supreme Court justice-in-waiting. Smiling lawmakers who meet with Sotomayor and will vote on her Supreme Court nomination see the smiling, engaging and charming judge, someone quite different from the person several lawyers anonymously criticized in the Almanac of the Federal Judiciary as sometimes abrupt and even abusive. In a 1998 interview with The Associated Press, Sotomayor acknowledged her personality can intimidate those who misunderstand her. (washingtonexaminer.com)

Specter vows to please unionist thugs ... When Senator Arlen Specter, who recently switched to the Democratic Party, addressed the crowd, a heckler held up a sign telling the senator, 'Our jobs matter too.' Specter replied, "I believe you'll be satisfied with my vote on this issue about union organizing and about first contract." The heckler, a retired iron worker, isn't sure of that. "If he wants to be a Democrat, he's got to be a true Democrat. When I'm talking about Democrats, I'm not talking about unions. I'm talking about working people," said John Heinlein. It's not clear when the U.S. Senate will vote on what organized labor calls the employee free choice act- if there's a vote at all. But one thing is sure, workers like these will be keeping up the pressure on elected officials. (wpxi.com)

Gov't unions drive labor-state over the cliff ... An economic slide that started nearly two years ago in the private sector has rippled through government and is now shaking up public employee unions. Faced with mounting costs and shrinking revenues, cities and counties from Sacramento to Los Angeles are curbing employee benefits, scaling back pay and cutting jobs. California's finances are so dismal that the Democratic-controlled Legislature recently went along with Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to enact fundamental changes to state worker overtime and holiday pay rules. Things are so dire that unions representing public employees often consider pay cuts, furloughs and reduced benefits a win. (sacbee.com)

A free-to-choose labor-state? ... "The single most important element in reform — long-lasting, durable economic and financial reform — for this state, so that we can become a magnet for attraction of business and jobs — is to make it a right-to-work (state)," said Littmann in a recent interview posted on the Mackinac Center's Web site. "A free-to-choose labor state. Without that, there's no reason to be in Michigan. Absolutely no comparative advantages." Littmann further clarified in an interview with the Daily Press & Argus how prospective businesses view the state. "More than half of all the employers interviewed — companies that are seeking new site locations — have ruled Michigan off their list of candidates because we're such a union shop, where instead of volunteering unionism, you cannot hold a position if you don't contribute union dues or belong to a union," Littmann said. "The legacy costs have essentially killed GM and the Detroit automakers because the unions have such leverage over bargaining." (livingstondaily.com)

What I learned from the Arab Apology Tour ... I thought I knew a little bit about the Middle East. Boy, was I wrong. Last week, President Obama set me straight. Here's what our president taught me during his Middle-Eastern pilgrimage: There is no more terrorism. Wow, cool! No more security checks at airports, right? It's unclear which side won, but it's all over. Obama didn't mention terrorism a single time in his star-turn speech in Cairo. Only a few "violent extremists" (our own troops?) remain at large. America tortured. I thought there was still a debate about that, but I guess not. And no regime in the Middle East tortures anybody, ever. Our bad. Churches and synagogues are about to open in Saudi Arabia. Since "Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance" and there are "over 1,200 mosques within our borders," I can't wait for the first Baptist hymn-sing in Riyadh. Sign me up! "Islam has always been a part of America's story." Guess the Founding Fathers missed that one. But I'm assured that George Washington turned to his mullah in the dark days at Valley Forge, that Daniel Boone read the Koran around the campfire, and that al Qaeda stood by us at the Alamo. Yeah, there was that misunderstanding with the Muslim Barbary Pirates, when they killed, kidnapped and enslaved American citizens for years - but who's perfect? There are "nearly seven million American Muslims." Who knew? We all thought there were three or four million, max. Is this a preview of the predetermined results of our upcoming census? [Note to editor: Confirm numbers with ACORN.] (nypost.com)

Related video: All Apologies

International Collectivism

Latin Progressive eyes oil service bigs ... President Hugo Chavez has already nationalized most of Venezuela's energy industry and is preparing to bring chemicals under his wing, but he may still target firms running gas and oil services. A former soldier inspired by Cuba's Fidel Castro, Chavez has made energy nationalization the linchpin in his drive to build his own brand of socialism. He has also taken over assets in telecommunications, power, steel and banking. Over the last month, Chavez has seized a gamut of mostly small oil service companies along with U.S.-owned gas compression units, adding to the mammoth heavy oil projects Venezuela took over in 2007. The government is now mopping up what is left, preparing to take a majority stake in the OPEC nation's main private petrochemical projects and possibly eyeing natural gas. But the really lucrative area of the oil business that Chavez has not yet touched is oil well services such as drilling rigs run by global giants like Halliburton, Schlumberger and Baker Hughes. (reuters.com)

Unions, Marxists woo oppressed Japanese ... Economic indicators released in late May show that Japan may be heading toward an official depression as its economy contracts at a record rate. Growth in worker class-consciousness and combativeness has accompanied the economic news. Whatever the official unemployment rate suggests, Japan’s workers have experienced a rapid process of radicalization as class-consciousness surges amid the crisis. The Japanese Communist Party has been the main beneficiary of the increased fighting spirit of workers and students. The JCP, despite its name, is more like a social-democratic than a revolutionary party, but many see it as strongly pro-worker. More than 14,000 people have joined the JCP since the beginning of 2008, a quarter of them youth. The party continues to grow at a pace of 1,000 new members a month, and readership of its Red Flag daily newspaper has surpassed 1.6 million. A JCP-organized May Day rally in Tokyo drew a surprisingly large crowd of 36,000 demonstrators. A recent protest of corporate headquarters just outside Tokyo’s upscale shopping district brought hundreds into the streets. The crowd included laid-off workers and those demonstrating in favor of rights for temporary workers. Temporary workers are generally excluded from joining the country’s main labor unions. Many temporary workers belong to small independent unions affiliated with the JCP. (workers.org)
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