Saturday wrap

Job Freeze: Pro-union Administration keeps tight rein on U.S. workforce ... The unemployment picture in all but two states deteriorated in May as the jobless rate in more than a quarter of them exceeded 10 percent. Five states - Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee - crossed into double digits last month, adding to the eight that had the distinction in April, the Labor Department reported yesterday in Washington. Joblessness in eight states, including California, Florida, and Georgia, reached the highest levels since records began in 1976. (boston.com)

The time is now: Boycott CITGO ... CITGO is not just a gas station run by a Marxist-Leninist dictator who hates America, calls George Bush the devil and believes Jesus is a socialist. CITGO Petroleum Corp. -- a wholly owed subsidiary of Hugo Chávez's Venezuela -- is a company that cares. Perhaps you've seen CITGO's most-recent television commercials featuring its independent station owners as they fuel local economies, provide needed jobs and donate to causes in their all-American communities. "Locally owned and operated CITGO locations are there at every turn in their communities, fueling good day in and day out," reads the Web site of CITGO, owned by Petroleos de Venezuela, the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. (foxbusiness.com)

Egoic presidential insecurity scrambles U.S. ... A pattern is emerging for this new presidency. The more radical and far-reaching the plan, the less time the public gets to debate it. Is this due to ambition or fear of push-back? Where is Ross Perot when we need him? The eccentric Texan got a few things wrong in his political career, but he got at least one thing right with one of his favorite sayings: Measure twice, cut once. This is wisdom that the Obama administration and the Democratic leadership in Congress seem totally to have forgotten. So why the big rush? The answer may have something to do with the fact that the administration is hurrying the most when delay is most likely to change people's minds. Obama may act supremely confident, but his haste here suggests insecurity. He acts as if he believes his political capital is dwindling so fast that it will be gone by the end of this year. A stronger leader would take his time. He would not fear being called a wimp for appointing blue-ribbon commissions, because such drawn-out deliberation is actually what the country needs. Health care and finance both need work. But the first step is to understand the problems and think through the possible solutions. (ibdeditorials.com)

Legitimate union business expenses mistaken for embezzlement ... A former local union official has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges that he embezzled more than $85,000 using a union credit card, including 450 separate charges at 14 gentlemen's clubs totaling more than $65,000. Branchburg resident Shawn Clark, 44, had been a business representative with the New Jersey Regional Council of Carpenters and was the de facto business manager of Somerville-based Local 455 of the International Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, according to the office of Acting U.S. Attorney Ralph J. Marra Jr. The local represents carpenters in Somerset and Hunterdon counties. Clark's attorney, John Fahy, said Friday that his client will plead not guilty and all of the charges on the credit card were business related. (mycentraljersey.com)

Transparency fraud: We don't need no stinkin' Inspectors General ... The firing of Gerald Walpin as Inspector General was not an isolated incident, as the Chicago Tribune reports today. Two more IGs have been dismissed in the past two weeks, and Senator Charles Grassley has started demanding answers. The sudden push to rid the government of independent watchdogs appears to coincide with Barack Obama’s plans to use government spending to get control over more aspects of American life, such as with stimulus spending, the financial sector, and volunteer organizations (via Dan Riehl): (riehlworldview.com)

Related video: Meet Gerald Walpin

MM: This is how ACORN rolls ... Physical intimidation: Watch Fox News video here (h/t: William Amos). Legal intimidation: Read here. Whistleblower Anita MonCrief has been sued by Project Vote/ACORN to shut her up. Read her latest reporting at the Hot Air Green Room and on her blog while you can. As long as you tolerate your tax dollars feeding these thugs, they will keep bullying their critics and opponents who threaten their criminal racket. It’s going to take more than one or two GOP members of Congress to expose them and de-fund them once and for all. What the hell are they waiting for? (michellemalkin.com)

ACORN worker faces social justice ... Proceedings took a bizarre turn Friday as the man suspected of casting nine ballots in Cuyahoga County during last year's presidential election appeared in court, Fox 8 News reports. Darnell Nash proclaimed to the judge that he was a transvestite before pleading not guilty to nine counts of record tampering, nine counts of false registration and one count of illegal voting -- a total of 19 charges that includes several felonies. Prosecutors say that, with the help of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (better known as ACORN), Nash voted using fraudulent names and addresses. ACORN organizer Katy Gall says the group was unaware that Nash had submitted multiple registrations and that ACORN cooperated when alerted by the elections board. The defendant's bond was set at $10,000. (fox8.com)

Sotomayor admits shameful mistake ... Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor resigned Friday from an elite all-women's club after Republicans questioned her participation in it. Sotomayor said she resigned from the Belizean Grove to prevent the issue from becoming a distraction in her confirmation hearings. Federal judges are bound by a code that says they shouldn't join any organization that discriminates by race, sex, religion or nationality. Earlier in the week, Sotomayor defended her participation in the group, telling senators that it involves men in some of its events and that she was unaware of any man who had tried to become a member. (cnsnews.com)

UAW Local sues UAW International ... A battle is quietly being waged between a state employee's union and its parent organization over recent concessions in unpaid furlough days. United Auto Workers Local 6000 filed a complaint June 12 with the UAW International Union in Detroit, saying it improperly usurped the Local unit's authority in May while negotiating the furloughs with state officials. The appeal seeks $625,000 in unemployment compensation it says the international owes 17,000 Local union members. "The implication here is that ... Local 6000 officials are simply pawns," the appeal states. "That attitude is contrary to our collective bargaining agreement with the state of Michigan and also contrary to the UAW's constitution." (lansingstatejournal.com)

Stern-Burger SEIU lies, bribes, and steals ... Fresno County homecare providers reported scores of incidents of voter intimidation, illegal threats, and ballot manipulation by SEIU staff in an election for workers to quit the scandal-plagued union and join the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW). SEIU spent an estimated $10 million on attack mailings, robo-calls, TV and radio ads, and 1,000 paid staff flown in from across the country, but failed to win enough support from workers to win the election without breaking the law. Despite SEIU's illegal tactics, just 117 votes could swing the outcome of the election. Based on SEIU’s illegal conduct and flawed decisions by the County election officer, healthcare workers in NUHW will file a legal challenge to the election and not be party to certification of the results. "SEIU has resorted to behavior worse than we’ve seen from the worst anti-union bosses," said Sal Rosselli, Interim President of NUHW. "They will say or do anything to deny workers a free choice. But healthcare workers have proven today that their movement to take back their union is thriving and has the strength to win." (indybay.org)

Typical SEIU election fraud challenged ... The SEIU received 2,938 votes, and the NUHW had 2,705 votes, Sanchez said. Ninety ballots were being contested, he said. The state mediator will not certify the election results for 10 calendar days, Sanchez said. The NUHW said it had asked for a recount vote and will contest the election. "SEIU engaged in an illegal campaign fraught with violations of state and federal law," said Kevin Hall, a Fresno volunteer organizer. "We will be filing charges against them immediately to have a re-run of this election." (fresnobee.com)

Obama backs Corzine paramour, throws CWA under the bus ... The U.S. Department of Labor has sued the Communications Workers of America over alleged union election improprieties. The department wants to void results of a June 2008 contest involving New Jersey labor leader Carla Katz and get a new election. Katz, who once dated Gov. Jon S. Corzine, lost her bid to become vice president of a district representing more than 190,000 members in the Northeast. She was beaten by incumbent Christopher Shelton, who led contract talks with the Corzine administration that resulted in an agreement Katz opposed. The CWA later suspended Katz and has moved to expel her. (google.com)

Chicago charter school teacher unionists survive oppressive secret ballot ... Yesterday, employees at three Chicago International Charter Schools (CICS) campuses made history by becoming the first charter teachers in the city to unionize. As regular readers know, their organizing campaign has been rocky at times. The bid grew out of frustration among staff about growing class sizes and a heavier workload which together have led to increased turnover at the schools. After garnering support from 75 percent of the teachers via a union petition (also known as "card check"), the Illinois Education Labor Relations Board (IELRB) certified their bid and the teachers prepared to begin collective bargaining. But Civitas challenged the state board's ruling, contending that as a private entity, they should be subject to national labor laws requiring a secret ballot election. Ultimately, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) agreed, and set an election day of June 18. (progressillinois.com)

Chávez may face-off with Obama over GovMo oppression ... General Motors Corp.'s Venezuela affiliate temporarily shuttered a local assembly plant on Friday, suspending all car production in Venezuela and boosting fears that the closure could further slow sputtering economic growth. GM suspended operations for at least three months at its auto assembly plant in Venezuela's central Carabobo state, affecting 1,600 full-time employees who will see their salaries cut to minimum wage during the shutdown. GM is the country's largest automaker, producing more than half of the 54,000 cars assembled in the first five months of 2009, according to the chamber. But auto output had already declined by 9.7 per cent this year through May as government currency controls restricted imports, pushing GM to close its doors. The controls, imposed by President Hugo Chavez in 2003, have prevented GM from getting the dollars it needs to import car parts, stalling sales and leaving the company with US$1.2 billion in debts to foreign suppliers. (google.com)

Rep. John Hall placed on Dirty Money Watch ... WHO: Rep. John Hall (D-N.Y.), a co-sponsor of The Employee Free Choice Act (aka Card Check). WHAT: Rep. Hall received the following dirty money: Communication Workers of America (PAC) $1,000 in 2010 election cycle; $5,000 in 2008 election cycle; $10,000 in 2006 election cycle. Boilermakers Union $2,000 in 2008 election cycle. American Federation of Government Employees (PAC) $3,000 in 2008 election cycle. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (PAC) $5,000 in 2010 election cycle; $9,000 in 2008 election cycle; $7,000 in 2006 election cycle. Service Employees International Union (PAC) $10,000 in 2008 election cycle; $10,000 in 2006 election cycle. WHY IT’S DIRTY: Multiple officers and members of these unions, including division presidents, secretary-treasurers and business managers, have been convicted since 2001 of felonies ranging from embezzlement, falsifying official reports to government, mail fraud and conspiracy. The Communication Workers of America and the American Federation of Government Employees have had eight convictions, The Service Employees International Union has had nine convictions and The Boilermakers have had 10 members convicted, while the IBEW has had 14 members convicted. The amounts of embezzled funds range from over $5,000 to over $100,000. WILL HALL GIVE IT BACK: Hall did not respond to The Examiner’s request for comment. THE SCORE: Number of Democrats who have given it back: 0 • Number of Republicans who have given it back: 0 • YOUR TURN: You can reach Rep. Hall’s Washington D.C. office at 202-225-5441. (washingtonexaminer.com)

International Collectivism

U.S. in solidarity with Venezuela ... The Supreme Court upheld the government's power to order the withdrawal of any message broadcast by radio and television which, according to the government's criteria, can threaten the safety of the nation and the values of the Republic, El Tiempo reports. The court rejected an appeal for annulment filed by Globovisión and RCTV against the Telecommunications Law and said that prior censorship ordered by the Executive is legal and doesn't contradict the right to freedom of expression and information guaranteed by the Constitution, El Nacional explains. The high court also ruled that businesses and corporations can be criminally prosecuted, validating the rule invoked by the government to punish Globovisión, El Universal adds. The ruling comes three weeks after President Hugo Chávez ordered judges and several government employees to "put the brakes on media poisoning" by Globovisión or to resign. Separately, in Florida, where a growing number of Venezuelans are raising funds to help Globovisión pay its fine, the Miami Herald, in an editorial, said “It's time for the fence-sitters -- Chile, Mexico, the United States, among others -- to take a stand on the universal right of press freedom, and call on Mr. Chávez to end the harassment.” (knightcenter.utexas.edu)

Obama abandons Democracy ... Iranian exiles in the U.S. are receiving calls from back home asking why President Obama has "given Khamenei the green light" to crack down on the election protestors. To conspiracy-minded Middle Easterners, that is the obvious meaning of Obama’s equivocal response to the Iranian nation’s sudden and unexpected reach for freedom. How to explain that this interpretation is implausible? That the more likely reason for Obama’s behavior is that he is imprisoned in the ideology of loving your enemies and hating George W. Bush? Whatever the reason, Obama's failure may destroy his presidency. His betrayal of democracy and human rights through a series of pronouncements and small actions during his first months in office had been correctable until now. But the thousand daily decisions that usually make up policy are eclipsed by big-bang moments such as we are now witnessing. Failure to use the bully pulpit to give the Iranian people as much support as possible is morally reprehensible and a strategical blunder for which he will not be forgiven. (aina.org)

At the U.N, D'Escoto tees up U.S. for LatAm Leftists ... With five days left before the much anticipated United Nations conference on the world financial and economic crisis begins, a clearer picture about who will attend and what will be discussed is beginning to emerge, the spokesperson for the president of the General Assembly told reporters here on Friday. So far, 21 heads of state have confirmed their participation in the three-day conference beginning on Wednesday, including President of Serbia Boris Tadic and Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. Also attending the high-level meeting will be Iranian First Vice-President Pervez Davoudi. Spokesperson Enrique Yeves told a press conference here that a total of 126 countries, out of 192, will participate in the conference, however, five countries have yet to confirm -- Israel, Nepal, Nicaragua, Tanzania and the United States. (english.cri.cn)

Ecuador lurches toward Chávez ... The numbers speak for themselves: In April, Rafael Correa was reelected president of Ecuador with 51 percent of the vote. In this interview the day after his victory with Spanish magazine Diagonal, Correa says that Ecuador's government-backed “Citizens’ Revolution” will accelerate at an intensifying pace over the next four years. With a majority in the National Assembly, and a Constitution that was drafted and approved during his first government by a broad convergence of allied forces, Correa’s path seems wide open. Rafael Correa: "The crisis of global capitalism that we are living through in this moment does not come from outside the system, it comes from within. Among the recurring crises of capitalism, this is one of the most serious, but from within the system. We are not going to find solutions within the same system that is collapsing. We have to construct something new and better. I believe that there exists a consciousness among the majority of Latin American governments and leaders, so that that they are taking this opportunity to construct something new and different." (upsidedownworld.org)
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