Sunday wrap

Innovative Anti-Corruption Law boosts Colorado ... Political fundraising in Colorado had an end-of-2008 rush, then slowed dramatically as 2009 brought a voter-approved ban on contributions from certain government contractors and their kin. A comparison of the first quarters of 2009 and 2005 — the most recent similar cycle — shows a decline in fundraising by anywhere from a fifth to two- thirds since the ban took effect. The amendment prohibits political contributions from anyone tied to a company or nonprofit that receives a government no-bid contract of $100,000 or greater. Those barred from giving include people on charitable boards that do business with the state and executives of public utilities. The amendment's proponents say it's aimed at discouraging the giving of campaign contributions in exchange for favors such as contracts and board appointments. (denverpost.com)

Ex-Democrat: Why I quit Obama's party ... Republicans offer our only hope in slowing the Obama "change" juggernaut before the America of unbridled optimism and opportunity goes the way of the buffalo. I don't want my great-grandchildren growing up in cradle-to-grave government care, where only the privileged few may afford a car, or own a home, or get non-rationed health care. The only institution positioned to stop the progression of the Obama welfare state is the Republican Party, coupled with independent-minded Americans like me. Second, the popular myth that the Democratic Party is the party of tolerance and big-tent ideas is spectacularly false. A fiscal conservative such as myself is treated by Obamaniacs like a ringing cell phone in church. "Shhhh!" they say. The only debate among Democrats is how fast and how deeply to run up the national debt. Any Democrat who questions deficit spending or a limit to federal power is simply not invited to the party. (lvrj.com)

Tide turns against Obama ... One of President Obama's favorite words is "unsustainable." It also happens to be the perfect description of his standing with the American people. Polls consistently find he is personally more popular than his major policies. That situation is unsustainable - something has to give. The first law of politics says the two must eventually get in sync. Bet that Obama's popularity will give. In part that's because, even if he wanted to, he can't undo the big policies the public doesn't like, especially his adding to the deficit and his aggressive push to get government more involved in private industry. (nydailynews.com)

GovMo: Obama's dead-end deal ... As a rock-ribbed conservative, I seldom agree with the socialist president of Venezuela. But it happened recently. "Hey, Obama has just nationalized nothing more and nothing less than General Motors. Comrade Obama!" Hugo Chávez declared during one of his customary rants on state TV. He added that if he and Cuba's Fidel Castro weren't "careful," they might "end up to (Obama's) right." Chavez has nationalized most of his country's economy. That's helped turn the country into a "repressed" economy in Heritage's annual Index of Economic Freedom. Crime, corruption, inflation and food scarcities prevail in Venezuela, even though the country has taken in hundreds of billions in oil revenues in recent years. That's because nationalization discourages private investment and innovation. So Chávez's oil production is likely to plummet, just as Mexico's has under a nationalist protection scheme. Americans have reason to be concerned as they watch our government go down a similar road with one of our critical industries: automobile manufacturing. On June 1, the federal government announced GM would enter bankruptcy protection. But not traditional bankruptcy. (thereporteronline.com)

Who drained the intestines of the Obama Administration? ... Providence has among the best-paid firefighters in the country. The union won't negotiate a minimum retirement age or do anything to reduce the exorbitant cost-of-living increases that for some ex-firefighters double pension payments every 11 years. One firefighter, a former chief, is collecting a disability pension that pays him $13,000 a month, tax-free. The city supports its firefighters with very high property taxes, but only 55 of the 459 live there. It was over such "grievances" that the Obama administration virtually boycotted a national mayors' conference. And Cicilline is a liberal Democrat. Suppose schoolteachers decide to picket September's G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh. Would Obama stay home? I don't know who drained the intestines of the Obama administration. Candidate Obama said not long ago, "Change happens because the American people ... rise up and insist on new ideas and a new leadership, a new politics for a new time." Would that he remember this. (thesunnews.com)

Dangerous precedent: Obama, Biden put Firefighters ahead of Mayors, economic recovery ... Usually sure-footed politically, the Obama administration last week erred seriously by letting a local picket line trigger the withdrawal of Vice President Biden and more than 100 federal officials from the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in Providence, R.I. The White House's stated reason - that it has prevailing policy to bar its officials from crossing union picket lines - may appear politically expedient for a liberal Democratic administration. But the White House undermined its own, and the nation's, interests by letting a firefighters union's contract dispute with Providence Mayor David Cicilline trigger an administration pullback from a crucial recession-time meeting to review agendas with America's top mayors. In addition to Biden, the array of officials told to stay away from the sessions included White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan and Deputy Secretary Ron Sims, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, Attorney General Eric Holder, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis. "We're shocked," said Tom Cochran, executive director of the mayors association. "Every time you go to one of these meetings, somebody is out in front protesting about this or that. ... We had high hopes for this administration. In a way,the White House has taken sides with the union against the mayors." (denverpost.com)

Foreign policy bedevils Obama ... President Obama is making mistakes impacting our foreign policy. The administration tried appeasement when it declared Venezeulan President Hugo Chávez's president-for-life referendum was "for the most part ... a process that was fully consistent with a democratic process." The administration looked the other way when Russia pressured Kyrgyzestan to shut down a valuable U.S. air base. In Turkey, Obama said "The United States is not, and never will be, at war with Islam," which is true, but he should have stated the U.S. will pursue Islamic terrorists. The president warned North Korea it would suffer "consequences" if it went ahead with the launch of a long-range missile, but North Korea snubbed the U.S. and launched the missile on a 2,000 mile run. Also, North Korea recently restarted its nuclear weapons development program. President Obama attempted to charm Iran, but Iran's parliament speaker rebuked our president and told him the U.S. has to acknowledge 60 years of crimes against Iran, change our policies and abandon Israel. Obama is making reconciliation overtures to Cuba, but Cuba is negotiating to allow Russian warships and aircraft to refuel at Cuban bases, and Russia might be allowed to reopen an electronic intelligence gathering operation in Lourdes. Appeasing and apologizing (for nothing) to these totalitarian countries is interpreted as groveling weakness by the administration, and it is jeopardizing our national security. (chillicothegazette.com)

Unionist selectman boss fumes as workers reject AFL-CIO ... Selectmen chairman Paul Feeney says he supported efforts to unionize Gillette Stadium tradesmen, and attended a planning meeting last week. The tradesmen ultimately took their first-ever vote on Monday, with the majority backing the status quo. The final score in the visitors locker room was 9 in favor and 14 against, said Dick Monks, an organizer for the Area Trades Council. Monks said some of the 26 Gillette tradesmen approached the council last October concerned about pay, layoffs and other issues. Feeney said that "it always helps to dictate the terms of your employment" through collective bargaining, especially during this tough economy. "Unfortunately, when you're an employee at will, you don't have that," said Feeney, a workplace steward within Verizon for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 2222. He is also a Verizon technician. The employees cannot vote again for one year, until June 15, 2010, Monks said. Feeney said the vote on Monday "is what it is." "Some campaigns are successful. Some aren't," he said. (foxbororeporter.com)

Anti-capitalist president picks another fight ... President Barack Obama said Saturday that current financial rules exploit consumers and he put critics of his proposed overhaul on notice: "While I'm not spoiling for a fight, I'm ready for one." Obama used his weekly radio and Internet address to defend his recent proposal, which is intended to prevent a repeat of the breakdown that has sent the U.S. economy reeling. But such major changes face a fight in Congress and opposition from some leaders in the banking and insurance industries. In the address, Obama focused on a consumer watchdog office that he wants to set up. "This is essential," Obama said. "For this crisis may have started on Wall Street. But its impacts have been felt by ordinary Americans who rely on credit cards, home loans and other financial instruments." (washingtonexaminer.com)

Unions demand fascistic labor law revision ... To the woman who thinks the Employee Free Choice Act is needed for minorities as well as women, I point out a few facts. Under current law, the decision of whether or not to form a union is usually left to the workers through a secret ballot election. That means that workers can choose, in private, whether they want to join a union. But in such an election, workers might not vote the "right" way. So unions have decided to get rid of secret ballot elections by convincing Congress to pass legislation falsely advertised as the Employee Free Choice Act, better known as Card Check. Under Card Check, union organizers would be free to "persuade" workers to publicly sign a card stating that they support the union. Union organizers could ask workers to sign a card just about anywhere — in the parking lot after work, at a restaurant, even at home. Once more than 50 percent sign cards, workers would be stuck with the union — no more debate and no secret ballot election. (poconorecord.com)

Unions to workers: Shut Up ... In my previous career, I worked for 30 years in manufacturing operations for two international companies. I worked in both non-union and union plants. I have worked with five different unions including the Teamsters and UAW. I have seen first hand the advantages of a non-union plant. Employees can talk with their supervisors and managers without the need for union representation. In a union-based operation, an employee can lose their individuality and their voice in the workplace. Their union representative often speaks for them. (reflector.com)

Workers go out on strike v. oppressive private cemetery ... Workers at a private North Vancouver cemetery are on strike, demanding their wage and benefit package be brought into line with other private and public funeral workers. Unionized employees at First Memorial Funeral Services on Lillooet Road went out on the picket line June 9. Workers have also walked off the job at a Vancouver funeral home and a Burnaby crematorium owned by First Memorial. (canada.com)

Labor-state Teamster big accused wrongly ... A union investigator said a New York City labor leader should be expelled from the Teamsters for ignoring accusations that a trucking company cheated a worker benefit fund. Investigator Robert Machado has filed a report with a federal judge recommending that Construction Union Alliance President Gary La Barbera be kicked out of the union for violating his fiduciary duties. The report said La Barbera failed to properly investigate allegations that a trucking company engaged in fraud to avoid paying $258,000 to a Teamsters benefits fund. La Barbera's lawyer said the report is baseless. Attorney Bruce Maffeo said prosecutors have already looked into the years-old allegations and cleared La Barbera of any criminal wrongdoing. (wcbstv.com)

International Collectivism

Anti-capitalist Chávez needs more cash ... President Hugo Chávez says he's asking for Russia's cooperation and hopes to sell oil at $100 a barrel. Chávez says he's sent Russian President Dmitri Medvedev a letter insisting that "big oil-producing countries unite." He said Saturday that the letter was sent with Vice President Ramon Carrizalez, who is expected to visit Moscow on Monday. Venezuela relies on oil for 93 percent of exports. But world oil prices have slumped 53 percent since their July peak, closing at $69.55 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Friday. The OPEC oil cartel has slashed production by 4.2 million barrels per day since September to boost prices. Oil producers Russia and Mexico are also selling less oil. (etaiwannews.com)
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