Tuesday wrap

Architects of U.S. Job Freeze celebrate at White House ... In a meeting with President Obama today at the White House, top labor leaders pushed for a second stimulus package to create more jobs. “Since the onset of the recession, this country has lost an astounding 6.5 million jobs and $14 trillion in wealth. "We support the President's recovery and reinvestment program, and we believe it should be substantially reinforced with more stimulus, creating millions of good jobs that cannot be outsourced," the National Labor Coordinating Committee (NLCC) said in a statement after the meeting. A labor official said Obama did not commit to any future stimulus package. The president met for approximately an hour this afternoon with more than a dozen labor leaders, including AFL-CIO president John Sweeney, SEIU President Andy Stern and Change to Win Chair Anna Burger. (blogs.abcnews.com)

Trojan Horse diverts critics of Obama-Dem dis-investment agenda ... A top aid to one of the union leaders present at a White House meeting with President Obama today said the president remains firmly committed to passage of the Employee Free Choice Act, the bill that would make it easier to unionize. “He told the leaders that his administration is firmly committed to the bill but as of now there is no formal timeline on when it would get to his desk,” the aid said. (pww.org)

And that's a good thing ... President Barack Obama's honeymoon with the American electorate is over, judging by his dropping poll numbers. And if it ever existed, Obama's honeymoon with Congressional Democrats has likewise suffered a messy, complicated demise. But the honeymoon's end is a good thing for the President, because, of course, once the honeymoon has run its course, the newly married begin their hard slog to building a durable marriage. (usliberals.about.com)

P2P alive & well: Obama officially cedes Auto Industry to UAW big ... Steve Rattner, the former New York investment banker who had overseen President Obama’s auto task force, is leaving his post and will be replaced by Ron Bloom, a former union official. An administration official said Rattner was leaving on his own. “He determined that this was the right decision for him and his family at this time,” said the administration official. (politico.com)

Obama credits Russia for ending Cold War ... Speaking to a group of students, our president explained it this way: "The American and Soviet armies were still massed in Europe, trained and ready to fight. The ideological trenches of the last century were roughly in place. Competition in everything from astrophysics to athletics was treated as a zero-sum game. If one person won, then the other person had to lose. And then within a few short years, the world as it was ceased to be. Make no mistake: This change did not come from any one nation. The Cold War reached a conclusion because of the actions of many nations over many years, and because the people of Russia and Eastern Europe stood up and decided that its end would be peaceful." The truth, of course, is that the Soviets ran a brutal, authoritarian regime. The KGB killed their opponents or dragged them off to the Gulag. There was no free press, no freedom of speech, no freedom of worship, no freedom of any kind. The basis of the Cold War was not "competition in astrophysics and athletics." It was a global battle between tyranny and freedom. The Soviet "sphere of influence" was delineated by walls and barbed wire and tanks and secret police to prevent people from escaping. America was an unmatched force for good in the world during the Cold War. The Soviets were not. The Cold War ended not because the Soviets decided it should but because they were no match for the forces of freedom and the commitment of free nations to defend liberty and defeat Communism. (online.wsj.com)

Why Progressives heart Hugo Chávez ... Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez is undoubtedly one of Latin America’s most recognizable political figures for his provincial code of behavior—from incendiary statements against George W. Bush to a failed attempt to hug Queen Elizabeth II—and for his “Bolivarian Revolution,” a political agenda that, he claims, resembles the ideals of Simón Bolivar, one of the iconic leaders who contributed to the independence of several South American nations from the Spanish monarchy in the early 1800s. (americanprogress.org)

Sotomayor in a nutshell

Terrorists for Obama confer in Chicago ... Honduras? The president is on the wrong side of this one, too. As Hondurans have demanded adherence to their Constitution, the Obama administration has sided with a protege of Hugo Chávez and the Castro brothers who tried to obliterate it. Terrorists in waiting mostly remained in the shadows during the Bush administration, but now think they can meet openly to plot the downfall of the United States. Hizb ut-Tahrir, an international movement that wants to re-establish a Caliphate and indoctrinate Muslims into supporting jihad, will step up its recruitment efforts at a planned meeting July 19 in a Chicago suburb, reports the Investigative Project on Terrorism. "The group, whose alumni include 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and suicide bombers, will hold a conference entitled 'The Fall of Capitalism and the Rise of Islam.'" Why should they fear a president who still wants to negotiate with the Iranian nuclear bomb builder Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? There is nothing worse for the world than to have a president of the United States who is perceived as weak. Weakness can result in the deaths of innocent people, a wrecked economy (again) and new attacks on American allies and interests around the world. This perception of weakness may be contributing to the drop in President Obama's approval ratings. (townhall.com)

U.S. aligns with LatAm DINOs ... In some countries, this ferment has created an opening for populist leaders who trade in radical solutions and the politics of grievance. Politicians like President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, President Evo Morales of Bolivia, President Rafael Correa of Ecuador, and President Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua promise to put the poor first. But they have done so via policies that are economically unsustainable, socially polarizing, and destructive to democracy. (worldpoliticsreview.com)

WaPo shines a light on officials' LatAm hypocrisy ... The Organization of American States is applying a "double standard" because their members rushed to reinstate in power the ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya without addressing the threats to democracy from Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, said an op-ed published on Monday by the Washington Post. The opinion article, signed by Jackson Diehl, the Deputy Editorial Page Editor of the US newspaper, highlights the hunger strike staged by Caracas mayor Antonio Ledezma, an opposition leader who was elected metropolitan mayor of Caracas in elections held last November but has been illegally driven from office as the Administration of Chávez has stripped him of power and funding. Ledezma "has embarked on a lonely effort to draw attention to the double standard that has lately governed violations of political and human rights in the region," the article said, as reported by AP. (english.eluniversal.com)

Obama-related, union-backed community organizers test innovative tactic ... So, how does a company that doesn’t seem to have any employees, no place of business, and no actual product for sale find the ability to promise that it can create 3,000 employees practically overnight? It appears as if the answer to that is when ACORN is backing you amazing financial arrangements can be made. The links between Smosska and the troubled community group weren’t openly admitted, to be sure. The Florence Better Business Bureau looked into the company after questions were raised about its odd characteristics. The BBB found that Smosska is being backed by a group called Organizers for America, which itself is a subsidiary of the National Organizers Alliance, which itself is affiliated with ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, the nationally troubled group associated with massive voter fraud, financial irregularities. Of course, all were heavy Obama campaign backers. NOA is also heavily engaged with unions via training their employees for “community activism.” So, what does Smosska do? Its website claims that the company makes electronically readable ID cards with a patient’s medical history imprinted upon them. But there is no indication that a single card has ever been made since the company was incorporated in 2001. (theunionlabelblog.com)

Dem Gov: Worker-choice is not an option ... Gov. Gregoire recently commented there is no legislative solution to a “no-strike” agreement between the Machinists union and Boeing. That is not the case. The Legislature can vote to change Washington to a “right-to-work” state. Four strikes in 20 years in heavy aviation manufacturing is the equivalent of regional economic epilepsy. Washington has clear advantage over South Carolina in experienced labor, plus mature infrastructure and supplier bases. These advantages are moot because Boeing can’t make guarantees to customers. “Right-to-work” tips the scale in South Carolina’s favor. Correcting this costs taxpayers nothing. Employees voluntarily pay for representation without being coerced by law. It’s true in South Carolina, where the Machinists union recently negotiated its current deal with Vought. (heraldnet.com)

SEIU in typical labor-state human chain ... More than 1,000 members of a union that represents janitors, social workers, nurses and other county employees will join hands today to form a human chain around Riverside County's Administrative Center to protest plans to cut wages and benefits. With only two weeks remaining before a county-threatened negotiation deadline, Service Employees International Union Local 721 and the county have been at odds over a new three-year collective bargaining agreement. (mydesert.com)

UFCW organizers drive grocer to ruin ... Arizona hometown grocer Bashas' Supermarkets Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection late Sunday, hoping to buy time and money to ride out the recession. Executives at the Chandler-based string of 158 Bashas', Food City and AJ's Fine Foods markets (156 in Arizona) say the company has been squeezed to the breaking point by tight credit conditions, aggressive competitors and by increasingly cost-conscious consumers who are buying beans and pasta instead of steak. Edward "Trey" Basha, company senior vice president, attributed the decision to seek bankruptcy protection to lower sales, a shortage of capital and ongoing battles with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. (azcentral.com)

Maine seeks to rebuild Middle Class ... When legislators return to Augusta in January, there is one bill that proposes to eliminate the right to a secret ballot election. LD 934, "An Act to Clarify Public Sector Employee Fair Choice in Collective Bargaining" introduced by Sen. Troy Jackson of Fort Kent is on the list of carry-over bills. Here's what the bill's summary says: "Under current law, if a state employee organization or public employee organization files a request with a public employer alleging that a majority of the employees in an appropriate bargaining unit wish to be represented for the purpose of collective bargaining, the public employer may request an election to determine whether there exists majority support among the employees for such representation. This bill provides instead that the public employer may request an inspection of the evidence of written majority authorization on the part of the employees." This bill eliminates the right of any public sector employer in Maine (towns, counties, government agencies, etc.) to call for an election. The bill strikes the word "election" and substitutes it with the word "inspection". Worse yet, the bill exposes our state, county and municipal workers to potential coercion - just like the federal card check bill that also is known as the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). What's also troubling with this bill is there is no evidence that the system is broken. Employers in both the public and private sectors should be concerned with this attempt to circumvent the secret ballot. The right of workers to organize for purposes of collective bargaining is an important backstop to employer practices that are unfair or unsafe. This measure, however, is simply an invitation to abuse a system that currently serves the interests of employers, employees and the taxpayers. (exceptionmag.com)

SEIU goes to war v. working class ... Q: Where did you get the idea of the war room you’ve set up in SEIU’s Washington headquarters and what are you doing with it? Denis Rivera: In one of the conversations with [SEIU President Andy Stern] I suggested we have [a war room] like we did in New York, on our seventh floor. We are running it like it is a presidential campaign, but as I told other people, our 'candidate' is basically health care reform. We have folks who are doing constant research about what the opposition is doing. We have a media response team and we have research of what those people are doing. At the same time our lobbying team is keeping track of all of the members in the committees of jurisdiction and what positions they’re taking on the issues that are important to us as they relate to health care reform. We and our coalition partners are close to assembling, in our own respective organizations, close to 100 million Americans by name, address, phone number, and e-mail address. In SEIU alone we have 32 million of them. Just the other day, we sent 600,000 e-mails with a message. From soup to nuts we’re trying to manage this process in a more efficient way, as opposed to what happened in ’93 and ’94, when we didn’t have any of this technology. (kaiserhealthnews.org)

Steelworker strikers err on timing ... As thousands of miners hit the picket lines at Vale Inco’s nickel operations in Sudbury, Ont., Monday demanding a better labour contract, analysts said the strike might work in the company’s favour, at least in the near term. The mine was shut for two months on June 1 in an attempt to handle oversupply of the metal, which means the labour stoppage won’t have an impact until at least early August. "End-user demand for stainless steel remains quite weak, and because of that I suspect the company may not feel very obliged to very quickly bring the strike to an end because it’s going to tighten the market," said Patricia Mohr, commodity market specialist at Scotiabank. (thechronicleherald.ca)

Strikebreakers plague tourists ... A spokeswoman for IBEW Local 1547 said Monday that 17 workers at Denali National Park and Preserve remain on strike. The bus mechanics, radio technicians and warehouse workers have been negotiating for better pay and benefits since January. Temporary workers have been brought in by Doyon/ARAMARK J.V., which is responsible for bus service at the popular tourist destination. (newsminer.com)
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