Bloodbaths, lies, and after 2

The pretense continues that “the rebels’ – a crowd of untrained Libyans dangerously armed – achieved the conquest of Tripoli and now the defeat of Gaddafi’s last defenders in Sirte and his capture.

Here is a report from the Telegraph in which the writer tries to uphold the internationally agreed lie, while yet supplying the information that a US drone guided from the Nevada desert, and French bombers, and British “advisers” – actually strategists and leaders and, probably, effective fighters in sufficient number – ended Gaddafi’s forces’ last stand and flushed out the man.

Deep in the lunar landscape of the Nevada desert, American specialists trained to their computer screens spotted unusual activity at around 7.30am in District Two. From their windowless bunker, lit by constantly flickering computer screens, the analysts directed their unmanned Predator drones to zoom in on the convoy [of trucks] as it picked up speed and headed west. Nato’s eyes were suddenly trained on Gaddafi’s convoy.

Around 40 miles off the Libyan coast a Nato AWAC early-warning surveillance aircraft, flying over the Mediterranean, took control of the battle and warned two French jets that a loyalist convoy was attempting to leave Sirte.

As the convoy sped west, a Hellfire missile was fired from the Predator and destroyed the first vehicle in the convoy.

By now, the NTC troops had realised that the loyalists were escaping and a small number of lightly armed rebels began to give chase.

To me it seemed like a wild, chaotic situation. But we now know that it had, in fact, been foreseen by the British SAS and their special forces allies, who were advising the NTC forces.

British military sources have told The Sunday Telegraph that small teams of SAS soldiers on the ground in Sirte, armed but under strict orders not to get involved, had warned them throughout the siege to be alert to the fleeing of loyalists.

Assisted by other special forces – in particular the Qataris [put in because they’re Arabs which makes it okay if they have “boots on the ground”? – JB]  with whom the SAS have a long relationship dating back 20 years – the SAS tried to impress on the Libyans the need to cover all escape routes.

But despite the advice, the breakout seems to have taken the rebels on the Zafran front completely by surprise.

In the previous two weeks I had repeatedly seen the militiamen fail to hold forward positions at night as they fell back to their encampments. Again and again loyalists had used cover of darkness to surprise the militiamen and manoeuvre into new firing positions.

Once more their surveillance was lax, and one rebel fighter confessed to me that in the early hours of Thursday they had failed to keep proper watch on the western front and they were surprised by the convoy. …

At this point the SAS urged the NTC [National Transitional Council] leaders to move their troops to exits points across the city and close their stranglehold.

After the Hellfire missile struck its target, the convoy changed direction, possibly hoping to avoid a further strike, before heading west again. It had begun to fracture into several different groups of vehicles.

The French jets were also given permission to join the attack.

By now a group of 20 vehicles in the convoy had reached a point around three miles west of the city. The shattered streets had been left behind, and the convoy had halted next to a walled electricity sub station, in arid farmland dotted with breeze block compounds and trees.

Just then, the French pilot began his bombing run, seconds later releasing two 500lb GBU-12 laser-guided bombs, into the centre of the convoy.

The bombs unleashed massive force. Arriving at the site, a few hours later, their devastating power was clear to see: at least a dozen vehicles were shredded and burned out, while I counted more than 25 bodies, some lying twisted and charred inside the vehicles and others lying in clumps nearby.

The air strike marked the end of any attempt at an ordered retreat and the convoy’s remnants scattered. …

Col Gaddafi had survived the air strike, but was apparently wounded in the legs. With his companions dead or dispersed, he now had few options.

He and a handful of men … appeared to have made their way 300 yards north from the devastation and taken shelter in a drainage culvert running under a dual carriageway. …

Members of the Al Watan revolutionary brigade who had been following the convoy at a distance witnessed the explosion, but at that point still had no idea who was in the vehicles.

Saleem Bakeer, a rebel fighter who said he was among those who came across Gaddafi hiding in the pipes said they had approached on foot.

“One of Gaddafi’s men came out waving his rifle in the air and shouting surrender, but as soon as he saw my face he started shooting at me,” he said.

“Then I think Gaddafi must have told them to stop. ‘My master is here, my master is here’, he said, ‘Muammar Gaddafi is here and he is wounded’.”

“We went in and brought Gaddafi out. He was saying: ‘What’s wrong? What’s wrong? What’s going on?'”

The initial astonishment [on the part of the rebels] appears to have quickly switched to jubilation, and then rage.

“I don’t think that anyone thought he would be there, we all thought that he would be in the south, or maybe across in Niger or Algeria. We were as shocked as he was at first,” said Abdullah Hakim Husseini, one of the band of men who found him. “We were so happy when we knew it was him. I thought, ‘at last, it’s all over’.”

Mobile phone footage shows Col Gaddafi alive but weak and bloodied, with blows raining down on him from frenzied fighters. At one point he was hauled onto the bonnet of a pickup truck, then pulled down by his hair. His weighty golden gun, intricately engraved and decorated with the words “The sun will never set on the Al Fattah revolution”, was snatched by one of the revolutionaries. His satellite phone was seized, and it was later discovered that he had made one last call to Syria.

Omran el Oweyb, the commander who captured Gaddafi, said that he only managed to stagger ten steps before he fell to the ground. …

One rebel was heard screaming in his face: “This is for Misurata, you dog.”

Gaddafi – confused, bloodied, stumbling – can be heard to reply, in what could be his last, laughably philosophical words: “Do you know right from wrong?”

What happened in the next minutes is the subject of intense controversy. Sometime in the next hours or minutes he died of a bullet wound to the left temple. The official NTC account says he was caught in crossfire as he was being driven to hospital. …

However the ambulance driver who ferried him said Col Gaddafi was already dead when he was loaded into the ambulance, around 500 yards from his point of capture.

One NTC member, who did not want to be named, admitted that this version of events was likely. “They beat him very harshly and then they killed him,” he said. “This is a war.”

So British SAS soldiers directed the last battle on the ground.

A Hellfire missile and bombs released from French planes hit the truck-convoy in which Gaddafi was trying to flee from Sirte. Gaddafi and at least one of his men sought shelter in a large drainpipe. And only then the Libyan savages moved in for the kill.

This is also from the Telegraph:

In Benghazi, on the main square where it all started, they were slaughtering camels in celebration. … They daubed their hands in the camel-blood, and gave the V-for-victory sign with dripping fingers. …

In the cafes, people were watching TV pictures – more graphic than any shown in Britain – of a bloodied Gaddafi dragged along and beaten, feebly protesting, before a gun was put to his head.

The picture then cut to the dead ex-leader being rolled onto the pavement, blood pooling from the back of his skull.

Gaddafi’s death is already showing up some of the weaknesses of Libya’s new rulers.

The claim by the interim prime minister, Mahmoud Jibril, that he was killed in “crossfire” looks ever more false with every new piece of video.

Both he and his son Mutassim were alive when captured, and dead soon after. A statement by an anonymous NTC source that “they beat [Gaddafi] and they killed him” seems closer to the mark.

But Mr Jibril angrily rejected demands by the United Nations and some in the West for a proper investigation into the circumstances of Gaddafi’s death.

“People in the West don’t understand the agony and pain that the people went through during the past 42 years,” he said.

The dictator’s treatment – before and after death – underlines that Libya does not have a government, or a state with functioning standards, only a collection of militias.

After he was killed, his [torn and bloodied] body was taken by the Misurata militia and put on display in a shopping centre, where yesterday the corpses of his slain son Mutassim and Gaddafi’s army chief, Abu Bakr, were placed alongside.

Libyans from hundreds of miles away came to queue up and, some wearing gloves and masks, view the three bodies. …

The various militias are quarreling over who should take possession of the corpses. It is a harbinger of fiercer quarrels to come. Trouble looms.

Most of the militias are based on a particular town, financed and commanded largely autonomously. Gaddafi’s death means that the main thing which united them – the war against him – is over. Now, the many rivalries and disputes between them, and between them and the NTC, may come to the fore. …

The NTC is indeed going to vanish: Mr Jibril, along with the rest of the council, have already said they will serve only until elections in eight months’ time, and he repeated that yesterday. Eight months is quite enough time for political disputes to fester and harden into something more serious.

Such as more civil war?

This comes from DebkaFile:

[National Transitional Council leader] Mustafa Abdul-Jalil will be little more than a figurehead. Even now, he is confined in Benghazi by three strongmen, who control most parts of the capital, and have not given him permission to move the seat of the interim government to Tripoli. …

The regime taking shape could not be further from the Western ideal of a free democracy.

Behind the grisly images of Muammar Qaddafi’s last moments spilling out since Thursday, Oct. 20, a quiet contest is afoot between the US and at least two NATO allies, France and Germany, over who deserves the credit for his termination and therefore for ending the alliance’s military role in Libya.

American sources are willing to admit that US drones operated by pilots from Las Vegas pinpointed the fugitive ruler’s hideout in Sirte and kept the building under surveillance for two weeks, surrounded by US and British forces.

Both therefore had boots on the ground in breach of the UN mandate which limited NATO military intervention in Libya to air strikes.

According to the London Daily Telegraph, his presence in the convoy was first picked up by the USAF River Joint RC-135V/W intelligence signals plane, which passed the information to French warplanes overhead who then carried out the strike on Qaddafi’s vehicle.

The German Der Spiegel reported Monday, Oct. 24, that the tip revealing Qaddafi’s last hiding place came from German BND intelligence agents. Although Chancellor Angela Merkel was dead against German participation in the NATO operation in Libya, the BND nonetheless played an important role in intelligence-gathering.

It is increasingly obvious now that without the active intervention of the US, Britain, France and Germany, the anti-Qaddafi rebels on their own would never have beaten Qaddafi or been able to end his life.

As usual, however, the foreign offices of all the NATO countries involved in the operation will follow a long established custom of the Western powers and allow the Arabs to lie.

The lie will be that the people of Libya overthrew a tyrant. The truth will be that they’ll instate an Islamic regime in his stead; and the West, for all its talk of helping Libya become a free democracy, will not raise a finger to prevent that from happening.

Beggar-nations 3

Socialist economics don’t work. The welfare states of Europe are falling into ruin one after another. Greece, Ireland, Portugal have become beggar-nations.

Now Spain.

Soeren Kern writes at PajamasMedia:

Throngs of Spanish youth have gathered in more than 150 cities across Spain to protest skyrocketing unemployment, cutbacks to social welfare benefits, and rampant corruption among Spain’s political elite. …

The Spanish protesters have been inspired [perhaps] by the pro-democracy movements in the Arab world, and are using social media networks to coordinate the demonstrations. …

The largest protests have been in Madrid … Protests are under way in other major Spanish cities, including Barcelona, Bilbao, Granada, Palma de Mallorca, Santiago de Compostela, Seville, Valencia, Vigo, and Zaragoza. The protestors have vowed to remain mobilized at least through the May 22 elections

Up until now, anti-government protests in Spain have been relatively few and far between, partly because of the strong ties that labor unions have with the ruling Socialists. But Spain’s nascent youth democracy movement is a spontaneous grassroots groundswell that is not left versus right but rather young versus old. The youth movement is highly inclusive and its members — who represent all of Spain’s socio-economic classes — have expressed disgust with both the governing Socialists and the main opposition conservative Popular Party. …

Corruption in Spain is endemic and politicians from both major parties have been implicated in scandals in all of Spain’s 48 provinces. …

Spain’s ailing economy too is a symptom of much broader problem, including the inability of the social welfare economic model to create jobs, as well as a highly paternalistic labor market that benefits an older generation seeking to preserve the status quo. Although Spain’s economic crisis has affected workers in all age groups, youth unemployment is more than double the overall jobless rate of 21.2 percent, the highest in the industrialized world. Around half of Spain’s youth are unemployed and the other half that is working often does so under highly exploitative employment conditions. …

Opinion polls forecast devastating losses for the Socialists. … Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero announced on April 2 that he would not stand for a third term in general elections scheduled for March 2012. …

But all major parties in Europe now are socialist, no matter what they call themselves, and an Opposition coming into power is unlikely to make any difference.

Mariano Rajoy, the leader of the conservative Popular Party, stands to make huge gains in the elections … But after eight years in the opposition and after many months on the campaign trail, he has yet to say how he plans to reverse Spain’s economic fortunes if he finally becomes prime minister …

And Richard Fernandez reports and comments, also at PajamasMedia:

When Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero took power seven years ago, he and his Socialist Workers Party set out to perfect the welfare state in Spain. The goal was to equal— or even surpass — lavish social protections that have long been the rule in Spain’s Western European neighbors.

True to his Socialist principles and riding an economic boom, Zapatero raised the minimum wage and extended health insurance to cover everything from sniffles to sex-changes. He made scholarships available for all. Young adults got rent subsidies called “emancipation” money. Mothers got $3,500 for the birth of a child, toddlers attended free nurseries and the elderly won stipends to finance nursing care. … [But his] main concern in his second term has become hacking away at government spending to preserve Spain’s credit rating. The icon of socialism just concluded a pact with labor unions and business leaders to freeze pensions, push back the retirement age from 65 to 67, trim union bargaining rights, cut civil servants’ pay by 5 percent — including his own — and suspend the childbirth bonus. The alternative, he warned, was bankruptcy. …

Now Zapatero is facing a revolt from his angry left, from the millions of socialist believers and youth — many of whom are unemployed — who were promised something for nothing and now feel betrayed.

They insist on getting “something for nothing”. They want “free “ health care, fat pensions from an early retirement age, rent subsidies, childbirth bonuses, scholarships for all – and full employment. But where will the money come from? To whom can any Spanish government turn? To Germany? Germans feel they’ve given more than enough to failed Eurostates (that shoud never have been allowed to join the Eurozone in the first place). To the International Monetary Fund (an agency that redistributes wealth on a global scale)?

Greece had hopes of getting a hand-out from the IMF. Its erstwhile head, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, was sympathetic to its importuning. But he is being held under house arrest in New York, charged with sexual assault, and has lost his powerful position, so the Greek government may hold out its trembling hands for alms in vain.

But even had their champion been at liberty to promote a second bailout, there was no guarantee that Greece would not default eventually and descend into social unrest. …

In Athens, home to almost half of Greece’s 11 million-strong population, the signs of austerity – and poverty – are everywhere: in the homeless and hungry who forage through municipal rubbish bins late at night; in the cash-strapped pensioners who pick up rejects at the street markets that sell fruit and vegetables; in the shops now boarded and closed and in the thousands of ordinary Greeks who can no longer afford to take family outings or regularly eat meat.

There were economists who could have told the European politicians that their socialist policies would bankrupt them. Could have and did. But government after government would not heed the warnings. Now they are learning the hard way, to their shock and distress, that what has been proved unworkable in theory doesn’t work in practice.

Is there any point in hoping that the American Left is taking note?

Zapatero’s problems are a preview of the fate which awaits a left-wing politician who promises to lower the level of the oceans and winds up raising the price of gas.

The once and future Republican Party 3

Is the  Republican Party again being true to its tradition of standing for progress and liberalism in the proper meaning of those two words? Slowly, and maybe only because of heavy pressure from the Tea Party, it is inching in the right direction and may yet save America from the economic and political calamities Obama has organized for the nation. It must overcome its timidity and recover the boldness that characterized it in the past.

Let’s recall some of the achievements of its bold past. For one thing, the Republican Party has always, from its inception, been the party that best served the interests of black Americans. Is it now?

In his Townhall column today, titled Blacks and Republicans, Thomas Sowell writes:

Blacks are being forced out of San Francisco, and out of other communities on the San Francisco peninsula, by high housing prices.

At one time, housing prices in San Francisco were much like housing prices elsewhere in the country. But the building restrictions– and outright bans– resulting from the political crusades of environmentalist zealots sent housing prices skyrocketing in San Francisco, San Jose and most of the communities in between. Housing prices in these communities soared to about three times the national average. …

With all the Republican politicians’ laments about how overwhelmingly blacks vote for Democrats, I have yet to hear a Republican politician publicly point out the harm to blacks from such policies of the Democrats as severe housing restrictions, resulting from catering to environmental extremists.

If the Republicans did point out such things as building restrictions that make it hard for most blacks to afford housing, even in places where they once lived, they would have the Democrats at a complete disadvantage.

It would be impossible for the Democrats to deny the facts, not only in coastal California but in similar affluent strongholds of liberal Democrats around the country. Moreover, environmental zealots are such an important part of the Democrats’ constituencies that Democratic politicians could not change their policies.

Although Republicans would have a strong case, none of that matters when they don’t make the case in the first place. The same is true of the effects of minimum wage laws on the high rate of unemployment among black youths. Again, the facts are undeniable, and the Democrats cannot change their policy, because they are beholden to labor unions that advocate higher minimum wages.

Yet another area in which Democrats are boxed in politically is their making job protection for members of teachers’ unions more important than improving education for students in the public schools. No one loses more from this policy than blacks, for many of whom education is their only chance for economic advancement.

But none of this matters so long as Republicans who want the black vote think they have to devise earmarked benefits for blacks, instead of explaining how Republicans’ general principles, applied to all Americans, can do more for blacks than the Democrats’ welfare state approach.

As we stressed in our post, Democrats for slavery, secession, segregation, socialism, December 7, 2009: The Republican Party was founded to end slavery, and the greatest fighter of them all against slavery was Republican President Abe Lincoln.

Lincoln was personally responsible for making the Thirteenth Amendment what it is – the amendment that forbids slavery in the United States of America.

This is from Great American History:

The final version of the Thirteenth Amendment – the one ending slavery – has an interesting story of its own. Passed during the Civil War years, when southern congressional representatives were not present for debate, one would think today that it must have easily passed both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Not true. As a matter of fact, although passed in April 1864 by the Senate, with a vote of 38 to 6, the required two-thirds majority was defeated in the House of Representatives by a vote of 93 to 65. Abolishing slavery was almost exclusively a Republican party effort – only four Democrats voted for it.

It was then that President Abraham Lincoln took an active role in pushing it through congress. He insisted that the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment be added to the Republican party platform for the upcoming presidential elections. He used all of his political skill and influence to convince additional democrats to support the amendments’ passage. His efforts finally met with success, when the House passed the bill in January 1865 with a vote of 119-56. Finally, Lincoln supported those congressmen that insisted southern state legislatures must adopt the Thirteenth Amendment before their states would be allowed to return with full rights to Congress.

And the Republican Party continued to be the pro-black party, fighting Democratic racism. In fact, all the important genuinely “progressive” legislation was passed by the Republicans, as this article relates:

Republicans in Congress also enacted the nation’s first-ever Civil Rights Act, which extended citizenship and equal rights to people of all races, all colors, and all creeds.In 1875, the Republicans expanded these protections to give all citizens the right of equal access to all public accommodations. Struck down by the Supreme Court eight years later, this landmark legislation would be reborn as the 1964 Civil Rights Act..

Which only became law after overcoming a Democratic filibuster.

Every single African-American in Congress until 1935 was a Republican. Among the Republican pioneers were South Carolina’s Joseph Rainey, the first black member of the House of Representatives, in 1870. Republican Hiram Revels of Mississippi became the first black U. S. Senator the same year. Two years later, Pinckney Pinchback of Louisiana became the nation’s first black Governor…

Democratic opposition to Republican efforts to protect the civil rights of all Americans lasted not only throughout Reconstruction, but well into the 20th century. In the South, those Democrats who most bitterly opposed equality for blacks founded the Ku Klux Klan, which operated as the party’s terrorist  wing.

Women’s emancipation was also effected chiefly by Republicans:

Republicans led the fight for women’s rights, and most suffragists were Republicans. In fact, Susan B. Anthony bragged about how, after voting (illegally) in 1872, she had voted a straight Republican ticket. The suffragists included two African-American women who were also co-founders of the NAACP: Ida Wells and Mary Terrell, great Republicans, both of them. …

It was in 1916 that the first woman was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, Republican Jeannette Rankin. The first woman mayor was elected in 1926, the Honorable Bertha Landes of Seattle, another great Republican.

California was the first state to have a Hispanic governor, Republican Romualdo Pacheco, in 1875. The first Hispanic U. S. Senator, Octaviano Larrazolo, came to Washington from New Mexico as a Republican in 1928. The first Jewish U.S. Senator outside the former Confederacy was a Republican from Oregon, Joseph Simon, and the first Jewish woman to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives was a California Republican, Florence Kahn. …

The first woman on the Supreme Court was a Republican [at least she was when she was appointed -JB], Sandra Day O’Connor.

The first Asian-Americans and Hispanics appointed to powerful positions were Republicans:

The first Asian-American U.S. Senator was a Republican, Hiram Fong from Hawaii. The first African-American Senator after Reconstruction was a Republican, Ed Brooke from Massachusetts. The first Asian-American federal judge was a Republican, Herbert Choy… The first Hispanic presidential Cabinet member was a Republican, Lauro Cavazos, Secretary of Education under Ronald Reagan.

What the Republicans need now is a powerful leader who will succeed as president the incompetent, ignorant, immature community-organizer who bends to the left and bows to Islam.

We have not yet spotted him or her.

Much in demand 0

We are not fans of President Kennedy. Our “greatest president of the 20th century” is Ronald Reagan. But we agree with the point of this cartoon.

Political Cartoons by Gary Varvel

Posted under Commentary, Economics, Humor, Progressivism, Socialism, trade unions, United States by Jillian Becker on Sunday, March 13, 2011

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The trade union racket 2

We are opposed to all forms and uses of collectivism, including collective bargaining. We are against trade unions as such, and most emphatically against unions of public employees.

Matthew Vadum is of the same opinion, as he explains in this article at Front Page:

Bloated, rapacious, violent public employee unions indifferent to the suffering and social decay to which they contribute have been eating Wisconsin and other states alive for decades.

They’re not giving up their elite status without a massive fight and they don’t care if they take the whole nation down with them into the abyss. …

The backlash against … the unions’ legalized thuggery continues to build. Wisconsinites want their elected officials to balance the books, but the spendthrift unions won’t allow that to happen. Outraged that they may finally be held to account for their many abuses, participants in the labor movement are … using the seductive language of rights to defend the fat cat government worker unions.

Of course, rights have nothing to do with this …

[But] this rhetoric, which masks the fact that these rights are actually privileges, has served the grasping racketeers of organized labor well over the years, even though it is predicated on a fraud.

That fraud is known as group “rights.” It is the idea that when a group of people get together they somehow magically gain rights that supersede the rights they hold as individuals. It is a lethal, misanthropic fallacy that negates the very spirit of 1776.

Contrary to the fairy tales told by leftist professors, the idea of group rights was antithetical to the Enlightenment-era thinking of the Framers. They understood that a collective right is not a right at all … They would never have wanted to extinguish the right of individual workers to walk away from union-negotiated contracts. The Constitution mandated the most exquisite protection of individual rights and treated the right to enter into a contract, in particular, as sacrosanct.

But this all-American reverence for individual rights gave way to pressure over time. As organized labor became increasingly violent and troublesome, eventually, lawmakers grew weary of the unrest fomented by radical agitators. Worn-down, shell-shocked politicians purchased so-called labor peace by selling out the U.S. Constitution. How exactly did they betray it? They ignored the fact that America’s great national charter protects the right of individuals to freely associate with others. At the same time, it does not protect any purported group rights.

Legislatures across the country have also gone out of their way to exempt labor unions from antitrust laws, which is one of the reasons they run wild today. It was a mistake, and it was compounded exponentially when policymakers decided to let government employees form unions, since public employee unions can never serve the public interest. … Government workers … merely negotiate for more tax money. When government unions strike, they strike against taxpayers.

Public employee unions, which are always willing to collude with politicians against the common good, inexorably lead the jurisdictions they infest to fiscal ruin and discontent. Look across America. Look at strike-crazed Europe where socialism has never secured labor peace. …

A community organizer and labor agitator is in the White House sending DNC-approved goon squads to Wisconsin to reinforce the dirty hippies and labor activists threatening Republican lawmakers with violence. …

The labor movement is in complete and utter denial, unable to see the freight train of fiscal reality barreling down the tracks toward it, and there’s something really beautiful about that. …

The great Thomas Sowell writes at Townhall on the same subject, and makes the same case:

The most fundamental fact about labor unions is that they do not create any wealth. They are one of a growing number of institutions which specialize in siphoning off wealth created by others, whether those others are businesses or the taxpayers.

There are limits to how long unions can siphon off money from businesses, without facing serious economic repercussions. …

Higher wage rates led coal companies to replace many miners with machines.

The net result was a huge decline in employment in the coal mining industry, leaving many mining towns virtually ghost towns by the 1960s. …

Similar things happened in the unionized steel industry and in the unionized automobile industry. At one time, U.S. Steel was the largest steel producer in the world and General Motors the largest automobile manufacturer. No more. Their unions were riding high in their heyday, but they too discovered that there is no free lunch, as their members lost jobs by the hundreds of thousands.

Workers have … over the years, increasingly voted against being represented by unions in secret ballot elections.

One set of workers, however, remained largely immune to such repercussions. These are government workers represented by public sector unions.

While oil could replace coal, while U.S. Steel dropped from number one in the world to number ten, and Toyota could replace General Motors as the world’s leading producer of cars, government is a monopoly. Nobody is likely to replace the federal or state bureaucracies, no matter how much money the unions drain from the taxpayers.

That is why government unions continue to thrive while private sector unions decline. Taxpayers provide their free lunch.

Against schools 8

Except for the convenience of parents who need or like to put their children in the responsible care of others while they work or just take a break from parenting, physical schools for children are no longer needed. It’s perfectly possible now for children to be educated without being assembled in classrooms. The internet is the ideal resource. A child needs a safe room,  a computer, and at least until mid-adolescence, adequate supervision. Given those, the chances are he’ll get a far better education than he’d get at school.

His “social needs”? No reason why his learning on the net should deprive him of companionship, debate, competition, and everything else that a group of  peers provides in the classroom and playground.

Not only are classrooms anachronistic and unnecessary, what is being taught in them is positively bad.

In general, what is being taught now in the schools of the English-speaking world are not the old subjects of Science, Math, English, History, Geography. The new subjects are Self-esteem, Exploring Sexuality, Multiculturalism, Anti-Racism, Climate Change, and Social Justice.

  • Self-Esteem:  lessons on “rights”. Your right to health care, to a really nice house, to certificates of qualification, to a really nice job with a really nice salary, and air time on TV.
  • Exploring Sexuality: lessons on what a body can do alone, with another, with many others, and how to avoid reproducing when you do some of it.
  • Multiculturalism: lessons on Islam, how to submit to it and even better how to become a Muslim.
  • Anti-Racism: lessons on how whites are racists.
  • Climate Change: lessons on the importance of recycling and keeping down emissions, with a regular showing of Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth”.
  • Social Justice:  lessons on wealth redistribution by government to ensure economic equality.

True, these subjects would probably be abandoned by the home-school parent and child, but – also true – it would be a good thing if they were.

Furthermore, the abolition of schools for children would save a lot of money. It would also break the power of the teachers’ unions.

There is no downside to the idea.

Trade union corruption and Democratic lawlessness 0

At PajamasMedia, Peter Ferrara explains why government employees should not be in trade unions:

Government employees … work for democratically elected officials representing the will of the people. This is just one reason why there is no legitimate role for government unions, and there should be no collective bargaining rights for public servants.

Since public servants work for the people, their wages, benefits, and working conditions are set in accordance with the will of the people, as determined by the democratic process. This is why it is not legitimate to ask the people to compromise with public servants in collective bargaining. And this is why the pay, benefits, and working conditions for federal workers are set by acts of Congress, not through collective bargaining.

If public servants do not like the pay, benefits, and working conditions offered to them by the people as determined through the democratic process, nothing requires them to be public servants.

Since public servants work for the people, any strike by them would be a strike against the people. The government cannot allow the essential public services it provides to be shut down while it negotiates the pay, benefits, and working conditions for public servants through collective bargaining. …

Government unions themselves can choose who negotiates with them on behalf of the people, through their votes and political support. In return for lavish pay and benefits far exceeding private compensation, the unions provide a kickback in campaign contributions and muscle to their political benefactors, financed by the taxpayers. This inherent conflict of interest involved in government unions leads to oppressive political corruption, where there is no political limit as well as no market limit to the plunder of the public by government unions.

He goes on to discuss what is happening in Wisconsin:

What is at stake in Wisconsin is whether public servants work for the American people, or whether the American people work for a “public servant” aristocracy enjoying far greater pay and benefits than the taxpayers who are forced to subsidize them …

What we are witnessing in Wisconsin today is the total breakdown of democracy, and the collapse of the rule of law. The Democrat Party in the state has refused to abide by the results of the election last November, and so has shut down the state legislature. The government unions are breaking the law by going out on strike. The anti-democracy protestors in Madison are breaking the law by continuing to occupy the state capitol. Doctors are breaking the law by writing fraudulent “sick notes.” The remaining Democrat state senators after last fall’s election have fled the state to hide from the law.

Ferrara approves of the bill that Wisconsin’s Governor Walker is trying to pass. It would, he writes, “greatly benefit state and local workers by terminating government collection and payment of their union dues”, because “this gives power to each worker to voluntarily decide if they want to pay those dues.” And this is a policy, he urges, that “needs to be adopted in every state, as taxpayer money going to government union dues is the root of political corruption in America”.

We ourselves, being theoreticians only, can be far more radical in our prescriptions. We would like to see government unions banned, and the withering away of all others.

Dial O for Socialism – every day 3

You’ve probably seen this video – it’s being watched all over the United States.

Here’s information about the trade union boss who is talking in it, Richard Trumka, and the relationship he has with Obama and his administration:

This video shows the shocking level to which union bosses influence the Obama administration’s policies. AFL-CIO head Richard Trumka … states he has been in touch with the White House everyday and is present at meetings inside the White House several times a week. On the other hand, at least half-a-dozen members of his own Cabinet say Obama has never spoken with them in the two years of his administration to date. … Trumka, who has worked with European socialists for a global tax, is one of a chosen few radicals pulling the strings. So much for the assurances of psuedo-conservatives, who enthused at how “conservative” Obama’s cabinet was, especially his foreign policy choices. Wiser heads knew Obama was committed to imposing socialism at all costs. This video proves the “moderate” left-wingers in his administration are window dressing for a far more sinister agenda, one about which many so-called conservatives are utterly clueless.

And here is part of the Heritage Foundation’s discussion of the current trade union protest in Wisconsin and elsewhere, which it sums up – correctly in our view – as “Government Unions vs American Taxpayers“:

Recent studies show that state and local governments are severely underestimating their pension and benefit promises, including a $574 billion shortfall for the nation’s top major cities and a possible $3.4 trillion shortfall for the states. The cause of these crippling pension and benefit obligations is no secret. The Post explains: “Public employees often enjoy more generous pension and health-care benefits, and these are at the root of the long-term budget problems confronting many states.” …

Government unions are inherently different from private-sector unions. The purpose of private-sector unions is to get workers a larger share of the profits they helped create. But government is a monopoly and earns no profits. All government unions do is redistribute more tax dollars from taxpayers to unions. The left used to understand this. Not only did President Franklin Delano Roosevelt write in 1937: “All government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service,” but as recently as 1959, the AFL-CIO Executive Council stated that “government workers have no right [to collectively bargain] beyond the authority to petition Congress—a right available to every citizen.” …

By granting government workers the power to collectively bargain, government unions have completely politicized the civil service. State and local employees in 28 states are required to pay full union dues or get fired. Using this government coercion, government unions have amassed tremendous financial resources that they use to campaign for higher taxes and higher pay for government workers. The top outside spender in the last election was the American Federation of State and County Municipal Employees ($91 million).

Governor Mitch Daniels (R–IN), who signed an executive order ending state worker collective bargaining his first month in office, spoke in support of Walker yesterday:

“The people who are doing the demonstrating, and their allies … spent that state broke. … The most powerful special interests in America today are the government unions. They’re the leading financial contributors. They have muscle, a lot of times their contracts provide for time off to go politick and lobby.”

And lobby and politick government unions have. Across the country, from Arizona to California to Minnesota to Maine to New Jersey and more, government unions have pushed legislation and ballot measures that raise taxes and spending. In Trenton, New Jersey, last night, Governor Chris Christie (R) framed the debate:

“In Wisconsin and Ohio, they have decided there can no longer be two classes of citizens: one that receives the rich health and pension benefits, and the rest who are left to pay for them. These ideas are not red or blue. They are the black and white of truth.”

The case against trade unions for government employees was clear even to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

But what is the case for any trade unions to exist?  If full employment is desirable, if the consumer’s interests are paramount so that prices should be kept as low as possible, how do trade unions help? Do they make employers more or less keen to take on employees? Do they have the effect of lowering or raising the price of goods to the consumer? Every trade union member is a consumer. What good are higher wages arrived at through collective bargaining if the increase is consumed by higher prices? We are not persuaded that trade unions are good for anyone (except of course would-be Stalins like Trumka).

President Obama, rabble-rouser in chief 5

According to the Washington Post, Obama is actively and energetically helping the trade union demonstrators in Wisconsin who are clamoring en masse against absolutely necessary cuts in their lavish entitlements.

President Obama thrust himself and his political operation this week into Wisconsin’s broiling budget battle, mobilizing opposition Thursday to a Republican bill that would curb public-worker benefits and planning similar protests in other state capitals. …

The president’s political machine worked in close coordination Thursday with state and national union officials to get thousands of protesters to gather in Madison and to plan similar demonstrations in other state capitals.

The President incites trade-unionists against states’ governments? The President as rabble-rouser? If it is not illegal it should be.

Under Walker’s plan, most public workers – excluding police, firefighters and state troopers – would have to pay half of their pension costs and at least 12 percent of their health-care costs.They would lose bargaining rights for anything other than pay. Walker, who took office last month, says the emergency measure would save $300 million over the next two years to help close a $3.6 billion budget gap.

Obama calls these perfectly reasonable changes that Governor Scott Walker is trying to effect “anti-union”.

Obama accused Scott Walker, the state’s new Republican governor, of unleashing an “assault” on unions in pushing emergency legislation that would change future collective-bargaining agreements that affect most public employees, including teachers. …

And the unrest that the President is helping to stir up is spreading just as he intends it should.

Their efforts began to spread, as thousands of labor supporters turned out for a hearing in Columbus, Ohio, to protest a measure from Gov. John Kasich (R) that would cut collective-bargaining rights.

By the end of the day, Democratic Party officials were organizing additional demonstrations in Ohio and Indiana, where an effort is underway to trim benefits for public workers. Some union activists predicted similar protests in Missouri, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

These demonstrators and their patron in the White House are the forces of reaction. No change under Obama.

The bright side of the story is that some Republicans mean what they say about cutting spending. Here’s Chris Christie, governor of New Jersey, speaking to the point at the American Enterprise Institute on February 16, 2011.

Searching extremists 0

We prefer to write about what has happened rather than what might happen. But some probabilities, accusations, and conjectures are likely enough and interesting enough to be noticed before they’re certainties.

Which is why we’re drawing attention to a story about a trade union official’s suspected connection with terrorism both in South America and in the Middle East.

Investor’s Business Daily reports and comments:

The FBI raids the Chicago home of a local union leader looking for terrorist connections as the union’s former chief is investigated for corruption. Why are we not surprised?

Thuggery and corruption are not quite synonyms for unionism, but it gets very close when you consider the Service Employees International Union, formerly led by Andy Stern.

That’s the extreme left revolutionary Andy Stern who was reported last October, 2009, to be more often received by Obama at the White House than any other visitor.

From being involved in fraudulent voter registration in Texas to beating up Tea Party activists outside town hall meetings in Missouri, SEIU’s reputation is well-established.

Now we can possibly add a linkage to terrorism.

On Friday, the FBI searched eight addresses in Minneapolis and Chicago. Among those addresses was the North Side home of Chicago anti-war activists Joe Iosbaker and his wife, Stephanie Weiner, whose home was searched for 12 hours.

The agents said they were looking for evidence relating to terrorist activity. Warrants suggested agents were looking for links between anti-war activists and terrorist groups in Colombia and the Mideast. An FBI statement said those investigated were suspected of activities “concerning the material support of terrorism.”

The national media largely ignored the story, and the Chicago media reported it as … anti-war activists being intimidated and investigated and manhandled by oppressive law enforcement. …

Iosbaker is … the Chief Steward for SEIU Local 73. One would think that a high-ranking union official linked to support of international terrorism would be national news

But no. The mainstream media will ignore the story if they can, and if they can’t, spin it as a story of mean right-wing anti-union bias.

(We confess to anti-union bias. One of the great achievements of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was, in our opinion, her victory over the economy-wrecking British trade unions, especially the National Union of Mineworkers in 1985.)

As we all know, people of Andy Stern’s and Iosbaker’s political persuasion are not union leaders for the love of the workers: they are left revolutionaries who hope to use the unions as a means to their ends. Read about Andy Stern here.

Iosbaker and Weiner were active members, with Barack Obama, of the New Party in Chicago. Read about it here at Gulag Bound. It was formed by an alliance of three organizations:

  • The Democratic Socialists of America – the largest Marxist organization in America
  • ACORN
  • SEIU

Also heavily involved were the Communist Party USA breakaway group Committees of Correspondence and far left ‘think tank’ the Institute for Policy Studies.

Obama “not only worked closely with these New Party candidates”, he himself was a member of it.

All of which should have been made known to the electorate by the media during the presidential campaigns of 2008, but was not.

It’s useful to bring it up now, when Obama and his Democratic hurrah-chorus are calling Constitutionalists, Republicans, and Tea Party people “extremists”. (See here and here.)

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