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.)

Looming up – a permanent TARP 1

The financial regulation bill is another huge threat to America’s painfully diminished prosperity, and so ultimately to Big Business and Big Labor.

But Big Business and Big Labor cannot see that, being chronically short-sighted. Contrary to Obama’s contention, they actually welcome the legislation.

The Heritage Foundation examines the bill which it calls, with good reason, a “Wall Street Bailout Bill” – a permanent TARP. And that, it says, is “what Wall Street wanted all along”.

Speaking to an audience of big business and big labor executives (including Goldman Sachs’ Lloyd Blankfein, Bank of America’s Bruce Thompson and SEIU’s Andy Stern) at New York’s Cooper Union, President Barack Obama noted “the furious efforts of industry lobbyists to shape” the financial regulation bill “to their special interests.” Obama then admitted, “I am sure that many of those lobbyists work for some of you. But I am here today because I want to urge you to join us, instead of fighting us in this effort.” Obama should have saved his breath. Wall Street and big labor lobbyists have already joined forces to make sure the current Senate legislation has become a Wall Street Bailout Bill.

Big labor’s ties to this White House are already well documented. Less known is just how close Obama administration interests align with the big firms that benefit most from the TARP bailout. The Washington Examiner reports that at Goldman Sachs, the nation’s largest investment bank, four of the five in-house lobbyists were Democratic Capitol Hill staffers — the remaining one gave $1,000 to Hillary Clinton last election. And USA Today notes that Goldman Sachs alone has given nearly $900,000 since January 2009 to congressional candidates, with 69% of that cash lining Democrat pockets. Finally, then-candidate Obama collected almost $1 million from Goldman executives and employees in 2008, more than the combined Goldman haul of every Republican running for president, Senate and the House.

So what have Wall Street lobbyists bought with their campaign cash and high priced lobbyists? A bill that gives permanent TARP-like authority to Washington regulators, thus enshrining Washington as a permanent bailout machine. Specifically, the bill:

Creates a protected class of too big to fail firms. Section 113 of the bill establishes a “Financial Stability Oversight Council,” charged with identifying firms that would “pose a threat to the financial security of the United States” if they encounter “material financial distress.” While these firms would be subject to enhanced regulation, such a designation would also signal to the marketplace that these firms are too important to be allowed to fail and, perversely, allow them to take on undue risk.

Creates permanent bailout authority. Section 204 of the bill authorizes the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to “make available … funds for the orderly liquidation of [a] covered financial institution.” Although no funds could be provided to compensate a firm’s shareholders, the firm’s other creditors would be eligible for a cash bailout. The situation is much like the bailout AIG in 2008, in which the largest beneficiaries were not stockholders but rather other creditors, such as Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs.

Provides for seizure of private property without meaningful judicial review. The bill, in Section 203(b), authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to order the seizure of any financial firm that he finds is “in danger of default” and whose failure would have “serious adverse effects on financial stability.” This determination would be virtually irreversible in court.

Establishes a $50 billion fund to pay for bailouts. Funding for bailouts is to come from a $50 billion “Orderly Resolution Fund” created within the U.S. Treasury in Section 210(n)(1), funded by taxes on financial firms. However, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the ultimate cost of bank taxes will fall on the customers, employees and investors of each firm.

Opens a “line of credit” to the Treasury for additional government funding. Under Section 210(n)(9), the FDIC is effectively granted a line of credit to the Treasury Department that is secured by the value of failing firms in its control, providing another taxpayer financial support.

Authorizes regulators to guarantee the debt of solvent banks. Bailout authority is not limited to debt of failing institutions. Under Section 1155, the FDIC is authorized to guarantee the debt of “solvent depository institutions” if regulators declare that a liquidity crisis (“event”) exists.

Imposes one-size-fits-all reform in derivative markets. … The Senate bill would require virtually all derivative contracts to be settled through a clearinghouse rather than directly between the parties. Applying such ill-designed blanket regulation would make financial derivatives more costly, more difficult to customize, and, consequently, less widely used—which would increase overall risk in the economy.

According to Rasmussen Reports, 64% of Americans are not confident that policymakers in Washington know what they’re doing with regards to Wall Street. They have every reason to be concerned. … The bill Obama is pushing would empower Secretary Geithner to repeat the AIG bailout ad infinitum. No need to ever go back to Congress for a new TARP. The Senate bill is a permanent TARP. Which is exactly what Goldman Sachs and the rest of their Wall Street lobbyists wanted all along.

Fattening the state 0

How does the seemingly benign campaign, figureheaded by Michelle Obama (see our post Great ideas from the pumpkin patch Janury 29, 2010), against childhood obesity, serve the socialist agenda of Barack Obama?

Michelle Malkin explains how. She writes:

Behind every seemingly good deed in the Obama White House, there’s a deep-pocketed, left-wing special interest. Take first lady Michelle Obama’s crusade against childhood obesity. Who really benefits from the ostensible push for improved nutrition in the schools? Think purple — as in the purple-shirted army of the Service Employees International Union. Big Labor bigwigs don’t care about slimming your kids’ waistlines. They care about beefing up their membership rolls and fattening their coffers….

The East Wing is now in full campaign mode — leaning on the nation’s mayors, traveling with the surgeon general and meeting with Congress and cabinet members to reauthorize the Lyndon Johnson-era Child Nutrition Act, which provides government-subsidized meals to more than 30 million children. It’s part of the Obama administration’s self-proclaimed “cradle-to-career” agenda for America’s youth.

For decades, school administrators have criticized this Great Society relic for outgrowing its initial conception. The program was originally created to use up post-World War II food surpluses… While spending on youth nutrition and wellness have ballooned, so have the kids. Nearly one-third of U.S. children are now overweight or obese. The feds spend $15 billion a year on nutrition in schools; the White House wants at least a $1 billion increase this coming fiscal year.

The well-intended program to feed poor kids has morphed into an untouchable universal entitlement with a powerful school-lunch lobbying coalition of Department of Agriculture bureaucrats, food-service industry executives and union bosses. Enter the SEIU. Headed by the White House’s most frequent visitor, Andy Stern, the powerful labor organization representing government and private service employees has an insatiable appetite for power and growth. Working alongside the first lady, the SEIU unveiled a major ad campaign this week demanding reauthorizing and funding increases in the Child Nutrition Act.

What’s in it for Big Labor? SEIU Executive Vice President Mitch Ackerman explains: “A more robust expansion of school lunch, breakfast, summer feeding, child care and WIC (the federal Women, Infants and Children nutrition program) is critical to reducing hunger, ending childhood obesity and providing fair wages and healthcare for front line food service workers” (emphasis added).

There are 400,000 workers who prepare and serve lunch to American schoolchildren. SEIU represents tens of thousands of those workers and is trying to unionize many more. “More robust expansion” of the federal school-lunch law means a mandate for higher wages, increased benefits and government-guaranteed health insurance coverage

They are casting food-services workers as indispensable saviors. The union has rallied behind P.R. efforts casting them as superheroes “serving justice, and serving lunch.” Opposing the union means opposing children’s health. SEIU propaganda features New Jersey school cafeteria workers like Leslie Williams of Orange, N.J., lamenting: “I love my work, but it’s getting harder to prepare nutritious meals on the low budget we’re working with. … It breaks my heart to see a child who’s hungry. As I see it, part of my job is to make sure the kids are well-fed.”

Actually, that’s the primary job of parents. Mom? Dad? Remember them? But the more responsibility we demand of parents, the less power and influence SEIU bosses are able to grab. Unionized school dietician and nutrition jobs are booming. And in addition to school breakfast and lunch, the SEIU is now pushing subsidized dinner plans and summer food service to create a “stronger nutrition safety net.” Translation: Perpetual employment for big government and its public employee union au pairs.

Cede the children, feed the state.

How socialist governments entrench themselves 0

…  in Western democracies.

From the Heritage Foundation:

Last month when the White House released its visitor log for the first six months of the Obama presidency, one name appeared far more often than any other: Service Employee International Union (SEIU) President Andrew Stern. Stern has every right to expect to be welcome in the Obama White House. He has repeatedly bragged about the fact that under his leadership, the SEIU spent $60.7 million to elect Barack Obama president. And what is Stern buying with his $60.7 million besides White House tours? Ever expanding federal government programs and state government bailouts which are rapidly bankrupting our country.

Unlike his predecessor, John Sweeney, who came up the ranks after starting with the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, Stern entered the labor movement when the SEIU organized his shop when he was working as a welfare case worker for the State of Pennsylvania. Stern’s public sector entrance into labor is by no means an anomaly. In fact, for the first time ever in American history, preliminary estimates of union membership for 2009 show that most union members now work for either the local, state, or federal government.

Heritage scholar James Sherk has the numbers: “The overall unionization rate between January and September 2009 stood at 12.4%, unchanged from last year. However, this difference masks a large difference between unions in the private and public sectors. Union membership has fallen to 7.3% of private sector workers – the lowest rate since Roosevelt signed the National Labor Relations Act into law. But it is a completely different story in the public sector: 37.6% of government employees belong to unions, up almost a percentage point since last year. Those 7.9 million unionized government employees are 51% of all union members nationwide.”

The days when “union member” meant an American working in a steel plant, or coal mine, or auto factory are gone. Today, unions are dependent on government, not the private sector, for their livelihood. Therefore, unions like the SEIU have little interest in private sector job growth. Private sector jobs don’t help fund $60.7 million political campaigns. But government jobs do. The change in incentives has been devastating to American taxpayers. Manhattan Institute senior fellow Steven Malanga explains why:

In the private sector … employers who are too generous with pay and benefits will be punished. In the public sector, however, more union members means more voters. And more voters means more dollars for political campaigns to elect sympathetic politicians who will enact higher taxes to foot the bill for the upward arc of government spending on workers.

Posted under government, Socialism, United States by Jillian Becker on Friday, November 13, 2009

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The UN must be destroyed! 1

David Horowitz endorses our warning in the post below about the Left’s intentions for the UN, writing on his website FrontPage magazine:

Neo-communism is a view whose members consider themselves “citizens of the world,” not of America, and who therefore agitate for open borders and want the morally repulsive collection of autocracies, slaveocracies and kleptocracies called “the United Nations” to reign over us and the world.

A neo-communist is someone who believes that America is ruled by corporations who put “profit over people” — and thereby show that they don’t understand either profit or people. A neo-communist is someone who is convinced that race, class, and gender hierarchies make it not only legitimate but necessary to describe America as a “white supremacist” society. Neo-communists believe that a revolution is necessary (if not opportune at the moment), that the Consitution is a disposable document, and that America’s communist and Islamo-fascist enemies (Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Hizbollah, the PLO and Hamas), are freedom fighters or at least on the right side of the armageddon that faces us.

These are views shared by The Nation magazine, by Commonsense.org, by the Indymedia crowd, by the social justice movement, by the majority of the Black Caucus and the Progressive Caucus on the Democratic side in Congress, and by tens of thousands of university professors who indoctrinate their students in these pernicious ideologies every day. They are the views held by the leaders of ACORN, the SEIU, AFCSME and other leftwing unions, by radical feminists, by organizations like MALDEF and La Raza, by the ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights who are working to support the Islamo-fascist agenda in America, by the major Muslim organizations including the Muslim Students Association, CAIR, and the Islamic Circle of North America…

He lists many more in his book Unholy Alliance.

The UN must be destroyed!

What is that smell? 0

Michelle Malkin writes:

Two weeks ago, the White House embraced $150 million in drug industry ads supporting Obamacare. This week, Bloomberg News reported that White House senior adviser and chief campaign strategist David Axelrod’s former public relations firm, AKPD Message and Media, has raked in some $24 million in ad contracts supporting Obamacare — along with another PR firm, GMMB, run by other Obama strategists.

The ads are funded by Big Pharma, the AARP, AMA and the powerhouse Service Employees International Union (whose Purple Shirts dumped $80 million in independent expenditures to get Obama and the Democratic majority elected). In trademark Axelrod style, the special interest coalition adopted faux grassroots names — first under the banner of “Healthy Economy Now” and more recently as “Americans for Stable Quality Care.” …

Axelrod was president and sole shareholder of AKPD from 1985 until last December, when he resigned to take his White House position. His son, Michael, works there. So does former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe.

Axelrod is prominently featured on AKPD’s website, from a founder’s quote on the front page (“CHANGE IS SOMETHING YOU HAVE TO FIGHT FOR”) to the glamorous election night photos of Plouffe and Axelrod with the Obamas. AKPD still consults with Axelrod on “strategy and research” for the Democratic National Committee. The firm owes Axelrod $2 million … That Axelrod and his old firm benefit mutually from their respective roles selling Obamacare should be gobsmackingly obvious. Axelrod pushes the White House plan on TV news shows. AKPD derives mega-income from ad contracts selling the White House-endorsed plan. The windfall allows AKPD to settle its debts with Axelrod, whose name, face and high-powered ties are critical to future wheel-greasing for AKPD — and future salary-earning for Axelrod’s son and close associates.

White House flack Gibbs called any suggestion that Axelrod benefits from the relationship “ridiculous.” Retorted Gibbs: “David has left his firm to join public service.” So when Republicans trade power and access, Team Obama calls that being “in cahoots” with business. But when noble servants like Axelrod do it, it’s called “public service.”

What else is Axelrod keeping from full public view? AKPD is just one of his influence-peddling operations. Housed in the same office as AKPD is Axelrod’s secretive former PR shop, ASK Public Strategies. That firm also owes Axelrod money from a buy-out deal — five annual installments of $200,000 each. Axelrod has remained notoriously tight-lipped about ASK’s corporate business. One client that came to light: utility company Commonwealth Edison in Chicago. Axelrod ran a fear-mongering campaign in Illinois for ComEd in support of a huge utility rate hike — and failed to disclose that his bogus grassroots ads (under the guise of public interest group “Consumers Organized for Reliable Electricity”) were actually funded by the utility…

The sovietization of America proceeds 1

Matthew Vadum writes:

President Obama’s new “green jobs” czar Van Jones, an avowed militant communist, had been on the board of the pressure group Apollo Alliance, which aspires to flatten the U.S. economy by having government fund “green jobs” scams, according to the “Glenn Beck Program” earlier this week.

Even worse, the group, which has ties to ACORN, SEIU, and Center for American Progress president John Podesta, has significant pull in Congress and helped to write the stimulus bill.

The Apollo Alliance “is designed to bring together the elements of organized labor with the community organizers with the green groups, the environmental groups, and to access all of the big foundation money that’s been supportive of those causes in the past,” explained Phil Kerpen, director of policy for Americans for Prosperity.

Jones described the group’s “mission as sort of a grand unified field theory for progressive left causes; it ties all these things together,” Kerpen said. He added:

“They really admire the Apollo mission, the moon-shot mission, and they think that we need  a similar centrally-planned, organized massive mobilization to reorder society and take control of energy and their various other objectives. They admire that and they want it like a moon shot.”

Apollo Alliance was co-founded by Campaign for America’s Future, the George Soros-funded organization that supports an ever-expanding welfare state.

Beck asked if Wade Rathke, the disgraced founder of ACORN who was expelled by the radical left-wing group last year for covering up his brother’s embezzlement of nearly $1 million in ACORN funds, had been a member of the Apollo Alliance’s board.

Kerpen responded, “Yes. He’s on — he was until this year on the board of the Tides Foundation and the Tides Center, which are the parent organizations that host the Apollo Alliance.”