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Labor Watch January 2015: Election 2014: Labor Unions Routed (Mostly) …but not everywhere, as unions see some glimmers of hope for better days

Election 2014: Labor Unions Routed (Mostly)
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…but not everywhere, as unions see some glimmers of hope for better days  [PDF here]

By John Gizzi

Summary: Overall, 2014 was a bad year for unions, at least in terms of political power. They lost most of their highest-priority races, including gubernatorial races in Wisconsin and Michigan and the U.S. Senate race in Kentucky. But not everything went wrong for unions in this year’s elections, with key victories in Pennsylvania, Colorado, Connecticut, and in referenda on the “minimum wage.”

Voters nationwide gave Republicans an across-the-board boost in the midterm elections in November. Pundits and politicians have concluded that it was also one of the most disastrous routs in memory for one of the Democratic Party’s most reliable allies: organized labor.

Republicans captured the U.S. Senate with their largest majority in two decades—54 seats, to 46 for Democrats (counting two independents who caucus with Democrats). In the U.S. House of Representatives, Republicans now hold the most seats since 1928 (247, to 188 for Democrats). As a result, the ranks of union allies in Congress have been sorely diminished.

To put the House of Representatives election in perspective, keep in mind that Democrats held 292 seats after the 1976 election. Since then, they have lost almost 36 percent of their seats. Read all »

And the odds of the Obama administration lying about Global Warming…

[Continuing our series on deception in politics and public policy.]

The Obama administration announced that 2014 was “the hottest year on record” by a margin of 0.04 degrees (four one-hundredths of a degree) compared to 2005, a fake fact that was repeated in hundreds of “news” media, virtually none of whom, it appears, bothered to check out the claim.  (It was later clarified that the claim was 0.02 degrees by one part of the Obama administration and 0.04 degrees by a different part.)

Based on the administration’s claim of 2014 as a record-breaking year, Wired magazine ran a story on “5 Charts That Explain 2014’s Record-Smashing Heat” (http://www.wired.com/2015/01/2014-hottest-year-ever/ ). CNN’s website reported a story headlined “2014 was Earth’s hottest year on record” (http://edition.cnn.com/2015/01/16/world/earth-hottest-year/ ).  The New York Times version was (as the headline appeared on the paper’s website) was “2014 Breaks Heat record, Challenging Global Warming Skeptics” (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/17/science/earth/2014-was-hottest-year-on-record-surpassing-2010.html ). All three network evening newscasts touted the story, according to the Media Research Center (http://www.mrc.org/articles/all-three-networks-fall-meaningless-hottest-year-claims ).

A simple check would have revealed the problem with the administration’s “hottest year on record” assertion—that, as every scientist should know, Read all »

The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose. Also, lying is OK (according to the Left)

[Continuing our series on deception in politics and public policy.]

“The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.” That’s from Shakespeare, not, as some people think, the Bible. The underlying idea is certainly true. Even the most evil ideas are justified with Biblical citations. Henry Brinton, a pastor in Fairfax, Virginia, noted that supporters of American slavery found verses that, they claimed, supported their position.

They asked who could question the Word of God when it said, “slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling” (Ephesians 6:5), or “tell slaves to be submissive to their masters and to give satisfaction in every respect” (Titus 2:9).

Abolitionists grounded their arguments in the Bible, too.  The concept of “separation of church and state” (which is quite different from the concept of religious liberty) was first invoked to get preachers to shut up their complaining about slavery.

During the Jim Crow era, segregationists pointed to the Curse of Ham as justification for keeping the so-called “races” separate. At the same time, the Good Guys, including key leaders of the civil rights movement, found support in the Bible for their cause.  (Of course, that includes the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whom we honored yesterday.)

Recently, Labor secretary Thomas Perez, speaking at an AFL-CIO summit, invoked the Bible to support so-called minimum wage laws, which prohibit unskilled workers from getting jobs. Perez, who wants to make the laws even more harsh, said, “This is really about biblical teachings. This is about what is taught in the Koran and what is in the Torah and what we learn about making sure we ‘do unto others.’”

President Obama recently cited the Bible in support of amnesty for illegal aliens. “The Good Book says, don’t throw stones in glass houses,” he said, “or, make sure we’re looking at the log in our eye before we are pointing out the mote in other folks’ eyes.” OK, that part about glass houses isn’t in the Bible Read all »

Banning Jobs for the Poor

At PhilanthropyDaily.com, I have a post on minimum wage laws, “currently one of the Left’s favorite causes, in part because it is one of the few items on their agenda that enjoys wide support.”

I think continued hikes in the minimum wage are undesirable because whatever their supporters’ intentions, such laws amount to saying, “It should be illegal to hire the poor!”

A minimum wage law is not a measure that says in effect, “Please be generous and try to pay your employees X dollars an hour.” No, it is a law that says, “All the police powers of the state will come down on your business or nonprofit if you dare to hire a single person for X-minus-one-penny per hour.”

Minimum-wage laws are not carrots that incentivize generous pay. They are clubs that punish the hiring of any persons who cannot provide their employers, during every working hour, with goods and services that are worth not only the minimum wage itself but also the cost of mandated employee benefits — a total you can roughly estimate at 125% of X.

For the whole article, go to http://www.philanthropydaily.com/banning-jobs-for-the-poor/.

Leader of the Free World—not

[Continuing our series on deception in politics and public policy.]

When they held a march in Paris against “terror”—really, against the kind of terror perpetrated methodically by Islamofascists—the turnout was massive: millions of people, including presidents or prime ministers (or the equivalents) of Germany, Israel, the U.K., France, Italy, and Turkey. Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria, Finland, Norway, and Ukraine were represented. The king and queen of Jordan were there. Even the Palestinian president and the Russian foreign minister, hypocrites respectively on Islamic extremism and freedom of the press, were there. French Muslim leaders were there, as were the leaders of Qatar, the UAE, and Tunisia.

But not President Obama. Not Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder, who was in Paris but left early. Not the secretary of state, so obviously proud of his ability to speak French. Not the principal designated attendee for funerals and the like, also known as the Vice President. Nobody ranking higher than the U.S. ambassador to France/Monaco, who got her job mainly because she was a big bundler of campaign contributions.

It was a rally intended to send the message that the leaders of the Free World (et al.) stand united against the Islamofascist assault on what we in the U.S. call First Amendment rights. The Founders considered the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights, including Freedom of Speech, Freedom of the Press, and Freedom of Religion, to be the birthright not just of Americans but of all mankind. Indeed, the Bill of Rights can be considered as the first universal declaration of human rights. When Islamofascists target a satirical newspaper for mass murder, they are waging war on humanity.

“You let the world down,” declared the headline in the liberal New York Daily News. Liberal reporter Jake Tapper of CNN wrote of the absence of a major U.S. official, “I say this as an American—not a journalist, not as a representative of CNN—but as an American: I was ashamed.” Read all »

The Left’s New Weapon: Brunch Terrorism

Capital Research Center’s Matthew Vadum had a notable piece published by FrontPage magazine earlier this week.

Here it is:

 

Hating Whitey’s Brunch

By Matthew Vadum

Taking a page from the Ku Klux Klan, Black leftists are now trying to bring about social change by terrorizing people as they get together for Sunday brunch.

This past weekend, “Black Brunch” organizers and their followers stormed upscale eateries in New York City and Oakland, Calif., reading out the names of black criminals killed by the police and shrieking that whites had no right to be there. They accused whites of committing “genocide.”

This is what the Left does. Left-wingers politicize everything. Now they’re getting in the faces of people when they get together to enjoy brunch. If Barack Obama weren’t busy destroying America from inside the government, he’d be out in the field leading these retail-level petty terrorists.

Radical blacks also tried to shut down a ceremony in Oregon over the weekend in which Dario Raschio, a 100-year-old World War Two veteran, was given a medal. More than a hundred activists started shouting “hands up, don’t shoot,” forcing the white centenarian to urge the demonstrators to be quiet and to “show a little respect.” After three quarters of an hour of chanting, the town hall meeting was shut down.

Interrupting a meal, by comparison, may seem like a minor matter.

It’s not that disrupting Sunday brunch, a setting in which friends of all colors typically reconnect by putting their hectic urban lives on pause for an hour or two, is necessarily all that horrifying — in a way it’s comically pathetic — but the race hatred fueling the protest is real and disturbing.

The protest tactic itself is borrowed from racists, largely pro-segregation Democrats, of the past.

Harassing and taunting restaurant patrons specifically because of their skin color is Ku Klux Klan-like behavior. It’s what white segregationists did when blacks sat down at lunch counters in the South in the 1960s. Racist whites at the time said blacks had no right to be there. The racists of the Sixties were wrong then just as the Black Brunch racists are wrong today. Of course, today’s activists don’t see it that way. According to politically correct dogma, blacks are incapable of being racist because they supposedly lack power.

Attacking diners is also a long-running tradition among community organizers.

Members of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now were outraged in 1996 when a business owner in Clayton, Mo., publicly took a stand against an ACORN-backed state ballot question to raise the minimum wage. Chanting angrily, ACORN stormed Bob Candice’s Italian restaurant and gave him a mock award for “Keeping People in Poverty.” ACORN acknowledged in-your-face tactics were part of the group’s standard operating procedure. “Intimidate the guy with the money bags,” said member Gus Stroud. “Try to make them understand.”

On the weekend Black Brunch participants posted defiant, self-righteous messages on Twitter about their protests, often including photographs of surprised-looking Caucasian brunch diners. The words they used could just as easily have come from a rant against Jews in Der Stürmer or The Final Call.

Read all »

Trendsetters of the Left

Trendsetters of the Left:  They bear the weight of past scandals and win few readers, yet they powerfully influence popular media and academe

By Barbara Joanna Lucas, Organization Trends, January 2015 (PDF)


Summary
:  The “little magazines” of the Left lose money and enjoy small readerships, but they help shape nearly everything an American sees on TV, at the movies, or in the popular press. They also influence what your children will be taught in college and grade school.  And yet these journals have checkered pasts that include underpaying their own workers (even as they decry “greedy capitalists”), fabricating stories from whole cloth, apologizing for Stalin, and sometimes even spying for the Soviets.

The mainstream media is part and parcel of the Left in America. But big media takes some of its cues from a more intensely ideological subsector of the media universe. Left-wing “think” magazines produce cutting-edge analyses of current events and trends that eventually trickle down to large national media outlets and smaller regional media.

In this sense, their role is similar to that played by the fake media watchdog group Media Matters for America. The George Soros-funded left-wing slander shop not only attacks figures on the political right for daring to be conservative, but also goes after mainstream media reporters in an effort to pressure them into toeing the leftist line. Media Matters has attacked MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and the New York Times’ Bill Keller for deviating from the Left’s playbook. (For more on Media Matters, see Organization Trends, December 2014.)

Explicitly left-wing magazines, such as The Nation, The New Republic, Mother Jones, The Progressive, and The American Prospect, are agenda-setting media just like the New York Times and Washington Post. And like Media Matters, they help to push journalists to the left, providing them with ideas for stories and investing in investigative reports, something that mainstream outlets have little interest in nowadays.

Read all »

The Sunlight Foundation: Another left-wing pressure group with dubious claims to nonpartisanship

The Sunlight Foundation:  Another left-wing pressure group with dubious claims to nonpartisanship

By Jesse Tyler, Foundation Watch, January 2015 (PDF)

Summary: The Sunlight Foundation is yet another nonprofit that preens itself on its political neutrality but turns out to have leaders and funding almost entirely from the left. “Transparency” is its battle cry, and it has an impressive array of projects underway. And yet it never seems troubled by groups on the left that revel in political intimidation, and its leaders have included the kind of “progressives” who find liberal Democrats too conservative.

Campaign donor transparency has been hailed by many on the Left as a panacea for what ails America. If only everyone’s political donations were made public on the Internet, all would be right, they theorize. But in seeking to make campaign finance data public, the goals of the Left—and in particular of the Washington, D.C.-based Sunlight Foundation—are less than pure.

The Left’s obsession with “transparency” is a one-way street. It isn’t so much about keeping the inner machinations of government transparent as it is about exposing private activities so private actors can be publicly exposed to political pressure. The idea is that, if conservatives take enough heat for giving to politically incorrect causes, they will stop doing so. This, leftists believe, will transform the political giving environment and at long last the power of the eeevil rich and corporate America to dominate politics will be broken.

Publicly naming and shaming conservatives for their philanthropy can be used in the social policy sphere at well. Proposition 8 in California is a case in point. It was a voter-approved referendum in 2008 that defined marriage in the California state constitution to be between one man and one woman. A series of websites sprung up that publicly exposed donors to pro-Prop 8 groups in an effort to encourage left-wing activists to wage a campaign of vilification and harassment against them.

One of the sites, AntiGayBlacklist.com, identified those who donated funds to the “yes” side. The very name of the site, blacklist, is proof of the malicious intentions of its founders. The site advised readers that “The following individuals or organizations (according to ElectionTrack.com) have donated money to the California Proposition 8 campaign which seeks to ban same sex marriages. Please do not patronize them. 8 = HATE. Thanks!” Certainly there were principled arguments on both sides of Prop 8 (which was eventually nullified by left-wing judges), but to crudely suggest that support for “8″ simply equals “HATE” is beyond the pale.

As Michelle Malkin reported in 2010:

“In California, gay-rights mau-mau-ers compiled blacklists and harassment lists of citizens who contributed to the Proposition 8 initiative in defense of traditional marriage. A Los Angeles restaurant whose manager made a small donation to the Prop. 8 campaign was besieged nightly by hordes of protesters who disrupted the business, intimidated patrons, and brought employees to tears. Terrified workers at El Coyote Mexican Cafe pooled together $500 to pay off the protesters. A theater director who donated $1,000 to Prop. 8 was forced to resign over the donation. Anonymous mischief-makers created ‘Eight Maps,’ a detailed directory of Prop. 8 donors using Google Maps to pinpoint their residences and businesses. Death threats enveloped with powdery substances and boycotts ensued. ‘When I see those maps,’ admitted California Voter Foundation president Kim Alexander, ‘it does leave me with a bit of a sick feeling in my stomach.’”

And as Capital Research Center’s Matthew Vadum has written:

“Left-wing activists call this kind of in-your-face harassment ‘accountability,’ an Orwellian euphemism to be sure. Accountability actions focus on harassing and intimidating political enemies, disrupting their activities, and forcing them to waste resources dealing with activists’ provocations. It is a tactic of radical community organizers, open borders fanatics, and union goons. Taking a cue from Marxist theorist Herbert Marcuse, they want to shut down, humiliate, and silence those who fail to genuflect before their policy agenda” (FrontPageMag.com, Dec. 4, 2014).

The most prominent victim of leftist anti-Prop 8 fanatics was former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich, who was forced out of his post at the Internet company because he dared to donate $1,000 to the “pro” traditional marriage side in the Prop 8 battle. Eich’s donation in support of Prop 8 was published by the Los Angeles Times using state public records. Activists shrieked that his donation was proof in and of itself that he was a homophobic bigot, and he was quickly given his walking papers at Mozilla, even though he was the company’s co-founder and invented the widely used JavaScript computer language.

Read all »

Briefly Noted: January 2015

More proof emerged last month that President Obama is using the IRS as a weapon against his perceived enemies when the administration abruptly canceled the planned release of 2,500 damning documents reportedly showing the IRS illegally shared taxpayer files with the White House. The inspector general’s office for the U.S. Department of the Treasury is making the novel claim that privacy laws prevent releasing documents. Dan Epstein, executive director of watchdog group Cause of Action, was skeptical. Treasury is using “sophisticated” lawyering to worm out of producing the documents, he said.

National Action Network president Al Sharpton has visited the White House an astounding 61 times since Obama became president. This fact tends to support Sharpton’s boasts about the influence he wields over the Obama administration, including his claim that he was instrumental in selecting U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch as nominee for the U.S. attorney general post.

A recent march in New York City organized by Sharpton’s group, whose motto is “No justice, no peace,” got ugly. Marchers demanded that new federal laws be enacted to limit the use of physical force by local and state police agencies. Protesters had their own ideas. According to reports, many chanted “What do we want? Dead cops!”

Read all »

Philanthropy Notes: January 2015

Watchdog.org reports that the Ford Foundation, the fourth-wealthiest philanthropy in the U.S. with $11.1 billion in assets and income of $1.5 billion (in fiscal 2012), is pouring major resources into progressive groups involved in the fight over “net neutrality,” a fashionable liberal idea that the Internet needs more government regulation. “If you are a foundation for justice in the world, and you don’t understand that the Internet is going to be a major battleground in this century, and you’re not engaged in that fight and supporting people who are concerned about access and security, you’re going to be left out of one of the most important justice issues of the day,” Ford president Darren Walker said.

Walker neglected to say, notes Watchdog.org, that Ford “stands to earn millions of dollars in profits from a nearly billion-dollar investment portfolio that includes companies that would profit from net neutrality regulations,” the website reports. Ford’s investments in Google, Microsoft, and close to 500 companies netted the foundation more than $402 million in stock-based profits in 2012 alone.

In a swansong of a study, retiring Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) slammed the U.S. tax code. As the Washington Times reports, Coburn’s “Tax Decoder” report warns that “the tax code is so peppered with special giveaways that companies such as Facebook end up getting refunds, and high-profile athletes and artists use their tax-free foundations to give friends jobs while avoiding taxes—all leading to higher income tax rates for the rest of us.”

Read all »