Commentary Magazine


Posts For: December 13, 2008

Again With The SEIU?!

The SEIU is back in the news today. This major labor organization made it into Blago’s complaint last week. But in California, the group is in hot water as well. The Los Angeles Times reports:

A nonprofit organization founded by California’s largest union local reported spending nothing on its charitable purpose — to develop housing for low-income workers — during at least two of the four years it has been operating, federal records show.

The charity, launched by a scandal-ridden Los Angeles chapter of the Service Employees International Union, had total expenses of about $165,000 for 2005 and 2006, and all of the money went to consulting fees, insurance costs and other overhead, according to its Internal Revenue Service filings.

.   .    .

“Of the 5,000-plus charities we’ve looked at, I don’t think we’ve ever seen one that didn’t spend anything on its charitable programs,” said Sandra Miniutti, vice president of Charity Navigator, an online rating service.

Last year, the nonprofit reported spending $513,000 in connection with a Compton housing development, and $59,200 in consulting fees for its charitable programs, which together accounted for about 88% of its total outlays.

The primary mission of the charity — the Long Term Care Housing Corp. — is to provide affordable homes for the local’s members, most of whom earn about $9 an hour caring for the elderly and infirm. But SEIU officials declined to discuss the charity, saying it is a separate legal entity from the union, even though its board is dominated by officials from the local. The charity is located at the local’s headquarters.

Hmm. I don’t suppose you’ll see members of the President-elect’s transition team or leaders in Congress calling for an investigation of the SEIU (which seems to be rivaling ACORN for the title of most nefarious dealings in multiple states). That would be because the SEIU is far too critical to the Democratic Party in financial and organizational support.

Nevertheless, the public should wake up and start demanding an investigation of the SEIU’s questionable activities. And if the media weren’t so busy explaining why there’s absolutely no connection between the President-elect and Blago-gate, they might turn their attention to the intimate connection between the SEIU (and the rest of Big Labor) and the Democratic Party. People might be curious to know how the New Politics really works and who supports the Democrats, who intend to remake federal labor law to suit the needs of their most lavish supporters.

The SEIU is back in the news today. This major labor organization made it into Blago’s complaint last week. But in California, the group is in hot water as well. The Los Angeles Times reports:

A nonprofit organization founded by California’s largest union local reported spending nothing on its charitable purpose — to develop housing for low-income workers — during at least two of the four years it has been operating, federal records show.

The charity, launched by a scandal-ridden Los Angeles chapter of the Service Employees International Union, had total expenses of about $165,000 for 2005 and 2006, and all of the money went to consulting fees, insurance costs and other overhead, according to its Internal Revenue Service filings.

.   .    .

“Of the 5,000-plus charities we’ve looked at, I don’t think we’ve ever seen one that didn’t spend anything on its charitable programs,” said Sandra Miniutti, vice president of Charity Navigator, an online rating service.

Last year, the nonprofit reported spending $513,000 in connection with a Compton housing development, and $59,200 in consulting fees for its charitable programs, which together accounted for about 88% of its total outlays.

The primary mission of the charity — the Long Term Care Housing Corp. — is to provide affordable homes for the local’s members, most of whom earn about $9 an hour caring for the elderly and infirm. But SEIU officials declined to discuss the charity, saying it is a separate legal entity from the union, even though its board is dominated by officials from the local. The charity is located at the local’s headquarters.

Hmm. I don’t suppose you’ll see members of the President-elect’s transition team or leaders in Congress calling for an investigation of the SEIU (which seems to be rivaling ACORN for the title of most nefarious dealings in multiple states). That would be because the SEIU is far too critical to the Democratic Party in financial and organizational support.

Nevertheless, the public should wake up and start demanding an investigation of the SEIU’s questionable activities. And if the media weren’t so busy explaining why there’s absolutely no connection between the President-elect and Blago-gate, they might turn their attention to the intimate connection between the SEIU (and the rest of Big Labor) and the Democratic Party. People might be curious to know how the New Politics really works and who supports the Democrats, who intend to remake federal labor law to suit the needs of their most lavish supporters.

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The Other Major Scandal

The Bernard Madoff story would have gotten more coverage if not for the even more shocking Blagojevich criminal complaint. Madoff apparently ran a Ponzi investment scheme and wound up losing $50B dollars of investors’ money. That’s right –$50 billion. (Before bailoutmania that was a lot of money.) But you won’t find much mention of his other favorite activity: giving money to Democrats who had oversight responsibility for the securities industry.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, for example, who headed the Democratic Senatorial Committee and sat on the Senate Banking Committee, got gobs of cash over the years from Madoff, who gave batches of cash not just to Schumer, but to the DSSC and many other lawmakers. And yes, Barney Frank also got his share. Madoff also donated tidy sums to a group entitled the ” Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association,” which in turn gave money to lawmakers, including Frank, who were supposed to be keeping an eye on the financial industry.

Unlike Republican donors who usually get headlines something like “GOP Donor Snared In Criminality,” Madoff, as Democratic donor, barely earned a media mention. The MSM might want to look at what, if anything, he ever asked for or got — or what a Congressional investigation, if ever undertaken, might have turned up about his problematic business structure. Why was it that a spate of media stories never caught the eagle eye of lawmakers? And likewise, we will have to see why the SEC – with nine years of running complaints — could’t put the pieces together.

The Watergate adage remains valuable: follow the money. Here there is a lot of it, and the search is just beginning. (By the way, the Democrats might think of giving some of the ill-gotten funds back.)

The Bernard Madoff story would have gotten more coverage if not for the even more shocking Blagojevich criminal complaint. Madoff apparently ran a Ponzi investment scheme and wound up losing $50B dollars of investors’ money. That’s right –$50 billion. (Before bailoutmania that was a lot of money.) But you won’t find much mention of his other favorite activity: giving money to Democrats who had oversight responsibility for the securities industry.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, for example, who headed the Democratic Senatorial Committee and sat on the Senate Banking Committee, got gobs of cash over the years from Madoff, who gave batches of cash not just to Schumer, but to the DSSC and many other lawmakers. And yes, Barney Frank also got his share. Madoff also donated tidy sums to a group entitled the ” Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association,” which in turn gave money to lawmakers, including Frank, who were supposed to be keeping an eye on the financial industry.

Unlike Republican donors who usually get headlines something like “GOP Donor Snared In Criminality,” Madoff, as Democratic donor, barely earned a media mention. The MSM might want to look at what, if anything, he ever asked for or got — or what a Congressional investigation, if ever undertaken, might have turned up about his problematic business structure. Why was it that a spate of media stories never caught the eagle eye of lawmakers? And likewise, we will have to see why the SEC – with nine years of running complaints — could’t put the pieces together.

The Watergate adage remains valuable: follow the money. Here there is a lot of it, and the search is just beginning. (By the way, the Democrats might think of giving some of the ill-gotten funds back.)

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Polling for Peace

WorldPublicOpinion.org polled 21 countries and found that most people favor an international agreement to eliminate all nuclear weapons:

In 20 of the 21 countries large majorities, ranging from 62 to 93 percent, favor such an agreement. The only exception is Pakistan, where a plurality of 46 percent favors the plan while 41 percent are opposed. All nations known to have nuclear weapons were included in the poll, except North Korea where public polling is not available.

Now we know the “world” would like to get rid of nuclear weapons. What’s next? The world opposes disease? The world stands foursquare against natural disasters? Consider the uselessly hypothetical nature of the way the question was framed:

Now I would like you to consider a possible international agreement for eliminating all nuclear weapons. All countries with nuclear weapons would be required to eliminate them according to a timetable. All other countries would be required not to develop them. All countries, including [respondent’s own country], would be monitored to make sure they are following the agreement. Would you favor or oppose such an agreement?

The question doesn’t specify how all countries involved would be monitored. It just assumes successful monitoring as a given. Who wouldn’t be in favor of this fantasy agreement?

But the devil is in the details, and so, too, are specific reasons to oppose specific anti-nuke efforts. With that in mind, here’s are three questions for WorldPublicOpinion.org’s next poll: “Do you think that international monitoring of regimes in Iran and North Korea could guarantee that these countries do not develop nuclear weapons in secret? In your opinion, has international monitoring aimed at preventing nuclear proliferation been a success so far? Would you trust international monitoring to be the guarantor of the safety of your own children?”

WorldPublicOpinion.org polled 21 countries and found that most people favor an international agreement to eliminate all nuclear weapons:

In 20 of the 21 countries large majorities, ranging from 62 to 93 percent, favor such an agreement. The only exception is Pakistan, where a plurality of 46 percent favors the plan while 41 percent are opposed. All nations known to have nuclear weapons were included in the poll, except North Korea where public polling is not available.

Now we know the “world” would like to get rid of nuclear weapons. What’s next? The world opposes disease? The world stands foursquare against natural disasters? Consider the uselessly hypothetical nature of the way the question was framed:

Now I would like you to consider a possible international agreement for eliminating all nuclear weapons. All countries with nuclear weapons would be required to eliminate them according to a timetable. All other countries would be required not to develop them. All countries, including [respondent’s own country], would be monitored to make sure they are following the agreement. Would you favor or oppose such an agreement?

The question doesn’t specify how all countries involved would be monitored. It just assumes successful monitoring as a given. Who wouldn’t be in favor of this fantasy agreement?

But the devil is in the details, and so, too, are specific reasons to oppose specific anti-nuke efforts. With that in mind, here’s are three questions for WorldPublicOpinion.org’s next poll: “Do you think that international monitoring of regimes in Iran and North Korea could guarantee that these countries do not develop nuclear weapons in secret? In your opinion, has international monitoring aimed at preventing nuclear proliferation been a success so far? Would you trust international monitoring to be the guarantor of the safety of your own children?”

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When The Republicans Turned The Tide

Led by Senators Mitch McConnell and Bob Corker, the Republicans in the Senate began to reclaim lost political ground on Thursday when they held firm against a bailout that was devoid of meaningful corporate restructuring requirements. The Wall Street Journal writes:

Thursday’s showdown marked an important political moment for the Republican Party. By refusing to write a blank check to Detroit, Senate Republicans have started to reclaim some credibility on fiscal policy and the role of government in the economy. They did so standing up to a Republican President who doesn’t want any more bad headlines, as well as to Democrats who will blame the GOP if the auto makers collapse.

They also stood up for the right reasons. No bailout will ever restore the car companies to profitability without a restructuring. Yet an explicit UAW goal is to use the bailout to avoid any such thing. The union and their Democratic protectors want to avoid the discipline that a bankruptcy could impose under Chapter 11. A government-directed salvation would also give environmentalists huge leverage over the cars Detroit builds, a power they and Democrats have wanted for decades.

In this regard, it doesn’t much matter if President Bush foolishly caves into the UAW. The Republicans still in office didn’t. This is how, inch by inch, a party reclaims its self-respect and, in turn, the respect of the voters. Republicans made it very clear that they are the fiscal grown-ups and they intend to stand up against bad deals. They will lose more than they win next year, but that hardly matters. What does matter is to conform their conduct to their rhetoric, act soberly when everyone else is not and expose the irrationality and malfeasance of the other side. That is how a minority party makes an impression — and claws back to majority status.

Led by Senators Mitch McConnell and Bob Corker, the Republicans in the Senate began to reclaim lost political ground on Thursday when they held firm against a bailout that was devoid of meaningful corporate restructuring requirements. The Wall Street Journal writes:

Thursday’s showdown marked an important political moment for the Republican Party. By refusing to write a blank check to Detroit, Senate Republicans have started to reclaim some credibility on fiscal policy and the role of government in the economy. They did so standing up to a Republican President who doesn’t want any more bad headlines, as well as to Democrats who will blame the GOP if the auto makers collapse.

They also stood up for the right reasons. No bailout will ever restore the car companies to profitability without a restructuring. Yet an explicit UAW goal is to use the bailout to avoid any such thing. The union and their Democratic protectors want to avoid the discipline that a bankruptcy could impose under Chapter 11. A government-directed salvation would also give environmentalists huge leverage over the cars Detroit builds, a power they and Democrats have wanted for decades.

In this regard, it doesn’t much matter if President Bush foolishly caves into the UAW. The Republicans still in office didn’t. This is how, inch by inch, a party reclaims its self-respect and, in turn, the respect of the voters. Republicans made it very clear that they are the fiscal grown-ups and they intend to stand up against bad deals. They will lose more than they win next year, but that hardly matters. What does matter is to conform their conduct to their rhetoric, act soberly when everyone else is not and expose the irrationality and malfeasance of the other side. That is how a minority party makes an impression — and claws back to majority status.

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Emanuel’s List For Blago

The Chicago Tribune has these rather eye-opening details on Blago-gate:

Obama said Thursday he had never spoken to Blagojevich about the Senate vacancy and was “confident that no representatives” of his had engaged in any dealmaking over the seat with the governor or his team. He also pledged Thursday that in the “next few days” he would explain what contacts his staff may have had with the governor’s office about the Senate vacancy.

Emanuel, who has long been close to both Blagojevich and Obama, has refused to respond to questions about any involvement he may have had with the Blagojevich camp over the Senate pick. A spokeswoman for Emanuel also declined to comment Friday.

One source confirmed that communications between Emanuel and the Blagojevich administration were captured on court-approved wiretaps.

Another source said that contact between the Obama camp and the governor’s administration regarding the Senate seat began the Saturday before the Nov. 4 election, when Emanuel made a call to the cell phone of Harris. The conversation took place around the same time press reports surfaced about Emanuel being approached about taking the high-level White House post should Obama win.

Emanuel delivered a list of candidates who would be “acceptable” to Obama, the source said. On the list were Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, Illinois Veterans Affairs director Tammy Duckworth, state Comptroller Dan Hynes and U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Chicago, the source said. All are Democrats.

Sometime after the election, Emanuel called Harris back to add the name of Democratic Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan to the approved list, the source said.

Well, no wonder President-elect Obama in his initial response went from “we” to “I” had no contacts with Blago. It would have been nice had he been immediately forthcoming about his closest advisor and Chief of Staff’s discussions about the empy seat. The conversations are on tape so we will learn precisely what Emanuel said, whether he was horse-trading or simply issuing the “approved list,” and whether he was confronted with any demands that did — or should have — sent him scurrying to the authorities. But the pretense that the transition team was removed from the Senate seat determination is, not surprisingly, gone.

For now, we have many more questions than answers (ranging from who compiled that list to how much Emanual related to the President-elect about Blago’s demands), but sooner rather than later the President-elect will need to provide that full accounting of  his team’s contacts, something he promised this week. There is added urgency to that task now that we know Blago did indeed deal with Obama’s inner circle.

The Chicago Tribune has these rather eye-opening details on Blago-gate:

Obama said Thursday he had never spoken to Blagojevich about the Senate vacancy and was “confident that no representatives” of his had engaged in any dealmaking over the seat with the governor or his team. He also pledged Thursday that in the “next few days” he would explain what contacts his staff may have had with the governor’s office about the Senate vacancy.

Emanuel, who has long been close to both Blagojevich and Obama, has refused to respond to questions about any involvement he may have had with the Blagojevich camp over the Senate pick. A spokeswoman for Emanuel also declined to comment Friday.

One source confirmed that communications between Emanuel and the Blagojevich administration were captured on court-approved wiretaps.

Another source said that contact between the Obama camp and the governor’s administration regarding the Senate seat began the Saturday before the Nov. 4 election, when Emanuel made a call to the cell phone of Harris. The conversation took place around the same time press reports surfaced about Emanuel being approached about taking the high-level White House post should Obama win.

Emanuel delivered a list of candidates who would be “acceptable” to Obama, the source said. On the list were Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, Illinois Veterans Affairs director Tammy Duckworth, state Comptroller Dan Hynes and U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Chicago, the source said. All are Democrats.

Sometime after the election, Emanuel called Harris back to add the name of Democratic Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan to the approved list, the source said.

Well, no wonder President-elect Obama in his initial response went from “we” to “I” had no contacts with Blago. It would have been nice had he been immediately forthcoming about his closest advisor and Chief of Staff’s discussions about the empy seat. The conversations are on tape so we will learn precisely what Emanuel said, whether he was horse-trading or simply issuing the “approved list,” and whether he was confronted with any demands that did — or should have — sent him scurrying to the authorities. But the pretense that the transition team was removed from the Senate seat determination is, not surprisingly, gone.

For now, we have many more questions than answers (ranging from who compiled that list to how much Emanual related to the President-elect about Blago’s demands), but sooner rather than later the President-elect will need to provide that full accounting of  his team’s contacts, something he promised this week. There is added urgency to that task now that we know Blago did indeed deal with Obama’s inner circle.

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All Talk, No Action

The triumphs of U.S. diplomacy never cease:

North Korea warned on Saturday that it will slow down work on ending its nuclear drive after six-party talks collapsed, but South Korea predicted a fresh start for diplomacy under US president-elect Barack Obama.

South Korea is undoubtedly right. And I predict fresh diplomatic collapses under the same. What led to this latest dissolution? ”

The six-way talks — which also involve the United States, Russia and North Korea itself — broke down Thursday in Beijing as the United States pressed North Korea for verification of its denuclearisation activities.

In response, Washington said that North Korea’s negotiating partners were suspending shipments of fuel to impoverished Pyongyang, which were part of last year’s disarmament deal.

North Korea’s nuclear negotiator, Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-Gwan, played down the US response as he spoke to reporters at Beijing’s airport, according to Japan’s Kyodo News.

But he warned: “If (fuel shipments) are not provided, we will adjust the speed of disablement.”

In other words, negotiations were undone by Obama’s preferred method: carrots and sticks. As is the case with Iran’s mullahs, North Korean leadership does not operate within the shared conceptual framework that underpins Western diplomacy. A regime that thinks nothing of a country-wide famine cannot be persuaded to change through carrots and sticks. Rather, it sees the West’s superstitious reliance on peaceful negotiations as an opportunity for extortion. Heaven knows what Obama will offer the Kim regime to induce them to “come back to the table.”

The media coverage of failed negotiations is as useless as the talks themselves. The AFP article states, “The collapse of the six-way talks all but ended the hopes of US President George W. Bush’s administration for a last-minute diplomatic success before Obama takes office on January 20.” All but ended?

The triumphs of U.S. diplomacy never cease:

North Korea warned on Saturday that it will slow down work on ending its nuclear drive after six-party talks collapsed, but South Korea predicted a fresh start for diplomacy under US president-elect Barack Obama.

South Korea is undoubtedly right. And I predict fresh diplomatic collapses under the same. What led to this latest dissolution? ”

The six-way talks — which also involve the United States, Russia and North Korea itself — broke down Thursday in Beijing as the United States pressed North Korea for verification of its denuclearisation activities.

In response, Washington said that North Korea’s negotiating partners were suspending shipments of fuel to impoverished Pyongyang, which were part of last year’s disarmament deal.

North Korea’s nuclear negotiator, Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-Gwan, played down the US response as he spoke to reporters at Beijing’s airport, according to Japan’s Kyodo News.

But he warned: “If (fuel shipments) are not provided, we will adjust the speed of disablement.”

In other words, negotiations were undone by Obama’s preferred method: carrots and sticks. As is the case with Iran’s mullahs, North Korean leadership does not operate within the shared conceptual framework that underpins Western diplomacy. A regime that thinks nothing of a country-wide famine cannot be persuaded to change through carrots and sticks. Rather, it sees the West’s superstitious reliance on peaceful negotiations as an opportunity for extortion. Heaven knows what Obama will offer the Kim regime to induce them to “come back to the table.”

The media coverage of failed negotiations is as useless as the talks themselves. The AFP article states, “The collapse of the six-way talks all but ended the hopes of US President George W. Bush’s administration for a last-minute diplomatic success before Obama takes office on January 20.” All but ended?

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Selling The Seat was Only The Start

You can’t beat those pols from Illinois. Faced with the most vivid display of lawlessness and base corruption in recent memory, they seek a solution that shows no regard for legality. The state’s Attorney General (who may or may not have been one of the enumerated Senate Candidates in the criminal complaint) is heading to court to declare Blago “unfit” and get him removed immediately, without impeachment proceedings. Because impeachment takes so long — and will, by the way, increase calls in the interim for a special election (rather than appointment by Blago’s eventual Democratic successor) to fill the empty Senate seat. So an end-around to get rid of the lawbreaker — the “perfect” Illinois solution.

The Democrats in Washington aren’t much better. When the scandal first broke, Sen. Dick Durbin was quick to call for a special election. Good move there. But when Harry Reid pushed for appointment ( who wants to risk losing the seat to the Republicans after all), Durbin began back-pedaling. The Washington Post’s “Fix” (aptly titled to opine on this topic) sums up:

Politics is about perception and, right now, Democrats can’t risk being seen as trying to subvert the democratic process. Yes, the law may say that the governor — whoever that might be — gets to appoint the next senator but just a few days ago leading Democrats were ready to change the law to allow for a special election. The initial support for a special election from the likes of Durbin, [state House Speaker] Mike Madigan and [state senate President Emil] Jones complicates the argument that a special is now no longer the best way to replace Obama. Political junkies the world round are rooting for a special election. And given the recent developments, they might just get it.

So we will see whether the maneuver to oust Blago without benefit of the impeachment proceeding, followed by the ploy to avoid a special election, will deliver the seat to some Democrat willing to take a tainted seat (“infected” might be a better term) under such bizarre circumstances. And how can we be sure the recipient then isn’t the lucky winner of the latest pay-to-play scheme?

We can add Harry Reid and Dick Durbin then to the list of participants in the “Who comes out looking bad?” Blago Sweepstakes. When coupled with Charlie Rangel’s misfortunes and the original Blago scandal (which may or may not touch members of the Obama transition team), we are off to a flying start with one-party rule in Washington. And if we are knee- deep in ethical goo, we can in part blame the media. They studiously ignored any exploration of Obama’s Chicago roots during the campaign. We’ll now learn more about it than anyone ever imagined.

You can’t beat those pols from Illinois. Faced with the most vivid display of lawlessness and base corruption in recent memory, they seek a solution that shows no regard for legality. The state’s Attorney General (who may or may not have been one of the enumerated Senate Candidates in the criminal complaint) is heading to court to declare Blago “unfit” and get him removed immediately, without impeachment proceedings. Because impeachment takes so long — and will, by the way, increase calls in the interim for a special election (rather than appointment by Blago’s eventual Democratic successor) to fill the empty Senate seat. So an end-around to get rid of the lawbreaker — the “perfect” Illinois solution.

The Democrats in Washington aren’t much better. When the scandal first broke, Sen. Dick Durbin was quick to call for a special election. Good move there. But when Harry Reid pushed for appointment ( who wants to risk losing the seat to the Republicans after all), Durbin began back-pedaling. The Washington Post’s “Fix” (aptly titled to opine on this topic) sums up:

Politics is about perception and, right now, Democrats can’t risk being seen as trying to subvert the democratic process. Yes, the law may say that the governor — whoever that might be — gets to appoint the next senator but just a few days ago leading Democrats were ready to change the law to allow for a special election. The initial support for a special election from the likes of Durbin, [state House Speaker] Mike Madigan and [state senate President Emil] Jones complicates the argument that a special is now no longer the best way to replace Obama. Political junkies the world round are rooting for a special election. And given the recent developments, they might just get it.

So we will see whether the maneuver to oust Blago without benefit of the impeachment proceeding, followed by the ploy to avoid a special election, will deliver the seat to some Democrat willing to take a tainted seat (“infected” might be a better term) under such bizarre circumstances. And how can we be sure the recipient then isn’t the lucky winner of the latest pay-to-play scheme?

We can add Harry Reid and Dick Durbin then to the list of participants in the “Who comes out looking bad?” Blago Sweepstakes. When coupled with Charlie Rangel’s misfortunes and the original Blago scandal (which may or may not touch members of the Obama transition team), we are off to a flying start with one-party rule in Washington. And if we are knee- deep in ethical goo, we can in part blame the media. They studiously ignored any exploration of Obama’s Chicago roots during the campaign. We’ll now learn more about it than anyone ever imagined.

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Flotsam and Jetsam

The story of the SEIU’s role in Blago-gate gets some attention. But this is only the tip of the iceberg. An industrial relations professor observes, “some people criticize SEIU President Andy Stern for doing anything to grow his union. ‘Others say it as a compliment,’ he says.”

Ignoring for a moment the biased framing, this headline makes a fine suggestion: “Republicans: Don’t blame us, blame the UAW.” The report strains to portray this as an effort by Republicans to deflect “blame,” but Republicans are more than happy to accept the credit for defending fiscal sanity. The reality is that the UAW’s intransigence did scuttle the deal, an unpleasant fact that not even the liberal media can disguise.

Wonder why President Bush is pulling the rug out from under the Senate Republicans on the car bailout? “The White House’s intervention showed how heavily the question of the president’s legacy is weighing over his last few weeks in office. White House officials worried that the collapse of one or more domestic auto company, perhaps the last crisis Mr. Bush will confront as president, could cause a surge in job losses, worsening the current recession.” Somehow he doesn’t worry about the legacy of starting a dangerous co-dependent relationship between the taxpayers and a hobbled industry, or about rewarding Big Labor’s greed.

Megan McArdle gets it right: “What are the auto workers being asked to do?  Set a date for accepting wages comparable to those paid at other auto plants in America.  Now, we can argue about how much of a role labor costs play in the Big Three’s problems.  But I think most people should be able to agree that a company on the verge of bankruptcy, which is losing a ton of money on every car it makes, cannot afford to pay its workers substantially more than the competition, particularly when there is no indication that this labor is any more productive than the competition.” (It’s less productive actually because of union work rules, but that’s a whole other problem.)

Larry Kudlow asks, “Who lost the U.S. car business? ” The UAW of course. Kudlow explains: “If the Detroit carmakers are in dire straits, going broke in two weeks, right now in late 2008, how can the UAW wait until 2011 to make its concessions? The financial problem is today, not two years from today. The threat of liquidation, with perhaps a few million autoworker, supplier, and car-dealer jobs lost, is today’s threat, not a 2011 threat. So what’s the UAW waiting for? That’s easy. Gettelfinger is waiting for President Obama and a Senate with 58 Democrats. He also was playing a game of bluff with President George W. Bush.” Alas, Gettelfinger seems to have figured correctly. (And Kudlow is right: Sen. Bob Corker comes out as a new Republican star.)

The floodgates are opening in Minnesota on absentee ballots and challenges from the recount. Somehow Democrats always thrive in these settings. One wonders: will Norm Coleman survive?

The “unilateralist” label slapped on the Bush Administration’s foreign policy is debunked once again.

Barney Frank defends the bailout as welfare for the UAW (recall these guys aren’t minimum wage earners) and deplores bankruptcy, apparently for anyone since it just allows you to “break deals.” But that must be only for companies since he’s not opposed to bankruptcy reform that allows individuals to dump massive credit card obligations. You know – break deals with the credit card companies. Let me make this easy: he supports anything Big Labor does. That’s nice and simple.

The story of the SEIU’s role in Blago-gate gets some attention. But this is only the tip of the iceberg. An industrial relations professor observes, “some people criticize SEIU President Andy Stern for doing anything to grow his union. ‘Others say it as a compliment,’ he says.”

Ignoring for a moment the biased framing, this headline makes a fine suggestion: “Republicans: Don’t blame us, blame the UAW.” The report strains to portray this as an effort by Republicans to deflect “blame,” but Republicans are more than happy to accept the credit for defending fiscal sanity. The reality is that the UAW’s intransigence did scuttle the deal, an unpleasant fact that not even the liberal media can disguise.

Wonder why President Bush is pulling the rug out from under the Senate Republicans on the car bailout? “The White House’s intervention showed how heavily the question of the president’s legacy is weighing over his last few weeks in office. White House officials worried that the collapse of one or more domestic auto company, perhaps the last crisis Mr. Bush will confront as president, could cause a surge in job losses, worsening the current recession.” Somehow he doesn’t worry about the legacy of starting a dangerous co-dependent relationship between the taxpayers and a hobbled industry, or about rewarding Big Labor’s greed.

Megan McArdle gets it right: “What are the auto workers being asked to do?  Set a date for accepting wages comparable to those paid at other auto plants in America.  Now, we can argue about how much of a role labor costs play in the Big Three’s problems.  But I think most people should be able to agree that a company on the verge of bankruptcy, which is losing a ton of money on every car it makes, cannot afford to pay its workers substantially more than the competition, particularly when there is no indication that this labor is any more productive than the competition.” (It’s less productive actually because of union work rules, but that’s a whole other problem.)

Larry Kudlow asks, “Who lost the U.S. car business? ” The UAW of course. Kudlow explains: “If the Detroit carmakers are in dire straits, going broke in two weeks, right now in late 2008, how can the UAW wait until 2011 to make its concessions? The financial problem is today, not two years from today. The threat of liquidation, with perhaps a few million autoworker, supplier, and car-dealer jobs lost, is today’s threat, not a 2011 threat. So what’s the UAW waiting for? That’s easy. Gettelfinger is waiting for President Obama and a Senate with 58 Democrats. He also was playing a game of bluff with President George W. Bush.” Alas, Gettelfinger seems to have figured correctly. (And Kudlow is right: Sen. Bob Corker comes out as a new Republican star.)

The floodgates are opening in Minnesota on absentee ballots and challenges from the recount. Somehow Democrats always thrive in these settings. One wonders: will Norm Coleman survive?

The “unilateralist” label slapped on the Bush Administration’s foreign policy is debunked once again.

Barney Frank defends the bailout as welfare for the UAW (recall these guys aren’t minimum wage earners) and deplores bankruptcy, apparently for anyone since it just allows you to “break deals.” But that must be only for companies since he’s not opposed to bankruptcy reform that allows individuals to dump massive credit card obligations. You know – break deals with the credit card companies. Let me make this easy: he supports anything Big Labor does. That’s nice and simple.

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