Monday, February 28, 2011

Mitch Daniels Caves

This is the unedited version of an article that first appeared at American Thinker on 02/23/2011
Today Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana effectively destroyed his chances for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 when he caved in to the walk-out by Democrats in the Indiana House over a controversial right-to-work bill:

Daniels told reporters this afternoon that he expects House Democrats will return to work if the bill dies. It would be unfortunate if other bills are caught up in the turmoil, he said.

He will not send out state police to corral the Democrats, the Republican governor said.

The Democrat minority has (the) right to express its views, he added.

Daniels is a fiscal hawk who has won national acclaim for the bang-up job he has done steering the Indiana economy out of the mire of the recession compounded by two previous terms of Democrat irresponsibility. The governor gave a controversial speech at the CPAC convention asking Republicans to “call a truce” on social issues while dealing with America's faltering economy.

Word to Mitch: the stifling effect of labor unions on the economy is not a social issue.

Daniels unwillingness to stand on principle on issues important to social conservatives suggested that there might be a weak spot in the former Reagan Budget Director's resume. Daniels earned the sobriquet “Mitch the Knife” for his willingness to stand on economic principle while helping trim the fat out of the federal budget.

Apparently, Daniels now wants to be known as “Mitch the Nice.” That won't work for me or any of the conservatives that I know. Now is the time to draw the proverbial line in the sand and act on the mandate provided conservatives in the 2010 mid-term elections. Reigning in union greed must be a top priority.

I'm sure teachers, federal employees, Indiana Democrats and associated union ilk are searching the thrift stores for “My Man Mitch” buttons that they would previously have spat upon.

Sorry Mitch, but it's only taken two weeks in the national public eye to prove that you ain't no Chris Christie or Scott Walker.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

RINO Watch: Richard Lugar, Carpetbagger

This article first appeared at American Thinker on 02/20/2011
Following in the hallowed tradition of Hillary Clinton and Rahm Emanuel, it appears that Hoosier native Senator Richard Lugar's long tenure in Washington D.C. has helped him morph into a bit of a carpetbagger. Although pettifogger Lugar retains an ownership interest in a 604 acre corn, soybean and tree farm in Marion county Indiana along with his siblings, it appears that Beltway Dick doesn't really live there.
Lugar senior spokesman Mark Helmke acknowledged that the Senator stays at a hotel on his occasional return visits to Indiana. Helmke claimed that Lugar works the farm with his son once a month, “even though he doesn't live there.”
This wouldn't be the first time Lugar used the farm to further his conflicting political interests. Although elected by the people to serve as a Republican in a state with significant dependence on coal for energy, Lugar became the first farmer in Indiana to sign up with the Chicago Climate Exchange back in 2006. The establishment of the Exchange was planned to play a central role in Obama's $650 billion cap-and trade scam. Fortunately, the implosion of the global warming canard torpedoed that nonsensical initiative.
As a member of the CCE:
Lugar became what the exchange called an offset producer, entitling him to a financial reward in return for keeping his part of the property untouched. Lugar who was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at the time, not only participated in the Climate Exchange program. He also endorsed it in promotional advertising.
Although Lugar never cashed in the stack of off-set certificates he received,
The Climate Exchange ...profited from its association with Lugar, one of the Senate's most influential voices on foreign policy and a highly respected elder statesman...the exchange (used) Lugar's participation to promote itself to farmers and the public, in the form of a ringing endorsement from the Senator that the exchange displays in its marketing tools.
Of course the other featured endorsement in the exchange's promotional materials is from Lugar acolyte, Barack Obama. Senator Lugar also shares our wobbly President's views on strategic arms limitations and who knows what else and has served as a bit of a mentor for our very liberal POTUS.
Like many another bad liberal idea, the Chicago Climate Exchange collapsed under the weight of its own absurdity and closed in November of 2010. Unlike macrame plant hangers, earth shoes and Al Gore, however, Richard Lugar's tenure in the United States Senate continues to defy common sense and just keeps chugging along.
For now.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Desperate Wisconsin Brotherhood

The Democrat state senators of Wisconsin who skipped out on the Senate session to obviate the possibly of a vote disenfranchising their union pals are engaging in what used to be called an Italian strike. Otherwise known as “work-to-rule” these are actions: which employees do no more than the minimum required by the rules of a workplace, and follow safety or other regulations to the letter in order to cause a slowdown rather than to serve their purpose...In some is known as an Italian strike as it is believed it was first used in Italy in 1904.
Larry Kudlow rightly describes the actions of the state representatives, in collusion with their union paymasters, as an anti-democratic disgrace. The Milwaukee teacher's union has joined the fray, staging wildcat solidarity strikes with over 1100 teachers calling in sick causing the schools to shut down. Kudlow astutely recognizes the opportunity for proponents of smaller government:
(The teachers) ought to be fired. Think Reagan PATCO in 1981. Think Calvin Coolidge police strike in 1919.
Union members are fighting mad. The enormous booty accumulated by the enforced collection of their dues was squandered in support of losing Democrats nearly nationwide. Usually, when these thugs seek to fix an election, it gets fixed and it stays fixed. This time it appears that the gig is up. The cost of benefit packages for union employees have continued to skyrocket primarily because the expense of benefit packages is easier for Democrats to hide from the public than straight up wage increases. Governor Walker's bill, and another like it in Ohio, seek to require union members to pony up a fairer share of the cost of their benefits. Only this time, Walker recognizes that those cost reductions will be rolled back by future collective bargaining arrangements, unless the right to collective bargaining is disabled for government workers.
We can hear the union pigs stuck under Governor Walker's fence squealing all the way down here in Indiana. But it's not just Governor Walker of Wisconsin calling for the end of the arrogant unionists joy ride at the expense of the rest of us. The 2010 mid-term election results foretold just such a day of reckoning for the privileged unionists.
Patrick McIlheran at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel understands these thugs:
Union activists in Madison Tuesday spoke apocalyptically of “class war,” hinting wildly at general strikes and takeovers of the capitol. They correctly see their control of the state slipping and must figure that if they bring 13,000 shouting people to Madison, they can overrule the election.
Like their champion B.O. in the White House, the unions have no respect for the law. Money and muscle are the order of the day and neither B.O. nor his union collaborationists will spare any expense or any show of manpower to circumvent the laws of our great nation in order to continue redistributing the wealth of the taxpayers into the pockets and bank accounts of trade unions and their partners in the disgraced, amoral, and increasingly desperate Democrat party.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Opportunity is missed by most people because its dressed in overalls and it looks like work.

Thomas Edison

Monday, February 14, 2011

Obama Agonistes: A view from across the pond

This article was first published at American Thinker on 02/13/2011
In order to get intellectual clarity, it is sometimes required that we step outside of our homegrown comfort zone and examine the thoughts of pundits who are somewhat more disinterested. While the typical scrum of Fleet Streetists and liberal moaners from the politically correct U.K. tabloids are no more inspiring than Maureen Dowd in high dudgeon, the musings of clear thinkers like James Delingpole and particularly Gerald Warner can be especially illuminating. Warner's latest riff at Scotland on Sunday on Obama's clodhopper handling of the uprising in Egypt provides some remarkably clear thinking.
Warner recognizes facts that American journalists seem unwilling to admit.
The fact that Egypt, for instance, simply isn't ready for democratic elections:
Does anybody in Washington recognize what the establishment of democratic governments in the Middle East would mean? War with Israel, because that is the settled will of the Arab street. Apparently western liberals want more democratic elections like the one that gifted Gaza to Hamas in 2006.
Wishing that this weren't so doesn't make it any less true. How can any proponent of the best possible world order not see Mubarak as the lesser of two evils when compared with the murderous Muslim Brotherhood? For the path surely seems to be clear for the MB or their ally to fill the power vacuum developing in Egypt.
Warner further points out the folly of enabling an “orderly transition” under Mohamed ElBaradei, who is clearly nothing more than an Iranian stooge. Proponents of Tehran Mo point to his status as a Nobel Laureate.
Well so is the buffoon in the Oval Office, having been awarded his prize by the celebrity-stalking Nobel committee at the start of his administration, on the reasoned assumption it would be more difficult to cobble together a plausible citation at the end of it.
One would be hard put to find a better unmasking of the Muslim Brotherhood than Warner's. The fact that the MB controls nearly every major Muslim organization in the United States and has a well-funded campaign in place to “cultivate respectability on American campuses and in U.S. government circles” doesn't make their jihadist fundamentalism any more palatable. The Brotherhood is well-entrenched in Egyptian society and appears ready to assume a war footing with Israel even as it plants its p.r. nuggets in the American mainstream media.
The silver lining? Warner recognizes that this latest demonstration of B.O.'s foreign policy ineptitude should be the last nail in his re-election coffin. Out Cartering Carter, Obama now seems likely to elicit a “Who Lost Egypt?” reaction that should dwarf the “Who Lost China?” outcry that ushered Eisenhower and the Republicans into office in 1952.
If by 2012 the Middle East were in Islamist hands, the U.S. electorate would annihilate Obama, however inadequate the Republican candidate: in that scenario, Bugs Bunny could carry 50 states: what you are seeing is the meltdown of the Obama presidency.
Read the whole article here. Not a minced word anywhere.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Bannering: Obama's latest gift to the unions

This article first appeared at American Thinker on 02/05/2011

With public opinion increasingly critical of overpaid and under-performing labor unions, one might expect that union members and their representatives would be keeping a low profile while mounting a public relations campaign to repair their well-earned and sullied reputations. Not this bunch. In the face of an onslaught of public criticism of their excessive pay and absurdly generous health and retirement benefits coupled with a call for increased accountability and an end to tenure, public union members are actually becoming more strident and militant in their determination to demand what they seem to think is their entitlement.
Fresh on the heels of the National Labor Relations Board's ruling confirming the right of unions to engage in “bannering,”a Michigan carpenter's union is vigorously pursuing the practice. It's time for a court review of this practice and these belligerent unionists are providing the perfect case to pursue.
Ken Braun at the Michigan Capitol Confidential
provides a detailed report on the brouhaha. It seems that the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters isn't happy negotiating solely for members of it's union. The union is now resorting to a form of extortion to influence the actions of companies who don't use their members.
The targeted company, Ritsema Associates, is a construction contractor located near Grand Rapids. Back in July, the MRCC sent a letter to Ritsema claiming that they had investigated the company and determined that they were paying sub-standard wage and benefits. Mind you, this is not a government agency performing its due diligence: the is a rival organization with interests competing with those of Ritsema. No evidence was provided in the letter suggesting how this investigation was conducted. Ritsema was informed that if they did not provide their private payroll information to the MRCC, they would be considered to be paying substandard wages.
Of course, Ritsema refused to provide their private company information. Two weeks later a dozen of it's customers received a “Notice of Labor Dispute” stating that:
The Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters has a labor dispute with Ritsema & Associates, who does not meet area labor standards-they do not pay the standard wages to all their employees, including paying for health benefits and pension.
We want you to be aware that our new and aggressive pubic information campaign against this company will unfortunately impact all parties associated with projects where they are employed. The campaign will include highly visible lawful banner displays and distribution of handbills at the job site and premises of property owners, developers, general contractors and any other firms involved with projects involving a non area standard contractor.
Tony Soprano couldn't have said it any better.
The bannering went into effect almost immediately with the “banner lines” being manned by hired guns paid by the cash-flush union. The union hired guns were also handing out flyers from the MRCC featuring a rat chewing on an American flag. The flyer encourages phone calls to the company who had contracted Ritsema to complain about the work being done on their property.
This practiced of bannnering is nothing more than an attempt by the NLRB to achieve the same result as the discredited “card-check” legislation that the Democrats were unable to cram down our throats while they maintained an overwhelming majority in Congress. Make no mistake, Obama has pursued the aims of labor unions through the executive branch, just as he attempted to go around the Congress with the EPA 's backdoor cap-and-trade. When B.O. was unable to get his union man, Craig Becker, approved through the Senate nominating process, he went ahead and stacked the NLRB with Becker via recess appointment along with another union shill, Mark Pearce. This was on the advice of Richard Trumka.
The NLRB's approval of bannering appears to have Becker & Pearce's fingerprints all over it. Doesn't Congress have oversight of the NLRB? It's time for an investigation of this reprehensible practice. While the Obama administration continues to pander to their bag men in the labor unions, Ritsema Associates is in danger of losing its contract with some clients who were clearly intimidated the flagrant aggression of the MRCC. And that, of course, will lead to fewer jobs for Ritsema employees. Shall we count these as jobs uncreated or jobs unsaved?

Fed Utility Bills: Your Government at Work

This article first appeared at American Thinker on 1/16/2011

One can understand the fact that federal bureaucrats earning an average of 33% more than their counterparts in the productive sectors of the economy might have America's fiscal panties in a wad. A report from WUSA Channel 9 in Washington, D.C. helps us consider the expense of warehousing these parasitic mopes for the 30 years or so it takes them to start getting paid lavishly to stay at home.
Reporter Andrea McCarren kept track of the lights left on late at night at a number of our federal agency buildings including the Department of Energy, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Labor. She coupled her observations with a Freedom of Information Act request for copies of the utility bills for the agencies who seemed most noticeably to be practicing the Motel Six version of federal resource husbandry (“We'll leave the lights on for ya.”)
The results were shocking even to this jaded observer of bureaucratic incompetence:
..One month's electricity bill at the Department of Labor topped a MILLION dollars. That was a bill paid in July of last year. The month before, the Department paid a bill of nearly $700,000....The Department of Health and Human Services paid a bill last August of $799,000 for a month of service...The Department of Commerce paid a bill last June of $794,000.
Of course I understand that Kathleen Sebelius needs a support staff burning the midnight oil in order to discover and communicate to the hoi polloi the proper way to sneeze. But why do we need to spend a million dollars a month to illuminate the Department of Labor when we could eliminate the whole agency and replace it with the simple installation of a revolving door at the White House to facilitate the regular visits of Andy Stern and his cronies?
The first wave of Tea Party congressmen seems intent on slashing spending. Perhaps they will seriously consider the cuts suggested by freshman Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky:
..Paul would abolish the Departments of Education, Energy, and Housing and Urban Development. Completely zeroing out federal housing spending...
The Affordable Housing Program, the Commission on Fine Arts, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the State Justice Institute, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission are all eliminated. The Smithsonian is privatized.
Sounds like a good start.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

True love and prayer are learned in the moment when prayer has become impossible and the heart has turned to stone. Thomas Merton

Thursday, February 3, 2011

In Official English Please

It looks like the wave of Republican take-overs in the nation's statehouses is gearing up for action. Both Indiana and Minnesota legislators are pushing English-Only bills to require that all official state business be conducted in English. Elizabeth Llorente at Fox News Latino reports that the Indiana House already passed their bill with overwhelming support, 63 to 26: it heads shortly to the state Senate. Minnesota's bill should reach a vote in their state senate once the powerful winter storm blanketing the area dies down.
A tremendous amount of momentum carrying issues important to the Tea Party has been bottled up since the powerful electoral message of conservatives was delivered at the 2010 mid-term elections. Republicans took over 19 state chambers formerly held by Democrats and control the battle for statehouse legislatures 55 to 38. Expect local reform to be enacted much more quickly than in the national legislative bodies. State representatives are much closer to the grass-roots and seem to be energized and fired up for the challenge of taking America back.
The English-Only bills represent the leading edge of the conservative reform movement. According to the director of U.S. English, a Washington, D.C. Lobbying group:
With the result of the last election, at state and federal levels, we have the best climate for passing (Official English) legislation that we've had in the last 15 years.
Mike Delph, our local state senator from Carmel, says that supporters of Official English:
...are tired of pressing “1” for English when calling businesses, or hearing Spanish announcements over the Wal-Mart intercom, or struggling to understand a worker in the McDonald's drive-thru.
Delph is considered one of the Tea-Party's favorite sons and is contemplating a primary challenge to Richard Lugar for the U.S. Senate. Delph is also championing an Arizona-style immigration law among many other conservative proposals to help correct the leftward drift of American society toward political correctness and multiculturalism and away from traditional American values.
Critics of the Official English bill have been ineffectual, making the usual charges of mean-spiritedness and discrimination. Republicans counter that the state's website shouldn't provide information in Spanish and that our public universities shouldn't even print applications for foreign students at taxpayer expense. With the conservatives prevailing and a bit of expeditious enforcement, at least going forward we can assure that our critics will have to conduct their excoriations in the king's English.