Friday’s Follies for January 17, 2014

The first news item to cross my desk this morning was the announcement that Senator Tom Coburn, (R-OK), would leave the Senate at the end of the year. His term won’t expire until 2016, but due to a recurrence of his prostrate cancer, he’s leaving the Senate early. Erick Erickson of Red State calls Coburn the Horatius of Oklahoma.

With an unknown future, I can understand Coburn’s desire to spend more time with his family. I wish my so-called republican senator had Tom Coburn’s voting record and leadership.

I wish you well, Tom Coburn.

***

Union organizers lose another one. The International Association of Machinists attempted to organization an Amazon site in New Jersey and failed. As expected, the union claims it was all Amazon’s fault! In retrospect, that is true. Amazon provided a working environment that supported their employees, more than the union who only wanted their ‘take’ from the members paychecks.

Their unusual thug tactics failed.

Is It Hubris Or…? Undemocratic and dysfunctional Machinists’ union blames Amazon for employees’ rejection

 

LaborUnionReport (Diary)  | 

amazon-box-500x344

Whether it is extreme hubris or blatantly deceptive spin, the International Association of Machinists does not seem to realize that, over the last several months, the union has done a number of things to sully its own reputation in the minds of its members—as well as the general public—which is likely costing it potential new members.

On Tuesday, a group of 27 Amazon workers employed by the company in Delaware overwhelmingly rejected representation by the Machinists in an NLRB-supervised election by 21-6.

According to union spokesman John Carr, the union’s loss was all the company’s fault.

The majority of 27 technicians at an Amazon fulfillment center in Middletown, Delaware, voted to reject an initiative to form a union under the auspices of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, said John Carr, a spokesman for the IAMAW. The vote, held late yesterday, was 21 to 6.

That number is a clear reflection that the tactics Amazon and their law firm employed were very effective,” Carr said. “Under the intense pressures these workers faced on the shop floor, it was an uphill battle all the way.” [Emphasis added.]

Either Mr. Carr is completely ignorant of how the goings-on within his own union impact its reputation among potential new members or he is merely looking for a scapegoat to blame for his own union’s shortcomings.

In either case, events over the last several months within the Machinists’ union do not make a good case for the union to sell itself to union-free workers.

Guess the New Jersey employees weren’t too impressed with a union that jacked around its members as they have done with Boeing.

***

There were two stories in the news today about a theater overlooked by liberal media—the Western Pacific and the buildup of Chinese military forces. The Chinese declared an exclusion zone encompassing islands owned by Japan in addition to their claims in the South China Sea that covers territory claimed by a number of other nations including Viet Nam, Japan and the Philippine Islands.

(See my post from last year.)

Under our current non-leadership, our military forces have been degraded to the point that we can no longer secure the open seas nor support our allies in the Pacific. Japan is considering a massive buildup of their defense forces due to American military weakness.

Ominous warning: Admiral concedes U.S. losing dominance to China

Commander of Obama’s Asia pivot eyes military posturing by China

 

An F-18 Super Hornet flies ahead of the USS John C. Stennis while in the Pacific, 2013. (Image: U.S. Navy)

The Obama administration’s ballyhooed military “pivot” to Asia is running into some frank talk from the top U.S. commander in the Pacific. 

Three years after the Pentagon said it was de-emphasizing Europe in favor of the Asia-Pacific region, NavyAdm. Samuel J. Locklear III said this week that U.S. dominance has weakened in the shadow of a more aggressive China.

“Our historic dominance that most of us in this room have enjoyed is diminishing, no question,” Adm. Locklear, chief of U.S. Pacific Command, said Wednesday at a naval conference in Virginia.

Although Adm. Locklear said it is obvious that Chinese military power is growing, he suggested that it is unclear whether China will seek to be a hard adversary to the U.S. in the long term, so Washington should be working overtime on steering Beijing toward a cooperative security posture.

China is going to rise, we all know that,” Adm. Locklear said, as reported by Defense News, which included several quotes from his speech at the annual Surface Navy Association meeting.

“[But] how are they behaving? That is really the question,” the admiral said, adding that the Pacific Command’s goal is for China “to be a net provider of security, not a net user of security.”

His remarks offered insight into the introspection at the Pentagon’s highest levels about how the U.S. should tailor its military presence in the region, where Beijing and Moscow — regional powerhouses and former Cold War adversaries to Washington — are keen to challenge U.S. dominance.

“The problem with this formulation is, for whom does Adm. Locklear think China will be providing security?” said Dean Cheng, an analyst at the Heritage Foundation. “The implicit answer is ‘to everyone,’ because the assumption is that we can somehow mold China into being ourselves — that China will see its interests as somehow congruent and coincident with those of the United States, and therefore China will assume the mantle of regional provider of public goods.

The column continues here.

Military weakness abetted by Chinese holdings of US debt can lead to an extremely dangerous future. The US is ignoring our pledge to protect and support Taiwan and our WesPac allies. We promised to provide Taiwan with diesel-electric subs for a decade or more. The US doesn’t have any, nor does the US build any, but that didn’t stop the promise from being made. To date, that promise has not be fulfilled. The US has also promised to provide Taiwan with some P-3C patrol aircraft. Some, two of twelve, have been delivered.

Taiwan, hoping to give China pause, is now conducting anti-submarine exercises in their territorial waters.

IN CHINA: Taiwan’s anti-sub drill

The Taiwanese navy this week conducted an anti-submarine warfare drill as part of a recent effort to improve the island’s defenses against a Chinese underwater attack.

Conducted Tuesday about 10 miles off Taiwan’s southwestern coast, the drill involved surface vessels and helicopters in simulated hunt-and-kill operations against submarines.

China’s massive military buildup over the past two decades has prompted Taiwan to enhance its defenses — with significant help from the U.S. Washington provides key weapons systems that are mandated by the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, which requires the U.S. to provide arms that allow Taipei to maintain parity with Beijing’s communist government.

However, the United States has been hampered by obstacles that have prevented Taiwan from keeping its defense capabilities on par with China’s offensive capabilities.

For example, the George W. Bush administration in 2001 approved the sale of eight diesel-electric submarines to Taiwan, even though the U.S. long ago ceased making non-nuclear-powered subs. Prolonged talks about cost and congressional concerns about technology transfer resulted in inaction that continues to this day.

China’s navy, with nearly 60 submarines, including a half-dozen nuclear-powered attack and ballistic missile subs, holds a decisive advantage over Taiwan. Taipei currently deploys only two old Dutch-made submarines.

Analysts say Taiwan must strengthen its anti-sub capabilities to counterbalance China’s forces.

To help meet Taiwan’s anti-submarine needs, the U.S. in 2007 agreed to sell P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft to the Taiwanese military. The first four were recently delivered.

The Taiwanese military recently upgraded two submarines by arming them with up to 32 UGM-84A Harpoon anti-ship missiles. The Harpoon, made by McDonnell Douglas [now Boeing], is an advanced, all-weather, sea-skimming, radar-guided missile. Its “over-the-horizon” system can reach targets about 70 nautical miles away, placing many of China’s surface ships within its range.

The column continues with the news of the assignment of the USS Ronald Reagan, (CVN-76) to its new base in Japan. The USS Ronald Reagan will replace the USS George Washington, currently on-station in the Western Pacific.

The world is a dangerous place. It always had been. All too many in the US fail to understand that truism.

A side-bar poll on the Washington Times website asks, “Will U.S. military might be the envy of the world 50 years from now?” That is a good question. I won’t be around then, well, it’s highly unlikely. I fear the answer will be, “No.” The website could have asked, “Will the U.S. still have a Constitutional Republic 5o years from now?” I fear the answer to that question, too, may also be, “No.”

Revolt against the DOR

UPDATE (Wednesday, March 6, 2013): I renewed my driver’s license at my local bureau yesterday. I’m over 65 so all I had to show was my voter’s registration card—something to indicate my residence. I asked the lady about the DoR scanning documents. She had not heard about it nor had in instructions to do so.  One difference, this was a franchise office. That may have been the difference.

My Missouri Driver’s License will expire next week. It seems to be coming faster every iteration. My CCW expires in a few months. That will be my 3rd renewal. For you outside Missouri, our CCW license is our driver’s license or a non-driver’s ID card issued by our Department of Revenue with the appropriate annotations added, the letters CCW and an expiration date.

Since the beginning of Missouri’s CCW, its expiration date and that of the driver’s license have had different renewal dates. Our driver’s license term is for four years, our CCW is for three.  There have been a number of attempts to synchronize both for the same term. To the best of my knowledge that has not been done.

This year, both of my licenses are due the same year—different months, but still the same year. I had thought to renew them separately until I read this in the news.

Missouri Dept. of Revenue Allegedly Compiling Data on Concealed Carry Holders, Forwarding It to Company With Ties to Gov’t

Mar. 5, 2013 3:46am

A Southeast Missouri man has sued after being told by a license office that it would make digital copies of documents needed for a permit to carry a concealed weapon. The Missouri Department of Revenue has allegedly been compiling data on Missouri residents seeking concealed carry permits and then forwarding it to a third party with ties to the federal government.

Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder held a press conference on Monday and revealed the lawsuit had been filed to fight the action and prevent any violation of Americans’ privacy.

The lawsuit was filed Monday by Stoddard County prosecuting attorney Russ Oliver on behalf of Missouri resident Eric Griffin. Oliver filed the lawsuit as a private attorney.

“I fully support Mr. Oliver in this important legal action in Stoddard County Circuit Court,” Kinder said in a press release. “The case has issues of statewide importance implicating serious privacy concerns for law-abiding citizens. These folks have followed the letter of the law and have been approved for concealed carry by the proper authorities. They must not be required to share that information with any third parties or the federal government.”

The issue was brought to light after Griffin, the Missourian on whose behalf Oliver filed the lawsuit, went to his local Department of Motor Vehicles fee office after passing the application process for a concealed carry gun permit. Oliver says Griffin refused to let DMV employees scan and store some of his documentation — so he was denied his permit.

The Missouri Department of Revenue reportedly installed new computer equipment that records certain information as a part of the federal Real ID Act of 2005, according to Oliver. State laws prohibit the department from retaining and forwarding certain information. The information that was compiled by the DOR was reportedly being forwarded to Morpho Trust, U.S.A., a Georgia company that “specializes in partnering with state and federal governmental agencies,” according to the press release put out by Kinder’s office.

“There are important privacy concerns for concealed carry holders who justly fear their information is being sent to a third party or the federal government,” Oliver said. “Missouri law makes it clear that what is going on here is illegal, and serves no legitimate purpose since the county sheriff is solely charged with the duty of determining applicants’ eligibility for endorsement.”

A trial judge issued a temporary restraining order over the practice Monday — the same day the lawsuit was filed — and scheduled a hearing March 12. Oliver said the order is limited to the Stoddard County license office.

I’m glad Peter Kinder stood up to help block the illegal acts of the Department of Revenue. There has been an injunction issued blocking the DoR from collecting that information. I don’t know how long that injunction will last. It may force me to renew my CCW early.

The Department of Revenue has been operating like a rogue agency for years, if not decades. It’s time the state brought the DoR to heel.

A Revenue Department spokesman said the agency follows the law. — The Blaze.

That response makes me wonder whose law they are following? It isn’t the law of the State of Missouri.

***

Tidbits in the news: Vanity license plate, Freedom, banned in Washington, DC.

‘Freedom’ license plate banned in Washington D.C.

March 5, 2013 | 9:56 am
Banned-in-DC

Banned in Washington, DC.

The word “FREEDOM” is among the list of banned vanity license plate slogans for Washington D.C., according a government file obtained by a Freedom of Information Request filed by the transparency website GovernmentAttic.org.

Other banned phrases include anti-tax messages such as “TAXKLLR” and “TAXRUS4″…

***

Unions, specifically, teacher’s unions, in Michigan, are back in the news. Michigan is now a Right to Work state. The state’s teacher’s union, seeing mandatory union dues disappear are trying a new tactic—forcing teacher’s to pay their future dues in advance—TEN years of dues!

Teachers fight back after union locks in dues payments for next 10 years

2:39 AM 03/05/2013

A school district is attempting to force teachers to pay union dues for the next 10 years, despite being located in Michigan, which is now a right-to-work state that specifically prohibits mandatory unionization.

Michigan became the 24th right-to-work state in December. But the law doesn’t take effect until March 28 — giving unions time to grandfather in their contracts if they can get them approved before the deadline. As part of this effort, the Taylor School District approved an entirely separate “union security agreement” that will force teachers to keep paying the union until 2023.

Under the security agreement, teachers’ only options will be to pay union dues, or pay an agency fee amounting to about $800 a year.

But three Taylor teachers who want to leave the union said enough is enough.

“I believe it is unfair of the union to have a security clause that requires me to be a member for 10 years,” said Rebecca Metz, a Taylor teacher, in a statement.

Metz, along with fellow teachers Angela Steffke and Nancy Rhatigan, is suing to block implementation the 10-year dues extension.

A lawyer representing the three teachers framed the issue as a clear case of a union and a school district attempting to thwart the will of the legislature.

There is more at the website but once again, education unions are acting more like mobsters than like teachers.

Federal unions vow payback

Today is March 1st and the monstrous ‘sequester’ is supposed to be in effect. But…it’s not yet. Why? As of this time, 9:30am CST, Obama hasn’t signed the paperwork. He’s still waiting for the ‘Pubs to cave and agree to more taxes. He’s called McConnell and other Senate leaders to the White House to make a deal. McConnell, before the meeting swore, “No new taxes!”

Where have I heard that before?

SEIU and the National Federation of Federal Employees are warning lawmakers they will get payback. Quote: “Why should hardworking, middle-class federal employees have to suffer because our elected officials can’t clean up the mess they created?” — New York Post.

They are correct to blame ‘elected officials.’ Unfortunately, they aren’t blaming the correct ones—Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Obama. On the other hand, they are overpaid and parasitic, sucking more from the economy and provide little or no return for our money except to eat more of our fiscal resources.

The article continues…

That would erase any budget savings or debt reduction resulting from the furloughs, which is supposed to be the whole idea.

Federal employees have a history of winning these labor fights.

The workers got their back pay the last time they suffered mass “unpaid” furloughs during the 1996 government shutdown under President Bill Clinton.

The automatic spending cuts, known as the sequester, threaten furloughs of up to a day a week for hundreds of thousands of federal employees, cutting their weekly paychecks by 20 percent.

Furloughs for as many as 875,000 federal workers would kick in after April 1, forcing workers to stay home without pay one day a week for about 22 weeks. — The New York Post.

That may gain some sympathy if it was correct. It’s not. The ones impacted are the non-union positions, the engineers, technical consultants that actually do work instead of unionized bureaucrats who, for the most part, do little more than push paper. We can reasonably rest assured Obama won’t impact his union contributors. As least not their leadership. The rank ‘n file are on their own.

***

Sometimes you just can’t make this stuff up! I was surfin’ the internet this morning and what do I find?  This!

Kerry, Hagel and Brennan: The 3 Stooges are running the country

Friday, March 1, 2013 – What in the World by Bob Taylor
Washington is starting to look like a black and white comedy short: The Three Stooges running the country.

Photo: The Three Stooges

CHARLOTTE, February 29, 2013 ― As the new Secretary of State, Kerry is boning up on Islam and has learned that it “is not represented by a lot of jihadists and others,” but is, instead, “a beautiful religion.”

But Kerry continued by adding, “I’ve been reading a book recently called No god but God, which is the history of the Prophet and where he came from and how it developed as a religion. It’s fascinating.”

That should be enough to immediately let us know the direction of Kerry’s tenure in his new position, a direction wholeheartedly endorsed by President Obama.

When a controversial new CIA director, Brennan, who is just a confirmation vote away, joins his equally unqualified partner, Hagel, as Secretary of Defense, the trio will be complete and the image of the United States as a global force to be respected will be further diminished.

I could not make a more appropriate description of these three other than renaming them, Larry, Moe and Curly.

Monday Moments

It is bright outside here near KC. That won’t last. According to which track you’re following and which model your local forecaster is using, we’ll get between 8″ to over 12″ of snow in the next 36 hours. One local station estimates up to 18″. My wife teaches on Tuesday nights. She is expecting a snow day.

KC Storm Watch February 25, 2013

KC Storm Watch February 25, 2013

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South Carolina democrats are planning to hire private detectives to “discover” dirt on their ‘Pub opponents. It’s not an new tactic. In South Carolina, the purpose is to “cripple” the  legislative agenda of the ‘Pub state leadership and Governor Pat McCrory.

Liberal groups lay out blueprint for attack on state leaders

By Mark Binker

Raleigh, N.C. — A strategy memo circulated recently among liberal-leaning groups prescribes “crippling” legislative leaders and Gov. Pat McCrory with bad press and pressure tactics.

The memo, which was first reported by The Charlotte Observer, details communications strategy, political tactics and polling data that progressive groups can use to push the policy agenda in Raleigh, where Republicans control both the governor’s mansion and the legislature. 

According to documents included with the memo and interviews, the strategy outline was produced by Myers Research and Strategic Services for Project New America. It was originally provided to Progress North Carolina, a liberal nonprofit that has aggressively attacked McCrory during the 2012 campaign and his early term in office. Progress North Carolina shared the memo with Blueprint NC, a nonprofit that coordinates the activities of liberal-leaning nonprofits. In turn, Blueprint NC distributed it to its member organizations.

An electronic version of the memo appears to contain at least three separate documents. One is an email from outgoing Blueprint NC Communications Director Stephanie Bass describing the material and emphasizing that it is “CONFIDENTIAL to Blueprint, so please be careful – share with your boards and appropriate staff, but not the whole world.”

Sean Kosofsky, Blueprint NC’s director, said his group did not pay for or commission the research. “We were just forwarding it on,” he said.

On Saturday, two days after this post originally published, Kosofsky distanced his group from most inflammatory parts of the document, although acknowledged it was distributed at a meeting organized by Blueprint NC. Click here to read more about what Kosofsky says about the controversial memo.

The second document is a “talking points memo” that outlines strategies for progressive groups. Policy wins for the political left, the memo said, would likely be defined as “mitigating” legislation, rather than pushing their own agenda items.

“The most effective way to mitigate the worst legislation is to weaken our opponents’ ability to govern by crippling their leaders (McCrory, Tillis, Berger, etc…)” the memo reads, referring to the governor, House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger.

The memo goes on to describe a “potential two-year vision” during which the groups would “eviscerate the leadership and weaken their ability to govern.”

***

Need a job? Get paid to be a Gun Control supporter. Progressive USA Voters can’t get enough members to make an impact in Chicago’s ongoing battle against guns and the 2nd Amendment. They’ve found a solution. If there isn’t enough support, buy some!

Liberal astroturf group offering $9 to $11 per hour to join its gun-control campaign

10:12 AM 02/24/2013

The liberal organization Progressive USA Voters, which is housed in the same progressive Denver office building as a chapter of the infamous left-wing astroturf group ProgressNow, is offering an hourly wage of between $9 and $11 to join its gun-control campaign in Chicago, according to a flyer that was photographed and posted to Reddit Friday.

“Join the Campaign to Stop Gun Violence” reads the flyer, which also notes, “Hourly Wage: $9-11/hr.”

Progressive USA Voters is specifically focused on the April 2013 special election for Jesse Jackson Jr.’s vacated House seat in Illinois’ Second Congressional District. The group is targeting Democratic primary candidate Debbie Halvorson, who accepted more than $10,000 from the National Rifle Association, according to the Progressive USA Voters website.

Halvorson is running against former state representative Robin Kelly, who has received the endorsement of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s super PAC, Independence USA, which is also attacking Halverson on the issue of .

“Progressive USA will be going door-to-door in this important race in the coming weeks in order to educate voters about Halvorson’s record,” according to the group’s website.

Progressive USA Voters is a project of Progressive USA, which claims to “advocate for sensible policy solutions, hold our nation’s elected officials accountable for their actions and take head-on the flawed policies and hypocrisy of the radical right.” The group does not list its staff or directors on its website, and does not disclose its donors to the Federal Election Commission.

I don’t contribute to democrat politicians…but I’m tempted to send a few pennies to Debbie Halvorson.

***

Greed!

Chicago Teacher Union Prez Karen Lewis led a strike against Chicago Schools and Rahm Emanuel’s education reforms. Lewis won pay raises of 17.6 percent and now she’s under pressure—because she didn’t extort enough concessions and money. If I were the editor of the Chicago Tribune, I’d title this article as “Feeding on their own.”

Union boss who led Chicago teachers strike faces leadership challenge

6:19 PM 02/24/2013
Karen Lewis, the tough-talking boss of the Chicago teachers union who led the strike last September that derailed many of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s education reform plans, will face a leadership challenge in May.

Some members of the Chicago Teachers Union are dissatisfied with Lewis’s leadership. They think she should have won more concessions from the city.

We struck, we fought, we gave Karen Lewis all the power she needed, but she didn’t deliver at the bargaining table,” said Tanya Saunders-Wolffe, a school counselor who plans to run for CTU president, in an interview with the Chicago Tribune.

As a result of the strike, Lewis was able to win teacher salary increases of 17.6 percent over the next four years. The compromise also gutted Emanuel’s proposal to tie teacher evaluations to students’ performances, and kept in place benefits and job protection for teachers with seniority.

Emanuel came away with his sought-after extension of the school day. He also turned the situation into an opportunity to push for school choice reforms.

Lewis wasn’t entirely happy with the deal and called it an “austerity contract.”

Evidently, some teachers agree with her. Saunders-Wolffe will run as part of a slate of candidates opposing Lewis’s leadership.

Lewis previously faced criticism for joking about the underclass murdering rich people.

Lewis is a nasty piece of work as is Rahm Emanuel. On one hand, it’s great to see two parasites fight one another. On the other hand if Lewis loses her re-election, Chicago will be saddled with a worse union goon boss.

***

My final topic today is an ad the NRA is running in some states. They acquired some DoJ documents that prove Obama really is planning to confiscate guns from US citizens.

NRA uses Justice memo to accuse Obama admin of wanting to confiscate guns

By Associated Press, Saturday, February 23, 2013

WASHINGTON — The National Rifle Association is using a Justice Department memo it obtained to argue in ads that the Obama administration believes its gun control plans won’t work unless the government seizes firearms and requires national gun registration — ideas the White House has not proposed and does not support.

The NRA’s assertion and its obtaining of the memo in the first place underscore the no-holds-barred battle under way as Washington’s fight over gun restrictions heats up.

The memo, under the name of one of the Justice Department’s leading crime researchers, critiques the effectiveness of gun control proposals, including some of President Obama’s. A Justice Department official called the memo an unfinished review of gun violence research and said it does not represent administration policy.

The memo says requiring background checks for more gun purchases could help, but also could lead to more illicit weapons sales. It says banning assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines produced in the future but exempting those already owned by the public, as Obama has proposed, would have limited impact because people now own so many of those items.

It also says that even total elimination of assault weapons would have little overall effect on gun killings because assault weapons account for a limited proportion of those crimes.

The nine-page document says the success of universal background checks would depend in part on “requiring gun registration,” and says gun buybacks would not be effective “unless massive and coupled with a ban.”

The administration has not proposed gun registration, buybacks or banning all firearms. But gun registration and ownership curbs are hot-button issues for the NRA and other gun-rights groups, which strenuously oppose the ideas.

Justice Department and White House officials declined to provide much information about the memo or answer questions about it on the record.

The memo has the look of a preliminary document and calls itself “a cursory summary” and assessment of gun curb initiatives. The administration has not released it officially.

But the NRA has posted the memo on one of its websites and cites it in advertising aimed at whipping up opposition to Obama’s efforts to contain gun violence. The ad says the paper shows that the administration “believes that a gun ban will not work without mandatory gun confiscation” and thinks universal background checks “won’t work without requiring national gun registration” — ideas the president has not proposed or expressed support for.

“Still think President Obama’s proposals sound reasonable?” Chris W. Cox, the NRA’s chief Washington lobbyist, says in the ad.

Last month, White House spokesman Jay Carney said none of Obama’s proposals “would take away a gun from a single law-abiding American.” Other administration officials have said their plans would not result in gun seizures or a national gun registry.

A Justice Department official who would only discuss the issue on condition of anonymity said the NRA ad misrepresents Obama’s gun proposals and that the administration has never backed a gun registry or gun confiscation.

While the memo’s analysis of gun curb proposals presents no new findings, it is unusual for a federal agency document to surface that raises questions about a president’s plans during debate on a high-profile issue such as restricting firearms.

Obama wants to ban assault weapons and ammunition magazines exceeding 10 rounds that are produced in the future. He wants universal background checks for nearly all gun purchases. Today, checks are only mandatory on sales by federally licensed gun dealers, not transactions at gun shows or other private sales.

His plan also includes tougher federal laws against gun trafficking and straw purchases, which occur when a person legally buys a firearm but sells it to a criminal or someone else barred from owning a weapon.

Interest in the gun issue has intensified since the December shootings in Newtown, Conn., that killed 20 first-graders and six staffers at an elementary school. The Democratic-led Senate Judiciary Committee plans to write legislation addressing some of Obama’s proposals in the next week or two.

The NRA’s Cox declined to say how his organization obtained the memo.

He said the commercial is running online in 15 states, including many Republican-leaning states where Democrats will defend Senate seats next year, such as Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, North Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia. There are also ads in papers in five states.

The memo was written under the name of Greg Ridgeway, acting director of the National Institute of Justice, the Justice Department’s research arm. It is dated Jan. 4, nearly two weeks before Obama announced his plan for restricting guns, and Ridgeway’s first day as acting chief.

The article is long and I included only a portion. Please follow the link and read the entire column. Obama may not get the legislation that he wants but we’ve already seen that he ignores congressional and constitutional constraints whenever they obstruct his goals.

The Wednesday Report

There are a number of items appearing on the [internet] wire this morning. First came this piece—feudalism and a heredity aristocracy has returned to America. Hereditary succession has been in place in many areas already—just look at the Kennedy and Bush families. That hereditary line of succession can be found in other families across the country.

It should be no surprise that hereditary succession occurs in other areas…like unions.

For union leadership jobs, it pays well to have family ties

By Luke Rosiak – The Washington Times, Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Labor unions are dedicated to ensuring every worker an equal voice, but it helps to have the right last name.

For the Laborers Local 1015 in Canton, Ohio, that name is Mayle. Fourteen staffers and officers oversee $1.7 million in assets for 685 members, but five of them, including the treasurer, auditor and business manager, belong to the Mayle clan.

At Kentucky’s Laborers 1445, five of 17 officials are named Oney. They are business manager Johnny W., who makes $80,000; Johnny N., who makes $61,000; auditor Roger, treasurer Mitchell, and secretary Rhonda.

“Johnny N. is the field rep, he’s my son. When it comes to hiring him, I make my recommendations and the executive board does what they want to do,” the business manager said. His brother Roger is auditor, and Mitchell Oney, until two years ago, sat on the executive board as treasurer. Rhonda Oney, who “sleeps with my brother,” Mr. Oney joked, answers phones.

Teamsters 710 of Mokena, Ill., pays its treasurer, Patrick W. Flynn, $435,000 a year, but that wasn’t enough. Both his son and daughter have taken jobs at the union. President Michael Sweeney brought on his sister Maureen at a $60,000 salary, while trustee James Dawes, who received a $215,000 bonus, brought on his daughter for $45,000, tax records show.

These cozy relationships are even worse among labor’s elites in the marble palaces of Washington’s national headquarters.

“It’s becoming impossible to find anyone at the Laborers’ International Union who has ever actually worked the trade beyond a summer or two while they attended the Harvard Labor College,” said a longtime national official within the Laborers’ International Union of North America who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he feared retaliation.

“How can you represent working men and women when you’ve never had to really work a day in your life as a construction laborer? These sons and grandsons of laborers have never suffered through a long layoff, or seared in the heat of the day, or frozen in the cold of a winter outside on a job site.”

A complex network of pension and other funds spans the family’s tentacles through every branch of the union and provides ample opportunity to boost salaries far beyond what is evident in the payrolls of the union’s main offices.

Michael A. Sabitoni Jr., for example, is president of the Rhode Island Building and Construction Trades Council, and is also chairman of the Rhode Island Laborers’ Pension Fund, the Rhode Island Laborers’ Health and Welfare Fund and the Rhode Island Laborers’ Annuity Fund.

He is also trustee of the New England Laborers’ Training Trust Fund, the New England Laborers’ Labor-Management Cooperation Trust and the New England Laborers’ Health and Safety Fund.

The column continues further but the point is made. A small group of hereditary “lords” control the unions and also have a somewhat incestuous relationship with other unions, pension funds and foundations. The rank-and-file union members, excluded from the aristocracy, are the new peasantry.  Union lords are just like a mafia family without an ethnic requirement.

***

Do you remember Ken Salazar? He’s the “former” Interior Secretary who ignored not one but two Federal Court orders to open the Gulf for oil and gas drilling. For his blind loyalty to Obama, he’s being booted out of the Cabinet.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar resigning from Obama administration

January 16, 2013 | 6:40 am | Modified: January 16, 2013 at 7:15 am

It looks like President Obama’s cabinet reshuffling is not finished.

According to the Denver Post, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will step down from his position and return to Colorado.

Salazar  joins outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta, and Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis.

Secretary of Energy Steven Chu is reportedly “widely expected to step down” but has not announced his plans.

President Obama’s Secretary of Commerce, John Bryson, resigned from his position after reportedly suffering a seizure and hitting two cars while driving in California. Rebecca Blank has been the acting secretary since Bryson stepped down.

On that last, the so-called seizure was accompanied with a strong odor of alcohol. For the other fools cabinet members, is it a case of rats leaving a sinking ship or it is like useful fools, they’ve exhausted their value? That question doesn’t matter really. We know who Obama wants for some of their replacements and his choices are worse than the fools who are leaving.

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A popular Pastor from a large Atlanta church was “disinvited” to give the benediction at Obama’s Inauguration.

CROUSE: Obama committee’s slap in the face of religious liberty

Pastor’s withdrawal sets disturbing precedent for second term

Mugshot

Rev. Louis Giglio/ Associated Press, By Janice Shaw Crouse

Last week, the Rev. Louie Giglio, pastor of Atlanta’s Passion City Church, was pressured to withdraw from giving the benediction at President Obama’s second inaugural ceremony. A liberal watchdog group uncovered a two-decades-old sermon in which Mr. Giglio preached a biblically-based message that homosexuality, like other sins, required repentance — and that, as with other sins, the power of Jesus Christ offered both healing and restoration, grace and mercy to the repentant. As theologian Al Mohler expressed so well on his blog, Mr. Giglio’s ministry is based on “undiluted biblical truth,” and his preaching on homosexuality has been “the consensus of the Church for more than 2,000 years, and is the firm belief held by the vast majority of Christians around the world today.”

By disinviting the clergyman announced as the choice for giving the second inaugural benediction, the inaugural committee established a beachhead of moral rebellion that prohibits the presence of representatives of Christian doctrine in the public square of America. This doctrine has been held by churches, ministers and priests across centuries and cultures. The controversy is not over the expression of those doctrines, but over the mere participation of clergy who hold to those long-established tenets of the faith — beliefs that are grounded in Scripture and in all established religions.

This really shouldn’t be a surprise to us bible-toting, gun-owning, rebels who will not sign on to Obama’s agenda. We’re his enemy.

Refugees

When the going gets rough, those who can, vote with their feet.  There have been two such instances in the new this week. French actor Gerard Dépardieu has taken residence just across the French border in Belgium. The French Prime Minister is upset.

France’s Jean-Marc Ayrault slams flight of the ‘greedy rich’

France’s prime minister has slammed wealthy citizens fleeing the country’s punitive tax on high incomes as greedy profiteers seeking to “become even richer”.

By Henry Samuel, Paris, 7:08PM GMT 11 Dec 2012

Jean-Marc Ayrault’s outburst came after France’s best-known actor, Gerard Dépardieu, took up legal residence in a small village just over the border in Belgium, alongside hundreds of other wealthy French nationals seeking lower taxes.

“Those who are seeking exile abroad are not those who are scared of becoming poor,” the prime minister declared after unveiling sweeping anti-poverty measures to help those hit by the economic crisis.

They are also leaving the UK whose government has been steady raising taxes over several years. The UK, until recently, had one of the highest overall tax rates in the EU.

Singer James Blunt plans to become Swiss

By Allan Hall, PUBLISHED: 08:42 EST, 11 December 2012 | UPDATED: 10:57 EST, 11 December 2012

British singer James Blunt has said he wants to become a Swiss citizen after living in the tax-friendly country for the past five years.

‘As soon as the authorities will let me, because I don’t know if I’ve been here a sufficiently long time, I would like to become Swiss,’ he told a Swiss newspaper at the weekend.

‘Verbier is my home,’ said the 38-year-old multi-millionaire, who bought a chalet in the ski resort in 2005.

It makes you wonder how soon we will see Americans adopting this practice to escape taxes in the US? There aren’t all that many places non-Billionaires can go. Switzerland has strict requirements for citizenship. Belgium isn’t all that much better than the rest of the EU, if at all. Americans really only have other states—like Texas or perhaps Arizona as a refuge.

We have all read about the money flight from Maryland and New York. Is California next? Where would these California entrepreneurs go? Perhaps Michigan, now that the state has joined the other 23 states with Right-to-Work. The unions, as expected after Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed the legislation, acted like thugs and rioted; assaulting counter-protesters and the media who filmed the attacks.

The public unions have helped destroy Detroit. The city looks like East Berlin a few years after the end of World War Two. The UAW destroyed the auto industry (except Ford who DIDN’T accept Obama’s bailout,) taking control of GM and driving that company further into the dirt. Chrysler, as an American company no longer exists. Obama and the unions forced its sale to Fiat and now is selling Italian clown cars at many of its dealerships.

If Michigan can get the state’s spending and other taxes under control, perhaps they, too, can become an oasis for entrepreneurs like Texas and the other Right-to-Work states?

Like maybe Missouri now that we have a veto proof state legislature? Let’s make Missouri the 25th state to pass Right-to-Work and escape the restraints of union controlled labor.  Let’s make Missouri a refugee haven and grow our economy like Texas and the other 24 union free states. It a concept whose time has come.

Liars figure and figures lie

The big news this morning is the the “unemployment” rate dropped to 7.7%. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also said that Hurricane Sandy had NO effect on unemployment or employment.

Bull.

We know the pattern now. Statistics are released favorable to Obama and within days, those figures are quietly revised, bit by bit, until the next report is released. It’s a well established pattern.

So, unemployment is now 7.7% with 146,000 new jobs created. Really? Let’s examine those numbers.

  • New jobs: 146,000
  • Number dropping out of the labor force: 540,000.

Take a look at those numbers. 146,000 jobs were added but the work force dropped 540,000. If you calculate the unemployment rate by the size of the workforce, the unemployment rate will go down. If you can’t create new jobs sufficient to drop the unemployment rate, decease the labor force so those “new” jobs appear to be more significant. I expect those “Sandy” figures to change that unemployment rate upward as soon as this becomes old news.

Quietly.

Oh, and where were those dropping off the radar coming from? Those lost jobs? The private sector, of course. The public sector unemployment rate was 3.8%. The actual number of unemployed people changed little.

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This comes under the category: Who’d’a thunk it?

Right-to-work law has passed the legislature in…Michigan! Home of the UAW!

Right-to-work bills pass in Lansing

By Karen Bouffard and Chad Livengood, Detroit News Lansing, December 7, 2012 at 9:35 am

Lansing — The birthplace of the nation’s modern-day labor movement moved closer to becoming the nation’s 24th right-to-work state after bills Gov. Rick Snyder vowed to sign into law passed their first hurdles in the Republican-controlled Legislature on Thursday.

The House and Senate each passed bills on the same day they were introduced that give private and public sector workers the right to avoid paying union dues in an organized workplace. Only police officers and firefighters would be exempt.

The historic legislation passed over the thunderous chanting from thousands of workers who descended on the Capitol, resulting in at least eight arrests and a temporary lockdown of the building by Michigan State Police. Democrats in both chambers staged walkouts and procedural maneuvers to stall passage while workers protested in and outside the Capitol.

When the votes are against dems and their stooges, they revert to their norm and riot. They tried that tactic in Wisconsin and it backfired. Now they’re trying it in Michigan. I expect it won’t work in Michigan, either.

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In case you haven’t been watching, “law” enforcement organizations want to dissolved more of your 4th Amendment rights. How? By removing the requirement of a search warrant to monitor your text messages and to seize your call logs.

EDITORIAL: Texting away your freedom

Nosy bureaucrats want to boost their snooping powers

By THE WASHINGTON TIMES – The Washington Times, Thursday, December 6, 2012

Modern communications are making the world smaller and, in many ways, better. The electronic devices that bring consumers a constant stream of information are, at the same time, increasingly capable of relaying back a record of their activities, shrinking privacy. Americans need to take action if they want to keep Uncle Sam from spying on their smartphones.Law enforcers are looking for the power to read through everyone’s text messages, the oftentimes frivolous missives Americans launch back and forth among friends and family. A coalition of police groups that includes the Major Cities Chiefs Association has asked the Senate Judiciary Committee to examine a plan to mandate that Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and other wireless providers save their customers’ texts for two years so the local constable can read through them as desired. The association has characterized the proposal as an attempt to bring the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 in line with 21st-century technological capabilities, according to CNET. Some wireless firms store texts for short periods, while others do not. Presumably, access to text records still would require a court warrant — though the pro-surveillance lobby has been agitating to break down that barrier as well.

Another troubling high-tech development could allow outside eyes and ears to zero in on activities inside the home. Verizon is seeking a patent on a detection system that uses infrared cameras and microphones installed in digital video recorders (DVRs) to sense the number of people in a room and the nature of their conversations. The patent, titled Methods and Systems for Presenting an Advertisement Associated With an Ambient Action of a User, would use the information to tailor personalized TV commercials, thereby maximizing chances for subsequent purchases. For example, detection of an “ambient action” such as “cuddling, fighting, participating in a game or sporting event,” according to the patent application, could prompt a related televised sales pitch.

More snooping, less privacy, no need for warrants, less liberty, less freedom; makes Orwell’s 1984 more real every day.