Union Corruption: Transparency v. Opacity

Don't be hoodwinked, don't be bamboozled, don't fall for the okey-doke

Don't be hoodwinked, don't be bamboozled, don't fall for the okey-doke

If any among my dear readers have ever flicked on a light switch at midnight in a kitchen infested by roaches, they will have seen the stomach-turning sight of a room in sudden, swarming motion as hundreds of roaches scuttle for the cracks at the edges of the room. Roaches don’t like the light. They prefer to operate in the dark. The way to cure a roach infestation is to keep the light on and clean the house, throwing out nesting materials (even behind walls) and poisoning the roaches where they hide. Unfortunately, all too many people, in the face of an infested kitchen, simply shudder, turn off the light, and go back to bed. A particularly determined denier of roach-reality might prefer to paint over the light fixtures with black paint. That would hide the roaches from sight for good.

Apparently, under the Obama administration, the Department of Labor doesn’t mind roaches so much as it curses the light that reveals them and tells us, the Americans who live in the house, to go back to sleep. For instead of fostering transparency, one of Obama’s key words when running for president, the Dept. of Labor fosters opacity when it comes to what unions are doing with the money they hold on behalf of their members, just like the AFL-CIO wants.

The Indiana State Teachers Association’s Insurance Trust exists to pay benefits for disabled teachers. It has $19 million in assets against $86 million in liabilities, is the subject of a FBI investigation, and is being taken over by the NEA. The ISTA’s trust is in such bad shape because of funny business from the former executive director and the investment broker he chose to manage the trust. Most likely taxpayers will be stuck with the bill. James Sherk and Dan Lips write about the mess for NRO.

Sunlight protects against corruption and unethical practices. Congress passed the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA) in the wake of scandals in the 1950s involving ties between organized labor and organized crime. Congress believed that workers had a right to know how their unions spent their dues. Lawmakers hoped that transparency would discourage kickbacks to the mob.

For over 40 years, however, the Department of Labor barely enforced the law. The disclosure forms allowed unions to list multimillion-dollar line items for “other” and “miscellaneous” expenses with no further details. In practice, the law did nothing to hold unions accountable.

Elaine Chao, President Bush’s labor secretary, made changing that a priority. Her Labor Department enacted reforms that required unions to itemize their expenses and meaningfully disclose their finances. By the end of her tenure, Secretary Chao (who now works with us as a distinguished fellow at the Heritage Foundation) had updated the LM-2 union financial disclosure form, the LM-30 conflict-of-interest-reporting form, and the T-1 forms for union trusts.

Other unions have been caught recently with their hands in the cookie jar: SEIU for instance. The Obama administration’s Department of Labor is rolling back Secretary Chao’s transparency reforms and returning to the previous, opaque standard for union financial reporting. Union members might as well look forward to their pension funds and insurance trusts going broke, just like the ISTA did. For the teeth of the LMRDA are being removed.

Is this the transparency Obama promised? Or is it the opacity his rivals saw in him? To echo the words of Obama:

Don’t be hoodwinked, don’t be bamboozled, don’t fall for the okey-doke no matter what Barack Hussein Obama may say.

Truth to power!


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Lansing Michigan worship service disrupted by masked homosexual rights gang, because of Proposition 8 in California

If you haven’t read about this somewhere I’m not surprised. It isn’t in the big media (D-Pravda, Izvestia). A masked gang of queer activists from Bash Back Michigan invaded a church to frighten the children, horrify the adults, deny the first amendment rights of the believers, film the whole thing with the help of a complicit television producer, and (they hoped) to provoke violence against them. From RedState:

Wearing secret-service style ear pieces and microphones they received the “go” from their ringleader and off they went.Prayer had just finished when men and women stood up in pockets across the congregation, on the main floor and in the balcony. “Jesus was gay,” they shouted among other profanities and blasphemies as they rushed the stage. Some forced their way through rows of women and kids to try to hang a profane banner from the balcony while others began tossing fliers into the air. Two women made their way to the pulpit and began to kiss.

Their other props? I’ll let them tell you in their own words… from another of their liberal blogs:

“(A) video camera, a megaphone, noise makers, condoms, glitter by the bucket load, confetti, pink fabric…yeh.”

One couple made their way to the church’s restroom and demonstrated some of the meaningless homosexual sex they had just advocated with condoms and glitter, shouted insults and blasphemy, in the sanctuary of the church.

This gang from Bash Back Michigan conspired to trespass upon and to deny the civil rights of a peaceful church (prohibiting the free exercise of an established religion; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble). They engaged in lewd acts in public, in front of children. They made terroristic threats while masking their faces. Doubtless some of them crossed state lines to do so. And they did all this to “protest” another legal exercise of the first amendment (to petition the government for a redress of grievances), 2000 miles away in California.

Where is the indictment? Where is the outrage? Where is O’Reilly?


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Mississippi Voter Fraud Alert

We have it here in Mississippi too. It doesn’t only happen in Ohio, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, and Washington State. Madison County has 123% more registered voters than it has adult population. Combined with the lack of voter ID in Mississippi, this is a recipe for voter fraud. All you have to do is show up, know the name of someone who hasn’t voted (for instance by taking names from recent obituaries), and vote. Do this once in several precincts and you’ve stolen votes from honest, law-abiding people and will probably never get caught. Combine this with a corrupt poll worker or two (it could happen) and a small vote fraud organization could easily shift several hundred to thousand votes in a state. Combined with obvious sources of voter fraud, such as motor voter registrations of aliens and felons, and with aggressive disqualifications of military absentee ballots practiced in some places (though I don’t think this happens in Mississippi), the ACORN pattern of vote fraud threatens every state.

Did you ever wonder why Gore was so insistent that he was going to win his legal challenges in Florida in 2000? It’s because his team was certain they had cheated their way to victory in Florida. The Panhandle, or as we who lived there call it, Lower Alabama–the Redneck Riviera–held the state against the tide of vote fraud.

Diebold. Electronic voting machines without physical records. Massive voter registration fraud that begs for vote fraud. And thousands of lawyers are lined up to litigate every close vote. It’s going to be hard for anyone to trust the result of elections this year.

There has to be an answer.

We need to ink some fingers in the voting booths.


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Invasion: Mexican Army member(s) commit(s) Phoenix home invasion and murder

The US border with Mexico is an insecure risk. Even if you take away the drug smuggling, the human trafficking, the murders, rapes, beatings, abandonment and robbery, even if you take away the criminal murder gangs that roam freely along both sides of the border, even if you take away cooperation with Hezbollah and other jihadists, the behavior of Mexican army units and members along and around the border is a risk. In Phoenix, a home invasion and murder turns out to be an invasion of another kind: An invasion of the US by one or more (active duty status unreported) members of the Mexican military services.

Take it away, KFYI:

A top member of a Phoenix police union is standing by reports that at least one of the men involved in a Monday morning home invasion and homicide was an active member in the Mexican Army. Click Here for the update.

“Even if you put aside the Mexican military, you have illegals in the country…they’re protected with tactical gear using tactical strategies in police uniforms willing to ambush police officers. I think that’s bad enough,” said Mark Spencer, President of the Phoenix Police Enforcement Association.

While on the J.D. Hayworth show Tuesday, Mark Spencer announced that the suspects were hired by drug cartels to perform home invasions and murders.

The incident at 8329 W. Cypress St. resulted in the death of the homeowner. Between 50 and 100 rounds were fired at the house.

Spencer said a police officer told him that one of the men captured said they were completely prepared to ambush Phoenix police, but ran out of ammunition.


You know what they say, “good fences make good neighbors.” Nothing more needs be said.


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Smiley Face Killers: Life Imitates Grand Theft Auto

The news today from the land of the crazies is an apparent series of murders of athletic college-age men by drowning, their bodies found near a smiley-face graffito. At least one was classified as a homicide instead of suicide, with the story being that he was abducted after drinking and tortured in a van before being drowned in a river. Does this have anything to do with the smiley face gang in the Grand Theft Auto videogames? Disclaimer: I have not played the games. They aren’t appropriate for a house with young children in it. It would appear that the gang killers in the game tag the locales where they leave victim bodies with smiley face graffiti.

The Minnesota Monitor also mentions the story of Luke Heider, who planted 16 pipe bombs in 2002 in a multi-state pattern in the shape of a smiley face.

The whole theory is far fetched. But as Lee Cowan said on NBC:

“The idea of some sinister national gang out killing young college men is a hard theory to sell. But to the parents who have lost a son, a far-fetched reason is better than no reason at all.”

It’s hard to accept this kind of horror movie serial killing going on. For one thing, who would want to murder a string of athletic young men across the Midwest and Northeast by drowning, perhaps after kidnapping and torturing them? What could the purpose be?


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Cheerleading Animals

They wanted to be stars on Myspace. It started with one teen girl saying something about six other girls from the same school, and it continued with the six ambushing and beating her for thirty minutes, causing a concussion, blacking both her eyes and breaking her nose, causing temporary and maybe permanent damage to her sight and hearing. From Local 6 in Orlando.

POLK COUNTY, Fla. — Six teen girls lured a former friend to a home and ambushed her, taking turns pounding on her face and body for 30 minutes until she was unconscious as someone videotaped the violence, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

Now they are not only stars on Myspace, but the mug shots of these animals document the moral vacancy behind their eyes as they stare dumbly at the camera.


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Crime Goes Down when Prisons Fill Up. Why?

National intellectual treasure Thomas Sowell begs the question with his usual eloquence.

it is hardly surprising that a recent New York Times editorial has returned to a familiar theme among those on the left, on both sides of the Atlantic, with its lament that “incarceration rates have continued to rise while crime rates have fallen.”

Back in 1997, New York Times writer Fox Butterfield expressed the same lament under the headline, “Crime Keeps on Falling, But Prisons Keep on Filling.” Then, as now, liberals seemed to find it puzzling that crime rates go down when more criminals are put behind bars.

Now get over there and read the whole thing. Keep on coming back to read to Thomas Sowell’s articles in the Pundits list on the right column.


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