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SEIU Renting DC Offices For Occupy Movement


Obama’s favorite union is apparently really buddy-buddy with the Occupiers:

A labor union with strong ties to President Obama is helping make the Occupy Wall Street movement a more permanent fixture in the nation’s capital, moving Occupy DC into office space the group can use to organize and grow through the presidential election.

The Service Employees International Union, one of Obama’s most vocal supporters among labor groups, is paying $4,000 a month for three offices the Occupy protesters will use for at least the next six months to plan future demonstrations, organize and host workshops.

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GM’s Effective Tax Rate For 2011 Was -1.5%


Yes, you read that right… Government Motors General Motors paid zero taxes, and because of fancy bookkeeping their tax rate was actually negative.

General Motors, in particular, paid less than zero taxes of 2011. And when the Administration brags that GM reported a $7.6 billion profit in 2011, conservatives are quick to note the profits include roughly $100 million in the form of a tax benefit document in GM’s annual report (p. 51) — and, thus, massive untaxed profits.

The outcome: GM paid a negative tax rate, around -1.5%, because of a decision allowing some of the bailout recipients, GM, AIG, and Citi, to avoid actual losses, but to still claim those losses for tax purposes.

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Will Democrats Attempt To Recall This Governor?


We all know how Democrats feel about politicians that try to restrict public employee unions, right? So, do you think they’ll try to recall this governor who’s trying it?

Gov. Jerry Brown will propose sweeping rollbacks to public employee pension benefits in California, including raising the retirement age to 67 for new employees who are not public safety workers and requiring state and local employees to pay more toward their retirement and health care, according to a draft of the plan obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press.

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Romney’s Jobs Plan


Taking a short break from… well… taking a break!

Mitt Romney has unveiled his jobs plan:

Five Bills for Day One

The American Competitiveness Act: Reduces the corporate income tax rate to 25 percent

The Open Markets Act: Implements the Colombia, Panama, and South Korea Free Trade Agreements

The Domestic Energy Act: Directs the Department of the Interior to undertake a comprehensive survey of American energy reserves in partnership with exploration companies and initiates leasing in all areas currently approved for exploration

The Retraining Reform Act: Consolidates the sprawl of federal retraining programs and returns funding and responsibility for these programs to the states

The Down Payment on Fiscal Sanity Act: Immediately cuts non-security discretionary spending by 5 percent, reducing the annual federal budget by $20 billion

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Wisconsin Labor Day Parade: Republicans Need Not Apply


Gee, I thought the lefties were against discrimination?

Organizers of a Labor Day parade in Wausau say Republican lawmakers should not attend.

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Unions To Abandon Democrats?


It would be nice, but color me skeptical

The growing rift between labor and their Democratic allies was on full display Thursday, as AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told reporters that labor groups are planning to scale back their involvement with the Democratic Party in advance of the 2012 elections.

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Wisconsin Teacher’s Union Lays Off Staff


Victory, or perhaps, a necessary weaning off the public trough:

On Monday, the Wisconsin Education Association Council announced it will lay off about 40% of its staff, a change executive director Dan Burkhalter blamed on Mr. Walker’s “union-busting legislation.” In December the union will face another reality check, as 51% of its members must vote to recertify it as their representative. With members no longer captive dues payers, the union has been forced to begin new outreach efforts, including home visits, to sell its relevance to workers.

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Barone: “Sounds A Lot Like Gangster Government”


Michael Barone–as usual–nails it:

As Carney points out, the main feature of the Democrats’ bill, which was defeated in the Senate but which we probably have not heard the last of, was to deny five major oil companies the domestic production tax credit that is available to all manufacturers and mining companies, including oil companies. The justification? Well, big oil companies get lousy ratings in polls. So stick ‘em with a higher tax bill. Sounds a lot like gangster government to me.

He doesn’t mention the NLRB’s attack on Boeing putting a plant in South Carolina, which is yet another example of gangster government. A union lawyer even said that people in the south are “less-skilled, lower-quality” as a work force… and he even put that in writing in a major newspaper.

Wisconsin Unions Try Again, This Time In Federal Court


Shoulda seen this one coming…

One day after the Wisconsin Supreme Court ordered the reinstatement of collective-bargaining legislation that potentially affects thousands of public-sector employees, a coalition of unions filed suit in federal court seeking to block it.

The Wisconsin State AFL-CIO on Wednesday joined a number of other unions seeking to halt Gov. Scott Walker’s controversial collective bargaining legislation.

The groups include the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 24, AFSCME Council 40, AFSCME Council 48, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC), the Wisconsin State Employees Union, The Wisconsin State AFL-CIO and the Service Employees International Union – Health Care Wisconsin (SEIU).

In a statement, the groups said they filed the suit because the collective-bargaining legislation “denies hundreds of thousands of public employees their right to collectively bargain for a better life. The groups challenge the constitutionality of the state’s Budget Repair Bill which would destroy collective bargaining rights for all but a select group of public sector workers.”

The suit, filed in the Western District of Wisconsin, says the legislation violates the 1st and 14th amendments “by stripping away basic rights to bargain, organize and associate for the purpose of engaging in union activity, which have been in place for the last half century.”

The case was assigned to Federal Judge William M. Conley. Conley is an appointee of President Barack Obama.

The unions are asking the federal court to prevent the Walker administration from implementing the legislaton, either on a temporary or permanent basis. And they are asking the court to find the legislation unconstitutional.

This one also looks headed for SCOTUS.

WI Supreme Court Upholds Walker Union Bill, Smacks Down Judge Sumi


Well, that was quick… and quite the smackdown for the judge that tried to stop the bill in its tracks.

Here’s the interesting part (emphasis mine):

¶4   IT IS ORDERED that the certification and motions for temporary relief in Case No. 2011AP613-LV are denied.

¶5   IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the petition for original jurisdiction in Case No. 2011AP765-W is granted, State ex rel. La Follette v. Stitt, 114 Wis. 2d 358, 338 N.W.2d 684 (1983), and all motions to dismiss and for supplemental briefing are denied.

¶6   IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that all orders and judgments of the Dane County Circuit Court in Case No. 2011CV1244 are vacated and declared to be void ab initio.State ex rel. Nader v. Circuit Court for Dane Cnty., No. 2004AP2559-W, unpublished order (Wis. S. Ct. Sept. 30, 2004) (wherein this court vacated the prior orders of the circuit court in the same case).

¶7   This court has granted the petition for an original action because one of the courts that we are charged with supervising has usurped the legislative power which the Wisconsin Constitution grants exclusively to the legislature.  It is important for all courts to remember that Article IV, Section 1 of the Wisconsin Constitution provides:  “The legislative power shall be vested in a senate and assembly.”  Article IV, Section 17 of the Wisconsin Constitution provides in relevant part:  “(2) . . . No law shall be in force until published.  (3) The legislature shall provide by law for the speedy publication of all laws.”

The Dane County Circuit Court listed in paragraph 6 is the one Judge Sumi sits on… therefore, paragraph 6 is vacating all of her various attempts to stop this law… I’m not a lawyer, but my research on “ab initio” indicates that the Supreme Court is saying that Judge Sumi’s orders were flawed and/or illegal from the beginning.

Paragraph 7, of course, is perfectly correct in describing what Judge Sumi was trying to do… overturn a law that was legally enacted simply because she disagrees with it, not because it violates any sort of law (legislative procedures do not normally have the force of law). As the decision itself states (again, emphasis mine):

¶13  It also is argued that the Act is invalid because the legislature did not follow certain notice provisions of the Open Meetings Law for the March 9, 2011 meeting of the joint committee on conference.  It is argued that Wis. Stat. § 19.84(3) required 24 hours notice of that meeting and such notice was not given.  It is undisputed that the legislature posted notices of the March 9, 2011 meeting of the joint committee on conference on three bulletin boards, approximately 1 hour and 50 minutes before the start of the meeting.  In the posting of notice that was done, the legislature relied on its interpretation of its own rules of proceeding.  The court declines to review the validity of the procedure used to give notice of the joint committee on conference.  See Stitt, 114 Wis. 2d at 361.  As the court has explained when legislation was challenged based on allegations that the legislature did not follow the relevant procedural statutes, “this court will not determine whether internal operating rules or procedural statutes have been complied with by the legislature in the course of its enactments.”  Id. at 364.  “[W]e will not intermeddle in what we view, in the absence of constitutional directives to the contrary, to be purely legislative concerns.”  Id.  The court’s holding in Stitt was grounded in separation of powers principles, comity concepts and “the need for finality and certainty regarding the status of a statute.”  Id. at 364-65.

This is a stunning rebuke of a sitting judge, but then that judge’s actions were stunning in and of themselves.

H/T Ace, via PJ Tatler

AFL-CIO President Would Consider Being A Socialist A Step Up


Gotta love it when someone accidentally let slip something revealing, as AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka did recently:

Trumka said he’d like to see the U.S. become more like a European nation that provides pensions and health care for all its citizens. He said he is accustomed to criticism and doesn’t mind if conservatives call that socialism.

“Being called a socialist is a step up for me,” he said.

Bookmark this post–no, really, go ahead–and use it the next time some lefty tells you that unions are not at the very least pro-socialist.

HT: PJ Tatler

No Surprise: Sumi Strikes Down WI Budget Repair Bill


Nope, no surprise here, given that this judge is from the bluest county of Wisconsin. This one is almost certainly headed to the state supreme court, and Gov. Walker stands a good chance of winning, because of this fact pointed out by two legal experts:

“She doesn’t address the argument that the open meetings law wasn’t violated because of various senate and assembly and joint rules” that exempted the legislature from the law’s requirements, says Rick Esenberg, a professor at Marquette University Law School.

And…

The senate chief clerk, a nonpartisan official who advises the senate on parliamentary and legal issues, advised the senate majority leader that no notice was required to be given for the March 9 meeting other than a bulletin board posting because the senate was in special session. The open meetings law does not apply to special sessions, under which the legislature was convened on March 9.

The open meetings law states: “No provision of this subchapter which conflicts with a rule of the senate or assembly or joint rule of the legislature shall apply to a meeting conducted in compliance with such rule.”

And the Wisconsin senate and assembly each have a rule stating that during special sessions: “A notice of a committee meeting is not required other than posting on the legislative bulletin board, and a bulletin of committee hearings may not be published [emphasis added].”

In other words, the law that Sumi used to strike down this bill does not even apply in this situation.

Another State Starts Process To Restrict Public Employee Unions’ Bargaining Powers


I’ll start with about the first paragraph and a half…

House lawmakers voted overwhelmingly last night to strip police officers, teachers, and other municipal employees of most of their rights to bargain over health care, saying the change would save millions of dollars for financially strapped cities and towns.

The 111-to-42 vote followed tougher measures to broadly eliminate collective bargaining rights for public employees in Ohio, Wisconsin, and other states.

Now, can you guess the state? I’ll put the answer below the fold.
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Will The Fleebaggers Flee Again?


A Wisconsin judge has issued a temporary restraining order against the new collective-bargaining reform law, saying that it didn’t meet the open meetings law, which requires 24 hours notice. This would seem to be a shaky ruling, because the Clerk of the Senate has already said that the way the law was enacted was legal. However, one of the legal eagles over at The Volokh Conspiracy says that all they will need to do if the eventual ruling is to strike down the law is to re-enact the law, which they can do now that they have a quorum.

The Fleebaggers originally fled to keep the State Senate from having a quorum, since they need 20 for a quorum, and the GOP only holds 19 seats. So, are the Fleebaggers now packing their bags and preparing to flee again, to prevent a quorum?

Another Tea Party Victory: RINO Miami Mayor Recalled


Another tax-raising RINO bites the dust:

Two years after winning in a landslide, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez, the chief of some 2.5 million people in south Florida, lost his seat Tuesday in a recall vote after raising taxes and boosting the pay of public-sector union employees.

[...]

According to a Miami Herald poll, 67 percent of residents wanted Alvarez out, mainly because he raised property taxes for two-fifths of the county’s homeowners by 13 percent, while increasing pay and unfreezing some benefits for public-sector employees. The unemployment rate in Miami-Dade County is 12 percent.

With such sky-high unemployment, as well as crashing tax revenues, “Miami is a microcosm of what may also be the continuing national mood of anger that the economy and high unemployment reverberated,” Fernand Amandi, a Miami political analyst, told the Financial Times.

News flash for RINOs… the conservative base of the GOP has lost all patience with tax-raising, public-sector-union-coddling people who think the Tea Party should love them just because they put an “R” after their name.

The Sweet Sight Of Victory: Gov. Walker Signs Public Employee Collective Bargaining Bill


Sorry, fleebaggers… the first round goes to us.

Oh, and for all those lefties vowing that this will be the end of the Republican Party… it’s been said before, most recently after the election of Mr. Obama… and look at who now holds most of the Governor’s Mansions and a huge majority in the House.

The Final Nail In The Coffin Of The “New Tone”


Remember when violent rhetoric was a bad thing? You know, right after the tragic shooting of a Democrat politician by a nutcase who barely had any political opinions at all?

Well, those days are officially over, and as usual it’s the left that is making the actual threats. There’s a good compilation of Twitter threats here, and a news story about the threats here.

Once again, we see that when lefties accuse the right of violent thoughts, they’re really engaging in psychological projection. After all, the Tea Partiers didn’t lock themselves in the capitol and trash it after ObamaCare passed, unlike the lefties in Wisconsin.

WI Assembly Passes Union Bill


And just like that, the measure is headed for Gov. Walker’s desk, where it’s not likely to sit long before it gets signed:

The Republican-controlled Wisconsin Assembly passed a controversial bill to strip nearly all collective-bargaining rights from the state’s public workers in one of the strongest blows to unions in years.

The state Assembly passed the bill 53-42 a day after Republican senators maneuvered around Democrats to pass the legislation in a session that Democrats said violated the state’s open-meetings law. Gov. Scott Walker said he will sign the bill as quickly as possible.

“I applaud all members of the Assembly for showing up, debating the legislation and participating in democracy. Their action will save jobs, protect taxpayers, reform government, and help balance the budget. Moving forward we will continue to focus on ensuring Wisconsin has a business climate that allows the private sector to create 250,000 new jobs,” said Gov. Walker.

Democrats are going to try to stop this bill every way they can, but they really don’t seem to have much of a leg to stand on:

Questions have been raised whether the 2-hour notice given of the Wisconsin Senate committee meeting was adequate. Rob Marchant, the Clerk of the Senate issued this statement (tip to Wheeler Report):

There was some discussion today about the notice provided for the legislature’s conference committee. In special session, under Senate Rule 93, no advance notice is required other than posting on the legislative bulletin board. Despite this rule, it was decided to provide a 2 hour notice by posting on the bulletin board. My staff, as a courtesy, emailed a copy of the notice to all legislative offices at 4:10, which gave the impression that the notice may have been slightly less than 2 hours. Either way, the notice appears to have satisfied the requirements of the rules and statutes.

Since the Clerk is relying on Senate Rule 93, it’s worth a look. The provision is a special rule for special sessions, which tend to be more focused in topics and more time pressured in duration. Rule 93 in part provides:

Senate Rule 93 (2)
(2) A notice of a committee meeting is not required other than posting on the legislative bulletin board, and a bulletin of committee hearings may not be published.

Senate Rule 93 (3)
(3) The daily calendar is in effect immediately upon posting on the legislative bulletin boards. The calendar need not be distributed.

Senate Rule 93 (4)
(4) Any point of order shall be decided within one hour.

On its face, this rule would seem not to require even a 2-hour notice, just posting on the bulletin board, which is how the Clerk interprets it. This is consistent with the emphasis on speed implicit in several parts of Rule 93. Yet it is possible one could instead read the rule as merely covering the method of notice, not the timing of it, but I think that reading is neither the literal one nor the intended one.

If the Clerk of the Senate says it was legit, I don’t think there’s much of a chance for an honest judge to overturn… however, I am not a lawyer–nor do I play one on TV–and there’s probably at least one dishonest judge who would overrule the Clerk of the Senate in favor of the fat cat unions.

Now this, as the famous Brit–you know, the first Honorary Citizen of the United States–once said, is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.

WI Senate GOP 1, Fleebaggers 0


Well, the WI Senate Republicans did what they could without the help of the Fleebagging Democrats:

The Senate requires a quorum to take up any measures that spend money. But Republicans on Wednesday split from the legislation the proposal to curtail union rights, which spends no money, and a special conference committee of state lawmakers approved the bill a short time later.

The lone Democrat present on the conference committee, Rep. Tony Barca, shouted that the surprise meeting was a violation of the state’s open meetings law but Republicans voted over his objections. The Senate then convened within minutes and passed it without discussion or debate.

The Weekly Standard has details on the bill:

The legislation being voted on tonight has few changes from the bill as initially proposed. It would save just $30 million less than the original budget bill by stripping out a refinancing provision. But it would still save the state $300 million over the next two years by requiring state employees to contribute about 5% of income toward their pensions and by requiring state workers to pay for about 12% of their health insurance premiums. It would also save $1.44 billion by requiring public employees in school districts and municipalities to pay 5% of their salaries toward their pensions and by removing collective bargaining for benefits, thus giving school districts and municipalities the option of requiring their employees to pay about 12% for their health insurance premiums.

WI Senate rules require a quorum of 20 for certain fiscal bills, and the GOP only holds 19 seats. However, because this doesn’t directly involve spending or taxing, even though it does save money, the non-partisan state Legislative Fiscal Bureau said that a quorum wasn’t necessary.

Now, if the Fleebaggers hadn’t been AWOL for 3 weeks, they could have had a voice in this debate before the bill was voted on. But by leaving the state, attempting to delay or deny a vote, they also denied themselves the chance to amend the bill.

In other words, hope that bed you made is comfy, Fleebaggers.

Ahem. Hitler Did Not Ban Unions.


Just a quick hit to help my readers debunk the idea that Hitler banned unions in Nazi Germany.

In 1933, the Nazis disbanded the Weimar unions and replaced them with the new and improved union, the German Labor Front (Deutsche Arbeitsfront, DAF), which was comprised of 2 primary entities, the National Socialist Factory Organization and the National Socialist Trade and Industry Organization. The labor contracts that were Weimar contracts were now DAF-honored contracts. The Nazi’s funded the DAF’s coffers with the Weimar unions’ stockpile of wealth (the existing unions were part of that inflation problem). One of the new unions’ most popular programs was the Strength through Joy (Kraft durch Freude, KdF)) program, which developed the KdF-wagen, that later became the Volkswagen, or People’s Car.

Read the whole thing. Really.

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