Category Archives: Economy

Thank You Captain Obvious – Do We Really Need A Deficit Panel?

This past weekend the Obama administration worked incredibly hard [sarcasm included] to establish a deficit panel.  If any American doesn’t realize that we have an unprecedented deficit, they must be living in a cave or a bunker for 60 years.

Obama has named a Republican from the Reagan era, Alan K. Simpson and a Democrat from the Clinton era, Erskine Bowles to lead this new commission established to curtail the deficits that may wind up paralyzing this nation. 

The commission that Mr. Obama plans would have 18 members, 10 Democrats and 8 Republicans. The president would name one other Republican and three additional Democrats, none of whom would be administration officials or lawmakers. For the remaining 12 members, the leaders of both parties in the House and Senate each would choose three lawmakers.

The commission would try to recommend by December — after the midterm elections — how to balance the budget by the fiscal year 2015, not counting interest payments on the debt; those are projected to be nearly 3 percent of the gross domestic product that year, a size that most economists say is the maximum acceptable. Also, Mr. Obama wants a commission to propose longer term changes in revenues and the entitlement programs to rein in a debt projected to be 77 percent of the economy’s output by 2020. A supermajority of 14 of the 18 members would have to concur to reach a deal.

We definitely need to resolve our debt crisis and stop building our deficits taht will enslave younger generations to the government and other foreign investors.  However, I find this interesting since Obama is requesting a commission but he is in fact the one president who has spent more than all others combined in his first year.  He is also creating unsustainable budgets that could create disasterous results in the long-run.  Again, as Michelle Malkin aptly calls it, this is kabuki theater.  This is probably another ploy to appear as if he is working to help, but really has no intention of turning from his ideological partisanship of big spending, high taxing, big government.  None of this surprises me in the least now that Politico is reporting that he is already working on his 2012 campaign.

So far only 3 leading Senate Democrats have been named to the panel and the rest have yet to be named.  This is supposed to be a bipartisan panel, but the Democrats, along with Bowles will have the upperhand with 11 members to 9 Republicans. 

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has named Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus of Montana and Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois to the panel, which is charged with recommending spending cuts and possible revenue increases to bring the deficit to managable levels by 2015.

I trust the current crop of bureaucrats as far as I can throw them, and for a 5′ 0” tall female that’s a pretty short distance!  I’m not sure anybody in our congress knows how spending, business, or finances work from a real world perspective so this will be interesting to watch.

Who knows, maybe this is what Obama meant when he was talking about green shoots and new jobs (bigger government and more commissions that just add to the inefficiency and bureaucracy).

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Filed under Congress, Democrats, Government Spending, National Debt, Obama, Obama Administration, Republicans, Unemployment

The Obama Administration Continues To Play Favorites With Unions

We are all well aware that the Obama administration is beholden to the unions like SEIU and the UAW who gave millions to then Senator Obama during his campaign for the White House. However, what many may not know, or have forgotten is the fact that Barack Obama signed three executive orders that would make it easier to favor unions and unionized companies.

Here is the synopsis of the three pro-union executive orders signed early in 2009:

The first executive order requires employers with federal contracts above $100,000 in value to post a notice in the workplace informing their employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), including the right to join a union. This order also repeals Executive Order 13201, issued by President Bush in 2001, that required federal contractors and subcontractors to post so-called “Beck notices.” Such notices, named after the Supreme Court’s decision in Communication Workers v. Beck, 487 U.S. 735 (1988) informed employees covered under the NLRA that they could not be required to join a union or maintain union membership in order to retain their jobs and that employees who are subject to a union security clause and choose not to be union members may object to the purposes for which mandatory union dues are used.

The second order applies to federal contractors who provide services to government buildings. While there are several exemptions, under this new executive order, when a federal agency changes contractors, the new contractor will be required to offer jobs to the non-supervisory employees of its predecessor. This order is designed to try to ensure that when a unionized contractor is replaced, its successor will be obliged under existing labor laws to bargain with the original contractor’s labor union.

The third order prevents federal contractors from being reimbursed in federal funds for money spent to oppose (or support) union organizing efforts among their employees, which could violate first amendment rights if ever challenged in a court of law due to government interference and a company’s freedom of speech.

That’s why the latest news coming from the Obama administration is very disconcerting since they are planning on supporting proposals that will favor unions and unionized companies bidding on federal contracts, which will only increase the size of the government, the amount of bureaucracy, and the cost of contracts.  However, it’s not anything we don’t already know since Obama’s philosophy seems more like “Go big, or go… you know something? just go big because you won’t have a home by the time our administration is through.”

Here’s more information regarding the proposal via the Daily Caller:

The proposals, collectively known as “High Road Contracting Policy,” were first reported earlier this month. The basic elements of the policy would give preference to companies bidding on federal contracts that pay their hourly workers a “living wage” and provide health insurance, employer-funded pension plans and paid sick days.

Following the report Republicans slammed the proposal, with Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma referring to it as “backdoor card check.” Other critics, led by Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, worry the new rules would increase the cost of government contracting by as much as 20 percent, or more than $100 billion annually, while further slowing the procurement process.

Proponents of the proposals, including the Center for American Progress and the Economic Policy Institute, argue government contracting should be used as a vehicle for expanding the middle class and many of the workers that would be impacted by the changes end up costing the government more through public assistance programs such as Medicaid and food stamps. David Madland of CAP also pointed to studies on the state and local level that show no cost increase following the implementation of similar policies.

However, the White House did admit that contracting costs would increase if this proposal went through.  Pardon me if I’m a little skeptical and a little tired of unions being used as the end-all-be-all of the middle class.  Most of the middle class are professional workers or even blue collared workers who don’t belong to unions.  Take for example my father – he’s a mechanic but doesn’t belong to the UAW, much like many of his co-workers.  Does he make a ton of money? No, he’s just simply middle class and thus it is completely disingenuous for anybody to equate unions with the middle class at all times.  It seems as if the current crop of bureaucrats would love nothing more than for the true middle class to be unionized and therefore controlled and dependent upon the federal government.

And lest we forget some of the eye-opening clips of Obama speaking with organizations like SEIU:

{My favorite part is Obama telling SEIU that they should want a leader who can tell the truth… Interesting that he’s now been caught in many lies, most recently ACORN}

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Filed under ACORN, Big Labor, Constitution, Corruption, Economy, Hypocrisy, Obama, Obama Administration, Progressivism, Unions

1st Ever National Tea Party Convention

It’s been a week since I first made my journey south to Nashville, TN, to attend the first ever National Tea Party Convention put on by Tea Party Nation (TPN), and unfortunately, due to rescheduled flights and Snowmageddon, I haven’t had the opportunity to write about it before now — so here it goes:

I have to honestly say that the Tea Party has been characterized and painted in such a dishonest way by the media.  Everyone I met was incredibly excited to be involved in politics and their government.  There were people from all genders, age groups, and yes, there were minorities at the conference. The tea party represents a broad and expanding group of Americans who are simply “sick and tired of being sick and tired,” with their government and their representatives. {Only 600 tickets were sold to the event so this was just a small representation}

It is accurate to say that many who are part of the tea party movement are not fond of Obama’s policies or his ideology, but it would be disingenuous to stop there.  Most tea partiers are trying to return this country to a republic rather than the oligarchy it is heading towards.  The constitution is the law of the land and should be adhered to and treated as such.  The members of this grassroots movement are average, everyday Americans; many of which have jobs or are retired.  They pay taxes, work hard, believe in personal responsibility, a hand up not a hand out, fiscal responsibility, small government, and strong national defense.

I guess I have difficulty understanding how the media could paint citizens engaging in debate, in civics, in government, and expressing peaceful dissent, as being extremists, nationalists, and racists.  What is so wrong with expressing the principles you believe in?  Protesters were “in” when they were protesting the Iraq War and anything Bush; holding up swastikas, BusHitler signs, and even making a fake guillotine with a Bush head.  But now the media doesn’t like the dissent when it goes against the very principles they espouse.  There is something very wrong when the 4th column can’t remain objective.  I have no problem if you are liberal and in the media, but when you are ‘on duty’ act like it, then take your opinions and ideology home with you.

With that being said – there will always be people on both sides of the aisle that are considered extreme or fringe, which is normal.  The left and right both have their fair share to deal with when it comes to that, but nobody should categorically try to make an assumption of the whole based on its parts.

I personally hope that the tea party remains an independent entity and doesn’t fall into the trap of becoming an established political group.  What is so attractive to the movement is its appeal to all parties that share the same conservative principles.  Many would be surprised that many Democrats (i.e. JFK Democrats) are more conservative especially when it comes to fiscal policy.  Independents are also conservative in different aspects.  I, for one, have never been part of a registered party and have always considered myself unaffiliated because the establishment on both sides of the aisle needs reform.

All in all, I had a blast, and the entire convention surpassed my expectations.  I met a lot of great people, and had tons of fun – believe it or not, Conservatives definitely know how to have a good time! 🙂 There are lots of people working hard to put the right people into office so we the people can clean up our government.  It’s important to note that many involved are still very new to politics and grassroots activism so mistakes and missteps will be made along the way – but as long as we can remember Calvin Coolidge’s words referring to Persistence, the Tea Party can become a force to be reckoned with:

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.
Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.
Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.
Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.
The slogan “Press On” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

Here are some photos of the event:

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Many people were excited to see Sarah Palin on Saturday – one of her fans taped her poster to his balcony!

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The Tea Party Presser where both Judson Phillips & Mark Skoda spoke – the MSM was there in droves

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The Presser was held at lunchtime on Friday – Angela McGlowan would speak later that evening and give a wonderful speech and also announce her candidacy as a Republican running in Mississippi. The other men next to her were part of a documentary crew that have already made one movie about the tea party.

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There were so many great people who attended and I was afforded the opportunity to have lunch and hang out with Adam Andrzejewski who unfortunately lost the Republican primary for Governor in IL, but I have a feeling there is more in store for him!

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The men who wore costumes from our founding era were awesome – many of them were in the Tea Party documentary and it made the event a lot of fun.

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Here is a very small portion of the line awaiting Sarah Palin and the tea party banquet on Saturday night (people were in line by 3:30/4pm when the doors weren’t evening opening until 6pm).

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Sarah Palin arrives to eat dinner at the banquet – We got some great seats that were about 50 feet away.

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We got to hear a new song for the movement, I believe it was called “American Heart” by Jon David.

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Sarah Palin begins her speech (I had to take these pictures with my blackberry so the lighting is very bad).

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The view from the jumbotron

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Top off the night by celebrating a successful convention with people like Andrew Breitbart, Glenn Reynolds (aka Instapundit), and so many others – Saturday night was a blast!

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Of course we had to end the night by signing the official flag for the Tea Party convention. {that’s my friend Burnsy BTW}

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Filed under Constitution, Economy, Establishment, Government Spending, Media, MSM, National Debt, National Security, Progressivism, Protests, RINO, Sarah Palin, Tea Party

Narcissist in Chief Gives Himself a B+ for the Year

Jake Tapper Reports:

“Good, solid B-plus,” the president said. 

Explaining, he said, “we have inherited the biggest set of challenges of any president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt. 

“We stabilized the economy, and prevented possibilities of a Great Depression or a significant financial meltdown. The economy is growing again.

“We are on our way out of Iraq. I think we’ve got the best possible plan for Afghanistan.

“We have reset our image around the world.

“We have achieved an international consensus around the need for Iran and North Korea to disable their nuclear weapons.

“And I think that we’re going to pass the most significant piece of social legislation since Social Security, and that’s health insurance for every American,” he concluded.

Pressed by Oprah as to why only a B-plus, the president said, “B-plus because of the things that are undone. Health care is not yet signed. If I get health care passed we tip into A-minus.”

If this doesn’t scream sheer ego and arrogance, I don’t know what does.  Most intelligent individuals usually know that when a question of this sort is thrown at you, the proper response would be “I believe the American people are more apt at giving me a grade than I would be…” But of course, Mr. Mirror, mirror on the wall, had to answer and gave himself a high score.

If recent polls like Gallup or Rasmussen are any indication of how the American public actually feels about him and his grade, it would seem that he really needs some extra credit or maybe some one-on-one time with his professor, the public.  Obama’s approval rating has taken a nose dive while he sits at only 44% approval and he technically still has 1 more month until he reaches his one year mark.

All of the things that Obama mentions are outright lies as far as being accomplishments or things that most people look at much differently than he does. 

Take for example the assertion that he has stabilized the economy; many argue that just because stocks are rising that does not mean the economy has stabilized or gotten better.  We are on unprecedented territory and the unemployment rate is still in double digits.  Stocks also correct themselves for inflation which is what would appear to be happening, as well as the fact that many businesses have had to cut their workforces and become more efficient with less people.  For now, companies are reaping the rewards of more efficiencies, but eventually that will plateau if they want to move forward and stay ahead of their competition. There is still a chance that the economy could experience a double dip, and if it doesn’t, the most likely situation will be heavy inflation or Japanese style deflation with no growth for years to come.

How long until people get fed up with his blame game rhetoric that he has inherited this situation?  He has inherited the situation from every corruptocrat dating back more than just Bush’s 8 years.  We should throw in Greenspan, Clinton and even Carter for that matter if we want to really get at the heart of the issue.  He should also include himself since was in fact legal council for ACORN and lead the charge in the 90’s to obtain a settlement on a lawsuit indicating that credit scores are apparently discriminatory and the CRA should be expanded – hence subprime… I could go on, but I’ve vented enough on that topic.  I just can’t stand people who continuously play the victim, meanwhile, as they point the finger, opportunities and life pass them by.  I have no respect for individuals who can’t take responsibility – and this is supposed to be the leader of the only super power left in the world!?

I’m not sure where he comes off saying that we are pulling out of Iraq?  I’ll believe it when I see it.  Seems like he is carrying out Bush’s policies for now.  I think that stating his plans for Afghanistan are the best are delusional at best.  Maybe, if he had listened to his general in the first place, we wouldn’t have had so many killed over the couple of months (more so than any time when Bush was in office).  He still did not give them the # of troops requested but merely cut the request in half – I will forever call it Halfghanistan.

We have reset our image around the world? Funny, those whom I know living abroad who were excited about Obama, even after I tried to tell them the truth about his record and his ideology, are only now realizing what a disaster he is.  He continues to snub our allies, bow to other leaders, and apologize for all of America’s perceived wrongs on his travels abroad — this has made him a laughing-stock.  The liberal media lets him get away with it, but I don’t expect it to continue forever, if he continues to decline in the polls — eventually real sentiment will bubble to the surface.

When has Obama done anything about North Korea or Iran? His foreign policy seems to be avoidance.  He has not called for harsher sanctions, he is not using anything other than words to try to disarm Iran.  While he stares at himself in the mirror and relishes the media attention, Iran is creating weapons of mass destruction with their plutonium/uranium enrichment plants.

Health care legislation will definitely be significant but significance doesn’t always mean good.  It is absolutely maddening that those in DC could care less about the polls on health care. Most of America disapproves of this bill and the way the government is handling it.  I’ve seen the way government has screwed up business, the economy, and everything else it has touched, there is no way I want them making decisions about my health! 

So continue to grade yourself a B+ Mr. Ego… I can only hope that one of these days somebody in the media has a ‘Come-to-Jesus’ moment of clarity and decides to do his/her job for the good of the country. 

I suspect that the true grade will come for Mr. President in November 2010 – EPIC FAIL.

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Filed under Economy, Health Care, Media, MSM, National Security, Obama, Obama Administration, Progressivism

While You Were Out: A $447B Omnibus Chock Full of Earmarks Passed

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Just when you thought the government couldn’t spend any more the House passes the second Omnibus of the year, full of 5,912 earmarks – for ‘jobs,’ I’m sure.

The omnibus is a little different from normal since it rolls 6 spending bills into 1 in order to pass this massive earmark legislation as quickly as possible. The House only passed the bill by a 221-202 vote with no Republican support and 28 Democrats who dissented.

The Hill reports:

The spending bills in the package are the ones for: the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development departments; the Commerce and Justice departments and federal science funding; financial services and general government agencies; the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education departments; military construction and the Department of Veterans Affairs; and the State Department and foreign operations.

Congress has a Dec. 18 deadline to get the conference report signed into law to avoid a government shutdown. A continuing resolution, which allowed government to operate without approved funding after the Oct. 1 start of the fiscal year, expires on that date.

GOP members raised concerns that the bills will contribute to a 12 percent discretionary spending increase over last year.

Democrats contend that this bill will help the economy and create those much heralded and almost legendary ‘jobs’ they love to tout.

An example of delusion:

“The country is struggling to overcome the longest and deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.).

“The bill before us today is one of the key measures Congress will pass this year to help address those problems and provide relief for millions of hardworking Americans caught in a struggle for economic survival,” Obey added in a statement.

I am still trying to figure out how much spending needs to take place in order for the economy to revive itself – and more than that, I’m trying to understand how government can revive anything when they produce nothing and get a majority of their revenues through taxes – the same people they are trying to ‘help.’

Here is a list of some of the thousands of earmarks (it should be noted that this is chock full of Democrat and Republican goodies):

If you want to see what your lawmakers are up to, here is a list of the bills that will be included in this Omnibus, and a link that lets you check out what’s in each part. These are all pdf files.

* Transportation & Housing – http://bit.ly/7jSVIv

* Commerce, Justice, Science – http://bit.ly/7pAWlc

* Financial Services – http://bit.ly/5nq65O

* Labor, Health, Education – http://bit.ly/5RJ1rn

* Military Construction & Veterans – http://bit.ly/5vMLpu

* State Department & Foreign Aid – http://bit.ly/7oEYgX

Five of the six bills have earmarks (there are none in the foreign aid bill) and by my count, there are 5,912 in all, with Labor at 1810, Transportation at 1548 and Commerce at 1515.

If you want to search for earmarks in your state, here is a little trick to find them more quickly: search by using comma, space, and the two letter abbreviation for your state.

If you want to see some of the earmarks from the first omnibus you can look here.

As an FYI, this bill was immediately passed to the Senate today after it passed the House.  Reid is hoping to pass this bill before the weekend, however, there may be good news since it has been delayed by various Senators.  Melt the phones if you are concerned about the superfluous spending!

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Filed under Congress, Government Spending, National Debt

The DC Disease of Cronyism: Hillary’s Pollster Gets $6M in Stimulus Funds

Hillary Clinton’s pollster, Mark Penn, received funds for two of his firms from the recent stimulus bill.  The same bill that was supposed to put jobless Americans back to work.  The evidence that this bill was merely a pay off to all of DC’s cronies continues to pile up. 

Mark Penn received nearly $6 million in funds (From the New York Daily News):

Hillary Clinton pollster Mark Penn is looking at some pretty sweet numbers – namely $6 million in federal stimulus contracts awarded to two firms he controls.

The Hill newspaper reported Wednesday that $5.97 million from the $787 billion stimulus package helped preserve three jobs at Burson-Marsteller, the global PR firm headed by Penn.

The Obama administration awarded the contracts to Burson-Marsteller to work on a public-relations campaign to advertise the national switch from analog to digital television.

A portion of the funds also went to Penn’s polling firm, Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates, according to federal records.

Please save the moral equivalency – this is rampant on both sides of the aisle and the corruption needs to be stopped!

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Filed under Corruption, Democrats, Government Spending, Obama Administration, Republicans, Stimulus

Big Labor = Big Corruption; Jimmy Hoffa Would Be So Proud

It’s time to clean house!  I’d like to see a sweeping investigation into any and all big labor unions, “non-partisan” taxpayer funded groups, lobbyists, and major corporations that donate to politicians. 

Union bosses are still acting much like mafia characters, and some would argue that’s what they in fact are.  A union boss is admitting to using/exploiting his union members as political activists.   

An interesting admission by James A. Williams, president of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades in Philadelphia, can be seen in an interview he did with the Philly Inquirer. It is an admission that confirms one of the things that anti-union folks have been saying for years, but one union officials are loath to admit.

While discussing the hard economic times, the Philly Inquirer asked how the recession was affecting the union. In his answer President Wilson admitted that his union uses out-of-work members for “political events.” Wilson mentioned that they lower dues to $1 a month after a member has been out of work for more than six months, but that isn’t just the kind hearted union looking out for its members. No, the union expects something in return for that lowering of dues. 

Would exploitation and quid pro quo be considered commendable by the bleeding heart liberals?  Union leadership has always been in the business of lining their own pockets and achieving their own objectives, no matter who gets stepped on along the way, including their own members.

Obama has long been a union advocate, as are many other Democrats.  Unions became part of the Democrat voting block after FDR focused his efforts on creating certain groups that could be used for votes.  Big labor, since that time, has been a large contributor to the DNC.  Obama has spoken at the UAW, SEIU, and AFL-CIO conventions numerous times and most recently this past week.  The latest push for union control of ports and the fact that Obama supports easing the rules of union organizing should give anyone pause. 

President Obama gave a corker of a campaign speech yesterday at the AFL-CIO convention in Pittsburgh, promising to deliver on his promise to ease the rules for union organizing. If you want to know what this means in action, consider the current Teamsters play to control California ports. 

[…]

The American Trucking Association sued to block the rule, and with good cause. Federal law has long pre-empted state and local regulation of interstate trucking “prices, routes and services,” for the reason that international and interstate trade depend on uniform regulation. The courts have recognized this, and even the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found that the new port rule had likely violated the Constitution’s Commerce Clause, which led to a court injunction earlier this year. Trial on the merits of the rule has been set for next year. 

[…] 

Unionization would give the Teamsters enormous bargaining leverage over work rules and pay, sharply raising the cost of moving goods, as well the power to shut down ports in a strike. Some 32 trade groups, from farm organizations to the National Retail Federation, signed a recent letter to Mr. Oberstar opposing the legislation. The response of shippers would be to divert cargo to Mexico or Canada, or pass through an expanding Panama Canal for ports on the Gulf or East Coasts. California doesn’t need more reasons for business to flee the state. 

For a group who continues to point their finger at George Bush and the Republicans for the current state of the economy, it sure seems as though they would prefer the economy to stay stagnant and hand it over to big labor and government, two of the causes for our hardships now. 

An example of the sheer lack of morals and utter corruption that has corroded big labor for quite some time is the recent conviction of Jaime Enrique Feliciano, a 50 yr. old man sentenced to 25 years in prison for child molestation, possession of child pornography and the intent to manufacture child pornography.  So who is Feliciano?  He was the former district president of the California SEIU, a proud partner of ACORN.

It’s time to wake up and take control of our country again.  These big labor organizations and large non-profits that are acting as arms to the government, doing their bidding, need to be disbanded and swept clean.  People on both sides should be sick and tired of the corruption, the ponzi schemes, the pay-to-play politics, and the lack of consideration for the people of America.

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Filed under ACORN, Big Labor, Corruption, Democrats, Double Standards, Economy, Establishment, Obama, Unions