SEIU Now Owns the Cops?

by Mike Flynn

As you know, last week SEIU staged a protest at the home of an attorney for Bank of America. On a quiet Sunday in the Maryland suburbs of DC, SEIU sent 500 protesters onto the front lawn of the home of Greg Baer, a former Treasury official in the Clinton Administration. Mr. Baer wasn’t at home but, unfortunately, his 14 year old son was. The protesters succeeded in terrorizing the boy.

Let me quickly digress to point out that Bank of America is SEIU’s largest creditor. Under the leadership of Andy Stern, SEIU leveraged itself to the hilt, largely to support Democrat campaign efforts, and now owes the bank around $100 million. The loan payments are likely playing havoc with the union’s finances. (Rich that SEIU thinks it has a credible voice on financial reform, given that their own behavior is a set-piece for much of what went wrong.) Coincidence that the bank is the target of a comprehensive and coordinated protest from the union? (Dear Bank of America, Call the loan. Today.)

There is much to say about this protest, but the most fascinating part to me is the role played by the police. It seems the DC police followed/escorted/shadowed the protesters into Maryland. They may or may not have notified the Maryland police, who may or may not have been on the scene while the protesters stormed private property and terrorized a teenage boy. Yesterday, Megyn Kelly of FoxNews interviewed law enforcement officials from DC and Maryland and asked many specific, hard hitting questions.

I’m not going to say the law enforcement officials are lying in this interview. They parse their words expertly. When Ms. Kelly backs them into a corner, they shift the focus to irrelevant parts of the story. But, saying they aren’t lying here is a distinction without a difference.

There are a few points to be made.

First, the DC police official says emphatically that their police officers did not cross into Maryland…except when they did. It seems one of their officers, according to their official, made a wrong turn and didn’t fully understand the DC/Maryland border and may have ‘briefly’ been inside Maryland. A wrong turn and a brief excursion through the Maryland suburbs is hardly worth mentioning if that is all that really happened. No one would notice, nor remark on, an errant 30 second diversion through Maryland streets. This story has the classic feel of a diversion; a pat, simple excuse to cover up any other behavior that comes to light. Any future eyewitness accounts of DC police cars at the scene? Yeah, that was that one cop who didn’t know her jurisdiction’s borders and was ‘lost’.

Second, the Maryland police official says, contrary to other statements made by his department, that they were immediately notified by DC police that the protesters were entering their jurisdiction. According to the official, Maryland police met with DC police at the border to get a situation report and then proceeded to the protest. When they arrived, the official claims, the protesters were already dispersing.

Remember that the official says that the site of the protest is “one or two blocks from the DC border.” Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot…

Fourteen buses start crossing the Maryland border (at which point we’re supposed to believe the Maryland police were immediately notified), they find parking on residential streets, unload their protesters, assemble 500 people on a private lawn, engage in threatening verbal abuse long enough to force a 14 year old boy to lock himself into a bathroom…and the Maryland police get there as they are dispersing? Is their police headquarters in Delaware?

Thankfully, I don’t live in Montgomery County. This is the kind of public safety and police protection for which they pay ridiculously high property taxes? They get a ’situation report’ that 500 protesters are targeting a private citizen’s home and they send 3 police officers? Really? They could only spare 3 officers on a Sunday in Montgomery County?

I hate to say this, and I will no doubt be attacked for it, but stories like this make one feel that the police are not on our side. A few weeks ago, police in Quincy, Illinois deployed a full contingent of riot police to deal with a couple hundred tea party protesters who where singing patriotic songs on public property. In Maryland, 3 police officers police watched as 500 union thugs stormed private property in an act of intimidation and did nothing because, as the police official notes, there weren’t any “no trespassing” signs at the property. (I wonder if he has “no trespassing” signs at his home.)

Sometimes it is the small story that illuminates the overall narrative. Let’s dispense with all the semantics and timelines and legalese. Last week, 500 union thugs descended on a private home and terrorized a teenage boy. They violated someone’s most personal space, their home. And they attacked their most precious gift, their child. The police in two jurisdictions knew about this. They did nothing.

Does This Regime Want America To Become Like Greece?

by Brad Schaeffer

General strikes in Greece have brought much of the country to a halt as trade unions and government workers stage more protests over austerity measures. A 24-hour work stoppage last week closed much of the country’s public sector and shut down ferries, trains and public transport.

So here is one unfunded social utopia’s score card so far: Three have died already this month in massive riots in the streets of Athens which are in danger of re-erupting anew. Paralyzing strikes from civil servants, so used to getting so much largess for doing so little for so long. A $145 billion bailout is in jeopardy with the big dogs of the EU, Germany chief among them, expressing serious concerns that the austerity measures demanded of Greece as a condition to merit the loans will ever come to fruition. Given the revised deficit projections and a public that seems unwilling to admit that their free ride brand of socialism as expressed in a financially unsustainable pension structure is collapsing, who can blame Europe?

Greece is bankrupt. Their debt is 108% of GDP and will climb to almost 150% by 2013 when the bailout loans would come due. 25% of Greek taxes will go to service its debt — to mostly foreign investors. Currently that nation’s government spending amounts to 50% of its GDP.

Consider then that in 2009 US debt was 86% of GDP and climbing. It will go past 100% by 2012. 20% of U.S. federal taxes go to service the interest on the national debt. That number too will rise. Our major social entitlement programs of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, are bankrupt. We are waging foreign wars almost entirely on our own—so that Europe doesn’t have to. And now we have just enacted the mother of all entitlements in Obamacare that only the most wishful of thinkers (or a cynical Democratic Congress and White House) would argue is anything but a multi-trillion dollar debt dog pile on top of an already strained budget.

Of course our gargantuan economy is much more vibrant, diverse and robust than Greece’s. But we are already seeing within our borders mini-Greeces popping up at the state level. 41 states currently face budget shortfalls and the effects are already being felt. Here in New Jersey, school districts have suffered state aid cuts of 95%. (And in a little taste of the new entitlement mentality, our teachers’ union insisted on ramming through a contractually obligated pay raise anyway that would benefit the union bosses most of all; Trenton’s financial woes be damned. So to make the numbers work, several teachers and other staff got the axe—fortunately without any rioting.)

What is currently unfolding on the chaotic streets of Athens is an immovable force of a deep-seeded entitlement culture unwilling to give up its government goodies standing up to the irresistible force of simple mathematics. Care to bet on what side will ultimately prevail?

I am not saying that the United States is making the exact mistakes as the Greeks. But we are on a parallel course in that we are spending more on government programs than we are taking in in revenue. So whereas Greece is collapsing under the weight of unfunded pensions and ridiculously generous retirement packages and entitlements, while at the same time suffering a shrinking tax base, we have our own issues as I said before with Social Security (bankrupt seven years earlier than predicted just two years ago), Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare.

Edwin LeFevre once wrote that:

“A man, if he is both wise and lucky, will not make the same mistake twice. But he will make any one of the ten thousand brothers and cousins of the original mistake.”

As we watch the inevitable fissures in European style socialism breaking wide open for all to see, this is a most propitious time to turn inward and ask ourselves if the model that American left seems so stubbornly intent on replicating here even works, let alone is best for our nation? The Tea Partiers are but one expression of this necessary dialog — shameful left-wing race-baiting notwithstanding. Ponzi schemes always come to the same dismal end, leaving some poor unfortunates to pay the bill.

I would just like to know what makes liberal Democrats think that the inevitable reality of a seriously flawed socio-economic dogma now violently on display in the streets of Athens (and poised to spread throughout Europe) will somehow pass us by if we follow the same path? And if we continue down their road who do they believe will bail us out when the bill comes?

SEIU Thugs Becoming Terrorists?

by Liberty Chick

By now, you’ve probably seen the mob-scene that developed on the front lawn of the private residence of Greg Baer, deputy general counsel for corporate law at Bank of America. This was planned for some time by the SEIU as part of a larger national event, their Showdown on K Street, which was shared with National People’s Action and thousands of other activists from MoveOn.org and other left-wing groups.

Prior to the main event on K Street in Washington DC, SEIU and company made a little pit stop. According to Fortune magazine Washington editor Nina Easton, 14 busloads of riled up protesters unloaded on Baer’s private property and stormed up to his doorstep, while his teenage son was home alone. Easton is a neighbor of Baer’s and had called to check on her neighbor’s son when she heard and saw all the commotion outside. Easton writes,

“Waving signs denouncing bank “greed,” hordes of invaders poured out of 14 school buses, up Baer’s steps, and onto his front porch. As bullhorns rattled with stories of debtor calls and foreclosed homes, Baer’s teenage son Jack — alone in the house — locked himself in the bathroom. “When are they going to leave?” Jack pleaded when I called to check on him.

Baer, on his way home from a Little League game, parked his car around the corner, called the police, and made a quick calculation to leave his younger son behind while he tried to rescue his increasingly distressed teen. He made his way through a din of barked demands and insults from the activists who proudly “outed” him, and slipped through his front door.

“Excuse me,” Baer told his accusers, “I need to get into the house. I have a child who is alone in there and frightened.”

Imagine what you would have done if your child were inside that house and that mob was on your front lawn as you tried to reach him.

Amazingly, the SEIU has actually taken aim at Easton for reporting on this incident. Their defense? Easton’s husband is a Republican strategist and has a lobbyist as a client – oh, the horror! (Especially considering that the SEIU itself is also a lobbyist). In their post “Nina Easton & the Bank Lobbyists: Too Close for Comfort,” SEIU’s crack Googlers researchers break the case wide open:

“The really interesting question here is: why is Ms. Easton so angry? And why has she decided to use her position as a member of the media to air her own personal rant at the people who showed up to share their foreclosure stories?

Nina Easton’s husband’s firm has Business Roundtable as a client, a special interest group that counts giant banks like Bank of America as members.

One Google search clears it up pretty quickly. Her husband is Russell Schriefer, Republican strategist and consultant to several big corporate interest groups. In fact, her husband’s client list includes the Business Roundtable, a special interest group that counts Bank of America and other Wall Street banks among its members.

Ms. Easton’s husband used to be a corporate lobbyist himself, before he started his own consulting firm for Republican politicians and corporate interest groups like the Business Roundtable and the Chamber of Commerce. Now, according to his website, he helps garner positive media for “a wide range of corporate clients including Fortune 500 companies and national associations.”

Wow. Amazing. That kind of muckraking puts my time working at LexisNexis to shame. Perhaps I should take SEIU’s employment recruiters up on one of their recent job offers sitting in my email inbox. (really, they are hiring, and they did email…can you imagine that job interview?)

But what’s even more interesting, to use SEIU’s phrase, is the labor union’s odd relationship with its own business and advocacy partners. They specifically mention above their disdain for Business Roundtable, for their part as what they term as a Republican corporate interest group. But, just like Bank of America – which is a lender to SEIU, mortgage partner to ACORN, and is also the leading lending partner to SEIU advocacy partner, Center for Responsible Lending – one of SEIU’s own partners is also Business Roundtable.

“Today, three of the nation’s leading consumer, business and labor organizations announced that they will work together to urge action from political leaders in a partnership called Divided We Fail. AARP, Business Roundtable and SEIU will use the influence of their over 50 million combined memberships to amplify the message that attaining health and long-term financial security is vital for all Americans and these issues must be included in the national political debate.

Divided We Fail is a national effort designed to engage the American people, elected officials and the business community to find broad-based, bi-partisan solutions to the most compelling domestic issues facing the nation – health care and the long-term financial security of Americans.”

Ouch, talk about biting the hand that feeds you.

The current circumstances are also rather interesting because recently, Tea Party and 912 Project groups have been protesting Bank of America, too. For SUPPORTING the financial regulatory reform bill currently in Congress. You know, the one that Big Labor is supporting with Democrats – the one that proposes the big banks and government spy on your bank accounts and report your loan info to a big government database for all to see? Yeah, that bill. Bank of America lobbyists have been busy lobbying Democrats and donating money to Democrats.

I think the folks at SEIU may be a bit confused over there – first they storm private property and intimidate a teenage child, then they bite the hands that feed them, and they overlook all the money flowing into the Democratic coffers on this bill and selectively go after only seemingly Republican targets. Only, their targets aren’t Republican at all. This one in particular – definitely not a Republican, as Easton describes Baer:

“Instead, a friendly Huffington Post blogger showed up, narrowcasting coverage to the union’s leftist base. The rest of the message these protesters brought was personal-aimed at frightening Baer and his family, not influencing a broader public.

Of course, HuffPost readers responding to the coverage assumed that Baer was an evil former Bush official. He’s not. A lifelong Democrat, Baer worked for the Clinton Treasury Department, and his wife, Shirley Sagawa, author of the book The American Way to Change and a former adviser to Hillary Clinton, is a prominent national service advocate.”

Just imagine if the union of We the People mobilized its own protests to put a stop to the tactics of domestic terrorism of today’s leftist unions.

——–

Also be sure to catch this related post from LaborUnionReport titled “The SEIU, the NPA & Organized, Premeditated Intimidation“.
The really interesting question here is: why is Ms. Easton so angry? And why has she decided to use her position as a member of the media to air her own personal rant at the people who showed up to share their foreclosure stories?
bizroundtableb.jpg

Nina Easton’s husband’s firm has Business Roundtable as a client, a special interest group that counts giant banks like Bank of America as members.

One Google search clears it up pretty quickly. Her husband is Russell Schriefer, Republican strategist and consultant to several big corporate interest groups. In fact, her husband’s client list includes the Business Roundtable, a special interest group that counts Bank of America and other Wall Street banks among its members.

Ms. Easton’s husband used to be a corporate lobbyist himself, before he started his own consulting firm for Republican politicians and corporate interest groups like the Business Roundtable and the Chamber of Commerce. Now, according to his website, he helps garner positive media for “a wide range of corporate clients including Fortune 500 companies and national associations.”

Palin: ‘Mama grizzlies’ will take back US

WASHINGTON (AP) – Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said Friday that “mama grizzlies” will help Republicans win this November, sweeping away the agenda of President Barack Obama and the Democrats.

Addressing an anti-abortion group, the potential 2012 presidential candidate also said she understood how some women might consider abortion, citing her own experiences as the mother of a child with Down syndrome and the parent of an unwed teen mother. Last year, Palin said that “for a fleeting moment” she considered having an abortion when she learned of her son Trig’s prognosis.

Palin said Friday that abortion is morally wrong and women should carry a fetus to term.

“It may not be the easiest path, but it’s always the right path,” she said.

Palin, the GOP’s 2008 vice presidential nominee, used a speech to the Susan B. Anthony List to remind activists why they rallied behind the Republican ticket and why they should work to stop Obama’s agenda.

She said Obama is “the most pro-abortion president ever to occupy the White House” and asserted that the health care law would fund abortions.

In fact, Obama’s health care law would not allow federal dollars to pay for elective abortions. Catholic hospitals and organizations of Catholic nuns backed the measure. U.S. Catholic bishops and major anti-abortion groups opposed it, arguing that federal dollars could end up paying for abortions.

Palin challenged Republican women—”mama grizzlies,” she called them—to help the GOP “take this country back” and elect anti-abortion lawmakers. She praised female leaders of the tea party movement and invoked her 2008 acceptance speech where she compared herself to a pit bull.

“You don’t want to mess with moms who are rising up,” Palin said. “If you thought pit bulls were tough, you don’t want to mess with mama grizzlies.”

Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY’s List, said Palin talks a good game, but her version of what American women want doesn’t honor freedom and independence. She mentioned the Democratic lawmakers whom Palin had targeted for their votes for health care overhaul.

“First she puts targets on their back, then she wants the government in their bedrooms—what is Sarah Palin doing to Western women?” said Schriock. EMILY’S List helps candidates who back abortion rights.

Palin also criticized the media, singling out their coverage of her daughter Bristol, whose pregnancy was announced days after Palin was named the vice presidential nominee. Bristol Palin is a single mother who works on an abstinence-only campaign.

“Choosing life was the right road, the right choice. … It hasn’t been easy and society, culture sure hasn’t been easy on her,” Palin said. “Wow, our culture and our media has made it rough on her.”

She said some young women would see what happened to Bristol and perhaps be encouraged to seek an abortion instead of facing similar criticism.

She cast herself as a victim of a liberal media and elite academics.

“Some of them refused to admit I’m even a woman,” she said.

Big Brother Wants to Spy on You!

by Capitol Confidential

Thanks to provisions buried within the Obama/Dodd financial deform bill, your personal information — from ATM withdrawals to loans — will now be collected by the federal government with no protections to your personal privacy.

The legislation creates another federal bureaucracy — the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) that is nothing more than a systematic government invasion of your personal finances of every consumer creating a financial fingerprint for the government to watch over.

Dodd’s bill deputizes the CFPB to act as a new federal watchdog agency to collect consumers’ personal financial information and transactions including records from Automatic Teller Machines from any financial institution or firm.

Don’t believe us — read the bill.

Section 1022 – Under Dodd’s bill the CFPB is granted unprecedented power to write, administer and enforce federal consumer financial law with no Congressional oversight.

Section 1071 – Dodd’s bill compels financial institutions like banks, credit unions and stock brokerage firms to maintain records of all financial transactions including the number and dollar amount and to submit that information to the CFPB.

Perhaps the worst aspect of the bill is it leaves it up to the discretion of the CFPB bureaucrats to determine how to use the personal information collected on American consumers and to share that data with other Federal agencies as it sees fit.

The Dodd bill constitutes an unprecedented intrusion into the privacy of the American people. For this reason alone, it deserves to be defeated.

Troops fire on rioting protesters, explosions thunder in central Bangkok; 5 die in new clashes

April 14: Thai soldiers stand off a crowd of anti-government protesters in Bangkok, Thailand, after initial government moves overnight to blockade them showed no results.

BANGKOK (AP) — Thai troops fired bullets at anti-government protesters and explosions thundered in the heart of Bangkok on Friday as an army push to clear the streets and end a two-month political standoff sparked clashes that have killed five and wounded 81.

As night fell, booming explosions and the sound of gunfire rattled around major intersections in the central business district. Local TV reported that several grenades hit a shopping center and elevated-rail station. Plumes of black smoke hung over the neighborhood as tires burned in eerily empty streets while onlookers ducked for cover.

Among those wounded were two Thai journalists and a Canadian reporter, who was in a serious condition.

With security deteriorating and hopes of a peaceful resolution to the standoff increasingly unlikely, what was once one of Southeast Asia’s most stable democracies and magnets of foreign investment has been thrust deep into political uncertainty. The crisis threatens its stability, economy and already-decimated tourism industry.

Violence escalated after a rogue army general regarded as a military adviser to the Red Shirt protesters was shot in the head Thursday evening, possibly by a sniper. A doctor said Maj. Gen. Khattiya Sawasdiphol was still in a coma Friday and he could “die at any moment.”

Thai troops fired bullets at anti-government protesters and explosions thundered in the heart of Bangkok as an army push to clear the streets and end a two-month political standoff sparked clashes that have killed three and wounded 69.

Clashes since then have killed five and wounded 81, officials said.

“We are being surrounded. We are being crushed. The soldiers are closing in on us. This is not a civil war yet, but it’s very, very cruel,” Weng Tojirakarn, a protest leader, told The Associated Press.

Fighting has now killed 34 people and injured hundreds since the Red Shirts, mostly rural poor, began camping in the capital on March 12, in a bid to force out Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. They claim his coalition government came to power illegitimately through manipulation of the courts and the backing of the powerful military, which in 2006 forced the populist premier favored by the Red Shirts, Thaksin Shinawatra, from office in a coup.

Last week, Abhisit offered November elections, raising hopes that a compromise could be reached with the Red Shirts, who have been demanding immediate elections. Those hopes were dashed after Red Shirt leaders made more demands.

Late Thursday, the army moved to seal off the Red Shirt encampment in an upscale commercial district of the capital. Some 10,000 protesters, women and children among them, have crammed into the area.

“Our policy is not to disperse the protesters,” government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn said late Friday. He said their mission was to set up checkpoints and “tighten” the area around the protest, but “there have been attempts to agitate the officers.”

In later speech on national TV, Panitan said security forces hadn’t entered the demonstration area but were attacked and forced to protect themselves.

He said security efforts would be stepped up in the coming days and “many areas would be under control soon.” As he said that a large explosion rang out in central Bangkok.

Friday’s violence was initially centered on a small area home to several foreign embassies, including those of the U.S. and Japan which were forced to close, but by midafternoon had spread around the 1-square-mile (3-square-kilometer) protest zone barricaded with bamboo stakes and tires. The British, New Zealand and the Dutch embassies, which are in the vicinity, also were shut.

Soldiers crouched behind a raised road divider in one area and fired rubber bullets, live ammunition and tear gas shells. Army vehicles were seen speeding on deserted streets littered with stones and debris. Protesters retreated and hurled rocks and insults.

Among Friday’s casualties, a Thai cameraman from the VoiceTV news website was shot in his left thigh and a photographer for Matichon newspaper was shot in the leg, the news outlets said.

Canadian freelance journalist Nelson Rand, who was working for France 24 news channel, was hit by three bullets, the channel reported. One bullet perforated his leg, another hit his abdomen, another hit his wrist. He underwent surgery and was recovering.

Friday morning, protesters captured and vandalized two military water cannon trucks at a key intersection in the business district, just outside the Red Shirt encampment. They ripped the cannon from its moorings and used its plastic barrel to shoot firecrackers from behind a sandbag bunker they had commandeered from soldiers.

They later set fire to a police bus that sent thick plumes of smoke into the sky. Soldiers fired automatic rifles repeatedly.

Soldiers used a loudspeaker to send a message to the Red Shirts: “We are the people’s army. We are just doing our duty for the nation. Brothers and sisters, let’s talk together.”

But a group of aggressive young protesters approached them on motorcycles and on foot, shouting obscenities. Two soldiers fired shotguns into the air and they pulled back but kept up their abuse.

Major roads around the protest site were closed to traffic, and the city’s subway and elevated train shut early. Many shops in the capital also were shuttered.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Kornvika Klinpraneat, 28, a worker at a mini-mart near the protest area. “This is like a civil war. The battle is being fought in the middle of a city with innocent people being injured and killed.”

The renegade army general Khattiya, who is accused of creating a paramilitary force for the Red Shirts, was shot in the head while talking to reporters just inside the perimeter of the protesters’ encampment. Director of the hospital treating him, Dr. Chaiwan Charoenchokthawee, said Friday that Khattiya “could die at any moment.”

It was not known who shot Khattiya, better known by the nickname Seh Daeng. But the Red Shirts blamed a government sniper.

“This is illegal use of force ordered by Abhisit Vejjajiva,” said Arisman Pongruengrong, a Red Shirt leader. “Seh Daeng was shot by a government sniper. This is clearly a use of war weapons on the people.”

The army denied it tried to kill Khattiya.

“It has nothing to do with the military. It has never been our policy (to assassinate). We have been avoiding violence,” said Col. Sansern Kaewkamnerd, an army spokesman. Only a forensic investigation will determine who was behind the shooting, he said.

The two-day clashes marked the worst continuous episode of violence since April 10, when 25 people were killed and more than 800 injured in clashes between Red Shirts and troops in Bangkok’s historic area. Sporadic clashes have occurred since then.

The Red Shirts see Abhisit’s government as serving an elite insensitive to the plight of most Thais. The protesters include many supporters of former prime minister Thaksin whose allies won elections in 2007 after his ouster. Two subsequent pro-Thaksin governments were disbanded by court rulings before Abhisit was elected by Parliament.

Thaksin, a former telecommunications billionaire who fled overseas to avoid a corruption conviction, has publicly encouraged the protests and is widely believed to be helping bankroll them. He claims to be a victim of political persecution.

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Associated Press writers Vijay Joshi, Jocelyn Gecker, Denis D. Gray and Chris Blake contributed to this report. Additional research by Warangkana Tempati.