Give Occupy Wall Street This Handout

With leftists bent on making this election about the rhetoric of Occupy Wall Street, I decided to put together a fact sheet to shred Big Labor’s “solidarity” talking points. If you’re an enterprising filmmaker – or just a bored conservative with no sense of smell – this double-sided PDF is the ideal handout for a wade into your nearest Occupy camp.

After all, Occupy Wall Street is all about handouts! Print some pamphlets, grab your camera, and show the 99% you care.

Publicizing union boss pay is fun, because it’s self-evidently outrageous considering what these people do for a living. Here are some highlights from the handout:

  • William Lucy (AFSCME) took $847,810 from public employees last year
  • Gerald McEntee (AFSCME) took $555,367 from public employees last year
  • Rhonda Weingarten (AFT) took $493,859 from teachers last year
  • John Wilson (NEA) took $492,484 from teachers last year
  • Dennis Van Roekel (NEA) took $460,060 from teachers last year

The icebreakers don’t end there!

  • 446 NEA staff & officers took $100,000+ from teachers last year
  • 426 UAW staff & officers took $100,000+ from auto workers last year
  • 279 AFSCME staff & officers took $100,000+ from public employees last year

…And that’s only at the unions’ national headquarters.

Sources are cited in the PDF and linked below, with care taken to avoid Fox News and The Wall Street Journal for the sake of the ruse. If you find yourself facing an Occupier who considers all corporate media inherently right-wing, this indicates one of two things:

  1. You’re about to get some entertaining footage
  2. It’s time to back away slowly and head for home

While (1) and (2) are not mutually exclusive, it’s important to exercise caution!

One question I recommend asking your local anarcho-communist squatters: If it’s true that “police are the army of The Rich,” whose army is Occupy Wall Street?

Union pay (here’s an Excel workbook of the six-figure club) is from the U.S. Department of Labor. Income percentiles are from the left-wing Brookings Institution (view PDF), as reported last January by The New York Times.

Obama campaign contributions are from FEC records reviewed by OpenSecrets.org. Geithner tax-delinquency coverage is from NYT; Daschle from US News; Solis from USA Today; Killefer from ABC News. Office of the President tax delinquency stats were originally reported by WTOP FM in Washington.

Have fun… and remember to wear shoes you wouldn’t mind burning!

Cross-posted from Breitbart.com.

Federal Waste Proves Obama Needs More Power

On Tuesday the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) delivered a report on redundant federal programs to Congress. This is the second year GAO produced a detailed report, as required by an amendment to the January 2010 debt ceiling increase from Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK).

Duplicate programs cost taxpayers “tens of billions of dollars annually,” but the bar for efficiency was low:

Last year’s report identified 81 areas to make government more efficient. Congress and the Obama administration have implemented just four of those. There’s been some progress on 60 items, and no progress on 17.

This is better than I expected, since President Obama’s crowning achievement with Democrats controlling both houses of Congress was the sleek, sophisticated “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” Obama’s idea of protection and affordability is shown here in a chart you may recognize:

A White House analysis claims 76% of Executive issues identified last year have been “addressed in some way,” while only 39% of recommend Congressional actions had been taken. Because it fits into the template Obama for America has been cranking out for weeks, the president will happily treat GAO’s report as mortar for the “Do-Nothing Congress” pillar of his campaign.

Barack Obama’s solution is for everyone to listen more carefully to Barack Obama and give him more power:

Two things that Congress can do right now to reduce duplication and waste are to pass the proposals in the President’s FY 2013 Budget and to pass the Reforming and Consolidating Government Act the Administration sent to the Hill earlier this year which will set up an expedited process to review government consolidation proposals.

To save yourself the agony of dissecting Obama’s FY13 budget, refer to the Obamacare chart above. Obama loves reminding us he inherited a mess: why didn’t he clean it up while he had a stranglehold in Congress?

Lest you forget Obama’s other first-year priority, review Sen. Coburn’s 2009 report on “stimulus” waste and his 2010 follow-up research on Obama’s approach to smarter, shinier federal government.

Tuesday’s GAO report itself refutes the Obama for America narrative:

And the government has at least 15 major financial literacy programs – including three new ones established by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

Can you think of a group less suited to financial literacy education than the U.S. government? In addition to the redundant programs Obama created by signing Dodd-Frank, illegally-appointed CFPB Czar Richard Cordray is making up new bureaucracy as we speak!

House Oversight Committee Chair Darrell Issa (R-CA) responded differently to the GAO report, saying, “the enemy isn’t the Democrats, the enemy isn’t the Republicans – it’s the bureaucracy.

Which is worse: a self-serving bureaucracy that’s grown far beyond the bounds of sustainability? Or a Congress that promises generalities, defers specifics to unelected bureaucrats, and refuses to accept responsibility?

Whether you’re most concerned about the big pre-Obama entitlement programs, Obama’s adventures in collectivism, or the tendency of mundane bureaucracy to go all Little Shop of Horrors, this gets to the heart of it:

“Members of Congress don’t get the headlines for fixing something,” said Tom Schatz of Citizens Against Government Waste. “They get headlines for creating something.”

Stop Promising and Start Paying would fit on a bumper sticker, but wouldn’t win a lot of votes. So here we are, with a federal government that’s created $15,400,000,000,000 in debt… and counting.

Obama’s Ohio Attack Dogs

I’m relieved Obama for America is pushing every class warfare chip to the middle of the table. If Americans get a better look at Progressivism’s ugly mug and still vote Democrat in November, the country deserves to go bankrupt!

To simplify mockery of their candidate for those of us with apolitical day jobs, Obama for America has assembled “Truth Teams” – Attack Watch in more sheepish clothing – in a handful of swing states. At the Ohio Truth Team announcement, it was suggested that crashing GOP events may be on the Obama cheerleaders’ agenda.

It's ruff defending a failed Progressive!

It's ruff defending a failed president!

Leveraging deranged protestors for the Progressive brand of populism is nothing new for Ohio Democrats, so The Columbus Dispatch tried to confirm the insinuation:

“We’ll do it in an appropriate, mindful way, recognizing the importance of the conversation,” said Ohio Democratic chairman Chris Redfern, also a truth team member. “The truth team, we envision, will be more of a rapid response, taking a message directly at locations where those individuals who align with super PACs or organizations in support” of GOP presidential hopefuls are present.

Emphasis mine. Given his history, Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern is a hilarious addition to an Obama group allegedly aiming for mature conversations. In the waning days of the 2010 campaign:

[…] the camera was rolling as Redfern leveled the expletive at critics in the Tea Party, who, in his words, believe health care is a privilege, not a right.

“If your kids are going to graduate from college, now he or she gets health care, your heath care, while he or she looks for a new job,” Redfern said. “It’s in the very base terms we win these arguments. Every time one of these (expletive deleted) says, excuse my language…”

The deleted expletive rhymed with “truckers,” and unless you count his perfunctory “excuse my language” as he remembered a news crew was in the union hall Chris Redfern never apologized. Instead, the Ohio Democratic Party used his rage-filled outburst as a fundraising opportunity:

In the e-mail, Redfern then asks for a $10 donation to his “swear jar” to “help the Ohio Democratic Party and its candidates get our message out and stick it to our opponents.”

He wrote, “I have been amazed by the outpouring of support the Ohio Democratic Party has received after I spoke out forcefully and unapologetically on behalf of working families.”

What a mindful, appropriate brush for Chris Redfern to paint his political opponents with! Now that the Super Obama Truth Squad has recruited the hateful creep who called the enemies of Obama’s totalitarian health insurance plan F-ers at a 2010 union event, they’re armed to the teeth with truth!

Tell us, Ohio Obama Truth Ninjas: How many of the 2.2 million Ohioans who voted to block Obamacare’s key mandate last November are F-ers? If it’s true that Ohio voters who oppose your preferred statist policies are F-ers, what is it we’re guilty of effing?

For more from Ohio, follow Jason on Twitter: @jasonahart. Apologies to Cheddar the Bulldog, whose owner submitted an un-doctored version of the above photo to Wikimedia Commons with a public domain license.

Cross-posted at Big Government.

Competitive Conservative Governors

Are Wisconsin and Ohio still presidential swing states? Republicans swept to power in the Badger State and the Buckeye State in 2010. During the past year, Governor Walker and Governor Kasich have refused to settle for taxation & spending trends that drove away hundreds of thousands of jobs between 2000 and 2011.

If Midwestern voters see the benefits of free-market reforms at the state level, it’ll be bleak news for Barack Obama’s 2012 class warfare roadshow.

Early results for Walker and Kasich have been mixed, as they’ve both been demonized relentlessly by Big Labor. Wisconsin Democrats fled to protect their union financiers, but Walker and the Wisconsin GOP prevailed. How’s that working for taxpayers?

According to a report by the MacIver Institute, as of September 1, “at least 25 school districts in the Badger State had reported switching health care providers/plans or opening insurance bidding to outside companies.” The institute calculates that these steps will save the districts $211.45 per student. If the state’s other 250 districts currently served by WEA Trust follow suit, the savings statewide could reach hundreds of millions of dollars.

If Big Labor’s failure in Wisconsin Senate recall races is any sign, voters can do the math. The Walker budget has caused what any sensible observer would expect: freed of suffocating union control, Wisconsin schools are saving money and avoiding layoffs.

In Ohio, Democrats dug in their heels, demanding higher taxes to fix the state’s estimated $8 billion budget deficit – which, to their dismay, Kasich balanced while phasing out Ohio’s death tax and raising no taxes. Several months and more than $30 million later, leftists killed a union reform bill whose effects voters never got a chance to see.

One result of Big Labor’s Ohio victory? Widespread public employee layoffs – hooray for blind obedience to union bosses!

With Democrats kicking and screaming (hardly a bill has passed in Ohio that Democrats haven’t brought a referendum or lawsuit against), Kasich and Walker seem intent on staying their respective courses set last year. Fortunately, union reform isn’t the only item on the agenda.

Aggressively courting job creators, both governors have trimmed senseless bureaucracy and focused on incentives for employers. Ohio and Wisconsin have started on the long road to recovery; from 2000-2010, Ohio ranked 50th and Wisconsin ranked 40th in private-sector job growth.

Governor Walker and Governor Kasich each spoke of the need to control public spending, streamline job training programs, and reform K-12 education in their 2012 State of the State addresses. Wherever they go – including official state speeches – both governors are smeared as corporate lackeys by useful idiots reading from Big Labor’s script.

It’s no coincidence Scott Walker and John Kasich are attacked by the collectivist agitators who compose President Obama’s base. Competition vs. collectivism is the battle of the hour. Thanks to governors in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan who understand the centrality of competition to the American idea, millions of voters in America’s heartland will have tangible evidence to weigh against the federal dependency peddled by Barack Obama!

Cross-posted at Big Government.

Sherrod Brown and Barack Obama’s China Envy

When not attacking American companies, President Obama gets downright romantic about the grand things American companies do with the Washington’s guidance. China is frequently a source of envy (see: passenger rail boondoggles), because China’s statist capitalism-lite floats Obama’s boat. As America’s most statist senator, Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is on board for anything involving more government!

Sherrod asked President Obama about his plans for a federal manufacturing and energy policy during a February 2010 Democrat meeting:

President Obama knows what’s best, and seems annoyed by the democracy blocking his path. For all his worries of “falling behind” autocratic China in the race to throw money at unmarketable products, we have to wonder how much of the New York Times coverage he was briefed on the week before!

In the United States, power companies frequently face a choice between buying renewable energy equipment or continuing to operate fossil-fuel-fired power plants that have already been built and paid for. In China, power companies have to buy lots of new equipment anyway, and alternative energy, particularly wind and nuclear, is increasingly priced competitively.

[…]

As in many other industries, China’s low labor costs are an advantage in energy.

Emphasis mine. Impromptu poll: Do you think Sherrod Brown or President Obama comprehend how expensive capital is, or realize China’s population and infrastructure are different from ours? Do you think they would cross Big Labor in order to compete with Chinese manufacturing in a meaningful way?

What the average person might call “reality” is only a cloud of pesky details for Barack Obama and Sherrod Brown to wave aside. Green energy is A Good Thing, so taxpayers should happily spend money on green energy while coal & oil companies take their medicine and ask for more. Pipelines are right out. Sure, we’ll lose the occasional half billion or so funding the endeavors of Obama donors, but that’s part of the fun!

If you suffer through the complete hour-and-fifteen session on the White House YouTube channel, you’ll hear both Sherrod and the president mention glowingly Ron Bloom, Obama’s former “Car Czar.” Bloom, instrumental in bringing the UAW out on top of the Chrysler and GM bailouts, is both an SEIU alum and a Mao enthusiast. Forget about the jobs lost to China; the ghost of Chairman Mao draws in Obama appointees like a siren!

In matters of manufacturing and green energy – as with most everything else – Sherrod Brown is a cheerleader for Obama’s worst Progressive tendencies. For a Senate seat the GOP can retake this November, look no further than Ohio!

Cross-posted from Big Government.

A Socialism Windfall from House Democrats

Cranking their class warfare to eleven, House Democrats submitted a “windfall tax” bill on Wednesday that would increase taxes on some oil and natural gas company revenues to 100%. As The Hill reported:

According to the bill, a windfall tax of 50 percent would be applied when the sale of oil or gas leads to a profit of between 100 percent and 102 percent of a reasonable profit. The windfall tax would jump to 75 percent when the profit is between 102 and 105 percent of a reasonable profit, and above that, the windfall tax would be 100 percent.

"Hello, Congress? We must act quickly -- someone's earning a profit!"

Don’t ask what constitutes a “reasonable profit” – the bureaucrats will work it out! From the text of the bill:

The term ‘reasonable profit’ means the amount determined by the Reasonable Profits Board to be a reasonable profit on the sale.

To guarantee oil barons get the soaking they deserve, no one with a financial interest (read: no one with actual industry knowledge) would be permitted a seat on the new Reasonable Profits Board, whose members would be nominated by the president. Think of the National Labor Relations Board, but instead of union lawyers regulating unions we could have union lawyers regulating energy companies!

A panel of eggheads deciding how much profit a corporation is allowed to earn is socialism, plain and simple. This is no shock considering the bill’s primary sponsor, Progressive tool and potential Ron Paul cabinet member Dennis Kucinich (D-OH). Kucinich appears to be taking a break from UFO spotting to show voters in his newly redrawn deep-blue district he’s the Democrat of choice in the upcoming primary. He aimed for “populist” and landed on “socialist,” but don’t expect his cosponsors to split hairs.

What’s saddest about this terrible idea is that it’s so common. Seven Democrat senators – including vulnerable freshmen Sherrod Brown (OH), Claire McCaskill (MO), and Jon Tester (MT) – joined Socialist Bernie Sanders (VT) to propose a windfall oil tax in 2007. President Obama embraced the policy during his 2008 campaign; “Enact a Windfall Profits Tax to Provide a $1,000 Emergency Energy Rebate to American Families” is the very first item on the old Obama for America energy issues page (view as a PDF).

Of course, I own a few shares of Marathon Oil, Marathon Petroleum, and Spectra Energy, so my concerns are invalid. I should be grateful the Progressives only want 100% of unreasonable profits! Since Washington knows best, the new Board could just as soon take all the money invested by fat-cats like me and stimulate ACORN, the windmill industry, or whatever Michael Moore’s working on.

At Hot Air, Ed Morrissey provides context for allegedly excessive oil company profits, and the Tax Foundation has decades of research wrecking this rickety Democrat hobbyhorse. While it’s fun to laugh at the economic idiocy of clowns like Kucinich, remember: socialist attacks on private industry are key planks in the Progressive platform beneath President Obama and Democrats in both houses of Congress.

Big Labor Partisanship at Teacher Expense

However they market themselves, public unions are political by nature, brimming partisanship that goes beyond their skewed campaign spending. Every Republican teacher, public safety worker, and government employee forced to pay “fair share” dues should be outraged.

My state’s National Education Association (NEA) affiliate, the Ohio Education Association (OEA), takes millions in fees from non-members each year. Operating on NEA’s model, OEA insists all teachers be forced to pay for the union’s non-political business. This would be well and good, if OEA conducted any non-political business.

From the union’s mission statement:

OEA believes that for those whose business is public education, activism is an obligation.

OEA has the same definition of “activism” as every garden variety leftist group: Demand bigger government under the guise of fairness and equality. For example, ACORN’s 2005-06 Political Program (hat tip: Publius’ Forum) lists OEA as a “Coalition Partner” –

We see the combination of these efforts as key to maintaining and expanding the level of electoral participation by more progressive voters in the state, along with playing a role in pushing voter alignment along axes of community concerns and economic security.

In other words, OEA worked with ACORN to push the entitlement mindset and get entitlement-minded voters to the polls. For… the children?

More recently, OEA was listed as a state partner of “Health Care for America NOW” (a lobbying group devoted to socialized medicine) and the Ohio Voter Fund (a coalition of leftists against voter ID).

NEA and its state affiliates are enthusiastic cheerleaders for Keynesian deficit spending, though I wouldn’t want the task of finding a math teacher who insists one minus two equals jobs!

Honestly, NEA’s entire “Education Votes” blog could be an Obama 2012 campaign site. NEA publicly endorsed Obama’s reelection last July, ending hours of heated debate among no one: every Big Labor affiliation and stump speech flies in the face of the lie that partisanship is limited to official campaign spending.

When the public union stranglehold was threatened in Ohio last winter, OEA’s class war machine went into overdrive at the expense of willing and unwilling dues-payers alike. Progressive talking points come easily to a group that instructs members to indoctrinate children on the glories of unionism!

NEA bosses take advantage of the goodwill teachers generate, paying themselves and Democrats handsomely while claiming credit for members’ hard work. Unless you look forward to the second Obama term NEA is sinking millions into, be sure your friends and family know teachers’ unions want higher taxes and bigger government.

There’s much more evidence than what I’ve listed here, and I’ll continue highlighting the ugly Progressive truth about NEA and its partners here in Ohio.

Obama Visits Ohio, Sherrod Brown Skips Town

When President Obama pronounced the Constitution legally dead at a Cleveland campaign stop, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) was nowhere to be found. Did the president reach a partisan bridge Sherrod refused to cross? Or was Sherrod’s “scheduling conflict” as politically motivated as President Obama’s latest stunt?

The president has a 41% approval rating in Ohio, where Sherrod Brown faces reelection this fall. Last November, Ohioans voted to block Obamacare – for which Sherrod was the deciding vote – by a margin of more than 1 million.

In other words, Sherrod’s absence didn’t indicate a change of heart from the class warfare he spewed on the Senate floor when Republicans blocked Rich Cordray’s appointment to CFPB:

Chris Dodd and Barney Frank could hardly ask for a more devoted apologist! Sherrod’s “cop on the beat” quip wouldn’t be disgustingly deceptive if police also made up laws as they went along

Sadly, Obama’s Cleveland speech veered Sherrod’s direction; who needs the Constitution when you can strike a populist pose while installing a powerful new bureaucrat?

But when Congress refuses to act and as a result hurts our economy and puts people at risk, I have an obligation as President to do what I can without them. I have an obligation to act on behalf of the American people. I will not stand by while a minority in the Senate puts party ideology ahead of the people they were elected to serve.

Emphasis mine. Obama’s “do what I can” seems to get redefined daily. The proletariat cannot wait for the machinations of Wall Street swine and their purchased politicians!

From a safe distance, Sherrod strummed the same class warfare strings in a press release:

Ohio families deserve a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – complete with a Director – that can stand up to the special interests and look out for Ohioans’ interests.  We asked for a fair up or down vote on Richard Cordray’s nomination. But too many senators are willing to stand instead with Wall Street, blocking a qualified nominee for the first time in the history of the Senate based on opposition to an agency’s very existence.

Never mind that 15 of the 20 biggest “special interests” give most of their campaign cash to Democrats. Sherrod cries foul over any GOP delay to Obama’s agenda, but he’s indifferent to Obama’s abuse of the Constitution.

While avoiding an event where he might be photographed next to an unpopular leftist, Sherrod is a leading spokesman for the president’s most contemptible Progressive policies.

Obama justified the illegal appointment of a new czar by citing regulations that should be pursued by the legislature. Remember the legislature? It’s one of those other branches of the federal government… but unfortunately for President Obama, not every senator is a radical statist like Sherrod Brown.

Regardless of geographic proximity, Sherrod Brown and President Obama are peas in a Progressive pod. Based on his love for stifling central government, we might assume Sherrod learned the wrong lessons from the Russian Studies program at Yale!

Global Warming Alarmism on Thin Ice?

The Register reports on a study from the December issue of Science:

By analysing ancient algae found in deep-sea core samples, Professor Matthew Huber and his colleagues determined that the mile-thick ice which now covers the south polar continent formed around 34 million years ago. At that stage the atmosphere held much more CO2 than it does now, some 600 parts per million (ppm) as opposed to today’s level of 390 ppm.

Although the Antarctic ice sheet formed while CO2 levels were more than 33% higher than today, Washington spends heaps of cash on CO2-reduction boondoggles each year. Antarctica isn’t the only icy show in town, but Prof. Huber described the threat of CO2 melting an ice sheet in terms that would make Al Gore spew brimstone:

“If we continue on our current path of warming we will eventually reach that tipping point,” he says. “Of course after we cross that threshold it will still take many thousands of years to melt an ice sheet.”

Evidence or not, President Obama, the EPA, and congressional Democrats know their priorities: We have seen the enemy, and his name is Carbon Dioxide. Evil activities like “producing energy,” “building things,” and “going places” need to be taxed and regulated further, or Carbon Dioxide wins! If this means the sort of government control Progressives wanted anyway, well, shucks, we’ll just have to make government bigger.

How well are “deniers” countering the decades-long drumbeat from global warming alarmists? A 12/01 Pew Research Center report tells the sad story:

The science isn’t nearly settled enough to slaughter thousands of jobs and billions of dollars on the enviro-altar, as Climategate 2.0 should prove (again). For more, refer to the work of Anthony Watts, Steven Hayward, Jeff Id, and Dr. Tim Ball, who makes the following point:

Few, including skeptics, want to confront the problem that temperature increase precedes CO2 increase in absolute contradiction to the major assumption of the AGW hypothesis. […] Science must be about skepticism, otherwise the science is settled, but then it isn’t science.

Cross-posted from Big Government.

Sherrod Smears Big Labor’s Critics as McCarthyists

Always happy to attack Big Labor’s enemies, Sherrod Brown (D-OH) did so from the Senate floor during the debate over Craig Becker’s appointment to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). After being placed during a recess, Becker has driven NLRB’s lurch to the Progressive fringe, shoring up the power of key Democratic Party donors at the expense of workers and businesses across the country.

The Progressive fringe is Sherrod Brown’s wheelhouse (he is, after all, America’s left-most senator), so here is Sherrod’s response to complaints about Becker’s work for the union bosses NLRB oversees:

Whining that conservatives call his Socialist beliefs Socialist is a well Sherrod visits often, and Becker has helped Sherrod look ridiculous yet again. Poor, moderate, sensible Becker, before his recess appointment and subsequent bureaucratic rampage, was described thus by The Hill:

He is an adamant supporter of card-check legislation — a proposal that allows unions to form more easily, supported by the White House — and has done considerable work for the AFL-CIO and the Service Employees International Union.

Republicans pointed to Becker’s glaring conflicts of interest, and Sherrod Brown’s rebuttal was to cry foul and call names. Anyone following the NLRB for the past two years knows how that turned out.

C-SPAN 2 clip transcript:

SHERROD BROWN: If, if no arguments work, it’s time to trot ACORN out and tie Craig Becker right to ACORN, whatever ACORN is. And, it’s just, it would be amusing if they didn’t use it time, after time, after time. “He must be a bad nominee because he worked with somebody from ACORN,” or, “He worked with somebody from the Service Employees International Union,” or, “He worked with Governor Blagojevich in Illinois!” That’s, that’s the kind of guilt-by-association that I thought this institution stopped doing 55 years ago when Joe McCarthy was censured.

Cross-posted at Big Government.

Follow me on Twitter: @jasonahart