Barack Obama and Jimmy Hoffa are like Tweedledum and Tweedledee, Lady Gaga and hype, the "Jersey Shore" cast and hairspray: inseparable. The president can no more disown the Teamsters Union's leader than he can disown his own id.
At a Labor Day rally in Detroit on Monday before Obama spoke, Hoffa stoked anti-tea party hostility by urging his minions to "take these son of a b*tches out." (Botched grammar added that extra boost of street-gang authenticity to the labor lawyer's threat.) The same civility police on the left who decry any references to crosshairs as incitements to violence are now mute about Hoffa's brass-knuckle rhetoric. The Chicagoans in the White House refuse to comment.
Yesterday, at organized labor's traditional Labor Day picnic at Cincinnati's Coney Island amusement park, Vice President Joe Biden gave the keynote address. His key lines, as reported by Carl Weiser at the Cincinnati Enquirer's Politics Extra blog (video is here at MRC-TV): "... this is a different kind of fight. This is a fight for the heart and soul of the labor movement. This is a fight for the existence of organized labor. You are the only ones who can stop the barbarians at the gate! That’s why they want you so bad.”
Biden's statement is in an important aspect more problematic than the more widely (but not sufficiently widely) noted "son of a b*tches" comment made by Teamsters President James Hoffa Jr. in Detroit yesterday at a Labor Day event President Obama keynoted. While Hoffa was threatening and hateful, he was at least in theory speaking only for Big Labor (though Obama has essentially adopted it by not condemning it). In Cincinnati, Biden, who was elected to serve all citizens of the country, personally characterized a large plurality of those he is supposed to be serving with a word which means "savage, primitive, uncivilized persons." Biden's "barbarians"comment has received very light establishment press coverage, as did what appears to have been a singularly unimpressive number of people who actually heard his speech:
New York Times reporter Jackie Calmes spent Labor Day with President Obama in Detroit, who spoke at a heavily union rally featuring speakers from organized labor. One of them, Teamster President Jimmy Hoffa, used just the sort of militant rhetoric against the Tea Party that would certainly have been condemned by the Times if coming from Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, or any other conservative politician or activist. Yet Hoffa was completely absent from Calmes’s Tuesday story, “For Obama, a Familiar Labor Day Theme.”
What Hoffa said: "President Obama this is your army!...Everybody here has got to vote. If we go back and keep the eye on the prize, let's take these son of a bitches out and give America back to America where we belong."
That civility thing which Democrats and the Left thought to be all-important earlier this year is sooooo January. Unless it changes its stripes overnight, the incivility and hostility on display today in Detroit, which hasn't been seen much in establishment press reports to this point, won't appear on the Big 3 Networks' morning shows tomorrow. The American people really need to see what has become of the labor movement, and the type of behavior its head cheerleader in the White House condones.
A year ago (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), yours truly wrote up how Labor Secretary Hilda Solis had produced a Labor Day video which was both a propaganda vehicle glorifying the Obama administration's alleged economic accomplishments and a straw-man attack piece targeting "some who will suggest that, when times are tough, it’s time to get tough on working people."
This year, she's done it again. Working with the thinnest of gruel given the true state of the economy, the video is so pathetic that it's difficult at times to keep from laughing. The political statement I have transcribed after the jump goes from 0:23 to 3:57 of the 4:45 video (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
In late July, in a move with some similarities to what yours truly has noted in Wausau, Wis. this week (here, here, and here), the Allegheny County Labor Council of the AFL-CIO in Pittsburgh declined to allow the Steel City's lone Republican candidate for City Council the ability to march in its Labor Day parade.
The differences between Wausau and Pittsburgh are that: a) being picky about who can march is a Pittsburgh parade tradition; b) the Labor Council dubiously claims that it underwrites the event (the city of Wausau has always paid for theirs); c) The Pittsburgh parade has since morphed into a highly partisan "March for Jobs."
In Wausau, Wisconsin, after being told by the town's mayor that it couldn't exclude GOP politicians from a Labor Day parade unless it reimbursed the city for its out-of-pocket costs (noted Tuesday night at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), the Marathon County Labor Council reversed its earlier decision and will allow them to participate.
On Sunday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that "GOP politicians aren't welcome in this year's Labor Day parade" in Wausau, Wisconsin, because, according to the Marathon County Central Labor Council, which until today apparently thought it was the only sponsor of said parade, "organizers choose not to invite elected officials who have openly attacked worker's rights."
The Labor Council found out today from Wausau Mayor Jim Tipple that they are not the parade's only sponsor, as a video replay of a local station's news segment at Breitbart (HT to NB commenter "DaChew") informs us (transcript follows the jump; bolds are mine throughout):
In his coverage of the Department of Labor's weekly report on unemployment claims this morning, the Associated Press's Christopher Rugaber, after noting how initial claims filed by Communications Workers of America members who are on strike against Verizon (more on that later) inflated this week's and last week's results, wrote that "excluding the work stoppage, layoffs appear to be stabilizing. That should help ease fears that the economy is on the verge of a recession."
The following chart, which excludes those workers' claims during the past two weeks, doesn't exactly give wholehearted support to Rugaber's key contentions:
Well, the extent to which this one gets nationally noticed should be interesting.
Yesterday, at a high school gym in Inglewwood, California, at what was billed as a "Kitchen Table Summit," as seen in a video currently showing at both MRC-TV and Breitbart, Congresswoman Maxine Waters said, "As far as I'm concerned, the Tea Party can go straight to hell." The crowd, reportedly "more than 2,000 people," cheered her statement.
Toledo-area blogger Maggie Thurber recently referred me to a week-old item at the odious, leftism uber alles Toledo Blade. Written by "Blade Staff" (can't say I can blame anyone for not wanting to put their name on this disgrace), it described a violent shooting incident which took place in Lambertville, a town in Monroe County, Michigan just north of the Glass City.
If you knew nothing else about the event and only relied on the Blade's story, you would think that what occurred was some kind of random act of violence:
On the August 15 "Dylan Ratigan Show," MSNBC anchor Dylan Ratigan and the Washington Examiner's Tim Carney sparred over the extent to which Big Labor impacts the political process relative to other industries.
Ratigan, who has made a career out of bemoaning the influence that the energy, banking, health care, defense, telecom, and agriculture sectors exert on politics, omitted organized labor from his exhaustive (exhausting?) list. After Carney pointed out that labor unions collectively direct more campaign contributions to political candidates than any other industry in the country, Ratigan sternly corrected him: "That's not right. You can't invent facts...that's a great distortion of facts to make it look like labor controls the government."
On Friday I noted an AP report about some trouble within the Democratic Party coalition as some labor unions have threatened to boycott the 2012 nominating convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.
I wondered if the major mainstream media outlets would report the news. Unfortunately it appears many haven't. A search of major newspapers published between August 12 and 15 and featuring the words "labor" and "Charlotte" failed to turn up any hits in either the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, or Washington Post.
Wednesday evening, the Associated Press's Sam Hananel, with predictable help from Scott Bauer, tried to do a Bing Crosby imitation ("Unions look for silver lining in Wisconsin recalls") in an attempt to "Accentuate the Positive" in reporting on the results of yesterday's attempts to defeat six Republican Badger State Senators in recall elections.
Democrats, leftists, and public-sector unions needed to win three of the six races to tentatively and perhaps only temporarily regain a State Senate majority. They only got two, putting the GOP's temporary majority at 17-16. Temporary? Oh, Hananel "somehow" forgot to tell readers that two electoral attempts to replace Democratic State Senators are taking place next week, and that their retention of those positions is by no means assured.
On the bottom of page A4 in a teaser that reads "Wis. GOP on the ropes," the Washington Post alerted readers to a story on page A4 about how "Six lawmakers are fighting to survive recall challenges spurred by the governor's efforts to weaken unions."
MSNBC host Ed Schultz wants to be taken seriously as a TV host, but he hasn't yet learned not to promote victory for liberal Democrats before the results are all in. On Tuesday night, even after the polls closed, Schultz was touting a possible Democratic wave. Twice, he proclaimed before his 10 pm show came on that Democrats were "brilliant on the basics" in the Wisconsin ground game -- before they lost four and won two.
At 6 pm, Schultz told Al Sharpton "And if the Democrats are successful tonight, it is really the template on how to get it done. I mean, I think that the progressives in this state, as profound as it is, they have been brilliant on the basics. They have gone door to door. They have talked to their neighbors. They have taken people by the hand to do what they've got to do."
You can already see the apologia coming on this one -- Rachel Maddow never actually said that seven towns in Wisconsin are named Union in homage to labor unions.
Which is true, she didn't. Instead, it could not be more obvious that Maddow implied this, with trademark smarm, and more than once at that.
Maddow did so for the first time on her MSNBC show back in February, during the battle over a proposed state budget, since enacted, that would limit collective bargaining by public workers. This was happening, Maddow said, in a place that has long epitomized labor rights. As evidence, Maddow showed a map of Wisconsin with arrows pointing to seven towns named Union (video after page break) --
I've been trying to resist taking satisfaction in David Cay Johnston's utter humiliation on his first assignment at Reuters. Y'know, there but for the grace of God, etc. I do wish him well, though I question whether the feeling is mutual. More important, I hope he recognizes the need to go into journalistic rehab. My guess is that he doesn't.
The former New York Times journalist/reporter (whatever, David) and yours truly had an extended online dustup four years ago when I demonstrated Johnston's in my view sloppy, foundation-limited, and biased reporting at the Old Gray Lady (graphic of first few paragraphs as originally presented; current link) in an item about what had happened to Americans' incomes between 2000 and 2005 (errors summarized here in "Top Six Errors Committed by David Cay Johnston and/or the New York Times in Their Income Growth Report"; I noted a seventh later).
Let's go through the development and destruction of Johnston's maiden effort at Reuters.
In their Sunday evening coverage of the Minnesota government shutdown, Associated Press reporters Steve Karnowski and Amy Forliti failed to mention any form of the word "tax," failed to mention "spending" in the context of government outlays, and fretted that a prolonged shutdown might cause a "brain drain" from state government.
The failure to bring up taxes is clearly the item's most egregious oversight, since the shutdown is all about taxes, specifically Democratic Governor Mark Dayton's refusal to sign a state budget that doesn't contain tax increases on high income-earners.
Looking for updates on the Connecticut state budget mess earlier this afternoon, I searched the Associated Press's national site on the last name of Democratic Nutmeg State Governor Dannel Malloy, and found nothing recent (graphic saved here for future reference).
But there were two stories originating from the state which the wire service, the nation's de facto news gatekeeper, deemed worthy of national attention. Brace yourself.
"But Cuomo paired his quest for same-sex marriage with efforts to slash state spending and curb the power of public employee unions, suggesting a blend of fiscal prudence and progressivism on social issues could be a new Democratic model in tough economic times," she added.
After citing one "California gay-rights leader" who cheered Cuomo as a "civil rights leader," Fouhy waited until the 12th paragraph of her 19-paragraph story to cite a Democrat who's talking up the freshman New York governor as a prospective 2016 presidential aspirant:
Something astonishing happened in New Jersey last week. A majority Democratic legislature and a Republican governor agreed on a measure that will cut benefits for the state's 750,000 employees and retirees.
Like Wisconsin and other states that are being forced to deal with large budget deficits caused mostly by sweetheart deals struck in more prosperous times between politicians who need votes and labor unions who deliver them, New Jersey couldn't afford to go on like this.
Susan Haigh's report Friday evening on the current status of budget negotiations between Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy and the state's public-sector unions contains two glaring errors which mar the entire enterprise.
Haigh conveniently withheld the fact that the Nutmeg State's legislature has already approved $2.6 billion in new taxes over two years until her report's final paragraph, while giving voice in a much earlier paragraph to an absurd union demand that "big businesses and wealthy taxpayers would be asked to pay more if they agreed to givebacks." Uh, the taxes have already happened, guys. She also dramatically understated the objections of state residents to the over 75(!) new taxes which have been imposed.
Here are excerpts from Haigh's hijinks (bolds are mine):
Given a chance to revise and extend its 9:58 a.m. report (covered this afternoon at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) on the June 13 altercation between Wisconsin Supreme Court Judges David Prosser, Jr. and Ann Walsh Bradley, the Associated Press's 5:29 p.m. version persists in telling its national audience only one side of the story.
Although the fact is that accounts as to who was the aggressor completely differ, the wire service's oddly unbylined story (a 650-word AP item usually has a byline -- it's almost as if someone doesn't want their name on it) will cause its readers, including subscribing news outlets around the country, to believe that the only open question is whether and how hard Prosser choked Bradley. One suspects that AP's "fairness" defense will be the employment of these three words in Paragraph 8: "While accounts differ ..." Sorry guys, that doesn't cut it when the accounts are totally opposite.
Despite the accumulated reportage and commentary available to the Associated Press this morning, the wire service, at 9:58 a.m Eastern Time (saved here for future reference, fair use, and discussion purposes), only reported on one side of the story relating to an altercation that took place between Wisconsin Supreme Court Justices David Prosser, Jr. and Ann Walsh Bradley. In doing so, it ignored the existence of a follow-up story published at least 12 hours earlier at the Milwaukee Journal, the newspaper it cites as the primary source of its original coverage.
In AP-Land, despite contrary assertions, the relatively conservative Prosser is the alleged choking aggressor, and the left-leaning Bradley the supposed innocent victim. Taking all known accounts into consideration, the matter is hardly so clear-cut.
I can't say that I'm up on what every state is doing, but it's hard not to notice contrasts between two trios of states singing decidedly different tunes:
Wisconsin, Ohio and New Jersey, three states with recently elected conservative Republican governors, have either put their budgets to bed, or are on the verge of doing so, by cutting costs and not raising taxes.
Connecticut, Minnesota, and California, three states with recently elected liberal governors who are Democrats, are on the verge of a shutdown, serious layoffs, or issuing IOUs. All three governors have enacted or want tax increases.
It took well over a year, but New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has gotten his way.
Covering the story for the New York Times, Richard Perez-Pena seemed to alternate between shock and "Awww." His biggest journalistic distortion was understating the degree to which Christie needed -- and got -- Democratic Party help to pass legislation which, in Pena's words, "will sharply increase what state and local workers must contribute for their health insurance and pensions, suspend cost-of-living increases to retirees pension checks, raise retirement ages and curb the unions’ contract bargaining rights."
The shock and "Awww" at the Times extends to the difference between the item's browser window title ("N.J. Legislature Moves to Cut Benefits for Public Workers") and the article title, which readers will see after the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Gosh, I would have thought that someone in Wisconsin's or America's labor movement would have caught Scott Bauer's clear June 15 understatement of the net pay hit many unionized public sector workers in the Badger State will be taking as a result of 2011 Wisconsin Act 10, commonly known as the "Budget Repair Bill," once the law's provisions become effective on July 1. That error is in the following sentence from Bauer's report ("New lawsuit filed against Wisconsin union law"):
The law also requires workers to pay 12 percent of their health insurance costs and 5.8 percent of their pension costs, which amount to an 8 percent pay cut on average.
The AP reporter apparently spent time which should have gone towards getting the facts right to ensuring, as he did in a June 14 story (covered at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), that the law was described as "polarizing" as often as possible. Bauer's frequent use of the P-word also seemingly distracted union supporters who read or heard portions of Bauer's report from noticing the error I will explain shortly.
As has been the case virtually from the beginning, the Associated Press's Scott Bauer has been clearly unhappy with 2011 Wisconsin Act 10, commonly known even to the Wisconsin Supreme Court as the "Budget Repair Bill." Today, the court ruled that the law as enacted by the Badger State's legislature and signed by Governor Scott Walker can go into effect on July 1.
Looking back at what's available of Bauer's body of work on the matter during the past four months, his consistent mischaracterization of the bill's contents, saying that it would "eliminate collective bargaining" when it doesn't (shown here and here), is truly striking. What's even more striking (pun intended) is how he and his employer described the law in the report's headline and first sentence in at least one early version this evening: