I guess Byron Tau thought he had to make it look like Big Labor is really, really mad at President Barack Obama and the White House so he could make Obama look like he's a moderate on economic and fiscal issues. Thus his Sunday morning post's headline: "Labor targets Obama over proposed benefit cuts."
Of course, they aren't "cuts" at all, though they are being portrayed as such. All Obama has done, according to information which appears to have been conveniently leaked (perhaps in hopes of killing the idea) to the New York Times ahead of his very late President's Budget, is "propose a new inflation formula that would have the effect of reducing cost-of-living payments for Social Security benefits, though with financial protections for low-income and very old beneficiaries, administration officials said." Despite the weakly descriptive language at the Times, monthly Social Security and other checks would continue to increase under the proposal each year inflation occurs -- just not by as much.
Yesterday, AFL-CIO head Richard Trumka may have broken a modern record for chutzpah exhibited by a labor leader Friday in criticizing management's decision at bankrupt snack maker Hostess Brands to liquidate in the wake of irreconcilable issues with its unions. In a Friday afternoon report at Politico, Kevin Cirilli not only let Trumka get away with it; he also lent the labor leader's contentions additional misleading support.
Trumka blamed the company's apparently imminent demise on "Bain-style Wall Street vultures." He wants everyone to believe that it's greedy, eeeevil Republican private-equity types who are on the brink of putting yet another company out of business. The "clever" framing of that quoted phrase appears to indicate that Trumka already knew better. It seems very likely that Cirilli also knew better. Three hours before the initial time stamp of Cirilli's report, Zero Hedge re-exposed the heavy involvement of D-D-D-Democrats in Hostess's management and advisors originally documented way back in july at CNNMoney by David Kaplan (additional paragraph breaks added by me; bolds are mine throughout this post):
The ABC and NBC morning and evening newscasts on Sunday gave attention to President Obama's attack on the Republican presidential candidates for not scolding a couple of audience members who booed a gay solder asking a question at a recent debate. Monday's "Special Report with Bret Baier" on FNC noted that Obama has his own history of standing by without condemning inappropriate comments at public events.
Sounded to me like Scarborough was the actual target. Perhaps you'll agree.
Here's the easily angered Ed Schultz on his radio show yesterday, lashing out at the so-called "No Labels" organization whose most prominent members include fellow MSNBC pundit and former Republican congressman Joe Scarborough (audio here) --
Leave it to Chris Matthews to shoe-horn in a crass political point against the Tea Party, even in the midst of a heartwarming story like the rescue of the Chilean miners. On Wednesday's Hardball, the MSNBC host, along with his guest Richard Trumka, president of the AFL/CIO, claimed those miners would never have survived if they had followed the "every man for himself" philosophy of the Tea Party crowd.
After Trumka initially recounted his joy at watching the miners being rescued, he quickly veered into his standard rhetoric of the need for more regulation. Matthews then picked up on Trumka's cue to launch into an attack on the Tea Party, as he distorted their limited government view as one of total anarchy that would mean "no more government, no more everything," as seen in the following exchange:
Perhaps it was just a publicity stunt for his impending MSNBC show, but Lawrence O'Donnell went Crazy Larry on Morning Joe today. The lefty host of The Last Word unleashed on an unlikely target: AFL-CIO head Richard Trumka.
What ignited Larry's tirade was Trumka's professed concern for the contract-negotiations plight of professional football players. O'Donnell was outraged that the union honcho was spending his time on the millionaires of the NFL rather than workers such as miners who merit more concern. Sample lines: "Exactly how many minutes of your day do you spend worrying about $15-million football players? Is this the biggest waste of your attention that could possibly come your way? Is it embarrassing for you to have to talk about these guys?"
Chris Matthews, on Thursday's Hardball, invited on AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka to comment on Barack Obama's immigration policy speech, but the segment ended in typical fashion as the two blamed the Republicans for thwarting true reforms with Matthews accusing them of playing the race card as he boiled down their efforts as merely "pandering to angry white people." Matthews also went on to say the GOP was "locking themselves in" to alienating the Latin-American voter as he asked Trumka: "How can the Republican Party kiss them off?" For his part the AFL-CIO president claimed the GOP was also on a mission to turn off the unemployed and senior citizens as he charged: "They're blowing the elderly off."
The following exchange was aired on the July 1 edition of Hardball:
Watch the latest business video at &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;a href=&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;http://video.foxbusiness.com/&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;video.foxbusiness.com&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;NPR and Fox News contributor Juan Williams does not see vitriolic blanket-statements condemning conservatives as "racist," "homophobic," heartless, anti-intellectual, and depraved (to name a few), as divisive or erroneous in the least.
Aside from possibly race and identity-politics, there are few things more toxic and effective than the poisonous doctrine of class warfare - no matter how many times leaders may promise heaven on earth. In his April 7 speech at Harvard University, AFL-CIO leader (and corrupt money-laundering extraordinaire) Richard Trumka did his part to perpetuate fear and hate of conservatives - repeatedly inciting the "righteous anger" the "working class" should have against "servants of economic privilege" and "apostles of hate."
"There are forces in our country that are working hard to convert justifiable anger about an economy that only seems to work for a few of us into racist and homophobic hate and violence directed at our President and heroes like Congressman John Lewis," Trumka said. "Most of all, those forces of hate seek to divide working people -- to turn our anger against each other."
During a question and answer time after a speech at Harvard University, Andrew Breitbart confronted AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka about claims that TEA Party members hurled racial slurs at black members of Congress. Trumka then preceded to claim that he personally saw members of the TEA Party spitting on people and hurling racial slurs:
In late August 2009, Toyota announced that it would close its New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. (NUMMI) factory in Fremont, California at the end of March. The plant had been a joint venture of the company and General Motors until June, when GM withdrew.
Almost six months later, in the wake of a series of Toyota product recalls, and roughly seven weeks before the plant's scheduled shutdown, the UAW and the AFL-CIO on Friday began an attempt to gin up a campaign to convince the company to reopen the plant, and to encourage the public to refuse to buy its products it if doesn't.
Since there is virtually zero chance of the plant remaining open (the company said at the time of the closure that "it will close the plant, regardless of financial incentives offered by the state"), you'll have to excuse me if I question the overall timing, and even if there might be just a wee bit of government and union coordination going on here -- especially given some of the people involved and some of the statements made at a rally outside the plant and at the UAW's nearby union hall yesterday.
In terms of press coverage of yesterday's events, you have to wonder if Brooke Donald of the Associated Press and George Avalos of the Oakland Tribune were actually in the same place. Donald's AP coverage made what was going on appear relatively benign, while Avalos included important details to the contrary.
The Washington Post has published a glowing article about likely incoming AFL-CIO president, Richard Trumka (photo), titled "Trumka Hopes to Mend the AFL-CIO." Writer Chris Cillizza asks in the very first sentence of his Monday Fix story, "Can Richard Trumka reunite the labor movement?"
Cillizza portrays Trumka as genuinely puzzled over the reason for the big split in the labor movement:
With Trumka's election virtually ensured, the central question is whether he can heal the rift that occurred four years ago when the Service Employees International Union and the Teamsters (among others) left the AFL-CIO to form a new labor coalition known as Change to Win.
Trumka, in a recent interview with the Fix, was puzzled over the reasons behind the fracture. "First they said it was because we did too much political action [and] that obviously wasn't the case since everyone spent a lot of time on political action," he said. "Then they said we didn't spent enough time on organizing."
Regardless of the reasons for the split, Trumka says his background prepares him well for the task of reunification. Elected as the head of the United Mine Workers in the early 1980s, Trumka helped unite warring factions within the group and bring it under the AFL-CIO umbrella. "Over the years, I've had a fairly successful record of bringing people together," he said.