masthead-highres

Friday, April 09, 2010

Richard Trumka: How Convenient

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Three weeks after the fact, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka suddenly announced he personally witnessed Tea Party activists call Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), a black Congressman, the "n-word" on Capitol Hill March 20.

Trumka never said a word about what he allegedly witnessed until Andrew Breitbart asked him in a public forum Q&A to help investigate union thugs who Breitbart saw attacking tea partiers in Searchlight, Nevada. Then, suddenly, Trumka claimed he personally heard Lewis get called the "n-word" and watched Congressmen (plural) get spat upon. And then Trumka changed the subject and called upon someone else.

Trumka's allegation, while a convenient way for him to duck Breitbart's question about investigating union violence, doesn't have the ring of credibility. Why did he keep silent until now? Was he walking with Lewis that day? If not, was he standing among the thousands of Tea Party protesters (seems unlikely, though possible). And who are these up-to-now silent Congressmen Trumka saw get spat upon, now that even Rep. Emanuel "Say It Not Spray It" Cleaver has backed away from his allegation that a Tea Party protester intentionally spat on him? Why have these Members of Congress remained silent? How is it that the nationally-famous Trumka was in a position to witness both the slurs and multiple episodes of spitting, when no one other witness to either have come forward (despite Andrew Breitbart's $100,000 reward)?

How convenient it is that Trumka made this allegation only when confronted by a question about yet another episode of union violence.

I strongly suspect the man's lying.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:06 AM

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Michigan Forces Business Owners Into Unions

Yet another appalling scam by organized labor.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:02 PM

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Cut Off Health Care to ObamaCare Opponents, Says Bitter Old NPR Guy

Garrison Keiller fantasizes about cutting off ObamaCare opponents' access to the health care system.

Thanks, Keiller, for another reminder of why government-run health care really s---ks, because in those systems, bitter old fogeys like yourself really can cut off the health care access of people who disagree with them, shocking as it may seem.

Recall what Britain's National Health Service did to senior citizen Edward Atkinson, who had the temerity to mail pro-life literature to a government hospital that aborts young Britons.

If you want hospital administrators deciding they don't want to treat you based on your public policy or political views, then by all means, support government-run health care. Just be sure you really mean it, because once you get it, government-run health care is notoriously difficult to get rid of (you see, the employees unionize, and give campaign contributions, and before you can say 'why can't I have cancer drugs?,' you find the politicians are willing to let them let you die).

P.S. To Mr. Keiller: I don't recall you ever supplying any of my health care, so you have scant business talking about cutting it off. I, on the other hand, have been forced against my will to help pay for NPR...

P.P.S. If readers of this blog haven't yet read our new book, Shattered Lives; 100 Victims of Government Health Care, what on earth are you waiting for? If you are willing to read it on your computer you can downloaded a free PDF of the full book here. That's free, as in no money, no catch. But if you hate reading a computer screen, or want to give a copy of the book to someone who doesn't use computers, you are welcome to purchase a paper copy of Shattered Lives on Amazon.com for $14.95.


Written by Amy Ridenour. E-mail comments to [email protected]. | Subscribe to this blog's feed. | Follow the National Center for Public Policy Research on Twitter. | Download our book Shattered Lives: 100 Victims of Government Health Care.

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 7:33 AM

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Outrage of the Day: ObamaCare Would Tax Some Workers So Others Could Retire Early

James Sherk of the Heritage Foundation highlights once again a genuine travesty included in the President's health care reform proposal, a $10 billion bailout of labor unions.

Sherk writes, in part:
...The most obvious benefit President Obama's health care plan provides to organized labor is a $10 billion taxpayer bailout for underfunded retiree health benefit plans. Many unions negotiate benefit packages that allow workers to retire early and collect health benefits until they qualify for Medicare. Many of these plans they are underfunded because unions mismanaged them.

The healthcare legislation transfers $10 billion to these accounts, in the form of a reinsurance program that pays most of the cost of claims for workers in these plans. Like the GM and Chrysler bailouts, the health care legislation requires all taxpayers -- including low income workers without retirement plans--to pay for benefits for already well-compensated union workers...
To recap:

1) The bailout is intended not for poor or disabled people, but people with jobs who would like to retire before reaching age 65;

2) The bailout would be paid for by taxpayers, most of whom will not enjoy the leisure and other benefits of retiring before 65. Many will not be able to retire even at 65;

3) The unions had funds available to pay for these benefits, but they mismanaged them.

Pathetic.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:49 PM

Monday, September 07, 2009

Next Year, Cancel Labor Day

President Obama said today that we all owe something to unions.

We certainly do: A big (figurative) punch in the nose, as a bigger job killing machine has never been invented.

Speaking of labor unions, I wish they (and the president) would stop claiming unions are responsible for the 40-hour work week. Prosperity and technological innovation, not lobbying or striking, is what made the 40-hour work week possible. Excluding businesses that accept bailouts, the only businesses that can offer workers 40-hour work weeks are the ones that can afford to. Lobbying and/or striking doesn't make that possible.

Besides, who has a 40-hour work week? Relatively few entrepreneurs and small business owners, I bet.

I suggest we cancel the day meant to honor people who only work 40 hours a week and instead create one to honor entrepreneurs and small business owners. The day could be spent penning thank-you letters to the people who make our jobs possible in the first place.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:44 PM

Saturday, September 05, 2009

What's Happening Now

Government health care strikes again: 30 a day died in South Africa.

High taxes hurt soccer.

Scotland isn't the only nation releasing terrorists.

If government health care doesn't cure you, Joe Biden will claim it did.

Will Charlie Rangel face criminal charges?

Tom Blumer: "How crazy is it that Ford has to 'negotiate' a new contract with the United Auto Workers union, even though the union has ownership interests in two of its principal competitors...?

A competency question.

Jane Chastain: Cash for Clunkers not good for the environment.

Should government be able to harvest your organs without obtaining consent?


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:12 AM

Sunday, August 30, 2009

What's Happening Now

What would John Jay do?

Obama and Kennedy "weren't that close." We could tell from Obama's eulogy.

Laws covering certain major campaign supporters will not be enforced, Obama Labor Department says. Equal justice under law is "the animating ideal of our democracy," says Obama. We aren't feeling animated today.

Ed Morrissey, optimist: "We've spent enough on the UAW, thank you very much." Realist: We'll never stop paying for the UAW.

Moe Lane/RedState: "Sometimes, I miss Tony Blair." Me, too, but I suspect it's because we live here.

Ed Driscoll: "It can't happen here." Or it can.

Nice enough to make you want to be a cave dweller.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:02 AM

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

FreedomWorks is Apologizing to the Left

Warning: You won't want to read this apology if you want to keep offensive words out of your life.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:32 PM

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

What's Happening Now

If you like Fanny Mae, you'll love Fanny Med.

What is "de-developing" and why does President Obama's science advisor want to do it to the United States?

Vote for the most ridiculous lawsuit of the month. (I voted for the Katy Perry lawsuit; but was tempted by the Jose Canseco lawsuit.)

California's yearly pension fund contribution rose from $321 million to $7.3 billion in 8 years. The state pays over 5,000 people more than $100,000 annually in pensions.

Parody: "Nothing irritates me more than the pitter-patter of little carbon footprints."

Obama, Democrat leadership blame the GOP for good done by Dem Blue Dogs in stopping health care bill. Accidental compliment?


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:06 PM

Monday, June 29, 2009

What Killed GM













In this CNBC interview, Peter Flaherty of the National Legal and Policy Center argues that government regulation killed GM.

Peter includes the role of government-backed unions in his analysis:
...[GM's management's] biggest shortcoming... was the failure to take on the unions. No executive in Detroit would dare take on the unions or build a non-union plant in a southern state. Now, there is a reason for that... That’s because of the government, because of the power of the United Auto Workers on our government. If one of them tried, they would have been run out of town. And now we have the ultimate manifestation of it where the UAW has an equity stake in the company and I predict the results are just going to be worse and worse.
Dittos to Peter on that one.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:04 AM

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

In London...

...it's the 1970s once again.: ""

It's a shame so many innocent commuters and businesses are going to be hurt by the London Underground (subway) strike.

On a more positive note, perhaps the strike will help bring the world another Margaret Thatcher.

Hat tip: Drudge Report.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 7:04 AM

Thursday, May 07, 2009

George McGovern and George Meany Are Right

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, former Senator George McGovern comes out against the mandatory arbitration provisions in the card check bill.

He says, "George Meany, president of the AFL-CIO for nearly 30 years before retiring in 1979, had it right in condemning mandatory arbitration as 'an abrogation of freedom.'"

You know the liberals in power are way, way out there when George McGovern quotes George Meany to criticize them.

Hat tip: Patrick Ruffini on Twitter.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 8:37 AM

Liberalism Has Consequences

Liberal Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) has a problem with the House of Representatives' cafeteria.

The prices are going up too fast, she says.

Turns out that's because, when the liberals took over, they mandated "all-natural foods" and "a union staff."

Reality bites.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:05 AM

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Some People Never Learn

You'd think, having played a not inconsiderable role in the attempted (and still expected) homicide of one or more U.S. domestic automakers, the U.S. labor movement would be reflective and at least a little bit chastened.

But no.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:17 PM

Monday, April 27, 2009

Obama Reverses Labor Union Transparency Rules

The Obama Administration has just reversed rules requiring labor unions to make public certain financial and compensation arrangements.

The rules requiring disclosure had been adopted to help root out and prevent corruption and conflicts of interest.

In effect, the Administration said filing the forms was just too much of a bother for the unions, which, coincidentally, were a major backer of Obama's election.

No word on whether the Administration plans to reverse rules requiring taxpayers to file the onerous 1040 Form, the filing of which is regarded as a great bother.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 8:22 AM

Friday, April 24, 2009

A Help to Workers

In thinking about card check, and how the unions don't want workers to be able to vote on whether their workplaces are unionized, it occurs to me that, when conservatives once again are in power, a law should be passed mandating that unions hold a secret-ballot renewal election every year, to permit workers continual say over the unionization, or lack thereof, of their workplace.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:32 PM

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

A Union Organizer Explains Card Check

This video on the ShopFloor.org website is worth watching if you have any interest whatsoever in card check, union organizing, etc.

In under three minutes, you get a better idea for why organized labor wants card check. There's more to it than simply intimidating workers into signing the cards.



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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 6:44 AM

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Underground Life

This could prove interesting.

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 5:32 PM

Monday, March 23, 2009

Outrage of the Day: Turncoat Retailers Shop Card Check Compromise

As Mike Allen reports in this Politico article from Sunday night, three large retailers, Starbucks, Costco and Whole Food, are shopping around a so-called compromise on "card check" legislation, even though the position of business -- that workers should be allowed to vote on whether their own workplace should be unionized -- seems to hold the winning hand in the U.S. Senate.

(For those who haven't followed the issue, the card check bill, formally and Orwellianly known as the Employee Free Choice Act, would allow labor unions to unionize workplaces without first winning a secret-ballot vote of the workers involved.)

Opponents of the legislation, which is backed by Big Labor (naturally!), the Obama Administration and the Democratic Party's Congressional leadership, say the bill does not now have the sixty votes it needs to pass the Senate.

As Mike Allen reported:
Rhonda Bentz, on behalf of the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, which is working to defeat the measure, said: "Those three companies do not represent the business community’s position. Unions don't have 60 votes in the Senate [for the measure] … A compromise such as this is at best seriously misguided or at worst akin to snatching defeat out of the hands of victory."
I agree.

On a related issue, no word yet on whether President Obama will propose legislation to permit him to be re-elected if he can get 50 percent-plus-one of registered voters to call a secret phone number that will be monitored privately by the Democratic National Committee.

Hat tip: Carter Wood and Keith Smith at Shopfloor.org.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 6:14 AM

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Union Forms Circle, Fires Inward

Pretty funny, but not at all surprising.

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:27 AM

Monday, March 09, 2009

Outrage of the Day: Rep. George Miller's "Dirty Money"

Rep. George Miller (D-CA) has long been known for carrying water for labor unions. Now Kevin Mooney of the D.C. Examiner asks if he's carrying dirty union money around, too:
"WHO: Rep. George Miller, D-CA, chief House sponsor, Employee Free Choice Act (aka Card Check).

WHAT: Miller received the following dirty money: Communication Workers of America (PAC) $10,000 in 2008 cycle; $10,000 in 2006 cycle; Boilermakers Union (PAC) $10,000 in 2008; $6,500 in 2006. American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) $2,500 in 2008; $1,500 in 2006. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) $10,000 in 2008; $10,000 in 2006.

WHY IT'S DIRTY: At least eight members of these four unions have been convicted since 2001 of felonies ranging from embezzlement, falsifying official reports to government, mail fraud and conspiracy."

-Kevin Mooney, "Dirty Money: Rep. George Miller," D.C. Examiner, March 9, 2009
Mooney reports that Miller is ignoring media inquiries on the matter.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 8:10 AM

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Did Secretary of Labor Nominee Rep. Hilda Solis Break Multiple House Rules?

Hans A. von Spakovsky, writing for the Weekly Standard, raises uncomfortable questions for Secretary of Labor nominee Rep. Hilda Solis.

Hat tip: Rory Cooper in The Foundry.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:47 AM

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Should Earmarks be Spent on Lobbying? Should Lobbyists Represent Congressmen?

Should earmarks paid for with public funds be spent promoting projects under consideration by Congress?

Is it OK for a lobbyist to represent a Congressman at a meeting about one of the Congressman's bills?

As far as I know, these things as legal, but are they proper?

Husband David has an op-ed on TownHall today that examines at a case in which both seem to have happened.

At issue is the creation of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area, which will run from Gettysburg, PA to Charlottesville, VA, unless President Bush vetoes the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008 (S. 2739), which is now on the President's desk.

Heritage areas are National Park Service preservation zones in which environmentalists, federal officials and local activists influence local land-use decisions, frequently in ways that restrict the rights of private property owners and make property ownership more difficult for those of low or moderate income.

The Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008 is the same legislation that would allow taxpayer money to be spent studying places "that are significant to the life of Cesar E. Chavez." Chavez was, of course, the ultra-militant leader of the United Farm Workers and a man who, as Project 21's Joe Hicks has said in Congressional testimony, "did or said little to reign in the violence" against workers by union organizers. Members of Congress who find this form of domestic terrorism worthy of honor are trying to use tax funds in an effort to make Chavez seem like another Martin Luther King, Jr.

As Joe Hicks pointed out on May 5, "To say the jury is still out on the legacy of Cesar Chavez is an understatement. Unlike other individuals who have been honored in the manner suggested by this earmark, the politics behind and the consequences of Chavez's activism remain dubious."

Hicks, once a member of the Communist Party USA, trained UFW members in "revolutionary theory" and marched arm-in-arm with Jesse Jackson at Cesar Chavez's funeral in 1993.

If you have an opinion on using earmarks to promote legislative proposals, Congressmen being represented by lobbyists, national heritage areas or even the use of tax dollars to honor dubious labor union organizing techniques, drop by TownHall.com to learn more and leave your views.

Addendum, May 8: The White House has signaled its comfort with the above, signing the bill into law today. The full text of the White House statement:
On Thursday, May 8, 2008, the President signed into law:

S. 2457, which authorizes the Mashantucket Pequot (Western) Tribe to lease certain land to entities for up to 75 years, rather than 25 years as under current law,

S. 2739, the "Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008," which designates the 106,000-acre Wild Sky Wilderness in Washington State; designates three new National Heritage Areas; expands several national parks; authorizes funding for specified water projects; modifies two existing energy programs; applies U.S. immigration law to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands; and grants the Commonwealth a non-voting delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives.
I can't say I'm surprised President Bush signed this, if only because he's signed a lot of bills that appear to be contrary to a limited government philosophy, and it is his Administration's National Park Service that worked in favor of the legislation and failed to fully comply with a Freedom of Information Act request regarding its activities (not that I am under any illusion that National Park Service officials thought they were doing the bidding of the man the voters elected when they did these things). When it comes to expanding government's size, "just say no" has not been the hallmark of this Administration or its agencies.

On a more positive note, however, it's almost a miracle the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area was not adopted two years ago. When proponents of legislative proposals get a million bucks worth of help in tax money from Congress before they are even incorporated, its a pretty clear sign they've got Congressional support and a leg-up over those of us who rely on voluntary donations to pay our bills. Before we started this fight to remind Congress that federalism and the Fifth Amendment right to private property are worth defending, national heritage areas tended to sail right through Congress. Even genuinely conservative Members hadn't stopped to think about the contradiction between their beliefs and what national heritage areas do and are. Now opposition to them is the new, though for all that, fairly strong conservative position on Capitol Hill. We may not have been able to stop the wasteful (and far worse) behavior surrounding the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area, but we've most likely slowed the creation of more of these elitist boondoggles.

Those interested in more information about national heritage areas -- as this particular policy battle is far from over -- might find the following resources helpful:
"The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area: An Example of How Pork-Barrel Politics Can Threaten Local Rule and Property Rights," by Peyton Knight for the National Center for Public Policy Research, available here

"Another Federal Assault on Property Rights: The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area Act," by Ron Utt for the Heritage Foundation, available here (this is the paper in which Dr. Utt revealed that the private organizers of this heritage area have "acknowledged that they are contemplating additional wealth-enhancing opportunities through the creation of a privately owned, for-profit real estate investment trust (REIT) to acquire properties in the heritage area and presumably develop them for the benefit of the REIT's shareholders...")

To read a coalition letter signed by over 110 organizations, elected officials and concerned citizens about heritage areas sent to Congress in September 2007, go here (pdf)

For a short handout-style document on heritage areas, "What People Are Saying about National Heritage Areas," suitable for distribution at public meetings, go here (pdf)
Or, simply go to the National Center for Public Policy Research's search page and type in "national heritage areas" -- we've got 80 documents so far, and, no doubt, more to come.

Thanks to all who joined us in this effort. While supporters of limited government had a setback today, because of our work together on the Journey Through Hallowed Ground, our support for the next battle federalism and property rights battle is much deeper. I'm confident that victories lie ahead.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:41 PM

Friday, September 07, 2007

Being PC More Important Than Welfare of Children

This pathetic story shows what happens when people -- in this case, local government employees in Britain -- place a higher priority on being politically correct than being morally right.

I hope the people who put their fear of being thought politically-incorrect over the welfare of children are, at the very least, fired, though in a big-government strong-public union country like modern Britain, I suppose it is unlikely. Governments everywhere take care of themselves first, and never more so than when public employees are permitted to unionize.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:27 AM

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Congress Covering Up Crime?

Not their own -- donors'.

As the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports, nearly 800 convictions in si years -- a staggering number -- have occurred as a result of audits and investigations of labor unions conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Labor-Management Standards. So how does the new Congress respond? By cutting its $47.7 million budget!

Normally, I love it when federal budgets are cut, but the Congressional Democrat majority doesn't want to cut the Labor Department's budget overall -- just 20 percent of the part of it that conducts audits on labor unions, which happen to support the Democratic Party.

As Mark Mix notes in this August 6 Washington Times op-ed, Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) had the nerve to claim that auditing labor unions to make sure they keep clean books is "going after... people who are trying to earn a living."

Not at all, Rep. Kennedy. The workers who are "contributing" (often under force of law) to labor unions are not harmed by the audits, but by the loss of their money. The very least labor unions, and those who accept contributions from labor unions, could do is cooperate in the detection and prevention of wrongdoing.

Kennedy is on the side of the criminals on this one.

As Mark Mix notes, even at the present, pre-cut level of funding, the Office of Labor-Management Standards only has the resources to audit 4.6 percent of the unions that file federal disclosure forms. That's less than one-in-twenty. 775 convictions and counting.

It's clear what labor union officials are afraid of, but why should we stand for a Congress that rushes to their aid?

Hat tip: Carter Wood at the NAM blog.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 6:18 PM

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Joe Hicks Testifies About Cesar Chavez


Project 21's Joe Hicks testified today before the House Natural Resources Committee's Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands about H.R. 359, "The Cesar Estrada Chavez Study Act," introduced by Representative Hilda Solis (D-CA).

Rep. Solis apparently wasn't too thrilled. She waved a copy of Project 21's press release about, calling it "inflammatory," and saying she was going to enter it into the Congressional Record.

All I can say about that is: "Thanks!"

I also think it is funny that someone who wants to honor Cesar Chavez thinks a mere press release is "inflammatory." Perhaps Rep. Solis is too young to remember the Sixties?

I wonder if the liberal politicians who so ardently support honoring Cesar Chavez now are aware of Chavez's views on illegal immigration? As Joe recounts in his testimony (reprinted below), Chavez didn't quite follow the modern liberal line.
Testimony of Joe R. Hicks
U.S. House of Representatives
Committee on Natural Resources
Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands


March 29, 2007

I thank you for this opportunity to testify in opposition to H.R. 359. I do not think that the proposed special resource study of sites associated with the Life of Cesar Chavez would be a wise use of public funds. Unlike other Americans honored in such a manner, there has normally been a consensus on the contributions of such persons among the American people. No such consensus exists regarding the life and legacy of Cesar Chavez. In fact, no such consensus on Chavez's contributions exists even among farm workers, the population it is claimed that he and the United Farm Workers (UFW) represented.

I am not before you to argue that Chavez accomplished nothing, or that he is not a person of significance. He clearly is. However, what remains disputable is whether or not his work and his beliefs are worthy of recognition by all Americans.

The Bill under discussion today appears to presume this to be the case, but may in fact be based on biased information. The Bill also appears at a time when many supporters of Chavez are agitating for a national holiday in his honor. In this light, H.R. 359 may be simply a way to pave the road for such a national holiday.

Honoring national figures in this way is something that should be carefully considered. The obvious comparison is with the decision to make the birthday of Martin Luther King a national holiday. This was done after contentious national debate about the character and contributions of Dr. King. Questions were raised about King's personal life and the politics of some of his close aides. King's legacy survived this test because there was a consensus that King's life-long commitment to nonviolence and equal opportunity was unassailable. Whenever violence broke out at demonstrations he presided over, Dr. King rebuked transgressors to his non-violent stance in the strongest of terms - as he did of Black Power radicals who challenged his vision of a color-neutral society.

This, however, must be compared and contrasted with how Cesar Chavez dealt with violence as his UFW organizers often made use of strong-arm tactics against field workers in California's Central and Coachella Valleys. One field organizer said he remembers seeing "loyal Chavez followers bash the heads of reluctant field laborers." He said the organizers "visited the fields, intimidating peasants with threats and violence." Despite the public persona as a man of peace and nonviolence, Chavez did or said little to reign in the violence, which may explain why it's difficult to find farm workers who have anything good to say about him or the UFW. In fact, labor leaders who lead non-UFW farm worker associations hotly dispute the notion that Chavez or the UFW ever represented their views and challenge what they see as "mythology" surrounding Chavez.

Oddly, as Chavez has become an iconic figure among elements of the nations left activists, "immigrant's rights" organizers, and purveyors of identity politics, his views on illegal immigration are also in dispute. Despite his hero status among activists and those advocating on behalf of La Raza, Chavez often complained that the Immigration & Naturalization Service (INS) wasn't tough enough.

As Ruben Navarrette Jr. reported in the Arizona Republic: "Cesar Chavez, a labor leader intent on protecting union membership, was as effective a surrogate for the INS as ever existed. Indeed, Chavez and the United Farm Workers he headed routinely reported, to the INS, for deportation, suspected illegal immigrant workers who served as strike breakers or refused to unionize."

In fact, Chavez led a march in 1969 from the Coachella and Imperial Valleys to the Mexican border to underscore his position of opposition to undocumented labor.

I must be clear that I am not opposed to private efforts to commemorate or honor the life of Cesar Chavez. Privately-funded museums, or other such forms of recognition, would not be opposed by the vast majority of the American people. However, in this case, the record is too murky, the politics too contentious, the life contributions too shrouded in mythology to justify expending scarce public funds to study national sites associated with Chavez's life.

I come before you as someone intimately familiar with the organizing work and the tactics of the UFW and its leader Cesar Chavez. During the 1970s, the height of the UFW's efforts to organize field workers throughout the Southwest, I was a member of this nation's leftist political forces. In 1976, I spent time in the then-Soviet Union and was a member of the Communist party USA. I was in the company of Chavez on several occasions, interacted with his organizers on a routine basis, trained UFW activists in my "revolutionary theory" classes, and saw Chavez's organizers as simply another arm of our movement to radicalize and overthrow the existing political order in our nation.

While still a leftist in 1993, I marched arm-in-arm with the Reverend Jesse Jackson at the funeral of Chavez in Delano, California. At the well-attended event, I remembered thinking that, while Chavez was laid to rest and eulogized as a man of peace and nonviolence, almost none of his followers - those that I had known and worked with - has eschewed the use of violence against those who opposed them and their tactics. It was also clear to me that they believed that Chavez quietly approved of their heavy-handed tactics - in the main employed against impoverished agricultural field workers.

I don't say this to infer that Chavez was himself a violent man or ideologically a communist, but raise this only as additional context for a labor leader that presided over an organization that harbored deep hostility and resentment about the American nation.

All sides of the debate regarding the Cesar Estrada Chavez Study Act must be considered. It is critical that this Committee not be swayed by those arguing for some larger recognition of Cesar Chavez based on grounds of ethnic pride or that he be honored because of the growing Latino population nor the growing political clout of this nation's diverse Hispanic communities.

When Chavez's life is examined in closer detail, a darker side emerges. Free from the leftist prism through which I viewed the world for all-too-many years, I see his contributions in a far more clear and balanced way. How should the life of Cesar Chavez and the UFW be viewed by the American people? Is there a settled opinion on this? I argue that there is not. Therefore, I come today to state my opposition to the special resource study. Thank you.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 6:54 PM

Project 21's Joe Hicks to Tell Congress: UFW's Cesar Chavez Should Not Be Honored with Public Funds

Joe R. Hicks, a Project 21 member who marched arm-in-arm with Jesse Jackson at Cesar Chavez's funeral in 1993, will testify before Congress Thursday morning in opposition to spending public funds honoring the late United Farm Workers union organizer.

Hicks was asked to testify about Chavez as part of congressional consideration of H.R. 359, "The Cesar Estrada Chavez Study Act," introduced by Representative Hilda Solis (D-CA). The bill would authorize a "special resource study of sites associated with the life of Cesar Estrada Chavez and the farm labor movement" that could lead to inclusion of sites in the American Southwest deemed important in Chavez's life in the National Register of Historic Places or even become honored national landmarks similar to sites related to the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In testimony before the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, Hicks will compare Chavez to Dr. King. Hicks will note that a "consensus that King's life-long commitment to nonviolence and equal opportunity was unassailable" helped lead to the honor that is bestowed on locations such as the Lorraine Motel, the Selma-to-Montgomery National Historic Trail and the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site, among other places.

"This," charges Hicks, "must be compared and contrasted with how Cesar Chavez dealt with violence as his UFW organizers often made use of strong-arm tactics against field workers in California's Central and Coachella Valleys. One field organizer said he remembers seeing 'loyal Chavez followers bash the heads of reluctant field laborers.' He said the organizers 'visited the fields, intimidating peasants with threats and violence.' Despite the public persona as a man of peace and nonviolence, Chavez did or said little to reign in the violence, which may explain why it's difficult to find farm workers who have anything good to say about him or the UFW. In fact, labor leaders who lead non-UFW farm worker associations hotly dispute the notion that Chavez or the UFW ever represented their views and challenge what they see as 'mythology' surrounding Chavez."

Hicks will appear before Congress as someone intimately familiar with the organizing work and the tactics of the UFW and its leader, Cesar Chavez. During the 1970s, the height of the UFW's efforts to organize field workers throughout the Southwest, Hicks was left-wing political activist. In 1976, Hicks spent time in the then-Soviet Union and was a member of the Communist Party USA. Hicks was in the company of Chavez on several occasions, interacted with his organizers on a routine basis and trained UFW activists in "revolutionary theory" classes.

Hicks has worked on civil rights issues at the local and national level for over 30 years. In addition to his work with Project 21, Hicks is currently the vice president of Community Advocates, Inc. (CAI) in Los Angeles. CAI "is committed to taking the quest for human and civil rights beyond the fight against intolerance and discrimination" through fostering common ground among races, ethnicities and religions. Prior to CAI, Hicks served as executive director of the Greater Los Angeles chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the California State Bar's Board of Governors.

"It is a great honor for me to be able to address our national lawmakers on this important issue. How best to expend public funds, and on what issues, is something of great concern to the voting public," said Hicks.

The House Natural Resources Committee's Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands will hold the hearing in room 1334 of the Longworth House Office Building at 10:00 am on Thursday, March 29.

Project 21's press release is here.

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:04 AM

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