Health Care – Cap And Tax – And More

Posted on Fri 06/26/2009 by

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From The Patriot Post Fri Digest – Vol. 09 No. 25

THE FOUNDATION

“Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition.” –Thomas Jefferson

GOVERNMENT & POLITICS

But Polls Say People Want Government Health Care…

"You just don't get it, do you, America?"

"You just don't get it, do you, America?"

The Leftmedia were in overdrive this week backing up their man Barack Obama on the issue of government health care. Before ABC even had the chance to broadcast a prime-time infomercial from the White House, The New York Times released a poll purporting to show that “Americans overwhelmingly support” health care changes, including that “most Americans would be willing to pay higher taxes so everyone could have health insurance and that they said the government could do a better job of holding down health-care costs than the private sector.” Try not to spew coffee on your keyboard. In the end, “72 percent of those questioned supported a government-administered insurance plan.”

As we have noted before, this is nothing more than pollaganda — the use of polling to drive public opinion — especially when, in this case, the poll is stacked two to one with Obama voters. ABC employed plain old propaganda in its special newscast from the White House Wednesday — “Prescription for America.” Reporter David Wright opened the broadcast by saying, “Expectations are low, but the need is obvious.” And given that ABC was reporting on our “broken system,” it was not surprising that, when asked, all 164 handpicked audience members agreed that “change” is needed. Depends on the meaning of change… Then, for 45 minutes, President Obama took a break from running the banks and automakers to explain to Americans why he should run health care too. No wonder the newscast was dead last in the ratings.

Besides the overarching problem that any government plan is unconstitutional, details of the plan remain sketchy — a cause for alarm. In fact, House Democrats released another plan just days ago. Notably, the House plan includes a government-run option that will “compete” with private insurers and use Medicare rates for paying health care providers. The plan also calls for stricter regulations for employers, including a mandate that they must either provide coverage or pay a tax of 8 percent of their payroll. However, small businesses would be exempt, and those who do provide coverage would receive tax credits.

Naturally, as details shift, so does the estimated cost. Most estimates are still north of $1 trillion over 10 years, though paying for the plan is not yet part of the plan.

One of Obama’s key claims is that “you can keep your plan if you want to.” What he means is that the government won’t specifically mandate that anyone lose coverage, but the effect of his policies would be to cause many individuals to lose their benefits. America’s Health Insurance Plans, the nation’s largest trade group for health insurers, warned of “devastating consequences” from a government plan. In a letter to Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), the lead author of the health care bill, the group said that a public health insurance option “would dismantle employer-based coverage, significantly increase costs for those who remain in private coverage, and add additional liabilities to the federal budget.” This is painfully obvious to us, but the power brokers in DC aren’t interested in a market-based approach.

In fact, though Democrats claim that the government would compete on a “level playing field” with private insurers, Obama says his plan “is an important tool to discipline insurance companies.” As Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute says, “The government can subsidize its plan with tax revenue from other taxpayers. The government can enact regulations that favor its plan over other private insurers.”

Indeed, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) quipped, “Having the government compete against the private sector is kind of like my seven-year-old daughter’s lemonade stand competing against McDonalds.”

This Week’s ‘Alpha Jackass’ Award

“Why would [a government plan] drive private insurance out of business? If private insurers say that the marketplace provides the best quality health care; if they tell us that they’re offering a good deal, then why is it that the government, which they say can’t run anything, suddenly is going to drive them out of business? That’s not logical.” –President Barack Obama

Cap and Tax Looms Large

In some measure, the present health care debate is a smokescreen for the upcoming cap and trade vote. Better named “cap and tax,” the bill is headed to the House floor for a vote Friday thanks to a last-minute deal struck between Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN). Peterson was opposed to the bill’s provision allowing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to monitor its complex carbon offset and land use provisions. With Peterson’s sway over the large farm-state voting block, Waxman was willing to allow the Department of Agriculture to hold that power so that Peterson could deliver the necessary votes.

Still, passage is not a foregone conclusion. Near universal Republican opposition combined with regional pockets of Democrats fearful of high energy costs will make this vote an interesting one.

On the cost of energy, The Wall Street Journal writes, “The whole point of cap and trade is to hike the price of electricity and gas so that Americans will use less. These higher prices will show up not just in electricity bills or at the gas station but in every manufactured good, from food to cars. Consumers will cut back on spending, which in turn will cut back on production, which results in fewer jobs created or higher unemployment.” Even billionaire Democrat donor Warren Buffet acknowledged that cap and tax is a “huge tax … and a fairly regressive tax.” And the Journal concludes, “Americans should know that those Members who vote for this climate bill are voting for what is likely to be the biggest tax in American history. Even Democrats can’t repeal that reality.”

News From the Swamp: The Perfect Stimulus Package

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) has released a report detailing 100 stimulus projects he defined as wasteful, including bike paths that could have been paid for with state money and $300 road signs that do nothing more than detail the amount of stimulus money spent on particular road projects. The U.S. Conference of Mayors also issued its own report stating that the nation’s major metropolitan centers, which account for 73 percent of the GDP and 63 percent of the population, are receiving less than 50 percent of the transportation money.

In spite of the growing chorus of disgruntled recipients and the mounting evidence of wasteful spending, the administration is supremely confident in its work. The White House rejected every item on Coburn’s list, stating that the administration has found no problems with any of the 20,000 projects that have been approved so far. And we’re supposed to rest easy with that statement because the White House has put Vice President Joe Biden in charge of watching over the $787 billion goodie bag. Sen. Coburn’s spokesman, John Hart, probably said it best. “The notion that the vice president’s vetting process has been perfect is laughable and an insult to taxpayers.”

New & Notable Legislation

A bill being considered in the House seeks to add more oversight of the National Security Agency and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence by establishing independent inspectors general who could not be fired by the heads of those agencies. Furthermore, in a blatant act of politicization, those IGs would be subject to Senate confirmation. It is a move that Congress admits is meant to bring intelligence activities more under their control, and it will come at the price of effective intelligence gathering and analysis that is meant to be free of politics. Democrats will claim that such a thing didn’t exist during the Bush years, but if this bill passes it certainly won’t happen now.

America’s nicotine-addicted president signed into law a bill that will allow the Food and Drug Administration unprecedented control over the tobacco industry. The FDA will now hold sway over the production, marketing and distribution of cigarettes in the U.S. President Obama said little about his own smoking habit except to add that he was “95 percent cured.” Anyone who has ever beaten an addiction to anything knows that you can’t quantify it and expect to beat it. You either smoke or you don’t.

After taking heat from all comers, including The New York Times, over his broken campaign pledge to post legislation on the Internet for five days before signing it into law, Obama has decided to propose something a little more practical. Now, the White House will post the bills for public viewing a little earlier in the legislative process, though they made no indication as to when. Ellen Miller of the Sunlight Foundation, a nonpartisan government watchdog, questioned the whole controversy. “There isn’t anybody in this town who doesn’t know that commenting after a bill has been passed is meaningless.” However, even if the bill cannot be changed by the public viewing stage, at least citizens have the opportunity to hold accountable legislators who slip in last minute items, and they can press the president to sign or veto.

Judicial Benchmarks: SCOTUS Rulings

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to rule on the constitutionality of a provision in the 1965 Voting Rights Act that allows the federal government to pre-approve changes to election law in 16 mainly Southern states. Instead, sticking to Chief Justice John Roberts’s belief in deciding cases narrowly, the high court ruled 8-1 that if states or districts can prove they have not engaged in disenfranchisement based on race, they can apply to the federal government for an exemption to Section 5. Interestingly, the lone dissent came from Justice Clarence Thomas, who wrote that Section 5 is unconstitutional. In the majority opinion, Roberts noted the success of the Voting Rights Act in destroying institutionalized racism in the South that prevented blacks from voting. He also wrote, “Whether conditions continue to justify such legislation is a difficult constitutional question we do not answer today,” leaving open the door for another constitutional challenge to Section 5 in the future.

The High Court also ruled Thursday that Arizona school officials violated a 13-year-old girl’s constitutional rights with a strip search based on their suspicion that she had ibuprofen in her underwear. No pills were found and, without a clear threat to other students, the Court said the search was unreasonable. The vote was 8-1 and once again, Justice Clarence Thomas was the lone dissenter. Thomas wrote, “Judges are not qualified to second-guess the best manner for maintaining quiet and order in the school environment.” The case now goes back to a lower court to determine what damages, if any, should be paid by the school district.

Finally, it wasn’t all that long ago when media commentators were frothing at the mouth over the thought of Karl Rove being frog marched out of the White House and Vice President Cheney being impeached over the revelation that CIA desk jockey Valerie Plame served as a “covert” agent. So it’s not surprising that they have been awfully quiet about the Supreme Court’s final rebuff of Plame’s civil lawsuit against I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby and Cheney, among others. While liberal critics decried the Court’s refusal to hear an appeal of the suit — one calling the decision “a setback for our democracy” — the high court was only following lower courts that also declined to take it up. Leftist rage, however, should also be directed at their own president, since the Obama Justice Department took Cheney’s side in the case, continuing the fight the DOJ took up under President Bush. The Lunatic Left has long portrayed Cheney as the devil, but in this case their devil received his due.

GOP Affairs Are a Mess

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, a likely GOP presidential contender in 2012 who waged a well publicized battle with the Obama administration over stimulus cash, likely put himself out of the running after a bizarre absence from his state last week led to his disclosure of an extramarital affair. While staffers claimed the governor was hiking on the Appalachian Trail, Sanford had traveled to Argentina to see his mistress and break off the affair. In an emotional news conference Wednesday he explained that the relationship had gone on for eight years but became romantic in the last year. His wife discovered it five months ago. Sanford resigned his post as head of the Republican Governors’ Association and Mississippi’s Haley Barbour replaced him.

So to recap, Sanford lied about his whereabouts on Father’s Day weekend while he met his mistress in Argentina and his family sat at home. Sanford’s penance isn’t enough — he should resign as governor immediately. As Founding Father Samuel Adams said, “Nothing is more essential to the establishment of manners in a State than that all persons employed in places of power and trust must be men of unexceptionable characters.” John Adams also wrote, “How is it possible that Children can have any just Sense of the sacred Obligations of Morality or Religion if, from their earliest Infancy, they learn their Mothers live in habitual Infidelity to their fathers, and their fathers in as constant Infidelity to their Mothers?”

Meanwhile, Sen. John Ensign (R-NV), who last week admitted an affair with a staffer, accused the woman’s husband of seeking hush money. According to an Ensign spokesman, the legal counsel for the husband of former staffer and campaign treasurer Cynthia Hampton made “exorbitant demands for cash and other financial benefits” from the senator. However, it was not made clear whether any negotiations had been made between the two parties or what exactly the demands were.

Sotomayor Drops All-Women’s Club Membership

Just because President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee is a wise Latina doesn’t mean she’s immune from perception. Last week, Judge Sonia Sotomayor turned in her resignation from the Belizean Grove, a California-based all-women’s club, stating that she didn’t want her membership to “distract … from my qualifications and record” during her confirmation process. While there’s no shortage of ammunition against her based on a lack of legal scholarship in some of her decisions, the Republicans in the Senate largely are giving her the kid-glove treatment. Apparently, the specter of Sotomayor’s confirmation has not provided the expected fundraising firepower for the GOP and conservative groups.

It is assumed that Sotomayor would bolster the “liberal” Supreme Court camp, but the fact that she’s replacing a jurist with a similar philosophy may be holding the controversy to a minimum. Only the pro-life group Americans United for Life has made a significant campaign against Sotomayor’s ascension to the high court, calling her record on abortion rights “worse than [current Justice David] Souter’s.” Still, the fight should pick up once Sotomayor’s confirmation hearings begin July 13.

NATIONAL SECURITY

Violence in Iran Continues

Violence against protesters continues in Iran this week following the “re-election” on June 12 of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Iranian security forces, as well as the Basij militia, clashed with demonstrators throughout the week. A horrific video made it out of Tehran of a young woman, Neda Agha Soltani, bleeding to death after being shot, highlighting the violence against the protesters.

Founded by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1979, the Basij militia, according to the 2001 report of the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, is “a popular, emergency, mobilisation army, consisting mostly of those too young (under 18) or too old (usually age 45 and older) for regular conscription.” The New York Times reports that “the Basijis lack uniforms, proper identification or anything that denotes them as public employees” and they enter the crowds with “hoses, clubs, iron bars, truncheons and sometimes firearms.” Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto points out, “The Iranian regime is using nonuniformed thugs to impose its will on the population. These are the tactics of a terrorist organization, not a legitimate government.”

It took President Barack Obama several days to issue any kind of strong statement against the brutality of the Iranian regime. “We must … bear witness to the courage and the dignity of the Iranian people and to a remarkable opening within Iranian society. And we deplore the violence against innocent civilians anywhere that it takes place,” he said. Given that Obama reportedly sent a letter to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei before the election that Khamenei says expresses “respect for the Islamic Republic and for reestablishment of ties,” it’s not surprising that it took the president more than a week to express real opposition to the regime’s tactics. Under pressure, the Obama administration has rescinded an invitation to Iranian diplomats for the U.S. embassy Independence Day festivities.

Warfront With Jihadistan: Agreement on Detainees

The Guantanamo detainee merry-go-round continues to turn and churn. On the detainee transfer front, the European Union, a harsh critic of detainee treatment, allegedly made its most explicit promise to date on accepting some Gitmo detainees… well, kind of, maybe. In a rather foggy, diplo-speak statement, the EU pledged to cooperate with the U.S. on legal strategies that will “help the U.S. turn the page” on past detention policies. Naturally, the statement did not specify how many detainees would be sent to Europe or which countries would accept them, although apparently Italy has agreed to accept three detainees. So much for the “explicit” promise.

Speaking of transferred detainees, the four Chinese Muslim Uighurs released from Gitmo and sent to Bermuda last week were found by the swimming pool outside of their pink bungalow. Questioned by a Fox News reporter, the well-tanned detainees said that living in China is worse than life at Guantanamo, saying there is no guarantee of human rights in China. We’re shocked — shocked — to find that this is the case.

Meanwhile, on the home front, the Obama administration delayed by at least a week the release of an internal CIA report on the agency’s interrogation program. The report, which allegedly casts doubt on the effectiveness of the interrogation methods used by the CIA, was to be released last Friday, but officials were still reviewing the report for sensitive information. The CIA wants the Obama administration to keep significant portions of the report secret, arguing that the material could damage ongoing counterterrorism operations by disclosing sensitive information. John Helgerson, the now-retired CIA inspector who led the interrogation program investigation, said that much of the report should remain classified because it addresses CIA activities, sources and methods. Whatever and whenever information is released, expect much righteous indignation from the usual group of The Easily Offended.

Department of Military Readiness: F-22 Dogfight

The House Armed Services Air and Land Forces Subcommittee voted 31-30 last week to add $369 million to the defense budget for the production of 12 more F-22s. Thursday, the full House approved the defense bill, which authorizes funds for more F-22s in the future. The Obama administration’s budget had called for production to cease after only 187 of the Air Force’s requested 750 Raptors were built. Investor’s Business Daily explains, “Defense Secretary Robert Gates argues we can’t afford to build the F-22 and the F-35 Joint Strike fighter and that we have all the F-22s we need. So he’s dumping the F-22 in favor of the cheaper F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, although it’s vastly inferior in air-to-air combat and ground defense penetration.” The White House threatened to veto the bill if it contains money for the fighter jets.

American Spies for Cuba Arrested

Amidst Obama’s talks of his Carteresque plan to loosen restrictions on Cuba, federal agents recently nabbed a husband-wife spy team who has been giving our secrets to the Castro regime for 30 years. Earlier this month, Walter Kendall Myers, a 71-year-old political analyst for the State Department, and his wife Gwendolyn were arrested after admitting their crimes to an undercover federal agent posing as a member of Cuban intelligence.

The recruitment of Myers and his wife was no accident. When the Cubans approached him in the late 1970s, Myers was an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University. According to the Miami Herald, Johns Hopkins is one of the four schools (the others being Georgetown, American University and the University of Virginia) in the DC area where Cuba fishes for spies. It’s a clever strategy; these schools often place graduates in important positions within the U.S. government. In addition, those in academia are arguably predisposed to romantic notions of leftist ideology. Indeed, this made it easier for Myers and his wife to hide. Surrounded by like-minded liberals in their intellectual circle, they were easily able to cover their anti-American sentiments during the years in which bashing President George W. Bush surpassed baseball as the national pastime.

Cuba has also traditionally recruited spies who are willing to betray their country for ideological, rather than financial, rewards, and Myers and his wife are no different. His diary entries dating back three decades demonstrate his love for Castro’s revolution and his hatred for the “imperialist” U.S.

Our government has yet to learn exactly what information these two traitors gave to Cuban agents, but one thing this administration should have learned: Cuba is still an enemy that should not be dismissed as harmless.

A ‘Must Read’ for Conservatives

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BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Around the Nation: State Budget Crunches

As state budget season culminates, the race is on for states to avoid financial catastrophe and somehow make their ledger lines sync for one more year. Nineteen states are still working on budgets to take effect July 1. But in the dash to deadlines, many “solutions” are only Band-Aids that mask seriously broken systems.

Without question, California’s $24 billion deficit represents the mother lode of fiscal crises. Legislators thought they had a winner in February when they adopted a budget, but they didn’t factor in voters’ rejection of several tax-and-borrow ballot propositions requisite for the budget to take effect. Apparently, the Sacramento statehouse savvies thought Californians enjoyed paying through their noses to fund government spending. Now, the state is grasping at budget-balancing ideas like hiking taxes on smokers and oil companies, borrowing from local governments, freeing thousands of prisoners, and cutting spending on some social programs (a solitary beacon in a sea of big-government proposals).

The Golden State may be Exhibit A, but it is hardly alone. The National Conference of State Legislators reports budget gaps nationwide will top $120 billion this next fiscal year, nearly $20 billion more than the current year. Tactics to deal with the shortfall are familiar. In Pennsylvania, Democrat Governor Ed Rendell wants a 16 percent hike on income taxes. New Hampshire may sell 27 state parks to close its $30 million budget gap. Hawaii is giving state workers forced furloughs equal to a 14 percent pay cut over the next two years. And Illinois’ Democrat Governor Patrick Quinn wants a 50 percent income tax hike to fill a $12 billion budget hole.

One state bucking the taxing temptation, however, is Maine, where a new law will actually lower taxes, replacing the graduated income tax with a flat tax and coupling this with additional measures including $300 million in budget cuts.

While the MSM’s creative writing — er, news — departments bemoan the potential loss of government services, blaming the recession and voters’ unwillingness to foot the bills of gargantuan government growth, they conveniently overlook the reckless spending that plunged state governments into deficit chasms in the first place. Meanwhile, legislative jockeying to escape fiscal meltdown continues, with precious few states pausing long enough to realize they’re rushing full-speed-ahead — in the wrong direction.

Hope ‘n’ Change: Welfare Roles Grow Despite ‘Stimulus’

For the first time since President Bill Clinton signed the Republican-propelled welfare reform legislation in 1994, welfare numbers are rising in more than half of states nationwide, with increases climbing as high as 27 percent in Oregon, 23 percent in South Carolina, 14 percent in Florida and 10 percent in California.

A Wall Street Journal article links increases in the rolls to the economic downturn and growing unemployment rates, but the reality is that the relationship between state unemployment and welfare is about as substantiated as VP Joe Biden’s success at safeguarding stimulus spending against waste.

As Newsbusters reports, a more accurate indicator of welfare numbers is states’ efforts — or lack thereof — to implement “welfare reform’s real goal of reducing dependency.” In California, for example, where inaction on welfare has been the rule of the day since 2002, welfare numbers are up 13 percent in two years, and recipients now compose 32 percent of the nation’s total — even though the state boasts only 12 percent of the nation’s population.

Ron Haskins of the leftist Brookings Institution touts welfare increases as “good news,” claiming, “This is exactly what should happen.” Apparently, President Obama agrees, as his stimulus package directs billions to states with higher welfare numbers. Welfare to work? Please. That must be a policy that needed “changing,” too.

Milk Prices Hit Close to Home

Expect to pay more for milk in the near future. Farmers across the world are citing high feed prices and a global surplus — a result of the international recession — as the reasons for the financial losses that have forced many out of business and that are threatening the survival of thousands of others. The price of corn (the main ingredient in cow feed) is averaging an expensive $4 a bushel and, coupled with the low price of milk, has made it impossible for dairies to make ends meet. In 2007, California dairies were averaging a profit of $11.23 per 100 pounds; now they are losing $1.07. Idaho farmer Sherman Toone said, “This is the worst I’ve even seen the imbalance between feed costs and milk revenue.”

Decreased demand has also contributed to the problem. For example, China, one of the world’s largest milk consumers, began importing larger quantities of milk powder after last year’s melamine contamination and the subsequent government shutdown of thousands of milk stations.

The first step for many farmers is to reduce production, beginning with the size of their herds, which should allow dairies to rebound in the coming year. But one thing is sure, experts say: The bill for this crisis will be passed on to the consumer.

CULTURE & POLICY

Faith and Family: Suit Filed Against Prop. 8

Former Bush administration Solicitor General Theodore Olson and attorney David Boies have filed suit in the California District Court to overturn Proposition 8, which was passed by voters last year and amends the state’s constitution to say that marriage is only between one man and one woman. Opponents recently lost a battle in the Supreme Court of California, which said that Prop. 8 was a valid amendment to the state’s constitution, but Olson alleges that it violates the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. “Creating a second class of citizens is discrimination plain and simple,” said Olson, a member of the conservative Federalist Society. “The Constitution of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and Abraham Lincoln does not permit it. Proposition 8 denies people fundamental constitutional rights.”

It’s hard to believe that Jefferson, Madison or Lincoln would have seen it as Olson claims. Until this decade, marriage has been defined as being between one man and one woman. Keeping that definition doesn’t deny anyone any rights — no one is prohibited from marrying. But choosing a partner outside the confines of marriage and still calling it marriage is an abuse of the language and the institution itself. Yet by clamoring about the “right” to marry someone of the same sex, proponents of the new definition are slowly winning the battle.

Second Amendment: Philadelphia and DC

A Pennsylvania court invalidated two of Philadelphia’s most recent gun-control provisions last week, but upheld three others. The two struck down were a ban on semi-automatic rifles and straw purchases of handguns. The three upheld require the report of lost or stolen handguns, a bar on gun ownership for those who are subject to “protections from abuse” orders, and permitting the temporary seizure of guns by police. The reporting provision is currently the only one in effect. In striking down the two bans, the Commonwealth Court determined that a 1996 ruling by the state Supreme Court meant that only the state legislature, not municipalities, can enact such gun legislation.

In Washington, DC, the city council expanded the list of approved handguns that residents can own in an effort to counter another lawsuit over its continued violation of the Second Amendment. A suit was filed in March over the restrictions, but more than 1,000 types and models have since been added to the approved list. Still, while DC residents are permitted to exercise their right to keep arms, they cannot bear them outside their own homes. And the District thinks that isn’t infringement.

Climate Change This Week: Hansen Arrested

NASA “scientist” and global warming fearmonger James Hansen was among 30 people arrested Tuesday in West Virginia for protesting mountaintop coal mining. Washed-up actress Daryl Hannah was also among those arrested. Hansen tried to claim victim status, saying, “I am not a politician; I am a scientist and a citizen.” On the contrary, Hansen uses science for political ends all the time. In this instance, he just took the next step. He was protesting the removal of coal from mountaintops on the pretext that it contributes to “global warming.” Of course, the facts are stubborn things: Mountaintop coal mining amounts to just 7 percent of all coal mining. Given the relatively small role coal plays in emissions of greenhouse gases, such mining is insignificant. Hansen is free to have any position on global warming that suits his fancy, but he certainly isn’t entitled to a check funded by American taxpayers for his political activism.

And Last…

The AFL-CIO apparently has gotten so lazy over the years that they’ve begun outsourcing their protests and shipping American jobs overseas. Lobbying congressmen on Capitol Hill for passage of the grossly misnamed “Employee Free Choice Act,” union folks were passing out cardboard hammers with a union message and yellow plastic hard hats complete with a “Made in China” sticker on the inside. Spokesman Eddie Vale said, “Obviously our policy is to only use union vendors and it was a mistake by a new staffer who ordered them and unfortunately wasn’t caught before they went out.” Right, blame the “new staffer.” No doubt another job “created or saved” by Barack Obama. Keep up the good, er, work, Eddie.

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