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  • Morning Bell: The Ugly Face of Progressive Corporatism

    Just two days ago, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) stood with about 240 union members inside the shuttered factory of Republic Doors and Windows. The company had closed the factory before providing its 240 workers their due severance pay and accrued vacation time. Blagojevich was determined to bring the full power of the governor’s office to bear to make sure the union members got paid. Blagojevich threatened to stop the state of Illinois from doing all business with Republic’s creditor, Bank of America, if it did not help the laid-off workers at Republic. Yesterday, after Blagojevich was arrested on charges of conspiracy to commit fraud and solicitation to commit bribery, the nation discovered that Blagojevich’s threats not only fit his well-established pattern of behavior, but also exposed the inherently corrupting influence of organized labor.

    Blagojevich’s links to organized labor are long-standing and deep. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, when Blagojevich last raised money as a congressman, three out of his top five donors were organized labor groups, and combining unions from all sectors, no industry gave more to Blagojevich than labor did. The Chicago Tribune reports that as governor, organized labor was “his strongest political supporter.”

    During his first year in office, Blagojevich helped pass ethics legislation adding new inspectors to investigate corruption, restricting gifts from lobbyists and limiting taxpayer-funded public service announcements that feature politicians. But Blagojevich’s arrest yesterday exposed all these efforts as a fraud. According to reports about the complaint filed against him:

    [Blagojevich] discussed the possibility of trying to get [President-elect Barack] Obama to get his wife appointed to a corporate board that paid a substantial salary or working out a deal where Blagojevich would obtain a high-paid position with a political action group affiliated with the Service Employees International Union. Prosecutors also allege Blagojevich threatened to withhold $100 million in state assistance for the financing or sale of Wrigley Field if the team’s owner, the Tribune Co., didn’t fire members of the Chicago Tribune’s editorial board who had been critical of Blagojevich.

    Unfortunately, this shakedown mentality is all too common to the Service Employees International Union’s way of doing business. A Democratic source confirms that SEIU President Andy Stern is the “SEIU official” referred to in the federal complaint against Blagojevich. Since taking his union out of the AFL-CIO and forming the Change to Win federation in 2005, Stern has sought to assert his union’s influence over private equity firms, centralize his authority within the union by forcing various locals to merge, and negotiate large deals with employers without member participation.

    All of this union-related corruption comes at a crucial point in U.S. public policy. Organized labor has a tall wish list for Obama’s administration, including the abolition of secret ballot voting in union organizing elections and ensuring that as much of the $1 trillion Obama plans to spend to stimulate the economy goes to Davis-Bacon compliant jobs. Our economy simply cannot afford organized labor’s priorities to be placed above strong economic growth.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    23 Responses to Morning Bell: The Ugly Face of Progressive Corporatism

    1. Don Miller, Houston says:

      I have owned American made cars as long as I have been able to drive, but if the big 3 allow government control I will be forced to spend my money elsewhere. I hear Toyota makes a good product……

    2. Howard Reed, durhamv says:

      Chicago style politics and labor unions are one in the same part of the rotten core of doing business in modern America that is destroying our economy more thoroughly than nuclear weapons destroy mankind and property.

      I thought we had our fill of dirty politics after the Clinton's took leave of the White House. Now we face at least four years of Chicago style politics that is once again raising its ugly head in the person of Gov. Blagojevich, his wife and Sec. of State.

      What has come of our once God and country United States, that the majority of the electorate would allow this to happen? Has Satan claimed his due? It would seem so.

      The Turban Torpedo

    3. Tony Hollick Bristo says:

      From "Evolutionary Economics":

      10 July 2004

      506. What's good for General Electric?

      "It was once famously said by General Motors' president Charles E. Wilson, "What's good for General Motors is good for America" — one of the most repeated of modern quotations.

      It was certainly true in the 1950s because General Motors was one of those producers which was then supplying the American consumer conveyor belt with one of those stratum goods that was motivating the whole growth economy. (Definition for those readers who may have forgotten: a "stratum good" is one those initially expensive status goods which, by virtue of mass production, is able to become successively cheaper and to be purchased at lower price levels from the richest stratum right through to the poorest socio-economic classes. There are no identifiable stratum goods in the American economy at present)

      The same cannot be said for General Electric, despite the recent glowing report of its chairman, Jeff Immelt (see below). Instead, a suitable quotation would be: "What's good for General Electric is good for some sectors of the American economy". Or, more accurately: "What's good for General Electric is good for China".

      Because, just as General Motors was supplying the conveyor belt of the American consumer economy half a century ago, so is General Electric supplying the conveyor belt of the Chinese economy today — at least three times larger than the American growth economy ever was. More accurately, General Electric is actually supplying many of the motors beneath the Chinese conveyor belt — the electrical turbines of the growing number of Chinese power stations, now feeding on increasing quantities of coal, oil and natural gas..

      Of course, it could be said that the Chinese economy might falter because of insufficient supplies of fossil fuels, particularly Middle East oil, which has now passed its maximum possible annual production. This is true. But not if America has anything to do with it. The fact is that the relationship between America and China is now the single most important feature of the whole world economy. I am sure that both America and China will act together in the coming years to sort out countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran if Islamic fundamentalism becomes a hindrance to their oil imports.

      China is now sustaining half the debt of the American government and if it sold its US Treasury Bonds then the US economy would collapse within months, perhaps weeks. The other side of the coin is that half the profits of Chinese exports are now due to American-owned corporations within China. The America-China dumb-bell shape economy is as close a financial and trading relationship as there has ever been throughout man's economic history — and becoming more so by the day. Neither country could exist without the other and there could be revolution in both countries if there was ever a diplomatic breakdown between them."

      Keith Hudson

    4. Carolyn, Florida says:

      Since Barak Hussein Obama was (and probably still is) a big part of the corrupted thugs in Chicago who saw to it that he won this election,I have a suspicion he isn't telling the truth when he claims he didn't know anything about the governer's situation and in fact didn't even talk to him about Obama's replacement in the Senate.

      Our faithful drive by media, is so anxious to proclaim Obama is "as clean as the wind driven snow" it looks very suspicious to me!! They're a little too anxious!!!

      There should be an investigation into Obama's part in all of this BEFORE he takes the highest and supposedly the "cleanest" office in the world!!

      God bless America – He is our only hope!

    5. Alex, Coral Springs, says:

      AHHHHH! the way of the democrats.. LOL!! people, this is their true identity. Now that they swept the elections, slowly but surely, their cockyness is making them show their true colors. who they really are. they're nothing but corrupt bullies that want to control peoples lives and everything else in this nation.

      I have not owned an American car for many many years now. Not for nothing but dogonit, they always broke down on me. I like German engineering VW… And now that all this broke out; I would really not own any American made car. I hurts me to say it but that's the way i feel.

    6. Vincent Labelle, Cha says:

      Citizens of America, you had better wake up and smell the coffee! This is just the tip of the ice burge and if you are unintrested you will get what you wished for, CHANGE!!!! Read your constitution, become informed by citizens who care about our beloved United States of America. Take a stand and be heard. We are not responsible to government, they are responsible to us. This corruption must come to an end and officials must be held accountable to the citizens for their actions.

    7. Vickie Suarez, Sayre says:

      Greetings.

      I wish you would not publish the polls, implying that we should be interested in what people think. We just learned from the election of Obama that most Americans do not know enough to be called informed. So, the polls tell me nothing I should care about. What in the world is so important about what uninformed people think? I would rather ignore the polls and think for myself.

    8. gitmogrunt, Texas says:

      Duh………….Well, if a company you worked for, owed you unused vacation pay and any severance pay that may be due, wouldn't you want it?

    9. Pingback: Shopfloor » Blog Archive » Blagojevich, the SEIU and Politics

    10. Pingback: Shopfloor » Blog Archive » Card Check: Just One of Big Labor’s Big Priorities

    11. Jack Kyle, Lubbock,T says:

      My advice to all Americans, legal and illegal,is to move to or go back to Mexico or South America and wait a few years , all the jobs you are looking for will soon be there. The unprofitable rules and regulations forced upon business by members of the Democrat party and corrupt labor unions will force them to move south of the border.

      The question as to whether a free people can govern themselves is being answered. The state of liberty dictates that all people have a chance to fail as well as succeed. A people that allows their vote to be bought at the expense of liberty will soon have neither the right to vote or liberty.

      The United States has been moving steadily in the direction of a self imposed slavery for the last 70 years. It is not to late reverse this trend but our chances or growing slim.

    12. Pingback: The Ugly Face of Progressive Corporatism « Conservative Thoughts and Profundity

    13. Larry Harasansky says:

      To Don Miller of Texas…Toyota does make a good car. I have a 2004 Toyota Camry. Just now changing the front brake pads and have 100k on the miles. Never had any problems with the car. Very dependable. The big 3 has to start thinking smart and lower their labor costs or think about bankruptcy. The problem is the big 3 think that the word bankruptcy has a stigma to it,maybe in the past but not any more. The big airline companies went bankrupt and reorganized they are just doing fine.

    14. Larry Harasansky Chi says:

      To Don Miller of Texas..Toyota's are very good cars. I have a 2004 Camry and just changing the front brake pads with 100k. No other problems. The big 3 has to start thinking smart and make dependable cars. They need to cut their labor costs down or go bankrupt. The problem is they think that the word "bankrupt" has some stigma attached to it…maybe in the past but not any more. The big airline companies went bankrupt and reorganized now they are better for it.

    15. Michael J O'Bri says:

      Show me the Money! We would not by their cars, yet the Democrats want to give these bozos our money anyway.

    16. atlantalisa, Suwanee says:

      I owned a Chrysler-Dodge car it turned out to be a factory lemon (really) and it was in the shop more than I drove it. I don't think they need to be bailed out! – Not with my money!

    17. David A. White says:

      What a bunch of BS. If this country didn't have organized labor, we would be another Mexico.

    18. Howard Wolf, Lake Fo says:

      This is a golden opportunity to greatly reduce the corrupting influence of unions. It can be done by not bailing out the auto industry. The congress has a moral responsibility to negate this horrible plan.

    19. david richfield says:

      Dear Senators and Congressperson, friends and family,

      I'm on both sides of this car issue.

      But

      We need a temporary loan (bandaid) for the car industries.

      All I've heard from my tiny corporate tv is that this is a bailout.

      BULL.

      They'll pay it back.

      Chrysler did before.

      It worked.

      It's eleven days in Iraq.

      Can CONGRESS please third degree the war industries about their profitable strategies regarding the costs to the taxpayer for the next eleven days in Iraq?

      …I guess not.

      What are we getting for the the next eleven days in Iraq??

      Nothing.

      3 million jobs are at stake right now.

      And that's just for starters.

      Don't do it, risk the 90 days, RISK ALL OF THE ANCILLARY JOBS, sign on with the right wing sanctimonious bastards in congress about how bankruptcy might be the solution, (bust the union)

      listen to the right wing corporate media that governs us now, and….

      this will create a depression, and wreck the UAW. (that's what they want)

      But YOU don't want this.

      Believe me.

      The UAW is… the last giant progressive democratic machine that is left in this great country.

      You have a vote in the union.

      Try making your local ceo do anything. He's too big to fail.

      He's too big.

      .

      Bust them up.

      corporations are dominions, planets unto themselves.

      The right wing war industry is trying to get rid of the UAW NOW.

      Via your little corporate tv…

      Do you get this?

      disagree? ….Debate me.

      Congress, before they were "bailout fatigued", signed actual bailouts for the bank/casino industry in excess of a trillion dollars.

      Most of them aren't frigging banks.

      they've lobbied to wreck the actual banking industry in this country, and they have gambled with trillion of dollars of your investments, and ruined your retirement.

      (And they could only do it because they spend millions lobbying, which you and I don't have the money to do, which leaves us unrepresented)

      Wall street rules american fiscal and economic policy.

      It's wrong.

      THE ONLY REASON THAT THE "banks" GOT THE MONEY WITHOUT A QUESTION, (WHICH WON'T SOLVE A FUCKING THING,) IS they hold the money for the upper class.

      Nobody asked them a question about how they were going to…

      1) become solvent, stay that way or become more solvent

      2) get their heads out of their asses

      3) get rid of their blue collar union.

      Our problem now, is we don't have the manufacturing that we had in 1933 to get out of this mess.

      The "banks" (casinos) already got over a trillion dollars.

      No paypack, oversight, or attention to the homeowner, which would be the solution to this crisis.

      Okay, what's the solution?

      DEMAND. WAGES.

      IT WON'T BE SOLVED ANY OTHER WAY.

      .. fine…debate me.

      Supply has been great forever. Corporations are making tons of incredible products, which are now languishing on their shelves,….

      made in china by nonunion toddlers who work 90 hour weeks. (But they are only paid for 50 hours.)

      Nobody has any money to buy this stuff.

      What kind of economy is that?

      Have a ethical problem with this yet?

      Still voting with your dollars?

      You can't buy anything made in the USA anymore.

      How can you vote with a dollar?

      DEMAND AND WAGES HAVE BEEN STAGNANT since Reagonomics.

      America's unions are being destroyed.

      Since unfair corporate trade agreements have been shoved thru Washington.

      When Reagan took office, a quarter of our wage earners had union jobs.

      The unions set the bar, and our economy mirrored an equal number of jobs comparable in wages, pensions, and benefits.

      One wage earner raised a family, had two cars, a boat, a lake home. college for the kids, and national security.

      Let's get to the solution…

      Keep jobs in America.

      It's just a shift in policy.

      A sane policy,

      A CHANGE BACK TO WHAT MAKES SENSE.

      The trade policy of your founding fathers.

      Protect American industry.

      Tariffs.

      The policy that every one of your national competitors on the world market are CURRENTLY EMPLOYING.

      We aren't selling any cars in Asia, because they prevent it by a 30% tariff.

      What's our tariff on Asian imports, since reagan?

      2.5%.

      that's why America doesn't export anything any more.

      Isn't is stupid?

      Don't you agree?

      DON'T YOU WANT TO BE COMPETITIVE in the global markets?

      get money in your pocket, not a credit card. (Greenspam)

      It's our job now to recreate the THE GREAT MIDDLE CLASS OF AMERICANS that has been destroyed by voodoo reaganomics.

      Unions and the other jobs that they create in the economy which have living wage, benefits, and pensions.

      The nation In which I grew up.

      The class which, at this point , seems to be about DOA.

      Please resurrect our middle class.

      It wasn't an accident.

      I took effort, intention, purpose.

      It was our nation.

      let's bring it back.

      let;s actually go country first.

      The economy exists for WE THE PEOPLE.

      David

    20. Dennis Aderholt Soci says:

      The dem can not stop what they do best. It is a wonder that more elected officals have not been arrested in this deal. Chicago is noted for its elected officals and they way they conduct business. We now have one for the office of President, and every one wants to bad mouth President Bush. Lets see how deeo this stink will go, but then I am sure the dems will find a way to keep it off of anyone they think might hurt them in the White House.

    21. mike hutchings texas says:

      there was an article in the fiancial times about how goverments may find it in thier interests to model themselves on europe.it pointed out one currency and thousands of laws and its ability to send troops abroad. the troops abroad was a laugh. this goverment was presented as the best way to deal with weather change and the economic crisis both of which can be conjured out of thin air as needed.any underworld operation or pardon me under the radar operation needs a base and a base means cash. energy in what ever form it takes is to the one worlders what book makeing and narcotics is to crime families. it provides an income to management and the chicago machine operates by harvesting cash from govermental agencies that are able to extort it away from the people. sorry tax it away and take thier cut off the top and pay off top management and middle management as its needs evolve. envision world peace and one world in harmony reminds me of a chorus of aged 1960s flower children embracing utopia under the gaze of thier handlers in front of a giant picture of the current savior knowing it will work this time. they may not believe in god but they are sure afraid of him.would that i had such faith. unions that fail to adapt to economic conditions but turn instead to being auxilaries of goverment are dangerous to this country. there is nothing progressive about them and thier marxist idiotology has its roots in tribalism and concensus derived from chiefs at the expense of indians.i notice that bosses do well in all weathers, climate change or not, economic condition or not.keep that in mind when thier latest mouth piece speaks with compassion not forgetting that the only buissness they know is skimming off the top.you want to sell cars get the and crooks and thier green cronies out of the way.stop goverment-entities holding energy supplies hostage and let it work and prices will be stable instead of wheeling out the melting artic and out of context pictures of polars bears drowning and styrofoam ice flows every time politicians feel the need to feed the continueing crisis.we need to get a grip on this because they mean us ill and have no intention of fixing it any time soon.

    22. david richfield says:

      No takers on the auto loan debate?

      …chicken.

      Loan Detroit a bandaid, for Chrissakes.

      It's eleven days in Iraq, for which we get nothing.

      Filibuster-threatening southern reporklicans are

      Country Last.

      THEY HATE AMERICA.

      McConnell, Corker, and Shelby want to control what union workers make.

      Why should they be the voice of labor in America, when they are only self-serving?

      All they care about is getting re-elected in their Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, South Carolina SCAB FOREIGN CAR MANUFACTURING STATES.

      They are selling the American worker down the river as hard as they can, so that they can appeal to their dwindling reporklicon base… use their puffy union-busting "save the taxpayers money" rhetoric to get 2010 campaign contributions from these foreign auto makers.

      HMMM…

      They ARE idiots.

      They will be flogged at the polls.

      They are anti-American.

      You, as a patriot should be outraged at the threats of

      these "representatives" of the states of Kentucky, Tennessee, and South Carolina, in their effort to disrupt the peaceful economy of the United States of America by stating that the UAW workers should agree to never get more than the non-union foreign usurpers of our American international auto export industry.

      Especially since the citizens of these great southern states have already offered financial incentives to the above mentioned foreign auto-manufacturers.

      It's just silly.

      we should stop.

      Who is fooled by this charade?

      Hopefully not you, my friend.

      The UAW is not the enemy.

      The price of an American made automobile is only 1/10 labor.

      The widely touted $70/hr is a cooked figure, my friends.

      It is the costs of retirees and workers divided by the number of workers.

      Also, the second tier of new union auto workers starts at $14/hr.

      Hmm, sounds like minimum wage, if you have any dependents.

      2nd tier $28/hr.

      Comparable to Nissan, Toyota, and the European scab operations in these United States.

      …Why not promote our own auto industry?

      Why not help our own auto workers?

      Where the hell is our national energy policy?

      Where the hell is the protection for American workers?

      What is it that our representatives are sworn to do?

      Uphold the Constitution- protect US. Work for US.

      WE ARE THE GOVERNMENT.

      boils down to…

      Who owns the economy?

      Who represents the American worker?

      Think carefully.

      The corporations are well repesentented by their own lobbyists, and lobbyist budgets.

      They have a voice.

      Do you?

      do workers?

      Why hate unions?

      ?

      Every one of you grew up here.

      In a union-dominated America.

      25% of wage earners were union when Reagan took office.

      That pushed up wages, pensions, benefits, retirement for another 25%.

      Now it's seven%.

      But consider….

      We've all grown up with….

      …Government-run PO.

      Fire.

      Police.

      Courts.

      Roads.

      Bridges.

      Schools.

      ETC!

      And all of the above again given to the corporations who hire those who use and grew up with the above.

      …THE COMMONS.

      who ever even mentions it?

      Are corporations persons?

      I say no.

      I say they need to perform at least partly for the PUBLIC GOOD.

      Our predecessors thought so.

      The goons have taken the gavel.

      We will take it back for the American people.

      David

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