Sunday, September 4, 2011

Trial Lawyers vs. Rick Perry

It remains to be seen if Texas Governor Rick Perry can be a viable presidential candidate over the long term. But one of his principal foes--personal injury lawyers a.k.a. ambulance chasers--could make him worthy of support, the New York Post explains:
If you can judge a political candidate by the enemies he makes, Texas Gov. Rick Perry stands pretty tall. For example, the national tort-lawyer lobby is set to spend millions to try to stop the GOP presidential hopeful in his tracks.
No wonder: Perry, in his 10 years as Texas governor, has managed to implement serious tort reform in a state that even a top litigator concedes was once “the golden goose” for high-end jury verdicts....Since 2003, Texas has become a model for national tort reform.
Along these lines, according to American Lawyer Media, "A fundraising committee backing President Barack Obama's 2012 reelection bid has raised $39 million so far this year, with 11 percent of that sum coming from lawyers, lobbying shops, and law firms such as Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, O'Melveny & Myers and Skadden, Arps, Slate Meagher & Flom. When it comes to raising campaign cash, no industry has been kinder to the president this year than the legal and lobbying trade, which has contributed a combined $4.3 million to the Obama Victory Fund..."

Could the Democrats ever mount a serious election campaign without unions and trial lawyers? Oh, let's not forget the in-the-tank media, who has subjected Gov. Perry to more scrutiny in a couple of weeks then the ever did Obama in the entire 2008 election cycle. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Jack Kelly published this ominous preview of things to come:
GOP consultant Mark McKinnon says that the editor of a major newspaper told him, "We plan to declare war on Rick Perry and do all in our power to crush him."Mr. McKinnon was outraged. "No pretense of integrity, professionalism or of unbiased news gathering," he wrote in Investors' Business Daily.

Labor Day 2011: Big Labor' s Big Plans

When casting a ballot for president, a citizen is not just voting for one man or woman but thousands of bureaucrats that will populate administrative agencies. The Obama administration has loaded up federal agencies with far-left interventionists who are strangling business with ideologically driven regulations in another damaging end-run around Congress.

There was a lot of hoopla on Friday as the Obama administration shelved certain EPA air pollution rules that would apparently cost thousands of jobs. Leaving aside the merits or demerits of the regulations in question, if the administration really has a plan to create jobs, it needs among other things to tell the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to stop rubber stamping the obsolete agenda of Big Labor. The logical extension of these government-imposed policies that make companies run less efficiently would be to force more jobs overseas, which means everyone loses, union and non-union workers alike.

We've seen the havoc that public sector unions have wrought on the taxpayer. As we have written previously, there is also a lot of corruption and waste in the business world, and private employers often make irrational decisions, but why would anyone want to make the situation--especially in a down economy--far worse by imposing horse-and-buggy workrules on them?

Organized labor achieved important worker reforms back in the days of black-and-white movies in which everyone wore fedoras and business suits and ties if you will. But that was then, this is now. The NLRB as currently constituted, however, writes Steve Huntley in the Chicago Sun Times, "discourages business investment and job creation..." and is a "fundamental road block to reducing the nation’s persistently high unemployment rate."
So, to reverse the decline in union fortunes, the labor movement has turned to its Democratic friends in government to put a thumb on the scales to tip the balance against employers. Labor’s chief goal coming out of the 2008 election was a “card check” proposal to eliminate the secret ballot in union certification votes. It was a bridge too far even though Democrats had overwhelming majorities in Congress because conservative Democrats couldn’t swallow such an anti-democratic and anti-business measure. It would have opened the way for union thugs to muscle employees to sign union cards to win certification.
In the custom of the Obama administration turning to regulation to achieve what it can’t get through Congress, the National Labor Relations Board picked up the ball. It speeded up union representation election procedures to deny employers time to make their case and employees time to learn about all the implications of unionization. The NLRB ordered that employers must post notices — with the agency’s bureaucrats dictating the poster’s dimensions, color and type size — about the right to unionize. Another NLRB ruling allows unions to cherry pick employees in nursing homes to participate in union representation elections in order to improve the chances of a yes vote.
The most notorious NLRB pro-union action is its effort to prevent Boeing from building a new jetliner-construction plant in South Carolina, a right-to-work state.
The Washington Examiner editorializes on this issue:
Unfortunately, President Obama still hasn't provided an effective plan to restore our economic dynamism and put these people back to work. Instead, he has focussed his labor policies on the few Americans (one in 14 in the private sector) who still belong to unions, largely ignoring the 90 percent of workers who don't. That's because those unions -- in many cases against their members' desires -- provide massive, poorly disclosed, campaign expenditures on behalf of Democrats. The result has been panoply of policies that are sapping America's economic vigor while enshrining privileges for a fortunate few.
Obama's National Labor Relations Board, far from serving as a mediator and peacekeeper between labor and industry, has become an advocate for a specific Democratic interest group.
Similarly, New York Post columnist Michael Goodwin maintains that instead of speechmaking, Obama should put a stop to his administration's "anti-capitalist fervor" to get the economy rolling again:
The centralization of power in Washington has produced a skewed economy. Underserved and unaffordable perks are lavished on the well-connected few, especially government unions, while opportunities for most workers are snuffed out. If the best social program is a job -- and it is -- then the Obama administration is guilty of malpractice...[Obama] should say he is holding off on implementing ObamaCare and stopping the slew of financial restrictions in Dodd-Frank. He could order the National Labor Relations Board to get its boot off companies so they can hire and tell regulators to stop suing the pants off banks and other businesses. He could stop his attacks on success and wealth.
Workplace unionism in particular should rise or fall on its own merits without any devious NLRB manipulation. And while we're at it, let's end corporate welfare/crony capitalism too.

Let's hope these job-destroying NLRB decisions are vigorously challenged in by Congress and/or in federal court.

In the meantime, happy Labor Day.

We're So Sorry, Uncle Omar

The lyrics by Paul McCartney actually say "we're so sorry, uncle Albert, we're so sorry if we caused you any pain..." But given that the Obama administration is implementing a form of back-door amnesty for illegal aliens, do you think there is any chance that Onyango Obama (a,k.a. Uncle Omar) recently busted for drunk driving in Massachusetts, will actually be deported even though there is a pending ICE warrant for him? After all, his aunt was also here illegally, collecting welfare and living in government-subsidized housing in Boston (apparently "sharing the wealth" does not apply within the Obama family) and authorities subsequently allowed her to stay.

Putting aside the immigration issues of one particular family, amnesty without the approval of Congress by any name--whether it stems from incompetence, logistics, or so-called prosecutorial discretion--endangers our country. Michelle Malkin explains:
Open-borders advocates will call Uncle Omar “harmless.” But it turns out he’s not only a repeat deportation absconder who has ignored two court orders to leave the country, but he is also a deadbeat who owes thousands in back taxes and a fraudulent Social Security card-holder who has managed to evade authorities for half a century.

The policy that allowed Omar to disappear is “voluntary departure” — a security-undermining mechanism that allows illegal alien border-jumpers and visa-overstayers to simply deport themselves after going through the federal immigration court system...Countless jihadists have benefited enormously from lax enforcement of deportation orders and asylum loopholes.
Uncle Omar somehow--and so far unexplained--obtained a Social Security number and a real driver's license (as opposed to illegals with no valid documentation). The MetroWest News in the Boston area offered this insight:
Were it not for the suspect's last name, the arrest of a Framingham man for drunk driving last week would have gone unnoticed. The suspect was an undocumented immigrant and a fugitive who had been ordered deported years ago. But that's not especially noteworthy either: Everyone knows there are thousands of illegal immigrants in Framingham and other MetroWest communities, and that many of them work under fraudulent Social Security numbers and drive using fake licenses....
But Onyango Obama's story does shine yet another light on America's multi-faceted immigration issue. Like thousands - likely millions - of others, he overstayed his visa, by more than 40 years. But the U.S. does next to nothing to enforce visa expiration dates.How Onyango Obama obtained a Social Security number and whether it is legitimate remains unclear, but there's no dispute that he was ordered deported in 1992. Presumably, the Social Security Administration has known his address and place of employment for years, but did not - perhaps could not - share that information with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.
Both political parties are at fault in the failure to seal the border and enforce existing law. However, the big push by the Democrats for open borders and driver's licenses for illegals ultimately is about making vote fraud easier. As Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr quips: "You know what they say: They’re only here to vote for the Democrats that Americans won’t vote for anymore.

This isn't just fun and games, however. Obama pal Deval Patrick, the Massachusetts governor, refuses to participate in the federal "Secure Communities" program  which would screen the fingerprints of everyone under arrest to find and deport violent criminals (although the definition of violent is subject to interpretation) with horrific consequences in another drunk driving incident, as described by Herald columnist Michael Graham:
After hearing how a 23-year-old young man named Matthew Denice screamed in anguish as his body was ripped apart beneath a truck; how the victim was still alive when an illegal immigrant driver allegedly backed over him as he fled the police; how the accused killer, Nicolas Guaman, merely shrugged at the police after being arrested.
Even after all this, Patrick rejects Secure Communities. He still believes that when Guaman was arrested in 2008 for assault, breaking and entering, and resisting arrest, Massachusetts did the right thing by not handing him over to immigration authorities. By releasing him back onto the streets of Milford, where he could continue to be a threat to his neighbors.
Incredibly, Patrick claims that illegal immigration was not to blame in the man's death.

By the way, the White House says that Uncle Omar (who otherwise appears to be a "law-abiding" non citizen) will receive no special treatment in his deportation appeal.

Given the failure by the federal government to enforce immigration law, isn't that the problem?

The ICE officers union does not favor this form of stealth or backdoor amnesty. The union, which over a year ago issued a unanimous no confidence vote in ICE Director John Morton, said in part in a recent press release that...
Agents say the policy is a 'law enforcement nightmare' developed by the Administration to win votes at the expense of sound and responsible law enforcement policy. "The desires of foreign nationals illegally in the United States were the framework from which these policies were developed," [Chris] Crane said, "the result is a means for every person here illegally to avoid arrest or detention, as officers we will never know who we can or cannot arrest."
By the way, can we finally put to rest the mythology that illegal aliens contribute more than they take out? This from the Washington Post:
The Internal Revenue Service allowed undocumented workers to collect $4.2 billion in refundable tax credits last year, a new audit says, almost quadruple the sum five years ago. Although undocumented workers are not eligible for federal benefits, the report released Thursday by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration concludes that federal law is ambiguous on whether these workers qualify for a tax break based on earned income called the additional child tax credit....Wage earners who do not have Social Security numbers and are not authorized to work in the United States can use what the IRS calls individual taxpayer identification numbers. Often these result in fraudulent claims on tax returns, auditors found.
If the IRS can locate illegal aliens, why is it so hard for federal immigration officials to do the same?

Update: As predicted...
Officials released President Obama’s uncle from Plymouth County jail yesterday after holding him for more than two weeks on an immigration detainer for violating an order to return to his native Kenya in 1992.
US officials refused to disclose any other information about Onyango Obama, who remained in the United States undetected until Framingham police arrested him Aug. 24 on drunken driving and other charges.
Yesterday, federal immigration officials refused to say whether the 67-year-old Framingham resident posted bond, whether they are keeping track of his whereabouts, or even whether they are still seeking his deportation, raising questions about public accountability in the case.