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9/6/2011
THE RICK MORAN SHOW: CAN OBAMA RECOVER IN TIME?

You won’t want to miss tonight’s Rick Moran Show, one of the most popular conservative political talk shows on Blog Talk Radio.

Tonight, I welcome Jazz Shaw of Hot Air, Rich Baehr of the American Thinker, and Jeff Dunetz of the Lid. We’ll discuss the latest round of polls and the prospects for the president’s reelection. We’ll also have some personal remembrances of 9/11.

The show will air from 7:00 - 8:00 PM Central time. You can access the live stream here. A podcast will be available for streaming or download shortly after the end of the broadcast.

Click on the stream below and join in on what one wag called a “Wayne’s World for adults.”

Also, if you’d like to call in and put your two cents in, you can dial (718) 664-9764.

Listen to The Rick Moran Show on internet talk radio

By: Rick Moran at 4:49 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

9/5/2011
LABOR PIONEERS HELPED CREATE MODERN AMERICA

So it’s Labor Day - one of those quaint, old fashioned holidays that once meant something to people but is now just another excuse for a barbecue or a ballgame.

Thus will it ever be so; America changes and we slough off the old and embrace (or at least tolerate) the new. But Labor Day should be a time to call to mind the triumphs and tragedies that built the labor movement and through the efforts of a precious few courageous men and women, forged the modern America that we live in today.

The modern concept of “work” was largely created by organized labor. The story of how that came about is a fascinating one that has everything a good drama should have; heroes, villains, damsels in distress, and ultimate tragedy as unions first corrupted themselves, then were taken over in many cases by organized crime, and now have atrophied to become caricatures of themselves.

Go back 125 years and you will find that “work” meant something entirely different than it does today. Work was getting up at the crack of dawn and going to a factory where it was a crap shoot as to whether you’d leave at dusk that day with all your fingers, toes, hands, arms, legs, feet, and eyes - not to mention coming home at all. Safety regimens, workers’ compensation, and work rules that put safety first were all invented by industrial unions.

Too smart to work at a factory? How about working as an accountant at the turn of the 20th century. You would likely work 10-12 hours a day in poor light, 6 days a week, with no paid sick leave or paid vacation, and arbitrariness in hiring and firing. It wasn’t until unions came along  and literally fought for these benefits, that these things we take for granted today in all industries became common in the workplace.

The very concept of “leisure time” came about because unions and workers fought bloody battles with hired company goons (and, in some cases, local police) for a 5 day, 40 hour workweek. They fought for a living wage. Their agitation created a large middle class that had the purchasing power to change the face of American retail businesses. The consumer society was born because unions fought for the ability of their members to buy more than the necessities of life.  Living a middle class life came to mean the ability to buy  “luxury” goods like cars, washing machines, refrigerators (”ice boxes”), and other products that were made by other unionized workers.

Far from declining, profits of industrial companies soared. While there may have been grumbling from management, the labor unrest that occurred prior to unions taking on the task of negotiating contracts largely receded. It seems strange, but unions back then recognized that they were stakeholders in assuring that a company remained profitable and competitive. American unions, unlike their European counterparts, participated in the capitalist system and eschewed Communism and socialism - although there were always agitators who tried to alter that equation.

So what happened? Unions became victims of their own success. The depression radicalized some. Organized crime recognized the potentially huge opportunity to skim cash from welfare and pension funds. But beyond that, small minded men replaced the original giants in organized labor and saw to it that the union feathered their nest, rather than working for its members.

By the early 1970’s at the height of their power, unions had been sowing the seeds of their own destruction for decades. The business landscape was altered by history and government; history, because both the victorious and defeated powers who fought World War II had finally rebuilt their industrial capacity and were challenging America for supremacy. And government, because the necessary by products of industrial production - pollution, toxic waste, poisoning ground water — needed to be reined in or we would have killed ourselves.

Rather than recognize the changed environment, unions acted as if the party would go on forever. Alas, it was not to be. Industry by industry went bankrupt or were forced to cut back precipitously. Fewer workers, less power; the snowball was rolling downhill until today, fewer than 12% of the workforce is unionized, down from a high of 35% in post war America.

Have we gained more than we lost in this exchange? I think it depends on the industry. Some industries have probably been helped by a loss of union membership while others could use more union representation. There is also the matter of specific unions and how they are run. The Teamsters have been purged of mobsters for the most part and is a reasonably well run outfit. The leadership of the UAW, on the other hand, could use some radical reformation given the goodies they take for themselves at the expense of their members.

Questions about whether unions are necessary are usually asked by those who don’t work in a job like the home health care field where workers are paid barely minimum wage and whose hours are brutal. Other service workers might do better if they organized. The question isn’t whether unions are necessary, but rather where they would improve the workforce and increase profits. Unions and profits are not incompatible as long as both sides recognize their common interests. That’s a tall order for some unions and most management today. But it is not inconceivable going forward.

There is thuggishness. There is featherbedding. There is corruption and criminal activity. There is all that and worse in the modern organized labor movement. But whatever you think about unions today should not obscure the real benefits and achievements of unions in the past. Along with some visionary companies, they had a great deal to do with inventing the America we live in today.

So honor that effort. And recognize that there is dignity and worth in every worker who participates in our capitalist economy.

By: Rick Moran at 9:41 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

9/2/2011
INTERNMENT AND TERROR FOR BLACK LIBYANS

This is a below the radar story that is getting some traction in the western press, but not much here in the US. Black sub-Saharan migrant workers - as well as black Libyans who make up about a quarter of the population - are suffering what has the makings of a real tragedy as rebel soldiers (and anyone with a gun) is terrorizing just about anyone with a black face.

There have been massive roundups of black males in Tripoli and they are being held in primitive, unsanitary conditions. There are reports that some of the prisoners have been brutalized while others have been shot dead.

The NTC is saying all the right words but it is doubtful if they have much control of the situation.

From my piece at FPM this morning:

There is no firm number of blacks being held in Tripoli, but one rebel commander said that about 5,000 prisoners were being detained in several locations around the city. Human rights groups believe the number is much higher and have raised the alarm about the conditions in which prisoners are being held, as well as concern over the safety of all blacks in Libya. The African Union has withheld recognition of the National Transitional Council, taking them to task for what they view as a racist detention policy. And the NTC has rejected a UN offer of peacekeeping troops to “monitor” the situation.

The NTC has called on its soldiers not to abuse the prisoners, saying those charged with crimes will be given a fair trial. But there are many young men with guns roaming the streets, some of them robbing and beating innocents, with many reports of summary executions. Amnesty International has documented one gruesome atrocity outside of a hospital where 30 bodies, all of them black, were found to have been massacred.

And the rebels’ racism is not confined to black Africans. PJ Media’s John Rosenthal documented dozens of examples of anti-Semetic graffiti in Benghazi after that city fell into rebel hands, as well as many examples of black Africans being singled out for brutal treatment.

“Libyan people don’t like people with dark skins,” one militiaman said in reference to the arrests of blacks. That is certainly one reason for the indiscriminate nature of the round ups. But the rumors — apparently overblown, or downright false — that Gaddafi had hired black African mercenaries from Chad and elsewhere to act as executioners of Libyan civilians, gunning them down in cold blood during protests, has particularly poisoned the minds of many Libyans and has contributed to the racial tensions in the post-Gaddafi era. Representatives from both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch say they have investigated the claims by rebels of African mercenaries committing atrocities and have been unable to verify any of the rumors about them. This may be a case of rebel propaganda blowing back and putting thousands of innocents in danger.

There is also an historical context to be considered when talking about racism in Libya. As Stephen Brown pointed out in FPM last April, since the 7th century, 14 million blacks have been sold into slavery in Arab countries. This has resulted in a kind of racism not seen in America for decades, where blacks are considered sub-human and not fit for any task except those that an Arab considers beneath him. One African columnist writes, “In Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea, Mauritania and the rest of the Arab world, Africans are treated like scum.” In marketplaces, Arabs throw stones at blacks, while preventing them from achieving any positions of authority in Arab countries. “There are hardly any Africans in high government positions in Arab governed countries…It is simply a way of life that’s all. Blacks do not really exist or at best are not human.”

With history — both recent and ancient — working against the black African workers that Gaddafi exploited and discriminated against, the mass arrests have angered the African Union to the point that they are refusing to recognize the NTC until they are assured that their citizens are protected by the new government. “NTC seems to confuse black people with mercenaries,” AU chairman Jean Ping said.”All blacks are mercenaries. If you do that, it means [that the] one-third of the population of Libya, which is black, is also mercenaries. They are killing people, normal workers, mistreating them,” he said.

The AU has also not withdrawn its “roadmap” that called for Gaddafi to remain in power while a transition to a new government was undertaken. This has not enamored the organization with rebel leaders who deny claims of mass roundups and racially motivated killings.

But several western news organizations would disagree with those denials. Reuters reports on a camp that desperate black Africans have set up along the sea shore where refugees tell grim stories of murder, robbery, and beatings at the hands of young Libyans who accost any male with a black face and are likely to haul them off to one of dozens of detention centers in the Libyan capitol.

The NTC won’t even allow UN observers to help, much less peacekeepers. And no one knows what’s happening in the hinterlands where there are few western reporters and even fewer human rights watchers.

It appears that unless the NTC can somehow get a grip on the security situation that something very ugly is going to happen in Libya that will expose western pretensions about how “successful” the “Responsibility to Protect” mission in Libya actually was.

By: Rick Moran at 11:09 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (1)

9/1/2011
ROMPER ROOM POLITICS IN SPEECH KERFUFFLE

Let me get this straight. We have 9% unemployment, an obscenely high deficit of $1.4 trillion, a national debt that is exploding, the real possibility of a double dip recession, the loss of our gold plated debt rating, financial markets poised to repeat the meltdown of 2008, the Euro-zone facing its own financial catastrophe, two wars, and a restless, dispirited population.

And the president pulls a juvenile political stunt by knowingly and deliberately scheduling his speech on how he plans to assist business in creating jobs on the same day and time as a nationally televised GOP candidate debate?

James Carville:

“I do think this is a really big debate and I think the White House was out of bounds…in trying to schedule a speech during a debate,” Carville said on “GMA.”

This will be Gov. Rick Perry’s first debate, and as Carville said this morning the stakes are high.

“Given a choice between watching a debate and the speech I would have watched the debate and I’m not even a Republican or even close to being a Republican,” he said, adding it will be a “barn burner.”

This is the kind of stunt that Donald Segretti would have pulled at USC - or the Nixon White House where every cockamamie scheme to damage Democrats received a serious airing and some were even adopted. Segretti would send out flyers announcing a campaign appearance by a Democratic candidate only he’d give the wrong place and time.

Obama’s handlers thought that the GOP would acquiesce and move their debate because of the scheduling conflict and Obama would have made his point; the jobs speech is more important than the opposition political debate. He would have also scored points with his base for sticking it to the GOP.

But Boehner blew it up in his face, making his campaign team look clueless in the process. They managed to reschedule the speech on the same night that the NFL season kicks off with a game between the last two Super Bowl winners - Green Bay and New Orleans. Any bets on which event pulls in more TV viewers?

It isn’t so much the inept gamesmanship that is so bothersome. It’s the petty nature of the entire affair. The attempt at upstaging the GOP makes the president look small, indeed. Any time a president brings himself down to the level of his opposition, he comes off badly by comparison. It makes one wonder if these are the same guys who ran a brilliant campaign back in 2008 that ended up an electoral landslide.

Now they’re the gang that can’t shoot straight. Cenq Unger on Obama’s “Rope-a-dope” strategy:

Here is what all voters, and especially independents, despise and disdain in a politician — weakness. Nobody wants to see their leader get beat to a pulp every night and then bow his head again.

There is no secret, brilliant strategy. This White House is in a bubble. They think they’re winning when the roof is about to cave in.

I am forced to agree. If this is an example of their idea of strategy, the GOP could nominate a pie-eyed prostitute and probably win. They don’t have a clue on jobs, the economy, or most importantly, projecting an image of Obama’s leadership that would invite the public to support him. The picture most people are getting in their minds of the president is, contrary to what Unger says, a partisan, petulant, whining politician who blames everyone else for the nation’s problems and grumbles about how hard the challenges are. Democrats are finding it harder and harder to defend him and his policies. Soon, they won’t even bother and it will be every Democrat for themselves.

It’s not Obama’s willingness to “compromise” (?) or his efforts at “bi-partisanship” (?) that have him in trouble with the voters. Its that we have enormous problems and his policies are not helping. Trillions in “stimulus” spending and the best the White House can do is claim that all that cash “saved” jobs. Massive health insurance reform that we were told would “bend the curve” on health care costs that has done the opposite. More hundreds of billions spent on plans to prop up mortgages from underwater homeowners failing miserably. The list is endless - and depressing.

The speech ploy demonstrates that the president is not serious about getting the economy moving again and creating jobs. He is intent on getting re-elected while allowing things to drift, hoping that things don’t get much worse and that his efforts to blame the GOP for all the horrors in the world succeeds.

It’s not what we need from a president now. But it’s all we’ve got.

By: Rick Moran at 2:40 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)