Here is the full interview… followed by links to the topical breakdown of it:
Dennis Prager interviews John Zmirak, who is the author of “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration.” This was quite an interview. I will be splitting some of this up into topical segments in a bit. But Mr. Zmirak is a guy I would love to sit and have a beer with (a few of em’).
I was feeling the steak salad at Tilt the Kilt, so I grabbed my newest copy of The City Journal and a book I am reading “Contradict: They Can’t All Be True,” and headed over. I must look like a COMPLETE idiot as I have my faced buried in either of the two… just glancing up to see if there is a change of score in the Blackhawks game (the only thing good to come out of Chicago… that and it’s school of economics [back-in-the-day]). Some good articles in the City Journal this time around. One was so interesting that I scanned a bit of it for others to read.
But before you do — two things. 1) promise to watch “Waiting for Superman” in the future, as well as 2) watching the video directly below, now. The video below is one — even if already seen — will refresh the visuals of what the below article explains:
So you know, UFT stands for United Federation of Teachers, and is the largest teacher union in New York. Here is a portion of the article:
…The UFT has been especially effective because, unlike other interest groups in the city, it gets two bites at the apple—through collective bargaining and through politics. Three structural features of the collective bargaining process skew in the UFT’s favor. First, even in the best-case scenario, in which the city fights for the children’s interests and the union battles to protect its teachers, the result would be something in between—that is, an outcome not fully in the interest of students. Second, the city is a near-monopoly provider of education. Absence of competition reduces pressure on the city to drive a hard bargain with the UFT, while lessening incentives for the union to moderate its demands. Third, the UFT contributes cash and campaign assistance to the politicians with whom it negotiates. To the extent that the UFT backs winners, the union ends up on both sides of the bargaining table. Consequently, negotiated outcomes favor the UFT over time.The United Teachers Federation (UFT) represent most of New York’s public schools, so you understand the acronym below:
In the political arena, no group in New York City can rival the UFT’s manpower and money. Most of its 116,000 members hold college and graduate degrees, making them more likely to be politically active. The union also collects huge sums in dues, which are automatically deducted from members’ paychecks. Each UFT member pays, on average, approximately $600 a year in union dues, bringing the union’s annual revenues to about $70 million—much of it reserved for paying union officials’ salaries, contributions to state and national federations, rent for office space, and the costs of collective bargaining. The UFT also maintains a Committee on Political Education, sponsored by members who voluntarily donate anywhere from 50 cents to ten dollars out of their biweekly paycheck for explicitly political purposes. The fund hauls in more than $10 million a year, about $3 million of which goes for lobbying and protests.
Thanks to its massive war chest, the UFT has become the Democratic Party’s largest underwriter in New York City and State. (It is also a major donor to the left-wing Working Families Party.) Over the last two years, the union has given $1.7 million to city council candidates—all Democrats. According to the National Institute for Money in State Politics, in 2012 (as in most years before and since), the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), largely a state-level extension of the UFT, was the Empire State’s biggest contributor to candidates and parties in state politics. Seventy-nine percent of the NYSUT’s S1.2 million in contributions went to Democrats.
In his book Special Interest, Stanford University political scientist Terry Moe found that from 2000 to 2009, teachers’ unions’ campaign contributions exceeded those of all other business associations in New York State combined by a ratio of five to one. And most business groups don’t try to influence education policy so single-mindedly.
The UFT and the Democratic Party in New York are intertwined in other ways. For example, the union provides office space—next door to its headquarters at 50 Broadway in Manhattan—to the State Senate Democratic Campaign Committee. Then—UFT president Randi Weingarten served as cochair of Hillary Clinton’s 2000 senate campaign. Not surprisingly, during the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries, Senator Clinton dismissed the idea of teacher-merit pay as disruptive. A revolving door of consultants, campaign operatives, and lobbyists connects the UFT and the campaign staffs of state legislators and city council members. Many liberal interest groups in the city—such as Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, 1199 SEIU Healthcare Workers East, and other public-employee unions—are, for the most part, UFT allies. The union also helps fund other advocacy organizations, such as U.S. Action and the NAACP, and think tanks, such as Demos and the Economic Policy Institute, whose loyalty it can rely on in a pinch.
The UFT’s membership constitutes the largest single voting bloc in mayoral elections. And because teachers and school paraprofessionals live in all parts of the city, they can be decisive in low-turnout city council races. The UFT’s get-out-the-vote operation is rivaled only by its ally, SEIU 1199. In 2013, de Blasio was elected mayor with just 752,604 votes in a city of 8.4 million people. Fully 42 percent of voters said that they belonged to a union household.
The UFT also spends millions each year lobbying city council members and state legisla‑tors. According to the New York State Ethics Commission, the union spent $1.86 million in Albany in 2012. And the New York Public Interest Research Group reports that the NYSUT, to which the UFT contributes substantial revenues, was the state’s second-biggest lobbying spender in 2010, plunking down $4.7 million. (The Healthcare Education Project, a vehicle of SEIU 1199 and the Greater New York Hospital Association, was first.)
The UFT’s extensive political activities ensure that the school system continues to serve the needs of teachers first. The union’s enduring objectives—better pay, benefits, and job protections for its members—are divorced from issues of student achievement, as New York’s declining school performance since the unionization of teachers in the 1960s makes clear. By 1990, nearly 40 percent of freshmen entering high school had been held back in earlier grades, while 23 percent of students dropped out of school altogether. In 1994, only 44 percent of students graduated from high school in four years. Only one in three third-graders could read at or above grade level in 1997….
All this spending means that the New York City school system now lays out $20,226 per pupil — double the national average of $10,608 — based on census data released in May 2014.
Daniel DiSalvo, The Union That Devoured Education Reform, The City Journal (Autumn 2014), 12-13, 16.
At the AFL-CIO’s convention in Los Angeles earlier this month, Loretta Johnson, secretary-treasurer of the American Federation of Teachers, said it was already happening in her union.
“We are seeing employer after employer cut hours so as to avoid the 30-hour definition of a full-time job,” Johnson said. The AFL-CIO passed a resolution demanding either Congress or Obama fix the law to stop it from hurting union members.
….The irony in this case is rich. And the union’s denial of the reason for the cuts is childish. We have seen union after union plead with Obama for relief. Some received waivers that allow them to delay implementation of Obamacare’s rules and regulations. But most find themselves stuck with a law that is going to impoverish their members. It just never occurred to these labor bosses that a government program could actually harm them.
As with everything else related to Obamacare, the law of unintended consequences rules.
Alas, Hugo Chávez will not live long enough to atone for his abuse of millions of Venezuelans nor to correct the corrupt and destructive policies that have wrecked the country he leaves behind. Moreover, although his cronies and their Cuban handlers are maneuvering to hold on to power, a Chavista succession is neither stable nor sustainable. With more audacious leadership among Venezuela’s democrats and intelligent solidarity from abroad, Chávez’s legacy might be buried with him.
The foundations of Chavismo are being shaken by an impending socioeconomic meltdown, a faltering oil sector, bitter in-fighting in his own movement, complicity with drug-trafficking and terrorism, rampant street crime, the inept performance by Chávez’s anointed successor, and growing popular rejection of Cuban interference, corrupt institutions, and rigged elections. Beset by these challenges and with Chávez no longer at the top of the ballot, the regime will use every advantage to engineer a victory in a special election to choose a new president.
A currency devaluation last month was too little and too late to break the fall of a Venezuelan economy that has been decimated by gross mismanagement, staggering corruption, and policies that were meant to strangle the independent private sector. The Chavista economic team is scrambling to stabilize the economy in advance of the election, but its incompetence is evident as it ratchets up restrictions that will stifle production and commerce. Inflation, food shortages, power outages, and crumbling infrastructure are taking a terrible toll on the quality of life of all Venezuelans.
Unlike in the past, Venezuela will not be saved by a windfall of oil revenues, because production is greatly diminished and oversubscribed. Contrary to official numbers, actual production is 2.4 million barrels per day, far below a peak of 3.3 million before Chávez. And sweetheart deals with China, Russia, and Iran as well as giveaways to Cuba and other client states in the Caribbean and Central America are bleeding Venezuela dry. Although China loaned about $28 billion to Chávez in the last 18 months, Beijing has closed its checkbook because of the questionable legality of the interim regime and the simple fact that Venezuela has no crude oil left to sell. As a result of this mess, there are reports that Venezuela is actually importing gasoline to satisfy domestic demand. In short, Chávez politicized the state-run oil company and treated its revenue as his petty cash fund – now the company is ruined and the till is empty….
Rich Lowry recently “eulogized” the media stronghold regarding Chavez at Politico:
Let us pause and reflect. The left’s favorite self-aggrandizing thug has shed this mortal coil. Hugo Chávez, R.I.P.
All the country’s least reflective and most reflexive ideologues of the left immediately issued warm farewells — Sean Penn, Michael Moore, Oliver Stone and, of course, the nation’s 39th president, Jimmy Carter.
Carter praised Chávez for his commitment “to bring profound changes to his country,” which by installing himself as the effective president for life, he certainly did. Carter noted his “formidable communications skills,” a quality that is not unusual in successful populist demagogues. In the gentle tone of someone who regrets that his good friend sometimes cheats at bridge, Carter allowed that he did not agree “with all of the methods followed by his government.”
Such is the appeal of the socialist caudillo that ThinkProgress had to take a break from blogging about the latest Republican idiocy, real or imagined, to warn off its allies with a piece titled, “Why Democrats Shouldn’t Eulogize Hugo Chávez.”
It didn’t get to New York Rep. José Serrano in time. He rushed to praise Chávez: “He understood democracy and basic human desires for a dignified life.” As a technical matter, Serrano is right: Chávez understood democracy exceedingly well, if by that you mean he understood how to exploit its forms while hollowing out its institutions to entrench himself in power in perpetuity.
He displaced a corrupt, conscienceless oligarchy when he took power in 1999, and replaced it with his own corrupt, conscienceless rule. In a recent report, Human Rights Watch detailed how “the accumulation of power in the executive and the erosion of human rights protections have allowed the Chávez government to intimidate, censor, and prosecute critics and perceived opponents in a wide range of cases involving the judiciary, the media, and civil society.”
The night of his death, Rachel Maddow had Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson on her program to discuss Chávez. She asked Robinson in a voice heavy with sarcasm whether Hugo Chávez was really “the monster” he was made out to be. Robinson explained that Chávez bonded with the poor and had lots of popular support. Maddow very gently prodded Robinson to address criticisms of Chávez for not advancing freedom, “even as he did advance economic populist aims.”
Unable to muster any of the denunciatory venom he lavishes on Republicans once or twice a week, Robinson issued forth with a strangely tortured construction, “he was not what we would call a lover of democracy as we would like to see it practiced.” Eric Cantor must wonder why Robinson doesn’t similarly mute his criticisms of him. Robinson noted that Chávez gerrymandered electoral districts, but, hey, “that happens elsewhere as well.” All in all, he was … “a man of contradictions.” You know, like Disraeli or Gladstone.
I have followed the actions of Marxists in Venezuela for quite some time (here as well as at my old blog), and the craziness Hollywood supported Hugo Chavez with. I wish to post again a blogger from Venezuela, and her clear statement of the travesty our Left embraces… from The End of Venezuela As I Know It:
Chavez died today…. When I heard the news, these past fourteen years passed by me in an instant. My adolescence, my youth, all that fear, all that disappointment, all those street demonstrations, all those stories, all those lives that were lost in the way not by cancer but by the sound of a trigger. I wrote to my friends, to all those people who accompanied me during all those years when everything was about Chavez. All those people with frustrated dreams and hopes. Everyone who saw in this fourteen years a definite ruin of what we once called home. Pain, that is Hugo Chavez legacy.
One should keep in mind that this destruction of human life for a “conceived of” utpoia is what the Left will sacrifice. That is, lives for an ideal. Here is an older informal poll showing that Chavez was more popular than Kerry (via Breitbart):
In an informal poll in 2004, the populist progressive site Democratic Underground took a reader poll asking who they respected more: Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez or then-Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. Chavez won, 70% to 30%.
So the type of help needed in South America/Venezuela is not one that will readily coming from our current administration. Another horrible effect of the past election, or mandate — “loss of lives traded for an unproved ideal.” Another “thank you Dems” is needed.
In fact, one of the largest financial supporters to the Democratic Party — the SEIU — held a candlelight vigil for Hugo Chavez:
Our goal as socialists is to abolish private ownership of the means of production. Our immediate task is to limit the capitalist class’s prerogatives in the workplace…In the short run we must at least minimize the degree of exploitation of workers by capitalists. We can accomplish this by promoting full employment policies, passing local living wage laws, but most of all by increasing the union movement’s power…
Through SEIU, DSA has 2.1 million paid lackeys to do just that.
As the race heats up… more and more truthers will come out of the woodwork. First, lets watch a union organized protest via Weasel Zippers:
A group of protesters organized by SEIU and Obama For America showed up in Wisconsin to greet Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.
Here is my point. More and more as the high percentage of conspiratorially minded Dems become vocal, the above will almost be normal. Here are some stats and ideas between the left and the right in regards to conspiracies from an older FB chat:
PERCENTAGES You are aware,I am sure, that the birther story was first started by a Democrat and the story made popular via Hillary Clinton. For instance, Politico says this in one of their classic articles:
☼ …Where did this idea come from? Who started it? And is there a grain of truth there? The answer lies in Democratic, not Republican politics, and in the bitter, exhausting spring of 2008. At the time, the Democratic presidential primary was slipping away from Hillary Clinton and some of her most passionate supporters grasped for something, anything that would deal a final reversal to Barack Obama. The theory’s proponents are a mix of hucksters and earnest conspiracy theorists, including prominently a lawyer who previously devoted himself to ‘proving’ that the Sept. 11 attacks were an inside job. Its believers are primarily people predisposed to dislike Obama. That willingness to believe the worst about officials of the opposite party is a common feature of presidential rumor-mongering: In 2006, an Ohio University/Scripps Howard poll found that slightly more than half of Democrats said they suspected the Bush Administration of complicity in the Sept. 11 attacks…. Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0411/53563.html#ixzz1tyIx4HWw
Let us digest this a bit. Let me reiterate the stat I ended with:
WHAT KIND OF CONSPIRACY? So you have two conspiracies to compare, what do they show? One has a belief held that a person was born out of country, and that other people covered this up. In other words… when Obama was a child other adults made this happen, he was powerless to affect it, and may not have known (assuming such a thing to be true) about it until his Presidential run. That’s number one.
Number two deals with a conspiracy that posits a leader of these United States knew of the coming attack and allowed it to happen, thus killing fellow citizens and going to war over it — killing more Americans over an evil conspiracy. Many of these Democrats also believe Bush was involved in making this happen (http://hotair.com/archives/2007/09/06/zogby-poll-42-of-democrats-think-bush-caused-911-or-let-it-happen/). So this conspiracy would be considered — if we had an evil scale — much more “evil” because it is an American in the highest office basically directly culpable for the death of innocent people.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist for an outside observer to say, “whoa, whoa, whoa… calm down DEMOCRATS [*not said in yelling tone, but merely to emphasize*]. Yeah this other conspiracy is nuts, but it doesn’t posit such an overtly evil act.” in other words a much larger number of Democrats are on the “fringe” and would I guess (if they were Republicans) be called racists for this assertion, like Republicans are called racist for their birtherism position (which I guess the 15% of Democrats are not?)
….Breitbart.com, as part of its relaunch, has posted recent video of Lerner and his cohorts celebrating their favorite topics: how to “abolish capitalism,” how to stir worker unrest, and how to advance the alliance of union interests and Occupy fervor.
Breitbart.com has received exclusive tape of an Occupy Strategy Session at New York University, billed as a group talk on “The Abolition of Capitalism.” One of the headline speakers at this session was Stephen Lerner, former leader and International Board Member of the SEIU and frequent Obama White House visitor. Lerner argued in favor of people not paying their mortgages and “occupying” their homes; he spoke in favor of invading annual shareholders meetings to shut them down. But his big goal was to get workers to shut down their workplaces. That’s where the SEIU agenda and the Occupy agenda truly meet: once workers begin to occupy.
The letter scolded Mayor Gray saying, “Your failure to warn District residents about a double digit spike in violent crime is inexcusable. The public has a right to know when crime is increasing and public awareness can facilitate crime prevention.”
Baumann referenced Mayor Gray’s December 15 interview with NewsTalk’s Bruce Deputy in the letter, saying the mayor’s comments about the number of MPD officers redeployed to police the Occupy protesters was misleading. According to Baumann, crime has risen around the city because neighborhood police officers have been diverted to the political protests.
Gray did say during the interview that he’d like the federal government to chip in to pay for the cost of added security surrounding the political protests that have been encamped in the city since October….
CSPAN is airing the leftist “One Socialist Nation” rally today in Washington DC.
Unfortunately, they didn’t have a good crowd shot of the turnout… So they used a photo from a Glenn Beck tea party rally.
Notice the Gadsden flags in the background. Hat Tip Ed