October 28, 2006

The Questions Grow, As Do The Number of People Who Need to Be Questioned, in Ted Strickland’s Late-1990s Hiring Controversy

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 4:00 pm

As the Scandal Widens:

It’s not just “What did Ted Strickland know and when did he know it?” (that question is essentially answered already.)

Now there’s more — lots more:

Evidently, in the last weeks of the 1998 campaign when Strickland was anonymously tipped off regarding the sexual offenses of this top employee, criminal arrest records were also sent to a wide range of Ohio Democratic Party officials. In the new e-mail, Ohio Concerned Citizen makes this charge:

“This was not a simple note. Strickland received the same package of information that was sent to all the Democratic chairs, all the Democratic officials on the ballot in his district, all of Strickland’s big campaign donors, news media, etc.”

This accusation suggests a broad-based cover-up was under way within Ohio’s Sixth Congressional District Democratic Party and very possibly beyond. Previously, we had assumed that only Strickland had the information. Now, it appears several key Democratic Party officials had the opportunity to confront Strickland with police reports to demand he take action to remove a convicted criminal sex offender from the top of his re-election campaign.

The apparent desire to cover up the incident and protect the Strickland campaign extended not only to Ohio Democratic Party officials, but to top campaign contributors and to the news media.

Now it’s obvious that at least these additional questions need to be asked:

  • What did “the Democratic chairs, all the Democratic officials on the ballot in his district, and all of Strickland’s big campaign donors” know, and when did they know it?
  • Why, as it appears, did they do nothing about it?
  • What news media members failed to follow up on what they received?
  • Now that the stakes are so much higher than in 1998, when many in the media may have believed that no one would be interested in the facts about about a matter involving an unimportant and uninteresting congressional race, how many of those same news media members are STILL covering for Ted Strickland, refusing to report what some of them must surely know is true, and failing to follow up on new information?

Weekend Question 2: Why Does the New Jersey Gay-Marriage Ruling Show That ‘Early Voting’ Should Be Avoided?

Filed under: Taxes & Government,TWUQs — Tom @ 1:51 pm

Lots has been written on this, but all you need to see is the main paragraph of the holding (PDF opinion is here; HT Allah at Hot Air) and the court’s compliance expectation:

HELD: Denying committed same-sex couples the financial and social benefits and privileges given to their married heterosexual counterparts bears no substantial relationship to a legitimate governmental purpose. The Court holds that under the equal protection guarantee of Article I, Paragraph 1 of the New Jersey Constitution, committed same-sex couples must be afforded on equal terms the same rights and benefits enjoyed by opposite-sex couples under the civil marriage statutes. The name to be given to the statutory scheme that provides full rights and benefits to same-sex couples, whether marriage or some other term, is a matter left to the democratic process.

+++++++++++++++

To bring the State into compliance with Article I, Paragraph 1 so that plaintiffs can exercise their full constitutional rights, the Legislature must either amend the marriage statutes or enact an appropriate statutory structure within 180 days of the date of this decision.

Now, the purpose of this post isn’t to debate the merits of the holding above or the mandated timeline, but to emphasize that the ruling is a powerful lesson in why waiting until Election Day to vote if it is at all possible is so important.

Regardless of what you think of the ruling, there is little doubt that it not only changes the Garden State’s political landscape, but the national landscape as well. It also follows that, again regardless of what you think of the ruling, the issue of gay marriage/unions has become more important vis-a-vis other issues than it was a week ago.

If you’re a Jersey voter, there are many ways the ruling might cause you to change your thinking about candidates. These are just a few of many possibilities:

  • If you support the ruling, you would be more motivated to elect legislature candidates sympathetic to the cause of gay marriage (or whatever the state wishes to call it, because the courts said not to call it “marriage”), and somewhat less interested in legislators’ positions on other matters, especially given that the legislature is being compelled to do something next year.
  • If you are against the ruling, you would obviously be taking a much harder look at candidates’ positions, given that they will be designing (or conceivably will be among those who refuse to design) the “marriage that isn’t marriage” that the court has mandated.
  • Perhaps you are indifferent to the social issue of gay marriage itself, but are worried about the potential impact on state, school, and company budgets of allowing more partners in these relationships, whatever they are called, to latch onto the equivalent of spousal benefits. Extending the ruling not particularly far, you may believe that sanctioning a relationship not called “marriage” for gay couples might embolden unmarried heterosexual couples to press harder for their “right” to spousal-equivalent benefits, further busting government and company budgets. You would be looking for legislators who would reduce the scope of required benefits provided to all couples of whatever descriptive stripe, or who would insist on holding the line against heterosexual domestic partnerships. Your vote would be an attempt to ensure that New Jersey’s employers aren’t saddled with even more costs than the state, which already has the worst business climate in the country, forces them to endure.

National voters’ electoral calculations might include the above, but could also include consideration as to whether the New Jersey ruling jeopardizes the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) passed by Congress in 1996. Jay Sekulow thinks it doesn’t; others might not be so sure, thinking that if New Jersey can cobble together what is essentially a clone of gay marriage without calling it that, nothing, except Congress itself, could stop the federal government from mandating the same setup nationwide. All of a sudden, many voters would consider a candidate’s position on gay marriage and preserving or gutting DOMA awfully important. Again, it doesn’t matter where you stand on the issue; whether you think DOMA is a good thing or bad thing, there’s no doubt the DOMA’s survivability is a more important matter than it was a week ago.

All of this is thrown out the window for anyone who has voted already. If you have voted already and the issue matters to you, candidates’ reactions to the ruling that either cheer you or upset you, even to the point of making you question why you voted or did not vote for them, go into the “too bad, so sad” bucket.

All of this shows that anyone who can vote on Election Day, should vote ONLY on Election Day.

Weekend Question 1: Why Should the ‘Card Check’ Idea Be Chucked?

Filed under: Business Moves,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:51 am

ANSWER: Because it eliminates the secret ballot in union-certification drives, and is a fundamentally dishonest way to subvert workers’ actual sentiments.

__________________________________

This betrayal of one of the Democratic Party’s greatest legacies is brought to you by Representative George Miller of California and Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, and goes under the Orwellian name of “The Employee Free Choice Act.”

The Wall Street Journal editorialized on this legislation, which is a sneak preview of many other pieces of mischief a change in control of Congress might bring, in early September (subscription required):

The bill would effectively do away with secret ballot organizing elections, a product of the 1935 Wagner Act and the crown jewel of federal labor law.

Under the current organizing process, 30% or more of employees file a petition; arguments for and against unionization are presented; and a secret-ballot election is administered by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). If a majority of employees vote in favor, the union is recognized as the exclusive bargaining agent for all workers at that workplace, not just those who voted for it.

Labor wins most of these NLRB elections, but its high winning percentage is a function of organizers going forward only when they think they can win a vote. The reality is that private-sector union membership has been declining for decades. The reasons vary, from a general sense that unions are often corrupt or overly politicized, to a more individual determination that one-size-fits-all contracts hold back the best and most productive workers. Whatever the cause, union membership fell to 7.8% of all private-sector workers last year from 20% in 1983.

This decline helps explain why organized labor is so eager to ditch the secret ballot. Bruce Raynor, who heads the hotel and needle trades union, has gone so far as to say he no longer wants to “subject workers to an election,” as if letting employees decide for themselves somehow makes them victims.

Mr. Raynor and other labor leaders are pushing an alternative known as “card check,” whereby paid union organizers, um, “persuade” employees to sign pro-union cards. No election, secret or otherwise, is held. As soon as organizers have gathered signatures from more than half of workers, the union can be recognized. Labor is also pressuring employers to sign “neutrality agreements” (read: gag orders) that keep them silent while unions are organizing workers. The potential abuses here are myriad, especially in workplace intimidation.

Employers currently have the option of recognizing a union based on the card check process, but the Kennedy-Miller legislation would make this a requirement. Secret ballot elections would end unless union officials consented to them.

Unfortunately — Fat chance.

“Card check” is a sickening betrayal of the labor movement’s legacy and origins, which were built around the idea of having secret-ballot elections to avoid employer coercion. Now that employees in general, especially in the private sector, are largely disinterested in organizing (many of them, I believe, haven’t been convinced that it will benefit them), and intimidating employer behavior has been largely reined in, the union movement wants to take the secret ballot away. Sorry, folks; you need to make your case to the workers. If it’s not happening, rethink what you are doing, and focus your efforts on industries and companies that are in reality not treating their workers well.

There are several private-sector areas of the economy that might benefit from being responsibly organized; the fact that the unions are not winning over workers who could genuinely benefit from sticking together is the unions’ fault, not the playing field’s.

_______________________________

UPDATE: Ohio gubernatorial candidate Ted Strickland is one of about 200 co-sponsors of the legislation.

Positivity: Pope Pius XII’s Courageous 1941 Witness

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:02 am

From a newly-discovered archival document:

The uncovered document provides further evidence against the notion that Pope Pius XII was an anti-Semite and did nothing to help the Jews during World War II.

Monthly magazine, Inside the Vatican, reported on the document, which is an article that was published in The Palestine Post, (now The Jerusalem Post), on April 28, 1944. The article was written as a first-hand account by an anonymous Jewish author in wartime Palestine.

It describes a meeting between Pope Pius XII and the anonymous author, a young German Jew, in 1941 at the Vatican. The young man had gone seeking help for Jews who were being held in an Italian Fascist internment camp.

After listening to the young man and asking him to follow up with a letter to the Secretary of State who was dealing with the matter, Pius told him twice in front of a large group, which included German soldiers: “Be proud to be a Jew.”

The document was uncovered by William Doino, a longtime contributor to Inside the Vatican and the author of an 80,000-word annotated bibliography on Pope Pius XII, titled “The Pius War: Responses to the Critics of Pius XII”. Doino found the article in archives maintained by Tel Aviv University.

“The testimony has apparently been forgotten, because, as far as I know, no leading Holocaust authority or biographer of Pius XII has ever cited it,” Doino was reported as saying.

According to the article, the Pope had told the young Jewish man: “You have done well to come to me and tell me this. I have heard about it before. Come back tomorrow with a written report and give it to the Secretary of State who is dealing with the question. But now for you, my son. You are a young Jew. I know what that means and I hope you will always be proud to be a Jew!”

Pius then raised his voice so that everyone in the hall – including the German soldiers – could hear him. “My son, whether you are worthier than others only the Lord knows, but believe me, you are at least as worthy as every other human being that lives on our earth! And now, my Jewish friend, go with the protection of the Lord, and never forget, you must always be proud to be a Jew!”

“For Pius XII to make this statement to a German Jew, in 1941, in private, would have been remarkable enough,” Doino told Inside the Vatican. “That he did it in public, with his voice raised so that ‘everybody in the hall’ could ‘hear it clearly,’ in front of German soldiers, as well as cardinals, bishops, and other high dignitaries of the Vatican government, is more astonishing still.”

“It doesn’t merely reveal Pius XII’s kindness and Christian compassion; he goes well beyond that and affirms the young man’s Jewishness, the very core and dignity of his being,” Doino said.