Monthly Archives: November 2014

Media Ignoring Key News

Long after the blockbuster disclosure that one of the architects of Obamacare revealed that its passage depended on misleading the American public, many of the main national media outlets failed to even mention the story.  The President has barely been pressed on the outright fabrication about Americans being able to “keep their own doctors.”

Scant network or cable news attention has been paid to the overwhelming opposition to the Administration’s position on immigration, even among some of its key supporters.

This is similar to the failure of the mainstream press to appropriately cover Benghazi issues, or to provide significant coverage of the IRS scandal, or of a variety of other Oval Office related misdeeds.

A few other major stories the media has utterly failed to cover includes the withdrawal of all American tanks from Europe in early 2014, or the startling news that for the first time since the end of the Second World War, there will be no U.S. aircraft carriers available for deployment in the Pacific near China. Little significant press has been devoted to attempts by prominent Democrat Senators to abridge the First Amendment.

A similar lack of interest has been said about the White House’s bid to regulate—read control—the internet “as though it were a public utility.”Could it be because the web has become the true “fourth estate,” the medium that dares to raise the tough questions?

Following decades of contentious presidential press conferences, these events, since the election of Barack Obama, have been largely subdued and ultra-polite. It’s time for the public to ask why.

Sino-Russian military cooperation threatens U.S. technological edge

Pentagon sources were quoted by the Weekly Standard as being concerned that America is losing its edge in military technology to China.

In addition to its massive strides in cyber warfare and missiles that can destroy American aircraft carriers from almost a thousand miles away and knock vital U.S. satellites out of orbit, Beijing, according to a Spacewar report, has developed a laser that can shoot down light drones.  According to Chinese reports, the weapon has almost 100% accuracy and is transportable.  It is expected that a more powerful version will be developed for use against heavier craft as well.

The American people have been repeatedly told that cuts to the U.S. defense budget were not exceedingly dangerous because of both the higher rate of spending by Washington and the Pentagon’s technological edge.  That edge may no longer exist, and China and Russia’s massive increases in their defense spending may soon close the fiscal gap as well.

There is also the increased threat from the sharing of research and technology between Moscow and Beijing.  China’s Xinhua news paper quotes Vladimir Putin as stating that Sino-Russian cooperation has “reached its all-time best.”   Putin placed particular emphasis on joint high-tech ventures.

Putin emphasized that the two nations are striving to create a “new security” framework in the Asian Pacific region.

Thanksgiving: A Legacy of Courage

There is little doubt that this year’s Thanksgiving takes place at a deeply troubled time. But it is comforting to remember that those who founded this unique holiday did so in the aftermath of enormous difficulties. Further, while the event was commemorated long before, it wasn’t until the Civil War, perhaps the darkest period in American history, that Thanksgiving was first proclaimed a national holiday by President Abraham Lincoln.

In 1621, when the colonists at Plymouth and the neighboring Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast, they did so in the aftermath of tumultuous events. The Pilgrims left their homes seeking religious freedom and a chance at prosperity.  Their transatlantic crossing aboard the Mayflower took 66 days of utter misery. When they finally reached the New World, they wound up far north of their target, in area far colder and less hospitable than where they had planned.

That first winter was brutal, and most remained aboard the cramped ship. Barely half survived until spring. Those that did were weakened by a variety of ailments. Were it not for the good will and generous spirit of Native Americans such as Squanto, a member of the Pawtuxet tribe, many more would have perished.

But they persevered, and when their first corn harvest provided a bounty, they celebrated and gave thanks.

Americans today face great challenges.  But a legacy of endurance and heroism provides the blueprint for overcoming them.  For that heritage, it is appropriate to give thanks. Happy Thanksgiving.

Meet the real “most interesting man”

From classified military missions to the Wall Street jungle, L. Todd Wood has been at the center of the most vital stories affecting the USA.  Now an author of several fascinating works of fiction ripped from today’s headlines, Todd is truly one of the most interesting individuals around. Tune into the Vernuccio/Allison Report this Wednesday, December 3 at 10am on the amfm247.com network, and on local radio in a number of cities across America (check local listings.) Also available on iheart radio.

Europeans deeply concerned about Russian military activity

The European Leadership Network (ELN) is an organization working to bring European nations together to deal with serious international challenges and threats to the safety of the continent.

Its recently released report on Russia is deeply troubling.  According to its latest policy brief,

“Since the Russian annexation of Crimea, the intensity and gravity of incidents involving Russian and Western militaries and security agencies has visibly increased. [There have been…] almost 40 specific incidents that have occurred over the last eight months. These events add up to a highly disturbing picture of violations of national airspace, emergency scrambles, narrowly avoided mid-air collisions, close encounters at sea, simulated attack runs and other dangerous actions happening on a regular basis over a very wide geographical area.

“Apart from routine or near-routine encounters, [There have been…] 11 serious incidents of a more aggressive or unusually provocative nature, bringing a higher level risk of escalation. These include harassment of reconnaissance planes, close overflights over warships, and Russian ‘mock bombing raid’ missions. [There have been…] 3 high risk incidents which in our view carried a high probability of causing casualties or a direct military confrontation: a narrowly avoided collision between a civilian airliner and Russian surveillance plane, abduction of an Estonian intelligence officer, and a large-scale Swedish ‘submarine hunt’.

Even though direct military confrontation has been avoided so far, the mix of more aggressive Russian posturing and the readiness of Western forces to show resolve increases the risk of unintended escalation and the danger of losing control over events.

2014 election aftermath: Union’s bark worse than its bite

F. Vincent Vernuccio, writing for the Mackinac Center

The 2014 election was not so much a referendum on labor reform as yet another reminder that when elected officials protect freedom and taxpayers they do not need to fear the wrath of the union political juggernaut.

These reformers winning and opponents losing cannot be easily dismissed as “it was a Republican wave which protected the politicians who took on labor reform.” Almost more striking than what was in the Republican wins was what was not in the Democrat losses.

In Michigan for example, the birthplace of the UAW, the state with the 5th highest union membership rate in the country and long considered a labor stronghold, right-to-work was nowhere to be found in the election. Not on the ballot as an initiative or Constitutional Amendment, nor even in the gubernatorial or legislative races.

During the sole Michigan gubernatorial debate of the season, the only time worker freedom came up was as a subpart of another question and one that neither candidate addressed.

So low was the saliency of right-to-work as a negative issue that even representatives from the Michigan Education Association dismissed it. At a right-to-work panel discussion in October, MEA communications consultant David Crim explicitly stated:

I do not believe that on November 4th when people go to the polls they are going to say ‘you know what I am going to decide who I am going to vote for, for governor, for the legislature, any office on the ballot based on the right-to-work law that was passed…’ See 46:30 on video 

This is a far cry from the violent protests outside the Capitol and a “there will be blood” threat by Rep. Douglas Geiss, D-Taylor, during the passage of Michigan’s right-to-work law in 2012.

In Wisconsin, proxies for Gov. Scott Walker’s reforms have been on the ballot almost too many times to count. In every election that was deemed a ‘must win’ by unions to repeal labor reforms there was a loss. In fact, after the initial flurry of recall attempts, Gov. Walker’s budget repair bill was not a central issue of the Democratic campaigns.

The same goes for the legislators who voted for right-to-work in Indiana and even for Gov. Kasich in Ohio, whose labor reforms were overturned yet still won re-election handily last night.

Big Labor lost four of the five gubernatorial races the AFL-CIO initially said it would focus on — Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Florida — with Pennsylvania being their only win.

As Lee Saunders, chairman of the AFL-CIO’s political committee, told The New York Times in February, ousting Republicans in the industrial battleground states was “about survival.”

Labor lost races that were not even initially on their radar. This shockingly includes Illinois, where Gov.-Elect Bruce Rauner dared to take on forced unionism.

The “survival” lesson from the 2014 election is that labor reform is not the third rail of politics. Despite enduring a lot of noise from Big Labor, reformers need not fear its wrath. Voters will continue to reward those who support freedom and taxpayers.

As for labor’s survival, this election should be a lesson. It is time they give up the compulsion and privileges of the past. In order to not just survive but grow, they need to adapt.

Obama’s Illegal Immigration Priority

President Obama wants to allow a large number of illegal immigrants to stay within America,  but the recent election gives the public opinion edge to those who prioritize securing the border first. The President not only appears unwilling to compromise, but seeks to accomplish his goal through constitutionally questionable executive action.  Why does he adhere to such a hard position in light of the extraordinary defeat handed to his party—which supports his immigration policies?

The answer has everything to do with election vulnerability. Beset by high unemployment, a federal budget strained to the breaking point caused in part by spending aimed more at winning votes than in meeting national needs, a foreign policy in complete disarray, numerous serious scandals, and a suite of strategies on domestic issues that the voters clearly reject including divisive tactics on racial and gender issues, the Obama-left knows that its popularity is rapidly disintegrating.  It’s only hope lies, quite bluntly, in stuffing the ballot box, particularly in key precincts, with the substantial numbers of unlawful votes that the Democrat Party will wring from the illegals.

The tactic goes hand-in-hand with the White House’s vehement objection to voter id laws.  There is no substantive evidence that requiring picture id to insure honest balloting in any way, shape, manner or form has any harmful side effects, and particularly none regarding any racial bias.  There is, however, a massive body of evidence that the election process has been highly tainted by a panoply of fraudulent tactics, including false registrations, voting several times, altered voting machines, and voting by illegal aliens. By an overwhelming percentage, the chief beneficiary of these illegal practices has been the Democrat Party.

The President’s push for allowing illegal aliens to stay has nothing to do with compassion, and everything to do with fraud.

In its drive to stuff the ballot box, the President has willingly suspended appropriate Constitutional procedure. There is no legal basis for the President to enact legislative-like measures simply because “Congress refuses to act” on a Presidential priority. The White House contention that prior presidents also acted unilaterally on amnesty just doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.  Reagan acted in response to the 1986 Immigration and Reform Control Act. The Bush (41) Administration revised technical aspects.  Neither engaged in any wide-scale, legislative like action similar to the current Obama attempt.

Unionization for the 21st Century: Solutions for the Ailing Labor Movement

For years union membership has been in decline. In 2012 union membership hit the lowest percentage of the American workforce since 1916. The union business model, based largely on industrial organizing efforts from the 1930s, does not appear to carry over well for today’s educated and transient workforce. It appears unions have not evolved to meet the needs of most modern workers.

There are several ways labor organizations could improve and become more responsive to the needs of workers. Unions should move away from their traditional operating formula and function more like professional associations, focusing on providing valuable services to members and representing the diverse set of needs of individual workers.

Some unions appear to be attempting to adapt, but are, unfortunately, only doubling down on the intimidation-based, one-size-fits-all union model of the past. These union front organizations, commonly known as worker centers, are using the same tactics of old to expand the power of existing unions, rather than creatively meeting the needs of modern workers.

In order to thrive, unions must move away from the old model based on coercion and monopolistic privileges granted by labor laws of the last century. The way for unions to grow and better serve workers is to shift to an operating principal based on voluntary association, where unions must compete for the hard-earned support of their members. Unions should only represent workers who desire to be represented and serve the unique needs of the skilled worker of the 21st century.

In many situations, even the choice of union representation could be further individualized. Instead of simply giving a worker a take-it-or-leave-it proposal, unions could specialize in a la carte services, where members pick and choose what they want from one or multiple unions.

The four methods by which unions might reform and improve highlighted in this study are:

  • Unions as trainers and certifiers: More unions should provide training and apprenticeship programs for workers.
  • Union as professional organizations: Like other professional organizations, unions should advocate for their members’ interests in the industry, serve as a resource for collaboration and provide social networking opportunities.
  • Unions as representatives: Unions should refocus on providing resources for individual contracts and employees should be allowed to negotiate compensation arrangements for themselves. Merit pay and individualized rewards for productivity should be embraced.
  • Unions as insurance: Unions can provide life, malpractice and other forms of insurance, as well as retirement benefits, such as defined-contribution retirement savings plans, which workers can take with them from job to job and union to union.

This is an executive summary of a study by F. Vincent Vernuccio writing for the Mackinac Institute. The Full report is available at http://www.mackinac.org/20695

What is Occurring in Ferguson is Insurrection, Not Protest

There is a difference between protest and insurrection. Protestors believe that the system is being abused or not properly followed. Insurrectionists want to replace the current system.

What is occurring in Ferguson is insurrection. There is no evidence that the actions by the police officer charged in the shooting death of Michael Brown, who had just robbed a store, was anything but self-defense. However, that doesn’t matter to the insurrectionist crowd, who wish to use the incident as further means to fundamentally attack the constitutional government of the United States.

It is, indeed, the whole concept of a government based on a constitution providing individual freedom and the separation of powers to prevent tyranny that is on the battle lines recently, from the streets of Ferguson to the Oval Office, where the President dismisses the legitimate role of Congress, and even in the Supreme Court, where one Obama appointee stated during her nominating process that she didn’t believe in the concept of unalienable rights, and another stated that if she were designing a government today she wouldn’t use the U.S. Constitution as a model.

What continues to be missing from the rhetoric of the insurrectionists, or progressives as they prefer to be called, is what they would substitute for the current governing model. That description is missing because they know their concept would be instantly condemned by the overwhelming majority. It is most succinctly stated by Jonathon Gruber, one of the architects of Obamacare, who has expressed his view that Americans are too stupid to know what is good for them. The Progressive model is not new. It is the concept that the great majority of people are too ignorant, undisciplined and just plain bad to govern themselves, so they must have a group of self-proclaimed geniuses to run their lives.

This excuse has been used by monarchs and dictators since the beginning of history. It is becoming increasingly prevalent among American progressives today. One ludicrous example can be seen in individuals who seek to enact measures dictating what people can eat, and politicians, bureaucrats and pundits who offer a variety of reasons to abridge or eliminate the First, Second, Fourth, Ninth and Tenth Amendments, virtually gutting the Bill of Rights.

Since these concepts cannot succeed at the ballot box if openly stated, they are hidden under a variety of tactics. Details of legislation that would raise serious objections are obscured. Former Speaker Pelosi’s extraordinary comment that “We won’t know what’s in the bill (Obamacare) until we pass it” is a prime example. What can’t be enacted at all legislatively is often implemented through bureaucracy, or by President Obama’s unconstitutional attempt to by pass Congress in clear defiance of the Constitution.

Dishonesty is the bulwark and major weapon of the Progressive movement. When the truth rears its head, Progressives must slap it down. Consider journalists, such as Sharyl Attkinson, who continue to be harassed or dismissed when they challenge the prevailing and fraudulent orthodoxy of the Progressive leadership, or scientists who question the misrepresentation of data that has been abused to further the progressive agenda. It is greatly noticeable in many universities, where free speech is rapidly becoming an endangered species for non-leftist students.

The Ferguson incident is a true bonanza for the Progressive movement, taking real issues such as the Obama Administration’s utter failures in the realms of the economy and foreign affairs off the front pages. The encouragement of disunity–blacks vs. whites, men vs. women, young vs. old—is the current incarnation of the time-honored tactic of distract, divide and conquer.

So many of the headline stories dominating the news today fall into this category.