Posts Tagged ‘SEIU’

This is a reprint of one of my old posts from June 3, 2009.  It has more relevance today, thanks to the exposure that the new documentary film “Battle for Brooklyn” is finally bringing to this horrible tale of eminent domain abuse, after all the years that so many in that community toiled to tell it.


acorn-ratnerAmidst the coverage of ACORN for allegations of voter registration fraud, the Rathke embezzlement scandal, the ACORN-8 civil lawsuit and Justice Department complaint, controversy over Project Vote and alleged misuse of the Obama donors list, and most recently ACORN’s role in the upcoming Census in 2010, there lies a lesser told tale of controversy, conflict and allegation. Correction: it’s a feverishly told tale, at least in New York, but one largely ignored, perhaps because the very checks and balances that are supposed to be in place to expose allegations of impropriety apparently fall by the wayside when the media itself becomes part of the story (allegedly…).

This is a long, complex story that has many twists and turns, and many angles (angles that, quite frankly, I’d consider more important than the one I’m going to cover here). This is a compartmentalized version of a broader story, and will focus primarily on its relevance to ACORN.

On December 10, 2003, one of the most ambitious real estate development projects in the history of Brooklyn was announced, a project that would later unfold into layers of conflict and speculated corruption, and be considered by many to be “the most controversial project ever in New York.”

The Atlantic Yards project, an endeavor of high-profile real estate developer Bruce Ratner and his Forest City Ratner companies, is a 22-acre mixed-use commercial and residential development project that cuts through the neighborhoods of Prospect Heights and Park Slope in Brooklyn, NY.   To understand how deep the personal impacts would be, you need to understand the area and the development plan.



In Hastings, Pennsylvania, an old coal mining area, Marcellus Shale is an important component of local commerce.  The  sedimentary rock is in fact a very familiar part of the entire region’s landscape, where you can drive for miles and miles alongside cliff faces that look almost as though someone cut through the mountains with a serrated knife.  Through the slice were all the once thriving coal mining towns that used to scatter the Pennsylvania mountainside.  These alien-looking areas of Pennsylvania, while few of them coal mining spots anymore, are now some of the most promising natural gas resources this side of the country.  With the rising prices of gas, the environmental stronghold over coal, and the recent increase in political hostility toward oil, many are turning to natural gas to fill a void.  In 2008, there were 52 active permits for natural gas drilling in Cambria County alone, as drillers began courting landowners for access.  And in 2011, as towns like Hastings struggle to create jobs in a down economy, some are relying upon natural gas to create those jobs.

Well…not SEIU, apparently.  The union has teamed up with environmentalists in the area to start harassing the natural gas companies.  They’ve scheduled a protest to demand that these evil drillers pay their fair share!  Only – there’s one small problem.  The place that SEIU selected to protest?  Yeah…not actually a Marcellus drilling location.

When union workers and environmental activists picked a Hastings-area site to protest inaction on a Marcellus Shale severance tax, they made one mistake.

Marcellus activity isn’t occurring within miles of it.

Service Employees International Union officials issued an apology Monday, saying they mistakenly set up their protest Thursday – and a makeshift tollbooth asking the industry to pay its fair share – next to a surface well property that has been around for years and isn’t set up for shale drilling.

“There is no Marcellus Shale drilling on that property, and we’ve contacted the property owners and apologized. It was a mistake, and there was no malice intended even when we thought it was a Marcellus well,” said Neil Bhaerman, a SEIU Healthcare spokesman. “It was an honest mistake that we are going to take extra care to ensure never happens again.”

The union, with environmental officials and area parents, set up protests at three western Pennsylvania sites Thursday to urge for the shale drilling industry to pay its fair share.

Bhaerman said local workers from an area nursing home told them about an apparent drilling site near Third Avenue, just outside of Hastings, and the union didn’t do enough homework on it.   Read the full article.

Imagine that.  The union didn’t do their homework.

I seem to recall that when SEIU protested at ESSA Bank & Trust in East Stroudsburg because of their dispute with Pocono Medical Center, they hadn’t done their homework then, either.

Because while they thought they were intimidating the bank president Gary Olson, who also happens to be chairman of the hospital’s board of directors, they weren’t aware of the fact that Olson has zero authority over any labor issues at the medical center.  He himself has said,  “the union members wouldn’t benefit by targeting me. I’m a volunteer director who was elected chair of the board and am not involved in any union negotiations.”   They didn’t exactly do their homework then, either.  And they still continue to harass the same individual.

The union has  been embroiled in a dispute with the hospital over the issue of a prior vote to make union membership voluntary and  the “closed shop” clause in workers’ contracts, a detail the union vehemently opposes.  SEIU wants to continue to force workers to join their union.

“…local workers from an area nursing home told them about an apparent drilling site near Third Avenue.”

Chances are the bad tip mentioned above came from other workers at the nearby Golden LivingCenter-Haida (GLC-Haida), a nursing home on Third Avenue represented by SEIU Healthcare PA, though this hasn’t been confirmed.  The nursing home is part of a well-known chain of facilities in Cambria County, statewide across Pennsylvania, and nationwide.  GLC workers on the eastern side of the state in East Stroudsburg, PA have participating in the actions against Pocono Medical Center.

Funny how all these supposedly random little occurrences all seem to be connected all the time, isn’t it?


At Big Journalism, Liberty Chick has posted on Think Progress’s whitewashing of convicted bomber Brett Kimberlin from the Chamber of Commerce/HBGary story. She concisely explains the background and echoes my findings regarding Think Progress’s decision to eliminate Kimberlin from the story:

Think Progress, a project of John Podesta’s Center for American Progress Action Fund, has been fiercely pushing a story about leaked emails that suggest the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was aware of espionage work being performed against American citizens by one of its private security firms. . . .

But the reports are noticeably silent on one crucial component of the story.

The primary focus of the Chamber’s investigation was actually none other than the organization known as Velvet Revolution, and one of its co-founders, Brett Kimberlin.

Recognize that name? That’s because we told you all about this convicted domestic terrorist, known as the Speedway Bomber, who in 1981 was finally convicted of a week-long bombing spree in Indianapolis, IN in which eight separate bombs caused extensive property damage, destroyed a police cruiser, and severely maimed a man, eventually leading to that man’s suicide.

I think Liberty Chick also makes some good observations about the tactics of the firm hired by the Chamber. Understand that they not only gathered information on opponents, but they also spoke of planting false documents purportedly by their enemies. We cannot sanction such activity, and it’s important to say so. Liberty Chick says:

In the end, I don’t agree with what HBGary Federal did or how any of the firms involved have handled this. Having been a target of such attacks myself of numerous occasions, I might have actually shared some common ground with folks like Brad Friedman and other leftists on this issue. But the left’s intentional deception makes it so difficult to do so.

To that I would add: their deception and their own use of thuggish stalker and harassment tactics makes it difficult to sympathize.

Let’s all remember how Brett Kimberlin stalked Karl Rove in a Safeway, conned Rove into posing with him by pretending to be Rove’s fan, and then took a picture of Rove’s car . . . complete with license plate. And let’s all remember how Brad Friedman published those photos on his blog.

As I revealed yesterday, Brett Kimberlin has written numerous e-mails to my bosses, complaining about me and calling me a stalker. In his latest, he said:
“I have already reported him to the Bar and to the ethics board and have motions in court addressing his reprehensible conduct. He is very close to getting sued and having a criminal complaint filed against him for harassment and stalking.”

In addition, two secretaries in my office told me that Kimberlin called them ranting about me, calling me a racist, a stalker, and saying he was going to get a restraining order against me. There is more.

Read the rest of this post at Patterico…

Think Progress, a project of John Podesta’s Center for American Progress Action Fund, has been fiercely pushing a story about leaked emails that suggest the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was aware of espionage work being performed against American citizens by one of its private security firms.  The story first launched a few days ago as an exclusive on the progressive blog, when it reported that hacked emails obtained from the pro-WikiLeaks group “Anonymous” reveal that the US Chamber conspired to sabotage opposition progressive activist groups including ThinkProgress, Change to Win, SEIU, BradBlog and StopTheChamber, among others.  By this morning, the story was all over the lefty blogosphere, on sites such as AlterNet, Huffington Post, Raw Story, and in a press release from Kevin Zeese, our fan from

But the reports are noticeably silent on one crucial component of the story.

The primary focus of the Chamber’s investigation was actually none other than the organization known as Velvet Revolution, and one of its co-founders, Brett Kimberlin.

Recognize that name?  That’s because we told you all about this convicted domestic terrorist, known as the Speedway Bomber, who in 1981 was finally convicted of a week-long bombing spree in Indianapolis, IN in which eight separate bombs caused extensive property damage, destroyed a police cruiser, and severely maimed a man, eventually leading to that man’s suicide.  In short, a community was terrorized for a week, and a potentially indirectly related murder remains unsolved today.  Indiana certainly remembers Brett Kimberlin.

As it turns out, despite the months of deafening silence on the left in response to questions about the ally they’ve so warmly embraced, some bigger characters apparently had taken notice.


[original post 12/12/2010]

The woman known as the “Queen of Labor” is living up to her promise to focus on “building a sustaining progressive infrastructure.”  Anna Burger, former SEIU Secretary-Treasurer, has just joined the board of directors at the Center for American Progress Action Fund (CAP Action).

CAP Action is a sister organization to the liberal think tank, Center for American Progress.  While the Center for American Progress focuses on developing new policy ideas and on “critiquing the policy that stems from conservative values,”  CAP Action focuses on how to put those policies into action – by organizing liberal grassroots groups, labor unions and other progressive partners as advocates.

John Podesta, Chairman of the Board of Directors for CAP Action, offered the following statement in the organization’s December 9th press release:

“The Center for American Progress Action Fund is pleased to welcome Anna Burger to our Board of Directors. She has been a longtime friend of the Center for American Progress and CAP Action and we’re very happy that she has agreed to help us advance our mission by serving in this new capacity.

Anna Burger has been fighting hard for progressive ideas and policies for nearly 40 years, including the visionary leadership she has provided for the progressive movement over the past decade. We face numerous opportunities and many challenges over the next two years and look forward to Anna’s help in charting our course. As we continue to push for an economy built on a strong middle class that works for all Americans, Anna’s continued leadership and experience could not come at a more important time.”

In addition to her previous post at SEIU, Burger has held many prominent positions that have played significant roles in advancing the progressive movement, including:


[original post 11/21/2010]

It’s one of the most beautiful times of the year in the lovely Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, when the trees are gorgeous hues of crimson and gold, and the sweet smell of hot apple cider is in the brisk autumn air.  As you walk in and out of little village colonials and saltbox houses donning  fall mums and pumpkins on their porches, you’re hit with that waft of burning fireplace aroma – the sort of scene that gives you that comfy feeling of peace and contentment.

But turn the corner and that picturesque scene is disrupted by a tiny sea of purple t-shirts and angry faces.  Yep, you got it – it’s the SEIU!   And they’re not in the holiday spirit, apparently.

Pocono Medical Center, a mid-sized, not-for-profit community hospital nestled in the Pocono Mountains near East Stroudsburg University, has been in SEIU’s crosshairs for months.  The union has been demanding a closed shop at the hospital, despite the desires of other workers, and has since made it the crux of its contract negotiations. They were out protesting last week, making their demands known.  (Not many from Pocono Medical Center participated in the protest, so they resorted to recruiting some nearby friends to join them).

For those not familiar with what a “closed shop” is in union terms, this means that all of those employees would be required to be a member of the union and to pay union dues as a condition of employment.


[original post 8/17/2010]


A stinging report was issued yesterday by Darrell Issa, ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.  The report, titled “Analysis of the First Year of the Obama Administration: Public Relations and Propaganda Initiatives,” outlines a host of propaganda activities conducted by the Obama administration at the direct expense of the American taxpayers.  It notes in part,

“The Obama Administration frequently used federal resources to promote the President’s agenda. In many cases, the Administration relied on the reach and resources of federal agencies and their personnel to promote certain of the President’s favorite programs. The White House also leveraged ties to the arts and entertainment community to embed propaganda in the content of television programming and artwork. These propaganda efforts violated appropriations riders and federal law prohibiting the use of appropriated funds for publicity or propaganda purposes.”

“The White House also used its inherent visibility advantages to multiply the effectiveness of websites containing misleading and controversial information. The White House used its resources to push visitors to websites that urge grassroots activism based on false and misleading information. The President’s right to sell his policy recommendations to Congress and the public is not disputed; however, using the resources of the federal government to activate a sophisticated propaganda and lobbying campaign is an abuse of office and a betrayal of the President’s pledge to create “an unprecedented level of openness in Government.”


[original post 8/13/2010]

Congratulations, Tea Partiers!  You know you’ve become a genuine threat to the Progressive movement when they start making t-shirts about you.

The Agenda Project has launched “F*ck Tea”, an anti-Tea Party campaign that aims to “dismiss the tea party and promote the progressive cause.”  Check out their nifty little video promoting their positive cause:

As Agenda Project founder Erica Payne explained to Politico’s Ben Smith:

“We will be launching new products in the next several months to help people all over the country F*ck Tea.  Products like a Glenn Beck Bowl Buddy (Beck B Scrubbin) and others are perfect holiday gifts or just a great way to say, ‘I love you and our country’ to your spouse, friend or family.”

The website features a variety of t-shirts and mugs imprinted with the slogan “F*uck tea,” and Ms. Payne infers there will be more to come in the future.  It also splashes a host of unsourced “Tea Party Facts” across the left side of the page, in an attempt to demean and minimize those who belong to or support the Tea Party movement, and imply that those who don’t are somehow of superior intellect based solely upon said “facts.”  Meanwhile, the site dotingly highlights the word “progress” as “a movement toward a goal; advancement; growth; development; continuous improvement,” calling it “The Real American Party.”  Frankly, I see nothing “real” about this or about any of the progressive people involved in it.


Now, I’ll admit, I’m one conservative constitutionalist who embraces the “F” word as part of my regular vocabulary, as much of a shock as that may be to leftists who may have already stereotyped me otherwise.  But I was not aware that the word had become synonymous with positive development and improvement.  (What a relief!)  If brandishing the “F” word across my chest and gallivanting in public is a sign of intellect and the new symbol of the party of Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, then I’m more than happy to save my $22.50, thanks.  (Besides, if one’s cause were so important that such a word absolutely had to be used, the Libertarian in me wonders, why not just spell it out?)  Also somewhat amusing about the entire venture  is that the very people railing against the tea parties and against capitalism are shelling out over $20 a shirt for someone’s concocted-idea-turned-business-venture.  It’s the very Capitalist tale that so many of the progressive left heartily opposes.


[original post 8/12/2010]

The Democracy Alliance is alive and well, and its Vice-Chair is about to be born again.

Today, the “Queen of Labor”, SEIU Secretary-Treasurer and Chair of the Change to Win labor federation, Anna Burger, announced her retirement.

Anna Burger was defeated by current SEIU President Mary Kay Henry when she ran against Henry for the spot vacated by outgoing President Andy Stern.  Despite that loss, Burger had insisted that she’d be staying on as Secretary-Treasurer of SEIU.  Instead, she will be replaced as the head of Change to Win by United Food and Commercial Workers president, Joe Hansen.  Henry is likely to appoint one of her own insiders as SEIU Secretary-Treasurer, a practice that was already causing tension between Burger and the new guard of SEIU (even though both guards are not all that different from one another).

Burger’s departure marks not just the end of an era for SEIU, but more importantly it’s indicative of a new era for the Progressive movement.


[original post 7/29/2010]

Thursday morning at 12:01 a.m. local time, Arizona’s well publicized anti-illegal-immigration law will  finally go into effect.  Or at least parts of it will.  U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton ruled today to block several provisions of the law that some consider controversial (even though these mimic federal law).   However, the judge has allowed the remainder of the law to move forward as planned while the case is being litigated.  This includes allowing the state of Arizona to stop rogue state officials from implementing “sanctuary city” policies, and allowing the state to pursue civil lawsuits over sanctuary cities.  In addition, Arizona will still be permitted to implement the portion of the law that makes it a crime to pick up day laborers, an issue that law enforcement and officials say has become a major problem in the state.

While yesterday’s ruling is being praised by opponents of the law, it won’t stop their protests, it will prolong them.  For years.  In fact, hordes of angry protesters are scheduled to descend upon the state first thing Thursday morning.  And the propaganda machine on the left continues to run at full speed, cranking out intentionally misleading statements, disinformation, and outright lies.  We’ve watched the boycotts.  We’ve watched as the protests have erupted into hate events, directed not from the right against illegal immigrants as the left portrays them, but from the left and illegal immigrants against peaceful people on the right (and many in the center!).

Meanwhile, as the left continues their manufactured barrage of anger at Andrew Breitbart for supposedly taking things out of context in the Shirley Sherrod story, they fabricate their own version of context propaganda on video in examples like this one from the SEIU: