The company he keeps.
Obama’s Economic Advisers: International Socialists, Union Thugs, NBC Execs, Soros Scholars, Subprime Lenders, Amnesty Shills, and Campaign Cronies
February 24, 2011
by Ben Johnson
The media enthused when Barack Obama bloviated during his State of the Union Address, “We need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world.” They now enthuse that the president has appointed members to his new Council on Jobs and Competitiveness allegedly designed to cut down inefficient regulations and unnecessary government burdens. None of the media announced that the appointees are a collection of globalists, media elites at NBC News, union thugs, amnesty activists, employees of Soros-funded think tanks, wealth redistributionists, business failures in the subprime lending industry, and Chicago cronies. Nonetheless, today’s issue of USA Today is already spinning the story under the headline, “Obama Wants Business World’s Best Ideas on Jobs.”
Where he would get those ideas is anyone’s guess.
Richard Trumka is perhaps the most conspicuous choice on this job-creating council. Trumka, who recently admitted to Astroturfing the protests in Wisconsin and around the country, is president of the AFL-CIO and a longtime Big Labor activist with a shady history. Michelle Malkin has noted that Trumka led the United Mine Workers when a non-union worker named Eddie York was shot to death in the midst of a mining strike. The UMW aided all eight union members present at the scene of the crime and disciplined none of them. In a separate incident, Trumka incited a crowd in Illinois to “kick the s–t out of every last” person who crossed the UMW picket line. Working his way up the ranks, as AFL-CIO treasurer he was implicated in two money-laundering scandals involving the Teamsters. He said if he were forced to testify before Congress, he would invoke the Fifth Amendment. Trumka climbed the ladder by gripping the coattails of John Sweeney, the union’s former president and member of the Democratic Socialists of America. Sweeney and Trumka saw the union donate more than $200 million in political aid to the Democrats in 2008 and send out more than 250,000 “volunteers,” many of whom worked for Obama in swing states. On February 15, Barack Obama awarded Sweeney the Medal of Freedom.
After succeeding Sweeney as the union’s president in September 2009, Trumka decided to further radicalize the union. Just last fall, Trumka insisted, “We need to fundamentally restructure our economy and re-establish popular control over the private corporations which have distorted our economy and hijacked our government. That’s a long-term job but one we should start now.” To that end, Trumka has worked with European socialists to establish a global tax, a measure that is also a top priority of Obama’s Science Czar John Holdren. Last year, Trumka carried out his threats to go after Democrats who opposed ObamaCare’s “public option,” failing to oust Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln as the Democratic nominee.
The new council position provides no real boost to Trumka; he doesn’t need one. Although certain members of Obama’s Cabinet have not heard from the president after serving two years into his administration, Trumka recently boasted: “I’m at the White House a couple times a week. Two, three times a week. I have conversations everyday with someone in the White House or in the administration. Everyday.”
Trumka is not the only union thug with a seat at the table.
Joseph T. Hansen helps Trumka present the Labor Left’s views. Hansen is president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) and chairman of Change to Win, the AFL-CIO’s major union rival (the one formed by SEIU). Like Trumka, Hansen is already a frequent presidential advisor. Hansen serves as a member of Obama’s Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and Negotiations. Hansen, too, helped elect Obama. UFCW’s political action committee, United Food & Commercial Workers International Union Active Ballot Club, spent $673,309 on Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and $3.5 million on Democratic candidates in 2008 and 2010.
Perhaps Hansen’s most valuable contribution, though, was his union’s most famous alumna, Buffy Wicks. Wicks ran the union’s Wake Up Wal-Mart campaign. During her time on UFCW’s payroll, the union announced “an exciting new partnership” with ACORN. After honing her community organizing skills on that crusade, she ran the 2008 Obama campaign on the West Coast and Missouri, for which she was rewarded with a position in Valerie Jarrett’s Office of Public Engagement. Wicks famously presided over the conference call instructing publicly funded artists to produce political propaganda to advance the president’s agenda. (Left-wing activist Sally Kohn recently admitted the administration presided over a series of such potentially illegal meetings.) In addition to his union’s assault on the nation’s largest employer, Hansen is part of the group America’s Agenda, an alliance of Big Labor and Big Business whose members work to promote national health care. Coincidentally, the UFCW also received an ObamaCare waiver.
Hansen, too, is an international socialist and amnesty advocate. His biography at the UFCW website states, “His early experience with global unionism provided him with the foresight to realize that only global solidarity can confront global corporations.” Translated, that means, “Workers of the world, unite.”
Hansen advocates amnesty for illegal aliens. He accused Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of violating the Fourth Amendment “rights” of illegal immigrants during workplace raids in the Bush years. Hansen co-authored a piece for The Huffington Post demanding “immigration reform” (read: amnesty) for the nation’s 13 million illegal immigrants, claiming that would raise wages for all Americans. His co-author, SEIU International Secretary-Treasurer Eliseo Medina, was more forthcoming about his real intentions. An honorary chair of the Democratic Socialists of America, Medina admitted he supported the bill because “it puts 12 million people on the path to citizenship and eventually voters…we will create a governing coalition for the long-term, not just for an election cycle.” Hansen has served as president of Union Network International (UNI), an international union, since 2003.
Laura D’Andrea Tyson, another appointee, is currently a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. CAP, which received significant start-up money from George Soros, is the most influential think tank in the Obama administration, housing such intellectual giants as Van Jones. Tyson is also a professor in the business school at the University of California at Berkeley, and formerly its dean. She sits on the advisory board for Newman’s Own Foundation, which heavily funds left-wing causes. Tyson gave a preview of her economic advice in an August op-ed for the New York Times entitled, “Why We Need a Second Stimulus.” She argued, “Our national debate about fiscal policy has become skewed, with far too much focus on the deficit…too much worry about the size of government.” Echoing the economic savant Nancy Pelosi, Tyson wrote, “Two forms of spending with the biggest and quickest bang for the buck are unemployment benefits and aid to state governments. The federal government should pledge generous financing increases for both programs through 2011.”
Monica C. Lozano is “Publisher and CEO of La Opinión, the nation’s largest Spanish language daily newspaper,” as well as CEO for impreMedia LLC. The White House press release states Lozano sits on the boards of “several non-profit organizations.” It omits the fact that one of these happens to be the National Council of La Raza. La Raza (“The Race”) supports giving drivers licenses, voting rights, and in-state tuition to illegal immigrants. Its generous donors include George Soros. Gray Davis appointed Lozano a regent of the University of California in 2001. However, her own academic career seems less than stellar. She described her undergrad days at the University of Oregon in Eugene, saying, “I studied sociology and political science for the most part, and became involved in a women’s collective that put out a newspaper called Women’s Press…Keep in mind that this was when women’s studies was born.” She did not finish her degree but instead bummed around Latin America before using her family connections to land her job at La Opinión, a newspaper founded by her grandfather. “When I came to La Opinión in 1985, I came without direct newspaper experience, no daily print experience whatsoever,” she confessed. “It’s a family-owned and operated company, started by my grandfather, then my dad and my brother and my sister, and so obviously my relationship to what I was doing and why I was here was different than most people who had worked their way up through the ranks to end up editing a major newspaper. They really opened the doors and asked me to come in, knowing full well that I didn’t have sort of a traditional background and experience that you would find in most managing editors.” She defends the newspaper as challenging the Roman Catholic Church, supporting abortion on demand, condom distribution, and needle-exchange programs for junkies. She admitted candidly, “I think, people have seen me as being too liberal or too left-wing.” However, she will not challenge her readership on one important point: she will not ask them to learn the English language. Lozano has said as far as she is concerned, language balkanization is here to stay – so get used to it, Gringo! “[A]ll of our readership studies show that even when 40 percent of our readers have been here twelve years or over, they still prefer to read in Spanish,” she said.” Even though they’re perfectly bilingual and proficient in English, they still prefer to be informed in Spanish. They prefer reading Spanish.” One need hardly guess her position on illegal immigration. Lozano’s lack of business preparation hardly hampered her business growth due to a bustling trade in illegals and the near-complete lack of assimilation of the nation’s Hispanic population, urged by academia. At least her business succeeded, unlike that of another council member’s family business.
Penny Pritzker is a longtime Chicago crony of Barack and Michelle Obama and Valerie Jarrett. An heiress to the Pritzker fortune (Hyatt hotels, etc.), she served as Obama’s 2008 national finance chairwoman. Chicago Sun Times columnist Lynn Sweet notes that Pritzker cost Superior Bank customers a pretty penny by pushing the bank to invest in subprime loans, the kernel of the housing market collapse and current recession. Bert Ely, a banking consultant, testified before Congress that “Superior was effectively facilitating very sleazy lending.” When federal regulators seized the bank in 2001, the institution left 1,400 customers without some of all of their savings. Pritzker addressed the situation, writing, “I am proud of how my family responded to this situation.” The Washington Post reported that this performance put her “at the top of Obama’s list” for Commerce Secretary, a post she declined. That has not kept her or her family from closely advising the first couple. Penny Pritzker’s husband, Bryan Traubert, serves on the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships; so does Cindy Moelis, the Executive Director of the Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation established by Penny and Bryan. Yet another Pritzker, Rachel Pritzker Hunter, is the treasurer of Media Matters and a member of the Democracy Alliance, one of the many groups George Soros established to pool and distribute money from wealthy elites to far-Left causes. Other women on the new economic council have been more successful but no less radical.
Sheryl Sandberg is the Chief Operating Officer of FaceBook. Sandberg entered the public eye as chief of staff to Bill Clinton’s Treasury Secretary, Lawrence Summers. She also serves on the board of the center-Left Brookings Institution and a group known as V-Day. And what is V-Day? It is the international feminist organization founded by playwright Eve Ensler, which produces “annual benefit performances of The Vagina Monologues.” The play’s thorough-going vulgarity – including a slang term for vagina that begins with “c” and questions about the odor omitted from that orifice – is the least offensive part of the play. The script gives a positive portrayal of a 24-year-old lesbian seducing and raping a 13-year-old girl. (Subsequent scripts raise the minor’s age to 16.) Before the 2004 election, V-Day produced a show at the Apollo Theater entitled “Vaginas Rock, Chicks Vote.” As part of V-Day, Sandberg helps bring Ensler’s glorification of deviate pedophilia to new audiences around the country.
Jeffrey Immelt, who will head the council, is CEO of General Electric, the parent company of NBC, and whose holdings include MSNBC, the president’s favorite network. Its political action committee, GEPAC, donated $2.4 million to Democrats. Immelt’s colleagues at GE told BusinessWeek they hope Immelt’s role in the administration will give him inside information about policies set “to impact GE coming out from Washington.” Others have noted how Obama’s “green energy” agenda benefits GE, as well as mainland China. By one estimate, GE received $49 million in federal stimulus grants alone. However, Immelt is not the only NBC interest represented on the board.
Brian L. Roberts, as head of Comcast, made the decision to become majority owner of NBC Universal. By chance, on the very day he announced he would be merging the two media titans, he sent Barack Obama a letter endorsing ObamaCare. Upon sealing the deal, he enthused, “The single most awesome asset that comes from this deal is NBC News.” He gave a not-very-convincing promise that the Peacock Network’s public affairs coverage would “keep down the middle, whatever that means.”
That is not to say the president appointed nothing but extremists to this panel. There are some genuine business authorities, including some Republicans. They serve as eyewash. As with his Cabinet picks, which lulled some pseudoconservatives into sycophancy, the moderates exist to provide cover for the council’s radical members, who alone have Obama’s ear.
Not only does this council not include business’s “best ideas,” it is virtually a retread of an earlier presidential advisory group. No fewer than nine members of the “new” council already serve on the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board.
Despite the abundance of Big Labor and Big Business appointees, not everyone is represented. Small businesses were frozen out of the discussion, as they have been from the entire administration, although they are the engine of economic growth. Jean Card of the National Federation of Independent Business, observing the council’s makeup, remarked, “It feels like (an effort to win) political points.”
Small business people and the taxpayers have no place in the administration. Meanwhile, USA Today reports that Valerie Jarrett, the main conduit of radicals into the Obama administration, is maintaining her “longevity” in the White House.
Unlike the mainstream media, we have seen the Obama administration’s version of America’s economic future: It is globalist, socialist, unionized, borderless, politically correct, run by heiresses and people with family connections, has a state-run media, speaks Spanish, and made a generous campaign contribution to the Democratic Party before it could even get a seat at the table.
Pardon me if I object.