VA Union Lobbying ‘Can and Can’t’ Tip Sheet Reveals How Employees Divert Attention From Vet Care

A lobbying tip sheet provided by the general counsel for the American Federation of Government Employees reveals some eyebrow-raising things VA employees are allowed to do while on “official time.” According to the document, employees:

  • Can, if a union official, pursuant to Article 45 of the AFGE-VA master agreement, or as otherwise negotiated or as a matter of past practice, use official time for appropriate lobbying function, including contact Congress.
  • Can, if a union official on official time contact Congressmen utilizing government telephones provided to the union pursuant to Article 48 of the AFGE-VA master agreement or as past practice or as otherwise negotiated.
  • Can, under Article 48 or based on past practices or as otherwise negotiated, use an agency’s mail delivery, E-mail, inter-office phone or other communication system to advise employees of: The contents of specific legislative proposals; When Congress may mark-up a legislative proposal; When Congress may vote on a certain issue; When AFGE is to testify on a certain legislative issue; AFGE’s position on certain legislative proposals.
AFGE lobbying

Progressives Today previously reported the VA union far-and-away spends the most “official time” of any government union.

In 2011 – the last year the office published such numbers – employees of the VA reported spending 998,483 “official” hours on union business. That is to say, they spent taxpayer-funded work time furthering their union’s objectives instead of serving veterans.

Remarkably, that was a 23.3 percent increase over 2010’s 809,740 hours.

President, Secretary Sentenced for Theft from Chicago-Area AFGE Local


On May 23, James Charleston, former local president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 2107, was sentenced in federal court to a year and a day in prison, followed by 18 months of supervised release, for defrauding the North Chicago union. He also was ordered to pay $102,784 in restitution. Charleston had pleaded guilty in January of this year after being charged in July 2012.

Nearly two weeks later, on June 5, Mary Craigen, former secretary-treasurer for Local 2107, was sentenced to 90 days of home confinement, two years of probation, and 200 hours of community service for theft. She also was ordered to pay $8,975 in restitution. Craigen had pleaded guilty in November 2012 after being charged four months earlier.

Ex-Local 2107 Vice President Jacquelyn Pugh-Rodgers already had pleaded guilty in March 2013, and was sentenced that July for mail fraud exceeding $35,000. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

CAN’T BE UNSEEN: Anderson Cooper’s CNN Co-Host Gets Naked For Cameras Because…?

Uh…why? Cropped for your protection (the Daily Mail is not so kind):

Kathy Griffin

So-called “comedienne” Kathy Griffin recently disrobed and a photographer took her picture. Why?

Anderson Cooper’s tacky co-host on CNN’s annual New Year’s Eve Times Square broadcast did it because, well, we don’t know why.

But she’s a classy lady and for whatever reason, CNN has had her co-host its broadcast for 7 long years.

The Huffington Post reported on her most recent on-air antics:

New Year’s Eve 2013 proved to be another lively night on CNN, as host Anderson Cooper attempted to escape being handcuffed to comedian Kathy Griffin.

It was the duo’s seventh year hosting the network’s New Year’s Eve special, continuing a tradition that has seen Griffin strip down to her bra, attempt to simulate sex acts and drop the f-bomb in years past.

On Tuesday, Cooper made a fruitless attempt to control Griffin with a large poster listing the ground rules: “No Swearing, No Stripping, No Touching, No Simulations.” She responded by signing Miley Cyrus’ name.

Later, Cooper appeared baffled when Griffin snapped handcuffs on him and declared that she didn’t have a key. “Why are you attempting to handcuff yourself to me?” he asked, laughing.

“I have been planning this for weeks,” a triumphant Griffin said. “Only three people in the world knew I was going to do this.”

Suddenly, we’re feeling relieved by Al Sharpton’s mere battles with his teleprompter. He’s to hoping he keeps his clothes on.

‘Broke’ Illinois Spent $1 MILLION on Condoms; Bought 374,000 Bottles of Lubricant

orange condom

Illinois taxpayers are paying for a whole lot of people to have a really good time.

They’re footing the bill for “4,453,000 condoms and 374,000 bottles of lubricant,” according to the Illinois Policy Institute.

Via Illinois Review:

Even though Illinois state government is essentially broke, it apparently knows how to have a good time.

In 2013, Illinois state government awarded two contracts totaling more than $1 million for the procurement of condoms and lubricant.

The bid solicitation document requested a variety of condoms, including “extra large” and even some in “assorted colors.” No ribbing was allowed – only “smooth surface” condoms were permitted.

Lubricant, however, was to be provided in “assorted flavors.” Scents were optional.

All in all, the state bid out for 4,453,000 condoms and 374,000 bottles of lubricant.

And lest you think the government pinched its pennies and went for lower-cost, generic products, think again. The bidding documents outlined requests for condoms with a  “recognized brand” that has a “strong retail presence.”

Lest we forget, Gov. Pat Quinn had wanted to make the “temporary” income tax increase permanent because spending was so out of control. Because, you know, government has a funding problem, not a spending problem.

Just ask all the people enjoying the 4.4 MILLION condoms.

Illinois Threatens To Fire Mom-Caregiver And Replace With SEIU-STATE Labor


In Illinois, the state Department of Human Resources can “fire” family members as primary caregivers for disabled loved ones and replace them with an SEIU approved scab! From Washington Examiner:

Deborah Teixeira is in danger of literally being fired by the state of Illinois from her job as Juliet’s mother. The Peoria resident has been warned that if there are more infractions, the state will send a replacement into her home to take care of her daughter instead.

Teixeira is not alone. Across the state, mothers like her and other people taking care of their family members have been told via threatening official phone calls and letters that they could be replaced if they don’t shape up.

Illinois Review has more not the SEIU connection

Deborah said she was repeatedly harassed by state employees who accused her of gaming the system, and threatened to replace her with a state employee. And what of the union she is forced to pay dues to as a condition of receiving help from the state? When contacted, the Service Employees International Union, or SEIU, did nothing to stop the state.

Yup. You read that correctly. Deborah and other in home family caregivers in Illinois were forcibly unionized by the Democrat dominated government of Illinois on behalf of SEIU. Family members are forced to pay dues to SEIU, and where is SEIU when their “members” are being threatened by their “employer”? They’re silent.


Nearly 7 MILLION Multiple Voters in 28 States, Report Finds

vote twice

The latest interstate voter cross check found 6,951,484 overlapping voter registrations in their recent report, and it is extremely unlikely that this is the total number of multiple voters. reports:

Some 6.9 million Americans are registered to vote in two or more states, according to a report obtained by

“Our nation’s voter rolls are a mess,” says Catherine Engelbrecht, president of the election-watch group True The Vote.

“Sensible approaches to roll maintenance are fought tooth and nail by radical special interests who can use the duplicity in the system to their advantage,” she said.

The latest interstate voter cross check tallied 6,951,484 overlapping voter registrations, and they’re just the tip of the iceberg.

The cross-check program involves only 28 states and does not include the three largest: California, Texas and Florida.

“Duplicate registration is an open invitation to voting fraud,” said Clara Belle Wheeler, a member of the Election Board in Albemarle County, Va. “This ability to vote more than once dilutes the legal votes and changes the results of elections.”

The interstate cross-check program matches first and last names and dates of birth to identify multiple registrations.But the data are not routinely used to purge duplicates.

“Increasingly lax standards in our election process produce increasingly unreliable results,” Engelbrecht asserted.

Read more here.


OCCUPY REBORN? The Nation Conducts Post-Mortem on Dangerous Progressive Protesters

"Occupy Wall Street" demonstrators stage

The Nation magazine is conducting a post-mortem on Occupy and everyone should learn from its conclusions as the they will likely indicate the next steps of the radical, dangerous, far-left progressive movement. Organizers Leah Hunt-Hendrix and Max Berger provide the analysis.

Nonprofit Quarterly reports:

Their suggestions for a “credible revolutionary strategy has three parts: alternative institutions that create examples of the kind of society we want to live in; social movements that mobilize popular resistance by opposing the corrupt institutions currently in power; and independent political organizations that enshrine progressive victories in law.”

For alternative institutions, they call for democratic control of banks, worker and community “say” in corporate operations, and community control of land. They call for “shifting the endowments of foundations and universities away from investment in fossil fuels and private prisons and into a renewable economy owned and operated by communities, with members accountable to each other and to future generations.”

For social movements, they argue against organizing campaigns that have “closed, hierarchical structures” (oddly pointing to “unions that can’t go on strike” as an example, rather than some of the very hierarchical organizing networks that have been powerful recently, such as ACORN) and “horizontal mobilizations that fall apart quickly and don’t have a coherent strategy” (here, they point to Occupy as the example). But the model they suggest is to learn from the resistance movements linked to the Arab Spring and the “color revolutions” of Eastern Europe, which they say “succeeded in overthrowing authoritarian regimes by combining structure and mobilization in a hybrid model that could escalate militantly and had a plan to win.” They explain that the lack of an organization that could take power after the successful mobilization against the Middle East dictators is what led these successful movements to lose the revolution.

For that “independent political formation with a lasting base that can take power and win reforms,” Hunt-Hendrix and Berger point to the model of the Working Families Party in New York, which they see as an entity “to build…power through electoral and issue organizing do the dirty work of negotiating with other political forces.” Although frequently working with the Democratic Party, the WFP exists outside of it, running candidates inside and out, similar to how the Tea Party activists gained influence within the Republican Party.

One of the reasons Occupy didn’t survive was because it was organized by interests that merely wanted to use it as a vehicle for their own interests. It was highly scripted. See this:

As it is said about the radical Islamists in the Middle East, we should take these far-left progressives at their word about what they plan to do to America, our economy and our very way of life.

New Poll: Only 25% of Voters Think Their Member of Congress Deserves Reelection


Most Americans generally think every other Congressman is the problem – not their own. But a new poll finds that attitude may be changing.

Rasmussen reports:

There’s more bad news for congressional incumbents this month: Fewer voters than ever think their local member of Congress deserves reelection.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that eight percent (8%) of Likely U.S. Voters believe Congress is doing a good or excellent job. Sixty-four percent (64%) rate its job performance as poor. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

This marks little change from a month ago and is consistent with attitudes about Congress for the past three years.

But more troubling for incumbents is the continuing downward trend on two other questions. Just 20% now think their representative in Congress is the best person for the job. That’s down only slightly from 22% in March, but it’s the lowest finding in surveys since November 2009 when 33% felt this way. A plurality (47%) believes their local representative is not the best person for the job, while 33% are not sure.

Similarly, only 25% of voters think their representative in Congress deserves reelection, down from 29% three months ago and also a new low. In November 2009, 42% thought their representative deserved reelection. Forty-one percent (41%) now say that representative does not deserve to be reelected, but 34% are undecided.

Ouch! Hillary’s “Excruciatingly Boring” Hard Choices SLAMMED by Readers

The customer reviews are in and it ain’t pretty.
Readers panned Hillary Clinton’s Hard Choices giving the former First Lady’s biography a very low 2.1 rating at Amazon.
Reader Liv says:

I’ve been reviewing for Amazon for a decade and I have NEVER seen a mainstream book with this low a star rating. She is getting slaughtered! Sales must be not only thru the floor but clear down to the septic tank.

From Amazon:
hard choices critics
The number one reviewer Bill wrote:

“ Anyone who’s said and done the things Hillary Clinton has should never write a book like this.”

138 reviewers agreed with him.
Jay Sohn wrote:

“Very very boring book.”

71 agreed with Jay.

The most helpful customer review was by TellsTheTruth.

1.0 out of 5 stars
Excruciatingly Boring, Overly Long, Insipid Pabulum
By TellsTheTruth

My sister lent me this extremely long book. The cover of the book shows a photo that must have been taken many years ago, when Mrs. Clinton was much younger. I have read several books that portrayed the Clintons in a very negative light. Being an independent, moderate person, who watches ALL of the cable news channels and reads both liberal (“progressive”) and conservative online blogs, I decided that I had better get to know Mrs. Clinton a lot better than I do, since she is obviously going to run for the Democratic nomination for President. Despite her being coy about it, it is obvious that she is definitely running. This is not a book that will allow you to get to know her. She tries to show that she is a decisive leader but she did not convince me of that. Whoever wrote this book (a ghostwriter?) keeps everything on a safe, surface level. I think that Mrs. Clinton is trying to convince the U.S. voters that she is NOT the sharp-elbowed, vengeful, unethical, get-into-the ditch, political street fighter that her foes claim her to be. No human being is as bland, mild, forgiving and nice as she portrays herself in this book. For example, some negative aspects of her personality have shown up, on her current book tour. Unfortunately, she decided to put out a dishonest, less-than-genuine book, instead of telling us the truth about herself; her bizarre-and-dysfunctional relationship with her husband; her relationship with President Obama; her time in the State Department; and her life. Almost everything about her, the State Department, fellow Democrats, Bill Clinton and the Obamas is just “wonderful.” That’s the conclusion that I came to, after reading ALL of this book. On another note, this is the most BORING book that I have read, in many years.

Public School Administrators Complain About Pension Costs; Never Push for Solution


Pensions are costing school districts billions of dollars, yet school officials are not supporting reform. reports:

School superintendents across the state are starting to take their message about rising teacher retirement costs directly to parents.

Midland Public Schools Superintendent Michael Sharrow wrote June 16 that retirement costs were costing the district an extra $60 per student.

Farmington Public Schools Superintendent Susan Zurvalec also told parents in a letter the district’s budget woes were tied to costs related to the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System.

Teachers across the state still get traditional pensions as retirement benefits. Other state workers and most people employed in the private sector have 401(k)-type retirement plans. The unfunded liability for teacher pension benefits increased to $25.8 billion in 2013, up $1.5 billion from 2012.

Zurvalec wrote: “In fact, with the rising cost of the retirement system, which is not under our control, we are actually losing approximately $25 per pupil and not receiving any increase overall.”

But James Hohman, assistant director of fiscal policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, said school district officials could do more about MPSERS.

Read more here.