Dem. Rep. Moran Walks Out During Interview After Supporting Redistribution of Wealth | Video

Inconsistent? Uh, yeah. And he recognized the interview was showing clearly that he is a communist at heart.. and rather than dig himself deeper, he chooses to do the only thing a coward can do.. he indignantly stands up, mumbling something about wasting his time, and walks out before he is completely humiliated by his conflicted answers.

SEIU “Stephen Lerner” background- Anti America all the way

In our earlier post, we published Lerner’s audio recording where he sets for his plan forth “direct action” against America. 

So what kind of influence does Lerner have in progressive circles? As it turns out, quite a lot.

Not only does Lerner maintain the clout of being a former SEIU executive, but his influential position seems to have gained him access to the Obama White House on more than one occasion. According to White House visitor logs, “Stephen Lerner” has visited the White House four times over the past two years.

Two of these visits were for public gatherings: a large group’s private White House tour and a White House Hanukkah celebration. But at least two other visits were scheduled for private meetings with high-level executive offices.

On May 22, 2010, Lerner met with a presidential personnel officer who manages economic agencies. While the minimal information in the WH visitor log offers no real information on what this meeting was about, it’s distressing to know a) anyone in the White House would meet with the kind of man who could openly call for the deliberate dismantling of the American economy, and that b) that White House official works to recruit personnel for the federal government’s economic agencies.

Perhaps more telling, the Stephen Lerner listed in the White House logs had an October 16, 2010 appointment scheduled by Tara Corrigan, executive assistant to then-WH political director Patrick Gaspard. Like Lerner, Gaspard spent much of his career working as a lobbyist and executive vice president for SEIU‘s Local 1199 in New York one of the union’s most powerful and notoriously militant chapters. You may recall that Gaspard announced his departure from the White House earlier this year in order to focus on the upcoming 2012 campaign. He now serves as executive director of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) under chairman Tim Kaine.

We have asked the White House to confirm that the reported “Stephen Lerner” is indeed the veteran SEIU organizer, however we still have received no response.

In addition to securing White House access, Lerner’s reputation precedes him in the progressive movement as well. The union organizer has a long history of leading labor strikes and demonstrations.

During the 1970s, Lerner worked with the International Ladies Garment Workers Union to orchestrate a year-long strike in South Carolina.  In the 1980s, Lerner worked with Justice for Janitors through the SEIU’s building service division.  His work in organizing the bottom-up protest model based on geographical area propelled Lerner to progressive stardom, receiving praise for his innovative style and success as the labor movement struggled to increase membership.

Lerner’s Justice for Janitors campaign has been particularly praised for its use of disruptive demonstration tactics to deliver its message.  The campaign also demanded so-called “master contracts” which would apply contract benefits to all unionized janitors across the market rather than localized, disjointed union organizations.

As a former organizer of the United Farm Workers (UFW), Lerner applied UFW tactics to the SEIU’s JfJ campaign, including street theater, hunger strikes, vigils, public blockades, sit-ins, clergy-labor alliances and community organizing.  (Sound familiar?)

Lerner — who was recruited to the SEIU at the same time as former president Andy Stern — has also expanded the unions’ views to a global scale.  In spearheading the JfJ campaign, Lerner focused on a bigger strategy than grassroots rank-and-file protests.  “There was literally a worldwide plan to win,” he wrote in 2005.

“From Denmark, where the key cleaning contractor was based; to pension funds in New York that owned buildings; to immigrant, community and religious groups that united in support for the campaignthere was a comprehensive plan and large-scale resources to support the struggle. The Los Angeles campaign demonstrated that undocumented workers would take incredible risks to lift their families and communities out of poverty if there was a plan that gave them the confidence that they could beat a multinational corporation with hundreds of thousands of workers around the globe.”

Don’t like the new globalized focus of your union?  Too bad.   When local SEIU officials refused to participate in Justice for Janitor campaigns, their union supervisors would simply remove them from office, and replace them with trustees to run the locals and later run the trustees for the presidency.

It’s this global strategy that Lerner most recently worked to expand in other areas of the SEIU and the labor movement as a whole — to much success.  “It is clear that what unions are doing isn‘t working for union members or the tens of millions of workers who aren’t in unions. The labor movement’s structure, culture, and priorities stand in the way of workers winning,” he said.

As noted above, reorienting the country‘s religious groups to union support is among Lerner’s top priorities.  “The months and years ahead are our chance, our moment to be part of making history,” Lerner said on the eve of President Obama’s 2008 election victory to a progressive Jewish group.

Lerner is “exerting an outsized influence, working at the front end of some of the most innovative, and occasionally divisive, union campaigns of today,” Foward the Jewish Daily noted at the time.

“When you are there, you physically experience the number of Jews in Washington who are in the labor movement — but also the larger passion for social justice that is driving that,” Lerner said.

Lerner’s wife, Marilyn Sneiderman, has also been a longtime union organizer, including nearly a decade of work as the AFL-CIO’s director of field mobilization.  Similar to her husband, she worked to launch a national initiative designed to unite unions and religious, civil/immigrant rights group to campaign for social and economic justice.  Last summer, she took a position as executive director of AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps, a group dedicated to social justice.

Protesters descend on the home of Bank of America executive Greg Baer (Photo: Nina Easton)

Sneiderman and Lerner now host an annual Yom Kippur Break Fast event “to make the link for people who work in the labor movement and are Jewish, so that they see that it’s not by accident that they are doing this work — and that is tied to their roots and values,” she has said.

Their annual guest lists include movers and shakers like Andy Stern and Paul Booth, a top official at the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.  Anna Burger, chair of the Change To Win coalition of unions, is a regular, and John Sweeney, president of the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations, has also attended.

“It seemed like every other person there was a senior leader in the labor movement,” said Jacob Feinspan, the young Jews United for Justice leader, who attended the 2008 event.

Lerner‘s fingerprints are all over today’s labor movement, including protesters’ confrontational tactics.  You may recall when busloads of SEIU demonstrators descended on a Bank of America executive’s own front yard last year.

When the executive’s neighbor, Fortune‘s Nina Easton, asked Lerner about the controversial intimidation tactic, he accused of her of being too “emotional” and insisted it‘s the union’s role to confront “people in powerful corporations” about the “damage they are doing.”

A year later, protesters in Madison, Wisc., practiced their own street theater and sit-ins at the state capitol building.  On Monday, we brought you the story of SEIU protesters who stormed a Pennsylvania bank to protest the CEO.  In each instance, SEIU organizers are taking marching orders directly from Lerner’s protester playbook.

We have officially crossed into a new era of politics — the politics of intimidation — and it looks like we have Stephen Lerner to thank for it.

My childhood memories from Poland–Part 1

When growing up in Poland (I was born in 1958) I often dreamed of coming to the USA.  Like with all dreams, I couldn’t be sure if it would ever come true.  It did.  In 1989, I came to the land I knew from old Westerns and books.  Within months of this event which changed my own life for ever, something else happened: the communist system, hated and feared, had crumbled, changing for ever the lives of hundreds of millions of people in Eastern Europe.  I little thought that my experience of growing up under communism would become of any interest to people living in the US, in short two decades.

 

I believe that humankind is on a path to a better future.  We sometimes call it progress.  But the journey on this path is not a simple forward motion.  History repeats itself, and quite often at that.  The less we know and understand it, the more likely it is we’ll see it again.

 

Watching two decades of post-communist Poland from here, I understood that the old pack of wolves that had run the country have cross-dressed and successfully chased opportunities in the new political reality.  But not until B. H. Obama was elected to the White House, I realized that the old communist disease (some call it Red Plague) threatens this side of the Atlantic as well.

 

I hope that by sharing some of my memories with you I can help you understand what is at stake in our freedom-loving country, and how to preserve it.

 

One of my early childhood memories is a verse from a kindergarten song: “let the sun always be, let it always be me.”  We sang it in Russian and in Polish, but for some reason the Russian words stuck in my head.  The Soviet Union was our best friend, so we were told, and children singing in Russian made our best friend happy.  The song, with its light tune and an upbeat message, warmed the little hearts, and filled them with hope.  “Let it always be me” sounded almost like a promise of immortality; the old religious superstition, we were told, was going away, and the new reality was going to replace it.  How would the immortality come about?

 

I grew up in the Mokotów borough of Warsaw, Poland’s capital.  Mokotów is beautiful, with lots of parks and gardens, and it has a rich history.  It had an important role during Warsaw Uprising of 1944.  About 15 minutes of walking distance from our apartment, was Soviet Military Cemetery in a beautiful park.  Remains of more than 21,000 Soviet soldiers who died while liberating Warsaw are buried there:  

300px-waw-soviet-military-cemetery-main

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_Military_Cemetery,_Warsaw.  I learned to ride a bicycle on the big flat area around the main obelisk you can see in the first photograph.  My father would chase me around while holding on to a stick in the back of the bike, when the training wheels were just taken off.  There were no crosses then, only Soviet stars on rows and rows of graves, some with names on them, many without.  I would later practice my Russian by reading a memorial plaque on the obelisk.  I often thought about those young men who sacrificed their lives so I could live and be happy.  Their memories were alive, and the air was full of reverence of a kind which I could not explain.  The soldiers were gone, yet living in our memories, and with “let it always be me” words ringing in my head, I looked around for answers, but cold stones would give none.  Officials on the TV screen who always placed wreaths at the foot of the obelisk during high-level Soviet visits would never mention immortality, lest they came too close to that religious superstition, we were told, that backward nonsense for which there was no place among progressive industrialized nations.

 

Sometimes my parents and I would walk in a different direction from our apartment, and we’d end up in a busy district with two universities and a prison, all around one intersection of two major streets.  The prison on Rakowiecka Street looked ominous, with high walls and a massive metal gate: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mokotow_Prison.  The bad guys were locked up there.  No “let it always be me” for them, that’s for sure!  Outside the prison, on the wall of one of the buildings around it, was a memorial plaque, surrounded by bullet holes carved in the bricks.  That was one of many hundreds of public execution places, where Nazis had killed civilians during the war.  Thank God for the Soviet Union who liberated us from those scumbags!  Oops, I wasn’t supposed to say “God” …  Luckily, I look around and no one heard it, not even the guards at the prison’s gate.

 

God was nearby, however.  A quarter of a mile from the prison, sharing an address on the same Rakowiecka street, is a Jesuit Church of St. Andrew Bobola, a martyr, where I took my first religious education classes.  The priest, kind and soft-spoken, would never mention the great fortune we had of living in such a progressive nation, under the auspices of such a great friend, whose soldiers lay in the nearby cemetery.  He must have been quite absent minded.

 

More than two decades later, I would learn that Mokotów prison was a major hub in the Stalinist system of repression and extermination of political opposition.  A cell was built there, with walls converging at the door.  A small hatch would be opened and death sentence would be read to the prisoner, who would then be shot dead through the same hatch, unable to evade the bullets by hiding in a corner.  The floor would be scrubbed, and the cell would be ready for the next victim.  The body would be buried at night in the fields near what is today the international airport at Okecie.  No one would know what happened.  Once in a while, the government-run media would present an oblique message that “enemies of the people” and “traitors” were chased down and punished.

 

More next time…