Steyn on the Welfare State

Steyn on the Welfare State

Greg Richards

The always inestimable Mark Steyn has what is, even by his high standards, an excellent column on NRO . He magnificently summarizes the dilemma of the welfare state; i.e., always depending on being able to access more contributors in succeeding generations to pay for excessive benefits to the current generation, and how this has come a cropper in Europe in general and Greece in particular, with the US of A not far behind:

By the way, you don’t have to go to Greece to experience Greek-style retirement: The Athenian “public service” of California has been metaphorically face down in the ouzo for a generation.

He documents the argument with the fertility statistics that have informed one theme of his writing recently – the death of Europe – and with another theme, the moral decline of the citizenry when it is “cared for” by government:

Economic reality is not my problem. I want my benefits. And, if it bankrupts the entire state a generation fro now, who cares as long as they keep the checks coming until I croak?

The piece is called “When Responsibility Doesn’t Pay” and it is well worth reading. 

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2010/02/steyn_on_the_welfare_state.html at February 28, 2010 – 11:34:22 AM CST

Al Gore’s weird, disconnected op-ed on climate change

Al Gore’s weird, disconnected op-ed on climate change

Rick Moran

Reading this New York Times op-ed by Al Gore gives you the distinct impression that he has been off somewhere communing with the global warming gods and hasn’t been paying attention to the collapse of his “overwhelming consensus” on climate change:

It would be an enormous relief if the recent attacks on the science of global warming actually indicated that we do not face an unimaginable calamity requiring large-scale, preventive measures to protect human civilization as we know it.

Of course, we would still need to deal with the national security risks of our growing dependence on a global oil market dominated by dwindling reserves in the most unstable region of the world, and the economic risks of sending hundreds of billions of dollars a year overseas in return for that oil. And we would still trail China in the race to develop smart grids, fast trains, solar power, wind, geothermal and other renewable sources of energy – the most important sources of new jobs in the 21st century.But what a burden would be lifted! We would no longer have to worry that our grandchildren would one day look back on us as a criminal generation that had selfishly and blithely ignored clear warnings that their fate was in our hands. We could instead celebrate the naysayers who had doggedly persisted in proving that every major National Academy of Sciences report on climate change had simply made a huge mistake.

A “criminal generation?” This from a Democrat whose global warming “fixes” would bankrupt the western world.

But the real problem with this little essay is that Gore is taking the now familiar tack of climate change advocates and tut-tutting about the series of revelations that have undermined the science he so confidently – and with the fervor of a religious zealot – believes in.

Weirdly, he mischaracterizes the document dump from East Anglia as an effort by Jones and Mann to push back against the “onslaught of hostile, make-work demands from climate skeptics.” These “make work” demands were citizens seeking confirmation of the science via Freedom of Information laws. In other words, Gore obviously believes we should sit down, shut up, and let him and his buddies reach into our pockets and remove trillions of dollars without demanding proof of the scientific basis for his power grab.

How very democratic of him.

This is an extraordinarily weak and idiotic defense. Poor wittle Jones and Mann. Let us weep for their workload. Let us gnash our teeth at the meanies who put them under so much pressure, that they felt they had not choice but to lie, cheat, cook the books, ruin the careers of fellow scientists who didn’t agree with them, and pressure formerly respected science publications to toe the company line on climate change. 

What a crock.

Gore evidently hasn’t read the recent literature:

It is also worth noting that the panel’s scientists – acting in good faith on the best information then available to them – probably underestimated the range of sea-level rise in this century,

Doesn’t he mean “overestimated?”

Scientists have been forced to withdraw a study on projected sea level rise due to global warming after finding mistakes that undermined the findings.The study, published in 2009 in Nature Geoscience, one of the top journals in its field, confirmed the conclusions of the 2007 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It used data over the last 22,000 years to predict that sea level would rise by between 7cm and 82cm by the end of the century.

[...]

Siddall said that he did not know whether the retracted paper’s estimate of sea level rise was an overestimate or an underestimate.

Yes – but remember; the science is settled.

He blames the failure in Copenhagen, not on the common sense objections from China and India regarding the destruction of their economies if recommendations made by the IPCC were adapted, but because the US senate didn’t pass cap and trade.

Finally, this bit of weirdness that shows Gore for what he is; a megalomaniac:

From the standpoint of governance, what is at stake is our ability to use the rule of law as an instrument of human redemption. After all has been said and so little done, the truth about the climate crisis – inconvenient as ever – must still be faced.

Al Gore sees himself as a redeemer – as Jesus Christ. And where is there room in a democratic republic for someone who thinks that the rule of law should be an “instrument of redemption?” Holy Mother, that is the scariest idea ever to drool from Gore’s mouth. The rule of law is just that – the rule of law. There should be no special qualities that animate the enforcement of the law – certainly not a drive to “redeem” anything or anybody. That smacks of titanic hubris to use the law to enforce your idea of “redemption.”

If the shoe fits, Al…

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2010/02/al_gores_weird_disconnected_op.html at February 28, 2010 – 11:30:32 AM CST

Obama and Charity

Obama and Charity

By Roger Banks

Continuing his lament over what he calls an “erosion of civility in the public square,” President Obama chose the setting of this year’s national prayer breakfast to admonish his ill-mannered opponents. “Surely you can question my policies,” he said, “without questioning my faith.”
However noble the spirit to rebel against a directive that so brazenly chills the content of political speech — scolding those who “poison the well of public opinion” while seeking to purge from that well opinions not to the liking of the lords of decorum — responding impulsively proves unnecessary.
It’s unnecessary because Obama himself, in the same speech, raises the question for us, by linking his faith to his policies. “God’s grace,” he said, “is expressed through … the efforts of our entire government.”
The question, then, is whether Obama’s faith in a tender, loving bureaucracy (aka entitlements) is consistent with his professed faith in Jesus Christ.
The answer is found quite readily in basic elements of Judeo-Christian charity. The Second Letter to the Corinthians, for example, reads: “Each one should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver1.”
“Under compulsion,” of course, is precisely the way entitlements are funded. The words “each decided in his heart to give” hardly belong in the same sentence as “tax,” unless you’re defining “mutually exclusive.” Surely entitlements have little to do with “cheerful givers.” Elected officials act rather as cheerful takers, as they decide how much to take.
Though Obama is fond of quoting scripture about “the least of these” to justify his policy on entitlements, he’s missing a vital part of the equation. Christ’s desire to help those in material need never exceeds his desire to help those who are afflicted spiritually. When Christ speaks of helping the poor, he places primary emphasis not on the poor, but on the prospective giver.
Hence, Jesus says, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” The words reflect his deep knowledge of the need to love and be loved through free-will giving. Christ’s perspective on giving also points to other reasons why entitlements and Christian charity are incompatible — reasons that are rarely if ever considered by either side of the debate.
First, taxes taken to fund entitlements serve to obstruct the above-quoted “more blessed[ness]” promised by Christ to those who give. With respect to trillions of conscripted dollars, individuals may no longer experience the transformative process of “deciding in their hearts” whether and how much to give.
Second, in addition to diminishing resources available for private giving, entitlements also deplete charitable impulses. A tax is levied, as it were, on the will to give. As the government takeover of the caring business spreads, individual incentives to care diminish. With government’s encroachment on the province of church and charity, the imperative to “love thy neighbor” seems no longer so imperative. Conscience, left to operate freely, may lead one to have compassion on the afflicted; but under a regime of entitlements, it grows anemic.  
When asked to make a donation for the poor, Ebenezer Scrooge retorts, “I help to support [public programs]: they cost enough.” The rationale for his refusal shows well what happens when we try to legislate love. It ends in humbug.
At the prayer breakfast, President Obama contended that personal sacrifice is waning in America. “We’ve become numb,” he alleged, to “slow-moving tragedies of children without food … and families without health care.” For such “day-to-day” poverty, as distinguished from what he calls “spectacular tragedy,” according to Obama — in a charge that may seem to question your faith — we are “complacent.” So government is needed.
A more likely reason for any numbness (especially his own) is the very thing Obama promotes: entitlements. His imagined bureaucracy of “God’s grace” encourages people to center their lives on Self and increasingly become spectators to the plight of others.  
After observing that public programs obviate private charity, Scrooge adds, “It’s enough for a man to understand his own business, and not to interfere with other people’s.” I daresay Obama’s entitlement policies cultivate, and spring from, this kind of recoiling from people in need. In opposition to Christian charity, entitlements contribute to the Scroogification of society.
At best, entitlements are based not on faith, but on fear — fear that love and charity are not enough. Yet for people to give more, government must tax less. Now, there’s a policy that really would require faith…even faith in the miracle of Scrooge on Christmas morning.
Roger Banks is an attorney in Washington, D.C. pursuing his ambition to become a poor, starving author. 

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/02/obama_and_charity.html at February 28, 2010 – 11:28:19 AM CST

AL GORE FOUND–WHAT’S A FEW MISTAKES?

We Can’t Wish Away Climate Change

By AL GORE

It would be an enormous relief if the recent attacks on the science of global warming actually indicated that we do not face an unimaginable calamity requiring large-scale, preventive measures to protect human civilization as we know it.

Of course, we would still need to deal with the national security risks of our growing dependence on a global oil market dominated by dwindling reserves in the most unstable region of the world, and the economic risks of sending hundreds of billions of dollars a year overseas in return for that oil. And we would still trail China in the race to develop smart grids, fast trains, solar power, wind, geothermal and other renewable sources of energy — the most important sources of new jobs in the 21st century.

But what a burden would be lifted! We would no longer have to worry that our grandchildren would one day look back on us as a criminal generation that had selfishly and blithely ignored clear warnings that their fate was in our hands. We could instead celebrate the naysayers who had doggedly persisted in proving that every major National Academy of Sciences report on climate change had simply made a huge mistake.

I, for one, genuinely wish that the climate crisis were an illusion. But unfortunately, the reality of the danger we are courting has not been changed by the discovery of at least two mistakes in the thousands of pages of careful scientific work over the last 22 years by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In fact, the crisis is still growing because we are continuing to dump 90 million tons of global-warming pollution every 24 hours into the atmosphere — as if it were an open sewer.

It is true that the climate panel published a flawed overestimate of the melting rate of debris-covered glaciers in the Himalayas, and used information about the Netherlands provided to it by the government, which was later found to be partly inaccurate. In addition, e-mail messages stolen from the University of East Anglia in Britain showed that scientists besieged by an onslaught of hostile, make-work demands from climate skeptics may not have adequately followed the requirements of the British freedom of information law.

But the scientific enterprise will never be completely free of mistakes. What is important is that the overwhelming consensus on global warming remains unchanged. It is also worth noting that the panel’s scientists — acting in good faith on the best information then available to them — probably underestimated the range of sea-level rise in this century, the speed with which the Arctic ice cap is disappearing and the speed with which some of the large glacial flows in Antarctica and Greenland are melting and racing to the sea.

Because these and other effects of global warming are distributed globally, they are difficult to identify and interpret in any particular location. For example, January was seen as unusually cold in much of the United States. Yet from a global perspective, it was the second-hottest January since surface temperatures were first measured 130 years ago.

Similarly, even though climate deniers have speciously argued for several years that there has been no warming in the last decade, scientists confirmed last month that the last 10 years were the hottest decade since modern records have been kept.

The heavy snowfalls this month have been used as fodder for ridicule by those who argue that global warming is a myth, yet scientists have long pointed out that warmer global temperatures have been increasing the rate of evaporation from the oceans, putting significantly more moisture into the atmosphere — thus causing heavier downfalls of both rain and snow in particular regions, including the Northeastern United States. Just as it’s important not to miss the forest for the trees, neither should we miss the climate for the snowstorm.

Here is what scientists have found is happening to our climate: man-made global-warming pollution traps heat from the sun and increases atmospheric temperatures. These pollutants — especially carbon dioxide — have been increasing rapidly with the growth in the burning of coal, oil, natural gas and forests, and temperatures have increased over the same period. Almost all of the ice-covered regions of the Earth are melting — and seas are rising. Hurricanes are predicted to grow stronger and more destructive, though their number is expected to decrease. Droughts are getting longer and deeper in many mid-continent regions, even as the severity of flooding increases. The seasonal predictability of rainfall and temperatures is being disrupted, posing serious threats to agriculture. The rate of species extinction is accelerating to dangerous levels.

Though there have been impressive efforts by many business leaders, hundreds of millions of individuals and families throughout the world and many national, regional and local governments, our civilization is still failing miserably to slow the rate at which these emissions are increasing — much less reduce them.

And in spite of President Obama’s efforts at the Copenhagen climate summit meeting in December, global leaders failed to muster anything more than a decision to “take note” of an intention to act.

Because the world still relies on leadership from the United States, the failure by the Senate to pass legislation intended to cap American emissions before the Copenhagen meeting guaranteed that the outcome would fall far short of even the minimum needed to build momentum toward a meaningful solution.

The political paralysis that is now so painfully evident in Washington has thus far prevented action by the Senate — not only on climate and energy legislation, but also on health care reform, financial regulatory reform and a host of other pressing issues.

This comes with painful costs. China, now the world’s largest and fastest-growing source of global-warming pollution, had privately signaled early last year that if the United States passed meaningful legislation, it would join in serious efforts to produce an effective treaty. When the Senate failed to follow the lead of the House of Representatives, forcing the president to go to Copenhagen without a new law in hand, the Chinese balked. With the two largest polluters refusing to act, the world community was paralyzed.

Some analysts attribute the failure to an inherent flaw in the design of the chosen solution — arguing that a cap-and-trade approach is too unwieldy and difficult to put in place. Moreover, these critics add, the financial crisis that began in 2008 shook the world’s confidence in the use of any market-based solution.

But there are two big problems with this critique: First, there is no readily apparent alternative that would be any easier politically. It is difficult to imagine a globally harmonized carbon tax or a coordinated multilateral regulatory effort. The flexibility of a global market-based policy — supplemented by regulation and revenue-neutral tax policies — is the option that has by far the best chance of success. The fact that it is extremely difficult does not mean that we should simply give up.

Second, we should have no illusions about the difficulty and the time needed to convince the rest of the world to adopt a completely new approach. The lags in the global climate system, including the buildup of heat in the oceans from which it is slowly reintroduced into the atmosphere, means that we can create conditions that make large and destructive consequences inevitable long before their awful manifestations become apparent: the displacement of hundreds of millions of climate refugees, civil unrest, chaos and the collapse of governance in many developing countries, large-scale crop failures and the spread of deadly diseases.

It’s important to point out that the United States is not alone in its inaction. Global political paralysis has thus far stymied work not only on climate, but on trade and other pressing issues that require coordinated international action.

The reasons for this are primarily economic. The globalization of the economy, coupled with the outsourcing of jobs from industrial countries, has simultaneously heightened fears of further job losses in the industrial world and encouraged rising expectations in emerging economies. The result? Heightened opposition, in both the industrial and developing worlds, to any constraints on the use of carbon-based fuels, which remain our principal source of energy.

The decisive victory of democratic capitalism over communism in the 1990s led to a period of philosophical dominance for market economics worldwide and the illusion of a unipolar world. It also led, in the United States, to a hubristic “bubble” of market fundamentalism that encouraged opponents of regulatory constraints to mount an aggressive effort to shift the internal boundary between the democracy sphere and the market sphere. Over time, markets would most efficiently solve most problems, they argued. Laws and regulations interfering with the operations of the market carried a faint odor of the discredited statist adversary we had just defeated.

This period of market triumphalism coincided with confirmation by scientists that earlier fears about global warming had been grossly understated. But by then, the political context in which this debate took form was tilted heavily toward the views of market fundamentalists, who fought to weaken existing constraints and scoffed at the possibility that global constraints would be needed to halt the dangerous dumping of global-warming pollution into the atmosphere.

Over the years, as the science has become clearer and clearer, some industries and companies whose business plans are dependent on unrestrained pollution of the atmospheric commons have become ever more entrenched. They are ferociously fighting against the mildest regulation — just as tobacco companies blocked constraints on the marketing of cigarettes for four decades after science confirmed the link of cigarettes to diseases of the lung and the heart.

Simultaneously, changes in America’s political system — including the replacement of newspapers and magazines by television as the dominant medium of communication — conferred powerful advantages on wealthy advocates of unrestrained markets and weakened advocates of legal and regulatory reforms. Some news media organizations now present showmen masquerading as political thinkers who package hatred and divisiveness as entertainment. And as in times past, that has proved to be a potent drug in the veins of the body politic. Their most consistent theme is to label as “socialist” any proposal to reform exploitive behavior in the marketplace.

From the standpoint of governance, what is at stake is our ability to use the rule of law as an instrument of human redemption. After all has been said and so little done, the truth about the climate crisis — inconvenient as ever — must still be faced.

The pathway to success is still open, though it tracks the outer boundary of what we are capable of doing. It begins with a choice by the United States to pass a law establishing a cost for global warming pollution. The House of Representatives has already passed legislation, with some Republican support, to take the first halting steps for pricing greenhouse gas emissions.

Later this week, Senators John Kerry, Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman are expected to present for consideration similar cap-and-trade legislation.

I hope that it will place a true cap on carbon emissions and stimulate the rapid development of low-carbon sources of energy.

We have overcome existential threats before. Winston Churchill is widely quoted as having said, “Sometimes doing your best is not good enough. Sometimes, you must do what is required.” Now is that time. Public officials must rise to this challenge by doing what is required; and the public must demand that they do so — or must replace them.

Al Gore, the vice president from 1993 to 2001, is the founder of the Alliance for Climate Protection and the author of “Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis.” As a businessman, he is an investor in alternative energy companies.

Should we buy them larger screen computers – or – a ticket home, permanently?–House Minority Leader Lawrence F. Cafero Jr. , R-Norwalk, pictured standing, far right, speaks while colleagues Rep. Barbara Lambert, D-Milford and Rep. Jack F. Hennessy, D-Bridgeport, play solitaire Monday night as the House convened to vote on a new budget.

Should we buy them larger screen computers – or – a ticket home, permanently?

This is one of their THREE DAY WORK WEEKS that we all pay for.  I am ready to start from the beginning by voting out all elected officials and not letting any of them stay in office for more than two terms.  No more lifelong healthcare, retirement, voting in their own pay raises, taking perks on our taxes, etc.
 

House Minority Leader  Lawrence F. Cafero Jr. , R-Norwalk, pictured standing, far  right, speaks while colleagues Rep. Barbara Lambert,  D-Milford and Rep. Jack F. Hennessy, D-Bridgeport, play solitaire Monday night as the House convened to vote on a  new budget. (AP)

The guy sitting in the row in front of these two….  he’s on Facebook, and the guy behind Hennessy is checking out the baseball scores.

These are the folks that couldn’t get the budget out by Oct. 1,  and are about to control your health care, cap and trade, and the list goes on….

KEEP THIS GOING, DON’T LET IT STOP WITH YOU! CONSIDER VOTING ALL INCUMBENTS OUT NEXT NOVEMBER

Obama May Prohibit Home-Loan Foreclosures Without HAMP Review

Obama May Prohibit Home-Loan Foreclosures Without HAMP Review

February 26th, 2010

Bloomberg

 Obama will keep prolonging the recession

The Obama administration may expand efforts to ease the housing crisis by banning all foreclosures on home loans unless they have been screened and rejected by the government’s Home Affordable Modification Program.

The proposal, reviewed by lenders last week on a White House conference call, “prohibits referral to foreclosure until borrower is evaluated and found ineligible for HAMP or reasonable contact efforts have failed,” according to a Treasury Department document outlining the plan.

“It is one of the many ideas under consideration in the administration’s ongoing housing stabilization efforts,” Treasury spokeswoman Meg Reilly said in an e-mail. “This proposal has not been approved and there are no immediate planned announcements on the issue.”

She confirmed the authenticity of the document, which hasn’t been made public.

Read More:

Obama: Ineligibility could prove costly

Obama: Ineligibility could prove costly

February 26th, 2010

By Bob Unruh,WorldNetDaily

 If Obama is found to have committed fraud

An attorney whose legal brief in a case challenging Barack Obama’s eligibility revealed a Supreme Court can remove an ineligible chief executive now has released an analysis confirming that if Obama isn’t eligible, he could be charged under a number of felony statutes.

And that’s just on the federal level; any state charges would be in addition, as would charges against individuals who may have helped him in the commission of any of the acts, according to Gary Kreep of the United States Justice Foundation.

Kreep has been involved in several of the cases that have raised challenges to Obama’s occupancy of the Oval Office, including two in California. One is on appeal in the state court system and names California Secretary of State Debra Bowen as defendant. The other, in the federal court system, is on appeal before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Both make claims on behalf of individuals and political candidates in California over Obama’s presence on the 2008 election ballot.

Read The Story:

Excerpt of the Memo:

Barack Hussein Obama has come under much scrutiny ever since his rise to national prominence as the Democratic National Committee nominee, and his election in November of 2008, as to whether or not he is a naturally born citizen of the United States. He produced, in 2009, a certification of live birth issued by the state of Hawaii. This, however, is not definitive evidence of birth in Hawaii, nor of being a natural born citizen. This has done little to quiet those who question Mr. Obama’s eligibility for the office President of the United States of
America (herein after referred to as POTUS).

Currently, there are cases filed in both the federal courts and many state courts seeking to compel Barack Obama to produce evidence of his citizenship, and, in the case of his noncompliance of production of valid citizenship papers, to have the electoral votes in his favor
nullified.

Assuming, for the purposes of this memo, that Mr. Obama is found to be ineligible, he could face a number of civil and criminal penalties.
Potential federal criminal charges are as follows:

Read The Full MEMO

Top US Marine rejects Obama plan to repeal gay ban

Top US Marine rejects Obama plan to repeal gay ban

February 26th, 2010

AP

 The Top Marine rightly opposes Obama’s radical changes

The head of the US Marines said on Thursday he opposed ending the ban on gays serving openly in the military, the first top officer to break openly with President Barack Obama over the issue.
General James Conway told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he disagreed with Obama’s plan to repeal the ban.

“My best military advice to this committee, to the (defense) secretary, and to the president would be to keep the law such as it is.”

Conway said the current policy worked and any bid to lift the ban should answer the question: “do we somehow enhance the war fighting capabilities of the United States Marine Corps by allowing homosexuals to openly serve?”

Conway’s public rejection of his commander-in-chief’s stance is sure to fuel debate in Congress on the issue and reflects apprehension among some senior military officers about changing the 1993 law.

Read More:

At summit, Obama mostly hears Obama

At summit, Obama mostly hears Obama

February 26th, 2010

By Joseph Curl, Washington Times

 Obama mostly just lectures at the summit

President Obama pledged to “listen” at the outset of his much-ballyhooed bipartisan health care summit on Thursday. Turns out he meant he’d be listening to his own voice.

By the end of the televised event, Mr. Obama had spoken for 119 minutes – nine minutes more than the 110 minutes consumed by 17 Republicans. The 21 Democratic lawmakers used 114 minutes, giving the president and his supporters a whopping 233 minutes, according to a “talk clock” kept by GOP aides.

From the beginning, no one could agree on anything, even how much time each side had used. When a miffed Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, pointed out early on that Democrats had controlled 52 minutes to Republicans’ 24, Mr. Obama jumped in to dispute even that.

“I don’t think that’s quite right,” he said.

Read More:

Obama Names SEIU’s Stern to Deficit Commission

Obama Names SEIU’s Stern to Deficit Commission

February 27th, 2010

by Ivan Osorio, Open Market

 The SEIU lobbyist president will sit on the Deficit Commission that’s just great

President Barack Obama has appointed Service Employees International Union (SEIU) President Andrew Stern to a new commission tasked with coming up with recommendations to help reduce the federal deficit. While disappointing, this is not surprising. Stern’s appointment is merely the culmination of a series of appointments by the Obama administration of individuals closely associated with SEIU to government posts.

These include Patrick Gaspard, a former vice president for politics and legislation for SEIU Local 1199, a giant New York health care workers union, who was named White House political director following Obama’s election, and SEIU Treasurer Anna Burger, who was named to Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board. Then there’s former SEIU associate general counsel Craig Becker, whose nomination to the National Labor Relations Board failed in a Senate cloture vote.

Stern himself, according to White House visitor logs released in November, visited the White House at least 22 times in 2009, making him the most frequent visitor during that time (the Alliance for Worker Freedom has filed a request for an investigation of Stern for possible lobbying disclosure violations, including during those visits).

This access hasn’t come easy. SEIU has invested heavily in politics. In 2008, it was the seventh biggest campaign donor, with nearly all of its contributions going to Democrats, according the the Center for Responsive Politics. Stern told The Las Vegas Sun in May 2009: “We spent a fortune to elect Barack Obama — $60.7 million to be exact — and we’re proud of it.”

Read More:

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