October 20, 2014
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My Take on the News
Time for Gina to counter attack on pension reforms
Lonnie Barham

GINA NEEDS TO STEP IN AGAIN: The pension reform issue is being re-fought throughout Rhode Island as part of the fall elections. Unions, especially the National Education Association of R.I., are pouring money, mailings and door-to-door campaigners into the races for at least 19 legislative races in an attempt to overturn pension reform by defeating legislators who voted in favor of the long-needed reform. The situation is most prominent in East Providence and Pawtucket where Senator Dan DaPonte, the senate finance committee chairman who was so instrumental in shepherding pension reform through the General Assembly last year, is being challenged by union-financed and supported candidate Bob DaSilva, an ardent union supporter and union member himself who, as a state representative, voted against pension reform.
Will Rhode Islanders sit back and allow unions to overturn pension reform through union-packed ballot booths? We can only hope the Ocean State's citizens are too wise to fall for the tired rhetoric issued by the very people who caused the pension problem in the first place – unions and their lobbyists. Heavy taxpayer turnout for both the Sept. 11 primary and the November general election is essential!
State Treasurer Gina Raimondo, the driving force behind pension reform, needs to step to the plate and very vocally support those legislators who are under attack by powerful unions in this election. If her respected voice is heard by Rhode Islanders, perhaps this fall's elections will not be the first step toward repeal of pension reform. Let's trust Gina is not staying out of the fray as a nod toward union members, as she prepares for a possible 2014 race for governor. Tell us it ain't so, Gina!

UNION STILL PUSHING BINDING ARBITRATION: After the National Education Association sent out its list of 19 candidates who will likely help the powerful union overturn pension reform in Rhode Island, it added R.I. legislators who voted for pension reform but who also voted in favor of binding arbitration for teachers – a provision that would have cost taxpayers billions over the years had it passed. Warwick Senator Michael McCaffrey is one of only two senators identified by the union as one who will likely support their efforts when they try to again saddle Rhode Island with unsustainable benefits for public employees while taxpayers continue to suffer.

CICILLINE SHORT ON MATH SKILLS: Congressman David Cicilline recently stated, "When President Obama took office, we were losing 700,000 jobs a month. Now we've had job growth, I think, for 24 consecutive months." Cicilline chose to overlook the underlying math.
First, simple math shows that when jobs lost since Obama took office are compared to jobs gained, our country is still 572,000 jobs in the hole.
Second, when advanced math is done, factoring in the minimum number of 90,000 new jobs that have to be created every month just to keep pace with population growth and new adults entering the job market, we are about 4.5 million jobs short of where we should be after 44 months of the Obama presidency.
Third, the statement so cavalierly glosses over the fact that the national unemployment rate is stagnant at 8.3 percent, and that the real unemployment rate is at 15 percent when those are counted who have given up looking for work or have found only part-time jobs – people not counted in the national unemployment number.
For Cicilline to boast that we have had job growth for several months when the overall jobs deficit is well over 4 million jobs, and when over 23 million Americans remain unemployed, is disingenuous and terribly misleading.

"2016: OBAMA'S AMERICA" - THE MOVIE: While far-left, socialist-leaning editorialists like the Providence Journal's Bob Kerr, all Obama apologists, claim the movie has no merits, the Dinesh D'Souza movie, "2016: Obama's America," is simply the counterpoint to the highly inflammatory 2004 movie by Michael Moore, "Fahrenheit 9/11," that used half-truths, misleading information and some outright fabrications to try to destroy George W. Bush's re-election chances. Successful at the box office, it failed in its attempt to derail George W's presidential re-election bid. If anything, D'Souza's 2012 imitation of Moore's slick, pre-election polemic is no less fantastical and possibly more truthful than Moore’s anti-Bush version. Both movies exaggerate reality!
D'Sousa, a respected former presidential advisor and current president of King's College in New York, is not a radical, rabid, conservative firebrand. He is a respected and much-read author, political analyst and educator. Unlike Michael Moore's agitprop film that was backed and promoted by Hollywood moguls, D'Sousa's film was self-made and self-promoted. While it is unlikely to match Moore's box office success, its short-term popularity may serve to emphasize the stark differences between Obama's and Mitt Romney's vision for America's future – a big spending, big government, cradle to grave entitlement America with a third world economy; or an America of hard working individuals who don't depend on government to run their lives and who bring back the entrepreneurial spirit that built America.

KUDOS TO BROWN UNIVERSITY: Whether you think of Brown University as a wonderful addition to the mosaic of Rhode Island, or as an uncaring and rich organization that doesn't pay it's fair share for the taxpayer funded infrastructure that ensures its success, we can all agree that Brown's latest move – in affiliation with Home and Hospice Care of R.I. – to add to its medical school a new program that will concentrate on palliative medicine will benefit all Rhode Islanders and will help advance national understanding of how doctors can best assist patients in the dying process. We're all going to die. Kudos to Brown for helping blaze the trail toward a more comfortable, more dignified dying process.

QUOTES OF THE WEEK: Florida Senator Marco Rubio: "Our problem with President Obama is not that he is a bad person; it's that he is a bad president." Clint Eastwood: "When someone doesn't do the job, we just have to let him go."


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