RUSH: Jerry in Long Beach, I’m glad you waited, sir, welcome to the program.
CALLER: Uh, Rush, I’m a proud member of the longshoremen’s union.
RUSH: Yes, sir.
CALLER: I don’t appreciate you attacking our union, try to make this part of this debate. Are you telling us that Republicans don’t care about our jobs? Are you telling us that Republicans want to break our union?
CALLER: Is that what this deal was about?
RUSH: No! No.
CALLER: Or is this about — Or is this about President —
RUSH: There you go again! There you go stereotyping! There you go stereotyping.
CALLER: Is he afraid he’s not going to get his commission?
RUSH: I’m telling you that from everything I know, nothing’s going to change. I have said this for the past two days.
CALLER: So why are you attacking my union?
RUSH: I’m not “attacking your union”! I’m simply pointing out who your union donates to and explaining why Schumer and Hillary and these other Democrats are speaking out in opposition to the deal. While they’re telling us it’s about national security, it’s not, they’re telling it because they’re trying to loyal to you. You’re the ones that —
CALLER: What you’re not saying is [sic] that this is a violation of the Trading with Enemies Act. You couple this with the violation of the Espionage Act, a violation of the Foreign Intelligence —
RUSH: It’s none of that.
CALLER: — Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, you’ve got this president committing three felonies, sir!
RUSH: It’s none of that!
CALLER: He’s a criminal.
CALLER: And what you’re doing is criminal — and don’t you attack my union!
RUSH: I didn’t attack your union, but I’m about to start —
CALLER: Well, let’s get it on, buddy.
RUSH: — because you are so dead wrong about this. You Democrats, all it takes, give you one little shred of rope, and you’ve got a noose around your neck inside of 30 seconds! This is not trading with the enemies. Your union was not “attacked.” Your union is not going to be put out of business. Where did you go to the idea that Bush wants the deal to go through to put the longshoreman out of business is beyond me. That’s paranoia. That’s stereotypical. You are profiling. You are profiling Republicans — and you’re doing all with that absolutely zero knowledge. Trading with the Enemy Act! Three felonies!
You wish. (sigh)
If these are felonies, give me one.
If you missed the previous — well, the last call in the previous hour, a man identifying himself as a proud member of the longshoremen union in Long Beach, a man named Jerry, called and said, don’t you threaten my union, or don’t you criticize my union. Well, what he was referring to is that I continue to dig deep on the port deal, and I have learned that much of the opposition to the port deal — from the likes of Senator Schumer and Senator Clinton, Senator Lautenberg, Senator Menendez, Senator Boxer and others — may not be what it seems. They’re hiding, I think, under the cloak of being concerned about national security, but when you look at it what really is happening here is that they are all huge recipients of large contributions from the longshoremen’s union, which, I mean, that’s not a surprise to anybody. Organized labor supports the Democratic Party en rote. They just don’t even think about it. It’s a reflex action — and it’s a little hypocrite because we already have all kinds of business deals and arrangements with the United Arab Emirates and the Clinton administration way back when sold them 60 F-16s.
We’ve allowed them to own property in this country and so forth. But when the longshoremen union member threatened me, it jogged my fertile memory, ladies and gentlemen. I recalled in recent years — I thought it was two or three years ago, turns out it was, well, a little over three, 2002 — there was a strike by the Long Beach longshoreman over the modernization of procedures cataloging and inventorying cargo that was on ships and was off-loaded. You’ll remember this. It was the bar code scanning controversy. They wanted to put bar code scanning on all of the incoming cargo to help find out where it is, rather than send off a bunch of human beings to try to find it.
“Let’s find out exactly where it is; let’s computerize it,” and the longshoremen fought this. This is nothing new. Unions have been fighting advanced technology since there has been advanced technology. I mean, they’re afraid it will affect their jobs — and they went on strike right around Christmastime in this year in order to make their case, and they had ships that couldn’t get into port because the ships that were in port wouldn’t be off-loaded, and those ships couldn’t be reloaded and sent back out. You had a fleet of cargo ships out in the Pacific waiting to get in, and it got so bad that people were demanding that President Bush get involved. This was Christmas, after all.
The longshoremen — let me read to you, this is from a little website here, Slate.com — and it’s titled, “Short Port Report,” and I’ll just read you an excerpt: “…and organized workers have resisted new technology since the 1800s,” and that’s exactly what the longshoremen are doing now. “The port operators want to start using bar code scanners to speed cargo through terminals. More likely than not those operators will want to engage outside contractors to run the new scanners, and those contractors will employ nonunion labor. It’s easy to sympathize with workers whose jobs are displaced technology. EZ Pass has meant the elimination of many decent paying jobs for toll booth clerks,” and, of course, we used to have a buggy whip industry and a buggy industry. But with the car, out went the buggy and the buggy whip industry. “Union members in question here get paid more like accountants than day laborers. According to Pacific Maritime Association, the average annual salaries at the ports for longshore workers is $82,895 a year for class A workers, $118,444 for clerks, and $157,352 a year for foremen.”
This piece published, by the way, Wednesday, October 2002. “The six-figure clerks who chart the inflow and outflow of the trucks in the containers frequently by hand say they’ll be happy to use these new gizmos, but only if the bar code jobs are unionized,” and that’s what the fight was over,” and I am sure that that’s what the concern is here. You say, “What’s this God to do with the UAE port deal, Rush? Stick to the issues!” I’m getting there, folks, stick with me. Realize I never get lost in this program. I never lose my train of thought. I never forget what I’m going to say. I always stay on track.
There is no doubt that the concern in these six ports is — that longshoremen have –0 is exactly over the same thing. We have, I shared with you a story today from the New York Sun about how the United Arab Emirates port company is modernizing and streamlining all of its ports around the world. I told you that the number two — I say number one port operator — in the world is owned out of Hong Kong, and they don’t want to buy the six ports in question here because they don’t want to deal with the union regulations. I doubt that anything is going to change, and I’ve been saying that all week. But I can understand their fear that things might change, and so that’s why they’re donating heavily all these years to protect their jobs. That’s what the union people do.
So we’re faced with the age-old problem of how do we modernize and advance technologically without putting a whole bunch of people out of work. And so there has to be obviously thought attached to all of this. What always happens, I mean I hate to tell you something, but during the NAFTA debate, you know, all we heard about was the Singer sewing machine plant up in New Hampshire, you know, and how people would be put out of jobs. But, you know, economics is what it is — and the global market is what it is. It can’t go back with a wall around the country and pretend that this global economy, interlinked economic dependence is not happening.
You can’t turn back the hands of time on things like this. I actually think this. I was telling my staff here during the break, “What I fully expect to happen is if the UAE deal does go through, after all of this tsunami and all the bad PR, the UAE people are going to bend over backwards to show they have no intention of causing anybody here any harm, and they’ll probably hire more longshoremen and they’ll say, ‘Just sit on the dock. You’re on permanent break, and we’re going to pay you whatever you get paid for it. We’re going to increase the number of longshoremen,’ and they’ll do this for a while just as a PR issue.” I know some of you are saying, “What’s the difference between a permanent break and a regular job?” Don’t make that joke, folks.
I have been threatened by these longshoreman people now, and we’re not going to make jokes about them. I’ve already had to beef up security. You start telling jokes about them, I’m going to be in even further peril. But there’s no question that at some point these ports are going to have to be modernized. I mean, it’s just the way of the world! There’s going to be new technology. There’s going to be faster ways of getting port in and out of the docks, off-loaded and on-loaded. It’s going to happen, and there will be steps taken to as this modernization takes place to incorporate everybody involved. Found another longshoremen story for you. This is from the Capital News Service.
It’s from Friday, March 12th of 2004. ‘Longshoremen worry that port security proposals could hit them hardest.’ I’m just going to read to you what the story says. ‘Men with criminal past the in need of a job have long turned to the one industry here that would take them,’ this is from Baltimore, ‘the waterfront.’ Well, don’t blame me. I’m not the one who said yesterday, ‘Let the Mafia have this.’ Somebody said, ‘Turn this back over to the Mafia,’ and Snerdley agreed that it would be better than the UAE. That’s what you said yesterday. The guy who wrote this is named Joe Eaton, E-a-t-o-n, and that lead story is his, for those of you who are members of the longshoremen’s union.
‘Many of the same longshoremen who found a solid paycheck at the port of Baltimore worry that could change under a 2002 law that aims to protect American ports from terrorism. The law requires criminal background checks for longshoremen and other dock workers who could lose their jobs if they have a conviction in their past. The Department of Homeland Security is still developing rules for the checks and could not say when they might take effect but any time is too soon for longshoremen here. ‘The waterfront saved a lot of people, man, I mean a lot,’ said Anthony White, 36, a second-generation longshoremen who’s been at the port of Baltimore for five years. White conceded he has a felony conviction for a crime he refused to talk about that’s 17 years old. He said he knows several other longshoremen with records. He worries about their families. He questions how they’ll pay their bills. ‘You gotta get your life together, man. Why do they want to take that away from you? You have a car payment, you have a house payment, what are you supposed to do?”
Well, obviously we need income insurance. Just like we have health insurance, income insurance. Speaking of that, I can’t wait to get to this story in the Wall Street Journal about health care costs and how fast they’re rising. It might be cheaper to just buy every employee a house than give them health care. That’s how out of control it’s gotten. I will have the details coming up for you. The bottom line here in this Baltimore story, the longshoremen opposed background checks on dock workers passed in 2002 intended to improve national security. They opposed it — and they contribute to Democrats. That’s the connection here.
So when you hear these northeastern liberal Democrats talking (nattering Democrat voice), ‘Nat’nal security! Nat’nal security! Nat’nal security!’ Think: ‘Longshoreman union. Longshoreman union. Longshoreman union contributions.’
Let me address something I think that’s bothering those of you who oppose the deal, and I think it’s part of the tsunami effect, and it’s quite understandable too — in a mass hysteria way — given the post-9/11 world we live in. Well, that’s what the tsunami is. It’s been mass hysteria. That’s one of the reasons red flags went up, and I would imagine that when you some of you first heard this, you had pictures form in your mind. You had visions of Abdul and Sahib wearing turbans operating the cranes and driving the equipment on these docks at these six ports, and, ‘Good God, what are we doing? How stupid can we be?’
Admit it, that’s what you saw. If we’re going to have a United Arab Emirates company owning it, then you concluded that they’re going to hire their own people. Now, if that were going to happen, that would change the whole tenor of the deal. There is no question. Now you are talking about a genuine legitimate security risk, because you’d have to go through all kinds of hiring practices and steps. You would have to implement the Patriot Act practically as an employment tool — and I can understand people having that attitude.