Former Rep. David Bonior
The man recently appointed to President-elect Barack Obama’s economic transition team was a bona fide member of a major U.S. socialist organization, according to literature from the group.
Former Rep. David Bonior, D-Mich., reportedly being considered for the Labor secretary position in the incoming Obama administration, has had a longstanding close relationship with the Democratic Socialists of America, or DSA, an organization dedicated to transforming America into a socialist society.
Now WND has learned the DSA’s official newsletter in 2007 identified Bonior as a DSA member at the organization’s Boston branch. Neither the DSA in Boston nor Bonior returned repeated WND calls seeking comment. Obama’s transition team did not return a phone call or e-mail inquiry.
Earlier this month, the Detroit chapter of the DSA honored Bonior and his wife, Judy, at its annual dinner. Bonior has been honored at several DSA functions the past six years, including in 2003, when he was the keynote speaker at the U.S. socialist organization’s national convention in Detroit.
At the 2003 convention, Bonior laid out his plan for a North American Parliamentary Union, according to a DSA transcript of the event.
Bonior was a longtime critic of the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, a trilateral trade bloc created by the U.S., Canadian and Mexican governments. But he argued that as long as NAFTA was in effect, a joint parliament should be formed to oversee the agreement.
Former Rep. David Bonior, left, and Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., in Baghdad in 2002
“How do we democratize this globalization argument (NAFTA)?” Bonior stated at the DSA convention. “One of the ideas we came up with was forming a North American Parliamentary Union. A North America Parliament, with Mexico, Canada and the United States, with people – probably first appointed, but eventually elected like they are in the European Parliament – so we can begin to raise these issues of human rights, civil rights and labor rights and immigration, which never get talked about here.
“The proposed North American Parliamentary Union would be a democratic structure to enfranchise all citizens – farmers, laborers, small business, environmentalists, consumer advocates and others – in the NAFTA countries, as well as, hopefully, Central America,” he said.
Bonior added: “I think the chances of this happening in the short run are not very good, but in the long run … we have a chance of forming a North American parliament, and with that, I think, the dialogue on these issues that we all struggle with and are frustrated with will have a place in which they can surface, and hopefully we can move forward.”
Bonior has other ties to the DSA. The socialist group reportedly campaigned for him in 2002 after he left Congress and ran unsuccessfully for governor of Michigan.
The New Zeal blog discovered a 2002 DSA newsletter that reports the organization’s work “focused on Rep. David Bonior’s gubernatorial campaign.”
“The local endorsed Rep. Bonior almost 18 months ago. DSA helped with the early fundraising for his campaign, collecting signatures for his nominating petitions, distributing literature at Detroit churches, and walking door to door in Macomb County on his behalf on the weekend before the primary,” stated the DSA newsletter.
In 2006, the socialist group formed a political action committee to which only DSA members in good standing are allowed to contribute, according to FEC guidelines. The DSA states the committee, which seeks to support federal political candidates supported by the socialist group, is careful about who contributes to the fund.
“Because the law is so specific, all contributions are carefully screened to make sure that they are from (DSA) members,” states a 2006 DSA newsletter.
New Zeal found that on June 19, 2006, Bonior contributed $1,000 to the DSA’s committee.
Obama appointee ‘Saddam Hussein Baghdad boy’
First elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1976, Bonior served from 1991 to 2002 as Democratic whip, the second-ranking party position in the House. He was known as a supporter of labor unions, later chairing the board of the pro-union American Rights at Work, whose board members include the American Union Movement AFL-CIO’s president, John Sweeney, a DSA member.
Bonior was a champion of the Employee Free Choice Act. The measure seeks to make the creation of unions more lenient than current requirements, such as lowering the percentage of employees that must join. It would require an employer to begin bargaining with a new union 10 days after the union is certified as the exclusive bargaining representative. If the union and employer cannot agree upon the terms of a bargaining contract within 90 days, either party can request federal mediation, which could lead to binding arbitration.
The former congressman previously was the center of controversy when in September 2002 he visited Iraq – at the behest of Saddam Hussein, according to some reports. Bonior traveled to Iraq along with fellow congressmen Jim McDermott and Mike Thompson.
Prior to the trip, the three politicians issued a joint press release, posted on their respective congressional websites, explaining their visit was aimed at “gaining insight into the humanitarian challenges another war on Iraq would have on innocent Iraqis and the dangerous implications of a unilateral, preemptive strike on U.S. national security.”
After the trio’s trip generated criticism, with one magazine, the Weekly Standard, coining them the “Baghdad Democrats” and “Baghdad boys,” Bonior claimed to the U.S. media the visit was about ensuring freedom of access to Hussein’s suspected weapons facilities.
“We wanted to impress upon the Iraqi government and the people of Iraq how important it was for them to allow unconditional, unfettered, unrestricted access to the inspectors,” Bonior said.
But Bonior and the other congressmen didn’t seem bothered when, during their trip, the Iraqi state-run media painted their visit as a show of support for Hussein’s regime.
The Iraq Daily, published by Hussein’s Ministry of Information, reportedly printed daily updates of the trip, including in English. One Sept. 30 report stated, “the members of the U.S. Congress delegation have underlined that this visit aims to get acquainted with the truth of Iraq’s people sufferings due to ongoing embargo which caused shortage in food and medicine for all Iraqi people.”
The report was carried alongside another article boasting of Hussein’s support for Palestinian terror organizations.
The Weekly Standard highlighted how, upon touching down in Iraq on Sept. 27, Iraqi Satellite Channel Television reported the congressional visitors would be brought to Iraqi hospitals “to see the suffering caused by the unjust embargo and the shortage of medicines and medical supplies. Congressman Jim McDermott told reporters upon arrival at Saddam International Airport that the delegation members reject the policy of aggression dominating the U.S. administration.”
In 2002, WND reported former FBI officials charged that Bonior, while in Congress, had hampered efforts to investigate terrorist suspects in Detroit.
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