11/29/08

Saturday wrap

Congress Reaches New Depths of Stupidity ... The cornerstone of the pro-union, anti-business measures is the card-check legislation. Card-check is Obama's reward to his union supporters like the Department of Education was Jimmy Carter's reward to the National Education Association's for their support in 1976. It would force companies to recognize a union if a majority of its workers signed cards. This is different from today's law which requires a month-long campaign ending in a secret vote and would make unionization of a business much easier to attain. Government meddling in this matter is ridiculously unconstitutional. Beyond that obvious fact, why is government still supporting a dinosaur whose historical record is filled with hooliganism, and putting whole industries out of business in the U.S. (see steel and automobiles)? Has Congress learned nothing from its recent study of how the UAW has contributed to the collapse of the Big Three? (nolanchart.com)


U.S. embraces 'social justice' economy ... Today's extreme stock market volatility is not just a symptom of fear — fear cannot account for days of wild market swings upward — but a reaction to meta-economic events: political decisions that have vast economic effects. As economist Irwin Stelzer argues, we have gone from a market economy to a political economy. Consider seven days in November. (ibdeditorials.com)


Andy Stern yearns to replay Great Depression ... The coming debate of worker-employer issues also will turn on questions about whether companies can be adaptable enough to compete in a global economy if they also have strong unions. Union leaders say giving workers more power through collective bargaining and labor-friendly federal rules is critical to Mr. Obama's effort to boost the economy by raising living standards for the middle class. "We're looking to restore the law the way it was in 1935," Service Employees International Union President Andy Stern said in a recent meeting with reporters, referring to the current card-check debate. (online.wsj.com)


Workers threatened by Job-killer Act ... While union bosses may claim that this bill is in the interests of the common man, a look at its fine print shows otherwise. The act does not expand workers’ freedom. In fact, it actually diminishes that freedom by taking away a worker’s right to a private-ballot vote when deciding whether to form a union. I care about my employees, and I wouldn’t want them subject to the kind of harassment this could create. And once unionized, of course, employees also would be subject to union dues and promotion practices, effectively lowering their income and possibility of advancement at the worst time. (grandforksherald.com)


Unions refuse to coordinate with Dems ... The state Office of Campaign and Political Finance found that the Massachusetts Teachers Association and the Service Employees International Union spent $65,718 in helping Sen. James Timilty, D-Walpole, get re-elected. The service employees and the Massachusetts Nurses Association spent $44,657 on behalf of Needham Democrat Sara Orozco, who lost to Sen. Scott Brown, R-Wrentham. The spending was on what the law calls independent expenditures because it is not coordinated with the candidates. There are no limits on what independent groups can spend. The state office said the three unions spent a total of $525,306 statewide on the election, almost all of it going to support Democrats. (thesunchronicle.com)


We're from the UAW and we're here to help ... Kia Motors, the South Korean automaker, is building a plant in West Point, Georgia, promising 2,500 jobs to help replace a textile industry that has all but vanished. The locals are excited to have nonunion work that will start at about $14 per hour. They are discovering the joys of bulgogi -- a different kind of barbecue -- at the Korean restaurants popping up. And many are wondering why Detroit still thinks it's so special that it can ask taxpayers for a $25-billion bailout. (latimes.com)


Progs hunger for payback ... Labor unions, environmentalists and other liberal groups are eagerly preparing for new confrontations with business and conservative interests. They feel secure in having allies in Washington's power centers, 14 years after Democrats last controlled Congress and the White House. (And some consider the exile even longer, dating from Ronald Reagan's 1980 election, because President Clinton's course was largely centrist and he had only two years with a Democratic majority in Congress.) (latimes.com)


UAW agrees to slow-down ... General Motors' assembly center in Wentzville will shut down for two weeks starting Dec. 1 and lay off 150 workers by the end of January, according to plant spokesman Robert Wheeler. The pre-holiday slowdown and ensuing layoffs are part of an effort to keep the company afloat in a market where consumer spending is down, especially on the large automobiles produced at the Wentzville plant. "It's about balancing production to meet what the market's asking for," said GM spokesman Tony Sapienza. "Now that the market has collapsed, we're trying to be as efficient as we possibly can." Sapienza called the extra time off a "fine-tuning" of the manufacturing schedule. Wheeler said that would mean slowing the line down from 42 jobs an hour to 38 jobs per hour. (suburbanjournals.stltoday.com)


Court orders CNN to embrace News Union ... Judge Amchan found that CNN discriminated against the TVS employees in a blatant attempt to avoid having to recognize and bargain with the employees' collective bargaining representatives. This decision is the culmination of more than five years of struggle by workers and their un=ons to vindicate their rights at the DC and New York CNN Bureaus. The judge further found that CNN's Bureau Staffing Project was a sham, used by the network to discriminate against TVS employees in order to limit the hiring of those employees in order to avoid having to recognize and bargain with NABET-CWA. In reaching these conclusions, Judge Amchan thoroughly discredited all of CNN's witnesses and rejected each of CNN's defenses. (postchronicle.com)


Fat-cat unions attack North Carolina ... North Carolina had the lowest rate of unionization of any state until earlier this year, when the state employees association affiliated with the Service Employees International Union. The low rate of unionization has been a key recruitment tool used by state and local leaders when wooing companies to open plants here. One area where labor is making gains is among North Carolina's 500,000 public employees. The State Employees Association of North Carolina, a group that has advocated for state workers but cannot negotiate contracts for them, affiliated earlier this year with the SEIU. The Teamsters have also been gaining ground among public employees. (charlotteobserver.com)


Socialism dragoons U.S. ... Our economic crisis is due in large part to a group known as ACORN, which is known to browbeat banks into lending mortgage money to minorities who were known to be unable to repay the loans. ACORN is under federal investigation for voter fraud activities. Barack Obama was connected with this group. His well-touted “change” is partially defined as spreading the wealth (taking from the successful and giving to the unsuccessful). This type of socialism has been a failure in countries that have tried it. The indoctrination of our young people by left-leaning universities is a detriment to our once-great country. We should definitely support the winners, but only when their concern is what’s best for the nation. (tcpalm.com)


Russian Communists aced out by foreign collectivists ... The first on this Saturday's agenda are the central committee's political report, for which leader Gennady Zyuganov takes the floor, and the report of the central control and audit commission. Then, the new version of the programme will be discussed. The leadership election is planned for Sunday. Communists intend to propose their own plan to overcome the world financial crisis. (itar-tass.com)


Anti-traditionalists at war with civilization ... As columnist Charles Krauthammer once observed: "If poverty and destitution, colonialism and capitalism, are animating radical Islam," how do we explain that one of the first acts of the Taliban in Afghanistan was to blow up two massive 1,500-year-old statues of Buddha carved into a cliff? The statues represented an alternate faith and a great work of civilization. To the Taliban, to al-Qaida and to radical Islam, the presence of both was and is intolerable, as is democracy and freedom in Iraq or anywhere else. (ibdeditorials.com)


Leftist thug to strongarm adversaries ... Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez's government has started legal investigations of some of its political opponents after the opposition gained ground in state elections. Officials are investigating an anti-government television station, have interrogated a top opposition politician and have moved to limit the power of the new authorities. The opposition won control of the most populous states in elections last week but Chávez allies still rule most states and towns. Chávez warned the new governors he was watching them and told them not to use their power against him. (reuters.com)

11/28/08

Friday wrap

Left-wing: The most extreme ... Over the past five decades, India has been up against three distinct types of militancy: Left-wing extremist, separatist and religious. Left-wing extremist groups that have engaged in terrorist activity include People’s Guerrilla Army, People’s War Group, Maoist Communist Centre, Communist Party of India-Maoist and Communist Party of India Janashakti. In 2006, a total of 2,765 Indians died in terrorism-related violence (that same year, 1,471 Pakistanis died in terrorism-related violence). Of the 2,765 Indians, who lost their lives, 41 per cent were killed in Jammu and Kashmir, 27 per cent of all victims died because of Left-wing extremism, 23 per cent because of insurgencies and 10 per cent from militant groups based on religion. (thenews.com.pk)


Shame on Andy Stern ... An internal probe and preliminary criminal investigation, regarding alleged misappropriation of funds, has resulted in a lifetime ban against Tyrone Freeman, now the former head of United Long-Term Care Workers Union. Freeman, who had ostensibly served the interests of approximately 190,000 union members, who each earn an average wage of about $9 per hour, has also been ordered to repay more than $1 million of allegedly misdirected funds. Some of the indicated misappropriations involved Freeman's directing of questionable payments to the businesses of both his spouse and her mother, among others. Additionally, some of the transactions which are being investigated involve payments which Freeman had allegedly directed to himself. (bloggingstocks.com)


Writers' union: Fascistic blackballers ... the National Labor Relations Board has agreed to hold a hearing to determine whether or not the Writers Guild of America's denouncement of 28 writers who filed for financial core status during infamous WGA strike that took place in 2007 and extended into 2008 constituted an illegal action. A significant number of the 28 writers involved worked on soap operas at the time and they filed for financial core status to continue working for fear the soaps would be permanently canceled if they walked off the job. The WGA didn't take too kindly to their actions to say the least. (examiner.com)


Music Union sued over ugly blackballing ... Filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, the suit alleges that union officials conspired to blacklist musicians in retaliation for resigning from formal union membership. Union officials are accused of violating their “duty of fair representation” by refusing nonmember musicians access to a rehearsal hall, hindering their efforts to find employment, and enshrining certain discriminatory policies in contracts with several local symphonies. Under the Foundation-won Supreme Court precedent Communication Workers v. Beck, workers have the right to resign from formal, full dues-paying union membership. Because California has no Right to Work law making dues payment strictly voluntary, employees in a union-controlled bargaining unit can still be obligated to pay certain dues for union activities related to collective bargaining. However, employees who exercise their right to resign from formal union membership cannot be discriminated against by union officials or employers. The lawsuit contends that every plaintiff musician has met its forced-dues obligation to the union’s local affiliates. (filmmusicmag.com)


LIUNA militants sing new tune for dues ... Union officials, backed by about two dozen rank-and-file employees, said Wednesday they are willing to renegotiate salary and benefit packages to spare about 90 jobs that could be targeted to help Des Moines city leaders erase a budget deficit. City workers in bright green T-shirts showed up at a Des Moines City Council budget workshop Wednesday to make their plea. (desmoinesregister.com)


Yes We Can



Union thugs take it on the chin ... School board members dealt a final blow to a proposed Project Labor Agreement Tuesday when a vote for passage ended up split 4-4. The tied vote meant the idea of hiring union-certified workers for capital projects paying the required prevailing wage was dead, at least in the foreseeable future, board president Elaine Curry said after the vote. The auditorium had been filled with people both in support of and opposed to the agreement, to the point where they were spilling into the hall outside. Those opposed to the policy, which in recent months had received two other votes, one 7-1 in favor, and one 5-4 against, felt that the requirement to use union labor discriminated against small, locally owned businesses ... (timesleader.com)


Unions asked to take time out ... A Western Oregon medical system is trying to clear its books in anticipation that more poor people will be unable to pay their bills, so it is asking many of its 4,500 workers to take 10 days off, paid, by year's end. The time off can come in accrued vacation, holidays or sick leave, and Samaritan Health Services workers who don't have enough paid time off left can borrow from next year. Union officials want Samaritan to discuss the move at the bargaining table. (oregonlive.com)


Ugly union organizers threaten Main Street ... "Card Check" Law (Employee Free Choice Act): This law could have a significant impact on the beauty industry and many other Main Street businesses. While the bill was approved by the House in 2007, it died in the Senate this year - it will most likely resurface in early 2009. With Democrats traditionally supporting organized labor's agenda and with unions aiming to fold more employees into union membership, this law would completely change the economics of union organizing. Card Check would make it cost effective for unions to go after Main Street businesses, such as beauty/nail salons, spas, restaurants and other retail establishments, which have never experienced unionization before. The law would do away with the secret ballot process currently used for unionization in the workplace and replace it with a Card Check system. (fibre2fashion.com)


Making Marxism acceptable ... Some more hints: "a heavy progressive or graduated income tax" is one of the ten planks in the Communist Manifesto. So is "centralization of credit in the hands of the State." So is "centralization of the means of communication" and "establishment of industrial armies." I don't think it's my imagination that (a) we are already far down the road in establishing each of these planks (e.g., Federal Reserve System), and (b) Barack Obama and the Democrats are itching to take us even further down that road: more progressive income taxes; more government control of credit, banking and industry; the "fairness doctrine" and other regulations of speech and communications; a national service plan and mandatory "public service" for students; etc. A reasonable person could infer that the present aim of the Democratic Party is full implementation of the planks of the Communist Manifesto. Just look at the ten planks and look at the Democratic Party's platform or its legislation waiting in the wings. You don't need rose-colored glasses to see the red in either. In fact, the interesting question is no longer whether our politics in the US and Europe (not to mention Latin America) are leading to Marxism. The interesting question now is whether voters care. My guess is that almost half the people in the US, and probably more elsewhere, think Marxism is no worse or even better than "capitalism." Isms is isms, in our post-rational world. (americanthinker.com)


Progs surge toward Promised Land ... For many years, progressive groups and their causes have been out in the political wilderness. Now, with President-elect Barack Obama preparing to take the White House and Democrats firmly in control of Congress, the party's liberal constituencies can see their way to a promised land. For progressives, that means a nation where it is easier for unions to organize workers, where federal laws ban job discrimination against gays, hate crime laws are expanded and public lands are shielded from logging and oil drilling. Instead of waging the defensive battles they have fought for years, liberal groups—labor unions, environmentalists and others—are eagerly preparing for new confrontations with business and conservative interests. This time, they feel secure in having allies within Washington's power centers. (chicagotribune.com)


Bringing back government waste ... Infrastructure Projects are Pork Barrels. With congress involved, the projects will have a bias towards the states with the most powerful congressmen, and the lobby groups with the most influence. Will the government create a non political commission to pick what projects should be done, and how it will be done? Government Sponsored Projects are More Costly than Private Sector Projects. Somehow these projects must be shoved into the private sector for implementation in a competitive environment.(seekingalpha.com)


Where is the outrage? ... Individualism, integrity and pride, the hallmarks of this country for 200 years, have been sacrificed on the altar of selfishness, sloth, self-indulgence and induced ignorance. High-end Democrats -- Christopher Dodd, Barack Obama and Barney Frank --were deeply involved in financial gain and manipulation of Fannie and Freddie, leading to economic disaster. The electorate blames Bush and capitalism, then elects those who are responsible for the problems. No one is indignant. ACORN, Obama's "community service" endeavor, registered thousands of fraudulent voters. No one is indignant. (delmarvanow.com)


Guilty scabs pay the price ... University of Saskatchewan employees reprimanded for crossing their union's picket line last year couldn't care less about the consequences -- a prohibition from ever participating in union activities again. "I did not ask to belong to this union. I had to join the union in order to work at the university," said Sherri Haberman, a clerical assistant at the U of S. Two other clerical assistants, Gweneth Jones and Eva Ogilvie, as well as Garth Parry, an electronics technician, were put on trial this summer by Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 1975. They were accused of crossing the picket line during a month-long strike in November 2007 and were found guilty by the union's trial committee. Calling the four employees "the accused" and "scabs" in its November newsletter, the union says the four are not permitted to attend CUPE meetings, sponsored events and activities, including conventions and educational sessions. They are prohibited from holding office with the union local that represents 1,800 support workers at the U of S and another 600 at the University of Regina. And they cannot vote in any election or in any vote held by the union. "It's just a joke," said Haberman. "They say, 'You can't vote. You can't come to social functions. You can't be on any committee.' Well, I never was and I never intended to be." The four employees are required to continue paying union dues. Haberman pays about $60 each month. (canada.com)


Union political front-group gathers power ... While many voters may still be unfamiliar with the Working Families Party, the small third party is celebrating after seeing a bounce in its vote totals this year. Focusing on a strategy of cross-endorsing candidates from the major political parties, rather than running its own candidates, the party netted nearly 75,000 votes in Connecticut's five congressional races this year, and more than 150,000 including state and local races. After a change in the state’s election laws last year made it easier for parties to cross-endorse candidates, a Working Families line appeared on every ballot this year. The party endorsed the Democratic candidate in each of the five congressional districts, as well as 75 candidates in races across the state. (nhregister.com)


Trouble in Workers' Paradise? ... A strange thing happened Thursday moments after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez boarded a Russian destroyer docked here. Bodyguards for the two men scuffled at the head of the gangplank. It appeared to begin when beefy Russian bodyguards blocked Chávez's protectors from following him up the gangplank onto the Admiral Chabanenko. The Venezuelan bodyguards tried to push their way through. One Venezuelan official grabbed the back collar of a Russian bodyguard. (kansascity.com)


Putin, Chávez ink nuke pact ... Accords signed Wednesday included one pledging cooperation in nuclear energy for peaceful uses. Russia also agreed to work with Venezuela in oil projects and building ships. Moscow plans to develop a nuclear cooperation program with Venezuela by the end of next year, said Sergei Kiriyenko, head of the Russian Federal Atomic Energy Agency. Medvedev called Venezuela "one of our most important partners in Latin America" and pledged to keep supplying the South American nation with weapons. But he said arms sales to Venezuela "are not aimed against any other country." Chávez's government has already bought more than $4 billion in Russian arms, including Sukhoi fighter jets, helicopters and 100,000 Kalashnikov rifles. Chavez had assembled a group of Latin American allies for talks hours before Medvedev's visit, and leaders including Bolivia's Evo Morales and Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega joined them for a late-night meeting. (chron.com)
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