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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