In recent years, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) has experienced a number of setbacks. Since 2001, the union has lost over 100,000 members. In addition to declining membership, the union has experienced unwanted press attention over the past few years. For example, after a 2015 indictment, UFCW’s organizing coordinator for the marijuana industry was sentenced to prison for fraud and other crimes late last year. Another UFCW boss, Mickey Kasparian, has been mired in a scandal involving sexual harassment and discrimination for over a year. In January, two officials at two different UFCW locals were indicted for crimes, including racketeering; both men are alleged to have had ties to the Mafia.
On February 7th, the UFCW suffered another setback. On that day, there was an ambush unionization election at a co-op grocery store in Northfield, Minnesota, a Democratic-leaning city about 40 miles south of Minneapolis. While the workers who supported unionization had the backing of UFCW Local 1189, the workers who opposed the union were on their own. The co-op’s management remained neutral; and no third-party organization intervened. In the end, however, the union’s opponents didn’t need help; they were able to defeat the UFCW — one of the largest and wealthiest unions in the country — with over 55% of the vote.
The secretive unionization effort began last summer, but it took until last month for the union to finally collect the 12 signatures that it needed for an election. Pathetically, the unionization campaign still resorted to using dishonest tactics to gather these few signatures. For example, some co-op employees were told that signing a union authorization card only meant that they wanted more information. (In actuality, signing such a card gives a union the right to represent an employee.) Co-op workers were also falsely told that over two-thirds of the staff had already signed the cards.
Many co-op employees were unaware of the UFCW’s campaign until the posting of the Notice of Petition for Election in January. There was no agreement among union supporters as to why exactly the store needed a union. Some workers wanted higher pay, while others claimed the co-op had engaged in unspecified unfair labor practices. The union organizer claimed the co-op was hiding money from its workers and could afford to pay them more. It’s unclear how she would know this.
Several co-op employees decided to fight the union. One of the union’s opponents, Bob N., managed to get a copy of the contract that the UFCW negotiated with a Minneapolis co-op grocery store. Bob posted this contract in his store’s break room. It turns out that the Northfield co-op’s wages and benefits were as good as — and in some ways better than — the compensation package that the UFCW had negotiated with the co-op in the much larger city. Of course, unlike the employees of the Minneapolis store, the workers at the Northfield store don’t have to pay union dues. Bob also wrote several newsletters and put up a number of posts from the UFCWMonitor.com, a blog that chronicles the activities of the union, for his co-workers to read.
Immigrants being held for deportation don’t have an automatic right under the law to post bond and be set free, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Tuesday in a decision that could give the Trump administration more freedom to pursue stiff detention policies for illegal immigrants who show up at the border claiming asylum.
In the 5-3 ruling, the justices also took a dim view of the kinds of class-action lawsuits on behalf of immigrants that have become a key tool for anti-Trump immigrant rights activists, leaving the activists worried about the fates of other cases winding their way through the lower courts challenging President Trump on issues such as illegal immigrant Dreamers and Iraqi deportees.
The ruling was also a rebuke by the high court to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, which had its decision overturned.
Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. chided the 9th Circuit for ignoring the text of immigration laws and creating a legal standard for bail hearings “out of thin air” by requiring that immigrants be given periodic bail hearings.
“Spotting a constitutional issue does not give a court the authority to rewrite a statute as it pleases,” Justice Alito wrote for the majority.
The complex case has been percolating through the courts for years, based on a challenge first brought by Alejandro Rodriguez, a Mexican national who has been in the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident since 1987.
The government tried to deport him in 2004 after several criminal convictions. Mr. Rodriguez fought deportation, but the government detained him during that time. He sued, arguing that under the detention law he was entitled to a bond hearing that could result in his release.
The lower courts established a class action for Mr. Rodriguez and other immigrants being similarly detained, and ruled that they were entitled to bond hearings after six months and periodically after that. The lower courts said the law could be unconstitutional otherwise, based on a 2001 Supreme Court ruling that mandated release of immigrants whose home countries refused to take them back.
Justice Alito, joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Anthony M. Kennedy and Neil Gorsuch — and to an extent, Clarence Thomas — said that amounted to a wholesale “rewrite” of the law.
They sent the case back to the 9th Circuit for another review consistent with their ruling that the law doesn’t require bond hearings for all immigrants in detention.
Immigrant rights groups said they will continue to fight as the case goes back to the lower courts and will argue that the law is unconstitutional if it doesn’t allow for bond hearings.
They got backing Tuesday from the dissenters, led by Justice Stephen G. Breyer. He wrote that the country’s core liberty rights have always included the chance to challenge detention by seeking bail.
“The bail questions before us are technical but at heart they are simple. We need only recall the words of the Declaration of Independence, in particular its insistence that all men and women have ‘certain unalienable Rights,’ and that among them is the right to ‘Liberty,’” he wrote.
The cold blast hitting the U.S. is exposing the absurdity of left-wing energy policies in New England. Natural gas prices are skyrocketing in the region as the gas demand for both heating and electricity exceeds supply.
ISO New England — the non-profit that runs the region’s power grid — issued a “cold weather watch” for January 5 to alert the wholesale power market to a surge in demand for the weekend, as temperatures are expected to plummet. The grid operator believes it has enough power, but the demand could exceed supply.
Don’t blame the weather for soaring energy prices and possible electricity shortages; blame the left-wing politicians and radical environmentalists for engineering a system certain to fail. Instead of promoting an energy policy focused on reliability with a diverse array of power sources for electricity generation, New England adopted a command-and-control energy policy built on feeling good, not reality.
Left-wing politicians concerned about global warming and an aggressive EPA regulatory agenda combined to reduce use of coal in New England from almost 20 percent in 2000 to about 2 percent in 2016. Natural gas is now the primary source of power, providing about 50 percent of electricity, up from about 15 percent in 2000. Burning natural gas emits about half the carbon dioxide emitted by coal.
The dependence on natural gas is a problem in New England because radical environmental activists are blocking construction of new natural gas pipelines needed to keep up with the increase in demand. Predictably, the law of supply and demand kicked in, resulting in an explosion of natural gas prices with plummeting temperatures.
During the first round of severe winter weather at the end of December, the surge in demand made New England “the world’s priciest” natural gas market, where the energy commodity jumped threefold on the spot market.
The so-called “bomb cyclone” storm that hit the East coast is pushing natural gas futures prices up significantly in New England. The Wall Street Journal reported the price for natural gas on January 3 rose almost 90 percent from the prior day and was about 1,200 percent higher than in early December.
The sharp rise in natural gas prices will eventually be passed on to consumers and businesses in New England, which already has the highest electricity prices in the nation. The problems in New England will get worse. Power companies switched to burning heating oil in order to keep the limited supply of natural gas for heating homes and businesses.
Dr. Tom Borelli is a contributor to Conservative Review and is an authority on energy policy and crony capitalism and frequently comments on political issues from a conservative grassroots perspective. As a columnist he has written for ConservativeReview.com, Townhall.com, The Washington Times, Newsmax magazine, and also hosts radio programs on SiriusXM Patriot with his wife Deneen Borelli.
AUSTIN, Texas (Nov. 15, 2017) – The Texas Bullion Depository took a step closer becoming operational earlier this month when officials announced the location of the new facility. The creation of a state bullion depository in Texas represents a power shift away from the federal government to the state, and it provides a blueprint that could ultimately end the Federal Reserve’s monopoly on money.
Gov. Greg Abbot signed legislation creating the state gold bullion and precious metal depository in June of 2015. The facility will not only provide a secure place for individuals, business, cities, counties, government agencies and even other countries to store gold and other precious metals, the law also creates a mechanism to facilitate the everyday use of gold and silver in business transactions. In short, a person will be able to deposit gold or silver in the depository and pay other people through electronic means or checks – in sound money.
Earlier this summer, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced Austin-based Lone Star Tangible Assets will build and operate the Texas Bullion Depository. On Nov. 3, the company announced it will construct the facility in the city of Leander, located about 30 miles northwest of Austin. According to the Community Impact Newspaper, the Leander City Council has approved an economic development agreement with Lone Star. Construction of the depository is expected to begin in early 2018. Lone Star officials say it will take about a year to complete construction of the 60,000-square-foot secure facility located on a 10-acre campus.
The depository will operate out of Lone Star’s existing facilities during construction. It will provide services nationwide beginning in early 2018, with international services to be offered in the future phases, according to Community Impact.
“This state-of-the-art facility will provide tremendous benefits to the citizens of Leander and will give Texans a secure facility right here in the Lone Star State where their gold and precious metals will be kept safe and close at hand,” Hegar said in the press release.
The Texas Bullion Depository has already established an online presence. You can visit the depository website HERE.
According to an article in the Star-Telegram, state officials want a facility ‘with an e-commerce component that also provides for secure physical storage for Bullion.’ Officials say plans for a depository should include online services that would let customers accept, transfer and withdraw bullion deposits and related fees.
By making gold and silver available for regular, daily transactions by the general public, the new law has the potential for wide-reaching effect. Professor William Greene is an expert on constitutional tender and said in a paper for the Mises Institute that when people in multiple states actually start using gold and silver instead of Federal Reserve notes, it would effectively nullify the Federal Reserve and end the federal government’s monopoly on money.
“Over time, as residents of the state use both Federal Reserve notes and silver and gold coins, the fact that the coins hold their value more than Federal Reserve notes do will lead to a ‘reverse Gresham’s Law’ effect, where good money (gold and silver coins) will drive out bad money (Federal Reserve notes).
“As this happens, a cascade of events can begin to occur, including the flow of real wealth toward the state’s treasury, an influx of banking business from outside of the state – as people in other states carry out their desire to bank with sound money – and an eventual outcry against the use of Federal Reserve notes for any transactions.”
University of Houston political science professor Brandon Rottinghaus called the development of a state gold depository a step toward independence.
“This is another in a long line of ways to make Texas more self-reliant and less tethered to the federal government. The financial impact is small but the political impact is telling, Many conservatives are interested in returning to the gold standard and circumvent the Federal reserve in whatever small way they can.”
The Texas gold depository will create a mechanism to challenge the federal government’s monopoly on money and provides a blueprint for other states to follow. If the majority of states controlled their own supply of gold, it could conceivably make the Federal Reserve completely irrelevant.
State bullion depositories are one of four steps states can take to help bring down the Fed.
A professor of law at Faulkner University in Montgomery, Alabama, has had enough of millennial students who rely on trendy terms so they can deride the wisdom of the ages. Adam MacLeod, associate professor of law at Jones School of Law, wrote an article for The New Boston Post in which he published a speech that warned his first-year law students he would not accept any words ending in “ism.”
MacLeod’s preamble to his speech stated, “For several years now my students have been mostly Millennials. Contrary to stereotype, I have found that the vast majority of them want to learn. But true to stereotype, I increasingly find that most of them cannot think, don’t know very much, and are enslaved to their appetites and feelings. Their minds are held hostage in a prison fashioned by elite culture and their undergraduate professors. They cannot learn until their minds are freed from that prison.”
Then, the terrific speech. It commenced like this:
Before I can teach you how to reason, I must first teach you how to rid yourself of unreason. For many of you have not yet been educated. You have been dis-educated. To put it bluntly, you have been indoctrinated. Before you learn how to think you must first learn how to stop unthinking. Reasoning requires you to understand truth claims, even truth claims that you think are false or bad or just icky. Most of you have been taught to label things with various “isms” which prevent you from understanding claims you find uncomfortable or difficult. Reasoning requires correct judgment. Judgment involves making distinctions, discriminating. Most of you have been taught how to avoid critical, evaluative judgments by appealing to simplistic terms such as “diversity” and “equality.”
Reasoning requires you to understand the difference between true and false. And reasoning requires coherence and logic. Most of you have been taught to embrace incoherence and illogic. You have learned to associate truth with your subjective feelings, which are neither true nor false but only yours, and which are constantly changeful.
Noting that the students had “weeds” in their minds, MacLeod asserted:
Each of you has different weeds, and so we will need to take this on the case-by-case basis. But there are a few weeds that infect nearly all of your brains. So I am going to pull them out now.
First, except when describing an ideology, you are not to use a word that ends in “ism.” Communism, socialism, Nazism, and capitalism are established concepts in history and the social sciences, and those terms can often be used fruitfully to gain knowledge and promote understanding. “Classism,” “sexism,” “materialism,” “cisgenderism,” and (yes) even racism are generally not used as meaningful or productive terms, at least as you have been taught to use them. Most of the time, they do not promote understanding.
MacLeod succinctly stated, “In fact, ‘isms’ prevent you from learning.”
MacLeod tore into the idea of what he called “chronological snobbery,” the idea that “moral knowledge progresses inevitably, such that later generations are morally and intellectually superior to earlier generations, and that the older the source the more morally suspect that source is.”
[He] ripped into the importance placed by students on diversity and equality, pointing out, “Some diversity is bad. For example, if slavery is inherently wrong, as I suspect we all think it is, then a diversity of views about the morality of slavery is worse than complete agreement that slavery is wrong. Similarly, equality is not to be desired for its own sake. Nobody is equal in all respects. We are all different, which is to say that we are all not the same, which is to say that we are unequal in many ways.”
Then, the crux of the matter: “You should not bother to tell us how you feel about a topic. Tell us what you think about it. If you can’t think yet, that’s O.K.. Tell us what Aristotle thinks, or Hammurabi thinks, or H.L.A. Hart thinks. Borrow opinions from those whose opinions are worth considering.”
1. The only “ism” I ever want to come out your mouth is a syllogism. If I catch you using an “ism” or its analogous “ist” — racist, classist, etc. — then you will not be permitted to continue speaking until you have first identified which “ism” you are guilty of at that very moment. You are not allowed to fault others for being biased or privileged until you have first identified and examined your own biases and privileges.
2. If I catch you this semester using the words “fair,” “diversity,” or “equality,” or a variation on those terms, and you do not stop immediately to explain what you mean, you will lose your privilege to express any further opinions in class until you first demonstrate that you understand three things about the view that you are criticizing.
3. If you ever begin a statement with the words “I feel,” before continuing you must cluck like a chicken or make some other suitable animal sound.
After nearly forty ;years of ugly mismanagement and carelessly ignoring of basic needs of a normally run sovereign state, the military has placed the crusty despot, Robert Mugabe, under house arrest. His wife of many years, Grace, has fled, it is said, to neighboring Namibia, to the west.
One cannot rue this turn of events, as a worse situation can scarcely be envisioned than has been the case for decades.
It is barely useful to speculate on the reaction of the U.S. to these developments, since President Obama paid little attention to the country for eight years. It does not seem likely that President Trump will see much benefit to jumping in, since we have few trade arrangements with the country. Their product lines are marginal at best. The better part of valor, it would seem, might be remaining observational, hands off.
Since 1980, Robert Mugabe has run Zimbabwe with an eye to enriching himself – and making life for his citizenry, including his European-backgrounded farmers, businessmen, and landowners, unnervingly uncomfortable. And enduringly poor.
When Zimbabwe was known as Rhodesia, now a dirty word not ever mentioned in the once bountiful country in southern Africa, it was the breadbasket of that continent. But Rhodesia stopped existing in 1976, replaced by Zimbabwe, run by the egotistical Robert Mugabe. When Mugabe took over, his initial intentions sounded beneficent. He was at that time just ascended to the newly renamed country, something of an idealist. That ebbed rather soon. As the years passed, he reverted to perhaps the unhappy African ruler stereotype: greed, avarice, obliviousness to the needs of his people, and his one-time good intentions were extinguished in a rush of takeovers of land and property. Shortages soon eventuated; inflation ballooned.
Cattle belonging to others now became his, to use or hand out to favored underlings. Food became scarce, as the economy no longer worked, out of balance by decrees that placed price controls unrealistically set and impossible to observe.
My own experience in Zimbabwe, with Canadian friends living in Namibia and Lesotho at the time, was one of sorrow, as we had difficulty obtaining food, bakeries functioned once a week or less, mail was spotty and unreliable, and services were shabby, even in upscale establishments. Cafés and restaurants were amusing, as the term "waiter" meant a shoeless skinny person without the barest knowledge of where the cutlery went and how to serve water, let alone wine.
One bargained with urchins on the streets for fruit, gasoline, household necessities.
The roads were in poor repair. The fantastic riches of the country were in its exotic topography, which resembles the rocky likes of the painted desert, but with colossal rock formations that resemble a giant's playroom, boulders perched precariously and impossibly on each other in random and bizarre formations. And the wildlife, phenomenal clutches of biodiversity and biomass – elephants, zebra, gazelles, dik-dik, antelopes, lions and cougars, and others fleet of foot and hungry of eye. Water is not plentiful, and many of the herds are skinny, their ribs showing from lack of forage and hydration.
White property owners who have resided in the country for many decades have long been disenfranchised and have seen their property stripped, their livestock stolen, depredated by Mugabe's pets, wholesale squatting becoming the norm.
Former owners have salvaged what they could, sealing their few assets inside their clothing hems, as diamonds, or buying multiple air tickets they will convert back to cash once they have landed elsewhere. The country has little it can sell. Industry has languished, unsupported by the rule of dependable law.
Exit restrictions confine the outgoing Zimbabwean emigrant to a paltry few dollars, making selling one's possessions something of a joke. Smuggling jewelry out is a career endeavor in order to leave with something with which to start afresh elsewhere on the continent. Inflation long ago ruined the economy, in a bid to outrace the rocket inflation of Germany in pre-WWII Deutschland. Beer at one point was several million units of local currency.
It remains to be seen what the army can do to correct the misery that has been Zimbabwe for so long.
Protesters wearing Trump hats and shirts shouted down California’s attorney general and the state’s assembly majority leader during a forum at Whittier College on October 5.
In the video of the altercation, an audience member demands that CA Attorney General Xavier Becerra answer if they’re going to work with U.S. General Attorney Jeff Sessions and with ICE, presumably over arresting illegal immigrants. When they refuse to answer, protesters yell “fraud” at him.
At another point, a protester asks why they won’t have a town hall meeting in Mexico. Police tried to get protesters to stop interrupting, but they continued on. Protesters yelled at the California lawmakers, calling them “morons” and “lawbreakers.”
The pro-Trump protesters yelled slogans like “Americans first,” “obey our laws,” “enforce our laws,” “work with ICE,” and “work with our president.”
Was their protest successful?
If they were just seeking to disrupt, then yes. But it is doubtful that these kinds of aggressive disruptions actually help the political agenda they’re seeking to spread.
Stanley Kurtz at National Review outlined the conservative argument against such protests and why they can be counter-productive:
Whether these disruptors were students or not, this is a very bad sign. Commentators both right and left have warned leftist campus disruptors that they are endangering their own rights by shouting down others. That kind of danger may be hard to take seriously on campuses where the left clearly dominates. Yet in a deeply divided country, the end of free speech for some could easily cascade into chaos, conflict, and the end of freedom for all.
These Pro-Trump disruptors may not have been students, but their methods and message could spread. If we don’t stop the epidemic of shout-downs now, chaos and civil conflict may follow someday soon.
The FBI has “uncovered” documents related to the June 2016 Arizona tarmac meeting between then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President Bill Clinton, despite previously claiming documents about the rendezvous didn’t exist.
Lawyers for the FBI revealed the existence of the documents in response to a Freedom of Information Act Request from government watchdog group Judicial Watch. The new development comes after the FBI previously told the group that no documents related to the June 27, 2016, meeting existed.
However, through a separate FOIA request, the Justice Department revealed that some of its officials had been in contact with FBI officials about the infamous meeting, and were seeking “guidance” about how to properly respond.
It was only after the Justice Department released its documents did the FBI acknowledge that it had documents that Judicial Watch’s FOIA request sought. “Upon further review, we subsequently determined potentially responsive documents may exist,” the FBI said.
So far, the FBI has not revealed the contents of the documents, only that 30 pages exist.
How did Judicial Watch respond?
In response, Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton lambasted the government for the “stunning” development.
He said: “The FBI is out of control. It is stunning that the FBI ‘found’ these Clinton-Lynch tarmac records only after we caught the agency hiding them in another lawsuit. Judicial Watch will continue to press for answers about the FBI’s document games in court. In the meantime, the FBI should stop the stonewall and release these new records immediately.”
Fitton added in a video that this revelation is a “scandal” and said he believes the FBI was “hiding” the documents.
When will the documents be released?
The government has until Nov. 30 to review and release the documents to Judicial Watch pursuant to the FOIA request. The FBI will likely wait until that day to release the documents.
Why is this significant?
The revelation is significant because it shows the government was potentially attempting to hide something that the public has the right to know. But it’s also significant because the infamous tarmac meeting came just days before the Justice Department announced it would not pursue criminal charges against Hillary Clinton for her private emails scandal.
Lynch and President Clinton denied discussing Hillary’s pending case, but many believe that’s what the meeting was intended for, especially since the existence of the meeting was never suppose to be made public. It’s likely that what Clinton and Lynch discussed will never be truly known, but government records about the meeting may shed light into whether or not something illegal or unethical took place.