Category Archives: Society

ILLEGAL CROSSINGS DOWN 67% DUE TO TRUMP

The immediate and drastic results of Prrsident Trump’s Immigration Policy –

Under President Trump, Illegal immigration across the U.S.-Mexico border has continued to fall – 67 % by March 31st, as was reported to Congress on Tuesday – well exceeding th 40% drop reported for the month of February.

This sharp decline in border crossings is attributed to President Trump’s executive orders to permit agents to do their jobs and enforce immigration laws at the Southern border and the plans to build a border wall.

Stories of ICE roundups in the interior have spread quickly to would-be illegal border crossers, diminishing the attractiveness to would-be illegal migrants.

ISIS GENOCIDE – Supreme Knight Carl Anderson

A year ago we declared ISIS genocidal. Why are its victims still waiting for aid?

Time is running out to preserve these historic communities.

March 21

Carl Anderson is CEO of the Knights of Columbus and a New York Times bestselling author.

On March 17, 2016, then-Secretary of State John F. Kerry announced to the world that the Islamic State was committing genocide against Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East. It was an important statement, because it was only the second time our government had declared genocide in an ongoing situation — the first was Darfur, where some estimate that more than 300,000 people have been killed to date.

Congress, too, spoke, with the House passing a resolution  March 14 that the Islamic State was committing genocide against religious and ethnic minorities, including Christians and Yazidis, by a vote of 393 to 0. The Senate unanimously followed suit later last year.

The Rev. Douglas Bazi, then stationed in Irbil in Kurdistan, ran a refugee center there for Christians displaced from the Nineveh Plain. He knew well the kidnapping, torture and confiscation they had endured because he himself had been captured and tortured in Baghdad in 2009 by a different group of extremists. Sitting with me in the gallery of Congress as the bipartisan genocide resolution passed, he said using the right vocabulary was the “first right step.” But, he added, it needed to be followed up with the right action.

One year after our country used the right word, he and the other Iraqi Christians are still waiting for the next step: meaningful action.

Despite the genocide designation, our government spent the rest of 2016 operating on a business-as-usual basis. The largest displaced Christian community in Iraq — in Irbil — received no U.S. government or U.N. aid before the genocide designation. And they have received none since.

On a visit to Iraq last spring, one of our executives spoke to Yazidis who said they had been similarly overlooked.

Both the U.N. and the senior U.S. government officials there told our representative that this was the case because they prioritized individual needs, not group needs. When pressed, they admitted that they did not take into account the needs of communities — even if they had suffered genocide. This means that, when being considered for aid or resettlement, those who are the targets of genocide do not have their status as communities marked for extermination taken into account.

Unfortunately, ignoring the identity of these targeted groups plays into the hands of genocidal regimes. Such an attitude could well be a death sentence for these minority communities. What the Islamic State couldn’t accomplish, misguided aid policies just might: eliminating entire ethnic and religious minority groups from their historic homes.

The region’s Christians seem to be reaching a tipping point. Estimates vary, but the Christian population of Iraq has fallen from more than 1 million to less than 250,000 in recent years due in large part to the onslaught of the Islamic State. Syria’s Christian population has fallen precipitously as well. For these historic religious communities, extinction is a real possibility.

Dating back to World War I, the United States has rightly extended a helping hand to threatened groups. Armenian and other Middle Eastern Christians targeted by the Ottoman Empire received tens of millions of dollars in humanitarian aid from the U.S. government and the American people, and Jewish survivors of the Holocaust received priority in resettlement. More recently, America has helped survivors of the Darfur genocide in the aftermath of their ordeal. The U.S. government has put more than $7 billion into Sudan since 2003, and USAID alone has provided more than $2.7 billion in humanitarian assistance for Darfur in that time frame, according to the organization Genocide Watch.

But in Iraq, many genocide survivors are still waiting for help. The tens of thousands of displaced Christians in Irbil, and Yazidis that Christians are caring for there, have received no U.S. government assistance — despite being direct targets of the Islamic State’s genocide.

Allowing these current genocide survivors to suffer for the past two years has been a gross injustice and a blight on America’s foreign policy record. Overlooking these people after a declaration of genocide is unconscionable, and in fact, it is de facto discrimination against the Islamic State’s most vulnerable victims.

Since the 2016 election, Iraqi Christian leaders have reported that they perceive a new openness to helping them among American officials. This is commendable. Now openness should become concrete action.

Just less than a year ago,  then-presidential candidate Donald Trump said: “We left Christians subject to intense persecution and even genocide.” He added: “We have done nothing to help the Christians in the Middle East. Nothing. And we should always be ashamed for that lack of action.” He was right that our country should be ashamed of how little it has done. And while his administration inherited this problem, now it is in a position to fix it. The Trump administration should right the wrongs these shattered communities have endured through our country’s inaction by immediately taking three helpful steps.

First, ensure that no community that suffered genocide is overlooked by — or excluded from — U.S. government aid programs. At a minimum, we should do here what we did for Darfur through USAID. Second, the United States must demand that the United Nations also assist all communities that suffer genocide by including them in humanitarian and reconstruction aid. And finally, we should continue to work with the international community to defeat the Islamic State and bring the perpetrators of this genocide to justice.

Congress should also act by swiftly passing H.R. 390 — the Iraq and Syria Genocide Emergency Relief and Accountability Act — co-sponsored by Reps. Christopher H. Smith  (R-N.J.) and Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.). This bill would help ensure that much-needed aid reaches these decimated communities. Under this legislation, the U.S. government would be required to direct some aid to entities specifically assisting displaced people from communities of religious and ethnic minorities targeted for genocide.

The new administration should begin to right this wrong and chart a different course. It can quickly end this de facto discrimination, and in so doing,  help save ancient ethnic and religious communities that otherwise could cease to exist.

ACCEPTABLE RISK & TOLERANCE

What is an acceptable casualty risk? That would depend on the reason for and the seriousness of the conflict (war) we decide to engage in. It was vastly different in feudal times, where such matters were not the concern of ordinary citizens;  the decision rested on the whim of the feudal warlord or the king.

But what is the acceptable risk if neither war nor conflict were involved, and only involved the allowance of a certain democraphic to enter within our borders? How many deaths from violence or some act of terror is acceptable? 1 citizen death per 1,000 refugees? 1 per 10,000? 1 per 100, 000 maybe? If we let in 1,000 that our State Dept could not properly vette, and 10 women and children are slaughtered, is that an acceptable risk?

Since I personally cannot move beyond “zero” comfortably, I challenge any politician to declare a rational quantity.  I double-dare any Democrat politician produce a number he or she would be perfectly comfortable with. Democrats make policy decisions exclusively on emotional motivation, rarely ever based on logical reasoning.

 

 

 

NAZI-LIKE DEMOCRATS

Tim Allen compares Hollywood to Nazi Germany.

Tim Allen says that living in Hollywood right now is akin to Nazi Germany. The comedian made the claim while appearing on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”

“You gotta be real careful around here,” Allen noted. “You get beat up if you don’t believe what everybody else believes. This is like ’30s Germany.”

Allen, 63, plays an outspoken conservative on the sitcom “Last Man Standing” and is one of the few actors in Hollywood to profess having right-wing leanings.

When Kimmel asked him about attending the inauguration ceremony the “Home Improvement” star’s eyes bulged and he stammered: “I was invited, we did a VIP thing for the vets, and went to a veterans ball, so I went to go see Democrats and Republicans.”

“Yeah I went to the inauguration,” he added.

This article originally appeared on Fox News.

CREEPY FBI UNDER OBAMA-LYNCH-COMEY

Comey and known Communist Sympathizer & Muslim Apologist Jeh Johnson scheming together.

FBI Used Best Buy’s Geek Squad To Increase Secret Public Surveillance
www.ocweekly.com

Luke McGarry

 

< FBI Used Best Buy’s Geek Squad To Increase Secret Public Surveillance
www.ocweekly.com

Luke McGarry

Recently unsealed records reveal a much more extensive secret relationship than previously known between the FBI and Best Buy’s Geek Squad, including evidence the agency trained company technicians on law-enforcement operational tactics, shared lists of targeted citizens and, to covertly increase surveillance of the public, encouraged searches of computers even when unrelated to a customer’s request for repairs.

To sidestep the U.S. Constitution’s prohibition against warrantless invasions of private property, federal prosecutors and FBI officials have argued that Geek Squad employees accidentally find and report, for example, potential child pornography on customers’ computers without any prodding by the government. Assistant United States Attorney M. Anthony Brown last year labeled allegations of a hidden partnership as “wild speculation.” But more than a dozen summaries of FBI memoranda filed inside Orange County’s Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse this month in USA v. Mark Rettenmaier contradict the official line.

One agency communication about Geek Squad supervisor Justin Meade noted, “Agent assignments have been reviewed and are appropriate for operation of this source,” that the paid informant “continues to provide valuable information on [child pornography] matters” and has “value due to his unique or potential access to FBI priority targets or intelligence responsive to FBI national and/or local collection.”

Other records show how Meade’s job gave him “excellent and frequent” access for “several years” to computers belonging to unwitting Best Buy customers, though agents considered him “underutilized” and wanted him “tasked” to search devices “on a more consistent basis.”

To enhance the Geek Squad role as a “tripwire” for the agency, another FBI record voiced the opinion that agents should “schedule regular meetings” with Meade “to ensure he is reporting.”

A Feb. 27, 2008, agency document memorialized plans “seeking the training of the Geek Squad Facility technicians designed to help them identify what type of files and/or images would necessitate a call to the FBI.”

Jeff Haydock, a Best Buy vice president, told OC Weekly in January there has been no arrangement with the FBI. “If we discover child pornography in the normal course of serving a computer, phone or tablet, we have an obligation to contact law enforcement,” he said, calling such policy “the right thing to do.”

But evidence demonstrates company employees routinely snooped for the agency, contemplated “writing a software program” specifically to aid the FBI in rifling through its customers’ computers without probable cause for any crime that had been committed, and were “under the direction and control of the FBI.”

Multiple agency memoranda underscore the coziness with Best Buy, including one that stated, “The Louisville Division has maintained [a] close liaison with the Greek Squad management in an effort to glean case initiations and to support the division’s Computer Intrusion and Cyber Crime programs.”
These latest revelations are the result of the work of James D. Riddet, the San Clemente-based defense attorney representing Rettenmaier. The doctor, who specializes in obstetrics and gynecology, is fighting allegations he knowingly possessed child pornography after the Geek Squad claimed it found an illicit image on a Hewlett Packard computer he left with the company for repair in 2011. U.S. Department of Justice officials filed criminal charges the following year. But the case has been in legal limbo while U.S. District Court Judge Cormac J. Carney considers Riddet’s contentions of outrageous government conduct.

In 2016, the defense lawyer claimed the FBI made Best Buy an unofficial wing of the agency by incentivizing Geek Squad employees to dig through customers’ computers, paying $500 each time they found evidence that could launch criminal cases.

There are also technical weaknesses in the agency’s pursuit of Rettenmaier. Just weeks before his arrest, federal judges ruled in a notable separate matter that child porn found on a computer’s unallocated space couldn’t be used to win a possession conviction because there is almost no way to learn who placed it there, who viewed it, or when or why it was deleted. Cynthia Kayle, a lead agent working against Rettenmaier, knew Geek Squad informants had found the image in unallocated space, which is only accessible via highly specialized computer-intrusion tools the doctor didn’t possess. Agents won a magistrate judge’s permission to advance the case by failing to advise him of those facts and falsified an official time line to hide warrantless searches, according to the defense lawyer. Brown disputes any law-enforcement wrongdoing.

But the government’s case took more blows in January. During a pretrial hearing with obnoxious FBI agents visibly angered that I’d alerted the public about their heavy-handed tactics, Riddet asked Carney to take his first look at the image found on his client’s device, pointing out the picture does not depict sex or show genitals. The lawyer then questioned agent Tracey L. Riley, who retreated from her original, case-launching stance that the image—known as “9yoJenny”—was definitely child pornography to “not exactly” child porn. Under questioning, experts for both the defense and the government testified that it’s not only possible for files from the internet to land on a computer without the owner’s knowledge, but that it also frequently happens.

Riddet wants Carney to suppress the evidence and dismiss the case. “The FBI’s internal documentation of its relationship with its informants and the correspondence between the FBI and its informants suggest a joint venture to ferret out child porn,” he told the judge on March 1. “Accordingly, Geek Squad City (GSC) is a government entity and its employees’ searches are warrantless government searches in violation of the Fourth Amendment. . . . There was a total of eight FBI informants in GSC’s data-recovery department at various times.”

Carney faces what could be a monumental ruling with nationwide implications. This Republican judge and former UCLA football player has been known to ridicule law-enforcement tactics when he considers them unethical. If he doesn’t accept Riddet’s stance and tolerates the government’s already documented abuses, a trial is tentatively scheduled to begin on June 6 in Santa Ana.

Recently unsealed records reveal a much more extensive secret relationship than previously known between the FBI and Best Buy’s Geek Squad, including evidence the agency trained company technicians on law-enforcement operational tactics, shared lists of targeted citizens and, to covertly increase surveillance of the public, encouraged searches of computers even when unrelated to a customer’s request for repairs.

To sidestep the U.S. Constitution’s prohibition against warrantless invasions of private property, federal prosecutors and FBI officials have argued that Geek Squad employees accidentally find and report, for example, potential child pornography on customers’ computers without any prodding by the government. Assistant United States Attorney M. Anthony Brown last year labeled allegations of a hidden partnership as “wild speculation.” But more than a dozen summaries of FBI memoranda filed inside Orange County’s Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse this month in USA v. Mark Rettenmaier contradict the official line.

One agency communication about Geek Squad supervisor Justin Meade noted, “Agent assignments have been reviewed and are appropriate for operation of this source,” that the paid informant “continues to provide valuable information on [child pornography] matters” and has “value due to his unique or potential access to FBI priority targets or intelligence responsive to FBI national and/or local collection.”

Other records show how Meade’s job gave him “excellent and frequent” access for “several years” to computers belonging to unwitting Best Buy customers, though agents considered him “underutilized” and wanted him “tasked” to search devices “on a more consistent basis.”

To enhance the Geek Squad role as a “tripwire” for the agency, another FBI record voiced the opinion that agents should “schedule regular meetings” with Meade “to ensure he is reporting.”

A Feb. 27, 2008, agency document memorialized plans “seeking the training of the Geek Squad Facility technicians designed to help them identify what type of files and/or images would necessitate a call to the FBI.”

Jeff Haydock, a Best Buy vice president, told OC Weekly in January there has been no arrangement with the FBI. “If we discover child pornography in the normal course of serving a computer, phone or tablet, we have an obligation to contact law enforcement,” he said, calling such policy “the right thing to do.”

But evidence demonstrates company employees routinely snooped for the agency, contemplated “writing a software program” specifically to aid the FBI in rifling through its customers’ computers without probable cause for any crime that had been committed, and were “under the direction and control of the FBI.”
Multiple agency memoranda underscore the coziness with Best Buy, including one that stated, “The Louisville Division has maintained [a] close liaison with the Greek Squad management in an effort to glean case initiations and to support the division’s Computer Intrusion and Cyber Crime programs.”

These latest revelations are the result of the work of James D. Riddet, the San Clemente-based defense attorney representing Rettenmaier. The doctor, who specializes in obstetrics and gynecology, is fighting allegations he knowingly possessed child pornography after the Geek Squad claimed it found an illicit image on a Hewlett Packard computer he left with the company for repair in 2011. U.S. Department of Justice officials filed criminal charges the following year. But the case has been in legal limbo while U.S. District Court Judge Cormac J. Carney considers Riddet’s contentions of outrageous government conduct.

In 2016, the defense lawyer claimed the FBI made Best Buy an unofficial wing of the agency by incentivizing Geek Squad employees to dig through customers’ computers, paying $500 each time they found evidence that could launch criminal cases.

There are also technical weaknesses in the agency’s pursuit of Rettenmaier. Just weeks before his arrest, federal judges ruled in a notable separate matter that child porn found on a computer’s unallocated space couldn’t be used to win a possession conviction because there is almost no way to learn who placed it there, who viewed it, or when or why it was deleted. Cynthia Kayle, a lead agent working against Rettenmaier, knew Geek Squad informants had found the image in unallocated space, which is only accessible via highly specialized computer-intrusion tools the doctor didn’t possess. Agents won a magistrate judge’s permission to advance the case by failing to advise him of those facts and falsified an official time line to hide warrantless searches, according to the defense lawyer. Brown disputes any law-enforcement wrongdoing.

But the government’s case took more blows in January. During a pretrial hearing with obnoxious FBI agents visibly angered that I’d alerted the public about their heavy-handed tactics, Riddet asked Carney to take his first look at the image found on his client’s device, pointing out the picture does not depict sex or show genitals. The lawyer then questioned agent Tracey L. Riley, who retreated from her original, case-launching stance that the image—known as “9yoJenny”—was definitely child pornography to “not exactly” child porn. Under questioning, experts for both the defense and the government testified that it’s not only possible for files from the internet to land on a computer without the owner’s knowledge, but that it also frequently happens.

Riddet wants Carney to suppress the evidence and dismiss the case. “The FBI’s internal documentation of its relationship with its informants and the correspondence between the FBI and its informants suggest a joint venture to ferret out child porn,” he told the judge on March 1. “Accordingly, Geek Squad City (GSC) is a government entity and its employees’ searches are warrantless government searches in violation of the Fourth Amendment. . . . There was a total of eight FBI informants in GSC’s data-recovery department at various times.”

Carney faces what could be a monumental ruling with nationwide implications. This Republican judge and former UCLA football player has been known to ridicule law-enforcement tactics when he considers them unethical. If he doesn’t accept Riddet’s stance and tolerates the government’s already documented abuses, a trial is tentatively scheduled to begin on June 6 in Santa Ana.

THE FEBRUARY JOBS REPORT

Weekend Editorial:
President Trump’s First 30 Days

It is beyond absurd and utterly ludicrous that some fanatical Liberal reporters would asked “when does the outgoing president’s [economic]  policies stop influencing the economy?” One only needs to go back quite recently, back to when the jobs market reacted positively to the the outcome of the Presidential Election and see the rapid turn-around not seen during outgoing President Obama’s eight years in office.

It is indeed ludicrous to suggest the economic turn-around during the outgoing president’s final two months is a culmination of eight years of “positive market animal spirit” – all the while ignoring the incoming president-elect’s positive message to the business community. Even hair-brained Nancy Pelosi was NOT HAPPY that the new jobs created were not government jobs. Thank you Nancy Pelosi for illustrating this. Private sector jobs are not “real, meaningful jobs” as defined by the Left. Might I also say that the Left shall remain unhappy until every American Citizen, and every single Illegal Alien is on the Federal Government payroll.

Sixty-three percent of Americans either held a job or actively looked for one in February, the highest participation rate in ten months.

The number Americans not in the labor force continued to drop, to 94,190,000 in February, 176,000 fewer than in January and well below the record of 95,102,000 set in December 2016.

M Souza

 

POPE URGES POPULATION CONTROL

‘Pope Francis has urged us to have fewer children,’ claims Vatican academy member.’
www.lifesitenews.com
Shutterstock.com
NewsCatholic Church, DemographicsFri Mar 3, 2017 – 8:30 am EST

biological extinction conference , birth control , marcelo sánchez sorondo , peter raven , pope francis

ROME,  March 3, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — “Pope Francis has urged us to have fewer children to make the world more sustainable,” a panelist at a Vatican-run workshop on “how to save the natural world” claimed on Thursday.

This solution to securing the world’s sustainability was presented by botanist and environmentalist Peter Raven during a press conference that concluded the “Biological Extinction” workshop that took place at the Vatican earlier this week.

Greg Burke, director of the Holy See Press Office, moderated a panel, which included Raven, President of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (PAS), Werner Arber, University of Cambridge Professor Emeritus of Economics Partha Dasgupta, and PAS chancellor Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo.

“We do not endorse any of the artificial birth control [methods] that the Church does not endorse,” said Raven.

RELATED: Pro-abort population control activist speaks at Vatican conference despite pro-life outcry

The Church condemns every method of artificial birth control.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible is intrinsically evil” since it destroys the unitive and procreative integrity of the marital act.

The Church teaches that a married couple who wishes to postpone pregnancy for a “grave” reason may do so by not engaging in the marital act during the fertile period.

According to Raven, the central element of the solution for “overpopulation” is that “we need a more limited number of people in the world.” In addition, “the problem is one of inequality,” where the rich use more of the world’s resources than the poor.

“In the framework of social justice worldwide we need to find ways for natural resources to be distributed on the basis of compassion and love. We hope for support in our ongoing support for our endeavor to develop sustainability,” he said.

All four on the panel concurred that the survival of the planet is tightly linked to the number of people on the planet.

The Biological Extinction workshop drew particular controversy because it featured a paper by notorious pro-abortion population control advocate Dr. Paul Ehrlich. At the event Ehrlich, and co-author Dasgupta, said that the Catholic teaching of “responsible parenthood” in determining family size has “result[ed] in collective failure” in reducing the world’s population.

The authors suggested that one way to stop the exhaustion of “humanity’s natural capital” is by imposing a system of “taxes and regulations” that would help modify “social norms of behaviour.”

RELATED: Population controllers to Vatican: ‘Responsible parenthood’ has failed. Use ‘taxes and regulations’ to reduce population

Just days before the conference, Ehrlich, who has defended forced abortion and mass forced sterilization as legitimate means to control the world’s population, advocated in an interview with The Guardian for cutting the world’s population by 6 billion people to bring it down to 1 billion.

In the paper’s words, he said doing so would have an “overall pro-life effect.” The paper indicated he believed this could “sustain many more human lives in the long term compared with our current uncontrolled growth and prospect of sudden collapse.”

When LifeSiteNews asked the panelists at the Vatican press conference if any scientists were invited to the conference who held an alternative view on the world’s population, Bishop Sorondo replied: “You can see the papers, since everything was published on the website, the texts and the discussions.”

Sorondo said that while “there were different opinions on population” during the conference’s discussions, the participants reached two conclusions: “That the carbonization (pollution) of the air is not caused by the number of human beings, but by the activity of humans who use the materials at hand” and that “in order to have an integral environment, biodiversity must be conserved – [and] that also depends on human activity.”

Dasgupta, Ehrlich’s co-author, said during the panel that the number of humans on the planet is not sustainable. He added that humans must arrive at a point where their numbers are determined by how “the earth can replenish herself.”

Upon LifeSiteNews’ question about what this point would look like and how many people would be ideal for the planet, Dasgupta answered: “We should not calculate that. The number of humans depends on standards of living, or quality of life. It depends on the total demand that we make on Mother Nature. If humans were not here there would be other factors.”

While leaving the question essentially unanswered, Dasgupta presented the solution of “working backwards,” stating that “we have to figure out the human impact on Mother Nature on an annual basis: If the impact grows, we will be concerned. If the impact is reduced, then mother nature will replenish.”

He suggested that the “best step forward” to begin curbing “population growth” would be with a “focus on the family and education.” He did not clarify what such “education” might entail.

The Catholic Church condemns coercive population control methods. Instead of seeing people as ‘mouths to feed,’ ‘pollution producers,’ or ‘carbon footprint makers,’ the Church sees each and every person as a unique and unrepeatable gift from God. Created in the image and likeness of God, and redeemed by Jesus Christ, the Church teaches that each person is filled with the greatest dignity as a son or daughter of God who is ultimately called to eternal beatitude in the Kingdom of God.

Earlier this week a global coalition of Catholic pro-life and pro-family organizations urged Catholics to “resist” the Vatican’s increasing alliance with the leftist agenda, specifically as championed by the United Nations, warning that such an alliance poses an “immediate and serious threat” to children and the family.

LIBERAL UCSF SENDS I.T. JOBS TO INDIA

San Francisco university lays off IT workers, jobs head to India
www.yahoo.com

By Rory Carroll

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – The University of California, San Francisco on Tuesday laid off 49 information technology (IT) employees and outsourced their work to a company based in India, ending a year-long process that has brought the public university under fire.

The university announced the plan last July as a way to save $30 million over five years. The University of California system, which includes health care and research-focused UCSF, has been struggling to raise revenue and cut expenses.

Globalization and outsourcing have become hot-button political issues in the United States, as more employers cut costs by farming out work to low-cost workers in far-flung parts of the world. President Donald Trump campaigned on promises to restore lost U.S. jobs and to penalize companies that move factories overseas.

This was the University of California’s first outsourcing, said a spokeswoman who added that the layoffs were necessary due to rising costs of technology. In addition to the 49 staff layoffs, another 48 positions that were vacant or filled by contractors were eliminated.

California Senator Dianne Feinstein last year said the university had a responsibility to keep jobs in the United States and pledged to seek reforms to stop domestic jobs being outsourced.

Kurt Ho, 58, a laid off systems administrator, carried a box of his personal items with an American flag draped over it, and said the university’s decision will hurt service for a medical staff that relies on a smoothly running and secure computer network.

“It’s a downgrading of services and a slap in the face for the customers,” said Ho, who has worked in IT in the Bay Area for 25 years. He said he plans to look for a job but worries that outsourcing of IT services is a growing trend.

Last year UCSF entered into a $50 million contract over five years with India-based HCL Technologies Ltd to do the work.

(Reporting by Rory Carroll, editing by Peter Henderson and David Gregorio)

FAST FOOD INDUSTRY REACTS TO $15 MIN-WAGE

Minimum Wage Massacre: Wendy’s Unleashes 1,000 Robots To Counter Higher Labor Costs
www.zerohedge.com

In yet another awkwardly rational response to government intervention in deciding what’s “fair”, the blowback from minimum wage demanding fast food workers has struck again. Wendy’s plans to install self-ordering kiosks in 1,000 of its stores – 16% of its locations nationwide.

“Last year was tough — 5 percent wage inflation,” said Bob Wright, Wendy’s chief operating officer, during his presentation to investors and analysts last week. He added that the company expects wages to rise 4 percent in 2017. “But the real question is what are we doing about it?”

 

Wright noted that over the past two years, Wendy’s has figured out how to eliminate 31 hours of labor per week from its restaurants and is now working to use technology, such as kiosks, to increase efficiency.

Wendy’s chief information officer, David Trimm, said the kiosks are intended to appeal to younger customers and reduce labor costs. Kiosks also allow customers of the fast food giant to circumvent long lines during peak dining hours while increasing kitchen production.

As Dispatch.com reports, the Dublin-based burger giant started offering kiosks last year, and demand for the technology has been high from both customers and franchise owners.

“There is a huge amount of pull from (franchisees) in order to get them,” David Trimm, Wendy’s chief information officer, said last week during the company’s investors’ day.

 

“With the demand we are seeing … we can absolutely see our way to having 1,000 or more restaurants live with kiosks by the end of the year.”

 

A typical store would get three kiosks for about $15,000. Trimm estimated the payback on those machines would be less than two years, thanks to labor savings and increased sales. Customers still could order at the counter.

 

Kiosks are where the industry is headed, but Wendy’s is ahead of the curve, said Darren Tristano, vice president with Technomic, a food-service research and consulting firm.

 

“They are looking to improve their automation and their labor costs, and this is a good way to do it,” he said.

Who could have seen that coming? As we noted previously, minimum wage laws – while advertised under the banner of social justice – do not live up to the claims made by those who tout them. They do not lift low wage earners to a so-called “social minimum”. Indeed, minimum wage laws — imposed at the levels employed in Europe — push a considerable number of people into unemployment. And, unless those newly unemployed qualify for government assistance (read: welfare), they will sink below, or further below, the social minimum.

As Nobelist Milton Friedman correctly quipped, “A minimum wage law is, in reality, a law that makes it illegal for an employer to hire a person with limited skills.”

Despite the piling up mountain of evidence on the harmful “unintended consequences” of artificially high minimum wages, we suspect we already know how this story ends.  After all, it’s much easier to win elections by promising people more stuff rather than less.  And, as an added bonus, when it all goes horribly wrong it’s very easy to lame the blame at the feet of the wealthy 1%’ers who are behind all the layoffs. Checkmate.

Decline of Unions Under Right-to-Work Laws

POLITICSNEWS

Decline of Unions Under Right-to-Work Laws Levels Playing Field for Trump

President Donald Trump listens as Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, not a favorite of teachers’ unions, speaks at a White House meeting Feb. 14 with teachers and parents. (Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters/Newscom)

Donald Trump prevailed where other Republican presidential candidates failed in Midwestern states in part because of new right-to-work laws that have diminished the power and influence of the teachers’ unions, according to labor policy analysts.

“Unions have been knocked silly in Wisconsin, thanks to the one-two punch of Act 10 and right-to-work,” @workerfreedom’s Matt Patterson says.

Final election results have Trump narrowly winning Wisconsin’s 10 electoral votes by a margin of 47.9 to 46.9 percent over Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate. Trump had 1,409,467 votes to Clinton’s 1,382,210.

In Michigan, the margins were even closer with Trump winning that state’s 16 electoral votes with 47.6 percent against Clinton who had 47.3 percent of the vote. Trump had 2,279,805 votes to Clinton’s 2,268,193.

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“Did the labor reforms enacted in Wisconsin and neighboring Michigan help Donald Trump win those states?” Matt Patterson, executive director of the Center for Worker Freedom, said in an email to The Daily Signal. “No question in my mind. Hard to fight when your bazooka’s been replaced by a squirt gun.”

Two teachers’ unions, the Wisconsin Education Association Council and the Michigan Education Association, both experienced a significant drop in membership since those states passed right-to-work legislation. Such laws prohibit employers from entering into agreements that make union membership and payment of union dues a condition of employment.

Wisconsin became a right-to-work state in 2015, Michigan in 2013. Since then, government figures show, the teachers’ unions in both states have lost thousands of dues-paying members.

The drop has been particularly precipitous in Wisconsin, where in 2011 Gov. Scott Walker signed legislation that reformed the state’s collective bargaining process. In fact, the Wisconsin Education Association Council has lost about 60 percent of its members since Walker’s reforms were implemented, an analysis of public records by the Education Intelligence Agency shows.

Under Act 10, also known as the Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill, most of Wisconsin’s government workers, including public school teachers, are now required to contribute more for their pension and health care benefits.

Act 10 also limits collective bargaining to wage negotiations, requires annual union recertification, ends the automatic deduction of union dues, and allows for public sector employees to decide whether they want to join a union and pay dues.

Wisconsin’s right-to-work law gives private sector employees the same right to decline union membership and payment of dues.

Diminished Union Clout

The Wisconsin Education Association Council had about 100,000 members before Act 10 passed; the latest figures show the union with 36,074. The decline reflects what has happened nationwide, the MacIver Institute for Public Policy, a free-market think tank in Wisconsin, reported.

The Wisconsin and Michigan unions are both affiliates of the National Education Association, the nation’s largest union for workers in public schools.

The 3 million-strong NEA lost more than 300,000 members in affiliated state teachers’ unions from 2010 to 2015, according to the analysis by the Education Intelligence Agency cited by the MacIver Institute. That’s a membership decrease of 10 percent.

170215_trump-unions-chart_v7

So what is the political fallout?

“There’s no doubt that with the decline in union membership here in Wisconsin, the political clout of the union bosses and their ability to automatically turn out members for Democrats has declined dramatically,” Brett Healy, president of the MacIver Institute, told The Daily Signal, adding:

When we look at the decline in union membership and compare it to the recent political fortunes of the Democratic Party, you can clearly see that when people are given the ability to choose whether or not they want to join a union we are seeing less people voting for Democrats.

After the Wisconsin Education Association Council’s loss of tens of thousands of paying members, it has become evident that the teachers’ union’s ability to influence the outcomes of elections and public policy decisions has waned in the past few years, Healy added.

“The Wisconsin Education Association [Council] was the single biggest political player in the capital, but after the passage of Act 10 and right-to-work, their membership, which is where they derive their political power, has declined,” he said. “A majority of teachers in Wisconsin have decided that their money is better spent in other ways rather than turning it over to union bosses.”

Mary Bell, president of the Wisconsin Education Association Council, speaks to protesters crowding the State Capitol grounds in Madison as Wisconsin lawmakers discuss Gov. Scott Walker's budget bill on Feb. 18, 2011. (Photo: Darren Hauck/Reuters/Newscom)

Mary Bell, then-president of the Wisconsin Education Association Council, speaks to protesters crowding the State Capitol grounds in Madison as Wisconsin lawmakers discuss Gov. Scott Walker’s budget bill on Feb. 18, 2011. (Photo: Darren Hauck/Reuters/Newscom)

Trump’s Union Vote

Act 10 has been transformative not just politically, but financially.

A MacIver Institute analysis of the legislation’s budgetary impact found that it saved Wisconsin taxpayers more than $5 billion. Most of these savings were generated by requiring government employees to contribute more for their retirement, according to the analysis.

“Gov. Walker and the Republican legislature not only saved Wisconsinites an incomprehensible amount of money but they also fundamentally changed government in Wisconsin forever,” Healy said a year ago.

Trump benefited politically from right-to-work changes in Michigan just as he did in Wisconsin.

But the billionaire developer’s personal appeal with blue-collar union workers gave him an advantage other Republican candidates have not had recently, Vinnie Vernuccio, director of labor policy at the Mackinac Center, a free-market think tank in Michigan, said in an interview.

“The Michigan teachers’ unions, which have led the charge politically in the state, have been weakened in recent years and that certainly helped Trump,” Vernuccio said. “But don’t underestimate the union vote for Trump in key swing states. Exit polls show he did surprisingly well.”

Among union households (where at least one person is a union member), Trump’s margins improved significantly over those of Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who was the Republican presidential nominee in 2012.

When Michigan passed its right-to-work law in 2013, the Michigan Education Association had 113,147 members, the Mackinac Center reported. By 2016, the union had 90,609 members, a decline of about 20 percent.

Detroit public school teachers Mark Moran and Debora Jones join fellow union members in a rally July 27, 2012, about contract talks. (Photo: Rebecca Cook/Reuters/Newscom)

Detroit public school teacher Mark Moran, second from left,  joins fellow union members in a rally about contract talks on July 27, 2012. (Photo: Rebecca Cook/Reuters/Newscom)

‘Knocked Silly’

The Daily Signal sought comment from both the Wisconsin Education Association Council and the Michigan Education Association on the right-to-work laws in their states and the impact on their membership rolls and political activism. Neither union responded.

“Unions have been knocked silly in Wisconsin, thanks to the one-two punch of Act 10 and right to work,” Patterson, of the Center for Worker Freedom, a Washington-based nonprofit affiliated with Americans for Tax Reform, told The Daily Signal:

Give people the chance to leave their union, it turns out, and lo and behold there’s a stampede for the door. And these fleeing workers take their money with them, money that unions can no longer use to buy politicians.

John Mozena, vice president of marketing and communications for the Mackinac Center, said in an email that he sees a growing separation between rank-and-file union members and union leaders that worked to Trump’s advantage:

In labor strongholds like Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, West Virginia and Missouri, union leaders have failed to turn out enough voters to create notable electoral consequences for politicians who introduced, supported, or voted for right to work or other worker freedom legislation.

That’s in part because union members have largely come to realize that these laws don’t actually hurt them or their unions. In fact, [the laws] give them as individuals more options than they had before.

Many union members also are voting against candidates that receive the lion’s share of their leaders’ support.

The contrast was most stark in the 2016 election, where almost all union leaders endorsed and used their members’ money to support Clinton. Yet in key states like Ohio, almost half of union members voted for Trump.

The only states to register significant increases in active membership in NEA-affiliated teachers’ unions over five years, according to the Education Intelligence Agency analysis, are Delaware (5 percent), Vermont (8 percent), Montana (16 percent), and North Dakota (19 percent).

Clinton won Delaware and Vermont, but Trump won Montana and North Dakota.

‘Unfortunate Situation’

After spending several months combing through the U.S. Department of Labor’s LM-2 financial disclosure forms, researchers with the Center for Union Facts found that unions directed about $530 million in membership dues to the Democratic Party and to left-leaning special interest groups from 2012 to 2015.

The Center for Union Facts is a Washington-based nonprofit that advocates transparency and accountability on the part of organized labor. Every labor organization that falls under the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act must file an LM-2.

“An unfortunate situation has developed where unions are more focused on politics than on collective bargaining or workplace issues,” @Richard_Berman says.

Recipients of union donations identified by the Center for Union Facts include Planned Parenthood and the Democratic Governors Association. These donations fall within labor’s political advocacy budgets, which are funded by dues and “disguised as worker advocacy related to collective bargaining—separate from direct campaign contributions,” the center said in a release.

“I do believe a very unfortunate situation has developed where the unions are more focused on politics than they are on collective bargaining or workplace issues,” Richard Berman, the center’s executive director, said in an interview with The Daily Signal.

Since surveys show that about 40 percent of union households vote Republican, this means the dues of a substantial number of union members are directed toward political causes they do not support, Berman said.

But he said he sees a strong potential for the growing right-to-work movement to level the political playing field in future election cycles, as it did in 2016.

In the meantime, Berman said, the new chairman of the National Labor Relations Board should use the board’s regulatory powers “to provide enough transparency in the area of labor finances” to inform union members of leadership’s activities.

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