Labor Unions Swindle Workers and Shakedown Employers

July 30, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

In a nutshell, unions are legal cartels that work to increase members’ pay by controlling the supply of labor, removing competition. The linked article is a good example of how, over time, unions almost inevitably move from serving workers’ interests to being little better than strong-arm rackets out for themselves.

Originally posted on KATY GRIMES:

Labor unions are bad for workers and employers. But sometimes the good guys prevail.

The lawsuit filed by a Fresno farmworker against members of the Agricultural Labor Relations Board alleging civil rights violations will move forward to trial, a federal judge just ruled last week.

Silvia Lopez

In February of this year, Gerawan Farming worker Silvia Lopez sued the gubernatorial appointees and regional staff of the ALRB alleging that their refusal to count the Gerawan farmworkers’ decertification votes violated her 1st and 14th Amendment rights.

The Agricultural Labor Relations Board says it exists to protect the rights of all agricultural employees, including those not wanting labor organization representation, as is the case with Gerawan Farming employees. However, Gerawan farming employees say they have not received any assistance from the ALRB.

Whenever they can, labor unions historically try to gain control over entry into the labor market. “Such measures are for…

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Central American gangs cash in from extortion

July 29, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

Part of the reason we’re seeing this sudden influx of minors at the border.

Originally posted on Money Jihad:

Guatemalan crooks net $61 million annually

Contributing to the exodus from the Northern Triangle to the U.S. border, gangs and copycat criminals are shaking down Central American businessmen for hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

Guatemalans alone are being hosed for $61 million a year according to that country’s interior ministry.  Shares of the extortion proceeds are sent up the chain of command to key regional gangs including Barrio 18, Mara Salvatrucha, and Los Paisas, which perpetuates the cycle of violence.

Previous attempts to bring the extortion rackets under control have been unsuccessful.

The violence and extortion problem contribute to the flight of illegal immigrants toward North America.  Human smuggling “coyotes” have successfully recruited children to make the trip, telling them that they would be granted legal status in the U.S. based on the Obama administration’s “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” policy.  Besides, there are few opportunities locally other…

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#CApolitics: Third state senator (D) arrested on corruption charges

March 26, 2014
Not smiling now, I bet.

Not smiling now, I bet.

Earth-shaking news in California politics broke this morning with word of the arrest of State Senator Leland Yee (D, SD-8) on charges of public corruption, including soliciting donations beyond the allowed limits in return for legislative services and –ahem!– firearms trafficking. You can read the indictment (PDF) via the NBC BayArea site (1). From their article on the arrest:

California state Sen. Leland Yee was arrested on public corruption charges as part of several arrests made by the FBI Wednesday morning during a massive FBI sting, the FBI told NBC Bay Area.

U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag of the Northern District of California said that Yee and current Chee Kung Tong leader Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow were among 26 defendants charged in a federal criminal complaint.

Yee and Chow were arraigned before Federal Magistrate Judge Nathaniel Cousins in San Francisco this afternoon.

The federal criminal complaint, filed on March 24, was unsealed in San Francisco Wednesday, charging the defendants with firearms trafficking, money laundering, murder-for-hire, drug distribution, trafficking in contraband cigarettes and honest services fraud, announced Haagm FBI special agent David Johnson and Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, Special Agent in Charge José M. Martinez.

Yee was charged with conspiracy to traffic in firearms without a license, and to illegally import firearms as well as a scheme to defraud citizens of honest services.

Chow’s charges include money laundering and conspiracy to trafficking contraband cigarettes.

From what I gather from skimming the indictment, Yee stands accused of soliciting bribes both to retire his debt from his failed mayoral run in San Francisco and to fund his current campaign for Secretary of State. He is also accused of offering to facilitate an arms deal through New Jersey between a dealer Yee knew and “UCE 4599,” an unidentified FBI undercover agent… in return for a “donation.”

The connection between Senator Yee and “Shrimp Boy” Chow seems to be Keith Jackson, a well-known Bay Area political consultant and associate of Yee. Chow, who has a long record and has been under investigation for years, introduced UCE 4599 to Jackson, who then apparently started supplying weapons for UCE 4599’s “associates” to guard their (imaginary) marijuana farms in Northern California. Jackson and others also apparently ran their own drug ring and even attempted to solicit murder-for-hire. Jackson was also Yee’s money-maker for the illegal donations.

There is no accusation that Senator Yee had anything to do with drugs or murder-for-hire, but, still, he sure keeps nice company.

Aside from the organized crime drama and political corruption, this has serious implications for the Democrats in California. Yee is the third state senator (2), all Democrats, to be indicted or convicted in the last several months. Senator Roderick Wright was convicted of felony voter fraud in January, while Senator Ron Calderon was indicted for corruption in February.

Since the 2012 election, Democrats have held a supermajority in the California legislature, controlling both chambers with two-thirds majorities. Under the state constitution, that gave them the power to do pretty much whatever they wanted: pass irresponsible budgets, fund wasteful programs to their heart’s content, you name it. The Republicans were bystanders, and it didn’t look like they’d have any power any time soon.

Then the majority started crumbling in the state senate. First came Andy Vidak’s (R-SD26) surprise victory in a 2013 special election, then the conviction of Wright and the indictment of Calderon. That last broke the supermajority in the senate, and now Yee’s troubles (3) deepens the hole they’re in. Now, at least, the Democrats have to actually deal with the Republican senate caucus, if they want to get anything done. This means Proposition 13, the measure that protects homeowners from exorbitant property taxes and mandates a 2/3rds majority to raise taxes, making it a prime Democrat target, is safe for a while. The Democrats are likely to regain those seats, given the districts, but a smart Republican or independent candidate might make some populist hay running on a clean government platform. We’ll see.

From a larger view, this is what happens in a state when a party overwhelmingly dominates for too long: without credible opposition, legislators and other government officials come to feel entitled, become complacent, and think of themselves as rulers, not employees subject to the audit of the people. Corruption sets in. California has long been dominated by the Democrats (in the legislature, for decades), but a conservative friend in a long-time Red state has voiced similar complaints. It shows the problems that can set in when a strong two-party system withers to one.

One hopes that revelations such as Senator Yee’s purported activities will lead to soul-searching among the Democrats (4) and the rise of good conservative candidates in more areas to help redress the balance.

For the sake of California’s political health, we need both.

RELATED: More from the San Jose Mercury News.

PS: Did you know Yee once sponsored a measure to require state buildings to be designed according to Chinese Feng Shui principles? There’s a reason we’re called “Crazyfornia.”

Footnotes:
(1) And kudos to them for linking to a primary source. Too few online MSM outlets do that.
(2) But not the last, I bet.
(3) Because Senate President Steinberg (D) is desperate to keep those seats in Democrat hands, rather than risk a special election, Wright and Calderon have been allowed to go on “paid leave,” rather than being expelled. Yes, they still draw a salary, but at least they can’t vote. I’m sure Yee will be shown the same “courtesy.”
(4) Oh, stop laughing. It could happen. Maybe.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Mexican Marines capture Los Zetas chief

July 15, 2013

Wow. This is huge news:

One of Mexico’s most wanted drug lords has been captured: Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, also known as “Z-40.”

Trevino Morales, leader of the brutal Los Zetas cartel, was caught Sunday by Mexico Marines in his hometown of Nuevo Laredo, just over the U.S. border, CBS News has learned.

The U.S. State Department had offered a $5 million reward for Trevino Morales.

The Zetas cartel is among Mexico’s most violent drug organizations, notorious for civilian killings and beheadings. Is leaders ordered the killing of 72 undocumented immigrants in 2010 in what is known as the San Fernando massacre. More recently in May, the Mexican army said their leaders ordered underlings to leave 49 mutilated bodies in a northern Mexico town square.

The Mexican drug cartels are a nasty bunch, but the Zetas are the worst of the worst. Founded by former Mexican Special Forces members who first worked as soldiers for the cartels before striking out on their own, they’ve been called the Mexico’s most dangerous drug cartel. Beheadings, bombings, massacres, terrorism… You name it, they’ve been in on it. “Well done” to the Mexican military; this is quite a take-down, and I hope this leads to information that allows the Mexican and US governments to roll up Los Zetas on both sides of the border.

Maybe we’ll even finally see justice for David Hartley, who was murdered at Falcon Lake, and some peace for his widow.

UPDATE: Fixed the headline to give proper credit to the Mexican Marines. Sorry, guys.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Fast and Furious: DoJ-supplied guns used in Mexican lawyer’s murder

May 2, 2012

Well, ain’t that just dandy.

I’ve said before that the number of Mexican soldiers, federal agents, police and civilians killed by weapons allowed to “walk” over the border into Mexico under the Department of Justice’s “sting” operation has amounted to at least 300, per the Mexican Attorney General.

Here are some specifics, courtesy of Borderland Beat:

Firearms connected to Operation Fast and Furious were used in the 2010 slaying of the brother of the former Chihuahua state attorney general, according to a U.S. congressional report.

The report said the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives traced two of the weapons suspected in the murder of lawyer Mario González Rodríguez, but did not report this fact to the Mexican government until eight months after the tracing.

(…)

A video of Mario González Rodríguez’s “interrogation” by armed men was carried on YouTube. The body of the well-known Chihuahua City lawyer was found Nov. 5, 2010, in a shallow grave.

Then, Mexican federal authorities, following a shootout with drug cartel suspects, seized 16 weapons and arrested eight men in connection with Mario González Rodríguez’s murder.

The serial numbers on the seized weapons were run through an ATF database and, sure enough, two AK-pattern weapons were were flagged as “walked guns.” But it took eight months for the US government to tell Mexican authorities of their findings. When Carlos Canino, then the ATF attache in Mexico City, finally did bother to tell the Mexicans that, hey, some of our guns killed one of your citizens –our bad!– he gave the following explanation for the delay:

Canino feared an international incident might break out with Mexico if the information leaked out to the news media instead of being sent through government channels. He told U.S. lawmakers that he did not want to undermine the trust that U.S. law enforcement had developed with their Mexican counterparts in the war against the drug cartels.

Because, Lord knows, nothing builds trust like supplying automatic weapons and grenades to your ally’s enemies. Hate to see that spoiled.

When did I move to Bizarro World?

PS: Note to Mitt Romney, two words: Special. Prosecutor.

RELATED: Earlier entries for Operation Fast and Furious, aka “Gunwalker.”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Things you don’t expect to see on your commute

September 22, 2011

Such as a drug gang dumping 35 bodies on the highway:

Suspected drug traffickers dumped 35 bodies at rush hour beneath a busy overpass in the heart of a major Gulf coast city as gunmen pointed weapons at frightened drivers. Mexican authorities said Wednesday they are examining surveillance video for clues to who committed the crime.

Horrified motorists grabbed cell phones and sent Twitter messages warning others to avoid the area near the biggest shopping mall in Boca del Rio, part of the metropolitan area of Veracruz city.

The gruesome gesture marked a sharp escalation in cartel violence in Veracruz state, which sits on an important route for drugs and Central American migrants heading north.

The Zetas drug cartel has been battling other gangs for control of the state.

Prosecutors said it’s too soon to draw conclusions from the surveillance video.

“We’re not going to confirm or deny anything,” Veracruz state Attorney General Reynaldo Escobar Perez told the Televisa network Wednesday. “We’re looking at it in different ways, we’re seeing different numbers, that’s why we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves.”

Escobar said the bodies were left piled in two trucks and on the ground under the overpass near the statue of the Voladores de Papantla, ritual dancers from Veracruz state. He said some of the victims had their heads covered with blackplastic bags and showed signs of torture.

Authorities said each of the victims (including apparently a cop who had gone missing) had criminal ties, so this looks like one gang, maybe the Zetas, taking out the soldiers of another gang and throwing it in their rivals’ faces.

But it’s also a slap in the face to the Mexican federal and state governments, mocking their authority and denying their sovereignty. Doing this while the city hosts a major judicial conference says, in no uncertain terms, “We rule here, not you. Fear us.” And that’s exactly what the people do, as they lose faith with each atrocity in Mexico’s ability to protect them and render justice.

These aren’t just bodies; these are thirty-five more milestones on the road to a failed state.

RELATED: Was this a message to Los Zetas from a new cartel? (Graphic pic warning.)

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Gunwalker: “What did he know and when did he know it?” UPDATE: ATF armed Sinaloa cartel?

July 27, 2011

Oh, my. I think the fuse has been lit on blowing this fiasco wide open, and the spark is headed right for the White House:

At a lengthy hearing on ATF’s controversial gunwalking operation today, a key ATF manager told Congress he discussed the case with a White House National Security staffer as early as September 2010. The communications were between ATF Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix office, Bill Newell, and White House National Security Director for North America Kevin O’Reilly. Newell said the two are longtime friends. The content of what Newell shared with O’Reilly is unclear and wasn’t fully explored at the hearing.

It’s the first time anyone has publicly stated that a White House official had any familiarity with ATF’s operation Fast and Furious, which allowed thousands of weapons to fall into the hands of suspected traffickers for Mexican drug cartels in an attempt to gain intelligence. It’s unknown as to whether O’Reilly shared information with anybody else at the White House.

Congressional investigators obtained an email from Newell to O’Reilly in September of last year in which Newell began with the words: “you didn’t get this from me.”

“What does that mean,” one member of Congress asked Newell, ” ‘you didn’t get this from me?’ “

“Obviously he was a friend of mine,” Newell replied, “and I shouldn’t have been sending that to him.”

Newell told Congress that O’Reilly had asked him for information.

So now we are certain that someone senior at the White House knew about Operation Fast and Furious (aka “Gunwalker”) in late 2010, yet as late as this last spring, Holder and Obama were claiming they had learned of it only much later.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder told Issa that he did not learn about Fast and Furious until this spring. President Obama said that Holder told him he would not have allowed guns to go into Mexico.

Hmmm… We’ve already established that it’s about as likely as the Sun rising in the West that Holder didn’t know, but what about Obama? If this org chart (PDF) is still accurate (1), then NSC staffers with regional responsibilities report to the Deputy National Security Adviser, who reports to the National Security Adviser, who reports to… the President of the United States.

Very suggestive, but not proof-positive.

As Ed Morrissey asks, why did O’Reilly want to know, and why did Newell feel compelled to say “You didn’t get this from me?”

Either O’Reilly was attending a meeting of peers and wanted to be brought up to speed — it  is in his purview, after all, but then why the “cloak and dagger” stuff? — or was he briefing those above him? And how high did the briefing go?

Let’s keep in mind that this debacle has cost the lives of at least one US federal agent and roughly 150 Mexican civilians, federal agents, and soldiers. Agencies of the US government supplied weapons to criminal cartels that threaten the stability of our large southern neighbor and then lost track of nearly 2,000 of those guns. It is a monument to gross stupidity and incompetence — and very possibly criminal, what Rep. Darrell Issa has called “felony stupid.”

With the revelation that people on the President’s national security staff knew about Gunwalker, it’s about time for subpoenas.

Footnotes:
(1) While O’Reilly’s office doesn’t appear on this org chart, I think it’s reasonable to assume that, whether it’s new or renamed from “Western Hemisphere Affairs,” he too would report to the Deputy NSA.

UPDATE: “The ATF armed the Sinaloa Cartel. It’s disgusting.”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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