Because, you know, secret ballots are bad things

January 16, 2011

From the Department of Government Stupidity: the federal government has threatened to sue four states should they dare to guarantee secret ballots in union elections:

The National Labor Relations Board on Friday threatened to sue Arizona, South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah over constitutional amendments guaranteeing workers the right to a secret ballot in union elections.

The agency’s acting general counsel, Lafe Solomon, said the amendments conflict with federal law, which gives employers the option of recognizing a union if a majority of workers sign cards that support unionizing.

The amendments, approved Nov. 2, have taken effect in South Dakota and Utah, and will do so soon in Arizona and South Carolina.

Business and anti-union groups sought the amendments, arguing that such secrecy is necessary to protect workers against union intimidation. They are concerned that Congress might enact legislation requiring employers to allow the “card check” process for forming unions instead of secret ballot elections.

In letters to the attorney general of each state, Solomon says the amendments are pre-empted by the supremacy clause of the Constitution because they conflict with employee rights laid out in the National Labor Relations Act. That clause says that when state and federal laws are at odds, federal law prevails.

Solomon is asking the attorneys general in South Dakota and Utah for official statements agreeing that their amendments are unconstitutional “to conserve state and federal resources.”

In other words, “play along and we won’t bankrupt you in court.”

I’m no expert in the Supremacy Clause, but labor relations have traditionally fallen under a state’s police powers, though that’s been eroded over at least the last 80 years, since the New Deal, as the Fed has claimed a greater role.

But, really, does anyone seriously think this is anything other than an attempt force card-check through via regulation, instead of legislation, where it’s dead in the water? This is another case of arrogance on the part of unelected bureaucrats against the elected representatives of the peoples of four states, and I hope these states fight it tooth-and-nail.

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Want to save Social Security? Privatize it.

January 16, 2011

Everyone who hasn’t been hiding under a rock knows that the two main pillars of our social welfare system, Medicare and Social Security, are in big trouble and threaten to wreck the nation’s finances. With regard to Social Security, Dan Mitchell suggests the way to save the program is to let everyone have private accounts:

Mitchell mentions several countries that have had success privatizing their social pension system. Chile is just one example of a country where privatization has worked wonders. Isn’t it time we took a hard look at doing the same thing, instead of just demagoguing the issue?

RELATED: Jimmy Bise at The Sundries Shack says “We’ll fix Social Security Over Their Dead Bodies.” Take no prisoners.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Free speech is fine, unless it might offend

January 16, 2011

Now a music-industry censor is telling radio stations to retroactively edit songs to avoid offending anyone, eh?

Canadian radio station have been warned to censor the 1985 Dire Straits hit “Money for Nothing,” after a complaint that the lyrics of the Grammy Award-winning song were derogatory to gay men.

A St. John’s, Newfoundland, station should have edited the song to remove the word “faggot” because it violates Canada’s human rights standards, according to ruling this week by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council.

A unnamed listener to OZ FM in the Atlantic Coast province complained to the industry watchdog last year after hearing the song, which features Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler and fellow rock star Sting.

The council said it realized Dire Straits uses the word sarcastically, and its use might have been acceptable in 1985 when the best-selling “Brothers in Arms” album was released, but said it was now inappropriate.

“The decision doesn’t really relate to the Dire Straits song at the end of the day, the decision relates to the word in question,” Ron Cohen, the council’s chairman, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

Actually, Mr. Cohen, it relates to the unalienable right to free speech and treating people like adults who can handle hearing a mildly naughty word without having their self-esteem crushed, particularly when meant satirically. (And even if it were meant as a genuine insult.) Tell me, where does it stop? Re-editing TV reruns? Forbidding the performance of Mozart’s Idomeneo? Censoring poetry readings on the air? If it may give offense, shall we then ban The View? (Okay, you might have an argument with that one.)

Really, this kind of paternalism has no place in a liberal democracy, whether done by the government or a non-governmental agency, and Canadians should give the nannies at the CBSC an uncensored piece of their mind.

RELATED: Other posts on Canada and free speech.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The Left and “blood libel:” the cartoon version

January 16, 2011

The essence of moonbat reasoning:

I’d say that covers it.

via Legal Insurrection


Shots across the border

January 16, 2011

Mexico’s continuing drug war spilled over into the United States again, when a  road crew in Texas had to flee for their lives as they came under fire from the other side of the border:

Hudspeth County, Texas Sheriff Arvin West confirmed a Hudspeth County road crew came under fire Thursday morning from gunmen in Mexico.

Sheriff West told ABC-7 that around 10:30 a.m, Thursday a road crew was repairing a part of Indian Hot Springs road, just east of Neely’s crossing in Hudspeth County along the US-Mexico border when they came under gunfire from the Mexican side.

The crew was able to escape unharmed and managed to call for help. Units from the Texas Department of Public Safety, Border Patrol and Hudspeth County sheriff’s deputies responded within minutes. They were able to determine the shots came from the Mexican side of the Rio Grande but were unable to spot the actual gunmen.

West added this is the first time county crews have come under direct fire. No one was injured and no equipment was damaged.

This isn’t the first time Americans in the El Paso area have come under fire, whether deliberately or accidentally.

The El Paso Times reports official speculation that this particular incident was caused by cartel gunmen wanting to clear the workers from a smuggling route they were using and notes that the area is a regular trafficking site:

Drug cartels use this busy smuggling corridor in between the Quitman Mountains and mountains in the northwestern part of Chihuahua state to traffic marijuana and sometimes cocaine, Doyle said.

The U.S. government built narrowly spaced steel poles north of the Rio Grande to fence the border in that West Texas area. The slots are not wide enough for people to cross, but small objects can fit between the 15-foot-tall poles.

Perhaps the road crew was in the way of a planned package-passing. Regardless, this will become another bit of evidence for border-security advocates concerned about our porous southern border. But, no fence, barrier, or wall, electronic or physical, is 100% secure. Until Mexico smashes the cartels that have made the rule of law and even Mexican sovereignty in their northern states a joke, there will be more incidents like this.

RELATED: The horrifying must-read story of Ciudad Mier, a Mexican town abandoned because of the drug war. Tell me again that Mexico isn’t a failing state. And 2010 was the bloodiest year in Mexico’s war against the drug cartels, with 15,273 dead. Iraq is safer. (By way of contrast, there were 15,241 murders and nonnegligent manslaughters in 2009 in the United States. This is from all causes, not just an organized crime war.)

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)