NLRB drops complaint against Boeing

After months of harassment, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has dropped the complaint against Boeing after the aircraft manufacturer reached a deal with the its labor union to raise wages:

The National Labor Relations Board announced on Friday that it was dropping its politically charged case against Boeing, in which it had accused the company of violating federal labor law by opening a new aircraft production plant in South Carolina instead of Washington State.

The labor board’s acting general counsel, Lafe Solomon, said he had decided to end the case after the union that represents 31,000 Boeing workers in Washington urged the board to withdraw it. That union, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, had originally asked the board to file the case, but changed its mind after striking a deal with Boeing last week to raise wages and expand jet production in Washington.
[…]
After months of sharp rhetoric, Boeing and the machinists announced a surprise agreement on a new contract last week. Last week, Local 751 of the machinists’ union announced that 74 percent of its Boeing workers in Washington State had voted to ratify a four-year contract extension that included substantial raises, unusual job security provisions and Boeing’s commitment to expand aircraft production in the Puget Sound area.

The union then asked the labor board to withdraw the case.

Mr. Solomon said he was delighted that Boeing and the union had settled their dispute. “The case was always about the loss of future jobs in the Seattle area,” he said. “This agreement has resolved that issue. There is job security in the Washington area.”

14 Fixes For Our Messed Up Country

Everyone seems to be proposing fixes for our country lately, whether it’s amendments to repeal the First Amendment or ban gays or whatever. I have a few ideas of my own that I think will go a long ways towards restoring some sanity in government and fixing what’s wrong with our society. Some of these will require constitutional amendments, and I don’t expect the entire list to actually get enacted unless magic somehow returns to the world and we resurrect Barry Goldwater, F.A. Hayek, and George Washington all at once.

I originally drafted a list of some 23 ideas, but I figured that it would be way too long for a blog post, so I shortened it to 14, a baker’s dozen. None of these are simple or light fixes, they are not tweaking around the edges to ensure a marginally better outcome. Judging from the situation our government and economy is in, from the horrific hard place our civil liberties are wedged behind, and the unmanageable mess that is Washington, I don’t think that “moderate” or “conservative” changes will do anything. We cannot pussyfoot around the issue; we need radical alterations to how our government works if we’re going to get us out of this morass. Again, most of these may never pass, but that’s to be expected.

Certainly, if you wish to hear my entire list, let me know and I’ll write it up, but for now, here are my 14 ideas for fixing our country:

1. Establish Approval Voting

I’ve already talked about this idea at length here, so I will not bore you again. In this post, all I will say is that I believe if we are to get anything done—and I do mean anything—we need to systematically reform how people actually get into office. That’s the foundation upon which any democracy stands, and when you’re up to your eyeballs in tar, the only way to get that fixed is to drain the swamp and start at the beginning.

GOP Presidential Power Rankings

There wasn’t a shake up in the race for the Republican Party’s nomination for president in the last week. It certainly looks like Newt Gingrich is tightening his grip as the frontrunner and Mitt Romney is becoming desperate to knock him down. Meanwhile, Ron Paul is emerging as a legitimate candidate.

You can see the latest polling out of Iowa here. And in case you missed it, Saturday evening’s debate at Drake University in Des Moines, you can watch it below.

Please note that we’ve removed Herman Cain (suspended campaign) and Gary Johnson (likely running for the Libertarian Party’s nomination) from the power rankings.

The News

Jon Stewart on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)

On Wednesday, Jon Stewart covered the Senate’s passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which contains language that would allow the federal government to detain American citizens indefinitely without formal charges or trial.

Listen carefully and call your members of Congress:

Democrats Propose Silencing New York Times

Man, journalists can’t catch a break these days. First there’s the National Defense Authorization Act, which could easily turn into a blanket order to throw them in jail if they alarm the public too much. Then there’s the DOJ’s idea of lying to people in FOIA requests (which are usually made by journalists.) And now, Congressional Democrats, led by Representatives Theodore Deutch (FL-19), Peter DeFazio (OR-4), Keith Ellison (MN-5), Alcee Hastings (FL-23), and Jim McDermott (WA-7), are introducing HJR 90. This is a constitutional amendment which would basically ban all newspapers—including the lefty New York Times—and radio and broadcast news from talking about politics. The text reads:

Could Romney be Gingrich’s VP pick?

During a recent sit down with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Newt Gingrich, who is leading the polls in the race for the GOP nomination, said that Mitt Romney is on his list of potential running mates (video at the link):

Newt Gingrich has at least one name on his list of potential running mates: GOP rival Mitt Romney. “I think Mitt Romney is a very admirable person, and I’m not going to pick a fight with Mitt Romney,” Gingrich said in an interview Wednesday with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

When asked if he would ever ask Romney to be his vice presidential nominee, Gingrich didn’t mince words.

“I think the consensus is that he’d certainly be on the list, whether he’d want to or not,” Gingrich said. “He’s a very competent person. This is a very serious man. I would certainly support him if he became the Republican nominee.”

Um, no thanks. Both Gingrich, who is the source of skepticism amongst conservatives, and Romney have supported an individual mandate for health insurances, bailouts, and other big government programs. Gingrich lobbied for GSEs like Freddie Mac, which helped inflate the housing bubble. Romney changes his beliefs almost daily. Neither of them are serious about reducing the size of the federal government.

A Gingrich/Romney ticket would essentially be asking voters to sign off on everything wrong with the GOP. That would be an electoral disaster.

Ron Paul has a good shot to win in Iowa

With his poll numbers in rising, some pundits, observers, and veteran Republicans are noting that Ron Paul may have a real shot of winning in Iowa. The National Review’s Robert Costa explains:

Rep. Ron Paul rarely makes news, and his candidacy is frequently ignored by Beltway reporters. But headlines, his aides say, are overrated. In fact, the Texas Republican’s low-key autumn was strategic. As Paul’s competitors stumbled and sparred, he amassed a small fortune for his campaign and built a strong ground operation. And with January fast approaching, his team is ready to surprise the political world and sweep the Iowa caucuses.

“This was a movement when he first started running in 2008,” says Trygve Olson, a senior Paul adviser. “Now it’s turned into a highly professionalized campaign, but the energy from that last run is still there, and at the heart of what’s keeping up his momentum.”

The latest polls back up that confidence. In the influential Des Moines Register poll published over the weekend, Paul placed second. Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, captured 25 percent of likely Iowa GOP voters, but Paul garnered 18 percent, two points ahead of Mitt Romney, who in 2008 placed second in the caucuses.

If Paul wins Iowa, the upset could upend what many politicos say is a two-man race between Gingrich and Romney. According to state GOP insiders, a Paul victory is a real possibility. In background conversations, many say Paul is much stronger than outside observers believe, with deep and wide support among a frustrated electorate. With Herman Cain’s departure from the race, operatives see Paul potentially collecting a quarter of caucus attendees.

Rick Perry declines invite to Trump debate

Rick Perry became the latest Republican hopeful to decline an invitation to the debate that will be moderated by Donald Trump on December 27th in Iowa:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is the latest GOP presidential candidate to decline an invitation to the controversial debate that will be hosted by Donald Trump, saying that “retail campaigning” in the days leading up to the Iowa caucuses is his “top priority.”

“Gov. Perry has talked to Donald Trump in recent days and respects him and the folks at Newsmax very much,” said campaign manager Ray Sullivan in a statement. “In the coming weeks, Gov. Perry will be in Iowa almost continually, meeting with real voters, doing town-hall meetings and events and talking American jobs, faith and overhauling Washington, D.C., to Iowa voters.”

The campaign also pointed out that there are two debates in the next seven days.

Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, and Mitt Romney have already declined invitations. Michele Bachmann backed out yesterday. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus has urged candidates not to attend, largely because Trump is still kicking around the idea of running in an independent or third party bid.

Is there any hope for the GOP?

 

As libertarians we are often faced with the question of how best to promote our views.  There is a strong temptation to work within the GOP as it seems, at times, to offer an avenue for libertarian ideas.  There are also many libertarians who see the GOP as fundamentally corrupt and unfriendly.  I have generally considered myself as part of the first group, believing that the party can be changed from within and steered in a better direction.  But this election cycle could potentially change that for me.

The most troubling thing for me is the reemergence of Newt Gingrich.  For reasons beyond my understanding, Newt has become the choice of many conservatives within the GOP base.  Leaving aside his numerous personal failings, Newt is the quintessential insider with a long record of supporting big-government programs and selling his influence to the highest bidder.  He is a true believer in the idea that government is a force for good that can be used to solve problems (as opposed to a necessary evil), an idea more acceptable on the left and supposedly anathema to the Tea Party.  On civil liberties he is an absolute nightmare - a strong proponent of the PATRIOT Act and other attempts to curtail rights in the name of fighting terrorism.

And the other candidates are not much better, aside from the libertarian-leaning Ron Paul and Gary Johnson who have largely been written off and ignored, and Jon Huntsman who has made some good suggestions.  Santorum, Cain, and Bachmann have thankfully been relegated to fringe status, though both Cain and Bachmann had periods where they enjoyed substantial support.  And Rick Perry, despite having a relatively good fiscal record, has largely destroyed himself with gaffes, and this week made the unforgivable decision to resort to divisive gay-bashing in an apparent attempt to woo socially conservative voters.

Would the #NDAA Lock up the #MSM?

Journalists are terrorists.

That line of thought was brought up in my college class on international reporting back in 2009, when we were discussing the Swine Flu and SARS and how the media was covering those things. One student asked that, if journalists were hyping these stories, getting people alarmed over things that probably not going to harm them, and especially if said journalists were not doing proper fact-checking and were spreading around myths, then aren’t journalists terrorists?

That was in my mind as I read about the National Defense Authorization Act and its idiotic langauge that would require the US military to lock up anyone who is merely “suspected” of being a terrorist without any trial or due process. The same line of thought, apparently, hit Jason Kuznicki:

If I were president, I would start with a round of mass imprisonments.

As Machiavelli advises, I’d do it quickly, perhaps all in one night. A few tens of thousands should be enough.

No, no, you’ve got me all wrong — these aren’t political prisoners. Yes, they just happen to include the members of the Democratic and Republican National Committees. There are a lot of big-time political donors. (Which ones? Don’t ask!) Industrialists, financiers, labor leaders, community organizers. Academics. Journalists. Judges. A few members of Congress. (I wouldn’t need too many of those. It only needs a few pour encourager les autres.)

 


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