LABOR BOARD DEFENDS WORKERS, CONSERVATIVES FREAK OUT

My new piece debunking right-wing rhetoric about the NLRB’s Boeing complaint is up on Counterpunch and Common Dreams:

During the Bush years, many progressives gave up hope that the government could really make companies pay when they broke the law. Now a big company may have to pay a big price for illegally punishing workers. Last month the National Labor Relations Board, the federal body that enforces labor law, issued a complaint charging that Boeing illegally transferred the production of a line of aircraft out of Washington State. Boeing is accused of transferring the production to punish the workers there for going on strike. Punishing workers for union activity is retaliation, and it’s illegal. If Boeing is found guilty, it could be made to transfer the whole production line back. Naturally, the prospect of the Labor Board seriously enforcing labor law has Republicans freaking out…

Right-wingers are rising to defend Boeing, bash the NLRB, and blame Obama. But rather than debate retaliation against workers, conservatives want to conjure phantom menaces: bureaucrats micro-managing production, Democrats punishing “Right to Work” states, and union bosses paralyzing job creators.

Check it out.

Update (5/29): It’s now up on Talking Union and ZNet too.

WHAT IS LINDSEY GRAHAM TALKING ABOUT? (or “Poison Duck?”)

Lindsey Graham went on Face the Nation today to trot out one of his favorite metaphors:

“If you want to have a chance of passing START, you better start over and do it in the next Congress, because this lame duck has been poisoned,” Graham told CBS News chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer.

“The last two weeks have been an absolutely excruciating exercise. ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ a controversial topic – some say the civil rights issue of our generation, others say battlefield effectiveness – was passed in the lame-duck session without one amendment being offered,” Graham said.

This is the same guy who warned that the healthcare bill would poison the well for immigration, climate, closing Guantanamo, and the year 2010. It’s a favorite phrase of Lindsey Graham’s. And it’s totally bogus.

It’s bogus because it’s based in a view of politics like marriage counseling, where to get anything done the participants need to trust each other and share common goals, and offenses or betrayals can be paralyzing. When Lindsey Graham talks about poisoning the well, the implication is that Republicans may want to get things done that Democrats want too, but be unable to make them happen because they’re not feeling good about Democrats.
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Strom Thurmond’s successor, Senator Lindsey Graham, apparently thought this was funny:

“We don’t do Lincoln Day Dinners in South Carolina,” he said. “It’s nothing personal, but it takes awhile to get over things.”

Steve Gilliard says Graham “is being unfairly attacked” for a perfectly innocent joke about the burning of the State Capitol and that

nothing to apologize for, because every South Carolinian knows he’s talking about Sherman’s March and not slavery.

Really? Every South Carolinan? There’s plenty to fault Lincoln for, be it his racism or his erosion of civil liberties. But for a US Senator from a state which attempted to seceed from the union and fought an extended war against the United States, a war which had little to do with slavery for the North but a great deal to do with it for the South (Apostles of Disunion I’d say makes the most succinct case here), to say of the man who is for most Americans the defining symbol of the winning side in that war – the very man murdered by a confederate havinga hard time “getting over things” in the wake of the war – that the people of his state bear him an enduring grudge is shamefully reckless. Whatever Graham’s intentions, it suggests something to the listener – be he Pennsylvanian or South Carolinian – other than disagreement with military tactics. And one can’t help but wonder whether, when Graham constructs the “We” who don’t do dinners for Lincoln, he means to speak for the descendants of slaves who worked and died in bondage in South Carolina as well.

To inflict physical harm upon a woman is a crime against her and should be.

To inflict physical harm upon a woman such that you cause her to have a miscarriage, causing potentially devastating further suffering to her and denying her the chance to carry the fetus to term, represents that much greater a crime against her, and should be recognized as such.

To inflict physical harm upon a woman such that you cause her to have a miscarriage is not, however, a crime against the fetus, because the fetus is not a legally-protected person under American law. As I argued before, granting legal protections to a fetus inside of a woman’s body cannot but deny full legal protections to the woman in whose body the fetus is gestating. If the crimminal who assaults a pregnant woman is charged with abridging the rights to bodily integrity of a woman and an unborn child, then the rights to bodily integrity of the child mean that the rights to bodily autonomy substantively have no weight.

Everyone who supports the “Unborn Victims of Violence Act” passed today by the Senate and last week by the House knows what this is about, and to argue otherwise is an insult to voters’ intelligence:

“It’s not about abortion,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and an advocate for the bill in his previous years in the House. “It is about criminals who attack pregnant women.”

Very telling is the Republican response to an ammendment to protect the rights of women who suffer domestic violence:

Senators also rejected another Democratic amendment, one that would have required companies to provide unpaid leave for victims of domestic or sexual violence, a policy that Senator Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington, said was a better way to reduce crimes against women.

“Despite the rhetoric, they are not truly willing to do something about domestic violence,” Ms. Murray said.

This isn’t about protecting women from violence – this is about consigning women to be wombs who don’t have rights gestating people who do.