Tuesday, December 29, 2009

It's the Unions' Fault

One of the things I've learned in the wake of the failed Christmas airline attack:
An attempt to blow up a trans-Atlantic flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day would be all-consuming for the administrator of the Transportation Security Administration — if there were one.
Why, you might ask, does the TSA have no head? Seems like a pretty important job, in our post-9/11 world. The kind of post that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle would move expeditiously to fill, given the dangerous world we live in, now that Terror has declared War on us. Right?

Apparently, not so much.
The post remains vacant because Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., has held up President Barack Obama's nominee in opposition to the prospect of TSA workers joining a labor union.
Yup. A Republican Senator has such a problem with organized labor that he's willing to filibuster the confirmation hearings for one of the most important positions in the Dept. of Homeland Security.

Without collective bargaining, DeMint said, the TSA has "flexibility to make real-time decisions that allowed it to quickly improve security measures in response to this attempted attack."

If organized labor got involved, DeMint said, union bosses would have the power "to veto or delay future security improvements at our airports."

This is not the only important post in the Administration that hasn't been filled, almost a full year into Obama's Presidency. There are numerous positions over at Treasury, where they're also doing some important work, you know, trying to save the economy and stuff, that are also vacant, thanks to the systematic obstructionism of Senate Republicans.

There's a pattern here, one that goes unremarked in these days of three news-cycles a day. Dots to be connected. Put simply, Senate Republicans are using any and every procedural and parliamentary trick they can get ahold of to keep the federal government from doing its job. Why are they doing this? I'm sure it's partly because they want their distrust of government and its efficacy to be a self-fulfilling prophecy, but mostly, they just really hate that Obama guy, who's so darned popular, and they want him to fail, no matter how catastrophic that failure might be for, say, the American people.

It's fucking shameful, is what it is. Erroll Southers, the Administration's nominee, is, by all appearances, eminently qualified for the job. But, because any Senator can put a hold on any political appointee, for any or no reason, we, almost a year into a new Administration, don't have a head of the Transportation Safety Administration, because Jim DeMint would like him to clarify his views on whether or not the people who're paid to keep us safe when we fly should be able to engage in collective bargaining in order to improve their economic lot.

You know, cuz the last thing we would want would be for the people who keep us safe to be happier at their jobs. I'm sure it's much better for them to be able to get screwed over just like Wal-Mart employees. After all, I know I do a way better job when I'm employed by jerks who won't pay me a living wage and don't give a shit what I have to say about improving the workplace. Don't you?

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