Sunday, May 27, 2018

SCOTUS OK's arbitration opt-out from NLRA

Neil Gorsuch and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Clash Over Federal Labor Law and the 'Specter' of Lochner v. New York - Hit & Run : - Damon Root:

May 21, 2018 - "'Should employees and employers be allowed to agree that any disputes between them will resolve through one-on-one arbitration? Or should employees always be permitted to bring their claims in class or collective actions, no matter what they agreed with their employers?'

"That's how Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch summarized the dispute at the heart of today's 5-4 ruling in Epic Systems Corporation v. Lewis. Writing for a sharply divided Court, Gorsuch held that employees and employers have the legal right to make employment contracts that include one-on-one arbitration ... joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito....

"Under the Federal Arbitration Act of 1925 (FAA), arbitration agreements made between employers and employees 'shall be valid, irrevocable, and enforceable' by the courts. Under the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 (NLRA), employees have the right to form and join labor unions and 'to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection.' In other words, if a labor contract that includes an individual arbitration agreement is valid under the FAA, does it become invalid when the NLRA is factored in?

"Justice Gorsuch thought not. 'In the Federal Arbitration Act, Congress has instructed federal courts to enforce arbitration agreements according to their terms — including terms providing for individualized proceedings,' he wrote. 'Nor can we agree with the employees' suggestion that the [NLRB] offers a conflicting command. It is this Court's duty to interpret Congress's statutes as a harmonious whole rather than at war with one another.'

"Writing in dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, joined by Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan, offered a very different view. 'Enacted later in time, the NLRA should qualify as "an implied repeal" of the FAA, to the extent of any genuine conflict'....

"Ginsburg then accused Gorsuch of seeking to resurrect the Supreme Court's pre-New Deal 'Lochner-era contractual "liberty" decisions.' Lochner refers to Lochner v. New York, the 1905 Supreme Court ruling which invalidated a state economic regulation on the grounds that it served no legitimate public health or safety purpose.....

"In his majority opinion, Gorsuch responded directly to this critique. According to Ginsburg's dissent, he observed, 'today's decision ushers us back to the Lochner era when this Court regularly overrode legislative judgments.' Yet as Gorsuch retorted, 'instead of overriding Congress's policy judgments, today's decision seeks to honor them. This much the dissent surely knows.'"

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Saturday, May 26, 2018

Billions spent on schooling show dismal results, U.S. National Assessment finds

Regressive Education | Liberty Unbound - Wayland Hunter:

May 22, 2018 - "Amid the current idolization of teenagers’ political activity, it may be interesting to consider the latest report on American students’ intellectual proficiency. It’s the results of tests conducted on the reading and math skills of eighth graders for the National Assessment of Educational Progress in the US Department of Education....

"[T]he dismal results of these tests have received little attention since they were announced on April 10.... One useful summary appears in an item on the conservative news site CNS. There’s no conservative spin in the story; there doesn’t need to be. The fact is as simple as CNS puts it: 'Sixty-five percent of the eighth graders in American public schools in 2017 were not proficient in reading and 67 percent were not proficient in mathematics'....

"But what does reading proficiency mean? In terms used by the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, 'Eighth-grade students performing at the Proficient level should be able to provide relevant information and summarize main ideas and themes. They should be able to make and support inferences about a text, connect parts of a text, and analyze text features. Students performing at this level should also be able to fully substantiate judgments about content and presentation of content'....

"Even the Voice of America’s bland presentation ... indicates that proficiency tends to decline with schooling: 'About 40 percent of 4th graders were found to be proficient in reading and math. The report found just 25 percent of 12th grade students had math proficiency, while 37 percent reached that level in reading. In science, 38 percent of 4th graders were rated proficient, while about 34 percent of 8th graders demonstrated proficiency.

"It costs something to promote this ignorance. The NCES data show that California (to cite one example) spends $70.5 billion on its public schools, or about $11,300 for each student. The result is that only 32% of its eighth graders are proficient in reading, and only 29% are proficient in math....

"Maybe the students are smarter than their elders, after all. The elders pay their useless taxes without demur, but I doubt that even the student leaders would be willing to plunk down 11 grand a year for the education that fits them for their public roles."

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Friday, May 25, 2018

Burlington Libertarian frustrated with other parties

Burlington's Libertarian candidate wants to reduce debt, increase access to health care | - Tim Whitnell, Burlington Post:

May 15, 2018 - "He’s pretty much voted for the spectrum of parties in various provincial and federal elections over the years but for Jim Gilchrist, none of them ever met his expectations.

"A downtown resident since 1989, Gilchrist now sides with the Libertarian party and has opted to run for it in the Burlington riding for the June 7 provincial election.

The married father of two grown sons owned and operated Career Advancement Employment Services Inc. for more than 20 years. Gilchrist is a graduate of the University of Waterloo with a joint honours bachelors of environmental studies and political science degree....

"Gilchrist says the Ontario Libertarian Party’s principles and platform, focusing on the protection of individual rights and limiting the role and scope of government, most closely represent his views.

"His website profile states,
  • “When trying to decide between political candidates, regardless of their party affiliation, I became increasingly frustrated with the lack of quality, and I found that most seemed more interested in getting a job than having a real impact once they were ‘hired’.
  • “ … None of them seemed to be interested in fiscal responsibility, lowering taxpayer burden, increasing government efficiency, reducing bureaucracy and providing more effective service to the people of Ontario …
  • “ … While we were once the ‘economic engine’ of Canada, we have now become an unattractive business environment with a substantial debt that will hinder us for years to come.
  • “ … We can expect that future important services for Ontarians will decline, simply because we will no longer be able to afford them …”
"Other issues important to Gilchrist include: encouraging more political awareness and involvement, especially in young Ontarians; reducing the provincial debt; stimulating business growth, investment and job creation; reasonable energy costs for families and businesses; and more choice and greater access to health care."

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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Des Moines paper endorses in Libertarian primary

The Register endorses Jake Porter in Libertarian primary for governor - Des Moine Register, editorial:

May 23, 2018 = "The Libertarian Party of Iowa gained major-party status under Iowa law two years ago by winning more than 2 percent of the vote in the 2016 presidential race. Being a major party ... means Iowa voters, when they vote early or head to the polls on June 5, can choose to vote in the Libertarian Party primary.

"There are also significant disadvantages, especially a struggle for exposure. That’s one reason why the Des Moines Register editorial board decided to make an endorsement in the Libertarian primary race.

"We conducted a joint interview with the two candidates:
  • Marco Battaglia is a Des Moines native who studied communications at the University of Northern Iowa. He’s a musician who has worked as a journalist as well as in insurance, banking and home mortgage businesses.
  • Jake Porter is a business consultant from Council Bluffs and a former retail manager. He has an associate degree and bachelor's degree in business from AIB College of Business.  He said he’s been a member of the Libertarian Party since he was 16 years old and helped establish the party in Iowa.
"We were pleased to hear the two candidates adopt many priorities that we support.... However, both candidates also take positions that we consider untenable. Battaglia says he wants to phase out the income tax.... Porter ... says he eventually would like to see the state sales tax phased out.... We can’t envision endorsing any candidate in the general election who wants to severely narrow the options for funding priorities like schools and health care.

"But we do think one of these candidates is a better spokesman for the Libertarian Party of Iowa and stands a better chance of helping maintain major-party status than the other. For that reason, the Register endorses Jake Porter....

"Battaglia should be commended for his interest in public service and the civility he’s shown on the campaign trail. But his rambling speaking style and occasional inability to articulate details of his priority proposals would put him at a severe disadvantage compared with major-party candidates.

"Porter’s experience and clearer articulation of his positions make him better able to make a case for his party in the fall. He is the better choice for Iowa Libertarians who hope to maintain their major-party status."

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Niagara Ontario Libertarian runs for more choices

Libertarian candidate for Niagara Centre pushing for small government | -
Dave Johnson, Welland Tribune:

May 22, 2018 - "Patrick Pietruszko said he's tired of the government expanding while the average person's life is getting harder. That's why he's running as the Niagara Centre candidate for the Libertarian Party in June's provincial election.

"'It is the only party that is offering people of Ontario something different.... It is the only party fighting for more choices when it comes to health care and education,' said the married father of three who owns a landscaping business.

"He said unlike the other parties that take money from people and then dangle it back as election gifts during election time, Libertarians think it is best if people keep as much of their own money in their own pockets.

"'The Libertarian party will allow non-government insurance options in addition to OHIP. People are leaving Ontario all the time to get treatment in other countries.'

"Education is another area, he said, where the party would allow non-government options and more choice. 'A one-sized school system does not fit all children. Some children thrive better if they learn at home or at a private school'

"He urged people who do not vote because they are tired of big government to ... 'vote for the party that will bring real change by shrinking the size and scope of government. The Libertarian Party is fighting against big government so that you can have more choices and more freedom in this province."

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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Student group Turning Point comes to Canada

Canadian offshoot of U.S. libertarian campus group says it provides needed counterpoint to liberal bias | CBC News - Raffy Boudjikanian:

May 22, 2018 - "Some U.S. academics are warning their Canadian counterparts to be wary of a U.S. libertarian group that has recently set up a chapter on the campus of Simon Fraser University, but its proponents say it provides a much-needed counterpoint to the increasingly liberal bias of academia.

"Turning Point USA describes itself as a 'student movement for free markets and limited government' whose mission it is to educate students through 'non-partisan debate, dialogue, and discussion.'

"But it has courted controversy in the U.S. on account of some of its tactics. These include disseminating a "professor watch list" of university teachers whom the group considers to be spreading "leftist propaganda" in the classroom; staging provocative stunts mocking campus "safe spaces" and free speech zones; and hosting polarizing figures of the far right, such as Milo Yiannopoulos.

"'They will videotape you. They will perhaps have people in your classroom to take a class to ask certain questions, to get a video clip that they can send to ... their own news website,' said Matthew Boedy, assistant professor of rhetoric and composition at the University of North Georgia....

"Those who started the Canadian offshoot say it takes no cues from its American counterpart. 'They have not told us what do. They just kind of let us do as we please,' said Wayd Miller, the national chair.... Miller said Turning Point Canada receives no money from its U.S. counterpart and is entirely self-funded.

"For now, Turning Point Canada is registered as a club at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C., but Miller said the group has plans to expand to several Ontario campuses in the fall, including McMaster University in Hamilton and Ryerson University in Toronto.... Miller said each campus chapter of Turning Point Canada will be free to do as it pleases....

"Turning Point Canada appears to have a tangential connection to the federal Conservative Party by way of one of its co-founders, Charlie Beldman, who currently works as a member's assistant at the Ottawa office of Tory Leader Andrew Scheer.... When asked about Beldman's involvement, Miller said, "Charlie hasn't had anything to do with us since he started his job with the Conservatives [last summer]'....

"The president of the Canadian Association of University Teachers ... said the arrival of Turning Point in Canada caught his attention primarily because of the professor watch list in the U.S. 'That's an attack on academic freedom," he said of the watch list.... We don't have a problem with controversial speakers.... That's how the academy grows, with vigorous debate.'"

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Monday, May 21, 2018

Perth-Wellington Libertarian wants less regulation

Scott Marshall running on the Libertarian ticket | Stratford Beacon Herald - Galen Simmons:

May 18, 2018 - "As the Ontario Libertarian Party’s campaign director and an independent business consultant, Scott Marshall knows a thing or two about rooting out the waste in an organization.

"Using only about a third of the budget of the other major parties, Marshall – who is also running as his party’s candidate in Perth Wellington – and his staff have managed to fund election campaigns in 117 of the province’s 124 electoral districts.

"And as a candidate, the Wellington County resident and inventor of the board game “Hitchiker” wants to bring the notion of cutting wasteful spending to government.

"'Big government is a problem, not necessarily the solution,' Marshall said. 'We’ve got 360, 380 thousand regulations in Ontario and every single one of those regulations have a cost involved, whether it be establishing them, policing them, overseeing them. It adds cost to everything we do.'

"As a business consultant, Marshall has seen first-hand how these regulations have made owning and operating a small business costly and confusing. Marshall said he wants to make it easier for those willing to take the risk of opening a small business to pursue their dreams.

"Yet ... Marshall said the Libertarians’ plans are less about cutting and more about streamlining....

"Citing health care as an example, Marshall said that despite a $61.3 billion budget for 2018-2019, more than half of that money is spent in bureaucracy and administration, while floors in hospitals across the province remain closed because there aren’t enough nurses to staff them.

"'Meanwhile, there are multiple levels of administration and bureaucracy overseeing everything,' he said. 'You talk to a nurse in an ER, and they will tell you in an eight-hour shift, they will end up doing three hours of paperwork, when they should be looking after patients, to satisfy the administrative and bureaucratic requirements of government.'"

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