7 things @ 11 o’clock (8.9)

1. Evangelical-leaning-fundie Cedarville University recently eliminated its entire philosophy department, citing budget constraints. Now Cedarville University is hoping to build a new, $6 million gun range in support of its student marksmanship club. OK, then.

2. I have to disagree with the headline of this Raw Story report: “Anti-Obama Arizona protest turns racist.” Talking Points Memo has the same mistake in their story: “Anti-Obama Protest Turns Racist in Phoenix.”

“Turns” implies that these protests started out as something other than racist and then somehow surprisingly changed their character. Not true. They revealed their character more explicitly than they perhaps initially intended, but that character did not change. These are Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s supporters. They didn’t “turn” racist this week — they’ve been that way for a long, long time.

3. Kudos to Sarah Pulliam Bailey at RNS for stating this correctly: “The Supreme Court will soon decide if CEOs can impose their religious convictions on the people who work for them.”

You have to ignore an awful lot of reality to imagine that giving CEOs that right would in any way enhance “religious liberty.”

To all those evangelical Christians who imagine that Hobby Lobby et. al. are “standing up” for them, ask yourself this: What if your boss is one of those radical secular humanists Tim LaHaye and Jerry Falwell warned you about? What if your boss is a Muslim? Or a Mormon? What if your boss is an atheist? Or a wiccan? Or — heaven forfend! — a mainline Protestant?

4. I saw a “Gerlach for Governor” bumper sticker a few weeks ago and frowned. Gerlach represents my district in the U.S. House and he’s a nice enough fellow, but he always campaigns as a moderate, sane Republican and then governs as a rubber-stamp for the excesses and extremes of his colleagues in the House. So I don’t trust him.

It took me a moment to realize, though, that this wasn’t a pro-Gerlach bumper sticker. It was an anti-Tom Corbett sticker.

Corbett is the governor of Pennsylvania and he’s running for a second term. The problem is that nobody likes him. Decent schools and being allowed to vote because you’re an American citizen turn out to be pretty popular, so Corbett’s agenda opposing both of those hasn’t endeared him to most of the state. This is a bipartisan sentiment, and barring some large and unforeseen change, his chances at re-election are slim and shrinking fast.

PA Republicans have been casting about for someone, anyone, to challenge Corbett in a primary, but most of the potential candidates — including Gerlach — seem to think that four years of Tom Corbett have soured the electorate against any Republican’s chances of winning in November. They’re probably right about that, but they don’t understand why. They think it’s because Corbett puts an unpopular face on their policies. They don’t realize that it’s those policies that made Corbett’s face unpopular.

5. The City of Detroit is not attempting to defraud workers out of their pensions because the city has declared bankruptcy. The City of Detroit declared bankruptcy in order to defraud workers out of their pensions. That was the whole point — the intent, the design, the cause.

The city learned this from its automakers, who did the same thing. And from the airlines who have done it as well. Livable pension packages allowed those companies to pay lower wages for decades in exchange for future payments. Bankruptcy was a way of escaping those future payments, retroactively stealing from thousands of people every day for years and years. Steve Buchheit puts it well:

With the Detroit bankruptcy the media is trolling out the conservative line about public employee pensions being a burden and how we can’t and shouldn’t ever pay this money to retirees.

Let me say first off this is complete bullshit. This isn’t money we need to pay to people who aren’t working, this is money these people earned while they were working. This was a part of their contracts, this was a part of the deal we made to get their labor. We agreed to take care of them later as long as they worked for a little less now. Oh, and they needed to put their own money on line as well as their employers committing funds to the pension. This is their money.

6. So is Eric Metaxas a xenophobic wingnut? Or does he just enjoy hanging out with xenophobic wingnuts? Look, this isn’t complicated: If you’re supposedly an expert on the life and times Dietrich Bonhoeffer, but you’re advocating restrictive immigration, then you apparently didn’t learn anything from your studies. How does someone crank out 500 pages on the life of Dietrich freaking Bonhoeffer and still think America needs to go back to the Johnson-Reed Act? How does one study an icon of theological resistance to the persecution of Jews and come away embracing fraudulent conspiracy theories about international Jewish bankers? Are we sure Metaxas’ book was about Bonhoeffer and not, say, Pat Buchanan?

I’m not suggesting that Eric Metaxas is not too bright. I’m saying that “not too bright” is absolutely the most charitable interpretation of the man.

7. Here’s John Fetterman, mayor of Braddock, Pa., talking to Stephen Colbert four years ago about his community’s efforts to resurrect and revitalize their struggling former steel town. And here’s what Fetterman is up to more recently. Good for him and good for Braddock.

 

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  • aunursa

    Filming for the Left Behind reboot begins today in Baton Rouge. Australian actress Nicky Whelan will play Hattie.

    Nicolae won’t appear in this film, which covers the first few hours after the Rapture. But Left Behind fans can look forward to Nicky/Nicky in the sequel.

  • Cathy W

    Any word on whether Martin Klebba is actually in the movie, and if so, playing whom?

  • aunursa

    Martin Klebba is playing “Melvin Weir,” a character who was not in the book series (or at least not named.)

    Here is the cast list so far.

  • themunck

    Aww :(. That just seems like a waste.
    Then again, until I actually saw the movie, I think Heath Ledger looked stupid as the Joker, so what do I know?

  • http://algol.wordpress.com/ SororAyin

    You weren’t the only one….

  • aunursa
  • Kirala

    I feel like Sherlock in the BBC version. “No! That’s wrong! … why is that wrong?” The intuitive leap is there, the articulate chain of logic is elusive. Need caffeine.

  • Marshall

    Usually when people feel something strongly because they “just know”, that’s a warning sign. So when you come up with an articulate chain of logic that we could talk about ….

  • Kirala

    *grins* Thanks for your measured response; my response to people trying to state an opinion to a stranger (or the general public) on an important issue without reasoning is generally along the lines of “Shut up until you’ve thought it over!”

    The part that’s screaming at me is the bad analogy of a kosher deli owner to the “religious freedom” of failing to provide contraception. It’s terrible and wrong. A kosher deli owner is choosing to control what s/he sells in a certain context. Once employees or customers leave the deli, they are free from the employer’s control and free to live their lives as they choose. The employer withholding contraception is having a huge impact on the entire life of … I was about to say his or her, but with a corporation that size, it’s really “their” employees, isn’t it? So instead of a single private owner controlling a single private location, it’s a group of strangers controlling a major aspect of the entire lives of its employees. That’s beyond the purview of the rights of an employer, unless one wishes to elevate right of contract above all other human rights (which is a separate debate, but the historical balance has swung away from the company town level of control implied by withholding contraception).

    The part that holds me up is that I know people who genuinely believe that contraception can cause murder. (Yes, they should be educated better, but I want to deal with their arguments on their ground first.) These people would be making analogies of Godwinesque proportions about the religious liberty to stand against a holocaust. I would agree that one should not be forced to be complicit in murder. However, on reflection, I think this goes back to Fred’s oft-repeated point that anyone who truly believes that legal abortion is a holocaust has an obligation to act in far more desperate ways than the anti-abortion (or anti-contraception) sorts take. If they truly believe that there is a genocide taking place, they have an obligation to take Bonhoeffer-style steps to stem the tide. This isn’t a question of quiet court cases; this is a case of destroying a broken system.

    So yeah. In the first analogy, the one presented, each individual has a right to determine his or her own actions within his or her own sphere, but not the actions of employees off the clock, including the employees’ private medical histories. (After all, contraceptive drugs are used for so much more than contraception. Does it make sense for an employee to have to justify each medical use of contraception by presenting a doctor’s note saying it’s totally not for contraceptive purposes? Does it make sense for an employer to get that sort of control?) In the second case, the one I’ve heard elsewhere, beyond an individual religious quirk and into a secular evil, corporate “religious rights” are the bloody stupidest and most useless approach to the problem one can imagine.

    Next up: Scrooge refuses Cratchit Christmas vacation, in accordance with Scrooge’s religious beliefs. It’s a poor excuse for picking a man’s pocket every December the 25th. Or is it virtuously avoiding the sin of sloth? You decide!

  • EllieMurasaki

    Does it make sense for an employee to have to justify each medical use of contraception by presenting a doctor’s note saying it’s totally not for contraceptive purposes? Does it make sense for an employer to get that sort of control?

    It violates medical privacy law to hell and gone, is what it does.

  • Kirala

    Well, yes. And it’s bloody stupid and evil. But given that I have friends who have genuinely bought into the holocaust hype, and given that I like to try to educate people from where they are, I try to imagine the situation from the point of view that every non-implanted fertilized egg is a human life lost and figure out the appropriate stances of all parties involved. I find that arguments that work for choice in that context are faster than trying to argue for a more nuanced understanding of the start of human life. Unfortunately, it can be harder to argue for the merits of choice.

    Although on that topic – anyone here have the patience/spoons/tact to help me how to explain to a friend the differences between handing out baby blankets at abortion clinics and discouraging infanticide? Friend was SO EXCITED to find a gentler, less cruel method than the awful signs, and I’m having a hard time explaining to her why that method might still be cruel.

  • EllieMurasaki

    If they want to discourage abortion, a baby blanket is an excellent start.
    It’s a very tiny start.

    There’s a lot more they need to do. Like make sure every pregnant person has access to quality prenatal care, every new parent to the near-endless supply of ever-larger diapers the baby needs, every parent to enough money to feed the family. (List not exhaustive.) Providing a single baby blanket without providing any of the other things that will let a person unable to risk pregnancy for economic reasons become a person willing and able to carry through a pregnancy, well, that’s like dumping a single quart of water on the ground and declaring an end to the drought.

  • Jenny Islander

    I might suggest that somebody who decided to run the gauntlet to get into an abortion clinic is not there for lightly considered reasons and will not be swayed by the sentimental associations of a baby blanket.

    And also, everything Ellie said. If doing something besides writing letters and voting is the issue, here are a couple of ideas for concrete action.

    From my reading, a large number of abortions are performed for reasons of economic survival, so–Diapers! Whether dispo dipes or washables, diapers are a huge strain on a poor person’s budget. Food banks either don’t provide them or only have a few at a time. SNAP doesn’t cover them. You can’t usually find them at thrift stores or salvage stores, and if the package was so damaged that it ended up in the trash, the diapers will have absorbed something disgusting by the time you come freeganing along. Attempting to reuse dispo dipes is just asking for diaper rash (which, besides being bad for the baby, costs money to fix) and of course if you have cloth diapers you have to pay to wash them. People who want to stop abortions could start a diaper bank. It wouldn’t do any harm and it might do some good.

    Child care would be more complex to set up, but might prevent more abortions. The push to get “lazy” “welfare mothers” “back to work” did not come with a similar push to subsidize child care to a level that wouldn’t eat up a paycheck. Even where subsidized child care is available, there generally isn’t enough; the waiting list in my town, for example, is more than a year long. Parents who can’t get money for food and shelter and take care of a newborn at the same time are, I suspect, more likely to abort. A free day care in a poor neighborhood would be a load off many mothers’ minds. And again, even if it didn’t lower the abortion rate, it would do some good.

  • J_Enigma32

    But … that would require them to be Soshulist! And that’s not what Jaysus wanted at all! Hell, if you go around given them little boys blankets now (since little girls don’t exist in this world – not until they can have babies, anyway), how do you expect them to grow up to get killed in our future wars-for-profit, huh? They won’t be Real Men(tm) willing to die for their corporate overlords jingoistic pseudo-patriotic nonsense MURKA.

  • dpolicar

    I have friends who have genuinely bought into the holocaust hype,[..] it can be harder to argue for the merits of choice.

    Well, yes, I should hope so. If terminating the development a fetus were somehow morally equivalent to murdering a human being but I were nevertheless somehow able to argue the merits of doing so as readily as I am in the real world where it is no such thing, I would have to conclude that something had gone horribly horribly wrong with my moral reasoning process.

  • dpolicar

    Oh, and wrt your friend…. I would start by exploring why she doesn’t like the signs, what she doesn’t like about them, why exactly she thinks they are cruel, and why avoiding that cruelty is important, and encourage her to state that as a somewhat general principle… that is, not one specifically about signs, but one that articulates more generally the kind of thing, of which signs are an instance, to which she objects.

    Depending on the general principle, I would either point out that the baby blankets violate the same principle, or I would give up. (E.g., if her general principle is “well, the signs aren’t nice, and the blankets are nice, and people ought to be nice to each other” I would probably give it up as a bad job.)

  • AdrianTurtle

    I don’t know if she can imagine going to a clinic after miscarrying in the middle of a wanted pregnancy, to have the remains removed before they turn septic. Being handed a baby blanket is “less cruel” than having a sign waved in her face about being a murderer…but it’s still cruel.

  • The_L1985

    “THIS PRODUCT IS ONLY TO BE USED FOR THE PREVENTION OF DISEASE.”

  • smrnda

    A kosher deli really isn’t any different, from an ideological perspective, than an ice cream store that decides just to serve ice cream. Nobody makes you sell anything you don’t want to, and kosher delis are selling kosher food not so much for ideological convictions as to satisfy the demands of a demographic – that’s how the kosher deli started , Jewish immigrants needed a place to grab a meal while out and about or working. A vegetarian restaurant is the same way. They don’t demand that YOU PERSONALLY don’t eat meat as a condition of employment, they just don’t serve it.

  • Tapetum

    I have a doctor’s note for my contraception. It’s called a precscription. I need it to get the contraception in the first place, and anything beyond that is absolutely none of my employer’s business.

  • Marshall

    Thanks for your explanation. I’m putting this up here to avoid getting tangled up with the abortion question. Even the contraception question makes a horrible poster child for the headline question … it’s REALLY hard to argue that universal health care violates anybody’s religious liberty.

    So can that kosher (vegan) deli require that employees practice kosher (vegan)? Can a carpet-cleaning company require that employees be the sort of Christian that appreciates the opportunity for a brief Bible study/prayer circle before starting work (assuming this is made clear at the time of the offer of employment? Can an intentional community (like a monastery) support itself selling fruit preserves without going through the NotForProfit rigamarole?

  • aunursa

    So can that kosher (vegan) deli require that employees practice kosher (vegan)?

    Not during their time outside of work.

    Can a carpet-cleaning company require that employees be the sort of Christian that appreciates the opportunity for a brief Bible study/prayer circle before starting work (assuming this is made clear at the time of the offer of employment?

    No.

  • Kirala

    Kosher vegan delis can enforce kosher vegan on premises, not off. So employees are free to eat a bacon cheeseburger on their own time off premises.

    I once worked for a small family-owned embroidery company that had a voluntary Christian prayer circle prior to work until it started having non-Christian employees. I was (for reasons of introversion) eternally grateful when that stopped, even though it’s a faith practice in my own faith that I want to be more comfortable with. I would be horrified to find any non-Christian forced or pressured into that sort of situation.

    And any intentional community needs to decide its intent. If its intent is to serve Christ, G-d, Allah, the needs of humanity, any or any combination of the above – if its intent is to be wholeheartedly dedicated to any of the above – it needs to not be dedicated to profit. (There are quite a few non-named faith systems and goals which also pair badly with profit-seeking.) And as long as there is a nonprofit system of filing, it’s only fair for reasonably large organizations to file. Remember, the tiny home-based do-gooders aren’t likely to be slapped with a discrimination lawsuit because they haven’t had time to file as a nonprofit but want to keep like-minded employees. It’s only when an organization gets large that it starts to become a choice between profit and like-mindedness. (Although I have no idea whether the nonprofit system is fair or unnecessarily arduous. But that would be a question of whether the filing system needs to be reformed, not whether a religious or charitable should be held accountable for not raking in profits off of perceived faith or charity.)

    TL;DR: sort of, heck no, no.

  • Marshall

    So your answer to the title question is pretty much “no, group spiritual practice is incompatible with making a living.” Personally, I place more value on the right of free association than that. I can’t for the life of me see why making money should require giving up that right.

    Also, non-profit status is more complicated than you seem to think … not just a matter of “filing” … and you give up other rights, such as engaging in politics. And as to trusting The Authorities to be reasonable … you are a very trusting person, that is a great quality.

    You (also Ansura, above) don’t seem to appreciate that kosher, and vegan for many, isn’t just a style, like cordon bleu or Szechwan, but an ethic, something one does all the time. … Do you think an abortion clinic would be required to hire a pro-life receptionist?

  • Kirala

    Again, a small business – where people know each other personally – can end up with all the rules they like. Most discrimination laws don’t really kick in till there are 15 or 20 employees: http://www.eeoc.gov/employers/coverage_private.cfm

    The problem is that one cannot discriminate when it ceases to be managed on a personal relationship level and starts to be necessarily professionally distant. At that point, you’re not associating with friends – you’re managing employees. And at that point, you need to have a goal.

    Note that I don’t think spiritual practice and profit are mutually exclusive. I think Chick-fil-a does a great job valuing the Sabbath. I bet there are many other less-publicized practices which also show the influence of faith in the business world. But these practices don’t amount to hiring rules.

    I’ve worked at a nonprofit faith-based school; half of my family is employed in churches. All three relevant organizations started within the last decade or two. So while I don’t know the legal processes, I know people who’ve been through it recently just fine. They can speak to political issues just fine, as long as they don’t favor one party platform or candidate – which means the churches can decry abortion in general, as long as they don’t tell the congregants how they have to vote. It’s NEVER been an issue. The only “government problem” I’ve witnessed was the fire department getting cranky when a Bible study accidentally blocked the road entirely.

    Kosher, at least, is a lifestyle which allows contact with PEOPLE who don’t follow it. I’m not aware of anything that would keep kosher from being kept if a person came to work in their deli. I imagine that any varieties of veganism which are so strict that they can’t endure a carnivorous coworker are also probably strict enough to self-select to a small-sized business. I think the pro-life receptionist would be allowed to work for the abortion clinic as long as they don’t spend their time subverting the clinic and disrupting business.

    Basically, I’m seeing a lot of very extreme hypotheticals here, but no actual case where religious discrimination (or, if you prefer, top-down limited association) and profit are or should be appropriately mingled.

  • Eric Boersma

    Interesting article. Personally, if the Hobby Lobby case goes through (I don’t think it will), I can’t wait for the first time that a corporation starts requiring their female employees to wear burqas or follow sharia or keep halal as a “free exercise” of their corporate religious freedom.

  • Zed

    I think it would depend on the religion.

    If for example a major figure in the hypothetical religion in question has demonstrated an aversion in for-profit activities in holy places, like objecting to trading or monylending in a temple, then I think it is fair to assume that profit and the religion in question shouldn’t be combined.

  • Winter

    Just when I started thinking talk of reviving feudalism was just a rhetorical flourish, people are trying to bring back the “principle” of cuius regio, eius religio for business owners. I’ll never understand what magically allows an employer’s religious convictions to trump an employee’s convictions or genuine health needs.

    Yet another sign that employer-based healthcare is a dreadful kludge of a system that needs to be replaced with something like the rest of the first world has.

  • Kirala

    Right of contract. My Dad, The Lawyer likes to point out that in American law, we usually value property over people – generally, one’s only sovereign right is the right to sign away all one’s rights or property in the hope of gain. Or the right to control someone else’s, by contract. It’s very difficult to get across the idea of basic human rights which supercede right of contract.

  • Winter

    The situation would be slightly less galling if Joseph Plumb Martin’s sentiments about his service in the Continental Army did not apply to so many contracts: “The country was rigorous in exacting my compliance to my engagements to a punctilio, but equally careless in performing her contracts with me; and why so? One reason was, she had all the power in her hands, and I had none. Such things ought not to be.’

    And all of it served up with with a side of Vader’s, “I am altering the deal. Pray I don’t alter it any further.”

  • aunursa

    To all those evangelical Christians who imagine that Hobby Lobby et. al. are “standing up” for them, ask yourself this: What if your boss is one of those radical secular humanists Tim LaHaye and Jerry Falwell warned you about? What if your boss is a Muslim? Or a Mormon? What if your boss is an atheist? Or a wiccan? Or — heaven forfend! — a mainline Protestant?

    Although I’m not an Evangelical Christian, I don’t understand this question. Suppose my boss is a Mormon or an atheist. So what?

  • EllieMurasaki

    If Hobby Lobby can enforce its Christian beliefs on its employees, then an atheist-run corporation can enforce its atheist beliefs on its employees. Either situation violates the employees’ freedom of religion, and possibly other things depending on the parameters of ‘enforce its beliefs’. The ability to access contraception is the obvious thing violated by Hobby Lobby enforcing its Christian beliefs on employees; the only thing I can think of that an atheist-run corporation might do by way of enforcing its atheist beliefs is banning the wearing of religious symbols such as hijab and cross necklaces at work.

  • aunursa

    the only thing I can think of that an atheist-run corporation might do by way of enforcing its atheist beliefs is banning the wearing of religious symbols such as hijab and cross necklaces at work.

    I don’t think an employer, atheist or otherwise, can do that.
    ADL: Religious Accommodation in the Workplace (PDF)

    May an employee wear religious garb or symbols to work?Employers must attempt to accommodate employees who, for religious reasons, must maintain a particular physical appearance or manner of dress in keeping with the tenets of their religion. Again, accommodation is required only if it can be made without undue hardship to the employer. When it comes to religious apparel, typically only safety concerns constitute undue hardship.

  • http://rightcrafttool.blogspot.com/ Sign Ahead

    Right now, they must also provide insurance for women’s health issues, but they’re fighting that on the grounds that it interferes with their religious freedom.

    If they escape one responsibility by arguing that corporations have the right to inflict their religious values on their employees, it will open the open the door for other abuses that may not be so appealing for the people who are trumpeting “religious freedom” right now.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Well, yes. But bosses also aren’t supposed to be able to force their religious beliefs on anyone else. Also under the guise of religious freedom.

    And yet here we are, having this fight.

  • Lori

    Exactly. aunursa keeps falling back on current law and somehow missing the fact that what Hobby Lobby wants to do is change the way the law is enforced. They’re trying to carve out an exception that allows them to effectively discriminate based on sex. The notion that if they get that, no further exceptions will be carved out strikes me as willfully naive.

  • Flying Squid with Goggles

    In addition to that, Hobby Lobby wants to take the compensation provided to employees (health benefits are a form of compensation for work) and decided that the *corporation* has a say in what the employee does with that compensation.

    If Hobby Lobby wanted to take Jane Doe’s money and say “you can’t spend it on contraception” – everyone would say Hobby Lobby was out of line. But since Hobby Lobby wants to take Jane Doe’s health insurance money and say “you can’t spend it on contraception,” people pretend that it’s not the employer limited what the employee can do with their compensation.

    I say Hobby Lobby has to compensate its employees in accordance with the law, and if the employee desires to use either their cash or their health insurance for something Hobby Lobby’s owners disapprove of, it’s none of Hobby Lobby’s business.

  • Lori

    Exactly. Hobby Lobby wants to effectively pay women less than it pays men.

  • smrnda

    If you believe that profits are just wages stolen from workers, you can see through the whole bullshit about ‘their money.’

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    A big part of the problem is that far too many people don’t grok that contraception is part of health care. If you said “My religion opposes antibiotics, so my company should be allowed to offer only coverage that doesn’t pay for antibiotics,” no one would go along with that because it’s obvious to everyone that antibiotics are part of health care. BUt when it’s about a woman’s sexual health, a substantial percentage of people will fall on the spectrum from “That’s absolutely not ‘health care'” to “Well, maybe, but I don’t know. Isn’t that really optional like plastic surgery?” (A lot of people have similar attitudes toward various other aspects of health care, such as mental health care, or things like weight loss or smoking cessation, but reproductive health affects a hell of a lot bigger of a percentage of the populace.)

  • Cathy W

    Could a Mormon employer ban coffee, tea, and Coke from the employee lunchroom? Could an Orthodox Jewish employer require all meals eaten in the employee lunchroom to be kosher, effectively requiring those employees who bring in food from home to either keep a kosher kitchen or eat somewhere else?

  • aunursa

    I’m not familiar with employment law that relates to the break room. But I doubt that an employer would be allowed to prohibit employees from consuming certain foods or non-alcoholic drinks.

  • Lori

    If they can refuse to cover basic health care for women based on their ‘sincere belief” in crap that is not factually true what in the world makes you think that an employer can’t sincerely demand that employees don’t get sin cooties in the break room, which is in the employers building?

  • aunursa

    An employer is not required to provide certain food (non-kosher dishes, caffeinated beverages) to employees in a cafeteria or break room. But I don’t believe that the employer may prohibit the employee from bringing any food into the break room and consuming it.

  • Lori

    Of course they’re not required to provide certain food in the cafeteria or break room and no one has suggested that they are, so you can put away the italics.

    The point, which you seem to be working very hard to miss, is that it doesn’t matter if they are not currently allowed to prohibit consumption of certain foods in the break room. The issue is that if Hobby Lobby is allowed an exemption to the law based on the “sincere religious beliefs of the company” there is no particular reason why another sincerely religious company couldn’t demand a different exemption from the law.

  • aunursa

    Requiring an employer to provide certain types of foods for its employees is analogous to requiring an employer to provide a health insurance plan that includes certain benefits.

  • EllieMurasaki

    No, it’s really not. If an employer provides food and it does not meet the employee’s needs, then the employee can bring their own food. If an employer provides health insurance and it does not meet the employee’s needs, the employee’s fucked.

  • Lori

    No, it is not. If you don’t want me to talk about your privilege blindness and ideological bullshit then don’t be so privilege blind and ideologically full of shit.

  • James Probis

    How long before every Corporation in America becomes Christian Scientist and refuses to cover any medical procedures at all?

  • Lori

    That would actually be fine with me because it would be the end of employer-based health insurance, which is a horrible system. The problem is that, as someone noted elsewhere in the thread, the people pushing this crap about corporations having religious beliefs and needing religious freedom are the same ones who flat refuse to allow us to join the rest of the 1st world in having national health care.

  • chgo_liz

    Good examples.

    FWIW, I know of a Jewish (private) school where that is exactly the case: even non-Jewish staff and students can only bring Kosher food into the building.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    See, I don’t think that’s legal. They can regulate the students, they volunteer to go to that school, but for the non-Jewish employees, that seems like discrimination.

  • Lori

    Actually, it can be argued that the employees, as adults, have more freedom than the students do. An adult who does not wish to abide by the Kosher rule can work somewhere else. Kids have basically no legal choice about going to the school where their parents send them.

    AFAIK, a religiously based employer has pretty broad latitude in enforcing religious rules on its property. It’s limited in how much control it can have over employee behavior outside of work, but even there the courts have allowed pretty broad control for explicitly religious employers.

  • aunursa

    See, I don’t think that’s legal. They can regulate the students, they volunteer to go to that school, but for the non-Jewish employees, that seems like discrimination.

    I tend to agree.

  • chgo_liz

    I think of it more like a peanut allergy situation: one non-Kosher food item and the entire building needs to be cleaned out and re-blessed. And we are talking a private school which does not get taxpayer funds in any way.

  • Lori

    A private Jewish school is actually a religiously based employer. Hobby Lobby is not.

  • P J Evans

    As a matter of fact, I remember going to the break area in the genealogy library in a building adjoining a Mormon temple. They had vending machines that included no caffeine-containing beverages. (As it was their place, I wasn’t going to argue. But I’d probably bring my own tea and a thermos of hot water.)

  • Cathy W

    Not quite the scenario I was describing – they can stock whatever they want in the vending machines. But would they have stopped you from drinking tea, coffee, or soda brought in from elsewhere?

  • EllieMurasaki

    Which means that free exercise of the employee’s religion trumps all things bar workplace safety–which means, since my religion mandates use of contraceptives when necessary for medical reasons or when sexually active and not actively attempting to conceive, if I were employed by Hobby Lobby, they wouldn’t be able to not cover my contraception.

    Right?

  • aunursa

    since my religion mandates use of contraceptives when necessary for medical reasons or when sexually active and not actively attempting to conceive, if I were employed by Hobby Lobby, they wouldn’t be able to not cover my contraception.

    Right?

    No. What it means is that Hobby Lobby cannot punish you or make employment decisions based on your use of contraceptives or for being sexually active.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Denying me insurance coverage for my medically necessary and/or religiously mandated contraception IS punishing me.

  • aunursa

    I don’t think an employer should be required to provide insurance coverage for any health care product, service, or procedure.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    So, you support single payer then?

  • aunursa

    No.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Why, because it’s omgevilgovernmentintervention? Come on. Look at me, I’m Canadian. Okay?

    Do I look like I’m omgrepressed because I can have health insurance even if I’m flat broke?

    EDIT: I mean, seriously. What does it functionally matter if there is just one big insurance company for the entire nation, operating on a non-profit basis, or if the entire health insurance apparatus is operated directly by the government?

  • aunursa

    I have no opinion of the Canadian health care/insurance system.

  • Fusina

    I do. I think it is bloody awesome! Course, this would be because I got to discuss it with my relatives in Canada…

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Oh, now that’s just the biggest ever cop-out I ever did see in all my born days, and I’ve seen a few.

  • aunursa

    Whatever.
    There are many topics on which I don’t have an opinion.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    There are these marvellous things called analogies.

    Canada shares many common cultural, social and economic histories with the United States. Broadly, our economies operate in similar ways and as a result both nations can offer the majority of their citizens a decent, if not stellar, standard of living.

    Thus, there should be no problem deciding whether or not the Canadian model of single-payer operates in a manner that would be adaptable to the United States.

    Your refusal to entertain the possibility shows me that in at least some cases and times, you are simply being purposely obtuse.

  • aunursa

    You are putting words into my mouth.

    What I said was that I don’t have an opinion on the Canadian health care/insurance system. Obviously I do have an opinion on the U.S. health care/insurance system.

    I don’t advocate the U.S. adopting the Canadian system. But I don’t have an opinion on whether the Canadian system is right for Canada. As an American citizen and resident, that’s not my concern. As far as I’m concerned, Canadians are free to adopt whatever system you feel best serves your people.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    So what on the 14+ billion year old expanse of the entire universe DO you think is a good health insurance system for the USA?

    Like I said above in an edit, what difference does it make if one company operates on a nonprofit basis and is the insurer for the entire company versus the government doing it all directly?

    Both are functionally single-payer systems.

  • themunck

    I still don’t get exactly what you would prefer.
    You do agree that everyone has a right to receive healthcare required the keep them alive and/or healthy, right? As well as the right to not be finally bankrupted by that?

  • aunursa

    Health care is a service, not a right.

    I would prefer market-based solutions. I support employer-based plans, which have worked well for the vast majority of residents. I support allowing consumers to purchase health insurance from companies in other states. I support tax deductions for individual health insurance and health care purchases. I support solutions that increase consumer choices, not those that decrease them.

    I could be convinced to support a non-market based solution for the poorest Americans who cannot afford to pay for health care. But the ACA is the worst possible “solution.”

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Health insurance and health care represent about the worst kind of information asymmetry aside from the way stock markets* work.

    The doctor knows a lot more than you do about human physiology. You may justly feel the doctor isn’t taking you seriously, but you can’t do surgery on yourself or try to prescribe yourself medications.

    Etc, etc, etc. To “marketize” all this is to simply entrench the rent-seeking inherent in taking advantage of information asymmetry.


    * Seriously. Ever notice it’s almost always the ordinary person who manages to get seriously fleeced on the markets? The really big folks who screw up can count on the government bailing them out.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    You are inhumane.

  • themunck

    Agreed. That is a rather reprehensible view.

  • Ross Thompson

    What would a market-based healthcare solution look like?

  • Lori

    Health care is a service, not a right.

    There really is no reason to discuss this with you any further is there? As long as you’re willing to sit on your privilege and tell other people that if they can’t afford health care it’s a matter of great principle that they simply die and that also as a matter of principle their employer must have the power to use health care to yank their chain and bring them to heel then none of the rest of this conversation makes any sense.

  • aunursa

    Rep. Alan Grayson agrees with you: “If you get sick, America, the Republican health care plan is this: Die quickly.”

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    “That is about the most mean-spirited partisan statement that I’ve ever
    heard made on this floor, and I, for one, don’t appreciate it,” Duncan
    said.

    Thus speaks the man with the board in his own eye complaining of the speck in his neighbor’s.

  • Lori

    How else would you expect people to interpret your position?

  • aunursa

    I don’t expect people to interpret my position. I expect people who disagree with my position to explain why they think health care is a right.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Um, since the 20th century the advanced nations of the world have kind of accepted as a premise that human beings do have a right to live.

    Even the right not to be killed is still inherently a right to life.

  • themunck

    Aside from the fact that it’s basic human decency?

  • EllieMurasaki

    Should I explain why life is a right, too? Because our main concern with the lack of universal health care is the number of people who die due to lack of universal health care. Do those people not have a right to live?

  • Kubricks_Rube

    I’ll pursue all the happiness I want from the liberty of my grave, thank you.

  • Ross Thompson

    I expect people who disagree with my position to explain why they think health care is a right.

    The US Declaration of Independence specifies three inalienable rights. The first of these is “life”.

    I know this isn’t a legal document, but at the very least it’s aspirational, right?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Article 3.

    Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

    Also, the UNDHR. :)

  • Lori

    As always, distancing and refusal to own your shit. We’ve said many times why we think health care should be treated as a right—failing to do so is inhumane and produces poor outcomes, both in terms of overall health & in terms of overall dollars spent.

    You need to support your claim that the current system, in which health care is dolled out only to those who can afford it and is controlled by employers, in fact works fine for the majority of people. But you won’t. Because you don’t support your statements. You just stir the shit and sit back on your privileged ass and tell other people to jump through your hoops.

  • aunursa

    You need to support your claim that the current system,… works fine for the majority of people.

    No. I said that most employees are satisfied with their current health care plans.

    Just 18% of Americans believe that their health care will improve as a result of the ACA, while 33% think it will make their health care worse, and 41% think that it won’t make a difference. That would seem to suggest that more people are satisfied with their current plan than they expect to be under the ACA.

  • Lori

    You are again holding up the result of a concerted campaign of GOP lies as proof that the GOP is telling the truth. One word for that—-no.

  • chgo_liz

    Or that they believe Fox News’ lies about the situation. Asking what they think about a future change is not the same thing as asking if they are satisfied with their current situation. (Hint: millions of Americans are NOT adequately protected medically.)

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    I support employer-based plans, which have worked well for the vast majority of residents.

    We spend several times more on health care than any other nation on the planet — in fact, last I knew, we spent more on healthcare than the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth highest spenders combined, and yet one out of every seven citizens has no access to health care whatsoever.

    We can do a lot better than this. Other countries are doing a lot better than this — they spend less and get more out of their money than we do. Our system is fucking absurd.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino
  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Anonymous Sam compiled a spreadsheet with numbers ‘n stuff. I made a pretty-looking chart.

    http://i.imgur.com/W7DKmOq.png

  • Alix

    …Holy shit.

  • Lori

    It’s not just that we spend so much more money. It’s that we spend more money for worse outcomes. We are literally sacrificing the blood & treasure that so obsesses Conservatives in other contexts (more convenient to them) on the alter of Free Market Uber Alles.

  • smrnda

    The rights you have are the ones you claim and fight for. You aren’t willing to make health care a right. I am. I’m willing to fight it out in the hopes of winning the same way I’d fight for any other right you disagree with.

    Employer based health care sucks for most people I know. Market based solutions do one thing only – find a way to respond to the demands of shareholders and not consumers. I don’t care about the welfare of shareholders since earning money from passive ownership seems unethical to me.

  • aunursa

    You don’t have the right to a car. You can purchase a car. You can receive a car as a gift. But you don’t have the right to force someone else to build or provide a car for you.

    Similar to health care. You don’t have the right to demand that someone else pay for or provide health care for you.

    Health care is a service, not a right.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Cars are not vital to life. Health care all too often is. Are you going to say that life is not a right?

  • aunursa

    The American Declaration of Independence guarantees a right to life. It does not guarantee a right to a comprehensive health care system controlled by the federal government, nor any particular product, service, or procedure.

  • EllieMurasaki

    How is someone dying of a preventable disease going to exercise their right to life without access to health care?

    Or is it just that they’re poor so you don’t give a flying fuck?

  • aunursa

    How is someone dying of a preventable disease going to exercise their right to life without access to health care?

    Your right to life means that no one is allowed to take your life unlawfully (i.e. murder, manslaughter.) It doesn’t mean that someone else may be forced to provide free treatment or pay to provide treatment to cure your life-threatening disease.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Know what, fuck you.

  • aunursa

    If you’re not prepared for any answer, then don’t ask the question in the first place.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    So would you accept that you do not have an inherent right to life if:

    1. You have a heart attack and need chest compressions?
    2. You are drowning?
    3. You have been in a bad car accident and need mmediate attention to internal injuries?

    Note that these are all life-threatening conditions for which a relatively simple act could save you, but if not done, are acts of omission under criminal law which force someone else to save you?

    EDIT: And that means indirectly, someone else’s money comes into play. If you’re drowning, a lifeguard (presumably paid by the government) has to get you. If you’re otherwise in need of assistance, a firefighter might have first aid skills. And firefighters are government employees.

  • aunursa

    You have a right to life. You don’t have a right to someone else being required to save your life.

    A person should attempt to save someone who is having a heart attack or is drowning or needs immediate medical attention.

    But the person on the street (as distinguished from emergency responders and hospital personnel, whose jobs include rendering life-saving assistance) should not be required by law to do so, or be subject to legal punishment for failing to render assistance.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Well, at least you’re ideologically consistent about the omgforcing people thing.

  • Veleda_k

    Okay, so you really, truly don’t give a shit if people suffer and die of preventable diseases. I’m glad we’ve made that so clear. If I was ever in danger of taking you seriously, I certainly know better now.

  • Lori

    Way to split those hairs aunursa.

  • Baby_Raptor

    I think that’s Aunursa’s special talent.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Well, first of all, yes, health care is a right. But leaving that aside, if the goverment mandated that all employers should give their employees cars, an employer who had a religious objection to seat belts would not be allowed to give their employees cars without seat belts.

    If an employer is required to provide health care, then they actually have to provide health care. If they want to provide “A thing which is mostly the same as health care, but excludes women’s reproductive health,” there’s no reason they can’t per se provide that, but it does not fulfil their legal obligation to provide health care

  • The_L1985

    Let me rephrase that, only using something that, for millions of Americans, is exactly as vital to them as healthcare is.

    “You don’t have the right to food. You can purchase food. You can receive food as a gift. But you don’t have the right to force someone else to grow or provide food for you.

    Not-starving is a service, not a right.”

    Seriously, did it never occur to you that the vast majority of people with chronic, life-threatening health conditions are also TOO POOR TO AFFORD HEALTH INSURANCE? Is that honestly too fucking difficult for you to grasp?

  • J_Enigma32

    And how do you expect people to work when they’re sick? Productivity takes a hit. That’s very effective, you know. Not only that, but if the employee is already sick and you’re forcing them to come in so they can pay to visit the doctor, guess who helps to spread the disease?

    Not only that, but as I’ve outlined earlier, not having a universal healthcare system is a matter of national security – i.e., it hurts our security. We’re about one bioterrorist attack away from a whole world of hurt and an obscene amount of causalities.

    Really, the position that you’re taking is a danger to civilization as we know, just as much as it would be if you said free speech is not a human right.

  • aunursa

    The ACA and single-payer are not the only ways to provide health care for all workers.

  • EllieMurasaki

    What do you propose as a mechanism to provide health care to everyone? Not just all workers–it would be callous and inhumane to deny health care to the unemployed, and we all know you’re anything but–but literally everyone. You must have something in mind. What is it?

  • AnonaMiss

    Why do you specify workers?

  • Lori

    Assuming that this is true (which you have not demonstrated and no doubt won’t) it still leaves the unemployed to die. But who cares about them, right?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    You… do know that Medicare in the USA is basically a single-payer plan for senior citizens, right?

    OMGTHESKYISFALLINGIN.

    Oh wait, no, it’s not. Since you love opinion polls, why don’t we go ask senior citizens how well they like their omgsocialist health insurance?

    Oh look, in 2009 8/10 seniors were satisfied with what they were getting.

    Gee, maybe just extending Medicare to everyone would be a brilliant idea, considering people already pay into the system anyway.

  • aunursa

    You… do know that Medicare in the USA is basically a single-payer plan for senior citizens, right?

    Yes.

    Gee, maybe just extending Medicare to everyone would be a brilliant idea, considering people already pay into the system anyway.

    Alternately, the government could allow each worker to keep their own earnings and invest it toward their golden years.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    *BOOOOOM*

    That reverb you just heard was me discovering that there is no desk that can withstand the magnitude of my headdesk at your utterly useless individualistic SAVE YOUR MONEY RAH RAH RAH cheerleading you have going on here.

    Seriously, do you not see how much of an absurd thing it is to say? Not everybody can “keep their own earnings” precisely because shit happens. Or did you miss how many people have eaten into everything they have and gone bankrupt because of

    wait for it

    MEDICAL EXPENSES

    You know

    those same medical expenses people who were lucky enough to win the life lottery and live to 65 with decent savings won’t have to face because they’re covered by Medicare.

  • general_apathy

    Health care is a service, not a right.

    As a statement of current fact in the United States, yes. In the abstract… health care is a physical need. I’m trying to think of a right more basic than access to physical needs, and failing.

  • aunursa

    Food. Water. Shelter.

  • J_Enigma32

    Fancy that. Whether you get those in the United States depends upon your employer. And, hey, what do you know, you also have to chose between those three things and healthcare, too.

    Also, food does you no good if you have Crohn’s and can’t handle it. Water does you no good if you have cancer. Shelter doesn’t help if you’re dying from a UTI that evolved into sepsis. And all of that can be a result of not having any kind of health insurance, since that gets expensive.

  • general_apathy

    Are also physical needs. Ones which are useless if you’re dying anyway—hence people giving up their homes to pay for cancer treatment. I can’t see how it’s ethical to force a person to sacrifice one physical need for another.

  • Matri

    Food. Water. Shelter.

    Food, water & shelter mean fuck-all when you’re dying from diabetes simply because the hospitals say you don’t have enough money for treatment.

    And spending their savings on the treatment means they won’t have any money left for food, water, and shelter.

    And you really expect us to believe that you have never fallen ill, or received an injury, in your entire life?

    Not even once?

  • Ross Thompson

    Food. Water. Shelter.

    Do you have a right to food? If you’re hungry, should people be forced to buy food for you?

  • The_L1985

    “I support employer-based plans, which have worked well for the vast majority of residents.”

    Tell it to the Marines. Most companies have started deliberately cutting hours so that employees who used to qualify for insurance are now part-time and no longer qualify.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Then how do you propose we build a system to deliver healthcare to everyone, without employer provided or government provided insurance(you do know single payer would save $350 billion a year, right)

  • aunursa

    I am not opposed to employer-provided plans; I don’t think they should be required.

    The employer-provided health insurance seemed to work well, as the vast majority of employees were satisfied with their plans. Prior to the adoption of the ACA, the question was how to pay for those who were not already covered by the employer-provided plans.

  • Ross Thompson

    the vast majority of employees were satisfied with their plans.

    The only exceptions being those who knew how Canadian / European healthcare worked.

  • AnonaMiss

    which seemed to work well as the vast majority of employees were satisfied

    a) Not to hear them grouse about it
    b) Oh, so you’re only for the suffering and death of the unemployed, I see.

  • chgo_liz

    Small entrepreneurial businesses create the majority of new jobs in the U.S. They are least able to afford to offer medical benefits to employees. Why are you so anti-business?

    I know, I know: you’re anti-SMALL business. You want the big companies to have all the advantages.

  • EllieMurasaki

    You don’t support single-payer. You don’t support employer-provided. What, other than the death and suffering of millions from preventable things, DO you support? And if you don’t in fact support the death and suffering of millions from preventable things, how do you plan to go about ensuring that such death and suffering does not happen?

  • smrnda

    So everybody with health problems should just die then, sucks to be them? If you aren’t rich, just die.

    Nice recipe for civilization.

  • EllieMurasaki

    But given that they ARE required to provide health insurance, they MUST BE required to provide contraception.

  • aunursa

    That question is what the court will decide.

  • EllieMurasaki

    And if the court decides anything other than ‘denying certain employees medicine related to their uterus-having status is discriminatory’, the court is WRONG.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Aren’t Republicans supposed to be the fearless, take-charge, have a decision for everything types?

    Apparently for you, it’s “when in doubt, punt.”

  • aunursa

    I think I’ve made my opinion pretty clear. But Ellie expressed a conclusion on a question that ultimately will be decided by the courts. What the courts will decide is not clear. Therefore I choose not to make a prediction.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Your faux-neutrality remains your best trolling tactic. Congratulations. Now if only people would pick up on that fact that you do it on purpose, like I’ve been saying for the last year.

  • aunursa

    I don’t claim to be neutral. It’s quite clear to intelligent readers that I disagree with Ellie’s statement that…

    But given that they ARE required to provide health insurance, they MUST BE required to provide contraception.

    The fact is that her conclusion is a question that the courts will decide. For me to repeat “No, you’re wrong.” serves less of a purpose than to remind everyone that the judicial branch will make the final decision on the matter.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Know what would serve even more of a purpose? You explaining why the judicial branch should agree with you instead of with me.

    Or you shutting up.

  • aunursa

    Articles at the website I linked to above can explain it better than me.

    And no, I won’t shut up.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Summarize.

  • aunursa

    No. If you’re interested, you can read the legal briefs.

  • Lori

    Yes, you have made your opinion clear. You’re willing to let people die. You try to hide that willingness behind some unspecified plan for all workers to have adequate health care without government involvement and with employers allowed to refuse to cover anything they don’t want to cover, but your opinion is still quite clear.

  • smrnda

    So they can provide coverage that only covers magic crystal healing? Wow, if that’s ‘freedom’ give me the opposite.

    Employers == oppressors. There’s no way around that. The law needs to mediate on behalf of the exploited party.

  • Lori

    Your view of what does and does not constitute an employer punishing an employee comes from a very privileged point of view. I don’t care if saying that pisses you off. It’s true whether it makes you mad or not.

  • aunursa

    Your opinion doesn’t piss me off and it doesn’t make me mad.

  • Lori

    Well, not today.

  • AnonaMiss

    The examples others are giving you are a little hyperbolic, but here’s one that’s a direct comparison:

    Should an employer who is a strong believer in voluntary human extinction be allowed to refuse to include fertility treatments/procedures and prenatal care in their health care package? If employers with a moral objection to contraception can deny contraceptive coverage, shouldn’t employers with a moral objection to pregnancy be able to deny prenatal coverage?

  • AnonaMiss

    Sorry, hadn’t seen the blood transfusion example below, and aunursa’s… rather self-defeating answer.

    I like the ‘pick my pocket or break my leg’ test for religious freedom, and wish it were a part of common jurisprudence.

  • aunursa

    Should an employer who is a strong believer in voluntary human extinction be allowed to refuse to include fertility treatments/procedures and prenatal care in their health care package?

    Yes

    If employers with a moral objection to contraception can deny contraceptive coverage, shouldn’t employers with a moral objection to pregnancy be able to deny prenatal coverage?

    Should the employer have a right to refuse to offer a plan that includes pre-natal care? Yes. But the employer may not refuse to grant time off to an employee for pregnancy leave or family leave to bond with a newborn, nor punish the employee in any way for taking such leave.

  • EllieMurasaki

    So basically what you’re saying is that in order to simultaneously respect employees’ rights to health care and employers’ rights to deny health care—I can’t believe I typed that last phrase–we need to break the system where health insurance is dependent on employment.

  • AnonaMiss

    So this doesn’t strike you as discriminatory compensation?

    Suppose the employer actively wanted to provide health insurance as part of their compensation package – iow leaving out the mandate – how large would the differential between insurance coverage offered to men and women employees have to be before you would consider it a civil rights issue/a level of discrimination that should be legislated against?

  • aunursa

    I don’t understand your question, specifically regarding a differential between coverage for male versus female employees.

    My position is that an employer should be required to offer the same coverages to both male and female employees. (If the employer offers a coverage that includes a benefit that is only used by women, then it must be available for female employees and for the covered female dependents of male employees.)

  • smrnda

    But there are male and female specific health care needs, so they can’t be the same genius.

  • AnonaMiss

    Well, ‘the same coverage’ has a few different interpretations, and I think the spouse bit is missing the point that I’m making.

    There are some conditions which only male employees can get, and some conditions which only female employees can get. So, if a company offered coverage for all of the conditions which only males can get, and none of the conditions which only females can get – and the spice of the appropriate sex are covered just as an employee of that sex would be – would you consider this acceptable? If not, what’s the ratio you would consider acceptable?

  • aunursa

    if a company offered coverage for all of the conditions which only males can get, and none of the conditions which only females can get – and the spice of the appropriate sex are covered just as an employee of that sex would be – would you consider this acceptable?

    I would support a company’s right to offer an insurance plan with that type of coverage or any other coverage that applies to all employees.

  • EllieMurasaki

    You honestly don’t see how sexist that is? Or is that a feature, not a bug?

  • aunursa

    Yes, it is incredibly sexist. And no, it’s not a feature.

    I support the right of consumers and other businesses to vote with their dollars not to patronize a company that does not include a health plan with benefits particular to either males or females. Or not to patronize a company that refuses to include, for example, gender reassignment surgery in its health plan offerings.

  • EllieMurasaki

    What if I don’t know that the company in question is being horribly sexist or cissexist or whateverist? How can I “vote with my dollars” then?

    The free market only works with perfect information, aunursa. And perfect ability to change jobs without difficulty.

  • aunursa

    In the internet age, the health care benefits for most employers can be easily accessed. And a decision to boycott a particular company for denying plans that include coverage for gender-specific products and services can be easily promoted.

  • Lori

    So if we don’t all have the time and ability to go online and research the health care plans offered by every company that we patronize, oh well, too bad? Nevermind that insurance options tend to be so confusing that Q&A sessions have to be conducted for employees. We should all be able to read & understand the fine points of other people’s health insurance rules, or else suck it. What an excellent use of societies resources. So much better and more freedom-y than having rules in place to ensure basic fairness.

    And if a critical mass of consumers aren’t willing and able to do that research and boycott a company based on sexist health insurance then that’s just too damn bad for workers? Well of course, because that always ends well for workers. You and Rand Paul, truly there is no one more dedicated to fairness and equality than the two of you.

    I can’t roll my eyes hard enough.

  • Original Lee

    Health care benefits information is not easily available for most employers. Small businesses are the most numerous of all businesses in the U.S., and those that do offer health care benefits are spotty about making that information available to non-employees. Also, large privately-held companies do not usually make that information readily available to non-employees. If you have looked for a job lately and tried to research benefits information for a company you were interested in beforehand, you would know this. Standard practice in many companies nowadays is to avoid disclosure of specific benefits packages before making the job offer.

  • AnonaMiss

    You don’t consider paying for employees’ prostate cancer, but not their uterine cancer, wage/compensation discrimination?

    Or are you against equal pay laws as well?

  • AnonaMiss

    Also it’s arguably illegal under article 7 of the Civil Rights Act (Source: http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite?blobcol=urldata&blobheadername1=Content-Disposition&blobheadername2=Content-Type&blobheadervalue1=inline%3B+filename%3D%22Non-discrimination+Policy.pdf%22&blobheadervalue2=application%2Fpdf&blobkey=id&blobtable=MungoBlobs&blobwhere=1251741381222&ssbinary=true ) (Jeez colorado.gov, get it together)

    Title VII prohibits discrimination in all terms, conditions, and privileges of employment, including hiring, firing, compensation, benefits, job assignments, promotions, and discipline. Title VII also prohibits practices that seem neutral but have a disproportionate impact on a protected group of people.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    The EEOC agrees:

    In order to avoid violating Title VII in the future:

    Respondents must cover the expenses of prescription contraceptives to the same extent, and on the same terms, that they cover the expenses of the types of drugs, devices, and preventive care identified above. Respondents must also offer the same coverage for contraception-related outpatient services as are offered for other outpatient services. Where a woman visits her doctor to obtain a prescription for contraceptives, she must be afforded the same coverage that would apply if she, or any other employee, had consulted a doctor for other preventive or health maintenance services.

    This is a point I’ve tried to get a response on in a few threads already, but to no avail.

  • AnonaMiss

    Hi Aunursa! I’m poking you for an answer again, but I waited a couple days this time in the interest of not being annoying. I didn’t intend my question at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2013/08/09/7-things-11-oclock-8-9/#comment-995021054 to be rhetorical – do you also support an employer’s right to discriminate in cash compensation based on the sex of the employee?

    If not, please elaborate on why you are then OK with the hypothetical health plan I outlined above.

    If you do support an employer’s right to discriminate in cash wages based on the sex of the employee, then I understand your position (though I disagree with it) and have no further questions. My utopian thinking, too, leans towards the libertarian – but I don’t think we’re ready for it yet.

  • Lori

    Well, ‘the same coverage’ has a few different interpretations

    This.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I will explain the problem with this when I get back from taking my biological mother to her prostate exam.

  • AnonaMiss

    Hi aunursa – sorry to harp, but you’ve missed the question I asked you below (above? Disqus). You’ve been responding to other posts actively since, and you’re not usually one to avoid questions put to you directly (unless they’re rhetorical or insulting, which I didn’t intend this to be and if it is I apologize), I figure it must have slipped through the cracks. It is here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2013/08/09/7-things-11-oclock-8-9/#comment-994830526 .

    If it was your intention to not respond feel free to continue not responding, it’s just a question I actually would like an answer for/that I think is nontrivial from your position.

  • aunursa

    Sorry. When I get bombarded with questions, sometimes I may miss a question. And sometimes I’ll ignore a question when I find my attention kept by what I consider to be more interesting questions. I’ll go take a look at your question now.

  • smrnda

    So you’re for rights for oppressors then?

  • aunursa

    I don’t understand your question.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    God, you’re obtuse. Triangles must envy you.

  • Lori

    Let’s try this from another angle. Suppose your boss converts to a form of fundamentalist Christianity with a strong emphasis on the need for Christians to avoid being unequally yoked with unbelievers and then decides that the company’s deeply held religious beliefs require that the Jew has to go?

  • aunursa

    From the ADL link in my comment above:
    “Title VII forbids employment discrimination against “any individual” based on that individual’s “race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000e-2(a).”

  • Lori

    And we’re right back to you being fine with discrimination as long as it’s of a sort that won’t ever touch you. Your difference is protected by law and the women who, unlike their male coworkers, can’t get their basic health needs covered by their employer-based insurance can just like it or lump it.

    I don’t know whether your refusal to stretch your imagination even a little bit on this topic is more infuriating or sad.

  • http://flickr.com/photos/sedary_raymaker/ Naked Bunny with a Whip

    “I got mine.”

    The cry of the conservative.

  • MV

    You do understand that the Constitution trumps federal law? That they are claiming a right to discriminate based on the Constitution? If the Supreme Court finds for them, Title VII won’t mean much.

  • aunursa

    You do understand that the Constitution trumps federal law?

    I thought that the Constitution is federal law.

    If the Supreme Court finds for them, Title VII won’t mean much.

    I disagree, as I have articulated in some of the examples above.

  • Lori

    I thought that the Constitution is federal law.

    Nope. It supersedes federal law, which is why a federal law can be declared unconstitutional.

    I disagree, as I have articulated in some of the examples above.

    You haven’t articulated any facts about it, you’ve asserted your opinion about it. And as has been pointed out repeatedly, your opinion is at best naive. You’ve convinced yourself that if Hobby Lobby prevails no employer is ever going to be allowed to assert a religious right with which you disagree. There is literally no good reason for you to assume that.

  • LL

    Just because something is against the law doesn’t mean someone won’t do it. Very often violations of employment law and regulation go unpunished because the people who are harmed don’t have the means or the time to pursue enforcement. They just move on to another job. Which is the point of the violations. Those least likely or able to oppose such things stay because they feel they have no choice, emboldening employers to say things like, “If somebody doesn’t like it, they can go somewhere else.”

  • Abby Normal

    How about this–suppose your boss is Jehovah’s Witness and refuses to let your insurance cover blood transfusions?

  • aunursa

    If the employer refuses to offer health insurance that includes blood transfusions based on a religious conviction, that’s pretty much the same as the Hobby Lobby lawsuit. I would not support such a decision, but I would support the employer’s right to make that decision.

  • EllieMurasaki

    So you’re all in favor of letting people suffer because their employer won’t cover basic health care.

  • Veylon

    So let me understand: you are literally willing to die for the cause of employers having power over their workers? That’s pretty committed.

  • Lori

    It would be quite committed if aunursa thought for a single second that such a thing would ever actually happen and would effect him. He doesn’t, so it’s not.

  • Carstonio

    Now I imagine one of the more rabid reactionaries in Congress setting himself on fire to protest Obamacare.

  • chgo_liz

    A good start.

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    What if an employer paid their employees with pre-paid Visa-style cards, but with restrictions on where those cards could be used?

    For example, a Baptist employer paid their employees with these Visa cards that could not be used at liquor stores. How would you feel about that?

  • aunursa

    What if an employer paid their employees with pre-paid Visa-style cards, but with restrictions on where those cards could be used?

    Every employee should be entitled to be paid by check or via direct deposit to the employee’s bank account.

  • Lori

    This is true.

  • aunursa

    Yes. Strange that it was downvoted.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Probably because while you can say things like “should” there are several cases of the exact opposite.

    Supported by your comrades in the Obamacare fight, so you might want to consider which side you are actually on here.

  • AnonaMiss

    To be fair, he was asked for his position on the issue, and he said he was against it. The fact that it happens has no bearing on him being against it (except perhaps to make him mad/sad/whatever).

  • aunursa

    Probably because while you can say things like “should” there are several cases of the exact opposite.

    No, I apparently have an anonymous stalker who meticulously downvotes most of my comments on this blog regardless of the subject.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    And yet you don’t see how it limits the options of employees for the employer to have a free hand to play games with the kind of health insurance they get.

  • LoneWolf343

    Typical doublethink. “Big Government can’t violate my freedom, but Big Business can.”

  • Kubricks_Rube

    Do you support an employer’s right to make that decision under the principle of religious freedom, or under the principle that employers shouldn’t have to provide health insurance in general?

  • aunursa

    Do you support an employer’s right to make that decision under the principle of religious freedom, or under the principle that employers shouldn’t have to provide health insurance in general?

    Both.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    The reason I asked is because the courts could rule a couple different ways. They could find that the EEOC is incorrect in classifying prescription plans that lack contraceptive coverage as discriminatory. (My understanding is that you’d agree with the merits of such a decision.) If they did, then the religious exemption would be moot. But if they upheld the EEOC’s decision (whatever you think of it) that plans without contraception coverage are discriminatory, but granted Hobby Lobby the right to discriminate against their employees and their employees’ wives and daughters, I wonder how that would affect employees in same sex marriages. Would employers be able to deny spousal coverage under the same principle?

    (I won’t go further and wonder about other anti-discrimination and labor laws; that was discussed enough last week.)

  • dpolicar

    It seems clear that if my religious objection to blood transfusion is grounds for not providing my employees a health insurance option that covers blood transfusion, and my religious objection to abortion is grounds for not providing my employees a health insurance option that covers abortions, then it follows that my religious objection to same-sex marriage is grounds for not providing my employees a health insurance option that covers same-sex spouses.

    It seems to also follow that my religious objection to Judaism is grounds for not providing my employees a health insurance option that covers Jews, but perhaps that’s an exception because the employee’s religious freedom is being challenged, and that’s more important on this model than the various other civil rights under discussion.

  • aunursa

    No. I would say that you are entitled not to offer all employees a health insurance option that covers a particular procedure.

    You are not entitled to offer a health insurance plan to one employee that you don’t offer to other employees based on the employee’s gender, sexual orientation, personal relationship, or religion.

  • dpolicar

    On what basis do you conclude those claims about what I’m entitled and not entitled to offer?

  • aunursa

    Would employers be able to deny spousal coverage under the same principle?

    I don’t know the law. I don’t know whether it would depend on the particular state of residence (whether the state recognizes same-sex marriages) of an employee, or whether the couple was legally married. So I wouldn’t be in any position to speculate.

    EDIT: If the couple is legally married and resides in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage, then the employer should be required to offer the same coverage to a married employee and his same-sex spouse as the employer offers to any married employee with an opposite-sex spouse.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    Agree with your edit; do you think this “should” would be unaffected by a religious exemption on the contraception issue?

    Put another way, while you’ve made it clear that you don’t think contraceptive coverage should be a discrimination issue, you haven’t (that I’ve noticed) acknowledged that currently, legally, it is a discrimination issue. This status matters for how religious exemptions will be understood more broadly.

  • aunursa

    do you think this “should” would be unaffected by a religious exemption on the contraception issue?

    Yes. If the employer offers a plan that includes coverage for an employee’s spouse, the employer cannot deny coverage based on the gender of the employer or the gender of the spouse.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Offering coverage for all male-specific illnesses and not for any female-specific illnesses, which you already said you’re cool with, is exactly that sort of discrimination.

  • aunursa

    No, it’s not exactly that sort of discrimination.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Explain the difference, then.

  • aunursa

    The first offers the same coverages to all employees and their dependents.

    The second denies the same coverage offered to some dependents that is offered to other dependents.

  • themunck

    “In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets, and steal loaves of bread.”

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Utter semantic twaddle.

  • dpolicar

    > I would not support such a decision, but I would support the employer’s right to make that decision.

    (nods)

    On balance, I don’t think I support it at the moment.

    Mostly, I think it is ridiculous that employers are involved in this question at all. My employer shouldn’t be expected to make decisions about my health care or about the insurance arrangements I make, or can make, in order to secure access to that health care, any more than they should be expected to make decisions about what I have for dinner or who I date.

    But, OK, I acknowledge that the U.S. is in this ridiculous situation with respect to health care, where we’ve come to believe that our citizens ought to have access to it but we aren’t willing to make it available to our citizens except through their employers, which means we expect employers to provide our citizens with a service that has nothing at all to do with their actual business.

    It makes about as much sense as deciding that citizens who are arrested have a right to an attorney which must be provided by their employers, but ridiculous as it is it’s what we’re doing, and until we move to either a single-payer system or a robust public option it’s likely what we will keep doing.

    One consequence of this absurd situation is that it pits our desire to ensure that business owners can choose what services they want to provide against our desire to ensure that employees have access to certain services. But, OK, given that’s the situation we’re in, we are forced to make tradeoffs, which will necessarily depend on the specifics of each case.

    My preference in this case is to trade away some of the employer’s ability to choose what health insurance packages they are allowed to provide, in exchange for preserving the employee’s ability to obtain blood transfusions when medically necessary.

  • mattmcirvin

    To my mind, if an employer possibly has that right, then the employer-based system is inherently broken and health insurance has to be nationalized. At the very least, the government needs to jump in and offer, with a minimum of fuss, the type of coverage that the employer won’t.

    But the same people who are supporting Hobby Lobby etc. are the ones who oppose government-supplied health insurance for everyone. They don’t want tax dollars going to any of that either.

    But the logical endpoint of that is that none of the benefits of collective action on insurance can go to a type of health care that possibly offends anyone’s religious inclinations. It’s a kind of heckler’s veto in which people are allowed to exert this sort of negative control over others provided their convictions are sufficiently intense.

  • Lori

    I think Fred’s point is that Evangelical Christians who support this kind of very expansive view of religious freedom are always working on the assumption that they and others like them will be the ones exercising the “freedom”. They never seem to consider how they would feel if a member of some other faith was able to exercise that same level of “freedom’ in ways that effect them. They don’t think about working for a Muslim or an observant Jew and being unable to bring pork products for lunch, or working for a Jain or a Buddhist and being forbidden to have any meat at all in a lunch eaten on work grounds. They don’t consider how they’d feel working for a Seventh Day Adventist (or Muslim or Jew) and having the company declare Sunday a regular work day.

    They don’t think about any of those things, or dozens of other examples people could come up with because they’re pushing for rules that assume that they will always be on top. This is not only shitty, it’s stupid.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    The assumption that THEY will always be the ones Holding the Whip, never the ones Feeling the Whip.

  • Michael Pullmann

    So your Mormon boss might try to forbid you from drinking alcohol. Or require that all women in the office dress according to his standards (those flagrant whores). Or here’s a good one: A Conservative Jewish employer might declare that any menstruating female employees are “unclean” and sequester them from the rest of the office.
    To put it more succinctly: Employers don’t have a right to press their beliefs on their employees.

  • aunursa

    A boss can forbid employees from drinking alcohol while on the job. A boss can set a reasonable dress code, but must accommodate employees’ religious requirements. A boss may not discriminate against an employee based on sex or physical condition, so the Jewish employer would not be allowed to prohibit a menstruating woman.

  • Lori

    Having insurance that covers basic health services for male employees, but not for female employees is discriminating based on sex. Your semantic games don’t change that.

    If Hobby Lobby is allowed to play this game there is no reason to believe that they won’t be allowed to play other games and that other employers won’t also be able to skirt the law in the ways they prefer.

  • Michael Pullmann

    I just thought of a nasty one: an employer can claim a religion that rejects modern medicine, and therefore get out of providing health insurance altogether.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    That said, Obamacare’s insurance mandate would require some form of coverage. Since the insurance exchanges are up and running I assume employees could go get their own coverage anyway.

    Incidentally, whatever happened to letting people buy into the same insurance that federal employees get?

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    That was misdirection. It got all the activists agitating for “public option” instead of “single payer”.

    When you start a negotiation in the middle, things are inevitably going to move further away from want you wanted to get, which was the Dems plan all along with healthcare reform. If not, Max Baucus wouldn’t have been arresting single payer advocates at his committee meetings.

    The plan was always for this hodgepodge mess that made insurance companies more money, while continuing to allow money to prohibit people from accessing care.

    And employees at companies who’s employers are providing them coverage, are ineligible for the exchanges, unless the premiums exceed a certain percentage of income(I think 20%). No matter how shitty the coverage is.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    But if an employer said “I can’t afford to offer coverage through a group plan”, would employees then still satisfy the mandate if they could go to an exchange?

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Employers are allowed to pass ALL of the costs onto employees, so they can’t say that, they can only say, “I don’t have enough employees to qualify for the mandate”.

    It’s only if the premiums exceed your ?% of income can you go to the exchange.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    In recent news, Congresscritters passed themselves a sweetheart deal to subsidize insurance costs while turning around and blocking the IRS from effectively enforcing the penalties dealing with the mandate.

    Republicans have no sense of shame in using Obamacare to their own advantage against the Democrats even as they work to get rid of it. (-_-)

    EDIT: “Companies that employ at least 50 full-time workers will be required to show the IRS that they provide health insurance for their workers, or that they have enrolled them in exchanges. ”

    Hmm. It sounds like a company could still elect to not have a group plan.

  • AnonaMiss

    Indeed. I’ve been of the opinion for a while that if this objection goes through, we’re going to see a huge uptick in Christian Science…

  • Lori

    Assuming aunursa and his cronies don’t succeed in repealing the ACA altogether (in favor of some mythical bipartisan solution that Republicans will support—it is to laugh), this would actually be a better outcome for women. If your employer doesn’t offer any health insurance you can join an exchange. If your employer offers insurance you can’t join an exchange, even if the insurance is crap and/or specifically denies you basic coverage while providing it to your male coworkers.

  • Julie

    Well, I guess if your boss was a Muslim he might not want you to see a doctor of the opposite sex if you are a woman. I suppose for an Atheist you would have to posit some sort of additional belief system, like maybe she is worried about population growth and won’t pay for insurance past two kids. Mormon? I don’t know that I can come up with any BS for that right off the top of my head. Maybe they wouldn’t allow your insurance to pay for any caffeine related injuries.I guess that point is that there might be other types of belief systems that could impose themselves on your healthcare and that Fundamentalists probably wouldn’t like that. But it is hard to stretch those to specifics.

  • Lori

    A fundamentalist Muslim also wouldn’t want you seeing a doctor of the opposite sex if you’re a man.

  • aunursa

    Well, I guess if your boss was a Muslim he might not want you to see a doctor of the opposite sex if you are a woman.

    Yes, if there are health plans that provide male patients with only female doctors, then a Muslim employer may not choose to offer such a plan. I am not aware of any such health plan at present.

    If, however, the plan offers both male and female doctors, then the employer should be allowed to choose whether to offer the plan, but has no say regarding an employee’s choice of physicians within the plan.

  • Julie

    I was just sort of trying to think about what kind morality muslims, mormons, or atheists might inject into policies…but I think employees should always be able to choose their own doctor to the extent possible.

  • dongisselbeck

    But I thought only rich people could be victims of theft.

  • hagsrus

    “Anti-Obama Arizona protest turns racist”

    But but but – aren’t those just lefty union thugs undercover?

  • themunck

    1. I…I have no words. At least the lines between Christ and Antichrist becomes clearer every day.

    5. I’m starting to wonder if there’s any wisdom left in letting employers have a say in pensions at all. If there’s any good alternatives, I’d love to know :/

  • Cathy W

    Make Social Security dramatically more generous? Increase protections for the savings and investments of ordinary people, perhaps by making the stock market less vulnerable to being gamed, manipulated, or (figuratively) blown up?

  • TheBrett

    I’d be in favor of strengthening Social Security and discouraging reliance on private sector pensions to keep you afloat in retirement.

  • http://flickr.com/photos/sedary_raymaker/ Naked Bunny with a Whip

    Well, there are 401(k)…oh, you said good alternative.

  • Marshall

    #5…S’ok, they are also attempting to defraud bondholders. The reluctance about federal aid I would think reflects skepticism that anybody in Congress actually gives a shit. The headline says “declining” funds, but have any been offered? I don’t think so.

  • TheBrett

    5. If they can’t pay the pensions, and there’s no one willing to step in and bail them out, then they’re just not going to get paid. All the complaining about how this is a betrayal of promises made (and it is) will not invent money out of thin air for Detroit to fulfill its pension obligations.

    Going forward, we need steps to prevent this type of thing from happening again. Certainly a higher required funding level should be mandatory, since it might also have the side-effect of discouraging public officials from doing the “I would like to pay you tuesday for a hamburger today” strategy of dumping the costs of providing services on to their successors down the road. If people want government services, then they need to own up to the need to pay sufficient taxes in the present to support them.

  • Lori

    And yet, there will be money for the banks and to pay the unelected Emergency Manager’s salary. So yes, this is a betrayal and saying “Oh well, nothing to be done” when this kind of betrayal happened in the past is exactly why this betrayal is happening now.

  • Cathy W

    And the new hockey arena. Plans for a tax-subsidized hockey arena are still going ahead, last I heard. Never mind that Mike Ilitch is probably the least likely pro sports owner in all of pro sports to follow through on the “I’m gonna move the team” threat.

  • Eric Boersma

    The City of Detroit is contributing zero dollars to the new Hockey Arena. That’s 100% coming from the State of Michigan.

  • Lori

    I don’t think her point was that Detroit was paying for the arena. The point is that the state won’t pony up any money to keep public sector workers from being screwed out of their pensions, but it will chip in for a sports facility. Yet another version of no money for people who need it to live on, but plenty of money for giveaways to the rich*.

    *Public “investment” in pro sports facilities is truly one of the great boondoggles of our time. The tax payers virtually always get mightily screwed and the already incredibly wealthy owners get richer lining their pockets with tax payer dollars. Anyone who has the opportunity to vote on any sort of referendum on funding a pro sports stadium should vote “no”.

  • Eric Boersma

    Ah, I may have misunderstood the point. I was reacting primarily to the meme that went around the internet a couple weeks ago when the stadium was first voted on that criticized Detroit for going bankrupt (something they didn’t do) and then spending money on a sports stadium (something they didn’t do).

  • Lori
  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    It’s just astonishing how shameless the looting of the public purse has gotten in recent years. When was the last major era of something like this? Probably the 1920s, I guess.

  • http://jesustheram.blogspot.com/ Mr. Heartland

    I’d guess that if your religion is premised on all important truth being proscribed and permanent, than it’s kind of silly to build colleges at all, let alone philosphy departments. Then again, and though I’m not sure how PMD leaning Ceaderville’s own brand of fundiism might be, it’s not going to matter how well you can shoot on the day that God blows up everything is it? Are you going to have the boys march up Everest and take a bead on HIM?

  • AnonaMiss

    While I think you mean ‘prescribed,’ the truth that fundies proscribe is much truer than that which they prescribe.

  • http://jesustheram.blogspot.com/ Mr. Heartland

    Oops.

  • AnonaMiss

    Oh sorry, I reworded the comment and lost the part where I was only bringing up because I thought it was funny.

  • http://jesustheram.blogspot.com/ Mr. Heartland

    No worries.

  • ReverendRef

    #7: Has anyone actually looked at this? If the mayor of Braddock showed up in my office and said, “You need to change this because it ain’t right,” I wouldn’t argue with him.

    He’s a REALLY BIG DUDE.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    For over a year now, I have tirelessly commented on the majority of Slacktivist posts I find disagreeable. For over a year before that, I watched in vain as Fred advocated for such policies as the minimum wage, whined about those opposing increases in government spending, and used the Pentateuch (whose laws are supposedly not meant for modern Christians) to argue for the ridiculous concept of Jubilee. I found the much-upvoted disgusting insults and false claims made by the commentators against libertarians appalling, but I did nothing.
    The strawmen that broke the camel’s back nearly a year ago were these three posts by Fred. Read my comments there if you so desire.
    Undoubtedly, my presence has improved the quality of ideas here on Slacktivist, though not the quality of tone.
    However, over this year, I have found ye as unconvincable as any theologian. Even Fred has not been convinced by my tireless commenting against the minimum wage, posting the same things about it on August 4 of this year as he did the year before that.
    I no longer desire to read Fred’s fine, but ultimately (for me, at least) useless analyses of the drek of LaHaye and Jenkins. It was fun once, but has taken away far too much of my time. My blog has become almost inactive. The pages on my blog haven’t been updated in weeks. I have a Biblical History of Israel to criticize and a non-Biblical one to write. I have more productive ways to spend my time than to be insulted and downvoted and watching to see Disqus comments pop up in threads to respond instantly to them.
    The straws that broke the camel’s back yesterday were these two comments, calling me a dick, the downvoting of my eminently sensible Commandments while IN’s were greatly upvoted, and EllieMurasaki’s comment stating that she might possibly stop commenting on Slacktivist. My personality has apparently become too toxic for readers to upvote most of the agreeable ideas I have. Even the Munck has taken to downvoting me.
    I do not want to be called a dick or a cock. I do not want my Commandments to be downvoted. I do not want to have contributed to the leaving of a top commentator. And I do not want to continue to be part of this community as it now is. I shall unsubscribe from the Slacktivist post feed on Feedly and shall no longer comment here but to say “fuck you all”.

    Please, cite your sources. Do not lie about libertarians or interventionist economic policies. Beware of creeping theism.

    Please, do not respond to this comment.
    Good night.
    And fuck you all.

  • Eric Boersma

    Please, do not respond to this comment.

    Screw you, I do what I want.

  • http://jesustheram.blogspot.com/ Mr. Heartland

    I’m not touchinggg youuuu….

  • http://jesustheram.blogspot.com/ Mr. Heartland

    Reply!

  • http://jesustheram.blogspot.com/ Mr. Heartland

    I’m replying!

  • http://jesustheram.blogspot.com/ Mr. Heartland

    Reply! Reply! Reply! Reply! pew pew pew pew pew!

  • Veleda_k

    This shouldn’t make me grin, but it does.

  • Michael Pullmann

    Don’t let the screen door hit you on the ass.

  • Lori

    Undoubtedly, my presence has improved the quality of ideas here on Slacktivist, though not the quality of tone.

    Can you actually fit your giant head through the door? Dang, that is one big ego you’ve got there.

  • Veleda_k

    Well, there have been some good comments ripping his ideas to shreds. I guess that’s kind of a benefit.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding
  • Lori

    I literally LOLed. Your view of yourself as the Randian super man, too good for the rest of us is just so gloriously unmoored from reality.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding
  • Donalbain

    And he fails to stick the flounce.

  • mattepntr

    They never do.

  • Carstonio

    As Clark Kent’s attorney, please cease and desist from any libelous comparisons of Randism to a certain Kryptonian hero. You can say what you want about The Incredibles, however.

  • Kirala

    Hey! I love the Incredibles! Stick that crap on Khan or somebody.

  • Carstonio

    I liked the movie too, but I could have done without the Randian treatment of Dash.

  • Lori

    Oy, that bit was so annoying.

  • Michael Pullmann

    I dunno, objectivism seems completely in line to me with the beliefs and intellect of the average ten year old.

  • Lori

    Even as a 10 year old I knew that was bullshit. And I was sometimes on the bad end of the kind of thing AnnonaMIss Kiala describes with not being allowed to read ahead even though I was bored out of my skull.

  • AnonaMiss

    (That was Kirala by the way – Disqus borking up again. My teachers generally allowed me to read ahead as long as I didn’t spoil anything for the other kids, and was willing to re-read it when we got around to it.)

  • Kirala

    Yesterday, apparently I was temporarily Jenny Islander. I suspect Disqus is displeased with the fact that I don’t have an account and is trying to replace my posts with registered users.

  • Lori

    Why does Disqus do that? So annoying.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Yeah, I’ve noticed that too sometimes. :

  • AnonaMiss

    I’m not even registered though!

    Well, I accidentally registered once since it (used to?) auto-registers you if you don’t click the checkbox. But when it wore off I went back to commenting anonymously.

  • Kirala

    It got a chance to mess with two unregistered users at once. Surely that was too much temptation to resist!

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Most people underestimate the capacity for empathy in children. Well-adjusted ten year olds can do a lot better than objectivists.

  • Kirala

    Fair enough. But I sympathized – I was frequently bored in school because I had to hold myself back to the level of other students (a particularly painful session in fifth grade comes to mind, when I was not allowed to read silently ahead while a fellow student s-sou-sououou-sounnnn-sounded out almost every phoneme aloud at a rate of six pages per hour). Disavowing a Randian hierarchy isn’t the same thing as endorsing a one-size-fits-all system, and I took the Incredibles’ point as the latter – a Wrinkle-in-Time style exchange of “That’s what we have. Everyone equal. Everyone alike.” “No! Like and equal are not the same thing!”

    (And I note that by the end, Dash learns that there is a time and place to show off, and it isn’t pointlessly dominating his peers in the school setting. Or enslaving the less worthy…)

  • Jamoche

    A plotbunny that I never fed had the other kids at Dash’s school curious about why he never showed up at the regional track meets – and then kind of amazed that they outperformed kids from other schools. Because even though Dash wasn’t trying to win, *they* didn’t know that so they were pushing themselves more than they would’ve against a non-super.

  • Jenny Islander

    I still would’ve liked to see him compete in a sport where he would be on a level playing field with everyone else, because the other kids were really running that race and he was just messing around. Archery, maybe, or golf.

  • Lori

    Clark needs to read up on his Nietzsche. This case will get thrown out of court :)

  • LL

    LOL. That must be an example of the quality of ideas you were referring to.

  • LL

    Also, my Jesus freak, Fox News-loving mother does something like this. She’ll start (or join) some conversation we’re having, regurgitate some nonsense she saw on Fox or read in the newspaper she thinks is awesome (The Daily Oklahoman) and then if somebody disagrees with her long enough, she’ll say, “I don’t want to talk about this anymore.”

    It’s very childish.

  • Lori

    Don’t discourage the leaving. We want the leaving to actually occur.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    5 bucks says EH doesn’t stick the flounce for more than a week.

  • Fusina

    You’ve already won. He didn’t stick it for five minutes.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    EH gets a grace period before the flounce-sticking bet starts, though. :)

  • Fusina

    Had he the grace to flounce, I would allow it. But he tripped up before he reached the door, and so it sticks.

  • Lori

    Sadly, I can’t take that bet because I fear that you’re correct.

  • themunck

    Assuming a 12h grace period from when he first wrote the comment, I’m in. 5 bucks to a charity or project of your choice that accepts Paypal.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    (^_^)b I’ll send my $$ in to Planned Parenthood. I donated to them previously, so might as well do it again.

    So the terms: From 12h from now until a week hence, EH comes back, I win, if less, you win.

  • Fusina

    Based solely on the sheer number of downvotes that have been appearing here, I think someone is still around. For instance, we will know he is still here if this comment gets downvoted. There are ways to tell my friends. Oh yes, there are ways.

    Um, I”m not too good at conspiracy posts, so someone will have to edit this to make it really spooky and scary and all big brother watchingy like.

  • Diona the Lurker

    Did you notice that he just upvoted your comment? I suppose he’s trying to be contrary.

  • Fusina

    It had two downvotes shortly after I posted it, which disappeared. It has become a game for me, seeing if I get downvoted, similar to a competition I had with my husband and his sibs, annoying my Mum-in-law. Not too much annoyance, just enough to get her to say “Go take a shit” in Italian.

  • Diona the Lurker

    I don’t know if your plan is working – EH upvoted this comment too. And mine. And other random comments talking about his flounce. Maybe you win by default, since he can’t seem to keep away…

  • themunck

    Which, for the record is the 17th of August 2013, at 9:35 am (GMT+1). If he does not return before then, you will donate $5 to UNICEF.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    (redundant)

  • themunck

    Or wait, now I’m confused. I meant the winner picked where the money goes, but from your post, it seems that if you lose you’ll send your money to Planned Parenthood…Youknow, we should really just agree to a set of rules.

    Will you accept the following?:

    If EH posts something on this site before 17th of August 2013, at 9:35 am (GMT+1), themunck will donate $5 to Planned Parenthood.

    If he does not, Invisible Neutrino will donate $5 to UNICEF.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    d(~_~)b

  • themunck

    I would have preferred an “acceptable”, but will assume said smiley means that in this context, unless informed otherwise.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    It’s a thumbs up :P

  • themunck

    *sighs* Speaking of those…he’s been upvoting at least one comment on another post. After the grace period was over. Does it have to be actual comment to count? Given that his post seems to imply he’s completely cutting off Slacktivist, I’m leaning towards this counting, and you winning the bet. Agreed, or shall we wait for an actual comment by him?

  • Beroli

    Technically, the letter of what he said…and, it appears, what he actually meant…is that his comments from this day forward will be limited to, “Fuck you all.” Not that he’ll comment any less prolifically necessarily, but that his comments will be even more one-note than previously.

  • themunck

    He also said he’d unsubscribe the post feed. That certainly insinuates that he wouldn’t be reading the blog at all.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Health care is a service, not a right.

    So if you were denied health care on the grounds that you’re unemployed, and you suffered and/or died because of it, that’d be A-OK by you.

  • themunck

    Either you replied to the wrong message, or disqus is even more fucked up than usual for me….*sacrifices a newborn to it, just in case*

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    *cough* that was Blockhe.. I mean Aunursa.

  • general_apathy

    I’m not sure if bypassing one’s own self-imposed flounce by directly responding on twitter and then linking to it is a flounce-failure, or some new, more potent form of flounce, the likes of which the world has never seen.

  • http://talkingtocrows.tumblr.com/ VMtheCoyote

    …EH is leaving? o/ I missed that! When did that happen?

    (EDIT: Nevermind, found it! I was working outside most of yesterday, and didn’t have time to read the comment-threads, so this one caught my eye. I’m trying not to be overly relieved because it seems graceless, but the line “Undoubtedly, my presence has improved the quality of ideas here on Slacktivist, though not the quality of tone” just got to me. I’d be miffed, but it’s mostly just hilarious. He’s so offended that we didn’t celebrate his obvious superiority and listen to his obviously superior ideas! Ye gods and little fishes. It’s just precious.)

  • chgo_liz

    We share a mother?

  • Fanraeth

    That sounds scarily like my grandma.

  • Jenny Islander

    I finally moused over the hyperlink and now I’m trying to RLOL quietly so as not to wake the family. He actually (virtually) threw the book at us!

    Oh, this is classic. That’ll show us, huh?

    Awesome flounce.

  • themunck

    Youknow, of all the things in that post, that single sentence is somehow the most arrogant of them all.
    I mean, the idea of “I leave because my posts were downvoted, regardless of their quality” was bad, and I do take a personal affront to calling me “the Munck” rather than themunck, but that one sentence just shines through.
    …although the sentiment that him not convincing Fred that the minimum wage is wrong is somehow a fault of Fred’s does come close.

  • Lori

    I know, right?

  • Marshall

    And fuck you all

    Sympathy. But you have to admit, that’s a dickish thing to want to do.

  • AnonaMiss

    I see what you did there.

  • That’s Not Yogurt

    Fuck you, jackass. Hope it’s in a ditch and very slow.

  • Veleda_k

    Fred has not been convinced by my tireless commenting against the
    minimum wage, posting the same things about it on August 4 of this year
    as he did the year before that.

    That bastard! How dare he?

    Buh-bye.

  • Maniraptor

    Gee, minimum wage is far from a radical idea, but now one guy in a comments section really doesn’t like it. Surely none of us can continue to support it once we’ve heard that some guy has been tirelessly writing blog comments. (And then telling us that he’s been posting a lot of comments lately, of course, which is extra convincing.)

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding
  • Maniraptor

    You’re really doing this? You’re just going to spend your allegedly so valuable time looking up links nobody’s going to click on and making the same impotent comment? Daaaaang. I guess it’ll keep you on the top commenter list though!

    Fun fact, since I don’t have a real account, it’s not like you’re spamming my inbox or whatever it is you imagine you’re doing. Knock yourself out I guess, but you’d probably be happier getting a real hobby.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Fuck you all.

  • Veleda_k

    I thought you were leaving.

  • Maniraptor

    Honey, you have tirelessly embodied all the worst claims made about libertarians. The average basic human decency in here will go way up as soon as you leave.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    Even Fred has not been convinced by my tireless commenting…

    Don’t feel too bad about that. It’s not like Fred or the rest of us have convinced you of anything significant either. And there are way more of us!

    Since you’re leaving, let me wish you the gift of humility in your future endeavors. It will help you immeasurably to understand that your purpose in life is not to correct everyone’s first principles. And try not to walk into every situation like a hapless evalgelizer, unaware that your targets are likely already familiar with the worldview you are peddling. People will be much more open to your views if you are open to theirs.

    -KR

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I DETECT MASSIVE QUANTITIES OF BUTTHURT IN SECTOR E5, CAPTAIN.

  • AnonaMiss
  • Donalbain

    Please, please, please… for the sake of all that is decent, please stick the flounce.

  • JustoneK

    it’s impressive, innit?

  • Jim Roberts

    See, here’s the thing. I do my best to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with my god. There’s no just here. I don’t see any mercy. And I certainly don’t see any humility. In the past few months, you’ve done more to demolish that cause of Christ, that actual thing that he talked about, than I’ve done to build it, and not for my lack of trying. If you had a sense of shame, I’d call on you to feel it. Good bye, I hope.

  • Lori

    EH is an atheist, so he’s not trying to advance the cause of Christ.He’s making the atheists look bad and we don’t like it.

  • Jim Roberts

    An atheist with a theology blog? Huh. A many-layered and complex troll.

  • Lori

    Or just someone who lies a lot. He has stated several times that he’s an atheist, but I suppose that may not be true.

  • Jessica_R

    If you read the above in Sir Patrick Stewart’s voice it’s *magnificent*.

  • general_apathy

    I read every one of those “f██ you all”s in the voice of Droopy Dog. It’s very satisfying.

  • Ross Thompson

    I prefer Samuel L Jackson (NSFW)

  • http://talkingtocrows.tumblr.com/ VMtheCoyote

    …not gonna lie, I think if we had all been reading EH’s comments in the voice of Droopy Dog this whole time, we’d all be in better spirits about the whole thing. It improves them a great deal.

  • chgo_liz

    Best comment I’ve ever read from this poster!

    (Let’s hope it sticks.)

  • malpollyon

    The only lies about libertarianism I see on these boards have been authored by your good self.

  • MarkTemporis

    Awww… I got into it with him, and he’s just about the only person I got into it with when as an atheist he seemed to back biblical dominionism, but I’m pretty sure its because we were talking past each other. Respectable opponent, if a bit predictable on free market stuff.

    I *really* don’t understand his incredible level of butthurt over the downvotes. It’s pretty obvious this blog has a mystery downvoter who just hits shit randomly for some time now.

    Really, though, if we have to lose either him or Ellie…sorry, dude.

  • Ross Thompson

    Even Fred has not been convinced by my tireless commenting against the
    minimum wage, posting the same things about it on August 4 of this year
    as he did the year before that.

    It’s almost like arguments against the minimum wage aren’t convincing.

    I missed the time you explained how it was a statistical anomaly that every single time any country has increased its minimum wage it’s not led to an increase in unemployment. That would probably be a good place to start.

  • Beroli

    Well, I see Enopoletus’ dedicated campaign against reason, empathy, and people responding badly to his lack of same on the Internet, finally earned him enough experience for his 21st level of Commoner, and he took the Epic Whine feat.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    I give it an 8, but we’ll have to see if he can stick the flounce.

  • Fusina

    Sooooo…how about the movie Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters? Aside from the title and a few characters, most of it was not taken from the book. The one exception is a line by Nathan Filion, which starts from the book and ends with a dig at FOX. Hee. Anyone who hasn’t seen the movie, it is okay–although the purists in my family were totally disgusted and only went to see if after the first Percy Jackson movie because Nathan Filion. They are now waiting for the relevant scene to appear on youtube so they can enjoy it over and over.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I haven’t seen it yet but I saw the trailer before Pacific Rim the other day and NATHAN FILLION.

    I need to watch the first one first, though. I stopped halfway through and never got back.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I’m probably gonna go see Elysium tonight or tomorrow if the theater isn’t too jammed up. :)

  • EllieMurasaki

    I was not impressed by the trailer for Elysium. Wealth privilege writ REALLY FUCKING HUGE and no indication of any attempt to spread the wealth, just to get a bit of the wealth for–was it hero dude’s sick daughter?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    The whole point is that it’s about these rich people who hog outer space for themselves and a lot of other people are not very happy about it and intend to do something about it.

    I’ll take what I can get, considering it’s no Bulworth or John Q.

  • MarkTemporis

    At least one person I respect kind of wished Jodie Foster was the whole movie. So I guess the riches aren’t cartoon bad guys either.

  • Lori

    Not the hero’s daughter and, based on what I’ve read, it starts out as desperation, and sort of grows from there.

    Spoilery thing about why it’s probably not accurate to characterize it as just attempting to get a bit of the wealth:

    Ureb yvgrenyyl unf qnlf gb yvir naq gur bayl cbffvoyr pher vf ba Rylfvhz fb ur nterrf gb gnxr n uhtr, sernxvat evfx gb trg gurer. Gur fvpx tvey vf cneg bs gur qrny.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Fb vg’f gelvat gb trg n ovg bs gur jrnygu sbe uvzfrys, abg sbe fbzrobql pybfryl pbaarpgrq gb uvzfrys. Still not impressed. I can sympathize, yes, might even do the same in his place if I had the nerve to try, but…that’s only two of the doubtless billions of sob stories that wouldn’t BE sob stories if the immense wealth that went into building and maintaining Upstairs were instead shared with Downstairs.

    Neutrino’s got a point, but I still ain’t seeing it in theaters, and probably not at all.

  • Lori

    Ab, ur’f gelvat gb yvir naq vf jvyyvat gb evfx qlvat rneyvre va beqre gb unir n fubg. Cerfhznoyl gur thl jub pbagebyf gur grpuabybtl jbhyq unir orra jvyyvat gb znxr n fvzvyne qrny jvgu fbzrbar ryfr, ohg ab bar ryfr jnf jvyyvat gb qb vg. Orpnhfr guvf vf n fgbel nobhg guvf thl.

    As I said, my understanding is that it grows from there. Is your position that fighting the system doesn’t count unless you’re doing it for purely altruistic reasons? Did you also refuse to watch John Q because he took hostages to help his son instead of to help everyone denied care by their insurance company? Is this just a fiction thing, or do you discount actions taken in the real world because they started as a personal fight rather than an attempt to strike a blow for Justice?

    Obviously I don’t care if you see the movie or not. If it doesn’t grab you you absolutely shouldn’t spend your money on it. I’m not sure if I’m going to see it in the theater either. I’m just curious if you invalidate all stories set in unjust worlds that aren’t driven by altruism.

  • EllieMurasaki

    My position is it doesn’t look like he’s fighting the system. And I’ve never heard of John Q.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Seriously? Wow. It’s a pretty hard-hitting movie, both on a personal level and on a critiquing-the-system level.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0251160/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

    Gur jbefg cneg bs guvf zbivr unf gb or gur fprarf jurer yvggyr ol yvggyr, rirelguvat Wbua bjaf vf fbyq, fgevccrq njnl gb cnl sbe n fhetrel sbe uvf fba. Ur gevrf naq gevrf gb trg n frpbaq wbo gb uryc oevat zbarl va, naq whfg… tbq QNZA.

    Nf n sevraq bs zvar fnvq jura gurl jngpurq guvf guvat, “Vg’f fb erny vg uhegf.” Naq zl sevraq vf Nzrevpna.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Then the trailer is misleading. ‘Cause that’s all I’m basing my opinion on, is the trailer.

  • Ross Thompson

    I believe he’s speaking about John Q, not Elysium.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Note that I edited my reply to you since you got it.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Thanks for saying. *pokes tentatively* Nope, can’t see the edit. Legacy mode, or some such thing that won’t load all the comments. (Gmail doesn’t support this IE either, so.) Is the gist of it that Ross is right about what the antecedent of ‘it’ was? If not, can you copy the edit to a new comment? Thanks.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Gur jbefg cneg bs guvf zbivr unf gb or gur fprarf jurer yvggyr ol yvggyr, rirelguvat Wbua bjaf vf fbyq, fgevccrq njnl gb cnl sbe n fhetrel sbe uvf fba. Ur gevrf naq gevrf gb trg n frpbaq wbo gb uryc oevat zbarl va, naq whfg… tbq QNZA.

    Nf n sevraq bs zvar fnvq jura gurl jngpurq guvf guvat, “Vg’f fb erny vg uhegf.” Naq zl sevraq vf Nzrevpna.

    That was the added stuff.

  • EllieMurasaki

    *nods* Thanks.

  • Lori

    He’s poor and by virtue of being poor the system says he will not have yvsr-fnivat zrqvpny pner even though it is available. He opts to try to take by force what the system will not give him any other way. How is that not fighting the system?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    ISTR his son needs to have it and the hospital won’t give it to him because reasons.

  • Lori

    It’s been a long time since I saw it so it figures I misremembered the details. The basic point stands though. The reason the movie was so painful is that John’s situation is not unique. There are others who are suffering the same fate, but he’s focused on his son, not on them.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Okay, fighting, I’ll give you. Changing? Even attempting to change?

  • Lori

    So altruism from the get or it doesn’t count? Even if the hero’s success is pretty much bound to change things, even if he doesn’t intend for it to*, simply by virtue of the fact that his success will pop a great big hole in the bubble that keeps the rich comfortable?

    *Which as I understand it, he eventually does.

  • EllieMurasaki

    No, that’s not–look, my whole point is that the trailer of the movie gives me no indication that any change to the system will happen. Never mind what the hero’s motivations or actions are.

  • Lori

    I think that’s just because the trailer doesn’t want to give away the ending. Given the director’s oft and very clearly stated politics I doubt that the system remains in place, as is, at the end of the film.

    From what I’ve read the script has weaknesses (as did District 9). Like I said, I’m not sure I’m going to plunk down the cash to see it in the theater. If I do it’ll be on a matinée, which is still only $5 here. I just don’t think not changing the system is likely to be one of the movie’s flaws.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    I’ve read some reviews, from what I’ve heard Sharlto Copley steals the film from Matt Damon, so there’s that.

  • Lori

    I suspect that my soft spot for Matt Damon will lead me to see it as a matinée, even if the reviews aren’t fabulous. It’s almost certainly worth $5 to me to watch an actor I like and respect blow up the riches’ evil paradise.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I don’t know the director’s name, let alone their politics, but I take your point.

  • Lori

    He’s openly progressive. He has said flat out that his intention was for the script to make a point about income inequality now, not just as some future possibility.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Okay. Thanks.

  • Ross Thompson

    It seems to be pretty clearly in the “This is what goes wrong when you have wealth inequality” mold, but it looks like that gets buried under an explosionfest.

  • Vermic

    If I’m going to see a movie subtitled “Sea of Monsters”, it had better keep its promise and deliver a literal sea of monsters, which our protagonists spend the entire running time battling. The trailers seem more to depict a sea of 99.9999% water and maybe 0.0001% monsters. This is not nearly good enough.

  • Fusina

    First, I see Enos has yet to actually shut the door. Probably got his head stuck in the doorway. Better get out the chain saw to cut a bigger doorway. Read his little rant on my way to the end of the comments section and had the first really good moment all day–well, except when we went to the garage and signed the papers authorizing them to fix my car and found it was only costing us the deductible. Also, the car can be fixed, for considerably less than I thought it would cost, and it wasn’t declared totaled.

    Second, I am not doing any spoilers–mentioning Nathan Fillion is not a spoiler since the only reason we went to see the film was Nathan Fillion. I enjoyed the film–but then, I actually liked the Star Wars prequels…so take that as a warning. I am apparently far to willing to put up with bad acting and horrible plots. I dunno why. Although, I do like a lot of the B-movie fodder the SciFi channel puts out, so there is that. I did give someone in full on prequel Lucas rant something to think about when I mentioned that all of them dealt (to me at least) an arc that dealt with things like slaves and slavery and just what constitutes freedom and slavery.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Upvoting for the prequel love, FYI

  • Kirala

    Wait, they DIDN’T bring it closer to the books than the first movie? I was so optimistic with Blond Annabeth. What’s the bloody point of filming the rest of the series if they don’t like it?

  • Fusina

    Well…they use the character names…and Grover is still a satyr…

  • Kirala

    *sigh* Well, in fairness, I don’t care if they characterize Grover appropriately. (Book-Grover came a hair too close to whiny and useless for my taste. He didn’t get there by any means, but… a little too close.)

    I’ll just remind myself of Nathan Fillion, and how much I enjoyed the first movie before reading the books, and that I like cheesy fantasy action to all sorts of questionable levels of quality. And that come this fall, I’ll finally find out the resolution to the cliffhanger in the most recent book. Or cliff[insert-more-appropriate-verb]er, as you please.

  • steven919

    I’ve never understood why a progressive should be for massive immigration. Increasing the supply of labor is very bad for the working class. It leads to lower wages, worse working conditions, job loss or some combination thereof.

    I realize that being against large scale immigration puts one in bad company. However if you are in support of those policies you are fighting on the same side as the plutocrats and quite frankly doing them a huge favor.

  • Lori

    I’ve never understood why a progressive should be for massive
    immigration. Increasing the supply of labor is very bad for the working
    class. It leads to lower wages, worse working conditions, job loss or
    some combination thereof.

    Citation needed.

    All the actual studies I’ve seen say that the Right wing cry of “They’re talking our jobs” is at best an oversimplification and exaggeration and at worse just straight up bullshit.

    Workers in the US are being badly harmed by outsourcing to countries with weak regulation and by the loss of union clout, not so much by immigration.

  • steven919

    How about the CBO’s analysis of the latest reform package as a source? According to their predictions the immediate impact will be higher unemplyment and lower wages.

    I agree on your point that there other things hurting workers, but that does not mean immigration isn’t one factor.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Then the answer is a fiscal and monetary policy that actually promote labor’s worth relative to capital.

    Gee, maybe like what y’all had from 1945 to 1981?

  • steven919

    That period also had low immigration, another thing that promotes labor’s worth realtive to capital.

  • Lori

    The fact that a particular plan, arrived at as a massive compromise with people who don’t actually want an immigration policy that would benefit workers, would raise unemployment and lower wages doesn’t mean that immigration in general would necessarily have that effect.

  • steven919

    I’m glad we can agree that plan sucks at least. An awful lot of progressives seem to support it.

  • Lori

    I actually didn’t say that. I have mixed feelings about the plan. My point was simply that no, I won’t take the CBO’s analysis of the latest reform package as the requested citation.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Ultimately it’s an ethical thing.

    Previous waves of immigrants have come to the shores of North America and made their way in with little hindrance on the part of the authorities.

    For those now living within the borders of Canada or the USA to then turn around and insist that the gates be slammed shut against future immigrants is a bit of an asshole move.

  • AnonaMiss

    My reasoning is as follows:

    As long as illegal workers are threatened with punishment for letting the law know that they exist, they will take abuse without complaint, because their alternatives are either to take the abuse, or to get deported.

    Thus, any remotely shady business has a supply of labor which will not complain to the government if they are abused. They don’t need to pay a minimum wage, they don’t need to avoid sexual harrassment/assault, etc. Why would they ever employ legal workers, who they would have to pay more and treat better?

  • steven919

    Yes and that is why I as a progressive support harsh penalties for those hiring illegal immigrants. Of course, since the politicians serve big business those crackdowns don’t happen.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    A human being can not be “illegal”

    The term you are looking for is “undocumented immigrants”.

  • themunck

    While I agree with the sentiment, it is, sadly, still illegal to cross into the United States without using the official channels. The term “illegal immigrant” is technically correct :/

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    No it’s not. A person is not breaking the law by being alive, no matter where the hell they are.

    It’s Othering.

    Maybe it’s a little different where you’re from, but I know people who laughingly fantasize about killing undocumented immigrants, because of their “law breaking”.

  • themunck

    Point made and taken.

  • EllieMurasaki

    It is illegal to immigrate without legal documentation. That does not make the undocumented immigrants themselves illegal, any more than outlawing, oh, pot smoking makes pot smokers illegal. They’re doing an illegal thing, which is different from being illegal.

  • themunck

    Point.

  • AnonaMiss

    Personally I’m in favor of letting work visas flow like water and instituting a minimum wage for immigrants that’s 150% that of the general population.

    Same effect, significantly less trouble enforcing it.

  • steven919

    Haven’t heard that idea before, but maybe that could work.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    The problem with that is crabs in a bucket. And frankly it WOULD rankle a little bit were I in the shoes of someone working next to a newbie off the boat/airplane.

    Better to raise the overall statutory minimum wage and offer comprehensive, free ESL as well as extend automatic recognition of foreign credentials whose awarding institutions meet standards comparable to Western nation accreditation standards.

  • AnonaMiss

    Well I support the minimum wage becoming a living wage (though I would rather do it by instituting a maximum wage and then raising the minimum wage only if that didn’t do the trick), and then the immigrant wage being 150% over the living wage. I was a little flippant about my reasoning earlier but there are other reasons too – primarily the fact that there would still be jobs you couldn’t get American citizens to do, in agriculture etc., and generally the reason native USians are unable to do them is that they’re back-breaking work. So for any job which the company can’t get a citizen to do, it’s probably because it’s a job that deserves the extra pay.

    I get that it’s against human psychology to do such a thing, but it’s not like anything we propose here has any chance of actually being enacted into law in at least the next 7 years.

  • banancat

    I don’t believe that you’re progressive. You don’t care about harsh punishments for employers who exploit and abuse their undocumented employees. You only care about punishments for the employers who pay them.

  • Vermic

    What plutocrats really like is large-scale illegal immigration. It’s useful to have a massive labor supply that’s easy to exploit and underpay. They may talk about building a wall, but they don’t actually want an effective immigration policy that’s good at keeping people out of the country. They want the flood of cheap workers and they also want them to stay illegal.

    When these immigrants become legal citizens, then at least the power shifts away from the employers a bit.

  • steven919

    It is all true what you say. However, the problem with giving amnesty to a large group of immigrants is that the word will spread and soon enough a new gropu of illegal immigrants will come and hope to one day get amnesty as well.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Oh, so it’s like the old “give an inch, take a mile”.

    Real nice of you there. Not.

  • themunck

    Slightly OT, I remember a debate program a few years ago where a politician argued that we shouldn’t open more homeless shelters for foreign homeless people because if we stopped them from freezing to death in the street, more foreign homeless people would come to Denmark.
    That, incidentally, is the exact moment I went from the regular left-wing to the radical left wing.*

    * Well, technically it was the following day when I checked the media and realized no major news source had found her comments worthy of note.

  • Lori

    We have people saying the same thing here in the US. But if we here in California don’t treat the homeless as badly as they’re treated in Texas or Mississippi or wherever they’ll all move here and bleed us dry!!!!111!! eleventy.

  • themunck

    It wasn’t just that she was saying it. I had somewhat expected it from the nationalist party, or at least wouldn’t have been surprised. But she was there as a member of Venstre, the self-proclaimed liberal party and the single largest political party in Danish politics, both then and now, and head of the govenment when she said it. And in her capacity as spokesman for said party, she said in a public debate she was willing to let foreign homeless people freeze to death in danish streets, because if we didn’t, more foreign homeless people would come to Denmark. And nobody working for any newsmedia found that worth mentioning.

    I can accept heartless people existing. I cannot accept them being in power.

  • Lori

    Speaking from the land ruled by the far Right, I hear ya.

  • themunck

    I should also point out I mean the European sense of the word “liberal”, not the American one.

  • steven919

    So you don’t think amnesty will lead to more illegal immigration? Really?

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    It’s NOT ILLEGAL IF THERE’S AMNESTY YOU RACIST ASSHOLE!!!!

  • steven919

    I’m talking about a new wave of illegal immigrants coming after the amnesty, hoping there will be another.

  • Vermic

    I would assume that any immigration reform that features amnesty would also include an easier, saner path to citizenship. If the outcome of such a policy is to induce more people to come to the U.S., work, and become full citizens, that’s a good thing. That’s kind of the result we’re going for.

  • steven919

    So more legal immigrants as well as an amnesty that draws more illegal immigrants? That is very bad for American workers, but very good for the plutocrats.

  • Vermic

    What I think is that people will continue to move to the U.S., legally or illegally, as long as they perceive there is work here for them to do. By and large, immigrants aren’t coming here hoping to sit around unemployed — they could do that at home — and they certainly aren’t here for the sweet, sweet undocumented-alien lifestyle. They put up with the lifestyle because there are jobs here, or at least more jobs here than the place they came from.

    Now, these jobs can be performed by 1) legally recognized citizens, with all the rights and protections that come with that status; or 2) an underclass of undocumented immigrants who can be exploited, abused, paid next to nothing, and deported the instant their employer finds their presence less than completely satisfactory.

    Overall, I believe 1) is a far better state of affairs from a workers’ point of view. And this is true not only from the POV of undocumented workers, who are paid peanuts, but also from the POV of American workers, who lose wages and bargaining power because they have to compete with a class of undocumented workers who are paid peanuts.

  • steven919

    Since we are both progressives we agree that 1 is the ideal situation. The problem is how we reach that. What I am saying is that a large scale amnesty will get rid of the current illegal immigrants, but it will draw in a new group of illegal immigrants, bringing us back where we started from. There has to be enforcement of the law and border security in order to make sure that there are as few illegal immigrants as possible to exploit.

  • Carstonio

    “Massive immigration” is a straw man that makes no sense. It’s like saying that people who opposed Prohibition wanted massive drinking. I can’t speak for any other progressives, but what I really want is better economic opportunities everywhere.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Reminds me of the dude who was all like OMG 5 MILLION MUSLIMS IN A DECADE ARE COMING TO THE USA

    And I think I did the math and it would’ve taken like, more fully-loaded 747s than exist on Earth to make that happen.

  • steven919

    When we’re talking millions I’d say massive is the word to use.

  • P J Evans

    [citation needed]

  • Carstonio
  • P J Evans

    Since illegal immigration has dropped over the last several years, due in part to the crappy economy, it’s not something that’s a major problem. Also, they’re paying taxes.

  • dpolicar

    Increasing the supply of labor is very bad for the working class.

    How does immigration increase the supply of labor?
    I mean, I understand that it makes more labor available here, as opposed to somewhere else — while also, naturally, increasing the local demand for the goods that labor supplies — but I don’t see how it increases the supply of labor systemwide.

  • banancat

    I’m not “for” massive immigration just as I’m not against it. Immigrants and potential immigrants are people just as much those that are already in the United States. Even if it were true that they depress the labor market, it wouldn’t be enough reason to lock our borders tight. Everyone needs a job, not just people in the United States. It is a problem if there’s a country or area where many people can’t find jobs and have to move elsewhere, but that problem won’t be solved by turning everyone way, and as a progressive I don’t support the idea of just ignoring it and acting like it’s not my problem to deal with.
    You’re more conservative than progressive if you base your opinions so heavily on in-group vs out-group thinking, even if those groups are defined differently than the standard conservative ones. Seeing the people in your country as more deserving or more entitled to jobs than everyone else isn’t really much better than viewing members of your religion, sex, or race as more deserving than everyone else.
    There may be some pragmatic issues about how many of the world’s problems we can actually have an impact on, but as it is, immigration is morally neutral.

  • AnonaMiss

    I’ve heard a somewhat convincing argument that immigration is also bad for the environment, though of course that argument applied only to ‘the environment of the US’, not ‘the environment worldwide’.

  • MarkTemporis

    My father is this way: very opposed to immigration but otherwise completely progressive. I wouldn’t say he’s racist either — he married a woman of a different race and had friends of all ethnicities back when we actually had friends coming over.

  • Laurent Weppe

    What if your boss is a Muslim? Or a Mormon? What if your boss is an atheist? Or a wiccan? Or — heaven forfend! — a mainline Protestant?

    What if he is a Catholic who think that Francis is a hell of an improvement over his Holliness Panzer the first?

    Tremble, feeble evangelicals, for Hell is upon ye.

    ***

    So is Eric Metaxas a xenophobic wingnut? Or does he just enjoy hanging out with xenophobic wingnuts?

    Some people love to hang out with people blatantly les intelligent and knowledgeable than themselves: the contrast flatter their ego.

  • spinetingler

    “his Holliness Panzer the first?”

    You owe me a new keyboard