Tuesday, July 1, 2014

When It Rains.....

Well, it's been a busy few days over at Chez WP. Father-in-law has been in hospital since Saturday night with a touch o'congestive heart failure. A bit of pumping fluids out and he should be right as rain in a day or two.

In between trips down to St. Joe's, I've been working really hard on not having my head explode from the news. SCOTUS has dragged us onto another excessively slippery slope with the long dreaded Hobby Lobby ruling. And then the 3 yeshiva boys. 

There is no way to assign a value of importance to either of these events. One is a matter of legalese and as quickly as it came, it was be revisited again and again under different auspices. The yeshiva boys, on the other hand, will be dead forever. There is no revisit, no undo, no way to turn back the clock to make it unhappen. 

But let's start with Hobby Lobby. I fully understand the intent of the Court when it says that religious freedom must be protected, and mandating insurance regulations may trample on those rights. I can understand that if you're working for a religious institution there might be limited questions about what they will or will not support. Every company has exclusions, even the one I work for. You deal with it. 

But we're not talking about religious institutions or not-for-profit agencies. We're talking about a multi-billion dollar corporation with over 500 doors, and more than 21,000 employees. It is not a mom-n-pop operation even though it is privately held by the family. Their mission statement is lifted from their website:
  • Honoring the Lord in all we do by operating the company in a manner consistent with biblical principles.
  • Offering our customers exceptional selection and value in the crafts and home decor market.
  • Serving our employees and their families by establishing a work environment and company policies that build character, strengthen individuals and nurture families.
  • Providing a return on the owner's investment, sharing the Lord's blessings with our employees, and investing in our community.
Sure you do.

I really like the first one. Of course, that principle does not extend to its suppliers in China who enforce control over reproduction in draconian ways. They are okay with shipping American $$$ to a nation that openly persecutes Christians. And coverage for Viagra and Cialis scrips is just fine. 

Can you say HYPOCRITE, boys and girls?

Before ACA, Hobby Lobby actually covered the Plan B pills, Ella, and certain I.U.D.s in their insurance plans. It was only when it became a political issue in 2012 that they noticed they covered these things.

The award for Most-Blatant-Subversion-Of-Women's-Rights-Since-Getting-The-Vote award goes to SCROTUM Justice Samuel Alito who, in writing on behalf of the majority stated:
In any event, our decision in these cases is concerned solely with the contraceptive mandate. Our decision should not be understood to hold that an insurance coverage mandate must necessarily fall if it conflicts with an employer's religious beliefs. Other coverage requirements, such as immunizations, may be supported by different interests (for example, the need to combat the spread of infectious diseases) and may involve different arguments about the least restrictive means of providing them.
So, Scrotum Alito, how does this limitation work? But you do mean to tell me that if I'm working for a Jehovah's Witness and there's an accident at work, and I've lost a whole lotta blood, my employee insurance policy may not cover the transfusions needed to save my life? 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg cut right to the heart of the issue in a well crafted dissenting opinion when she wrote:
Religious organizations exist to foster the interests of persons subscribing to the same religious faith. Not so of for-profit corporations. Workers who sustain the operations of those corporations commonly are not drawn from one religious community.
Contraception is just the test case. More is coming. Transfusions, vaccinations, chemotherapy ...they are all out there waiting in the wings with their fringe group sponsors. It will be about what can be cloaked as religious freedoms as it becomes class-based medical care for the rich. The working poor will be cherry picked into endless cycles of pregnancy, coat hangers will be back in vogue, and once again, hope of upward mobility will be mired in the grocery bills. The implication is huge and the cost in human life will be unimaginable.

SCROTUS is no longer concerned with We, the People. The five conservative justices are consistently finding in favor of Them, The Corporation With Deep Pockets instead of looking out for We, The Flesh And Blood People. It's hard to understand how they are protecting our civil liberties when they decide the corporations have the right to purchase an election. I always believed the Justices were the buffers between us and those who would diminish our individual us-ness. No longer the case, folks. We, the People, don't matter in that cowardly new world.  Just as the Taliban are cowards, afraid to face people and modernity, Justices Roberts, Alito, Scalia, and Thomas are no better in the way they impose their version of religiosity on America. Kennedy, the swing vote, goes more and more where he thinks his bread is buttered. Their worldview, as constricted by the view past their tonsils, is exclusionary, narrow, and ultimately dangerous to the fabric of this nation. 

Who pays those five anyway? It sure as hell isn't us. 

And speaking of jihad....the murder of the three yeshiva kids will be off the pages of the newspapers in a day or two. That's because they're Jewish kids living in Israel, in the contested territory at that. But mostly because they're just Jews and not glamorous enough for most news outlets. 

Eyal, Naftali, and Gilad
Where were the reports of missiles fired at Sedrot and a factory being blown up? Where was all the human outcry for three teenagers hitch hiking home? Where was the Presbyterian church, so eager a week ago to divest their holdings in Israel, in protesting to Hamas and the BDS movement that killing kids isn't okay?  

I don't agree with everything Israel does, and I am not blind to the issues. But we're talking about the only free-speech democracy in the Middle East. The only one with a history of free elections and a diverse parliament. 

Gilad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel, and Eyal Yifrach were executed by Islamist terrorists. Their crime? Being Jewish kids. 

If you're looking for the through line in this blog, let me leave you with this: any group that wants to impose its beliefs on others is no better than the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the Haredi in Jerusalem, the militant Buddhist Monks of Myanmar....or the evangelical extreme right in the United States. These groups are determined to turn your world into their world order. Whether it's by car bombs, shoe bombs, homicide bombs, or Molotov bombs, these people are ready to force you to bend to their will.

Right now, they have a a great partner in  our Supreme Court.

Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Never take your freedom for granted; 
there is always someone out there who wants to take it from you.


  1. The wingnuts are already letting their true colors show, led by Erick Ericksonn. A sample of tweets by someone who's still angry because the head cheerleader in high school wouldn't give him a blowjob:

    "So feminism has morphed from equality to free loading by government mandate."

    "If you think you’re being discriminated against because you have to buy your own abortifacients, you aren’t a serious person."

    "Religious liberty trumps employer subsidized consequence free sex. The left flies into hysterical outrage."

    I'm with the person who responded to him, "I hope it's a cold day in hell before Erick Erickson ever gets laid again."

    To which I say, "Again?????"

  2. "Corporations are people", according to Mitt Romney.
    The Washington Post, Jun. 30: In Hobby Lobby ruling, the Supreme Court uses a ‘fiction’.
    I like fiction and fantasies, like those promoted and upheld by any given religion, for they are useful sometimes, and particularly during hard times, when one needs anything that will help avoid thinking. But for practical purposes, on a daily basis, I prefer non-fiction problem solving, preferably supported by some analysis. A country that dwells in fantasies will go down soon, somehow, unfortunately.