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Hobby Lobby is WAY Out Of Bounds

If you’re not familiar with this story, the Supreme Court is hearing arguments in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby. Here’s the short version of the case; Hobby Lobby, a privately held retail chain, isn’t happy with part of the ACA. Specifically, they’re not happy with the part of the ACA that mandates that insurance companies provide free contraception as part of all basic coverage. There’s also a mandate to provide free preventive care, but that’s not the part Hobby Lobby has an issue with. They feel that, based on their religious beliefs,contraception is wrong, and they shouldn’t have to provide insurance that includes it to their employees.

Okay, let’s think about this for a moment. We all complain about how little we seemingly get from the government for our tax dollars, right? Well this is one of those increasingly rare occasions when the government is actually promoting for the general welfare of the the people. The government is providing something that 98% of women have used at one time in their lives, and that 62% of women of child bearing age are using right now.* So 62% of women benefit from access to contraception. Also, their male partners ostensibly benefit from, or want contraception. So the government has done something that benefits 2/3 of Americans. But Hobby Lobby’s religion is opposed to this benefit.

So what? Since when do we govern based on someone’s religious beliefs? I’m not going to go too deeply into debunking the "Christian nation" fantasy because it’s ludicrous. The Treaty Of Tripoli (see Article 11) is pretty clear on that subject. Thomas Jefferson had so little reverence for the bible, that he rewrote it. Actually, that’s not entirely true. He didn’t rewrite it, so much as tore it apart. He literally tore out the parts he thought were stupid. We now refer to this book as "The Jefferson Bible".

Let’s skip from what the founders clearly intended to how we run our society today. As a society, we have declared that asking someone about their religious affiliation during a job interview is a no-go. You can’t hire or not hire someone based on their religion. This is the same standard that the constitution lays out for the picking of our politicians; "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." The Supreme Court upheld this in 1961 when they handed down the Torcaso v. Watkins decision. Most of us agree that a person’s religious beliefs should be kept to themselves in the work place.

All across the country, public opinion has moved in favor of marriage equality. Americans aren’t interested in anyone’s religious beliefs on the subject anymore. We just saw a "religious freedom" bill that allows discrimination on the basis of "sincere religious beliefs" get shot down because corporate America agreed with the majority of Americans. This is not who we are. The tide has turned remarkably quickly, and the majority of us agree that your religious beliefs have no place in anyone else’s home. The jurisdiction for your beliefs doesn’t expand beyond your home.

Actually, we’re not entirely down with the religious freedom in the home either. Every time we hear a story about a set of parents whose child has died because they opted for faith healing in lieu of first world medical treatment, we’re collectively outraged. In fact, we’re prosecuting those parents for manslaughter. So we’re okay with the practice of religious freedom in the home, unless that religious freedom kills your kids. We draw the line at harming anyone with your religious beliefs, even if they’re your children.

So where the hell does Hobby Lobby get off with this assertion that their religious beliefs should deny women anything? We’re not good with your religious freedom harming your own kids. What makes Hobby Lobby think that they have should have dominion over their employees? This assertion of theirs is just plain unAmerican. Really. They are literally moving in the opposite direction of the rest of the country. Over and over again, throughout our history, we’ve moved away from the notion that your religion should be anyone else’s problem. These fundamentalist freaks want to take us back to a place that Americans are running away from, and I’m concerned that the Supreme Court may help them.

I promise you that if they rule the wrong way on this case, the next suit filed will be from a religious group that opposes medical treatment of any kind. If Hobby Lobby can deny their employees access to free contraception, why should a Christian Scientist employer be forced to provide health insurance to their employees at all, when their religion rejects medical treatment in favor of prayer? And why should a Jehovah’s witness be forced to provide insurance that includes coverage for a blood transfusion? No, we simply can’t have this lunacy in America.

 

 

 

*This is complicated, but I want to make sure that the information I post is 100% accurate. The figures I cite refer to the use of all contraceptives methods. The use of the pill specifically is the #1 most used form of contraception, making up 27.5% of all contraception use. 

 

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What About The Children?

Pew Research put out a report a couple of days ago that (you should have seen this coming, since it’s “research”) has some right wingers in a tizzy. The research, called Breadwinner Moms finds that women are now the primary or sole breadwinner in 40% of American households. I wasn’t even remotely shocked when I read this report because I fucking live in America. I have plenty of friends who earn more money than their husbands, or who are single moms. I do not live in a 1960s bubble where Mad Men is a reflection of the times, rather than a look back to days of old where the Fox News family seem to live.

Watch Lou Dobbs, Juan Williams, and Erick Erickson lose their shit over modernity;

 

[youtube]http://youtu.be/kORINpVUEtE[/youtube]

 

Let’s go through the batshit crazy in this video point by point.

Juan Williams (the “liberal”) makes the point that men have been harder hit by the recession than women. Why is that, Juan? Could it be that professions like construction work, coal mining, and other industries that are male dominated have taken the biggest beating in the past twenty years? Then he refers to “something going terribly wrong in American society, and it’s hurting our children”. Why, Juan? Why are the children affected by which parent the breadwinner is?

And then Lou Dobbs gratuitously mentions the number of abortions that have taken place since Roe v Wade, as if those children having been born would have resulted in fewer female breadwinners? What the fuck?

And then we get to the grand poobah of douchebaggery Erick Erickson, who absurdly claims that people who are fine with female breadwinners are “anti-science” because nature shows us that males are born to dominate. Hey asshat, have you ever heard the term “queen bee”? I won’t go through the list of species in which females dominate because you can Google that for yourselves, and because that’s not my point. My point is that it doesn’t get any more anti-science than making bogus claims about nature, just to bolster more bogus views. He goes on to ramble about “complementary” relationships between men and women, assuming that men and women can only complement each other as long as the male is dominant. Wow! How much Xanax does your wife have to take, just to get our of bed every day? Erickson then goes on to twist some of the data in the report. He claims that “3/4 of the people surveyed recognize that having moms as the primary breadwinner is bad for kids and bad for marriage”. What the report actually says is that 74% of adults say the increasing number of women working has made it harder for parents to raise children, and that 50% say that it has made marriages harder to succeed. I will get to Erickson’s monumental douchebaggery later. For now, I want to finish unpacking this video.

Juan Williams jumps in to add, “…it is tearing up minority communities even worse than white communities in this country”. I’m sorry, Juan I’m not getting your point here. Are you blaming minority women for being more careless with their families than white women? Do you think that maybe minority women need to work more because of the increased unemployment rate among minorities? Could that be the cause?

In my view, the feminist movement wasn’t about putting women in the workforce. It was about giving women the same options that men have. Unfortunately, right after the feminist movement got some serious traction, those options immediately became limited. Why? Because somewhere in the 80s, families could no longer make it on a single income. I believe that lots of women were forced to work because their husband’s salary was not sufficient to support the family, which is why Erick Erickson is a giant douchebag.

You can’t light your hair on fire over the increasing presence of women in the workforce, while supporting policies that bring wages down. You can’t be for busting unions and for stay-at-home moms. You can’t support Paul Ryan’s bill to eliminate overtime pay and expect those worker’s families to make it on a single income. In short, you can’t support GOP wage suppression policies while demanding that women stay home and raise the kids.

So apparently Erickson got enough shit for his comments, that he had to write a post to clarify his comments so that he would sound less misogynistic. Here’s what he said;

Prior to having kids, Christy and I both worked. Once we had our first child and I was making a full time go of RedState, Christy had to work if we were to have insurance. Frankly, we could not make ends meet on my salary alone and, even after the cost of day care, had to have the remainder of Christy’s salary to help make ends meet. We still struggled.

Hold on Erick, did you just make a case for health insurance reform? And did you just say that you lived my point about families not being able to make ends meet on a single income? I will never understand people who go through the difficulty of a situation and continue to advocate against remedies to those difficulties. This man is an asshole, who goes through life learning nothing. He goes on to say;

At one point I had to contemplate being a single dad, but thank God I did not have to be. When we made the decision that Christy would stay home with the kids…

I’m sorry, did you just liken your wife going to work every day with single fatherhood? Are you fucking kidding me with this shit?

And then he goes on to say;

What should be insulting to single moms is for society to tell them they can do it all and, in fact, will subsidize their doing it all. I know a number of wonderful, nurturing single mothers. They do as best they can. Most of them have wonderful children. But not one of them prefers to be a single mother.

Then why the fuck are they doing it, Erick? Could it be that financial pressures are a big factor in marriages falling apart? Do you think that Boeing opening a plant in South Carolina (a nonunion state) and paying those airline mechanics half of what they pay the union workers in Washington may be putting some pressure on the families? Asshole!

You can’t make a career out of beating up on workers and then beat them up for the consequences of those policies. Something has to give here. You can either have a society that implements the tools necessary for a single breadwinner household or you can embrace the effects of not doing so, but you can’t do both because that just makes you a bloviating asshole.

 

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Pro Life, Really

I’ve spent the last few weeks listening to the right wing blather on about their so called pro choice views. I’ve watched as they have passed (or tried to) anti-choice legislation all across the country. Something just occurred to me; they need to put up or shut up. Being pro life doesn’t begin and end at opposing abortion. No, there’s much more to it than that.

If being anti abortion is the totality of your advocacy for life, then we need to start referring to that opinion as “pro breathing”. Being pro life should be about advocating for a life. When people talk about their lives, they’re not referring to their ability to breathe. They’re usually talking about their emotional entanglements, professional situation, financial standing, family, and about a million other things. As a legislator, if you’re not working to increase the stability in these areas for your constituents, and your “pro life” advocacy begins and ends at preventing abortions, then you’re not pro life. You’re a simpleton and an asshat.

Let me give you some examples. You can’t be anti-union and pro life. If your legislative agenda is to neuter unions, then your goal is to lower wages for workers. Lower wages equals a shittier life, which is the whole second half of your “pro life” slogan. Lower wages increase the necessity for two wage earners in a household. Two wage earners means that there’s nobody at home to raise and create a meaningful life for your kids. We used to be able to raise kids on the wages of one parent. We can’t do that anymore because wages are either flat (if you’re lucky enough to be highly skilled) or going down. I don’t know if you’ve noticed this or not, but we’ve got a generation of assholes on our hands now. That’s right, America is raising a generation of self entitled, spoiled, rude, fucking assholes. I’m of course, not referring to your kids. Your kids are fabulous. It’s everyone else’s kids that are assholes. They’re assholes because no one has the time or the energy to raise them properly. Kids need attention and guidance. They don’t receive the attention required to turn them into thoughtful human beings when both parents have to work, just to feed them. Here’s a quote from Rick Santorum, circa 1994,

“What we have is moms raising children in single-parent households simply breeding more criminals,” he said. When Santorum wasn’t comparing single mothers to animals, he still pressed the issue of out-of-wedlock births and crime. He told the Philadelphia Inquirer in 1994 that “we will never solve the crime problem unless we solve the welfare problem. They are deeply intertwined.” […]

That’s a pretty fucked up thing for Rick Santorum to say. Why the emphasis on Rick Santorum in that sentence? Because I would find that statement significantly less offensive if it came from a legislator who spends their career working on ways to improve people’s lives, thereby creating more stability and decreasing the number of “broken” homes. Financial woes are a big factor in driving divorce rates up.

You can’t be “pro life” if you’re pro cutting taxes for the wealthiest among us, while raising “fees” for everyone else in order to make up for that revenue loss. That’s how republicans like to do it. The fee for me to get my first driver’s license was $15. The fee to renew my driver’s license this year will be $160.  They love fees, but “hate” taxes. Sixty years ago, US corporations paid 40% of the total tax revenue collected in America. Today, they pay 9%. You wanna guess who pays 42% of the revenue collected?

This didn’t happen accidentally. That happened because of actions taken by our legislators. If you’re a legislator that espouses pro life views while enabling this to happen, then you’re a lying sack of shit, and you’re anti-life.

If you’re anti-contraception and anti-choice, your goal is clearly to punish women for having sex, and you’re definitely not pro-life. But you’re definitely a fucking moron since, in your quest to punish women, you forget that you’re also pummeling men. Nothing erodes the self esteem of a man as effectively as feeling inadequate. And nothing makes a man feel more inadequate than not being able to support his family. Let’s not forget that the GOP isn’t taking a stand against giving single women access to contraception. They’re taking a stand against denying any woman access to contraception, which diminishes the notion of family planning. Sorry couples, you must accept that every time you have sex, you may end up with a child, whether you’re in a position to have one or not. So men, you’d better get to working harder and earning more if you want to hang onto your dignity and masculinity. And if you’re a man whose wife suffers from endometriosis, you’re going to have to work extra hard to pay for your wife’s birth control pills because if you don’t, those ovarian tumors might make it impossible for her to ever have your kids.     

I am totally fucking fed up with anti-life advocates calling themselves pro-life, simply because they work toward making abortion a nearly impossible procedure to have. People don’t choose to have abortions because they’re fun. They choose to have abortions because circumstances make it too difficult to actually have that child. These so called pro-lifers need to stop pretending that women have abortions on a whim, or simply because they’re assholes that enjoy having their uteri vacuumed out for kicks. That is a bullshit position taken by people that are too fucking lazy to think beyond their self-loathing fueled beliefs.

If you’re not working toward making people’s lives better so that they don’t have to choose abortion out of necessity, you can go fuck yourself. I’m sick of listening to your hypocritical bullshit. And I’m not letting you get away with referring to yourself as “pro-life” just because you’re anti-abortion. If you’re a voter who is genuinely appalled by abortion, you should be demanding the same thing I’m demanding. And if you’re not, you can go fuck yourself too.

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