UNFORESEEABLE

Shockingly, the Hobby Lobby decision was followed almost immediately by other organizations lining up to seek "conscience" based exemptions from laws they happen to dislike. I for one never saw that coming. Who could have imagined that setting a dangerous precedent would create a mindset among religiously motivated groups that they are now free to pick and choose which laws they will exempt themselves from.

Oh, and in response to all of the claims that the ruling was "narrow", the Court on Tuesday "ordered lower courts to rehear any cases where companies had sought to deny coverage for any type of contraception, not just the specific types Hobby Lobby was opposed to." Thank god. I was worried for a second there.

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55 Responses to “UNFORESEEABLE”

  1. ladiesbane Says:

    I'm waiting for one of them to argue that they "don't believe in" labor laws related to minimum wage, child labor, worker safety, etc. (That religion already exists, of course — it's called Libertarianism and they worship Mammon.) Don't be surprised if maternity is one of the next benefits to go — it's the most expensive item on the for-profit healthcare menu — or cancer treatment.

    Giving this overweening authority to employers is one step from requiring new hires to answer questions about their sex habits and conform to an employer-set standard of behavior while engaged. This is why abortion, like pregnancy, must be a moral issue internally and a medical externally — an issue that no one can decide for you.

    Last thought: this is a blow against worker rights. Leave the abortion issue, and the insurance issue: this is about employers' rights to manage (and manipulate) employee compensation packages away from the best interests of the workers and toward increased employer profit and increased employer power over the workers.

  2. Skipper Says:

    One simple answer: single-payer universal health care — just like every other sane country.

    Get your healthcare out of the hands of employers. Employer-supplied health insurance is what chains many people to shitty jobs. When I quit my last job, where because of a union we had good health care, I can't tell you how many people came up and told me they would love to quit, but needed the benefits.

  3. HeidiB Says:

    This makes me want to stand on street corners handing out copies of Richard Dawkins texts! I'm so weary of people using religion as a weapon. (I won't even go into how expensive birth control is. I assume it's acceptable for Hobby Lobby employees to use money they earned there to pay full price,)

  4. Charles D Says:

    It seems to be the underlying problems here a two: The ridiculous idea that corporations are persons with rights delineated in the Constitution, and the idea that a public good like health care ought to be paid for and controlled by private interests for profit. Both these ideas are entrenched in our political system and supported by both parties. As ladiesbane says, it is also an attack on worker's rights, something that the Republicans have long been doing and something that Democrats no longer resist.

    We have a strong executive branch, a weak and corrupt legislative branch, a corrupt judiciary and a militarized police force. What's next?

  5. c u n d gulag Says:

    Imthinkable!
    Unpossible!!

    Yes, it was a "narrow" ruling – by the Five male Catholic Fascists, designed for "Christian" groups.

    So, on top of IOKIYR, we now can add, “IOKIYC” – It’s OK If You’re Christian.”

    I’d love to see what an idiot like “Parti”-Sam Alito (who consistently makes his decisions depending on what will piss-off the liberals the most – something even Scalia doesn’t always do – or at least didn’t) will do when “Ahmed’s House of Halal Kebob’s, Inc” wants it’s employees following Halal diets, strict Muslim sexual and health practices, and demands to discipline its employees via Sharia Law, wherever that applies.
    And NO contraceptive coverage of any kind.
    But I'm sure that "quicker-pecker-uppers" for the men will still be paid for!

    As I said the other day, with this decision, the Five Fascists have badly and completely unnecessarily split the baby, and in the process, opened up a huge can of sick and ugly worms.

  6. jestbill Says:

    I just don't understand why people would be upset by the Supreme Court decision.
    You want single payer? How will you get Congress to change anything unless there is overwhelming support for it among the electorate? This decision is a step in the right direction.

    You want to rein in corporate influence over legislatures? How will you get Congress to change anything unless there is overwhelming support for it among the electorate? This decision is a step in the right direction.

    I've hear the word "saboteur" derives from the tactic of tossing a shoe (sabot) into machinery as protest.

  7. Misterben Says:

    Regarding the single-payer concept, which I support:
    I have found that it helps to say "single-payer health INSURANCE", not "single-payer health CARE". I know it's redundant to say it the first way. But when I say "single payer health care" to people who think they oppose that idea, they immediately start talking about how they don't want the government controlling their doctors and hospitals.

    I find that it helps to stress that when I talk about single-payer, all I mean is that the health insurance itself will be government run. "Good Lord!" I sometimes exclaim. "I don't want the government employing my doctor, either!" (eye roll)

  8. Lyndon Baines Says:

    Let's keep it simple for the simple-minded out there:

    Medicare for all. Now.

  9. Syrbal/Labrys Says:

    The wording in the letter to Obama made chills run up my spine…and not in a good way. To tell a President to show "deference for religious prerogatives" — oh, my word! I'd say it's time for Katy to bar the door, but I think the horse is not only out, but has the bit between its teeth!

  10. Middle Seaman Says:

    Heard that the Taliban has invited the 5 supreme-right to spent summers judging in Afghanistan. It's not health care, it's not Citizen United, it's a coup by the rightwing at the court to support the Tea party.

  11. Sarah Says:

    All I can say is that I am happy, now, to be pushing 40 and coming up on the time when I won't be able to get pregnant at all.

  12. democommie Says:

    Fuck those fucking fuckers.

    The only thing that I as a consumer can do is to go to Hobby Lobby or other stores that want control their female employees' uteri but not the guys' johnsons and SHOP like a mofo. I want to load a whole cart full of shit (their major product offering) and then when it's all rung up, pat my pockets and say, "Fuck I forgot my fucking wallet! Do me a favor and keep all of this fucking crap until I come back, mmm'kay?".

    Either that or a "slip'n'fall" or 6,000.

    Will it bring them around? Nah. Do I give a fuck? Nah.

  13. NonyNony Says:

    "Fuck I forgot my fucking wallet! Do me a favor and keep all of this fucking crap until I come back, mmm'kay?".

    Please don't do things like this. The only people it hurts are the people working crappy retail service jobs who eventually have to put that shit all back onto the shelves. It doesn't do a damn thing to the assholes who run the company – it won't cost them in profits and it won't damage them in any way at all.

  14. democommie Says:

    NonyNony:

    Sorry, I disagree. You're free to deal with those assholes in any way that you want to. Obviously, making nice is a complete waste of time.

    As for making the lives of the people who work there, "worse", I'm not sure how that's possible. Do you mean that they will make them put the stuff away while they're not being paid? A shit job is a shit job no matter which flavor of shit one is currently eating.

  15. Jacquie Says:

    I'm just popping in to be off topic for a second. Pursuant to Ed's long-ago post on Action Park (AKA "Traction Park," "Class Action Park") I wanted to point out that ACTION PARK IS FUCKING REOPENING. http://mashable.com/2014/07/02/action-park-reopens/?utm_cid=mash-com-Tw-main-link

    Have a great weekend, all!

  16. NonyNony Says:

    A shit job is a shit job no matter which flavor of shit one is currently eating.

    I disagree. A shit job that is tedious, boring, and pays crap where assholes come along to make messes you have to clean up is far, far worse than a shit job that is just tedious, boring and pays crap.

    I've had both kinds of shit jobs in my life. Don't be that guy.

    (I mean, if you could make the case that it would create enough "make work" that they'd have to employ more people and it would cost them money then I'd go with it. But that isn't what happens – instead it just adds more "make work" for people who are just trying to get through their day because some asshole is being an asshole. It doesn't impact the owners, it doesn't impact the management, and all it does is work to make someone's day a little bit worse without making anything better. If you want to throw a tantrum to express your outrage, at least make it something that will impact the owners or the management and not the schmucks who are just trying to pay their bills.)

  17. democommie Says:

    NonyNony:

    You're free to disagree.

    I've had LOTS of crappy jobs in this life. You are right hat Hobby Lobby's suits don't give a fuck about their employees. It does not follow that they won't give a fuck about having to hire more people or see $/hr/employee productivity numbers fall.

    I'm not "throwing a tantrum", I'm suggesting that those assholes who run the company will be upset when their quarterly earnings drop. That's all they give a fuck about.

    If enough people do something that inconveniences them or costs them money they might rethink their idiotic policies. Or they might close some stores.

    Your suggestion that I do something that will impact the owners would include what sort of things? Writing them a letter? Waste of time. Not shopping there, at all, ever? I'm batting 1.000 in that department. What else do you have in your suggestion box.

    The owner of Hobby Lobby and his ilk are intransigent pricks, treating them like decent, reasonable people is silly.

  18. democommie Says:

    I knew this stuff would never load at this blog, so I put something up at my place. Polrant.blogspot.com. Enjoy or not.

  19. Gordon Guano Says:

    Sharia law, here we come, is what Democrats who wanted to win elections should be saying.

  20. Eau Says:

    I think, in light if the previous thread, it's really important here to acknowledge that SCOTA has done some good things in the past.

    Big tent, people.

  21. McDee Says:

    I am a believing, church going Christian. I have "strongly held religious convictions" against war and militarism. In view of the Hobby Lobby decision can I now withhold that portion of my income tax that goes to the Defense Dept? Are my religious convictions less worthy than the people at HL?

  22. Eau Says:

    Haha. SCOTA.

    I meant, of course, SCOTUS.

  23. Xynzee Says:

    Anyone out there *still* believe that voting for president isn't important?

    McDee: you've missed a key important difference. Withholding that portion of your taxes affects the Government and MIC (and some Wall St player's bottom line)*. This affects the common person.

    *Though you'd think the pharmas would be lobbying for this behind the scenes to ensure they get some of that insurance money.

  24. Anon Says:

    Frankly, I find this a disgusting affront against the civil rights against the most important people involved- people whom NO ONE has even acknowledged yet.

    I am speaking, of course, of the corporations who manufacture contraceptives.

    Will no one stand up for them? When Hobby Lobby refuses contraceptives to its employees, you liberals shed a thousand crocodile tears- but NOT ONE TEAR for the corporate persons whose stock price- and thus their entire existence- depends on the sale of those contraceptives.

    You communist hypocrites!

    I pray that it is not long before Big Pharma sues, sues, sues these bastards for discriminating against them.

  25. Southern Beale Says:

    My mind is blowing over the Wheaton College order today. The most incoherent thing I've ever seen the court do. Basically said that opting out of a rule that violates religious freedom is also a violation of religious freedom. Unbelievable.

  26. Arslan Says:

    Good thing Obama was reelected to prevent this kind of thing from happening the Supreme Court! Remember when that was the reason he had to be reelected at all costs?

  27. Elle Says:

    Good thing Obama was reelected to prevent this kind of thing from happening the Supreme Court! Remember when that was the reason he had to be reelected at all costs?

    Would things have been better or worse with a couple of Isaiah-quoting demagogues sitting in Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan's seats?

  28. Arslan Says:

    Both were appointed prior to his reelection. Clearly they haven't succeeded at stopping any number of horrible SC decisions.

  29. Elle Says:

    There's a very ghoulish quality to discussing the composition of the court, but was not the big fear at the last general election for Bader Ginsburg's seat? Obviously the argument that electing a Democrat President means that s/he can get any liberal lion past the Senate and up the steps of the SC is a simplification too far, but if Obama does get to replace RBG then he will have put three non-conservatives on the SC. That's not nothing.

  30. acousticsouthpaw Says:

    Here's my beef- OK, corps get constitutional rights, their owners get 'em twice over. Does this mean that corps will now have to respect OUR rights, like the 4th and stop drug-testing? The 1st and finally be barred from firing people for political speech? If we're gonna go down this road where businesses are people and vice versa, than don't businesses have to start treating people like businesses (or people)?

  31. Sarah Says:

    Good thing Obama was reelected to prevent this kind of thing from happening the Supreme Court! Remember when that was the reason he had to be reelected at all costs?

    Yes, because we would have been so much better off with Mitt "I don't give a shit about 47% of the population of this country" Romney.

    Alito and Roberts were both appointed by the Shrub. If we're going to blame somebody, blame the voters who didn't want to vote at all, or didn't want to vote for Gore in 2000, or Kerry in 2004.

  32. Tim H. Says:

    Hasten the day when the people rush to support those who worry enormous money, rather than dogpile those marked by the .1%.

  33. Arslan Says:

    Nah Sarah, I think I will blame the people who continue voting for a party that enjoys seeing how much more they can fuck them.

  34. Sarah Says:

    Nah Sarah, I think I will blame the people who continue voting for a party that enjoys seeing how much more they can fuck them.

    You think so? Obama's looking into the viability of using his executive privilege to go around the Hobby Lobby decision. Gee, I wonder if President Romney would have been so magnanimous as to do that–no, wait, he promised during his campaign that he would repeal Obamacare as his number one priority, so we wouldn't even be having this discussion, never mind the possibility of someday getting a public option or (one would hope) single payer. As one who might have been directly affected by all of this (except for, you know, the ticking biological clock), I don't feel fucked quite as hard by the Democrats as I do by the Republicans.

  35. Southern Beale Says:

    "Good thing Obama was reelected to prevent this kind of thing from happening the Supreme Court! Remember when that was the reason he had to be reelected at all costs?"

    Umm .. No, actually. I remember that was the reason George W. Bush shouldn't be re-elected in 2004. Because that's who appointed to the two ideological religious nutballs currently putting their laws on my body, fuckstick.

    Obama's two appointments likely forestalled unspeakable horrors down the road.

    And you folks who in 2004 were –what, 18-10-20 years old in 2004? — who didn't vote because "it didn't matter?" You're now 28-29-30 years old and if you're female, your employer-provided health insurance is now separate and completely NOT equal to your male counterparts?

    Yeah, guess what. It mattered.

  36. Sarah Says:

    And you folks who in 2004 were –what, 18-10-20 years old in 2004? — who didn't vote because "it didn't matter?" You're now 28-29-30 years old and if you're female, your employer-provided health insurance is now separate and completely NOT equal to your male counterparts?

    Yeah, guess what. It mattered.

    This. This. So much THIS. Ya know, I can understand the desire to have reincarnations of Eugene Debs, FDR, Alice Paul, and all the other wonderful progressives of years past, and because we don't have them, and we don't have a society where we're all shitting rainbows and smelling like angel farts, we just won't bother with it at all. We seem to be taking the status quo for granted, with absolutely no appreciation for the fact that all of this can be taken away if we don't work to protect it.

  37. democommie Says:

    "We seem to be taking the status quo for granted, with absolutely no appreciation for the fact that all of this can be taken away if we don't work to protect it."

    I talk to people, far too often, who think we don't need unions because we HAVE paid holidays and shit. Guess what, moronz, when the unions finally disappear, everything they won goes away. It.Is.Just.That.Simple.

    Paraphrasing Winston Churchill's comments about democracy:

    President Obama may be the worst president we could have elected, except for all the other choices we were offered.

  38. Xynzee Says:

    "And you folks who in 2004 were –what, 18-10-20 years old in 2004? — who didn't vote because "it didn't matter?" You're now 28-29-30 years old and if you're female, your employer-provided health insurance is now separate and completely NOT equal to your male counterparts?"

    One the problems of voting is it's a lot like driving under the influence. Your stupid choices can have a significant impact on others.

  39. Anonymouse Says:

    Sarah and Southern Beale, you speak for me, only more coherently.

  40. Robert Says:

    I sometimes wonder if Thurgood Marshall had known that Bush I would not be reelected, would he have held on until Clinton got in? Now, ol' Bill is not my idea of a liberal, but ain't no way he'd have picked Fr. Clarence Thomas.

  41. Arslan Says:

    Mad? Blame your hero for putting forth a conservative think-tank designed health plan. The Democrats do this because you reward their behavior.

  42. Mo Says:

    In case you're like me and late for the party, here's a fun photo pair:

    Hobby Talibani

  43. ronzie9 Says:

    Instead of being assholes and creating make work for Hobby Lobby employees by leaving carts full of unpurchased do-it-yourself tchotchke parts at the registers, how about if we encourage their employees to adopt a religion that believes that "herbs" & 'shrooms were put on this Earth by our maker to be enjoyed, and challenge the Lobby's drug testing policy?

  44. democommie Says:

    "Mad? Blame your hero for putting forth a conservative think-tank designed health plan. The Democrats do this because you reward their behavior."

    Perhaps my memory of the process is faulty. Nope, it's not.

    The original proposition was somewhat too toxic for the GOP (acceptance would piss off their indignorant base) so it was watered down and then watered down and then watered down some more and barely made it past the House-Senate-House hurdle. Since it's passage the GOP has done whatever they can to derail, delay or defund it.

    Not exactly the president's fault. I will grant that about 25% if his party are DINO's.

  45. Sarah Says:

    The original proposition was somewhat too toxic for the GOP (acceptance would piss off their indignorant base) so it was watered down and then watered down and then watered down some more and barely made it past the House-Senate-House hurdle. Since it's passage the GOP has done whatever they can to derail, delay or defund it.

    This is why we call it a democracy–those who oppose us have a say too. There are certain political realities with which we are stuck, and we can either acknowledge those realities and work around them, or we can stamp our feet and whine about how we aren't getting our way while the laws which are restricting the rights of women, minorities and the working class continue to get passed. Arslan seems to think we live in a dictatorship, and while a benevolent tyrant may sound like a nice way to go, we wouldn't necessarily end up looking like Sweden under that scenario. Authoritarianism can also go in the direction of theocracy and oligarchy.

  46. Arslan Says:

    You don't live in a democracy. You live in an oligarchy, one of the poorest democracies in the world since you have only two parties. Perhaps you people forget that Democrats had a strong majority in congress after Obama was elected. The Tea Party victory in 2010 was largely a result of people being disappointed with Obama and not voting. That disappointment was due to his constant "compromising." See when Republicans have that kind of power in congress and the executive branch, they use it.

    BTW I live in an actual dictatorship and women here have far more access to abortion, free healthcare, paid maternity leave, and paid vacation. All leftovers from the Soviet period which post-Soviet regimes haven't been able to touch. You'll probably never see anything approaching that, because you keep unquestionably voting democrat and then warning your candidates that you will "hold them accountable." I bet it's hard for them not to laugh when they hear that.

  47. eau Says:

    So, Arslan, what do you suggest? That progressive voters refuse to go for the "least worst" option, and let Mitt and co. take the reins?

    Many Australian progressives made that decision at our last election. Our centre-left party was disappointing us on a range of fronts, so we "sent them a message". Now we have a conservative government who delivers Tamil refugees directly to Sri Lankan armed forces by the boatload*, is dismantling our society, our rainforest, and The Great Barrier Reef at the behest of mining billionaires, and is doing their best to block the rest of the world doing anything about climate change, among other horrors. We sure showed those centre-left politicians not to take us for granted! What a victory!

    *Not an exaggeration. Literally by the boatload. Like, they stop boats on the ocean, and hand the occupants to the Sri Lankan Navy.

  48. Xynzee Says:

    As thought, how hard would it be for a either an executive order or a clause added that if an employer refuses to cover BC in their insurance then they must provide a voucher or a pay stipend to the employee that a rival insurance company must honour at no extra charge? That way the employer is not paying for it directly.

    Or have employers cover **ALL** things maternity related in their insurance. They'll quickly find themselves either pulling their heads in, or find themselves spending a lot of time (money) in court trying to explain why they discriminate against women in their childbearing years.

    @eau: Are you sure about said boat? Is it real boat, or is it a rhetorical boat? Because if there really was a boat, Scott Morrison would have held an official press conference about parrot that isn't dead but rather pining for the fjords. As First Minister for Silly Walks has as yet to consult with Judean People's Front about said ex-parrot. I do believe we've run out of spam.
    For those who need a reference: http://m.smh.com.au/comment/scott-morrison-interview-takes-on-pythonesque-proportions-20140704-zsw9n.html?skin=smart-phone

  49. Xynzee Says:

    Though Arslan has a point when the major contender for the Dem nomination says, that Obama hadn't done enough to reach out to Repugs. And THAT is why I will not vote for Clinton. We may as well just nominate Pallid or Cruz ourselves and be done with it. At least their stupidity and insanity are in the open.

    It really says something about the state of the party and affairs when one state's best contender is an "ex-Repug".

  50. Misterben Says:

    It isn't inconceivable that sufficient activism could trump corporate money. (It has happened in the past.) And that's what we need at this point: powerful activism to reclaim our political parties from the Wall Street firms that believe the parties are their subsidiaries.

    Right after Obama got elected, there was a tiny window of time where I hoped that things might actually change. I hoped the Dems might realize that their cynical attempt to get Americans to believe in Barack Obama had ACTUALLY moved people to believe in him. I hoped that in some smoky secret room, some power broker might say, "You know, if we keep building on this populism thing, we might not even need Wall Street money to get elected next time around!"

    But that didn't happen. Wall Street had paid for the Obama campaign, and by God, they were gonna get their money's worth. So instead of going after the banks for all their criminal behavior that caused the economic meltdown, Obama blew all his political capital on the ACA, which turned out to be a giant giveaway to the health insurance companies and hospital chains.

    The status quo isn't mandatory. Things don't have to be this way. They only are because we allow it.

  51. buckyblue Says:

    @Xynzee: totally agree. I've said it before that in '96, the best republican won. And I helped get him there. Hillary would do the exact same thing, if not worse. The fact that she comes out and says what she said, parroting republican talking points, will make me work harder for anyone but her. She is a DINO, or probably more closely, a RWON, republican without the name. Or, a conservative that believes in choice and gay marriage, but is with them on the important economic issues. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, my dream ticket.

  52. democommie Says:

    "Perhaps you people forget that Democrats had a strong majority in congress after Obama was elected."

    Do you take pills to get that level of naiveté? Obama's "super majority" quickly became a typical democratic run house–it splintered into factions. The beauty and the darkness of the GOP is their ability to FORCE their members to toe the line or face being taken down by their own people. Not that the democrats are incapable of that level of infighting, but its a long time feature of the GOP.

    Obama had NO chance of getting anything like single payer out of the House, never mind becoming law. Not then, not now.

    For all of those who won't vote for whoever the dems run in 2016: You think it can't be worse?

  53. dianne Says:

    I keep wondering how the pro-lifers can reconcile their own past use of the IUD with the court's decision saying that the IUD causes abortion. Who knew?
    At the very least, they will have to re-do the signs they wave in front of Planned Parenthood.

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