Corporations to America: We Own You

When he was governor of Louisiana in 1930s, Huey Long had a slogan.

It was “Every man a king.”

The idea was that with Long in the governor’s mansion, every person, no matter their job, would enjoy the kind of wealth and happiness normally enjoyed only by monarchs.

Hence the phrase “Every man a king.”

Today’s Republicans actually have a similar slogan, although they've never come out publicly and said it.

Their slogan is “Every businessman a king,” and the message to American workers is simple: “Your boss owns you. And if you’re a woman, your boss owns rights to your body, too.”

Don’t believe me?

Get this: Right now, House Republicans are trying to give employers here in our nation’s capital the right to fire their employees if they go on birth control.

Seriously, I’m not kidding.

Last year, the Washington, D.C. city council passed a law called the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act of 2014 (RHNDA), which bans employers from firing or otherwise punishing employees for the private decisions they make about their reproductive health, like for example, going on birth control.

Naturally, right-wing religious groups started freaking out, and that got the attention of House Republicans who see the religious folks as great suckers who'll vote Republican because of their religion, even though the Republicans are robbing them blind economically.

These Republicans in congress are now using the oversight powers they have over Washington, D.C. to try and block the RHNDA.

If they get their way, a woman working in Washington, D.C. could be fired for something as simple as having a child out of wedlock.

The Republican line, of course, is that, like the Hobby Lobby case, this all about protecting the religious liberty of the employer. But that’s just a flat-out lie.

This isn’t about religious liberty at all - this is about the enthronement of the business class above everyone else in our society.

This is about turning business owners into modern-day kings and turning American workers into modern-day peasants.

This is about trying to induce Stockholm syndrome in workers by putting every aspect of their lives under the control of their employer.

This about doing away with the traditional role of corporations - to shield business owners from liability and risk - and ushering in a new era where corporate “persons” have more rights than actual people.

And this is, above all, about sending capitalism back into its natural state, which, not surprisingly, looks a lot like feudalism.

At the top of the social pyramid of “natural capitalism” is the CEO or business owner who has all the powers of a king, and often lives and travels like one.

Then, just below him, are the senior executives or middle managers who, like feudal lords, amass great wealth and control the lives and fates of those under them.

Then, at the very bottom are the workers, who are basically serfs, and if they dare defy the king or his lords, they can be punished in ways up to and including imprisonment.

This is the type of world so-called “religious liberty” laws that are meant to create, and this is the type of world that generations of Americans lived under until the rise of the labor movement and the passage of the Wagner Act in 1935.

That's because, like the legislative branch in our checks-and-balances system of government, unions are a counterweight to the power of organized money - the corporation.

Without that counterweight, capitalism reverts back to its feudal origins, which is exactly what's happened since the Reagan years.

Now, just like they could 500 years ago in medieval Europe, employers can treat everyday people like their personal property, and, if House Republicans get their way, they’ll soon even be able to tell their employees how and when they have sex.

Besides good legislation, the only thing that can stop this long slide back to feudalism is a strong union movement.

So call your local congressperson today to tell them you support card check, oppose right-to-work-for-less laws, and believe that, as the old labor song goes, "there is power in a union."


Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 8 weeks ago

All I can say is -- WOW. Just one question though: how the hell would employers even know whether someone uses birth control? I'm not aware of any birth control methods that are visually apparent to the onlooker.

Beyond that, I keep wondering how far these pigs have to raise the bar on fascism in America before enough people wake up and we see widespread rebellion occuring. I keep waiting, wondering, hoping...

So hey ladies- You want your boss peeking in your underwear?! Seriously.

Loren Bliss's picture
Loren Bliss 9 years 8 weeks ago

Kudos to Alice for the best (and best written) comment I have ever seen on Mr. Hartmann's site.

(Aside: lost your email address -- actually my entire address book -- in the worst computer crash of my life, from which I am still recovering. Please email me and I'll put you back on the OAN list too.)

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 8 weeks ago

From you Loren, man of letters, that is the ULTIMATE compliment. Be watching your e-mail.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 8 weeks ago

I agree! That IS a really good question. Just how do these idiots intend to test for birth control? They already don't want it covered by the ACA. Now they want to forbid women from purchasing it on their own? How far do they have to overreach their bounds before we put an end to their reign of terror, once and for all.

By the way, for all you right wing fundamentalist religious nuts, the Bible doesn't say a word about birth control or abortion. You have all been lied to and mislead by your clergy into judging, controlling, and condemning your fellow man; and, that IS something that the Bible clearly forbids. So does the Constitution, for you religious patriot fanatics out there.

ScaryMary 9 years 8 weeks ago

Alice and Mr. Hartmann should find it very scary that anti-safe motherhood Rethugs love punishing unwanted forced-birth women like myself with wage theft, workplace bullying and firing as punishment for NOT being aborted. That's right! -- I got brutally fired back in Nov. from a well-known Washington, D.C. GOP bully pulpit for being facially disfigured, by my anti-contraception childbirth-ruined Catholic Munchausen by proxy mother, while typing accurately at their premises next to the National Arboretum! Their "official excuse" was that disfigured me was "mean" to the department playboy drunk! It was OK for him to be drunk at work and insulting to old maid me for never attracting a husband, but not OK for me to say anything mild in my own defense, never mind that I have undergone $100,000 in plastic surgery to avoid offending looksists and worked hundreds of unpaid overtime at that publication to compensate for my still-ruined face! The EEOC has given me permission to sue in court and I probably will.

What should people learn from my egregious illegal firing? -- that the GOP and anti-contraception Catholic thugs support bullying, under-paying and firing all women based on their inherited and parental abuse-scarred looks, in addition to any birth control they might be using!

stecoop01's picture
stecoop01 9 years 8 weeks ago

When will people realize there is a Christian Agenda:

1. Put prayer back in schools.

2. Make the bible the law of the land.

3. Ban ALL abortions, even if the mothers life is in danger.

4. Criminalize un-wed motherhood.

5. Jail AND execute all non-heterosexuals.

6. Deport all non-Christians.

...and the list goes on.

And when Christianity collides with Capitalism, we are all done for.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 8 weeks ago

Reply to #4- Loren, I hope you will forgive me for defending Thom yet again… BUT I have heard him make reference to “cancer-stage capitalism” more times than I can count.

That said, I’m not sure Thom’s quite as convinced as you or I that capitalism is bad news, and that it needs to go bye-bye. He may still be clinging to the hope, or assumption, that capitalism can be regulated and kept in its place. My problem with that line of reasoning is that politicians cannot be counted on to do the regulating with the consistency and strict standards this would necessitate. Therefore my position is that it should be scrapped altogether.

It's back to the drawing board for humanity, or perish!

dianhow 9 years 8 weeks ago

Yes Multi national Corps - Wall St Banks own - run America . They disrespect American families. They write our laws they ' bribe' our so called Representives . They sneak, lie, buy elections, misinform voters ( with Fox Rush & Drudge's help ) I fear its too late for many of us. I'm a 72 year old widow ( caretaker ) on low income due to my husbands hard won pension being slashed when his plant closed down. He worked 10 hr days.. all the way up to Plant Supt .. Still got screwed. I worked too What difference did it make that we saved and worked ? None

Loren Bliss's picture
Loren Bliss 9 years 8 weeks ago

To Alice re: Thom. Undoubtedly you're correct, as you have far more extensive contact with Mr. Hartmann's work than I do. (Apart from a weather-forecast receiver, I no longer even have a working radio -- a deficiency I keep forgetting to remedy.)

And I apologize to Mr. Hartmann if my criticism is therefore too harsh. He is, as I cannot fail to acknowledge, a superb reporter.

But that does not lessen my exasperation that those who obviously know the whole story -- not just Mr. Hartmann but for example Messers. Krugman and Reich -- steadfastly cling to the nonsensical belief capitalism can be reformed...or at least dare not say otherwise lest they be silenced.

Meanwhile, our circumstances have become undeniable. Either we eliminate capitalism, or it eliminates us.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 8 weeks ago

Loren Bliss and Aliceinwonderland ~ Unfortunately, I agree with you both. However, even under a democratic socialistic structure, Fascism could still rear its ugly head. Do either of you have any suggestions on how to keep "the means of production" in check? Personally, I think it is the lure of easy money obtained from fossil fuels that is perverting every aspect of our economy and body politic. Please, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

ChicagoMatt 9 years 8 weeks ago

To answer your questions in post 1, Alice, the employers probably know if you're on birth control if you're using employer-based insurance to pay for it.

And Hobby Lobby never said their employees couldn't be on birth control. They only said that they (the employers) shouldn't be forced to provide it via government-mandated employer-based health insurance.

Think of something that you find morally wrong or repulsive. (Gay conversion therapy, perhaps?) Now imagine if you were forced to provide that to people who work for you. Would you fire the people who work for you, rather than be forced to subsidize something you hated so much?

But, before it got to that point, wouldn't you sue for a change in the law?

Loren Bliss's picture
Loren Bliss 9 years 8 weeks ago

Deleted here and included elsewhere.

Loren Bliss's picture
Loren Bliss 9 years 8 weeks ago

As I have said so many times before, the one flaw in Mr. Hartmann's otherwise excellent reporting is his failure to recognize that capitalism is in fact the societal equivalent of cancer.

This means -- exactly as the last 70 years of history prove beyond rational argument -- capitalism is a malignancy. And like all other malignancies, it cannot be rendered benign.

A second, equally important lesson is that no matter how strict the regulatory restrictions by which we attempt to neutralize capitalism's deadly toxicity, it will always revert to its original malignant form. This means it will eventually kill its host.

Hence -- since we the people are capitalism's host -- it is literally our species' terminal illness. Either we find a cure -- which seems increasingly impossible -- or we perish.

But the ultimate lesson of this most dreadful epoch is that democracy -- which we fervently believed was the one sure antidote for the toxins of tyranny -- has turned out to be no cure at all.

In fact it is the antihesis of a cure. It is via what we call "democracy" -- verbal shorthand for presumably representative government elected by presumably universal suffrage -- that capitalism has conquered the world.

It turned the United States into its puppet realm at least 120 years ago.

Since then it has triumphed even in the two nations wherein it was thought to be permanently defeated: the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the People's Republic of China. Though capitalism's co-opting of Communism in the latter may be a colossal deception facilitated by the principles of Sun Tzu, as I said here on 18 March 2015:

What then empowers capitalism's success?

What is the essence of its deadly seductiveness?

Capitalism's core dynamic is the transformation of the Absolute Evil of total moral imbecility -- the mindset of a serial killer -- into apparent goodness.

Stripped of its camouflage, capitalism is the vileness and venom of infinite greed and infinite selfishness hidden by the perfume of false abundance and cloaked in the brightly compelling fashions of ecocidal acquisitiveness.

It is, in fact, the secular proof of a core Christian dogma I as a pagan agnostic instinctively reject -- original sin, the notion we are a species accursed and damned.

But if indeed we are not accursed and damned, why is there still such a thing as capitalism, and why is it thriving?

Loren Bliss's picture
Loren Bliss 9 years 8 weeks ago

Conceptually, just as capitalism is the direct descendant of the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam)...

Just as fascism and Nazism are the (sole and historically inevitable) descendants of capitalism...

So are all these malignancies the direct descendants of patriarchy, which appeared on this planet only about 5,000 years ago.

Before patriarchy's sudden and mysterious onset, we humans regarded motherhood as our species' most important individual and collective function.

Mothers were thus properly recognized as our most important individuals.

Indeed the original creation story went something like "In the beginning was the Mother, and She gave birth..."

Human societies were therefore matrilinear, matrifocal and (most likely) matriarchal.

Though it is a truth maliciously concealed by U.S. archaeologists and anthropologists, their counterparts elsewhere freely acknowledge the socioeconomic systems of these early societies were definitively communistic: from each according to ability, to each according to need.

The people of these societies were also earth-respecting in a reflexive, bow-to-the-five-directions manner most of us today cannot imagine, much less to make our own.

Then cometh patriarchy. Its advocates as described in the Old Testament of the Bible were variously a "fiery wheel" or a "burning bush" or some creature from the sky who met Moses atop Mount Ararat and handed him a set of tablets inscribed with "divine" mandates that must be obeyed lest we all be nuked like Sodom and Gomorrah.

Here in this demonstration of force is obviously is the origin of the Christian and Islamic practice of "conversion" at swordspoint and by the burning-stake or impalement.

Significantly -- apart from the fact these primitive technologies of oppression have been replaced by total surveillance, electric-shock torture, drones, napalm and Willie Peter-- capitalism, fascism and Nazism employ patriarchy's traditional missionary practices even today.

Point being, what ScaryMary and stecoop01 are telling us about the "Christian agenda" is not only absolutely true but absolutely in keeping with the patriarchal legacy as manifest not just in all Abrahamic religion but in its capitalist, fascist and Nazi descendants.

Yet above all else, the core purpose of patriarchy was -- and remains -- upending the natural order, seen everywhere in Nature, in which the female is the epicenter of society.

Which leads us to the core patriarchal principle: that it's virtuous to murder the macrocosm of Mother Earth and despise her microcosmic form Woman because, as it says in a favorite Bible-thump hymn, "thar's a better land a-waitin in the sky Lord in the sky."

Patriarchy and its descendants are therefore expressions of a kill-the-planet death cult, a truth at last made undeniable by capitalism.

Wnich in turn -- though I do not believe in exterrestrial visitations -- makes me wonder just what coackroach universe those fiery wheels came from and whether their sowing of the deadly poison seeds of patriarchy was the ultimate (original) form of the smallpox-infested blankets my European ancestors gave my First Nations ancestors.

That's right: trash the planet enough -- as we are in fact doing -- it becomes cockroach heaven, perfect even for such highly-advanced intergalactic cockroaches (we hope) don't exist.

(Aside to ScaryMary: I have my own scars -- the reason "family" for me is a synonym for hatefulness, brutality and betrayal. But at least I am fortunate in the sense those scars are only on my psyche and hence remain hidden...unless I dare reveal them, a calculated risk I almost invariably regret having taken.)

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 8 weeks ago

Marc, I can’t speak for Loren but from where I sit, I think what’s key here is a society & culture that discourages greed. A truly representative government, designed to put people and the environment first, is the means by which this can be created and maintained. The necessity of The Commons (free education and healthcare, fire departments, postal service, non-corporate media not beholden to commercial interests, public-owned utilities and so forth) should be a given. And from that government: regulation, regulation and more regulation, putting strict, unwavering limits on corporate power AND on banks. I would like to see total elimination of the profit motive so that all corporate entities remain sustainable but not profitable. No extremes of wealth or poverty need exist or be allowed to exist. Since corporations are authoritarian by design, keeping them on a short leash is imperative. Or maybe the corporate model should be eliminated and replaced with worker-owned cooperatives.

I'd like to see a world where all militaries, along with all war-making infrastructure and production. are ultimately phased out.

All fossil fuel companies should get wiped off the map. That shit needs to stay in the ground. There are energy alternatives already in existence and utilizing them should be a #1 priority.

I think every citizen should be entitled — yes, ENTITLED — to a basic minimum income, so that no one is deprived of the necessities of life for any reason. This would strip business owners and employers of their tyrannical power over the people they hire. If unemployment means only the loss of certain luxuries and non-essentials, rather than the threat of homelessness (a virtual death sentence), it would be a lot easier to say “Take this job and shove it!” to an overreaching or abusive employer. When one's very life depends on one's value to the business class, it's an environment where fascism can take hold.

That said, I’m sure that I or our comrades here could come up with many more ideas along these lines. However I believe it is critically important to create the kind of society where psychopathy and greed are thwarted at every turn. Environments where these undesirable, destructive traits can thrive are a cultural phenomenon; they are toxic and an impediment to civilization.

If all that makes me a dreamer like John Lennon, then so be it. I can think of worse things to be. - AIW

Loren Bliss's picture
Loren Bliss 9 years 8 weeks ago

Marc...I pretry much agree with Alice on this matter, though she and I differ on two points:

(1)-I believe worker co-ops are a superb idea, but they are only truly viable once capitalism has been eliminated. Otherwise the co-ops will be compelled by market forces to become nothing more than another subset of capitalism (and therefore in their own ways ultimately no less malignant than the present-day corporations).

(2)-I question whether our species can ever again be immunized against greed and selfishness. This was the original core purpose of the variously named Soviet state security apparatus -- Cheka, GPU, NKVD, MVD etc. and finally KGB. Their failures are proven by the collapse of the Soviet Union, which fell not to conquest but to the greed and selfishness evoked by capitalist propaganda and the corruption subsequently metastasized throught the Soviet system. China likewise, though there the greed and selfishness remained within what the Soviets called the nomenklatura, the Communist Party's Ruling Class, with the result the entire Chinese revolution was (apparently) co-opted.

It is something of an aside, but if you replace the serpent and the apple of the Garden of Eden tale with a burning bush or a fiery wheel or a voice from the heavens, the subsequent loss of paradise is a perfect metaphor for what happened when our species began adopting patriarchy.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 8 weeks ago

Loren Bliss and Aliceinwonderland ~ Thank you both for your responses. They were most provocative. It would appear that the underlying problem is greed. You have both given me much food for thought. For that I am grateful. Have a great evening.

SHFabian's picture
SHFabian 9 years 8 weeks ago

Actually, we first learned about corporations beginning to effectively intrude and take control of the private lives of workers back in the 1980s. Since then, we have implemented a full range of policies whereby our survival is dependent on selling our souls to our employers. Do what they say, or lose your job -- and we all know how the poor are treated today!

SHFabian's picture
SHFabian 9 years 8 weeks ago

We're stuck with capitalism. From FDR to Reagan, we had taken measures that, to some degree, protected the people from full corporate power, but with Reagan, we changed our minds. From Reagan's deregulation mania to Clinton wiping out basic poverty relief, we became everything we once abhorred. I don't have the solution, and it wouldn't much matter, anyway.

Greed defines us. This is the generation that demanded, "No crumbs for the poor!" During similar times when the rich took power over the country, the "masses" ultimately united to push back -- middle class and poor. That can't happen this time. While we were redistributing several trillion taxpayer dollars upward, to corporations/the rich, the middle class demanded that not a penny trickle down to the desperately poor. We shrug our shoulders over the trillions of dollars lost to ongoing war(s), and demand the end to food stamps for the elderly poor, disabled and working poor.

SHFabian's picture
SHFabian 9 years 8 weeks ago

A dreamer, indeed, and I can empathize. But today, the motto of liberals (as defined by media) is: "Stand in Solidarity to protect the advantages of the bourgeoisie, the middle class!" When was the last time you heard a "bold progressive" call for restoring basic food and shelter for our poor? Right.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 8 weeks ago

Reply to #5: Your turn, ScaryMary!

I view this Republican “war on women” to be one of the basic ingredients of fascism, an ideology and power structure taking patriarchy to the extreme. In such an environment, women are controlled in a variety of ways. For starters, they are kept at the mercy of their own bodies so that their natural reproductive powers become a handicap and a burden. They are stifled by misogynistic religion and cultural traditions designed to keep women down. They are paid less for the same work, denied voting rights in more extreme cases, along with property rights and so on, all tried-and-true methods by which women are kept “in their place” as second class citizens and thus, denied opportunities to develop as human beings to their fullest potential.

In such an environment, it comes as no surprise that the workplace is so insufferably toxic as you have described.

It sounds as though you have suffered horribly from abuse with lasting consequences, punished for not living your life by men’s rules. “Forced birth” just goes with the territory. This is the very foundation of gender-based oppression. Of course I have no way of knowing the specifics, Mary, but that is the impression your post leaves me with. Correct me if I'm wrong.

I like the term “looksists”. Works for me!

Reply to #11: employer-based health insurance is bullshit, Matt. Of course if she can afford it, a woman can always pay for birth control out of pocket, to keep her private life private, beyond the grasp of an overreaching boss. Aside from that, comparing birth control to gay-conversion “therapy” is simply ridiculous. Birth control is voluntary while gay-conversion “therapy” is not. Frankly, it offends me that you would frame all this as something employers are “paying for”. What they’re paying for is the employee’s labor; therefore the insurance and what that insurance provides are earned benefits owed to employees. But like I say, employment-based health insurance is bullshit. Single payer would eliminate this issue entirely, keeping such matters where they belong: between a woman, her husband (if she has one) and her doctor.

By that same logic, an employer could argue that he shouldn't have to "pay for" an overweight employee's doughnuts! Gimmie a break.

I don’t know about the rest of you but I get mighty weary of these arguments over a woman’s privacy, freedom and fundamental right to control her own body. It's very difficult for me to remain civil with conservative men who seem hellbent on challenging our right to live as autonomous adults, with the same freedoms they so pompously take for granted. This is why I tend to ignore Matt's posts most of the time. Comparing gay conversion "therapy" (which is actually a form of abuse, not "therapy") to something like birth control is so stupid, so patently lame, I'd rather not even dignify it with a rebuttal.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 9 years 8 weeks ago

Loren Bliss and Alice, I think you're wrong on a couple of points. First Loren, I think you have some things in reverse order. Everything is about economics and level of technology and it isn't patriarchal religion that created patriarchal society but vice versa.
When I was studying anthropology in the U.S. 35 years ago there was no concealment at all of the fact that ALL human cultures came from egalitarian, communal direct democracies without hierarchy or even formal authority. The most conservative anthropologist acknowledged it - even if they considered capitalism an improvement or an evolutionary advance. I don't know how it is in the field today.
Cultures that are preagricultural are egalitarian and close to nature and the earth and their animistic, highly woman influenced religions reflect that.
With the domestication of plants and animals the principle of domestication was soon applied to other people and people began to enslave other people and keep them for use and consumption. Patriarchy developed in tandem with private property and patriarchal religion came as a result of that. Essentially, the priesthood is brought out to bless whatever system is in place at any time but the real action is always in the political-economic arena around the means of production.
The solution to capitalism would, I think, be democracy but not bourgeois democracy that glosses over differences in political power between socioeconomic classes but in social democracy or non hierarchical, libertarian socialism or anarcho communism.
Marx's solution was the abolition of private property by the state which would take away the need for the state (we all know from reading Engels that the state was invented to enforce private property rights - and many, today, still think that the only legitimate function of the state). With the abolition of private property community would be strengthened and greed obsolete thus there would be ever less need for the police, prisons and the courts and the state would, over time, atrophy from disuse and "wither away" and we live, thereafter, in stateless, propertyless, hierarchyless "pure communism".
I don't know how much I trust representative democracy or ANY state anymore - certainly not the nominally Leninist dictatorships, simply because the dictator ostensibly pledges allegiance to Marxism nor the bourgeois state of representative democracy where, as in the case of TPP, virtually the whole body of the representative legislature can be simply bribed to vote away ANY semblance of democracy and choose for their constituents deliverance into feudalism.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 9 years 8 weeks ago

Matt, as is commonly the case, your assertion rests on certain presumptions I don't accept or that are simply without foundation. Laws that require religious institutions to pay for birth control are an outlawing of discrimination. A legitimate function of government is to protect people's rights, not to enforce any religious philosophy or intolerance.
I, anyway, would not have problem with requiring an employer's employee insurance plan covering gay conversion therapy as long as the employee freely chooses it and isn't required by the employer to undergo it. That's, of course, as long as gay conversion therapy is still legal - as in many places it no longer is and, hopefully, will soon be banned everywhere.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 8 weeks ago

Mark, your distrust of government is understandable. But where's a realistic alternative? Until or unless someone comes up with a better idea, I'll stick with representative democracy.

By the way, nice to see ya again ole buddy.

ChicagoMatt 9 years 8 weeks ago
I, anyway, would not have problem with requiring an employer's employee insurance plan covering gay conversion therapy as long as the employee freely chooses it and isn't required by the employer to undergo it.

Would you be ok with the employer choosing it for their not-yet-18-year-old children? And, if you think, "no, we should let that child make that decision on their own, once they are 18", then would you also apply that logic to other decisions parents make for their children, like vaccinations?

A legitimate function of government is to protect people's rights, not to enforce any religious philosophy or intolerance.

Atheism/secularism is a philosophy (there is no room for God in modern society), which the government seems hell-bent on forcing on people. Saying to people that they MUST pay for something that they are opposed to is intolerant of that person's faith. It's no different than forcing a Jew to pay for pork for someone else, or a Hindu to pay for beef for someone else, or even forcing a Muslim woman to take her headscarf off in public.

For all of their talk of tolerance, Progressives are awfully intolerant of anyone who sees things differently than them. At some point, don't you just want to say, "hey, man... if they think birth control is immoral, that's cool. Live and let live. Their employees can just buy it on their own, or find another job."

ScaryMary 9 years 8 weeks ago

Alice, thanks for your insight and kind words!

ScaryMary 9 years 8 weeks ago

ChicagoMatt, your anti-contraception buddies at a GOP company in DC brutally fired me BECAUSE MY MOM DID NOT USE contraception! -- she disfigured my face instead as her abstinence excuse, and you defend such criminality as religious "tolerance!" Because i'm old and disfigured by your womb-trafficking thugs, I can't get another job somewhere else! Why don't you stop using religion to justify Nazism?

w1ders's picture
w1ders 9 years 8 weeks ago

Just about all the nonsense is due to the traitors in our elected government. Since they are traitors I would suggest any means legal to be rid of them. Tar, feathers, and rails comes to mind.

RLTOWNSLEY's picture
RLTOWNSLEY 9 years 8 weeks ago

#16 Loren Bliss; I can't really agree with your charge that patriarchy has been the sole cause of all the problems we have today. When the women's movement mounted yet another attempt to rise to prominence in the late 1960s, a well known male member of Congress in that era stated that he had no doubt that the rise of women in positions of political power would cure many of the system's ongoing inequities. He continued with a warning that within twenty or so years, those same women would adapt to the realities of our political and economic system and become just as corrupt and greedy as their male counterparts. Loss of all integrity and ethical standards is inevitable when anyone is given full unfettered access to the candy store !

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 8 weeks ago

Matt, your arguments are so damn stupid that it pains me to read your posts. I don’t know what possessed me to read your latest one. But what you don’t seem to grasp is that the employer is paying for the employee’s time and labor. The employer is not paying for the employee’s birth control, or housing or food or other necessities… or doughnuts, for that matter. The employee is working to pay for the employee’s birth control, housing and other necessities, internet service, clothing, shoes, and doughnuts. D-U-H.

Are any of these words too big for the Catholic schoolteacher to understand? Do I need to re-phrase any of this?

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 8 weeks ago

Here, Matt; I'll make it REAL simple for you. Employers pay employees for their work. PERIOD. What the employee does with her earnings is her own goddam business.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 8 weeks ago

Still too complicated? Okay, try this concept on for size. We work to live. It's called "earning your keep".

ChicagoMatt 9 years 8 weeks ago

Alice, that system was working great until the government stepped in and said HobbyLobby MUST not only pay wages to their voluntary employees, but must also provide health insurance. That alone wouldn't have been a problem either, until the government also said that health insurance MUST cover birth control.

Before the courts ruled in HobbyLobby's favor, the owners of HobbyLobby offered to increase their employee's wages to cover the cost of uncovered birth control. But the government said no.

The employees aren't writing the checks to the insurance company - the owners of the insured company are. Therein lies the moral dilemma for the owners.

Had the government said employers must provide health insurance, OR increase wages so that employees can find their own health insurance, this moral issue wouldn't exist.

It's the intolerance of the left - they cannot tolerate that someone might have a moral problem with something that they do not think is immoral - that brought this issue to the courts.

ScaryMary 9 years 8 weeks ago

Matt, only pedophile priests and adulterous wife dumpers like Newt Gingrich are outraged that women no longer die young in droves from splitting their lady parts by popping out 20-30 kids each. Although contraception from hundreds of plants has been around forever, and abortion for obstructed labor is the world's oldest medical procedure, maternal safety only got criminalized when pedophile priests hijacked your cult. Obstetric bladder and bowel fistulas are the REAL reason your cult banned priests' marriages to "piles of dung" MOTHERS. Fistulas only became somewhat fixasble 150 years ago because of Dr. Marion Sims's gruesome surgical experiments on slave women. Even so, adult diapers are primarily sold to women ruined by childbirth. Why do you think most "pro-lfe" GOPers like Randall Terry cheat on and divorce their brood mares? My mom suffered childbirth-caused incontinence, and fraudulent UNnatural Family Cramming guaranteed that her two and three ovulations per month would result in her "unplanned" "sons" with intersex XXY Klinefelter Syndrome. Catholic NFP fools have the most intersex gay children since more than one sperm can fertilize aging eggs, opposite sex twins can fuse into intersex singletons, and younger children from large families have opposite sex microchimerism DNA from older siblings. Because of these bankrupting medical complications from unwanted pregnancies ususally cause divorce and spousal abuse, and since most anti-contraception scolds are hypocrite users, your cult does not have the right to commit cult-based Munchausen by Proxy medical abuse and neglect of employees just because your cult is run by pedophile Munchausen by Proxy perps. Your cult is immoral and criminal, and we are not your incubating slaves.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 9 years 8 weeks ago

Matt, you don't understand separation of church and state. Employers don't have a right to decide for their employees what their religious values are to be. The employer doesn't have to practice birth control in their own lives but must provide inclusive healthcare for all their employees that provides for all licit options.
Do you think Hindu employers should be able to require vegetarianism of their employees? I am an ethical vegetarian myself but I don'think so.
Gay conversion therapy is, I think, abusive and should be banned everywhere.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 9 years 8 weeks ago

Matt, we're not intolerant, we think everyone should be able to choose their moral convictions, for THEMSELVES, not for someone else. Gay conversion therapy should be available for consenting adults.
Alice, good to hear from you. You haven't been around, was hoping you were alright.

ChicagoMatt 9 years 8 weeks ago
Employers don't have a right to decide for their employees what their religious values are to be.

And no employers are doing that. They're just saying that they aren't going to write the check to the provider of the services they deem immoral. The employee can do whatever they want with their money. But this isn't the employee's money - it's the employers.

Do you think Hindu employers should be able to require vegetarianism of their employees?

No. But should those Hindu employers be forced to swipe their credit card at the McDonalds checkout for their employees? No.

As with the HobbyLobby case, the employers should only be required to pay wages - money, that is - to their employees. And the employees can do whatever they want with that money. The government's insistance that the employers also provide a service which directly contradicts the employee's morals is the problem.

We could come up with examples all day of other things that are immoral to some that employers shouldn't have to pay for, but the employees can buy all they want with their own money. Gun, prostitutes (in some places), marijuana (in some places), etc...

The issue is not, and never has been, about what the employees do when not at work. It's about who has to directly pay for it. That is, who is writing the check/swiping the credit card for these things?

Sports gambling is considered a sin by my employer - the Archdiocese of Chicago. I do it anyway. They pay me, and I use that pay to bet on the Bears from time to time. They are not, however, forced by the government to place those bets for me.

That's the difference.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 8 weeks ago

Reply to #36: Mark, thanks for your concern. My absence was not due to illness or personal hardship.

I've been writing letters to the editor of our local paper, which has had me very preoccupied over the past several weeks. And in the accompanying blogs, I'm slugging it out with local yahoos over this liquified natural gas (LNG) export terminal and pipeline that Veresen (a Canadian fossil fuel company), wants to plunk down in the middle of Coos County, Oregon where I live. I'm vehemently opposed to it, like lots of other folks around here. In addition to the environmental, health & safety issues this raises, I’m very upset over Veresen and their subcontractors threatening some of our neighbors with land theft (excuse me- "eminent domain".) From my perspective, what threatens them undermines us all. Coos County residents opposed to the project have put plenty of emphasis on health & safety while the issue of land theft has been largely neglected. I'm determined to fill that gap in the dialogue, because it is too important an issue to ignore.

I’m presently submitting a series of letters to the editor of The World’s forum column, each profiling a different landowner under siege from these goddam pigs. Each letter is based on a letter to FERC by one such landowner. Since I haven't obtained permission to tell their stories, I change names and mask identities to guard their privacy. But all other details are authentic. And the threats these people face are ugly: catastrophic land erosion, pollution, the risk of pipe leaks and explosions... not to mention the loss of people’s water sources via erosion and pollution. It's the stuff nightmares are made of.

Meanwhile the LNG huggin’ yahoos I've been debating on these blogs are bloody delusional. They keep insisting this will be the answer to all Coos County's financial troubles! Riiiiiiiight. I wouldn't be at all surprised if at least some of them were paid shills for Veresen, because they never miss a beat. Whenever a letter is published having anything to do with LNG, especially if it's against this proposed project, those guys are on it like brown on shit. Anyone opposed to the project can expect to be denigrated by them with insults, condescention and dismissive remarks. That's all they've got to offer, because they've no facts to substantiate their claims. They respond to these horror stories I’ve chronicled with this too-bad-so-sad attitude.

I may not have big bucks or political clout, but I’ve got enough writing & debating skills to give ‘em a run for their money. I’ve made it my mission to be a perpetual thorn in their sides, shining some light through the holes in their arguments while dishing back some of the crap they dish out. I'd like to think it's helped embolden others to stand up to them as well.

Anyway Mark, that’s what I’ve been up to. My absence from Thom’s website was never meant to be forever. But thanks for asking, and for caring enough to ask. That's very kind of you, and I don't take kindness for granted. - Aliceinplunderland

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 8 weeks ago

Loren Bliss, Aliceinwonderland, and Mark J. Saulys ~ After giving the real question of this thread some careful thought I think I have a couple of suggestions I'd like to toss out there. There are two things you've said, Mark, that I think really ring true; however, I'd like to expand on them a bit.

You've mentioned that the solution to our social problems might be in establishing a true form of social democracy; because, that is what has worked best in pre industrial antiquity. I agree; and, I think I might know how to do that.

First, our problem right now is industrialization. It has taken away from our simple agrarian based society and moved it from a agricultural Gemeinschaft model to an industrialized Gesellschaft mode. I believe that most of the ills from this change has been brought about from the easy money available from the fossil fuels industry. The first thing we need to do is to change that back. Fossil fuels MUST BE BANNED! We need to become a green society that relies more on agriculture, and the means to produce it, than on industry.Industry must become dependent upon agriculture. Since that conversion is also vital in our efforts to combat climate change, it should be a rather easy, if not inevitable, cycle of human progress to make that change happen. Eventually, at least.

Secondly, how do we bring about a democratic socialistic utopia in a modern high tech and population dense society? Well, I think the solution to that question lies in the question. At this point in our technological advancement, we are at a stage where traditional democratic government forms are really obsolete. Soon, technology will enable every citizen to vote online electronically from the comfort of their own homes. Public access points can be set up in public venues that can even accommodate the homeless--if there still exists homeless in the future; which, I highly doubt there will be. A new form of democratic socialist government that directly involves the citizens for final approval of legislation eliminates the "importance" of elected officials. In this system, our elected officials will only serve to gather information and write and submit proposals for public scrutiny and vote. They will be held directly accountable to every voter for every action. There will be no need for voter ID laws either because thanks to technology and fingerprint, retinal, and, eventually, DNA scans, everyone will always carry a positive ID with them everywhere. Every vote will be counted and every voter will be accounted for. Power to the People never before was so potentially possible as it is today.

It is my firm belief and hope that with those two issues factored into the equation, a sound and functional democratic socialist government of the future could be created that would make it quite impossible for corporate fascist influences to flourish like they currently do. In fact, they too, along with the fossil fuel industry, will become a thing of the past. A story parents tell their children to frighten them into behaving. Once we eliminate greed from the equation, everything else will fall into line like dominos.

Loren Bliss's picture
Loren Bliss 9 years 8 weeks ago

Such a psychodynamically interesting screen name is ChicagoMatt -- as if daring us to tread on (or perhaps wipe our intellectual feet on) a fascistic door-mat every time we enter here. Is the mat perhaps mined (albeit now obviously with a dud)? Or does it perhaps suggest the reality of a "Chicago-Mat," an android that parrots doctrines as mandated by the Roman Catholic Church and its Archdiocese of Chicago, perhaps as it also simultaneously replicates the associated graft and corruption, as in "the Ruling Class brought out its Chicago-Mats to ensure the fixed election went as intended." Eh?

Of course ChicagoMatt cum Chicago-Mat should also remind us there was once a NewYork-Mat too, in the person of Francis Cardinal Spellman, the Archbishop of New York, who more than any other one individual on earth was directly responsible for the 58,303 U.S. military deaths in Vietnam.

Ain't semiotics fun?

ScaryMary 9 years 8 weeks ago

Loren, thanks for linking the evil "pro-life family values" Cardinal Spellman in with robbing us involuntary old maids of nearly 60,000 husbands! War whore GOPers like Chicago Matt love blaming us "evil" feminists and honest gays for declining marriages, and our pretend liberal media never links those missing husbands to Catholic GOP Inquisitions against "heretic" Buddhists and Muslims! Thanks for putting the blame back on Spellman, who was also a PEDOPHILE. Matt is so full of his own slimey sainthood that he brazenly mentions working for Chicago pedophiles, then whines over other employers not getting away with his holy but criminal womb-trafficking of female employees!

Matt, are you the same Chicago Matt Abbott who writes fascist nonsense for professional Catholic bigot Allan Keyes, who disowned his own NFP-caused lesbian daughter? I thought so! Many years ago, a Matt Abbott sent me nasty emails when I attacked the hypocrisy of holy adulterer Newt Gingrich and his "Catholic" child-free Tiffany tart Call-Girl-ista. That Matt then got his bully Catholic friend Sue to gang up on Catholic abuse survivor me for exposing their own anti-Christ heresies and homicidal hypocrisies.

Once again, Matt Abbott, keep your pedophile priest-blessed rosaries off our ovaries! If you had brains instead of heretic pedophile propaganda, you would realize that if it's OK for Hobby Lobby to serve ABORTIFACIENT coffee, tea and colas in its break rooms to your designated breeders, then it's OK for those breeders to receive more reliable abortifacients from their earned health care! How dare you demand underpaid Hobby Lobby women risk gruesome childbirth deaths while YOU DEFEND Tiffany tart Call-Girl-ista committing banned oral sex and undergoing surgical abortions for more Tiffany baubles!? "Pro-life" Call-Girl-ista hasn't even bothered to adopt children! Shame on fascist hypocrite you! You are a disgrace to Jesus!

ScaryMary 9 years 8 weeks ago

Mr. "Mighty Morals" Matt thinks he can blame and shame us wised-up Catholic abuse survivors into overlooking his hypocrisy cult's mass graves of holy genocides, matricides and infanticides while he fulminates over the "baby killing" pill poppers of Hobby Lobby! -- never mind that HIS denial of contraception directly shamed Litter Sister Oppressing the Poor Sosefina Amoa from Samoa into smothering her secret out of wedlock newborn right after she arrived at her new convent in Washington, DC a couple years ago! Morally bankrupt Matt thinks infanticide is less sinful than using contraception! This same depraved theology is why the Vatican ordered German Catholics to vote for anti-abortion Catholic Hitler!

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 8 weeks ago

ScaryMary gets the Bumper Sticker of the Year award: "Keep your rosaries off our ovaries!"

Hey girlfriend, take a bow. I crown you Queen For A Day!

ScaryMary 9 years 8 weeks ago

Fabulous rant, Alice! And hey! -- how about all the abortions resulting from GOPers' free Viagra pills? How come priests and GOPers who force abortions on their mistresses and rape victims never get arrested, but women who suffer miscarriages now do decades in jail just for depriving Matt's pet peds of fresh molestable altar boys? Catholic Sister Sosefina only got four years for her infanticide, but "heretic" Hindu Purvi Patel in Indiana got 20-40 years for a MISCARRIAGE! Why are infanticides by promiscuous nuns harmless misdemeanors, but stillbirths by sickly impoverished women federal homicides? And where is Matt's outrage over "anti-contraception" missionary nuns popping birth control pills to avoid rape pregnancies?

ScaryMary 9 years 8 weeks ago

Thanks, but I stole that from feminists. I merely added the "blessed by pedophile priests" embellishment.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 8 weeks ago

Matt’s all bent out of shape because our mean old government decided Hobby Lobby, and companies like Hobby Lobby, “MUST not only pay wages to their voluntary employees, but must also provide health insurance.” ( Horrors! ) It seems those rare occasions when the government actually does its job (defending the interests of its "ordinary" citizens), are when Matt is most likely to whine and complain about government “stepping in” where they don’t belong. Because in Chicago Matt’s realm of reality, we don’t work because we’re forced by necessity; we work voluntarily! We do it for fun!! Well gee whiz, that does put a different slant on things— doesn’t it!

You’re right, schoolteacher, employees don’t write the checks to the insurance companies. They don’t write their own paychecks either! So what. It’s still their money. They EARN those benefits just like they EARN their pay. Yeah I know, that’s a tough one to grasp.

Conservatives like Mat want to twist it around, re-framing and re-defining the very essence of this age-old employer-to-employee exchange. Instead of us earning our keep, we’re just volunteers who aren’t entitled to anything except whatever the Almighty Boss Man decides to give us, out of the kindness of his charitable heart… if only the mean old government wouldn’t “step in” to interfere with this sacred arrangement! Never mind that a majority of us would literally perish without a fucking job. Never mind that we happen to live in a society where most healthcare is employment-based. Matt sees fit to complain about business owners mandated to provide health insurance to their workers. Boo-hoo-hoo, ain't that a bitch. Apparently Matt thinks only millionaires, billionaires and trust fund brats should be entitled to healthcare.

No man has ever died from a limp dick. However deaths from childbirth in this country are at their highest in 25 years. According to a new study by researchers for the Institute of Health Metrics & Evaluation at the University of Washington (published in a weekly medical journal called The Lancet), a woman giving birth in the good ole USA is more likely to lose her life than a woman in China. Our maternal mortality statistics put us on a par with women in Afghanistan and Greece, along with several countries in Africa. In fact, we have more than DOUBLE the maternal mortality rate of Canada and Saudi Arabia; more than TRIPLE for the United Kingdom! Yet according to The Pledge, we're "One Nation Under God", that Big Dick In The Sky.

As always, male employees’ entitlement to Viagra, Cialis and other limp-dick remedies covered in THEIR insurance policies is never challenged. Only a woman’s need for gender-specific healthcare services, such as birth control and abortion, are held under scrutiny. Yet for some mysterious reason, I don’t hear Matt questioning the moral dilemma in THAT. Oh no. But hey, that’s Catholicism for ya! Men’s religion, men’s rules. Suck it up, ladies. But hey, we’re special; we’re exceptional! Glory to God, and God Bless America!!!

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 8 weeks ago

ChicagoMatt ~ What you fail to realize is that benefits are part of the compensation package. They are not paid for by the Employer as a gift, they are earned by the employee; and, as such, become the property of the employee when payment is due. If the employer belongs to a Mormon church; and, that church requires 10% of wages from it's members, is it therefore right for the employer to garnish 10% of the wages of it's employees for that church? It's exactly the same thing. The employer is deciding how the employees money is being spent before that employee gets paid soley for the personal religious reasons of the employer. I call that, a cheap excuse for robbery! In the case of Hobby Lobby, it is an excuse to inflict ones religious beliefs upon another.

That is precisely why the government must step and and prevent this kind of religious nonsense from allowing private companies to garnish wages of any kind from their employees for ANY REASON. Those wages--as benefits--are the property of the employee and ONLY the employee should decide why, how and when to use or not use them.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 8 weeks ago

ScaryMary ~ Welcome aboard our cruise ship. Hope you stay a LONG while. One quick question -- would this lovely person be the Chicago Matt Abbott you so wonderfully refer too? Inquiring minds want to know.

ChicagoMatt 9 years 8 weeks ago
What you fail to realize is that benefits are part of the compensation package. They are not paid for by the Employer as a gift, they are earned by the employee; and, as such, become the property of the employee when payment is due.

I realize that. The problem is that the government is forcing owner/operators of businesses to compensate their employees with things the owner/operators find immoral. If you owned a business, and you were told you have to pay your employees with something that was against your faith, wouldn't you also fight that ruling?

No one is saying employees shouldn't get fair compensation. No one is saying employers should be able to deny an employee's freedom to contrapception. Use your paycheck to get all of the contraception (or booze or hookers or guns or whatever else) you want. But, again, don't expect to be paid with contraception/booze/hookers/guns....

The employer is deciding how the employees money is being spent before that employee gets paid soley for the personal religious reasons of the employer.

No. The government is deciding that employers can't just pay wages, but must also compensate their employees with a service.

It is, in the end, the employer, not the employee, who is spending the money on the insurance which includes contraception.

ChicagoMatt 9 years 8 weeks ago

I take it as a compliment that you all think I am some sort of professional shill. It means my writing is above average and I make good point. :)

But no, that's not me. I'm just a teacher who likes to practice writing, likes to argue, and likes to procrastinate. I get all three done here...

Plus, you all should be thanking the dissenting viewpoints that show up on this blog. We keep the conversation going. Look at all of the longest threads. They all have one thing in common: non-Progressives making a point, and Progressives piling on... Which is to be expected on a Progressive blog, I suppose.

Anyway, you're welcome. I'm helping you keep your minds sharp....

Thom's Blog Is On the Move

Hello All

Thom's blog in this space and moving to a new home.

Please follow us across to - this will be the only place going forward to read Thom's blog posts and articles.

From Unequal Protection, 2nd Edition:
"Hartmann combines a remarkable piece of historical research with a brilliant literary style to tell the grand story of corporate corruption and its consequences for society with the force and readability of a great novel."
David C. Korten, author of When Corporations Rule the World and Agenda for A New Economy
From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"Thom Hartmann is a literary descendent of Ben Franklin and Tom Paine. His unflinching observations and deep passion inspire us to explore contemporary culture, politics, and economics; challenge us to face the facts of the societies we are creating; and empower us to demand a better world for our children and grandchildren."
John Perkins, author of the New York Times bestselling book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
From Cracking the Code:
"No one communicates more thoughtfully or effectively on the radio airwaves than Thom Hartmann. He gets inside the arguments and helps people to think them through—to understand how to respond when they’re talking about public issues with coworkers, neighbors, and friends. This book explores some of the key perspectives behind his approach, teaching us not just how to find the facts, but to talk about what they mean in a way that people will hear."
to understand how to respond when they’re talking about public issues with coworkers, neighbors, and friends. This book explores some of the key perspectives behind his approach, teaching us not just how to find the facts, but to talk about what they mean in a way that people will hear."