Bitter pill

Sex-crazed Christians have gotten a capitulation from the Obama administration on birth control coverage. For heaven’s sake, don’t go to work for Christian Scientists, you won’t get any health insurance at all! Charlie Pierce:

In case you haven’t noticed, and as we’ll discuss at length later, the president’s approval rating has ticked upwards considerably since he was sworn in again. This, despite the fact the the entire Middle East seems to be up for grabs and the economy still has one wheel stuck in the ditch, and Republicans are jacking around with his nominees for practically everything. So, naturally, it is time for the administration to get magnanimous and reach out a compromising hand to people who eat phalanges on toast for breakfast. And the ladyparts of Presbyterian charpersons get sold down the river again.


Whatever you may thing of the compromises that were necessary to get the Affordable Care Act passed, the very nature of them, and the sheer number of them, has produced a mechanism uniquely vulnerable to political sabotage. This extended hissy fit is a very good example. The president made one compromise before he was re-elected, even though he didn’t have to, and then he got re-elected with a whopping gender gap because he stood up for the right of ladies to manage their own ladyparts free from Bible-banging interference. Now, with absolutely nothing to lose, we have another compromise, this one open to all sorts of new mischief no matter how often we are told that the new deal merely “simplifies” the problem and brings the act into more complete compliance with IRS guidelines. This, of course, presumes there was a “problem” to begin with, and not just an ensemble hissy fit among meddling clerics and theocratic pests.

The big change would be that “a house of worship would not be excluded from the exemption because, for example, it provides charitable social services to persons of different religious faiths or employs persons of different religious faiths,” according to the fact sheet. According to HHS, the change is meant to codify the intent of last year’s rules, and is not expected to “expand the universe of employer plans that would qualify for the exemption.” 

Except, of course, that it will expand that universe in practice rather dramatically. It certainly seems to expand the universe of “religiously affiliated organizations,” at least for the purposes of denying contraceptive coverage. More to the point, the individual consciences of the employees — our Presbyterian charpersons — are not accounted for at all. What we have here are regulations that codify the primacy of the employer’s conscience over the consciences of the people who work for him, especially when we consider the institutions under discussion here.

Amendment to repeal Citizens United goes viral

This is really interesting news. Is this the future? Can we effectively work around the corporate media and the political establishment by going directly to social media? Go post this on your Facebook page or Twitter, see what you can do to help it along. (And email it to your relatives.) I gotta say, this sure looks promising:

Democratic Massachusetts Rep. Jim McGovern last Tuesday proposed two Constitutional amendments on the House floor that would overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which lifted limits on political spending and unleashed a flood of funding into political organizations starting in 2010.


Speaking with HuffPost Live on Wednesday, McGovern said his two amendments received an outpouring of attention after his staff posted them on the social media site Reddit.


“We’re trying to reach out in different ways to communicate with people and posting it on Reddit was suggested to me by my staff as a way to reach a whole new audience,” McGovern told HuffPost Live’s Jacob Soboroff. “We did it and the response was incredible — we’ve gotten calls from all over the country.”


McGovern’s first proposed amendment would tackle campaign finance reform, while the second would overturn Citizens United outright.


From McGovern’s press release announcing the proposed amendments:

The first amendment, HJ Res 20, advances the fundamental principle of political equality for all by empowering Congress and the States to regulate political spending. It will allow Congress to pass campaign finance reform legislation that will withstand Constitutional challenges.


The second amendment, HJ Res 21 , would overturn Citizens United and put a stop to the growing trend of corporations claiming first amendment rights. This “People’s Rights Amendment” not only addresses corporate rights as they pertain to campaign finance, but is broader in scope to clarify that corporations are not people with Constitutional rights. Importantly, the amendment clearly protects the people’s rights of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, free exercise of religion, freedom of association, and all other such rights of the people.

Connecting dots?

Some of you may not remember, but when I filed a lawsuit against the towing company whose tow truck I fell from and hurt my ankle, my lawyer couldn’t track down the ownership of the company. So I started digging, and found several companies that seemed to be used as shells. I did locate them, and told the attorney my guess was that the owner was both mob-related and heavily politically-connected, since he had the towing contract for the entire city.

The lawyer told me I had an overactive imagination, and that it wouldn’t be relevant, anyway.

Now I wonder what really went down in the settlement hearing, because I’m pretty sure this was the owner.

Site Meter