Monday Reads: In Search of the American Dream


Good Morning!!

Whatever happened to the American dream? Did it ever exist in reality?

We baby boomers can look back to the post-WWII years, when the economy was humming along and the GI Bill made it easier for our dads to get college degrees, find good jobs, buy houses for their families.

In those days, one salary was enough to support a couple and several kids. My dad did it on a college professor’s salary. It was a struggle early on, but those government programs for veterans gave us a push into the professional class.

Eisenhower was President then–a Republican who wouldn’t even recognize his fellow Republican today. Later on, after John Kennedy was murdered and Lyndon Johnson was brought down by the Vietnam War, Richard Nixon presided over the end of the good times. After about 1973, it was over; and since then, wages have essentially remained stagnant.

That was when we entered a new America, in which it took two salaries to support a family. Women went to work, not just because they wanted to, but to keep their families afloat. Children went to day care. So many thing changed. What happened to the American dream? Were those post-war years just an outlier, a brief period of prosperity that meant nothing in the greater scheme of things?

Yesterday, I read a piece by Joseph Stiglitz–in Politico of all places–that addressed some of these questions: The Myth of America’s Golden Age: What growing up in Gary, Indiana taught me about inequality. Stiglitz was born in 1943. Growing up in the industrial “company town” of Gary, he was able to observe the underside of the “golden age” of capitalism–“discrimination, poverty, and bouts of high unemployment.” The big steel companies deliberate brought in desperately poor African Americans from the south in order to keep wages low–to divide and control the work force. Stiglitz writes that he never bought into the notion of the free market as the answer to all ills.

Nearly half a century later, the problem of inequality has reached crisis proportions. John F. Kennedy, in the spirit of optimism that prevailed at the time I was a college student, once declared that a rising tide lifts all boats. It turns out today that almost all of us now are in the same boat—the one that holds the bottom 99 percent. It is a far different boat, one marked by more poverty at the bottom and a hollowing out of the middle class, than the one occupied by the top 1 percent.

Most disturbing is the realization that the American dream–the notion that we are living in the land of opportunity–is a myth. The life chance of a young American today are more dependent on the income and education of his parents than in many other advanced countries, including “old Europe.”

American Dream, by Skip Hunt

American Dream, by Skip Hunt

Stiglitz points to Thomas Picketty’s research as evidence. Picketty’s work shows that capitalism leads inevitably to inequality. The post-war era of my childhood and early adulthood was an “aberration.”

Today, inequality is growing dramatically again, and the past three decades or so have proved conclusively that one of the major culprits is trickle-down economics—the idea that the government can just step back and if the rich get richer and use their talents and resources to create jobs, everyone will benefit. It just doesn’t work; the historical data now prove that. [….]

Ironically enough, the final proof debunking this very Republican idea of trickle-down economics has come from a Democratic administration. President Barack Obama’s banks-first approach to saving the nation from another Great Depression held that by giving money to the banks (rather than to homeowners who had been preyed upon by the banks), the economy would be saved. The administration poured billions into the banks that had brought the country to the brink of ruin, without setting conditions in return. When the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank engage in a rescue, they virtually always impose requirements to ensure the money is used in the way intended. But here, the government merely expressed the hope that the banks would keep credit, the lifeblood of the economy, flowing. And so the banks shrank lending, and paid their executives megabonuses, even though they had almost destroyed their businesses. Even then, we knew that much of the banks’ profits had been earned not by increasing the efficiency of the economy but by exploitation—through predatory lending, abusive credit-card practices and monopolistic pricing. The full extent of their misdeeds—for instance, the illegal manipulation of key interest rates and foreign exchange, affecting derivatives and mortgages in the amount of hundreds of trillions of dollars—was only just beginning to be fathomed.

American Dream, by Gordon Wendling

American Dream, by Gordon Wendling

I can’t quote any more, but I hope I’ve whetted your appetite enough that you’ll go read the whole thing. While you’re at that link, you might also take a look at this article by “zillionaire” Nick Hanauer, The Pitchforks are Coming for Us Plutocrats. Here’s just a small taste–it’s a long read.

The most ironic thing about rising inequality is how completely unnecessary and self-defeating it is. If we do something about it, if we adjust our policies in the way that, say, Franklin D. Roosevelt did during the Great Depression—so that we help the 99 percent and preempt the revolutionaries and crazies, the ones with the pitchforks—that will be the best thing possible for us rich folks, too. It’s not just that we’ll escape with our lives; it’s that we’ll most certainly get even richer.

The model for us rich guys here should be Henry Ford, who realized that all his autoworkers in Michigan weren’t only cheap labor to be exploited; they were consumers, too. Ford figured that if he raised their wages, to a then-exorbitant $5 a day, they’d be able to afford his Model Ts.

What a great idea. My suggestion to you is: Let’s do it all over again. We’ve got to try something. These idiotic trickle-down policies are destroying my customer base. And yours too.

It’s when I realized this that I decided I had to leave my insulated world of the super-rich and get involved in politics. Not directly, by running for office or becoming one of the big-money billionaires who back candidates in an election. Instead, I wanted to try to change the conversation with ideas—by advancing what my co-author, Eric Liu, and I call “middle-out” economics. It’s the long-overdue rebuttal to the trickle-down economics worldview that has become economic orthodoxy across party lines—and has so screwed the American middle class and our economy generally. Middle-out economics rejects the old misconception that an economy is a perfectly efficient, mechanistic system and embraces the much more accurate idea of an economy as a complex ecosystem made up of real people who are dependent on one another.

Which is why the fundamental law of capitalism must be: If workers have more money, businesses have more customers. Which makes middle-class consumers, not rich businesspeople like us, the true job creators.

Is it possible that because these articles appear in conservative Politico, even a few powerful people  in Washington might read them and stop for a moment to think about what what is really happening to America?

American Dream by Matt Sesow

American Dream by Matt Sesow

Also in the news today:

NBC NEWS: Yes, Perceptions of Washington Are Even Worse Than Last Year.

This is a six-month report card time, and it’s failing grades for all of Washington. President Obama’s approval rating stands at 41% in our recent NBC/WSJ poll, his fav/unfav is upside down (at 41%-45%), and a majority of Americans (54%) no longer think he’s able to lead the country and get the job done. Republicans and Congress are in even worse shape. The GOP’s fav/unfav in the NBC/WSJ poll is 29%-45% (versus the Democratic Party’s 38%-40% score). Just 7% of the country has confidence in Congress (compared with 29% for the presidency and 30% for the Supreme Court, per Gallup. And when it comes to congressional productivity, the 113th Congress (2013-2014) has passed just 121 bills into law — fewer than at this same point in the historically unproductive 112th Congress (140 bills into law). Maybe it doesn’t FEEL worse, because there hasn’t been an epic showdown or confrontation like the government shutdown. But the numbers tell a different story — it has gotten worse.

From James Risen at the NYT, scary revelations about the murder of 17 civilians by Blackwater thugs in Iraq in 2007: Before Shooting in Iraq, a Warning on Blackwater.

Just weeks before Blackwater guards fatally shot 17 civilians at Baghdad’s Nisour Square in 2007, the State Department began investigating the security contractor’s operations in Iraq. But the inquiry was abandoned after Blackwater’s top manager there issued a threat: “that he could kill” the government’s chief investigator and “no one could or would do anything about it as we were in Iraq,” according to department reports.

American Embassy officials in Baghdad sided with Blackwater rather than the State Department investigators as a dispute over the probe escalated in August 2007, the previously undisclosed documents show. The officials told the investigators that they had disrupted the embassy’s relationship with the security contractor and ordered them to leave the country, according to the reports.

After returning to Washington, the chief investigator wrote a scathing report to State Department officials documenting misconduct by Blackwater employees and warning that lax oversight of the company, which had a contract worth more than $1 billion to protect American diplomats, had created “an environment full of liability and negligence.”

“The management structures in place to manage and monitor our contracts in Iraq have become subservient to the contractors themselves,” the investigator, Jean C. Richter, wrote in an Aug. 31, 2007, memo to State Department officials. “Blackwater contractors saw themselves as above the law,” he said, adding that the “hands off” management resulted in a situation in which “the contractors, instead of Department officials, are in command and in control.”

I have a few more links, but I’m going to put them in comments; because I’m having terrible issues with WordPress today. I hope you’ll also post your thoughts and links in the thread below.

78 Comments on “Monday Reads: In Search of the American Dream”

  1. Delphyne49 says:

    Planned Parenthood Action

    BREAKING: The Supreme Court just issued a ruling that will take birth control out of the hands of women who need it. Their decision gives employers the power to deny women the new birth control benefits of the Affordable Care Act — allowing bosses to force their personal beliefs on employees.

    This isn’t over. We’re not going to let a handful of extreme bosses and politicians turn back the clock — we’re moving forward, not backward, and we’re not done fighting for women’s access to birth control.

    From my FB page….

    • bostonboomer says:

      That is so sick. The Constitution is for individual Americans, not corporate bosses.

    • Beata says:

      It’s time for a massive Women’s March on Washington. I’ll go in a wheelchair with a feeding tube in me and die trying if necessary. It would be a better way to go than a slow death.

      • Boo Radly says:

        What you suggest is what it will take. Only live and in huge numbers of protesters will change anything now. Legislators need to be confronted – in their face – with reality. The general public is sleep walking from traumatic insanity shown by Congress et al.

  2. Fannie says:

    Have you noticed that the surpreme court legal decisions have been ruling on the side of right wing side. Voting in favor of denying women birth control, in the case Hobby Lobby.

    If I worked at Hobby Lobby I would go ahead to use the contraception I want, and post that fact in the break room. Let’s see them start firing those women who have IUD’s, etc.

    I suppose the next thing we will see is that women taking birth control, will lose custody of children in their household.

    What’s happened here, is women are once again “SECOND CLASS” citizens. This is just more of the anti-woman legislations, and laws. We are seen as criminals in the because we use birth control. While the men seek pleasure, and Viagra.

    Women, we don’t need men, or women, or corporations, or government telling us want we will and will not do with our bodies.

    Fight fire with fire.

    • Pat Johnson says:

      The unofficial blurring of the separation of state and religion has finally been cast aside.

      This ruling opens a huge can of worms that will eventually take over any rights to education, healthcare, and women’s issues that will be flooding the courts for years to come.

      Welcome to the US of Religious Laws that were hindered by the writers of the Constitution and sunk in the year 2014.


      • RalphB says:

        Christian Sharia law comes to the US,

        • dakinikat says:

          I have got to get out away from these folks. At least if I’m a second or third class citizen, I want to live some place where these christobans are few and far between.

          • Beata says:

            Sky Dancers, let’s pool our money together and move to Canada or France. I’ve got about $50 saved. I’ll throw it in the kitty. Who’s in with me?

            Seriously, we should plan for that commune somewhere outside the U.S.

          • dakinikat says:

            Really! I’m there but for cost! We need a billionaire sugar skydancer!

          • NW Luna says:

            Canada, New Zealand, I’m in! Alas no sugar mama.

          • RalphB says:

            New Zealand, Australia, sounds awfully good to me! Spain or Greece would probably be cheaper though.

          • bostonboomer says:

            I’ll gladly kick in whatever I have!

          • NW Luna says:

            I have some acreage, woodland with year-round creek, in Washington state — you’re all invited. Seriously! I need to put up a place to stay but need caretakers! Still can’t afford to retire yet, and my job is hard to do in a rural area. Western part of the state, I hasten to add. Eastern Washington has a number of watered-down Banjoland areas. It’s not Canada, but our state is pretty blue and our Senators are sane.

    • Fannie says:

      Sorry for the all the spelling errors this morning……”telling us what we will and will not do”.

    • gregoryp says:

      I think this may be the worst Supreme Court in the modern era. It most certainly is the most radical one that I can think of. Pretty much terrible decision after terrible decision that are short sighted, not well thought out, political in nature, and unfortunately some of the decisions have just been completely insane.

  3. Fannie says:

    I’ve been hinting at Blackwater and where our war monies went, and how they are replaced with other fighers, just new names.

    • NW Luna says:

      This is not news about Blackwater. Oh, more details, but same violent tactics. Tarnishes the US’s international reputation even more.

      • Fannie says:

        Yes it does Luna. We’ve came along way to improve our relations since Obama, and with Hillary as SOS, and this is what we end up with.

  4. Beata says:

    Fine post, BB. The American Dream did appear to exist for a brief shining moment for some of our parents after WWII but clearly not for everyone in the country. I hope people will read the Stiglitz article. Economics is not my forte but the article is excellently written so even I can understand it.

    On a personal note: Stiglitz mentions Nobel Prize winning economist Simon Kuznets as an important influence on his own work. Kuznets’ granddaughter was a childhood friend of mine. She was brilliant. I haven’t seen her in years so the name brought back some memories.

    • Beata says:

      Correction: Stiglitz says Kuznets’ early optimism that inequality in the U.S. would continue to decline after the post-war years has been proven wrong. So although Stiglitz was taught about Kuznets’ theories as a graduate student, he does not agree with them today. Kuznets’ influence on Stiglitz was negligible; not an important influence. I misinterpreted that.

      I said I don’t understand economics. Obviously, I should stick to posting folk songs or something like that in my comments!

    • NW Luna says:

      How cool that you knew the granddaughter!

      And I don’t see anything wrong with posting thoughts on a subject and then updating them. I’ve read articles too quickly and misunderstood them on first reading, too.

  5. Beata says:

    Here you go. A Woody for your Monday:

  6. dakinikat says:

    SCOTUS continues the war on women and secular America. Corporations are not only people they can be religious zealots too.

    Secular advocacy group the Center for Inquiry decried the Supreme Court’s ruling today that the health and welfare of female employees should be subordinated to their employers’ religious beliefs, and warned that the impact of the decision will prove deeply damaging to Americans’ access to health care, well beyond the scope of contraception coverage.

    In a split decision, and over a vigorous dissent authored by Justice Ginsburg, the Court held that privately owned for-profit businesses are entitled to exemptions from the Contraceptive Mandate of the Affordable Care Act if their owners claim a religious basis for opposing contraception. As a result, employers with religious objections can deny employees access to insurance covering prescription contraception without co-pay. The Supreme Court based its decision on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which provides that a law that burdens a person’s religious beliefs must be justified by a compelling government interest. Today the Court made clear it does not view Americans’ access to medically necessary health care as a compelling government interest, and announced loud and clear that the religious preferences of employers take preference over the health needs of workers.

    In making its decision, the Supreme Court also made a determination that will cause significant confusion in church-state litigation for years to come. The majority held that small, closely held, for-profit private corporations have standing to sue under RFRA – in other words, that such corporations have the religious beliefs of their owners, and the same right to free exercise as their owners.

    We need to get Thomas, Scalia, and all the other religious freaks off the court.

    • bostonboomer says:

      What if your boss is a Christian Scientist? Can he forbid you to go to the doctor at all?

  7. dakinikat says:

    Ginsberg’s dissent is amazing.

    Here are seven more key quotes from Ginsburg’s dissent in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby:

    “The exemption sought by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga would…deny legions of women who do not hold their employers’ beliefs access to contraceptive coverage”
    “Religious organizations exist to foster the interests of persons subscribing to the same religious faith. Not so of for-profit corporations. Workers who sustain the operations of those corporations commonly are not drawn from one religious community.”
    “Any decision to use contraceptives made by a woman covered under Hobby Lobby’s or Conestoga’s plan will not be propelled by the Government, it will be the woman’s autonomous choice, informed by the physician she consults.”
    “It bears note in this regard that the cost of an IUD is nearly equivalent to a month’s full-time pay for workers earning the minimum wage.”
    “Would the exemption…extend to employers with religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah’s Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists); medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (certain Muslims, Jews, and Hindus); and vaccinations[?]…Not much help there for the lower courts bound by today’s decision.”
    “Approving some religious claims while deeming others unworthy of accommodation could be ‘perceived as favoring one religion over another,’ the very ‘risk the [Constitution’s] Establishment Clause was designed to preclude.”
    “The court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield.”

    • NW Luna says:

      The decision marks the first time the Supreme Court has found a profit-seeking business can hold religious views under federal law, analysts say. ….

      The court also said its ruling did not apply to other forms of healthcare that some find morally objectionable, such as blood transfusions or vaccinations.

      What differentiates (a) from (b) and (c):
      (a) contraception
      (b) blood transfusions
      (c) vaccinations

      Bingo! (a) is about female body parts. (b) and (c) apply to males, too. With apologies to those men who do their part to prevent unwanted pregnancies, since 95% of the methods out there now are for women.

      Clear as day. It’s OK for cults who own for-profit businesses to claim religious objections to the usual standard of healthcare for women.

      • Delphyne49 says:

        Exactly, Luna. Exactly.

      • dakinikat says:

        They own stock in pharmaceutical companies that make birth control …they’re only so pious.

        • NW Luna says:

          Obviously, if you can make money personally off of contraception, that’s OK. Just not for individual wimmens.

          • ANonOMouse says:

            This is all about money to Hobby Lobby. Until they file a suit that allows them to refuse service to women who are on contraceptives I can’t believer otherwise.

    • Beata says:

      What a great mind! Can we keep her alive forever?

      • Beata says:

        I am referring to Ginsberg. ( But Dak and Luna are great minds, too. )

        • NW Luna says:

          Lol, Beata, thanks, but it’s the community here at SD, made possible originally by Dak, but also BB and JJ and all you others who make this so a good place.

          Agree with you on Justice Ginsberg. A great intellect with understanding of ramifications on ordinary people.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        Ginsberg is brilliant and inspirational, as always. What a great champion she is.

        And I agree with the “TIME TO MARCH ON WASHINGTON” notion, We are 51% of the population and nothing will change things quicker. In the meantime WOMEN should do a full on boycott of Hobby Lobby and any other “corporation” that decides to save a buck by treating their female employees as 2nd class citizens.

    • Beata says:

      Hugo over at Uppity’s posted this brand spankin’ new protest song with lyrics taken from Ginsburg’s dissent. I love it. ( Thanks, Hugo! )

  8. dakinikat says:

    “Sharia law is having a good week in Iraq, Syria, and the U.S. Supreme Court.”
    – Andy Borowitz

  9. dakinikat says:

    Until today, many women would argue that feminism was unnecessary because that fight had been won. Even showing them the last several years of Republican attempts to steal their freedom from them legislatively didn’t move them. But Monday’s Supreme Court ruling is something that will impact a majority of women in America.

    The Supreme Court just gave Republicans their dream decision in the Hobby Lobby case, so now women who want birth control will have to go ask their Big Daddy boss for it. In Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby, this very conservative court voted to give corporations the right to refuse to cover contraception. (The way Republicans have argued this is totally not slut shaming at all, it’s just that if you sluts want sex, you’ll have to pay for it on your own, Lazy Lucys.)

    • RalphB says:

      Wonder what would happen if Planned Parenthood got a trial lawyer and signed up a few hundred Hobby Lobby employees to sue because their religious beliefs are being violated by this birth control position? Would the religious beliefs of one closely held corporation override the religious beliefs of 100s or 1000s of their actual human employees?

  10. NW Luna says:

    Obama to name Bob McDonald as new VA chief

    White House officials say Mr McDonald’s corporate background at the head of one of the largest consumer products companies in the world [Protor & Gamble] has prepared him well to lead an agency that serves more than eight million veterans a year.

    [McDonald] spent 33 years at the consumer products giant

    Great. A corporate head of a soap company now gets to oversee health care. But he graduated from West Point and was in the military for a few years. Was there no-one with Public Health or health of populations experience?

    • ANonOMouse says:

      This nominee is baffling. I’m seeing buddy system written all over this one

  11. RalphB says:

    Hobby Lobby decision is very narrow according to SCOTUSBlog:

    Closely held corporations cannot be required to provide contraception coverage.
    The Court says that RFRA requires the Govt to provide closely-held corporate objectors the same accommodation it already provides nonprofit organization objectors.
    The first reactions from other news sources overread Hobby Lobby significantly. The Court makes clear that the government can provide coverage to the female employees. And it strongly suggests it would reject broad religious claims to, for example, discriminate against gay employees.
    To be clear: the Court holds that corporations (including for-profit corporations) are “persons” for purposes of RFRA. The additional question was whether corporations can have a religious “belief” within the meaning of RFRA. On that question, the Court limits its holding to closely held corporations, leaving for another day whether larger, publicly traded corporations have religious beliefs.

    Modify or repeal RFRA and the decision becomes moot.

    • NW Luna says:

      Oh, yeah, they can’t discriminate against gays, but against women? Meh, not a big deal. Once again, women’s human rights come last.

      • RalphB says:

        The Court makes clear that the government can provide coverage to the female employees.

        • NW Luna says:

          Yes, I understood that the employees can still get contraception through their insurance policy, paid for by the ins. co. (Thank the gods for that.) But the for-profit company gets off not paying for the contraceptive part of the employer-sponsored coverage, unlike for the transfusion or vaccination part of the employer-sponsored policy coverage.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        Mentioning “gays” in the decision is a form of pitting. We are women too and anything that hurts women hurts gay women as well. I can assure you Hobby lobby is already discriminating against LGBT people in employment especially in the right-to-work states where they can fire you for any reason or no reason at all. .

    • bostonboomer says:

      The decision is a foot in the door. I’m not holding my breath for Congress to invalidate legislation that corporations like.

  12. NW Luna says:

    How did the IRBs (internal review boards, who have to approve research studies working with human subjects before studies may start) at Cornell and UCSF approve this study?

    Facebook is facing criticism after it emerged it had conducted a psychology experiment on nearly 700,000 users without their knowledge.

    The test saw Facebook “manipulate” news feeds to control which emotional expressions the users were exposed to. The research was done in collaboration with two US universities to gauge if “exposure to emotions led people to change their own posting behaviours”.

    Facebook said there was “no unnecessary collection of people’s data”. “None of the data used was associated with a specific person’s Facebook account,” the social networking giant added.

    Cornell University and the University of California at San Francisco were involved in the study.

    But some have criticised the way the research was conducted and raised concerns over the impact such studies could have. “Let’s call the Facebook experiment what it is: a symptom of a much wider failure to think about ethics, power and consent on platforms,” Kate Crawford posted on Twitter. Lauren Weinstein tweeted: “Facebook secretly experiments on users to try make them sad. What could go wrong?” Meanwhile, [British] Labour MP Jim Sheridan, a member of the Commons media select committee has called for an investigation into the matter.

    Glad I’m not on Facebook. Data mining plus you get to be a psych study subject without informed consent.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I saw that, but why should I be shocked when the APA refuses to take a stand against psychologists helping to design torture methods?

      I wouldn’t be surprised to see a class action suit. The study was totally unethical.

      • NW Luna says:

        the APA refuses to take a stand against psychologists helping to design torture methods

        That’s completely unethical too. However, I was surprised that IRBs at the universities approved this.

  13. bostonboomer says:

    Crooks and Liars: Jeffrey Toobin Tells Americans To Be ‘Grateful’ That Dick Cheney Is Back On Their TVs

  14. bostonboomer says:

    Men’s rights conference takes aim at feminism

    ST. CLAIR SHORES, Michigan – At what was billed as the first annual international conference on men’s issues, feminists were ruining everything.

    “I call it the evil empire,” Erin Pizzey, the British founder of one of the first domestic violence shelters and a staunch anti-feminist, said Friday, borrowing Ronald Reagan’s description of the Soviet Union. “We need to go after them. We cannot allow this to continue. And if we don’t stop it, I don’t see a future for marriage, for love, or for anything.”

    “We need to name names,” Pizzey said, “and first on my list is Hillary Clinton.” One of the few overtly partisan moments at the conference, it drew loud cheers and applause from the attendees.

    The conference comes amid increased focus on women’s rights. The Supreme Court is poised to decide whether employers are allowed to refuse to cover contraception in their health insurance plans; college campuses and the military are working to combat sexual assault; and women’s groups are fighting for laws to close the pay gap between men and women. But for a group of activists meeting in Michigan this weekend, it’s men’s rights that are under attack.

    Men’s rights activists have a long list of grievances. They say fathers have to navigate a family court system that unfairly privileges mothers in divorce, and that boys are falling behind in education. They worry about high unemployment among men and the fact that men are more likely to commit suicide. They argue that domestic and sexual violence against men is underplayed by the media, and that men are unfairly stereotyped as violent sexual predators. These are all fruits of a society where women are valued and protected, while men are not.

    • RalphB says:

      Whiny assholes!

    • RalphB says:

      TBogg: Sparsely attended ‘men’s rights’ soirée arrives at source of their problems. Hint: It’s women

      If you’re a white man, a dude, a bro, a man’s man, a guy, a studmuffin, and you didn’t spend your weekend hanging out at a VFW post in the Detroit area, you are probably unaware that you are the most put-upon powerless useless flap of skin attached to a horribly-mutilated-by-a-mohel penis in the history of the world.

      Yup, the first International Conference on Men’s Issues rolled into Veterans of Foreign Wars Bruce Post 1146 in St. Clair, Michigan, this weekend and over ONE HUNDRED attendees, from all walks of life — if by ‘all walks of life’ you mean: ‘middle-aged divorced white guys with anger management issues’ — came together in brotherhood to address the source of all of the pain and suffering and existential angst that afflicts MANkind.

      Resolved: Women are to blame.

  15. RalphB says:

    Charles Pierce’s excellent report on the Hobby Lobby case.

    The Supreme Court Evolves to Open Religious Discrimination

  16. bostonboomer says:

    Jonathan Cohn:

    The Hobby Lobby Case Shows Why Private Companies Shouldn’t Provide Insurance. The Government Should.

    According to one 2009 study, about half the workforce is employed by closely held corporations. And unless I’m misreading the opinion, Alito and the four justices voting with him haven’t ruled out expanding the exemption to include more businesses. More important, the ruling establishes a new principle: that corporations can have the same rights of religious belief and expression that individual people do. I’m not a lawyer, but it sure sounds like this could allow them to opt out of other laws they find objectionable, including anti-discrimination laws.

  17. gregoryp says:

    Well, one of the solutions here to this Hobby Lobby travesty is rather obvious. It is a for profit business. Can’t make a profit if your core customers (women) don’t patronize your store. My wife and I have just decided that we can no longer afford to buy their Chinese made crap. I guess whenever I need some new art supplies I’ll just buy it online or make the drive to another town that has a store whose owners recognize that they aren’t the only people who matter.

  18. leefeller says:

    Three things come to mind after reading your cogent and interesting commentary. Eric Hoffer talked of elite revolutions, I suspect we are in one. Today we saw the final point of Britt’s “14 points on fascism fulfilled”.