Wednesday Highlights

Well, yesterday was a travel, on-site, travel day … sorry about not giving warning.

Anyhow, links? I’m running late, hence the brevity.

  1. Noses.
  2. Economics of genocide.
  3. Human dignity lapsed.
  4. A book to read.
  5. Nonchalant taken to an extreme.
  6. Of metrics and meaning.
  7. Time and relationships.
  8. Isolationism by another name.
  9. Afghanistan.
  10. BBQ and a reprise.
  11. Threat or expression of same.
  12. Hobby Lobby. Someone explain why H/L doesn’t get the exemption but Tyndale does in a consistent fashion.
  13. Anthropology and Conan.
  14. Mr Biden.
  15. I think we value freedom because we think it fosters happiness, and some don’t think it does (foster) the same way others do.
  16. If useless, why bother?
  17. Guns and footballers.
  18. Yikes.

34 responses to “Wednesday Highlights

  1. 12.Hobby Lobby. Someone explain why H/L doesn’t get the exemption but Tyndale does in a consistent fashion

    They aren’t, but this is what happens when you try to accomodate the religious right by giving churches and religious institutions special treatment. You have to start making calls about whether institutions that are part church and part business should be considered one or the other.

    Here’s the problem with the argument against contraceptive coverage. Your health benefits are your earned money. For your boss to claim you using contraceptives violates his principles is essentially saying your boss has say over your reproductive decisions. If your boss does, then he can just as easily tell you you shouldn’t be having more kids.

    So here’s how I would work the test here….how would you feel about a manager or owner telling his employees that they or their spouses should not be having a baby? The only place where I would feel comfortable allowing an employer to have such a say in employees personal lives would be a highly religious institution like a Church. Businesses that just happen to be run by religious groups should abide by business rules which recognize a privacy barrier between the workplace and home life.

  2. 14.Mr Biden.

    Shocking, form letters can create awakward situations! Excellent spin, though, the Republicans run a rapist for office and Biden’s to blame. How exactly did the GOP get to be such a rape friendly party?

  3. Boonton,

    So here’s how I would work the test here….how would you feel about a manager or owner telling his employees that they or their spouses should not be having a baby?

    We are all comfortable with that.

    You have two incorrect premises about contraceptive coverage, one that it is required or necessary (condoms are cheap) and that the other that this is “earned money.” Some businesses offer free coffee (or soda). Some don’t. Those that do, the coffee is not “earned money”. It’s an optional benefit.

    Regarding more expensive contraceptive options in the face of other inexpensive ones. Some people have $100k supercars. Some have $500 rust buckets. If a car was “required” for employers to supply, there is no reason to require the supercar if transportation is the need.

  4. We are all comfortable with that.

    You are comfortable with your employer telling you that your wife should not have another baby? !

    Sounds like you have some work-life balance issues.

    You have two incorrect premises about contraceptive coverage, one that it is required or necessary (condoms are cheap) and that the other that this is “earned money.”

    Unlike ‘free coffee’, which is usually offered to anyone in the building, health coverage is offered in exchange for actual work which makes it compensation which means it ceases to become the employers property and becomes the employee’s when it is earned.

  5. Boonton,

    You are comfortable with your employer telling you that your wife should not have another baby? !

    I, unlike you, live in the real world. Jobs and tasks for which “don’t have children” are given often are those which have a very high mortality rate (we’ve got a mission behind enemy lines … we’re only asking the single men). I suspect you’re OK with that. See. Easy. I don’t have work/life balance issues you have real world/rhetoric balance issues. See. You don’t have a problem with it.

    And to be honest, if an employer made clear when you signed up for the job that it was only offering its jobs to single people (having no children), …. what exactly is wrong with that?

    Unlike ‘free coffee’, which is usually offered to anyone in the building, health coverage is offered in exchange for actual work which makes it compensation which means it ceases to become the employers property and becomes the employee’s when it is earned.

    Perhaps … but I don’t see guys coming in off the street, taking coffee and leaving. Neither do you in those places which have coffee offered. So, alas, it is offered in exchange for work.

    Try again.

    And yes, I realize that you don’t want work to pay for health insurance and just get paid, you know, cash for which you have full choice. Except it isn’t (money). It’s a benefit .. (and actually is called the same). Benefits are like the coffee, for which the employer has a choice in what benefits he gives.

  6. I, unlike you, live in the real world. Jobs and tasks for which “don’t have children” are given often are those which have a very high mortality rate (we’ve got a mission behind enemy lines … we’re only asking the single men).

    You live in the real world? Hmph. Is this why you are giving us ‘GI Joe’ as your example of ‘someone with a job’? But the only place where that’s realistic is the military and if you’re in the military you can’t get out of combat tours by simply being married.

    More importantly, you’re trying to distract from the issue here. The question isn’t a job that’s unsuitable for people who are pregnant or have kids, it’s a boss whose minding his employees business. Suppose your boss told you he didn’t approve of your wife getting pregnant. He explains you already have kids and childbirth is expensive and you’ve ‘had your fair share’ therefore he would either like you not to have any more kids with your wife or if you do pay for it outside of your health plan.

    If you wish you can even make it a religious issue. Your boss has strong feelings about the earth and feels having more than a small number of kids is harmful and violates God’s command for humans to be stewards therefore he will ask tha the health plan not ‘force him to subsidize’ ‘excessive breeders’.

    Perhaps … but I don’t see guys coming in off the street, taking coffee and leaving.

    A company that never has customers, suppliers, or other visitors? Possibly but not that common. And how many ‘free coffee’ type companies give health insurance to people walking in off the street?

    And yes, I realize that you don’t want work to pay for health insurance and just get paid, you know, cash for which you have full choice. Except it isn’t (money). It’s a benefit .. (and actually is called the same). Benefits are like the coffee, for which the employer has a choice in what benefits he gives.

    Actually most people are quite happy to work for a combination of cash and health benefits. Granted the economist in me does see the logic in saying with more cash everyone could just buy health directly, but that’s not how the market evolved in the US. And there are economies of scale to be enjoyed by having employers buy coverage. Regardless, pay is pay and if a portion of pay is designated a ‘benefit’ it remains no longer the employer’s property but the employee.

  7. Also ‘free coffee’ is a trivial benefit compared to health care. If tomorrow your company discontinued free coffee, there probably would be some grumbling but little more. Discontinuing health insurance with one day’s notice, though, is probably a lawsuit in itself.

    And the benefit is health coverage, not health care. If its health care you have a problem in differential pay scales (is it age discrimination, for example, that older employees get more ‘free’ heart drugs and cardiologist appointments while younger ones maybe get a checkup once a year and a script for antibiotics when they have a bad cold?). A doctor’s group that is willing to give its office staff checkups ‘for free’ maybe providing health care as a benefit but not health coverage.

  8. Boonton,

    If tomorrow your company discontinued free coffee, there probably would be some grumbling but little more. Discontinuing health insurance with one day’s notice, though, is probably a lawsuit in itself.

    Contraception coverage (like coffee) is a trivial benefit.

    And would they grumble, if everyone got a $7-8k/year raise but no heath care coverage then … would they grumble … or not? Dunno. It’s unclear to me.

  9. Boonton,

    But the only place where that’s realistic is the military and if you’re in the military you can’t get out of combat tours by simply being married.

    Well, when you’re ready to join the real world, let me know. First of, in the “real world” we don’t call the military “GI Joe”. And, right, you can’t “get out of” a tour of duty because you’re married. But wait … in the real world you aren’t asked if you are single in that case. When are such questions asked (in that, you know, real world?). Well, (as I indicated) when going on on a mission from which the chances of return may be small … that is historically in the US when such questions like “are you single” get asked. And golly, that isn’t a tour of duty.

    A company that never has customers, suppliers, or other visitors?

    Ah, sales. Gosh, giving benefits to people for sales … why might that be a good thing.

    The question isn’t a job that’s unsuitable for people who are pregnant or have kids, it’s a boss whose minding his employees business.

    OK. We’ve established that some jobs exist for which such questions are appropriate. The other side of the coin is does the state regulate what criteria an employer should use in choosing his employees. If I want to hire guys with blue eyes … that’s fine (alas as long as I have less than 50 employees … that magic number for company size at which a zillion regulations kick in). But … most of us (fortunately, work for those less than 50 companies). If you want to hire only ex-felons as drivers (there was a movie … ) what’s wrong with that? If my boss has strong feelings about not having employees with kids and makes that clear and I work for him. I see no problem with that. I can choose not to work for him. Why do you pretend that free associate is a problem? I thought it a Constitutional right.

    And how many ‘free coffee’ type companies give health insurance to people walking in off the street?

    A good argument for my side. Why are you bringing that up. It was you that pointed out coffee was not a benefit.

    Regardless, pay is pay and if a portion of pay is designated a ‘benefit’ it remains no longer the employer’s property but the employee.

    But like the coffee you don’t get to choose the brand and frills. If you really really need the benefit, … you can personally pay for that as a rider. I’ll bet you knew that. You get your healthcare (coverage for the stickler) from your employer … but gosh you wanted healthcare from this other company. Guess what. That’s not your choice. The particulars of the healthcare coverage like coffee is not a free choice.

  10. that is historically in the US when such questions like “are you single” get asked. And golly, that isn’t a tour of duty.

    This has nothing to do with the topic you raised about health coverage.

    Ah, sales. Gosh, giving benefits to people for sales … why might that be a good thing.

    Trivial distractions about free coffee aside, you haven’t really explained why health benefits you get from *working* are not compesensation but are instead magical ‘gifts’ from your employer.

    If I want to hire guys with blue eyes … that’s fine (alas as long as I have less than 50 employees … that …

    Hobby Lobby has over 18,000 employees per wikipedia. For someone whose cut back their posts due to time constraints you seem to have no problem wasting a lot of time chasing red herrings and dead ends don’t you?

    But like the coffee you don’t get to choose the brand and frills….

    You seem to be under the false impression that compensation can only consist of money. This is false. Compensation can consist of non-money things such as physical products, ownership stakes (such as shares of stock), and so on. You are correct that cash has the benefit of being a very flexible type of compsensation since you can do *almost* anything you want with it and it’s easy to measure while the market value of non-monetary compensation like personal use of a company card is more difficult. That’s not relevant here, though, if part of your compensation is in the form of something other than cash, it isn’t any less your property.

  11. Contraception coverage (like coffee) is a trivial benefit.

    There is no such thing as contraception coverage, only health coverage. If you doubt me then hit google and find me a contraception only insurance policy offered by any insurance company in any state.

  12. Boonton,
    I see. And this issue being debated is actually a complete illusion. The government is going after those companies which don’t provide this non-existent coverage just because they are perfidious?

    Oh, wait … you’re quibbling semantics, thinking that the term “contraception coverage” somehow means you buy (not as a rider or provision to your health coverage) but get it separately?

    Is there an actual point being made in this objection or are you just being pedantic?

  13. Boonton,

    Hobby Lobby has over 18,000 employees per wikipedia. For someone whose cut back their posts due to time constraints you seem to have no problem wasting a lot of time chasing red herrings and dead ends don’t you?

    I see. The fact that I think those freedoms enjoyed regulating employement by small companies should also be enjoyed by large make this not a red herring.

    This is false. Compensation can consist of non-money things such as physical products, ownership stakes (such as shares of stock), and so on. You are correct that cash has the benefit of being a very flexible type of compsensation since you can do *almost* anything you want with it and it’s easy to measure while the market value of non-monetary compensation like personal use of a company card is more difficult. That’s not relevant here, though, if part of your compensation is in the form of something other than cash, it isn’t any less your property.

    And this is besides the point. Non-cash compensations (called benefits) are of the making of the employer. You can (as noted) get a rider to cover things not covered that you desire. That you cannot choose the particular insurance vendor nor many features of the actual benefits is not apparently a problem. It’s just a problem in your conception that it should be (arbitrarily) as flexible as cash.

    Contraception riders (because, for example, the low cost of condoms) can be very inexpensive. So … in fact, we are arguing about things that are about as trivial as coffee.

    Trivial distractions about free coffee aside, you haven’t really explained why health benefits you get from *working* are not compesensation but are instead magical ‘gifts’ from your employer.

    Because these benefits are not cash and you don’t have choice. They categorically the same, just that one is more valuable than the other.

    This has nothing to do with the topic you raised about health coverage.

    This was a line of argument raise by you. You pretended that you objected in principle to any employer instructing you about your marital practices. I pointed out that you don’t have a ontological/categorical objection to this, that there are exceptions. Having granted that, I then pointed out that small employers have the freedom (Constitutionally … free association) to enjoy the similar “intrusions” in their employment which I guess you have conceded. The final line of argument (which we haven’t quite gotten to) is that having conceded that small business have a Constitutional right to “intrude” in its employee’s marital affairs and you agree that this is non-problematic the final point would be (what I hinted at) is that these regulations should not stop at small businesses, and that large businesses too should enjoy the Constitutional privillege of setting any damn arbitrary hiring practices they want just like small businesses do.

  14. Oh, wait … you’re quibbling semantics, thinking that the term “contraception coverage”…

    Not a quibble at all, just a definition of what qualifies as health coverage.

    And this is besides the point. Non-cash compensations (called benefits) are of the making of the employer.

    Not sure what this means. I knew a guy once who worked for an entertainment company, he worked 30 hrs or so in the headquarters for no wages and did events for money. His 30 hours was in exchange for an ownership stake in the company, which could not be purchased with money as it was a private company. This arrangement was not ‘made’ by the employer but by both employee and employer together.

    This was a line of argument raise by you. You pretended that you objected in principle to any employer instructing you about your marital practices. I pointed out that you don’t have a ontological/categorical objection to this, that there are exceptions. Having granted that, I then pointed out that small employers have the freedom (Constitutionally … free association) to enjoy the similar “intrusions” in their employment which I guess you have conceded

    I’m not sure you understand the argument being raised by the contraception issue. The employers are arguing that by offering health coverage to employees that includes contraceptive coverage, they are violating their beliefs that contraception is wrong and offering the coverage is them subsidizing it. My point is that this is a sword that can cut quite a few ways. An employer could feel you have too many kids and it would be wrong for him to subsidize yet another pregnancy by your spouse. Why might he feel this way? Who knows, perhaps he believes in population control. Perhaps you’re unmarried and he feels covering pregnancy for the unmarried encourages pre-marital and extra-marital sex.

    Your counter is that empoloyees can use their own money to have kids or buy contraception….yet the same logic would hold. If I pay you $1000 a week, and you go out and have abortions with the money, then by the above logic I’m ‘subsidizing’ your abortions. This descends into fuedalism where the employer more or less ends up owning you. the solution is embedded in property rights. Your pay is your property. The act of hiring someone transfers some of your property to them. Your moral objections then case to carry weight because it ceased to be your money when your employee did his work and earned it.

    The final line of argument (which we haven’t quite gotten to) is that having conceded that small business have a Constitutional right to “intrude” in its employee’s marital affairs and you agree that this is non-problematic the final point would be (what I hinted at) is that these regulations should not stop at small businesses,

    I never conceded there’s such a ‘right’. Many anti-discrimination laws do exclude businesses that are very small, usually measured by # of employees but that hardly establishes a right to discriminate by business anymore than a min. threshold of possession of pot for a criminal charge means there’s a Constitutional right to small amounts of pot. ‘Free association’ would not be sufficient to establish such a right, esp. given that the phrase itself isn’t explicitly in the Constitution to begin with and even if it was there is no right to incorporate a business.

  15. Boonton,

    My point is that this is a sword that can cut quite a few ways. An employer could feel you have too many kids and it would be wrong for him to subsidize yet another pregnancy by your spouse.

    I see. What you’re assuming (I think) is that I’d object to another employer, say, your fave news feed MSNBC, deciding not to cover (in their insurance) childbirth and dependent children for its employees. So, those employees hoping/planning to have children or would be wise getting a rider or separate insurance. So, nope. Sorry. No objection here. It’s not “stopping you” from having children. In fact, I was going one further saying an employer … at the time of the hire, could make “single, child-less” a requirement for employment if he/she so chose. And you can choose to work there or not. Also your choice.

    I never conceded there’s such a ‘right’.

    1st Amendment. Is too a right.

    If I pay you $1000 a week, and you go out and have abortions with the money, then by the above logic I’m ‘subsidizing’ your abortions.

    No. Wages != benefits.

    Your pay is your property

    Yes. And your benefits are not freely selectable like cash (ref: coffee).

    Many anti-discrimination laws do exclude businesses that are very small …

    Actually there are hundreds (thousands?) of regulations that hit large corporations that do not affect small ones. This is why most people work for the smaller companies … they have a strong competitive advantage because of the incredibly high costs of these regulations.

  16. 1st Amendment. Is too a right.

    Free association? In the First? Are you sure? I love Constitutionalist purists who are totally ignorant of the actual text of the Constitution!

    No. Wages != benefits.

    This is just a made up distinction, made up only in your imagination not in any traditional understanding of employment law. In my example of the guy who was working in exchange for an ownership stake in a private company was that just a ‘benefit’? Could the employer just decide, after his 40 hours, that he wasn’t going to give him a stake the way he could decide to ditch the free coffee pot and put a coffee vending machine in its place?

    Actually there are hundreds (thousands?) of regulations that hit large corporations that do not affect small ones. This is why most people work for the smaller companies … they have a strong competitive advantage because of the incredibly high costs of these regulations.

    Most of the profits and most of the good jobs go to large corporations. Even places where you think a small business would have an advantage, such as fast food, the market is dominated by large corporations despite the supposed burden of regulation. I suggest you review the biography of Rockerfeller as well as the 80-20 rule to see why your assertion is flawed.

    Let’s address this as well:

    Contraception riders (because, for example, the low cost of condoms) can be very inexpensive. So … in fact, we are arguing about things that are about as trivial as coffee.

    Yet pre or post Obama care you cannot cite a single example of an insurance company selling these mythical ‘contraception riders’. More importantly, I’m unaware of any health insurance policy that covers condoms? Why is this?

    Because condoms are not health care and health care coverage covers health care. Contraception that is health care would be drugs or devices that require a health care professional’s consultation and supervision. The objection is that including this in health coverage is including ‘lifestyle choices’ but it isn’t. It is a fact of life that since we live inside our bodies, our lifestyle choices impact our health which impacts our health care so if you have health coverage that will include things that are impacted by your lifestyle. If an employer is a radical PETA supporter, he might object to your hobby of horseback riding. Yet he cannot claim because your health policy covers your broken leg, which you got when you fell off a horse he is being ‘forced’ to subsidize your supposed abuse of animals.

    As you pointed out in an earlier post and comment, those who do not have health coverage have the potential to ‘free ride’ on the backs of others when they show up at the ER with no ability or intention to pay the bills incurred. It follows then, from your logic which you refuse to apply, that it makes sense to mandate universal or near universal health coverage. To do that we have to have a reasonable understanding of where the lines are when people share an insurance pool together. The contraception argument is an assertion that because Mary shares the same policy as Sue, she has some type of say in Sue’s life under the spurious argument that ‘she’s paying for Sue’. This is both unreasonable and false.

    Your argument concerns a hypothetical employer who just wants to boss around his employees private lives for whatever reason. This is an argument no one else is making except maybe Randian type libertarians who already get much more attention in the conversation than they merit.

  17. Boonton,

    Free association?

    Yep. “Right to assemble” … with whomever for whatever reason. What does that mean, well, in other words freedom to associate with those whom you wish.

    In my example of the guy who was working in exchange for an ownership stake in a private company was that just a ‘benefit’? Could the employer just decide, after his 40 hours, that he wasn’t going to give him a stake the way he could decide to ditch the free coffee pot and put a coffee vending machine in its place?

    I don’t know, depends on the agreeement/arraingement made. That’s … you know, like a contract (if not explicitly formalized). So, if your company decides to change (on their whim) your healthcare insurance provider … are you going to walk? Complain about lost wages? Oh, wait, you’re not because this is just rhetorical noise you’re making, pretending to not understand the distinction between benefits and wages.

    Historically, the health insurance benefit arose as a way to attract and keep good workers in the face of price/wage freezes during WWII. See, one bad idea (wage freeze) led to another bad idea (healthcare as a tax protected benefit). This problem of health and choice is a result of your progressive policies coming to bite you. Kinda like “read it after it’s passed”, eh?

    Most of the profits and most of the good jobs go to large corporations.

    I see. The majority of American’s work for small companies ’cause that’s were the bad jobs and low profits are. Gotcha. The biggest competitive advantage that big companies do have is in regulatory capture (Remember, there is no technical reason that you make and market a better smart phone except the 250k “point and click” patents protecting the big guys.

    More importantly, I’m unaware of any health insurance policy that covers condoms? Why is this?

    Two reasons. They’re cheap (like coffee) and second the kind of “contraception coverage” you’re talking about is like breast augmentation, it’s cosmetic, choice, and is harmful to health. Fertility is the healthy condition, not infertility.

    Yet he cannot claim because your health policy covers your broken leg, which you got when you fell off a horse he is being ‘forced’ to subsidize your supposed abuse of animals.

    But he could object if you voluntarily amputated your legs (and wanted that covered) so you could run in the Special Olympics.

    The contraception argument is an assertion that because Mary shares the same policy as Sue, she has some type of say in Sue’s life under the spurious argument that ‘she’s paying for Sue’. This is both unreasonable and false.

    I agree. It is unreasonable for Sue to ask Mary to share in her optional reduction in her health … not to mention that there are virtually free alternatives to what she desires.

    Your argument concerns a hypothetical employer who just wants to boss around his employees private lives for whatever reason.

    That’s not a problem for me, but for you. You suggest that I would object to an employer dictating my private life … and now object that when I to put what you suggest to real-life sorts of examples that implies … then that is hypothetical and Randian. Recall, this was your Randian suggestion which you are marginalizing.

    Oh, btw … I’ll be in New Jersey arriving the 26th (late in the day … so that’s out) and leaving on the 4th. Can I buy you a beer somewhere?

  18. Yep. “Right to assemble” … with whomever for whatever reason

    After being chided for not reading it, it’s usually a good idea to either read it before pushing the argument further or try to redirect the argument elsewhere….digging in, though, is really not a very good strategy.

    I don’t know, depends on the agreeement/arraingement made. That’s … you know, like a contract (if not explicitly formalized). So, if your company decides to change (on their whim) your healthcare insurance provider … are you going to walk?

    So it seems that non-monetary compensation is, in fact, still compensation.

    Historically, the health insurance benefit arose as a way to attract and keep good workers in the face of price/wage freezes during WWII.

    Indeed, compensation is how employers typically employ workers.

    This problem of health and choice is a result of your progressive policies coming to bite you

    What problem of health and choice?

    I see. The majority of American’s work for small companies ’cause that’s were the bad jobs and low profits are. Gotcha. The biggest competitive advantage that big companies do have is in regulatory capture

    So now you’re saying big companies have regulation on their side and use it to keep the small companies down……before you were saying small companies have the advantage as regulations often exempt them.

    Check out http://www.census.gov/econ/smallbus.html

    Out of about 120.9M paid employees, a majority work at firms of 100+ with nearly 50% at firms of 500+.

    (Remember, there is no technical reason that you make and market a better smart phone except the 250k “point and click” patents protecting the big guys.

    Are hamburgers also protected by patents? Pizza?

    Two reasons. They’re cheap (like coffee) and second the kind of “contraception coverage” you’re talking about is like breast augmentation, it’s cosmetic, choice, and is harmful to health. Fertility is the healthy condition, not infertility.

    How about the use of birth control pills to regulate irregular periods? To prevent ovarian cysts? Or women who could die from a pregnancy?

    For that matter is extreme fertility stimulation by couples seeking pregnancy really a ‘healthy conditition’? The advantage of my definition of healthcare, that provided by HCPs, has the advantage of leaving the philosophical speculation in the zone of individual privacy and decision making.

    But he could object if you voluntarily amputated your legs (and wanted that covered) so you could run in the Special Olympics.

    Why? Or more importantly why would his objection be anymore special than someone else’s objection?

    Oh, btw … I’ll be in New Jersey arriving the 26th (late in the day … so that’s out) and leaving on the 4th. Can I buy you a beer somewhere?

    Not only can you buy me a beer, you can buy me two!

  19. Boonton,

    Or more importantly why would his objection be anymore special than someone else’s objection?

    By “object” I mean not pay for it, quite reasonably no less.

    After being chided for not reading it, it’s usually a good idea to either read it before pushing the argument further or try to redirect the argument elsewhere….digging in, though, is really not a very good strategy.

    Hmm. You might want to back up on that. You’re not barking up the wrong tree to argue that freedom of assemble/association isn’t in the first amendment.

  20. Boonton,
    Or perhaps that’s because you libs use a different Constitution. Odd that you can’t find freedom of assembly/association in the Constitution but can find a right to kill your unborn (and your precious President can find the right to kill the recently born if that newborn “should” have been killed).

  21. Hmm. You might want to back up on that. You’re not barking up the wrong tree to argue that freedom of assemble/association isn’t in the first amendment.

    Your assertion:

    Yep. “Right to assemble” … with whomever for whatever reason.

    What the First Actually says:

    Congress shall make no law…abridging..or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    This has always meant to essentially form a protest or a political party or activist group. It does not mean you can ‘assemble’ a business that practices discrimination. Note of all the rights in the First, this is the only one that’s tied to a specific purpose….’to petition the Government for a redress of grievances’. Press, speech and religion are not tied to a specific purpose.

    By “object” I mean not pay for it, quite reasonably no less

    I agree, no employer should be required to buy you contraceptives or horseback riding lessons.

    Or perhaps that’s because you libs use a different Constitution

    Indeed, we use the one that’s actually written down somewhere besides our imagination.

  22. It’s also interesting to note here that employers can demand (within limits) that employees behave in certain ways that would effect their health usage. I believe several Catholic schools in states that require contraception be covered by health insurance let employees have the insurance, but demand that they give their word they will not utilize it for contraception (granted one could break their word, for some, though, that sort of thing matters). Likewise there are jobs where pregnant women are not allowed to work (such as working around certain chemicals). A company can have pregnancy covered by a health plan but at the same time remove women who become pregnant from a dangerous job.

    This isn’t so much about an employers ability to manipulate employees behavior but about the legitimacy of the claim that being involved in an insurance pool somehow gives one a moral claim on everyone else in that pool. IMO this logic leads to a totally incoherent and absurd state of affairs of ‘one drop socialism’. For example, consider a the humble ability to deduct your medical expenses in excess of 2% of your AGI. At the beginning of the year you have some serious medical expenses. Then at the end of the year you have an abortion. Since you’ve spend more than 2% on medical care, you take the abortion as a deduction. By all of this logic, my tax rate is slightly higher to accomodate people like you who take such deductions. I can claim since somehow a fraction of a cent of my money is indirectly easing your tax burden, I’m being ‘forced’ to subsidize your abortion hence I have an ownership interest in all your medical spending! You can believe any nonesense you want as an individual but a society needs a resonable set of rules to function.

  23. Boonton,

    Yep. “Right to assemble” … with whomever for whatever reason.

    What the First Actually says:

    Congress shall make no law…abridging..or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    Check the wiki link. “and” is not an exclusive remark (that it is does not mean “and only for”. The specific purpose mentioned is called out for special protection because this was a right which was attacked by the prior (British) government. The wiki points out assembly and association in US jurisprudence under the 1st Amendement have always gone hand in hand.

    Note of all the rights in the First, this is the only one that’s tied to a specific purpose

    Bzzzzz. Wrong. Go to the back of the class. Calling out and protecting one purpose does not exclude the right to peaceably assembly for non political reasons.

    Your pretense that this is not so, means that it would be Constitutional for the US government to choose your marital partner. This is not (fortunately) Constitutional because the right to assemble … is not restricted only to activism but for whatever damn (peaceable) reason you wish. Are you pretending you could have a gather a bunch of people together and some knucklehead would shut you down and say … (well, you could have gathered together if you were petitioning the Government or having a rally, but gosh, since you were only doing it for private purposes well, sorry disperse or go to jail). Surely you jest.

    Indeed, we use the one that’s actually written down somewhere besides our imagination.

    ROTFL. Penumbrae and all, eh! Hah ha ha. Snerk.

  24. The wiki points out assembly and association in US jurisprudence under the 1st Amendement have always gone hand in hand.

    Nonetheless it is only applicable in the context of expression. You cannot, for example, get a bunch of people together to grow pot and declare you’re immune from criminal sanction on the grounds of assembly or association. Nice try though.

    I think we may both be wrong about parsing the language. ‘To petition’ is not a clause describing a reason to assemble, if you read the sentence very carefully, there’s two distinct verbs there. One verb is ‘assemble’ and the other is ‘petition’. This means there’s two different things being protected there. You can petition (which you can do with or without an assembly). You can assemble (which may not require petitioning anyone).

    This might have been relevant if ‘petition for a redress of grievances’ had been given a strict reading. Strictly speaking it could have only been applicable those seeking some redress for a specific wrong from the gov’t (like Indians seeking reparations), not even lobbying for subsidies or favors! But it’s been read to be super broad covering all gov’t policy advocacy (i.e. SSM or anti-SSM) but even non-gov’t advocacy so a lot of things that might have been protected by assembly ended up being covered by ‘petition’ making the distinction academic.

    Regardless you’re putting too much into it if you think it can void discrimination laws. You can be as discriminatory as you want if you’re willing to ditch the business part of your ‘assembly’.

    Your pretense that this is not so, means that it would be Constitutional for the US government to choose your marital partner.

    A law that tried to assign spouses to people would probably violate the 10th amendment. Possibly the first in respect to religious freedom.

    You’re assuming that because you don’t have an unlimited right of association that means the gov’t has an unlimited power to force you into associations. That doesn’t follow.

  25. Boonton,

    Regardless you’re putting too much into it if you think it can void discrimination laws. You can be as discriminatory as you want if you’re willing to ditch the business part of your ‘assembly’.

    ?! Huh? I’m not “voiding” discrimination (btw, I’m not a Supreme court jurist … just so you know). Everyone is discriminatory in hiring. That’s what you do in the interview process. So-called “discrimination” laws prohibit some sorts of criteria and allow others. The point (which you missed) of the marriage question was about limits. You have not suggested any limits to your restrictions on our freedom of association/assembly. You’ve not said (without textual support in the Constitution) that this freedom of association/assembly in did not include those assemblies for commercial reasons. Why? Dunno. But … what then limits Congress in its enactment of limits on assembly?

    What meta-principle is at stake in deciding what discriminatory hiring criteria are allowed and what aren’t? One what do you base your meta-discrimatory rules?

    You’re assuming that because you don’t have an unlimited right of association that means the gov’t has an unlimited power to force you into associations. That doesn’t follow.

    I do have an (almost) unlimited right to association … or I should by the Constitution. The Constitutional limit is the adjective “peaceable”. There is no other.

  26. The point (which you missed) of the marriage question was about limits. You have not suggested any limits to your restrictions on our freedom of association/assembly. You’ve not said (without textual support in the Constitution) that this freedom of association/assembly in did not include those assemblies for commercial reasons. Why? Dunno. But … what then limits Congress in its enactment of limits on assembly?

    You seem to have assumed that association = assembly and can therefore be swapped back and forth in the text of the constitution. Are these words really so close in meaning that they can be considered exactly the same?

    I do have an (almost) unlimited right to association … or I should by the Constitution. The Constitutional limit is the adjective “peaceable”.

    Ok, so what does this have to do with the health law again?

  27. Speaking of a ‘right to association’ being the same thing as a ‘right to assemble’….consider being put on probation for a criminal conviction, like trafficing drugs. It’s almost always a standard condition that you NOT associate with known criminals. This challenge to your right to associate has never, to my knowledge, been attacked on 1st amendment grounds. Yet if a probation officer tried to put a condition on you that impacted your actual written first amendment rights….such as asserting you may not advocate drug legalization or write articles for a newspaper attacking the penal system or that you attend Baptist sermons against drug use….a challenge will certainly follow.

  28. Boonton,

    You seem to have assumed that association = assembly and can therefore be swapped back and forth in the text of the constitution.

    How is it not? And … wiki seems to agree that in US jurisprudence the terms ride together.

    Ok, so what does this have to do with the health law again?

    This digression arose because you suggested limits on what a corporation could do regarding employment. I asked for the reasoning behind your limits (and the principle) pointing out the Constitutional text standing against many (all? most?) such limits.

    Speaking of a ‘right to association’ being the same thing as a ‘right to assemble’….consider being put on probation for a criminal conviction, like trafficing drugs

    I think the “peaceable” adjective would kick in there.

  29. How is it not? And … wiki seems to agree that in US jurisprudence the terms ride together.

    There clearly is overlap…if you wanted to protest laws against pot, say, you’d clearly need to be able to associate with those who feel the same. If the gov’t tried to say it was legal to have a pro-pot assembly but illegal for pro-pot people to associate with each other, that law would probably be struck down because assembly implies some measure of association.

    But it wouldn’t work in reverse….again if you were on probation you couldn’t claim a violation of a ‘right to association’ to be told a condition on you was not to associate with other criminals.

    . I asked for the reasoning behind your limits (and the principle) pointing out the Constitutional text standing against many (all? most?) such limits.

    It wouldn’t apply since the condition is on business, not the act. If the gov’t passed a law saying business couldn’t discriminate based on single-motherhood, you could still create an association of ‘unshamed mothers’, march around, have parties and so on.

    RE: Probation

    I think the “peaceable” adjective would kick in there

    No it wouldn’t. Committing crimes on probation is itself a crime…even if you do it with people who have no criminal record. Likewise you can violate even if you simply associate with fellow gang members doing nothing more violent than playing chess in the city park.

  30. Boonton,
    I think probation is red herring. Probation is part of your prison term.

    It wouldn’t apply since the condition is on business, not the act. If the gov’t passed a law saying business couldn’t discriminate based on single-motherhood, you could still create an association of ‘unshamed mothers’, march around, have parties and so on.

    Again you’re missing the meta-law about what constitutes (Constitutionally, ethically, or legally) “righteous” discrimination. As I said, all hiring is discrimination. You have one job opening, 20 people apply. You hire one. You’ve discriminated by criteria which one to hire. You inform me that some criteria on which you have discriminated between the candidates are legal or right. You have said some are not. What principle is at work determining which criteria are legal. I claim that there is no Constitutional restriction (by this 1st Amendment clause … add the 10th if you wish) which should apply to employers, that is an employer can use (Constitutionally) any damn criteria he wishes. That is specifically that law (saying a business could not use single-motherhood as a hiring criteria) should not be Constitutional. Why do you think it is Constitutional to pass such a law in the face of the right of assembly? This is after all peaceable.

  31. I think probation is red herring. Probation is part of your prison term.

    None the less actual 1st amendment rights are not curtailed by a prison term. The pothead is not prohibited from worship or speech, or writing articles about legalizing pot. The only limits are incidental to the needs of incarceration (i.e. you can worship but you can’t leave to go to church).

    What principle is at work determining which criteria are legal.

    Well one of them would be what a representative democracy deems necessary, wouldn’t it?

    That is specifically that law (saying a business could not use single-motherhood as a hiring criteria) should not be Constitutional. Why do you think it is Constitutional to pass such a law in the face of the right of assembly?

    For the simple fact that the word ‘assembly’ does not mean a business.

  32. Boonton,

    None the less actual 1st amendment rights are not curtailed by a prison term.

    You seem to be unaware that you lose many other Constitutional rights when incarcerated. Do you have some principle by which you feel the 1st Amendment is out of bounds for convicts while so many others are not?

    Well one of them would be what a representative democracy deems necessary, wouldn’t it?

    You also seem to be unaware the the Constitution provides limits to what our representative Democracy can take to itself. It seems to me that the process of hiring is a discrimination which at its essence determining the makeup of your assembly of people into a company. That seems covered to me.

    For the simple fact that the word ‘assembly’ does not mean a business.

    Except that a business is in fact an assembly of people for the purpose of commerce. I was unaware that commerce was not peaceable. Can you etymologically or syntactically connect non-peaceable with commerce? If you can’t, do you want to retrace your steps?

  33. Boonton,
    Assembly. What are the purposes of assembling that make an assembly an assembly and what purposes of assembly make that assembly not an assembly?

  34. You seem to be unaware that you lose many other Constitutional rights when incarcerated.

    Which ones? Your right to life, liberty or property isn’t a right to those 3 things, it’s a right not to be deprived of those things except by due process. But interestingly no 1st amendment rights are lost by incarceration. You can still assert freedom of religion, for example, as a convert.

    Except that a business is in fact an assembly of people for the purpose of commerce. I was unaware that commerce was not peaceable.

    Except, and this is more important, freedom of assembly has never been understood to mean ‘a group of people doing anything peaceful’ must automatically be protected. A group of people peacefully running a pot farm do not have a first amendment immunity to drug laws. Likewise gov’t can indeed regulate employment without violating the freedom of assembly. This is how the word was understood both today and when the constitution was written.

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