The Great Recession is turning out to be a great front and cover for what I term the “Great Reconstruction” of American Society. It is the overturning of democracy in favor of Corporate Oligarcy, and it is the desctruction of the Middle Class to create Two Americas – the very wealthy, and the very poor. The War on Women that we are seeing it really a sub-part of that agenda. By forcing women to submit to the morality of their employers, they are being turned into second-class citizens.
A couple of threads come together in my mind to make this conclusion.
1) The Banks were too big to fail, and were given bailouts and Investment Banks like Goldman, Merril Lynch, and others were allowed to convert to Bank Holding Companies within 48 hours of failure. This gave them access to Federal Reserve lending and discount windows. This process should have had a much longer vetting, but did not. It was fast-tracked. That tells you who runs the show. The Financial Industry.
2) Bill Clinton and a Republican Congress passed the bipartisan Gramm-Leech-Bliley Act in 1999 (the Financial Services Modernizatino Act of 2000). Almost on Christamas Eve of 1999 to be exact. I remember because I was a law student that year, and I was taking financial analysis and securities law courses that Fall and Spring Semester. The professors were abuzz with discussion of the new laws, and they made us do papers analyzing parts of the bill. The number one thing I remember learning is that this was a dismantling of Glass-Steagall and the Securities laws of FDR passed in the wake of the 1929 Stock Market Crash. Specifically – this new law tore down the Firewalls between Banking, Insurance, and Investment Banking. From 1933 until 1999, those 3 sectors were not allowed to comingle funds, deposits, income, assets, etc. The Greg Smith op-ed is insightful, since he started working at Goldman in 2000, exactly when these protections had just been dismantled. In addition, this law created the plethora of newly designed FINANCIAL DERIVATES and allowed for the SECURITIZATION OF MORTGAGE BACKED SECURITIES. As some prominent economisists have noted, this was nothing short of MORAL HAZARD.
3) The Citizens United Case, as we all know, enshrines the concepts that MONEY is SPEECH and that Corporations are People. More specifically, it provides for a framework in which the CORPORATE ENTITY is treated as an individual for CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTION purposes. A Corporation is therefore allowed to asserts it FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS as if it were an individual.
4) The War on Women that appears to have finally become the new frontline of political reality. While this is, at one level, a continuation of the Conservative attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade and establish a religious-right perspective on this nation, it is much more than that.
Case in point. Arizona House Bill 2625. I’ve linked to the article at statepress.com, but you can find analysis of that at Think Progress and other progressive sites. In summary, this bill will require women to bring a NOTE to their EMPLOYER proving that they are not having sex, or that they are not using the Birth Control Pill to prevent pregnancy. In other words, women, whether married or not, must get their Employers’ permission to use birth control. And if the Employer does not believe in Birth Control Pills as a way to prevent Pregnancy (“Sex is only for Procreation and NOT Pleasure” mindset) then it means that the Employer will have the RIGHT under the Arizona Law (and other laws passed by likeminded states) to PREVENT COVERAGE BY THE INSURANCE CARRIER for that birth control pill. The law also requires the women to show their medical histories to the employer to prove their point. The entire decision rests with the Employer. And the women who work in “right-to-work” states will also be at risk of instant termination, without cause, for failure to do anything the Employer likes. Those states are very difficult to prosecute employment discrimination claims in, particularly in the 5th circuit (Texas, Lousiana, Mississippi). The result is that the women must oblige the employer or risk being fired. And above all, cannot obtain birth control pills without her employer’s MORAL CONSENT.
If that wasn’t enough, the reason it is included in this analysis is because of a curious comment made by the bill’s SPONSOR. A Repulican Woman, Majority Whip Debbie Lesko, R-Glendale, stated:
“I believe we live in America. We don’t live in the Soviet Union,” Lesko said. “So, government should not be telling the organizations or mom and pop employers to do something against their moral beliefs.”
That is worth dissecting for a moment. She believes that this is not the USSR, but the USA, and therefore, she feels justified in asserting this law. She believes that the FIRST AMENDMENT FREEDOM OF RELIGION applies to a COMPANY itself. And by extension, that COMPANY’s RELIGION is epitomized by the OWNER of that company.
First – the woman who uses birth control pills is an individual. She is making a MEDICAL DECISION for herself. The decision is between herself and her doctor. The Insurance Company should not really be part of that equation in the first place. But, for purposes of PAYMENT, they are a third party. FOR PAYMENT PURPOSES. And of course, the slippery slope is that they get involved in appropriateness of payment issues. Is the medical procedure, pill, device, etc for a REAL purpose or a SHAM purpose. That kind of involvment. But Insurance Companies have never before been given MORAL ANALYSIS rights. They never were allowed, under prior laws, to dictate which surgeries or procedures or pills could be given on a MORAL BASIS. Only on a MEDICAL BASIS. Insurers were allowed to request a less expensive method be used or to limit certain exams to once a year instead of twice, because there was a SCIENTIFIC RATIONALE (however thin or untested it may have been) to the objection. But never a moral objection.
Second – the EMPLOYER is not the one making the moral decision here. Nowhere in the Bible or American Jurisprudence has there ever been a statement or precedent or law or proverb that says an EMPLOYER will be judged or damned based on the decisions of the EMPLOYEES. The only SECULAR law I can find that mirrors this kind of thinking is the one that that FEUDAL laws espoused. Where the NOBLE was responsible for his vassal’s conduct on his land. In Scotland in 1609, laws were passed enjoining the Highland Chiefs to become responsible for their clan members. They were being held accountable for the actions of those who were under their authority. Employer liability laws have been routinely and severely CURTAILED in the past 30 years by TORT REFORM. No longer are Employers liable under the law for the actions of their employees in thousands of cases. There are so few ways to attach liability to an employer for the actions of an employee. So, all of a sudden, a woman employee’s ACTIONS are now a breach of an EMPLOYER’s religion?
Third – the woman employee used to have RIGHTS under the Constitution. To engage in HER OWN religious and medical decisions. To allow an EMployer the right to RESTRICT that employee’s protection is to basically say that the COMPANY/OWNER right are more protected under the FIRST AMENDMENT than the Employee’s rights under the same constitution.
Conclusion/Analysis: This is nothing short of an extension under Citizens United. CORPORATIONS (and by proxy, their OWNERS) are allowed to assert the Constitutional Protections as FULL CITIZENS UNDER THE LAW. Therefore, an OWNERS’ religion is the same as that of the CORPORATION. Its like the old European Peace of Augsburg Treaty (1555) where the Prince’s Religion was to be the People’s Religion. A Lutheran Prince could enforce Lutheranism in his province, and a Catholic Prince could enforce Catholicism in his province. The Princes had liberties under the Constitution of the Holy Roman Empire. But the PEASANTS had no such freedoms. They were brutally suppressed if they tried to practice a different faith than their Secular lord. That is how this law is applied. A Catholic Business-Owner (Corporation) can impose its religious beliefs on the INDIVIDUAL EMPLOYEES, even if its a secular business that pays taxes.
The INDIVIDUAL EMPLOYEES are not FULL CITIZENS any longer. They are FRACTIONAL citizens. They only get First Amendment Protection in limited cases. They can’t freely choose a medical or religious application of medical decisions. They must submit to the FULL CITIZEN power/rights of the CORPORATION.
And these are CORPORATIONS that have the backing of the US GOVERNMENT. They have access to the US Federal Reserve, Treasury, and other Taxpayer funds to keep themselves afloat.
This is the emergence of a FEUDAL-FASCISM. In other words, we are witnessing not the Great Recession, but the GREAT RECONSTRUCTION of America from a Democratic Capitalist Nation to a FEUDAL FASCIST NATION.