Open Thread and Link Farm, Cartoon Physics Edition

  1. Academic Grievance Studies and the Corruption of Scholarship – Areo
    This trio of writers wrote twenty deliberately bad hoax papers to submit to prestigious “grievance studies” journals, and were able to get seven papers published, or accepted for publication, before questions were being asked and they felt they had to fess up. I want to wait and see what more knowledgeable people’s takes on this are (eta: see here, for example), but my initial reaction is that – even though the authors are obvious ideologues – this is rightly embarrassing for women’s studies, fat studies, etc., and indicates that work needs to be done to make their peer-review process more skeptical. That said, I also note that the hoaxers lack any control group; that is, they didn’t bother testing to see if similar hoax papers were publishable in journals outside the fields they targeted.
  2. Unlearning the myth of American innocence | US news | The Guardian
    How people in Turkey see the US. Thanks to Grace for the link!
  3. Twelve years ago, Amber Wyatt reported her rape. Few believed her. Her hometown turned against her. – Washington Post
    A well-written, enraging long-form article.
  4. Science Says Toxic Masculinity — More Than Alcohol — Leads To Sexual Assault | FiveThirtyEight
  5. If you’re shocked that Brighton University is offering advice on sex work at freshers’ week, you need a reality check | The Independent
    A sex-worker-safety group sets up a table with pamphlets at the new students’ fair, and some people – including, alas, some feminists – lost their shit. I clicked through to the Sun article to see which feminists are angry about this, and was not surprised to see that both feminists the Sun quoted are TERFs. I don’t know why being anti-trans and anti-sex-worker are linked, but in practice they usually are.
  6. London’s Super-Recognizer Police Force | The New Yorker
    I have prosopagnosia, or “face blindness.” So it was interesting to read about people from the opposite end of the face-recognition spectrum. I was amused to read that, like prosopagnosiacs pretending to vaguely know everyone they meet (to avoid offending actual acquaintances), super-recognizers often lie and pretend not to have met people before (because saying “oh no, we chatted in line to a movie four years ago” creeps people out).
  7. Why Dallas Authorities Are Desperate to Attack Botham Jean’s Character – Rewire.News
  8. Critique of Just Love, Part Two | Thing of Things
    This blog post discusses the differences between “no means no consent,” “enthusiastic consent,” “verbal consent,” and “affirmative consent.” Like me, Ozy comes to the conclusion that “affirmative consent” is the position that makes the most sense.
  9. Trump Administration to Deny Visas to Same-Sex Partners of Diplomats, U.N. Officials – Foreign Policy
    It’s just so fucking petty. I guess this is what conservatives want – or at the least, what they vote for.
  10. The truth about false rape accusations — Quartz
    False rape reports, and the people who make them up, have a pattern. “… it’s radically unlikely — and in practice does not happen — that a false accuser would invent a story where the issue of consent could seem ambiguous.”
  11. ‘Designing Women’ Creator on Les Moonves: Not All Harassment Is Sexual [Exclusive] | Hollywood Reporter
  12. How Hungary’s Viktor Orbán destroyed democracy, and what it means for America – Vox
  13. Wodaabe Wife-Swapping Rituals | Sex in a Strange World
    “The Male Beauty Pageant Where Female Judges Sleep with the Winners”
  14. 10 Questions We Need Radical Feminists to Answer Pronto, Answered | Thing of Things
    Answering questions from a right-wing website. (They don’t mean “radical” the way we do.)
  15. FACT CHECK: The Unsolvable Math Problem – Snopes
    A urban-myth-sounding story, about a math student mistaking an “unsolvable” proof for homework and then successfully completing the proof (two, actually), is more-or-less true.
  16. “Through an online advertisement, we found 67 people who had never been on a 10-meter (about 33 feet) diving tower before, and had never jumped from that high. We paid each of them the equivalent of about $30 to participate — which meant climbing up to the diving board and walking to its edge. We were as interested in the people who decided to climb back down as the ones jumping. We filmed it all with six cameras and several microphones.”
    I found this short film strangely enthralling. Here’s an alternative link if the Times doesn’t let you in.
  17. FYPhysics! – The Moving Sofa Problem
  18. Critique of Just Love, Part One | Thing of Things
    As in “love that follows principles of justice,” not as in “only love.”
  19. Seven endangered species that could (almost) fit in a single train carriage | Environment | The Guardian
  20. What Julia Salazar’s Win Means About Our Changing Tribe – The Forward
    The “our” in this case refers to us Jews. “…young Jews and Jews of Color are increasingly moving to a model of Jewish identity that involves choice rather than ethnic purity or religious affiliation. And they are rejecting exactly the kind of truth-finding missions that Salazar has been subjected to.”
  21. Everything You Know About Obesity Is Wrong – The Huffington Post
    I don’t think much here will be new to most “Alas” readers, but it gathers a lot of stuff together, and I like the interviews and photographs.
  22. Researchers “Translate” Bat Talk. Turns Out, They Argue—A Lot | Smart News | Smithsonian
  23. This city banned cars and no one seemed to mind | DriveTribe
  24. How Money Affects Elections | FiveThirtyEight
    It matters a LOT less than we think (at least, for the question of who wins). Except during primaries.
  25. The Spider-Man Proposal Easter Egg has a Darker Side | Houston Press
    Like more than a few stories about gaming, this one ends “…has deleted her her social media accounts due to harassment.”
  26. Rihanna’s beauty is subversive – Cheryl Lynn Eaton
  27. I Know Brett Kavanaugh, but I Wouldn’t Confirm Him – The Atlantic
  28. 11 Takeaways From The Times’s Investigation Into Trump’s Wealth – The New York Times
  29. Alternate link.

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263 Responses to Open Thread and Link Farm, Cartoon Physics Edition

  1. 201
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    So I could have been a member of the federal AFGE as well when I moved to DC. That’s a public sector union and at my workplace their presence and messaging was minimal, and most of us made fun of them. Perhaps the other union members you talked to were in public sector unions? This was not the case in my private sector union, which took messaging, politics and organizing seriously.

    I’m no historian, but I did have to take a “heritage class” as part of my apprenticeship, and to say that unions are political is an understatement. We learned about the labor movement generally, but also our own history as pipefitters. My organization, the United Association, wasn’t as political as others, but some organizations saw the labor movement as a means to achieve socialism or at least something like it. There were many factions with varying political goals and a good deal of infighting. United Association got it’s name because it United the pipe trades, whose various labor organizations were fighting (sometimes literally) over jurisdiction over work.

    The heritage class was very political. Half of it was history, and the other half political sermonizing. FDR was our God (I’m only half joking). Part of our class, which was mandatory with incredibly strict attendance policies, was to attend a John Kerry rally held in our Hall. “Vote your pocketbook,” was a common phrase I heard throughout my apprenticeship. The politics in my Union Hall were strange and hard to describe, but pronounced. Imagine a loud racist conservative uncle at Thanksgiving and now make him a labor Democrat. One minute, my Union brothers are cheering on GWB as the bombs fall on Iraq, and the next they sound like prototype Occupy Wall Street demonstrators.

    All that aside, my organization did a great job teaching me the trades. I dropped out of college, apprenticed for 5 years, and left my apprenticeship with a skill set that had me out-earning my friends who stayed in college. And they taught all of us apprentices for free.
    We just made shit wages the first 2 years, which isn’t really so bad when work and class keeps us too busy to spend it.

  2. 202
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    Jeffrey Gandee,

    People have a wide variety of politics and interests. The more extensive and specific the politics of an organization are, the less inclusive it is. Furthermore, if the organization has real power, then the less democratic it becomes.

    For example, imagine a union that fights to abolish capitalism, for higher salaries and against treating trans women as women (TERF). Now imagine these people:
    – Jane is anti-capitalist, pro-higher salaries and TERF
    – Bob is capitalist, pro-higher salaries and anti-TERF
    – Alice is capitalist, anti-higher salaries and TERF

    Now only Jane is fully represented by the union. The others now have a difficult choice, either they back the union even though that means supporting things that go against their beliefs or they shun potential allies for causes they care about. If Alice decides to join, she won’t suddenly start supporting higher salaries. If she is the activist type, she will fight against those that want higher salaries quite fiercely, because she is diametrically opposed to many others. If she is the non-activist type, she will likely feel ignored or even oppressed by others. All this fighting then weakens the union, both internally and externally.

    Furthermore, it is now possible for the union to strongly push against capitalism based on the number of people that back the union, even though most members are in favor of it and joined the union to have them fight for higher salaries. So linking disparate issues weakens democratic representation, where institutions with power don’t necessarily represent the will of the people.

    Now imagine that you have a union that only fights for higher salaries, an anti-capitalist movement, a TERF movement and an anti-TERF movement. Now Jane and Bob can join the union, without Bob having to also support TERF or anti-capitalism. Because the union only does the thing that Jane and Bob agree on, they don’t need to fight over the general course of the union. Jane can also join the TERF movement, while Bob can join the anti-TERF movement and they can fight each other by proxy on this topic through those movements, despite working together on higher salaries for workers.

    What this does require is tolerance on the part of people, in that Jane has to tolerate that openly anti-TERF people are in the union and that Bob has to accept open TERFs. Furthermore, both have to tolerate that the union doesn’t fight for all the things they care about.

    I see many people who desire a large (and thus strong) activist organization with an extensive and specific platform, but that can only be achieved by forcing many people to support things they don’t actually support. Fortunately in many cases they don’t succeed and instead of a single activist organization with an extensive and specific platform, you often get many of them. This is less horrible, but still a very poor outcome, because it sets people with the same interests against each other. Jane will be in her anti-capitalist, pro-higher salaries and TERF movement, fighting against Bob in his capitalist, pro-higher salaries and anti-TERF movement, while employers benefit by driving down wages and paying out huge dividends. If Jane and Bob had worked together on getting higher wages and would have set aside their other differences, they would actually have achieved something.

  3. 203
    lurker23 says:

    Limits said this better than i did. my interest is not about political issues, of course people should be able to make political issues. my interest is that as soon as a union goes byond a small set of issues for money pay and benefits it seems like it would be very likely to start people

    i am constantly reading that people who support workers rights are OPPOSED to what i think are called “loyalty tests” right? so for example they do not think anyone should get fired if they want to support a political cause outside of work or that people should be forced to take a political stance they do not support (with some funny exceptions like if you are working for a political campaign or church or something like that)

    i actually did not used to think that! i used to think employers should be able to do what they want. but after reading a lot of stuff written by people like Richard, i started to think that the worker position is right, people should NOT have to do or agree with a lot of things that really have nothing to do with their job.

    so i am very confused by Richard’s thing. because isn’t this the same thing that unions say is bad?

    1) the union here is making its members sign on to a political statement.
    2) the union members have to agree with the statement or maybe not get treated as well by the union.
    3) if the members who do not agree are a minority then they have no right or ability to stop the union from issuing the statement.
    4) the union is using its power (“we are the ones who control the union contract”) to make its employees do something that they might not do on their own.
    4) the thing is “active political speech and support of a political and sort of religious position” which is as far as i can tell one of the absolute mostest areas where people are supposed to be free to think what they want
    5) the thing the union is doing has no direct relation to the union contract. it is not a job requirement.

    is that not the LITERAL EXACT sort of thing that unions and workers rights people are always complaining about? what am i missing?

  4. 204
    Zunf2 says:

    I remember being in a union for a short period 25 or so years ago. It was a requirement to pay the union fees at that time if you wanted the corresponding job and (I think) to be a member of the union.

    I remember the heavy political stance towards the democrats, I remember people like Richard, and I remember (not saying this is true about Richard’s union) the heavy corruption. The rank and file were used and exploited in many ways, was my personal opinion. The union should stick to what it’s ostensibly there for, and there should be better outside controls as to exactly what is going on with the money. Maybe the latter has changed for the better now.

    Glad I was able to get away from that stuff.

  5. Lurker:

    The conversation has moved a bit from the post where you first asked me your questions, so I’d like to make a couple of general points and then if you want to get specific about my thinking regarding these issues, maybe you can ask your questions again.

    First, unions have always been, by definition, political, if only because they exist as collectives formed to advocate for (which includes growing, where appropriate) and protect the rights and privileges of working people over and against the “rights and privileges” of capital. If look back through the history of organized labor not just in the United States, but throughout the world, this adversarial relationship is why worker strikes were so often met with (sometimes military) violence. This adversarial relationship exists whether the union you are talking about is private or public sector. In the private sector, it is perhaps more easy to see the relationship because you don’t have the intervening issue of the taxpayer to deal with, but the relationship holds even in the public sector. Consider, for example, the ways that supposedly necessary “austerity budgets” inevitably result in cuts to public services and to the salaries and benefits of public sector workers, but somehow also manage to give tax cuts and other breaks to private corporations for the ostensible purpose of creating jobs. Those jobs rarely materialize in the way or the degree that was promised and yet the companies still continue to make tremendous profits, which they make, in some measure, at the expense of the public services that were cut and on the backs of the public sector workers who have been forced to make due with lower wages and benefits. Negotiating for salary, working conditions (which I would not call benefits), and benefits (which I would define as things like health care, provisions for retirement savings, etc), in other words, is never separate from politics; and politics—even in the narrow sense I just talked about—is never really separate from any of the issues mentioned in my union’s statement.

    Indeed, the idea that unions ought not to be political, ought to stay out of politics, is an idea put forward by people who are explicitly anti-union. These are people—and you can see this line of thought running through the majority Janus decision—who would prefer to see unions as a kind of service provider, a business with customers…as if, for example, the executive committee on which I serve is “the union” and that our members pay dues so that we can “work for them” (in terms of negotiations, grievances, etc.) in the same way that they might, for example, pay a lawyer. While I know there are people who believe this is what a union should be, this is not what unions were when they started and it is not what people who are true unionists think unions should be now. In fact, it is my understanding that this “service provider” model of what a union is would fit quite well the “employer unions” that businesses would set up to compete with labor unions before what is known as exclusive representation became the law. These employer unions would negotiate salaries, etc., but they existed, ultimately, to protect the financial and political interests of the business owners, not those of the workers.

    To my mind, and the minds of my fellow union officers, each of the “solidarities” listed in my union’s statement, especially in light of where the statement ends, is an expression of solidarity with subgroups of our membership, because each of the issues those solidarities confront either already has, or realistically could, objectively harm them in their working lives.

    One last thing, and then I will wait for you to ask your questions: Personally, as a Jew, I would be appalled if my union were unwilling to take a stand against antisemitism because the leadership felt it had to remain politically neutral so that it did not give offense to whom? Antisemites among its ranks? Why should I assume that I would be safe in such a union, much less that the leadership would be willing and able to represent me as they should? The same would be true, I imagine, for a woman who was pro-choice. Right now, reproductive choice is, at least nominally, the law of the land. That law—as much as it might offend the sensibilities of some people in my union—does not deprive men and women who are not prochoice of any rights. Were I a pro-choice woman, why my union’s neutrality on that issue, especially in light of Donald Trump’s promise to end Roe v Wade, make me feel anything less than unsure about its commitment to my workplace well-being? After all, if abortion becomes illegal, an accidental/unwanted/etc. pregnancy would have profound, unwanted, unanticipated consequences for my working life.

    I am not trying to persuade you or anyone in this discussion to agree with me. What I am addressing is the notion that unions ought not to engage the political issues of the time. People who don’t like when unions do such a thing are free not to join unions; and, in the wake of the Janus decision, if they work in a public sector union shop, they can make that choice, continue to enjoy the benefits of the union contract and union representation, and not have to pay a dime for it. (Those who brought the Janus decision will be coming for private sector unions next.) If enough people choose to take that route, though, then there will be no union, no contract, and if you want to see where that leaves workers, take a look not just at public sector wages, but at the state of worker contracts (where they exist) in so-called right-to-work states, such as those in which teachers went on strike earlier this year. That, however, is a whole other subject.

  6. 206
    Zunf2 says:

    Richard Jeffrey Newman,

    If your union gets a wage increase from $15 to $17 at your place of work, that is a real, tangible benefit for workers. That is also what the union is supposed to do.

    Your political statement of this and that is not going to have any effect on whether there is a workplace shooting at your place of work. Nada, zilch, gar nichts. It’s not going to be read by hardly anyone, and it is simply you and a few buddies in your union venting about your hatred for Trump etc. Mass shootings occur year in and year out, under Republican presidents and under Democrat presidents. Remember Timothy McVeigh under Clinton, Sandy Hook under Obama or the many people “going postal” during that phase?

    There are likely people who voted for Trump in your union, and they know they have to just shut their mouths. You probably make it very unpleasant at your place of work and in your union for people who don’t agree with you about Trump or politics in general. Or is everyone at your workplace in lockstep about their blind hatred for Trump and Republicans?

    As a side note, I don’t even think that Trump is an anti-semite. Isn’t his daughter married to a Jewish guy? As another side note, it is a bit funny how you are so absolutely convinced that your political opinion is right and so absolutely entrenched in it. There are only two ways of thinking: Your way or the way of evil White Supremecists. Right?

  7. 207
    Sebastian H says:

    Richard, you seem to be confusing the idea that unions have to be involved in politics (they do) with the idea that “being involved in politics”means having to have formal broadcast opinions on important political topics that are outside your group’s area. That misunderstanding speaks directly to the Balkanization concept raised above. A union isn’t “the Democratic Party”. Unions are, broadly speaking, organized around work issues. The ACLU is, broadly speaking, organized around free speech issues. That often leads the two groups to ally, but doesn’t make their causes identical.

    An advocacy group is organized around putting some particular values as high priority. If you want to elevate abortion rights you should join NARAL, if you want to focus on free speech rights you should join the ACLU. If you want to focus on balancing those interests against each other the partisan political party hierarchy is for you.

    If I join the ACLU, I’m not signing up for NARAL. The ACLU doesn’t need to be making pronouncements about general abortion policy. They may ally with NARAL against laws restricting doctor’s speech, but they might not see eye to eye with NARAL on protestors outside of clinics. That’s fine. They might support politicians with good free speech records who NARAL supports for having abortion records that they like. That’s also fine. What I don’t need from the ACLU is a formal statement on what the proper policy for second trimester abortions is for. That isn’t what the ACLU is for. The ACLU is for free speech issues EVEN AMONG PEOPLE WHO DISAGREE ON OTHER ISSUES.

    Unions are even more fraught, because joining them is semi-mandatory, especially in a social sense in certain workplaces. They should have opinions on pregnancy leave, sure. That may cause them to support politicians who are broadly in line with NARALs views on abortion policy. Great. But they shouldn’t have a formal opinion or make formal statements about general abortion policy. That isn’t what the people who joined a work issues/labor issues group signed up for. They can totally join NARAL for that. They can join the Democratic Party if they want to join a group that has opinions on everything.

    On the specific topic of this letter, it seems like a great letter in general. A bit weird from a teacher’s union. If it had been a union that supported a bunch of candidates who might be questionable on anti-semitism, it would make sense as a repudiation of stuff the union might have been associated with. I can see the point about the general political atmosphere so I’m partially open to it—but disturbed by the rest of your discussion which seems to feel that a union should have positions on a wide range of non work topics.

  8. 208
    Ampersand says:

    Moderation note: Zunf2, your tone is very belligerent. Please dial it down several notches. Thanks. (And read the comment policy if you haven’t already.)

    In particular, I think asking questions of someone, and then immediately filling in the answers you imagine they would answer, seems unlikely to lead to worthwhile discussion.

    ***

    Not a moderation note, just a comment: “Some of my best friends are Jewish” is an common way of dismissing concerns about antisemitism, and has been for generations. (Hugo Black, in 1937, used the line to deny that he could possibly be an antisemite, despite his involvement with the KKK).

    It’s entirely possible for someone to have a good friend, or a close son-in-law, who is Jewish, and to still have antisemitic attitudes or beliefs. Just as it’s possible for someone to be a misogynist and still have a beloved wife, or daughter, or mother.

  9. Thanks, Sebastian, but I am not at all confused.

  10. 210
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    Limits of Language,

    A union representing workers that did all those things in your hypothetical would probably have its officers voted out. The union is bound to be political, but its politics can’t stray too far from the politics of people it represents.

    I will concede that union leadership will necessarily alienate some members through political activism or a lack of it. The vast majority of local 189’s members were democrats, and expected the union to help support democrats, but being a blue-collar union in Ohio, there were plenty of republicans and also pro-life democrats with strong opinions about where our political contributions would go. The union has to strike a balance between alienating its members and doing what is best for the organization as a whole. To give an example, I left Columbus while the 2008 democrat presidential primary was in full swing. Our hall was solidly behind… John fucking Edwards. I wore an Obama shirt all the time back then, and got made fun of by my peers. Obama was seen as too progressive by much of our membership.

    I have issues with unions, having been in one, but I really don’t begrudge union officers with making choices in the best interest of the union. Sometimes that will mean alienating membership by working with political allies.

  11. 211
    Sebastian H says:

    Well that sure clarified things. Thanks to your in depth explanation I can now totally see where I got you wrong!

  12. Sebastian,

    I didn’t think any explanation was necessary. In this comment, you wrote that you were concerned I was “confusing the idea that unions have to be involved in politics (they do) with the idea that ‘being involved in politics’ means having to have formal broadcast opinions on important political topics that are outside your group’s area,” though you did not provide any specific examples of where I did that.

    Then, you went on, very kindly but unnecessarily, to explain to me what advocacy groups do, but, again, without providing me with any specific examples of where you thought what I’d written actually displayed the confusion you were concerned about.

    Then, you went on to talk about why unions might support one politician over another, specifically on the issue of women’s reproductive rights–which, I would add, bears no resemblance at all to the endorsement philosophy of my union, at least–and suggested that this kind of support was okay as long as unions did not take specific policy positions on abortion, which would be outside a union’s purview; but, once more, you did not provide an example of where I suggested that unions should take specific policy positions outside their purview.

    Then, you said that the letter seemed to be “a great [statement] in general,” if “a bit weird from a teacher’s union”–though you did not explain why–because, if I understood you correctly, you thought the statement might make more sense in the context of my union’s ostensible relationship with particular political candidates, even though the statement makes no mention of political candidates or the election at all–and, again, you did not provide any specific examples to support what you were saying about my position from either the statement or my response to lurker23, which I assume is the post to which you are responding.

    Then you finished your comment by saying you are disturbed by “the rest of [my] discussion which seems to feel that a union should have positions on a wide range of non work topics,” without identifying where I said that, especially given that the conclusion to my union’s statement makes clear that “fight[ing] for good jobs, fair salaries, and safe working conditions for everyone,“–which I assume you would agree is within a union’s purview–is the way to respond to what you called “the general political atmosphere.”

    So, since you provided no actual evidence to which I could respond, it seemed that reassuring you that I am not confused about the difference between a union being involved in politics and presuming to recommend policy outside its purview was a fair response.

  13. 213
    Zunf2 says:

    What I see – as just one example of your unnecessary politics, Richard Jeffrey Newman – is your failure to discuss policy matters that would directly bear on workers in a union, for instance the very low unemployment and the exceptional rise in wages for workers recently, and your great willingness to push out anything “bad” about Donald Trump you can find or generate. A rise in wages that is the strongest in years or decades is going to have an effect on your workplace, Trump’s stance on transsexuals – possibly different than CNN’s take on it – is going to have little effect, because you can design your bathrooms in any way you want at your workplace.

    What I see is that you want your union to be involved in political stances that have little to do with your workplace, not caring whether some members of your workplace do not agree, maybe not even seeing that they could have a valid point at all, all while denying to Sebastian that you want to engage in politcal issues in your union that are not really related to the workplace.

    Your constant admonishments to Sebastian to provide specific examples – of things that many readers find obvious – is a great tactic that can be used down to microscopic levels. And, no matter how example-filled any text is, ambiguity can always be found if you want to.

  14. Zunf2:

    First, it’s people who are trans or transgender, not transsexuals. Out of respect for the people who read and comment here who are trans, please use the appropriate terminology.

    Second, if you followed the links regarding LGBTQ issues in my union’s statements, you would know that there is a whole lot more at stake than bathrooms—which is not to say I think those links should or would persuade you. Only that your characterization of the issue in your comment is insultingly reductive.

    Third, I’d like to see a link substantiating the claim you made about wage growth, one that does more than simply cite numbers, since there are other factors to consider when deciding if you think that any given wage increase makes a big, small, or not much difference in people’s actual lives. Here’s one that does not paint such a rosy picture.

    Finally, a question regarding your defensive posture towards Donald Trump: are you arguing that the claims my union made in its statement about things Trump has said or done are factually false?

  15. 215
    Sebastian H says:

    You wrote “Were I a pro-choice woman, why my union’s neutrality on that issue, especially in light of Donald Trump’s promise to end Roe v Wade, make me feel anything less than unsure about its commitment to my workplace well-being?”

    That quote isr elevant to my entire comment. I apologize for not quoting it. I assumed my reference to Roe v Wade would call attention to the comment so close above it. But now it is there for those who missed it the first time.

    That quote evidences a logic which would make literally any political topic “relevant” which is why I wrote extensively about why we bother to have separate groups instead of having everything be an arm of the Democratic Party.

  16. 216
    Sebastian H says:

    I also note that at least four other people seem to share this concept of unions having a more narrow domain, so it isn’t just me.

  17. Sebastian,

    I’d like to understand why you think a woman’s inability to control her own reproductive life, to access reproductive health care of all sorts—from birth control to pre- and post-natal care—is not a workplace issue. It can impact career planning and timing, it can impact career advancement, it can impact earning ability, it can impact (by increasing) the likelihood that women will be discriminated against in the job market. Thinking about this issue from the perspective of a woman trying to think about the course of her personal and professional life, the relevance of women’s reproductive rights (and I mean by that not just access to safe, legal abortion) to her workplace—and therefore to her union, should she belong to one—seems to me self-evident. What is your logic for suggesting it is not?

    ETA: Another question: Since you think that the logic I have applied to women’s reproductive rights is so expansive that it would make any political issue a workplace issue, I’d be curious to know if you can think of other issue(s) you think this expansiveness would apply to. It might be worthwhile to use a different example to see where it leads.

    Also, the fact that there are people who think unions should have “a more narrow domain” means neither that they are correct nor that unions should listen to them. So I am not sure why you brought up those other four people.

  18. 218
    Sebastian H says:

    The problem is that you’re speaking from a position of immense privilege in knowing that the union’s current political stance is likely to be very close to yours —you don’t speak from the point of view of a pro-life woman who sees the union’s highly partisan position (likely disagreeing with 65-70% of women on second trimester abortions for example) as making her feel unsure about its commitments to her workplace wellbeing.

    The traditional way of avoiding that problem is to center focus on actual workplace concerns, so that the union can draw wide support of lots people who might not share a lot of views on a lot of things, but share workplace concerns.

    I’m not sure what you’re asking me regarding unnecessarily politicizing a union. I’ve seen union opinions on the death penalty, foreign non trade policy (especially with respect to Israel), and drunk driving. None connected easily to the union. All quite contentious and almost certainly having deep divisions among the actual membership. All important topics to the polity as a whole, but not workplace topics. All topics that the Democratic Party has thoughts on, which is fine for the Democratic Party. But there is no need for almost any US union to have an Israel policy. There is no need for a US union to have a political opinion on drunk driving policy (except maybe a bartender’s union?). If you want to express general politics on everything, do so in a political party or in an advocacy group centered around those topics. Someone needs to focus on workplace topics. If it isn’t unions, it will be no one. And you’re cutting off half of your base by trying to make it just another branch of the Democratic Party instead of a powerful group of people who might have different views on the death penalty, abortion, Israel, or drunk driving, but would like to work together to make their workplace work better. And heck, once you show you can do good work in one area, maybe you can convince them of your righteous views in other areas, and get them to join you at NARAL or whatever other group you think they might agree with.

    And of course that’s just left wing unions. You’d probably feel differently if you were in a cop’s union. You’d almost certainly wish they’d stick to workplace concerns then, instead of doing things like (from your point of view) acting to make the overall world worse by lobbying to pass strict drug laws with mandatory minimums.

  19. 219
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    RJN,

    I’d like to understand why you think a woman’s inability to control her own reproductive life, to access reproductive health care of all sorts—from birth control to pre- and post-natal care—is not a workplace issue. It can impact career planning and timing, it can impact career advancement, it can impact earning ability, it can impact (by increasing) the likelihood that women will be discriminated against in the job market.

    Anything that changes the ability for people to work and/or their life choices, impacts their career. That doesn’t make it a workers rights issue, in my opinion. In my view, for something to be a workers rights issue, there actually has to be something specific to the relationship between the employer and employee that the employer could reasonably do or not do.

    By your reasoning, the safety of ski slopes is also a workplace issue, because if people fall and break their leg, they cannot work for some time, may get fired, etc. So then we could demand that Apple pay to have signs put up at ski slopes to make them safer.

    Ultimately, I think that a major clash between our world views is that I see unions purely as an advocacy group for workers, while you also see it as an advocacy group for people who are workers (and thus all the concerns they have, regardless of how work-related it is). However, I think that you are rationalizing your desires for yourself by arguing these tenuous links to the workplace, rather than recognizing what you are doing.

    In my view, unions should fight for the worker class. So they should fight the consequences of work hierarchies, capitalist collusion vs employee solitariness and such. However, if they fight for all the concerns that a majority of employees have, they become political parties.

    One downside to this is that they often lack the democratic legitimacy that politics has, especially when there is only one union to ‘choose.’ See Zunf2, who felt coerced to ‘support’ certain causes through their union membership, while he or she merely wanted a job. Even if you can achieve your political goals like this, do you want to win by coercion and authoritarianism, or by people freely choosing to back you? And what if you disagree with politics of the union?

    A second downside is that if the concerns are not specific to workers, it’s very exclusive to do the advocacy as a workers union. What about the jobless? They are being excluded, like they so often already are. Making access to an advocacy movement dependent on having a job is extremely anti-progressive.

    A third downside is that many concerns are not specific to a company or field. Abortion law is not going to be different for Microsoft than for Apple. It’s not going to differ between the tech industry and the steel industry. So it makes little sense to tie an advocacy movement that deals with abortion to a company or field.

    Having advocacy split up between so many different organizations who try to do it all severely compromises the effectiveness. Instead of having experts on abortion in one advocacy movement and experts on compensation at unions, you have jacks of all trades, who have superficial knowledge of everything and who lack follow-through. So the activism become more like twitter activism, 15 minutes of outrage based on a superficial understanding of the issue, which is forgotten as soon as the next click-bait appears. Or you can call it lynch-activism, because these kind of outrages are best assuaged by sacrificing a scapegoat, rather than to make long term changes. The people who rage rarely understand the real changes that are necessary, while they do understand symbolic gestures that don’t fundamentally change anything or that actually harm their cause in the long term.

    Another issue is that politicization greatly incentivizes the same negative behavior that politicians often engage in: make promises about things that they cannot control. This is especially pertinent to unions, because they have less power than politicians. A heavily politicized union can very easily start to ignore the power that they do have, in favor of chasing unicorns.

    A problem is that the politicization of unions balkanizes society. What happens if a union starts agitating strongly for building a wall on the border of Mexico, while you disagree strongly with that? I’d expect that this will increase the chance that you will move to a different company or field where the unions support your politics. So then people end up sorted by politics, which means that they stop being challenged when they believe dumb things that their tribe considers unassailable dogma. It’s a good way to make society fall apart into groups that have their own subculture, but it’s a very poor approach to spread your culture to all of society, which is what Social Justice seems to have as its goal.

  20. 220
    lurker23 says:

    Richard,

    i think you answered my question, thank you, we disagree but that is okay.

    let me explain my thinking bertter if i can. it is long, i am sorry. i ask a question, at the very end, i am hoping you will answer it.

    at the beginning i will say i am a very strong freedom person, even if the freedoms are things i do not like. so i think it should be free to think we should stop abortion even if i think that is dumb, and i think it should be free to support trump even if i dont like trump.

    i generally think that peoples work should not be super controlling to their thinking or agreement. (and like i said i did did not think this BEFORE, this changed but maybe it will change back through things like this conversation.) i think this because i have been convinced that people do not always have much control over where they work so maybe we should not make work control what they think or say unless it has to do with work.

    and because i want to let people think and say with lots of feeling free i treat “has to do with work” as being very limited, this gives people more freedom. because of course work could say “we are worried that if people do not support prolife that it will somehow hurt their ability to be good employees and we want to help employees so they all need to wear prolife shirts, we know what is good for them.” or “we are worried that the democrats will make corporate laws that are bad for this company, that will hurt employees and we will make them all wear trump shirts.”

    i think people should think for themselves. and so far i think unions would AGREE with me and i think union supporters like you would AGREE with me, am i right?

    but i ALSO i think that peoples union is just as much (or little) choice as peoples work or their specific job where they work. this is because of laws that protect unions and give them special status for bargaining with employers and special protections and special relationships with people who want to work in a union field or on a union job. those laws mean that membership in the unions is not really voluntary and the “not really voluntary” means i think they should limit what they do to protect employee flexibility. (if those laws did not exist i would not care what they did, they would just be like any other group.)

    so because of the same reason that work should limit what it does, UNIONS should limit what it does. and since i think “has to do with work” should be limited in work context, i think it should ALSO be limited in union context.

    my questions: do you think i am wrong about the similarness between unions and employers when it comes to speech? how do you make sense of treating them not the same way at all? are you not as worried about worker freedom as i am?

    (also i do not think “this is the way unions do it” is really a good answer to that, i am interested in what you think should happen and it may be different than what does happen now. it used to be more that you had to think like your employer thinks, but now this is bad sometimes and changing. maybe unions should change too?)

  21. 221
    nobody.really says:

    I previously thought I saw Mirka in the New York Times. Others politely suggested I should get a new hobby, or therapy. Or both.

    Now I’m seeing a story of a bearded, dark-haired, heavy-set gentleman hand-writing political postcards for Democrats.

    Yup, I’m sure it this time–that’s Mirka! Or someone closely related, anyway.

  22. 222
    Ampersand says:

    Yup, I’m sure it this time–that’s Mirka! Or someone closely related, anyway.

    It’s like looking into a mirror!

  23. 223
    Ampersand says:

    One thing to consider is that corporations routinely support political candidates, as well as foundations and think tanks that take positions on policy issues. Even though not every stakeholder supports this.

    If that’s okay for corporations to do, then why not unions? Would it be fairer if only corporations did this, and unions did not?

  24. 224
    lurker23 says:

    Ampersand,

    do you agree that there is sort of a space-gap between what the company does and what the employee does?

    i think there is now, which is why i changed my mind and started to think that companies should not tell their employees how they have to act or think, EVEN THOUGH a company might want to tell them what to do and EVEN THOUGH the company might well try to make a connection between work and “act/think” that is at least as strong as the connection between a teacher union and a synagogue shooting.

    in other words i think makes sense for it to go two ways. either this one:
    1) “company and worker are considered the same” and then the company should not speak for the worker BUT gets to be very picky about what worker think/say. or this one:
    2) “company and worker are not the same” and then they both get to do/say what they way, which seems more free to me (owners of companys are usually people)

    unions do not seem like that. they are membership and votes and it is hard to make as much of a space-gap between “what the unions member say” and “what the unions say”. i think that is worse for your membership group to say things you do not like.

    also a company is consistent. it used to be that a company who liked trump would want all its workers to like trump. now the company says “you dont need to like trump to work here, but we like trump.” that is consistent.

    unions used to say “you should not care about what people like. you should only focus on work. work is very small and has nothing to do with politics. it only has to do with job performance and benefits and salary.” now unions say “nevermind what we said before, when we want to talk about work we think work can be super huge and mean almost anything we want it to.” that is not consistent.

    so i think

    Would it be fairer if only corporations did this, and unions did not?

    yes.

    did i explain that okay?

  25. 225
    J. Squid says:

    unions used to say “you should not care about what people like. you should only focus on work. work is very small and has nothing to do with politics. it only has to do with job performance and benefits and salary.”

    This is a knowledge of unionism and union history that is at odds with reality. Unions and unionism have always been political. Often a lot more than any union is this year.

    All I can do is ask you to read up on the history of unions in the US before you comment further on the subject. I, for one, find no value in engaging somebody who substitutes fiction for history so blatantly.

    It’s truly hard to see you as sincere when you write stuff like this.

  26. 226
    Sebastian H says:

    Amp, you seem to be excluding the middle in the discussion. I’m not arguing that unions shouldn’t “be political”. They clearly need to engage in all sorts of politics. They just don’t need to think that all possible topics are union related enough for positions to be necessary. And aren’t you overdrawing the corporate political involvement? Most companies don’t have a formal position on Israel, or the death penalty, or even income taxes. That just isnt appropriate for most companies. They participate to try to keep regulation of themselves down or different depending on the situation, to be sure, but that is clearly work related in the same way that lobbying around OSHA requirements would be union related.

    And if you read me again, you’ll note that I specifically mention that it is ok for unions to support political candidates that align with their union views about union appropriate topics. And I fully suspect that someone with progressive views on workplaces will also have pro choice views on abortion—because there is a lot of evidence that we get our views from the tribes we sort into so they become homogenous over time. But that’s different from Richard’s position that union should all have a position (and not just a position, but a position that approximates a left wing position) on abortion, or Israel, or the death penalty.

  27. Sebastian:

    But that’s different from Richard’s position that union should all have a position (and not just a position, but a position that approximates a left wing position) on abortion, or Israel, or the death penalty.

    I was going to wait till I had more time to respond more substantively—which I will do—but this is such a gross misreading of what I wrote that I can’t let it pass. Nowhere did I say anything even remotely resembling what you attribute to me. What I did say is that I think it’s wrong for people to suggest that unions should not engage the political issues of the times—and I will come back to talk about the ones listed in my union’s statement to explain why I think those are important issues around which to show the kinds of solidarity my union showed (which, I would point out, is very different from advocating for a specific policy position)—but that is a very different thing from saying what you said I said, which is that all unions should have a (relatively the same, left-leaning) position on all political issues.

  28. 228
    Sebastian H says:

    This could have been dealt with more easily if instead of curt dismissals you gave real explanations. With curt dismissals you invite (apparently wrong) guesses. So far you have engaged in justifications about abortion positioning that amount to “it effects human beings who work” which as pointed out above could apply to ski slope safety rules (for skiers, not workers). And which as pointed out above, leave a very large majority who don’t agree with the current left wing positioning on abortion in the “will they protect us” position that you use to justify the positioning. The limiting point from that explanation is apparently obvious to you, but not at all obvious to anyone commenting on it. Similarly, all sorts of unions insist on having positions on Israel which almost certainly do not well reflect a very large percentage (if not in fact often a majority) of their member’s beliefs and which even for academic unions aren’t necessary for teacher/professor protections etc. note this would also apply to unnecessary AFL/CIO support statements for Israel which I have also seen

  29. LimitsOfLanguage:

    In my view, for something to be a workers rights issue, there actually has to be something specific to the relationship between the employer and employee that the employer could reasonably do or not do.

    Precisely, which is what makes the issue of women’s reproductive rights very different from your ski-slope example. If women are unable to control their own reproductive lives, employers will inevitably be able to use the unpredictable impact that unintended pregnancy, childbirth, and childcare needs will have on a woman’s professional life to “reasonably” discriminate against women in hiring, work-assignment, and promotion. We know this not just because employers practiced this kind of discrimination quite openly in the past, but because pregnancy discrimination continues to be a thing even now.

    I would suggest that this is true about every one of the issues on which my union chose to declare solidarity with a targeted group. In each case, it is not at all far fetched to think that the issue at stake could become (again)—if it is not already used as—justifications for on-the-job discrimination by the employer, and that is certainly a union issue.

    However, if they fight for all the concerns that a majority of employees have, they become political parties.

    I will once again refer you, and others, to what my union’s statement actually says at the end, which is that it commits itself to fighting for “good jobs, fair salaries, and safe working conditions for everyone” because fighting for those things is the best way we know to transcend the hatreds against which we expressed solidarity. Nowhere does it say that we intend to agitate as a union for abortion rights or any other specific policy.

  30. 230
    Sebastian H says:

    “Precisely, which is what makes the issue of women’s reproductive rights very different from your ski-slope example. If women are unable to control their own reproductive lives, employers will inevitably be able to use the unpredictable impact that unintended pregnancy, childbirth, and childcare needs will have on a woman’s professional life to “reasonably” discriminate against women in hiring, work-assignment, and promotion. ”

    That isn’t a distinction from the ski case at all. First to the extent that they discriminate against women for child birth potential, they already do that now with Roe v. Wade intact. How can you use that as an argument for a politicized abortion stance? I’m unaware that they discriminate less in states like CA or NY that would be unlikely to change if Roe were overturned. Is there a documented lack of pregnancy discrimination in the Silicon Valley that I’m unaware of? Are NYC based banks well known for having lower percentages of discrimination than places less friendly to abortion? Even in a world with easy access to abortion, they could still discriminate against pregnancy. Maybe you should focus on pregnancy discrimination since that is the workplace issue.

    If an unexpected turn of events that impacts your body can be used by employers against women, ski accidents also provide such an opportunity. In fact all accidents or injuries or disabilities have that potential. You might want to focus on temporary disability issues rather than abortion.

    And you aren’t speaking at all to the problem of very large (and depending on policy potential majority) who don’t agree with you on abortion rights. As you say above, how can they trust you to represent them in the workplace when you so clearly and unnecessarily disregard them on an outside political issue? You sow dissension for no reason at all when you could just not do so.

  31. 231
    Harlequin says:

    A couple of comments–

    1. Would it be unusual for you all to work well with someone you disagreed with politically? Would it be unusual for you to have the leaders of a large group you’re part of make some kind of public statement that you didn’t agree with? I feel like both of those are regular parts of my work life.

    2. I think if we were in some kind of reversed situation, with a few of the farther-left commentators implying that groups representing millions of Americans should voluntarily refrain from virtually all political speech, we would be hearing something about free speech from the more centrist commenters. I would be interested to hear everyone’s thoughts on the free speech implications of a social norm that unions should not express political opinions except about workers’ rights, very narrowly defined. (This may be different for, say, a plumbers’ union that steers people to jobs vs a public-sector union that comes with a job and represents only that employer.)

  32. 232
    Zunf2 says:

    Harlequin,

    A major problem is that unions are given special privileges in the law.

    If a union were just a group of people who are going to jointly refuse to work before they get better conditions, but had no advantageous position in the law, they can get together and do whatever they want to do. And so can the company by firing them. I wouldn’t care what a group like that promoted.

    The Janus decision thankfully changed one aspect of the special positioning under law, but plenty special benefits remain for unions of various types. You want to be a bit more careful when someone (a worker) doesn’t have full choice because of restrictions under the law. Or maybe you don’t if you are a left-winger and your group with special benefits under the law is promoting left-wing stuff. The whole idea of a union / collective bargainin is more or less a left-wing idea, so maybe it’s a natural thing that a union is going to adopt other left-wing views that don’t have much to do with the workplace.

  33. 233
    lurker23 says:

    J. Squid says:
    November 5, 2018 at 1:06 pm
    unions used to say “you should not care about what people like. you should only focus on work. work is very small and has nothing to do with politics. it only has to do with job performance and benefits and salary.”

    This is a knowledge of unionism and union history that is at odds with reality. Unions and unionism have always been political. Often a lot more than any union is this year.

    i am sorry, the context was in my other posts, i was not clear. i meant when unions talking about employers they say the employer should only care about specific work performance and stuff. so they are pushing a definition of ‘work related’ which is very very limited. when they talk about themselves they use a definition of “work related” which is very big, so big that it is hard to find a line of something that CANNOT be work related.

    this inconsistency is troubling because of unions special status.

    so for example

    I would be interested to hear everyone’s thoughts on the free speech implications of a social norm that unions should not express political opinions except about workers’ rights, very narrowly defined.

    this is not much of a free speech issue if it is a norm and not a law, a norm that you should not stand on the street corner yelling “NI**ER” is okay but a law prohibiting it is bad.

    to me it is more about making things consistent with why we protect unions. right now the protection is based in theory that unions are good for workers but that theory is focused on a very narrow world of what “good for workers” really is. we talk about unions and wages, unions and leave, unions and protections against firing, and that sort of thing. it may be that unions ALSO are generally trying to advance anything at all from communism to organ donation to better food banks to space travel, but those are NOT the reasons why unions get special protection.

    it is no surprise that unions will take their power and use as much of it as they can, everyone does that, but at some point it makes sense to put some limits on that power, right? if you wanted to start from the beginning and ask the reasons why unions should have special power, nobody would say “they need power so that the teachers union can argue strongly against the police actions in another state.” in fact i think people would say something like “if they want to act like a political party that is okay but then they are just treated like a political party, not like something that gets special protections.”

  34. 234
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    Ampersand,

    I do believe that companies should not back a political party in the long term, although they may support a specific candidate when that candidate has a good policy for the company (or the other candidate has a bad policy).

    However, CEOs have freedom of speech, so they can of course support whoever they like in their free time, just like any worker should be able to support who they like, without repercussions.

    RJN,

    If women are unable to control their own reproductive lives, employers will inevitably be able to use the unpredictable impact that unintended pregnancy, childbirth, and childcare needs will have on a woman’s professional life to “reasonably” discriminate against women in hiring, work-assignment, and promotion.

    As it happens, many women choose not to end their pregnancy even when they can get an abortion, so they still get to have a childbirth and childcare needs. So if your goal is to stop companies being less eager to hire, promote, etc women by reducing childbirths through abortion, then you have to go a lot further and make abortions mandatory.

    You surely won’t advocate that even though it would help women in the workplace. Similarly, if banning abortion turned out to make employers more eager to hire women, you wouldn’t suddenly become pro-life. Your support for abortion rights is surely orthogonal to how it impacts female workers.

    I also strongly suspect that you want measures to stop companies being less eager to hire, promote, etc women beyond improving reproductive freedoms. For example, I doubt that you would agree with abolishing the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, even if we improve reproductive freedoms to whatever extent you desire.

    I can imagine an anti-abortionist who favors the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, but who disagrees that the downsides of abortion are worth the upsides. Would you be willing to believe that such a person favors helping women, but has a different view on how morally wrong it is to kill a fetus?

    Anyway, this example is actually quite interesting, because it is highly questionable whether women are actually being discriminated against for being women or whether companies are treating people equally, but differences between the genders cause unequal outcomes. In the latter case, your objection may interpreted as a complaint that companies are not discriminating in women’s favor as much as you want.

    At the core, the relationship between a worker and a company is a quid pro quo. The employer does work that is valuable to the company and is compensated for their labor. Companies already ‘discriminate’ against those who do not provide that much value due to low IQ, lack of education, laziness, etc. Most of us consider it pretty normal that a hard worker gets more salary that a lazy worker or that the hard worker is hired rather than the lazy worker.

    However, then for other reasons why workers are less productive, the government expects companies to abandon the merit-based decision, treating the less productive employee as if they were more productive.

    As a thought experiment, imagine a company that interacts with all their employees through a computer that obscures all traits and where workers get paid for the actual work they do (and are not salaried). Let’s call this hypothetical company ‘Uber.’ Uber only sees the work performed and pays out accordingly. They have no idea whether a person fails to do any work due to pregnancy, a skiing accident or because of laziness. Yet according to your reasoning, the company is discriminating if the the employee happens to be pregnant, even though the company has no clue that the employee is pregnant, right? But how can they discriminate (= make a distinction) when they are incapable of distinguishing?

    Ergo, what you then actually want is for companies to distinguish between ‘legitimate’ and ‘illegitimate’ reasons for reduced work performance and transfer wealth, promotions, etc from more productive workers to less productive workers with a ‘legitimate’ reason.

    Aside from the ethical considerations at play here, it should be obvious that the incentive for employers is not to do this and reward/promote by merit in all cases. So laws that try to restrict merit-based compensation go against the incentives of employers. Laws that go against incentives are notoriously hard to enforce.

    So an interesting exercise would be to see if there are any alternatives that change the incentives, so you don’t have this adversarial situation where you have to force companies to act against their own interest.

    I will once again refer you, and others, to what my union’s statement actually says at the end, which is that it commits itself to fighting for “good jobs, fair salaries, and safe working conditions for everyone” because fighting for those things is the best way we know to transcend the hatreds against which we expressed solidarity.

    These are very subjective goals though. If a person considers a purely merit-based hiring/promotion policy to be fair, will you then respect that as a alternative viewpoint or will you call that person a sexist for what in your eyes (but not in theirs) is discrimination against women?

  35. 235
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    Harlequin,

    I think if we were in some kind of reversed situation, with a few of the farther-left commentators implying that groups representing millions of Americans should voluntarily refrain from virtually all political speech, we would be hearing something about free speech from the more centrist commenters.

    I think that this is a very unfair way to represent our/my argument, where you strongly imply that we want to silence people. I am not arguing that people should refrain from political speech, but I suggest that they could do so in a way that is better for society.

    If you believe that the alternatives that I suggest are unworkable, inferior, inaccessible, etc; then please be explicit and say what your exact concern is, so we can address it. If you are unwilling to make such an exact claim, then please don’t make these claims.

  36. Sebastian,

    First to the extent that they discriminate against women for child birth potential, they already do that now with Roe v. Wade intact. How can you use that as an argument for a politicized abortion stance?

    Because, if abortion were illegal, it would make this discrimination easier to justify. It is a very slippery slope.

    If an unexpected turn of events that impacts your body can be used by employers against women, ski accidents also provide such an opportunity. In fact all accidents or injuries or disabilities have that potential. You might want to focus on temporary disability issues rather than abortion.

    I’m just going to leave that there because I really don’t know how to respond to an equivalency that places pregnancy and childbirth on the same level as a ski accident.

    Also, just a general comment: I feel like there is a conflation in this discussion between what people are presenting as the kind of strategy they think unions ought to adopt in order to be most effective and what people think unions are. I am realizing that this makes it difficult for me to respond. It is one thing to disagree on whether a particular strategy is or is not “smart,” recognizing that different strategies will work for different kinds of unions in different places; it is quite something else to disagree about what unions are/ought to be. Both kinds of disagreements are at work here, I suspect.

  37. 237
    Zunf2 says:

    I’m just going to leave that there because I really don’t know how to respond to an equivalency that places pregnancy and childbirth on the same level as a ski accident.

    I completely do not understand this comment, and further explanation would be welcome.

    He’s comparing one type of temporary disability to another to make an argument. The commonality that is useful to the argument is that they are both forms of temporary disability. And you don’t know how to respond to it because of … what?

  38. 238
    lurker23 says:

    this is a little like the border argument, where everyone is very interested in making sure the other side agrees with their opinion up front before they agree to talk about things.

    i do not think that makes sense because it is not required to answer the question. for any combination of your thinking on what what unions did/are/were/want/wanted/should have been, you can still answer the question “do you think this is okay in the future?” and “why / why not?”

    maybe your answer is “because it has always been that way” or maybe it is something else. but certainly people can answer without getting stuck arguing about whether something is or is not a good hypothetical.

    so let me be general and try to make this more clear? Richard maybe can you at least TRY to answer?

    1) can people at least TRY to explain where you think the boundary is of what things unions should be involved in, if you think there is any boundary at all? (if you think there is no boundary you do not have to answer 2 or 3)

    2) can you give a short example of something you consider definitely inside the boundary and try to explain why?

    3) can you give a short example of something you consider definitely outside the boundary and try to explain why?

  39. 239
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    Richard Jeffrey Newman,

    I’m just going to leave that there because I really don’t know how to respond to an equivalency that places pregnancy and childbirth on the same level as a ski accident.

    American employment law requires employers to treat an inability to work due to pregnancy as a temporary disability:

    If an employee is temporarily unable to perform her job due to pregnancy, the employer must treat her the same as any other temporarily disabled employee; for example, by providing light duty, modified tasks, alternative assignments, disability leave, or leave without pay. An employer may have to provide a reasonable accommodation for a disability related to pregnancy, absent undue hardship (significant difficulty or expense).
    (Pregnancy Discrimination Act)

    Remember the point I made earlier that being a jack of all trades means being a master of none? You are proving my point by not knowing the law pertaining to this employment issue, despite working for a union. Knowing this is part of the job of a union representative. When a pregnant employee comes to a union representative with a question, the latter needs to be able to give advice based on the actual law.

    For the benefit of women who work at your college and who may seek you out for advice, I really suggest you educate yourself more on the actual law, so you will not harm these women by telling them things that are wrong.

  40. 240
    Sebastian H says:

    “I’m just going to leave that there because I really don’t know how to respond to an equivalency that places pregnancy and childbirth on the same level as a ski accident.”

    The reason both might have workplace implications is because in both cases they might temporarily cause difficulty with engaging in work duties. With that in mind can you respond?

    I don’t understand what slippery slope you’re envisioning with abortions. The slippery slope is on pregnancies. Unions should definitely fight to protect women who get pregnant. That’s clearly a workplace issue. But that is true at any level of abortion rights. Whether abortion is mostly illegal in the second trimester (as big majority of people want) or mostly legal in the second trimester (as you want unions to support) is orthogonal to the work place issue because the work place issue is about protecting pregnant women from discrimination. The union shouldn’t be making a bank shot on that by hoping that abortion rights will fix it, they need to be attacking it directly by protecting the rights of pregnant women to not be discriminated against even if they decide to carry to full term. And they should be trying to enact protections for outside of work behavior such that the company can’t pressure for an abortion either. You seem to be alluding to a mechanism by which there are so many abortions that companies won’t notice that some women get pregnant and have the children, so discrimnation will go down. But you can’t really be thinking that, so I can’t understand what slippery slope you see.

  41. When the class of people who ski becomes a class of people who are discriminated against because they are people who ski, then perhaps someone who breaks their leg on the slope will be equivalent in workplace and career terms to a woman who gets pregnant.

    The workplace issue is not only about protecting pregnant women from discrimination. The workplace issue is also about protecting a woman’s right to choose not to have a pregnancy become the “temporary disability” recognized by the law LOL cited. And, by the way, LimitsOfLanguage: Of course I know what the law is. Your comment was a cheap shot and insulting. Stop it, and I am saying that with my moderator hat on.

    To put that another way, abortion is not something separate and apart from the rest of women’s reproductive health care, or their healthcare in general; access to safe and legal abortion is integral to it; and to the degree that health care is a union issue—and given that so many people get their health insurance through their employers, it is indisputably a union issue—then the right to safe and legal abortion is also a union issue.

    People, employers or employees, who are anti-abortion might not like this; it might offend their moral sensibility. They might be able to persuade the courts to agree with them. I am not trying to persuade anyone who is anti-abortion suddenly to support women’s right to have them if they choose. I am simply saying it is, on these grounds, not unreasonable for a union to see women’s reproductive rights, including access to abortion, as a workplace issue.

  42. 242
    Sebastian H says:

    “To put that another way, abortion is not something separate and apart from the rest of women’s reproductive health care, or their healthcare in general; access to safe and legal abortion is integral to it”

    That is an assertion, not explanation. The high level of abstraction you use for ‘health care’ doesn’t distinguish it from the ski slope instance. There isn’t any reason for a union to prefer easy access to month 6 abortions over month 5 abortions. There isn’t any reason for a union to prefer that late term abortions do or do not require some particular medical authorization. Unions can function equally well in either case by protecting women’s rights not to have their job impacted by a pregnancy. NARAL has strong opinions on the issue, but you haven’t offered a single reason why unions should. On issues where they can protect the work related concerns *no matter how the underlying political issue comes out* shouldn’t they just do so?

    “People, employers or employees, who are anti-abortion might not like this; it might offend their moral sensibility. ”

    Yes it might, and they are especially right that you shouldn’t be shoving your outside political agenda down their throats *in the workplace* because you don’t need to do that *as a union officer*. Everything that links abortion to the workplace can be dealt with outside of abortion directly. Everything that links abortion to the workplace can be dealt with either through anti-discrimination action (with respect to sex) or anti-retaliation (with respect to disability).

    I guess it would be easier if you would describe something that clearly doesn’t fall into the union realm and why. Foreign policy concerns about Israel maybe?

  43. 243
    Ampersand says:

    I guess it would be easier if you would describe something that clearly doesn’t fall into the union realm and why. Foreign policy concerns about Israel maybe?

    I don’t know about Israel, but it certainly makes sense for unions to pay attention to foreign policy – for example, to the state of labor and anti-labor laws in various countries.

    It seems to me that if the members of Richard’s union hate the way the union is run, they can elect different union officials. It’s my impression that what issues are on a union’s agenda vary from union to union, and if so, that seems like a good state of affairs to me.

    And for any way of running any union, there will always be some members who are unhappy with the way the union is run. If there are too many such members, that may mean the union is badly run. But if there’s only a handful, that could just mean that it’s impossible to please everybody all of the time.

  44. 244
    Zunf2 says:

    It seems to me that if the members of Richard’s union hate the way the union is run, they can elect different union officials. It’s my impression that what issues are on a union’s agenda vary from union to union, and if so, that seems like a good state of affairs to me.

    I would completely agree except for the fact that unions are given privileges under the law and are as a result quasi-public organizations in a sense.

    If they were completely private, of course they could do whatever they want and elect whomever they want. They can still garner criticism, though, if elected officials overstep their bounds and become officious intermeddlers or downright bullies. Just like in the case of any other private organization.

  45. 245
    Ampersand says:

    I would completely agree except for the fact that unions are given privileges under the law and are as a result quasi-public organizations in a sense.

    What privileges are you referring to?

  46. 246
    Zunf2 says:

    For instance, unions are recognized as exclusive collective-bargaining representatives for workers. Employers can be charged with unfair labor practices for a wide range of activities against unions. Although the Janus decision bit into it a bit with regard to specific types of unions, there are still instances in general of mandatory fees or membership etc. for people who want a job in particular sectors. On the other side, unions are subject to many regulations and disclosure requirements, but that also prevents other ad hoc groups from trying to represent employees who don’t think the same way as the union party line.

    I mean, to start with. Labor law is a fairly complex subject, but there IS a body of law with regard to unions. I don’t think you can dispute that.

  47. 247
    Zunf2 says:

    Unions also typically take on tasks that require fiduciary duties, for instance with regard to pensions. As a maybe stretched analogy (although it gets the part about non-transferability right), would you want the US Social Security department sending you mailings about how you should be pro-life with regard to abortion? And then they defend it, saying it very much has to do with your social security, because we need more births to have more young taxpayers paying for older benefit-takers? The attempted patronizing justification about why being pro-life has anything to do with your social security payment would irritate you.

  48. 248
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    Ampersand,

    It seems to me that if the members of Richard’s union hate the way the union is run, they can elect different union officials.

    While this is true in theory, in practice certain people have a big advantage when it comes to gaining access to positions of power.

    For example, the job of union representatives isn’t merely about having political views, but also about performing certain tasks, which usually requires a certain level of education. So those with poor education generally are disqualified for the job. An issue here is that we know that education is strongly correlated with political views, so the same barrier that keeps out less educated people, also tends to keep out certain political views. It also means that people with a strong education tend to get support by voters for being very capable of doing the non-political parts of the job, which is not the same as getting votes that are based on agreement with their political views.

    A similar issue is that some people have personalities that make them enjoy politicking, while others do not. Logically, those who hate politicking are likely to refuse to run for these positions, as they consider the personal costs to themselves too high, while those who enjoy politicking are much more likely to run. Again, it seems that these personality differences are correlated with political views.

    So the end result of these kind of differences is that certain political views are highly privileged when it comes to getting into positions of power. In fact, according to the hidden tribes study, it seems that the 8% (or so) of society that can perhaps be described as Social Justice advocates (although they are labeled as Progressive Activists in the study) seem to be highly privileged in both aforementioned ways, being much better educated and enjoying politicking much more.

    So just like ‘just work harder’ is an insufficient response to economic inequality, ‘just vote for someone else’ & ‘just run yourself’ are insufficient to address political under-representation.

    I believe that the privileged have an obligation to sacrifice part of their own interests for the less privileged, since they have a greater ability to effect change. If they merely fight for the interests of people like them, who tend to have high amounts of privilege, an injustice is done to the less privileged.

  49. 249
    lurker23 says:

    Ampersand says:
    November 8, 2018 at 12:43 am

    I guess it would be easier if you would describe something that clearly doesn’t fall into the union realm and why. Foreign policy concerns about Israel maybe?

    I don’t know about Israel, but it certainly makes sense for unions to pay attention to foreign policy – for example, to the state of labor and anti-labor laws in various countries.

    i keep asking, and other people keep asking, for this very simple thing:

    describe something that clearly doesn’t fall into the union realm and why.

    i am really not understanding why people like you and Richard are not answering. is this not a super helpful fact to make things clear about your position? is it not reasonable for us to want your position to be clear? the question is not rude or weird!
    Ampersand,

    It seems to me that if the members of Richard’s union hate the way the union is run, they can elect different union officials.

    yes, that is true, just like it is true that people in iowa who want better abortion access can just elect different law makers, or that people in the us who want different foreign policy can just elect a different president.

    but that is not always right or moral, right? in other words i think that there is a very strong argument for people in elected positions to try to take minority views in their thoughts so that they do not make things TOO bad for the minority. i would have expected that you would feel the same way based on a lot of your other posts.

    here it looks like you are saying “the winner can do what they want” and that does not seem to me to look like what you usually say. also, i do not know if you are considering the issues of corruption or power that usually make people in power able to stay in power because it is hard to oppose them (i DO NOT mean Richard!, i am talking more generally about power) am i wrong?

  50. 250
    Sebastian H says:

    “It seems to me that if the members of Richard’s union hate the way the union is run, they can elect different union officials. ”

    This feels like a weird way to run a semi-mandatory association. But it also speaks to me about a real difference in how I see tolerance in the world. Even if the pro-lifers (by Richard’s definition) are only a very large minority (say 40%) that doesn’t give you carte blanche to tell them stuff it. Since you’re in a semi-mandatory association organized around work, you could choose to keep it about work. You might even go out of your way to deal with borderline cases in work related ways, like by focusing on keeping the company from discriminating against pregnant women, people with disabilities, and gender, which gets all the workplace stuff that you want to get out of abortion policy without forcing abortion policy down their throat. And in the current world, you can almost certainly get 99.9% of what you want by getting abortion oriented politicians to also mouth nice words about work related issues.

    The idea that you just have to go further just to own the conservs seems unhelpful.

  51. 251
    Ampersand says:

    My guess is that in the real world, a 40% pro-life union would not actually put a pro-choice plank in their platform (as it were). For one thing, in the USA it only takes 30% of union members to force a decertification election, so it seems unlikely that even incompetent leadership is going to throat-shove any hated policy down 40% of the employee’s throats, and if they did, the 40% has a nuclear option they can use (or use as a threat to get the union leadership to back down).

    But it also wouldn’t need to come to that, because a significant number of the pro-choice membership won’t want something that will cause a huge amount of dissent and argument with their co-workers, to be taken up by the union. All that 40% of pro-lifers needs to do, is find 11% of people who are pro-choice but think that the union should stay out of abortion, and they can win the next election. If there really is 40% of workers who are angry and believe the union leadership is unjustly shoving things down their throats, then that puts the union leadership in a precarious position.

    (Unless the union and the elections process is corrupt. But if that’s the case, the problem really isn’t that there’s a pro-choice statement in a letter).

    Will the pressure of elections work all the time? No, of course not. Democracy isn’t perfect, but what superior alternative do you suggest? But I think in general, most unions are going to avoid taking positions that very large portions of their membership would object strongly to. At the same time, although I’m not sure you’re willing to admit this is true, the fact is, there will always be someone who disagrees. 100% consensus will usually not be possible.

    As I understand it, Richard (correct me if I’m wrong Richard) is with a union of educators in a fairly liberal area. My guess is that the large majority of the members either aren’t bother much by, or approve of, the letter than Richard shared. In other words, I think it’s plausible that the union, in this example, is pretty much a reflection of what the membership as a whole would want. You seem to be dismissing this as a possibility, or at least, not considering it at all.

  52. 252
    Ampersand says:

    i keep asking, and other people keep asking, for this very simple thing:

    describe something that clearly doesn’t fall into the union realm and why.

    i am really not understanding why people like you and Richard are not answering.

    This is literally the first time in this thread anyone has asked me.

    And frankly, I don’t know what I’m talking about, compared to Richard, who has quite a bit of expertise.

    But since you asked, and since talking without expertise is after all part of a blogger’s mandate, my answer is… it’s all contextual.

    Unions should try and make things better for workers. There are some core issues that unions will take on in practically every case, like not allowing employers to arbitrarily fire workers, like being against sexual harassment, like trying to negotiate good salaries, and so on.

    There are also less-core issues that not all unions will agree on. That might include seeking solidarity with other issue groups that are aligned (or willing to be aligned) with the union. Or maybe not. It depends on the individual union, and its circumstances, and its strategy, and on the general views and desires of the workers it represents.

    Do I think all unions should take a pro-choice position? No, I don’t. But I also don’t think any unions should be forbidden from taking a pro-choice position. I accept – and I think, you should accept – that diversity of approach from union to union is a real thing.

    You seem to oppose the idea of diversity of approach. Instead, if I’m understanding your views (and maybe I’m not), you think that unions should strictly keep themselves to what you (and maybe I) think of as their core issues (if I’m understanding you correctly). If that’s correct, then here’s my question to you: Were you elected by union members to make that determination? And if not, then don’t you have less moral authority to make that determination, than people who have been elected?

    Regarding your objections to my reliance on democracy as a tool to keep unions from going wildly afield of what the membership wants: I think I covered all your objections in my response to Sebastian a few minutes ago, so rather than repeat all that, I’ll just refer you to that comment.

    I do think corruption in any democratic system – be it unions or the US Congress – is a real concern. But I think we should keep a firm conceptual dividing line between “unions take a stance on issues that you disagree with” versus “the union’s election system is corrupt and doesn’t allow members to have a real chance to pressure or change leadership.” If a union’s election process is corrupt, then that’s a problem even if they don’t take any stances you disagree with.

    The problem isn’t that a hypothetical corrupt union takes a pro-choice stance. It’s that the hypothetical union is corrupt.

  53. 253
    Sebastian H says:

    It’s more than that. Going beyond the charge of the group is something like an abuse of power. A prosecutor has the POWER to pile on charges to scare people into taking a plea. They also have the POWER to overcharge in retaliation for not taking a plea. I don’t see an easy way to make a LAW against doing that, because these decisions are highly contextual. However I can still recognize it as an abuse of the prosecutorial position. I can argue that it is bad for for society if prosecutors use their power that way. I can argue for norms against doing that even if I recognize that formal checks on it are going to be difficult to put into place.

    A union official is in a special position of power as a representative of workers in the context of their work. A union official is NOT a general legislator or general political operative. A union official represents people as a work group. Not a church group with ideas on general morality. Not a wholly voluntary political action committee. A group of working people in their work context. That same group of people might be led in a different context by various clergy. A bowling league president might represent many of them for purposes regarding the renting and use of bowling lanes and might be charged with collecting dues to organize tournaments. But even that wholly voluntary group is for a particular limited purpose.

    Union officials have the raw power to do all sorts of things in the sense that is difficult to write clear rules about what job issues are and what they aren’t. That isn’t to say that no one can recognize that things aren’t work related, just that the hyper exact border is hard to draw. But union officials don’t have the authority to act as general political agents. They have the authority to act as representatives for their members on job issues.

    I don’t know if it is ‘corrupt’ for them to act beyond their authority but it is bad for the institution, because as Richard says, it makes the members believe that the union won’t represent them when it comes down to it. There have been a lot of negative pressures on unions over the years, and I think a major one is that lots of members believe that for various reasons the union leaders don’t really represent them. So it is easy for them to side with more clearly anti-union pressures, because the reining parts of the union have worked to make it clear that they aren’t really part of the community. Balancing that is hard enough if you stick to real work issues. If you see yourself as needing only to very tenuously link wide ranging political activity to “work”, you’re alienating a lot of people because you’re going beyond the source of your authority as a work representative.

  54. 254
    Ampersand says:

    If a union’s election process is corrupt, then that’s a problem even if they don’t take any stances you disagree with.

    I want to clarify that I’m not assuming you’re pro-life. But, pro-life or pro-choice, you’re disagreeing with them taking a stance on abortion. (If I understand what you’re saying.)

  55. I’m sorry to be dropping in and out of this conversation. In answer to Lurker23’s question about something that I think a union ought absolutely not to do: I don’t think union locals should endorse specific politicians based on anything other than contract and/or job-related criteria. My local, for example, decides to endorse local candidates (or not) based on two fundamental questions: 1. Once the parties agreed to sign off on a new collective bargaining agreement, did you support it? 2. Once the college submitted a budget to the legislature, did you support it? (And these questions and this policy are well-publicized among my union’s membership.)

    In other words, I think it would be wrong for a union to use women’s reproductive freedom—just to stay in the context of this discussion—as a litmus test for whether or not to endorse.

  56. 256
    lurker23 says:

    Ampersand says:
    November 10, 2018 at 12:30 am
    I want to clarify that I’m not assuming you’re pro-life. But, pro-life or pro-choice, you’re disagreeing with them taking a stance on abortion. (If I understand what you’re saying.)

    yes. also, i am very pro choice.

    will you consider some other things?

    1) it seems not that uncommon that a union, gets a lot of power so that trying to get a job means you have to have the favor of the union or the people in power for the unions. for example, those union members make $100,000 per year but they also control the entry into the union of other people, “8,000 so-called casual workers — part-timers who don’t receive benefits and often work for years to become registered union members.”

    2) this seems to be the goal of many of the bigger unions, which makes sense, right? there are three things which most affect member: pay, firing (no firing = more pay), and hiring (less competition = more pay for union members, and also controlling hiring = more power for union)

    3) it is true i think that a lot of groups act to protect themselves. like it is hard to become a faculty if you are taking a position that there should be no tenure or less faculty, and it is hard to become a faculty if you are not liberal. if you take the position that teachers unions are too strong, it is hard because you need the union to help you and even if it is not CORRUPT ecxactly, of course it will not help ppeople who it hates.

    4) so when you say “it is okay for a union to have political things” you seem to also be saying, logically, “it is okay for a union to take over a large area of work and make it so everyone has to choose whether to agree with the union on a lot of political issues, or not be able to get a job so much.”

    5) i think you are blind to the sameness of this: unions are functioning in a way which employers do, and which you and i probably both think is bad, but for some reason you seem to pretentd it is not vbaf when unions do it, even though it is very much the same thing.

    6) if you want a job and you do not get it because you have wrong politics or because you do not want to be forced to join a group you disagree with, is that bad? I think it is bad!

  57. 257
    Ampersand says:

    will you consider some other things?

    You literally did not answer a single argument I made to you.

    Of course, you can’t answer everything; no one has that obligation, and I bet most of us don’t have the time.

    But it’s a bit weird of you to throw a bunch of new questions at me, directly after not answering a long response I wrote to you. It’s feels as if you have the time and interest to question me, but not to read or think about anything I say to you in return.

    1) it seems not that uncommon that a union, gets a lot of power so that trying to get a job means you have to have the favor of the union or the people in power for the unions. for example, those union members make $100,000 per year but they also control the entry into the union of other people, “8,000 so-called casual workers — part-timers who don’t receive benefits and often work for years to become registered union members.”

    You don’t understand the facts of this case, and your misunderstanding is causing you to make completely false claims.

    The union – in this case, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union – does not choose who joins the union. Anyone hired into a unionized position by the Pacific Maritime Assn companies[*] joins the union, and it’s the companies that decides which and how many people to hire, not the union. It is management’s decision to have a large number of part-time “casual” workers, not the union’s. (Chances are, the ILWU would love to have more members, because most unions want their membership to be growing.)

    Your not-quite-stated-but-certainly-implied claim, that the ILWU is vetting new hires ideologically, is 100% false. Your stated claim – that the ILWU even has that power – is also false. New “casual” hires are chosen by lottery. And then the “casual” workers who work the most hours (something, again, determined by the bosses, not by the union) are the ones hired to union jobs.

    (By the way, the “casual” workers are paid the same hourly rate as the union workers, which my back-of-the-napkin math says is about $50 per hour. The “casual” workers have every right to complain, and I hope they get to join the union and get benefits – but the picture some people paint, of ILWU workers living like royalty while “casuals” are paid miserly wages – is a distortion. Furthermore, the reason they have part-time jobs that pay $50 an hour is almost certainly because the union’s influence has raised everyone’s wages in the job category).

    Everything else in your comment was based on your false example, and so also falls.

    But yes: If there was a real-life example of a union filtering new hires ideologically, so that only liberals (or whatever) can be hired, then of course I think that’s wrong. Buy the fact that your one real-world example of this happening, was completely false, suggests that if it happens at all, it’s not very common.

    It’s been years since I’ve worked in a unionized workplace (I’m self-employed these days). But when I did, I wasn’t hired by the union. I was hired by the company, without the union having any say-so at all, and then I joined the union, which automatically accepted all new non-management hires as union members. I think this is how most unionized workplaces work.

    [** I’m not quite sure how Pacific Maritime Assn works. I think it’s a consortium of companies that hire longshore workers in that market, but I’m not sure. Maybe it’s just one company? It wasn’t an important enough point for my argument for me to research.]

  58. 258
    lurker23 says:

    Ampersand says:
    November 10, 2018 at 3:25 pm
    You literally did not answer a single argument I made to you.

    Ampersand, i think you only asked one question which was looking for an answer and i did not even see that as a question:

    If that’s correct, then here’s my question to you: Were you elected by union members to make that determination? And if not, then don’t you have less moral authority to make that determination, than people who have been elected?

    i thought it was rhetoric and not a real question, which is why i did not answer, i am sorry. no, i am not elected to be a union official. and yes, i think i have moral authority to discuss this because of the fact that unions get special status in the law. and because they are not private. if that was not true then i would not have moral authority to care.

    i have said many times that i think any private group can do what they want, i think i may even go further than some people here because i think that is true even about groups that i think are really unpleasant and bad.

    and i have said many times that the “because” part comes from the unions special status, which makes them pretty much required for employees in most cases both specifically and also from a political sense.

  59. 259
    Celeste says:

    In another from the, “Republicans are guilty of all the things they baselessly accuse others of,” file, a conservative Florida county allowed residents to vote by e-mail, in violation of election law.

    I’m sure that all of the conservative commentors and pundits will be horrified by this, and will demand that the election supervisor who allowed it be charged criminally.

    LOL! Just kidding! Conservatives only care about ginning up panic about vote fraud when they can use it to dissnfranchise minorities.

  60. 260
    Zunf2 says:

    LOL! Just kidding! Conservatives only care about ginning up panic about vote fraud when they can use it to dissnfranchise minorities.

    Orange man bad.

  61. 261
    Celeste says:

    Orange man bad

    My opposition to the GOP’S racist voter disenfranchisement (and their disgusting hypocrisy about it) significantly predates Trump.

    Trump is bad, sure, but he’s the end-point in a long-term trend within conservatism, not an outlier.

  62. 262
    Ampersand says:

    Orange man bad.

    It is not ridiculous, unfair, or irrational to object to object to voter suppression attempts, or to point out that the hoards of illegal voters that Republicans (including but not limited to Trump) claim justify voter suppression measures simply aren’t there.

    That your only response is “orange man bad” says a lot about your lack of a decent argument.

  63. 263
    Celeste says:

    Not to mention that neither my comment nor the story I linked even mentioned Trump.

    But go right ahead. You’re doing a bang-up job of showing that we are all NPCs with pre-programmed responses by pasting in a pre-programmed response that a million conservative goons have pasted in before.

    Good job. You really pwned us. Your friends on gab will be proud.

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