Capitalism Sucks

At least capitalism as practiced in the U.S. now sucks.

It’s really sad that at the moment, I can name one company that treats its employees as human beings who actually have dreams and hopes and aspirations of their own, rather than cogs in a machine that exists solely to make its owners/shareholders money. There are others, but the one company that we hear about that consistently closes down on holidays (even when they’re major shopping days) to give ALL employees a chance to spend the entire day with their families, provides benefits that do more than just the minimum, and pays a wage that allows more than just paying the bills. Costco.

This came up because yet more evidence that the company the HusBrat works for has gone down the toilet in all of those regards came to light. About 4 years ago, apparently one of those companies that specializes in taking over other companies acquired this one. In those four years, the health insurance program has gone from a pretty good Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO to an Aetna one that’s a pain to work with for my doctor’s office and has higher copays and premiums for less coverage. I’m so glad my gall bladder went kaput back before these changes, at least. Other changes: bonuses got kiboshed, raises all but disappeared, the yearly Christmas gifts vanished, company dinners went away… all the little things that gave any kind of impression that the corporate headquarters realized that they had people rather than drones working for them just poofed.

This is why even if the GOP Congress pulls its collective head out of its collective sixth point of contact and passes a jobs bill, little will likely change for the guy on the ground. Because more often than not, companies are not out there to provide services or products, they’re out there to make money and providing services or products just happens to be how they do so. It’s a pretty fine distinction, but it’s definitely there. And it pisses me off.

Owning my SJW badge, nammit.

Tonight pissed me off.

First CBS with CSI… (this has nothing to do with social justice, just asinine corporate idiocy)

The end-of-PrimeTime slot on Sunday night is where shows go to die on CBS. That’s where they put CSI this year. EVERY DAMNED YEAR when CBS airs the late-afternoon football game, it runs very predictably late, shifting Prime Time, usually by around half an hour. They always just kill the last show of the night rather than switching off with one of the other ones. Both CSI: Miami and The Mentalist were killed this way. This is the second week in a row CSI has not been shown for the eastern half of the country. There are people highly pissed off at them for it and letting them know on social media.

THEN, I click a link tweeted by George Takei (for the second or third time, perhaps someone on his team isn’t paying attention), and run into rampant sexism in the comments. (I know, I know. I’m an idiot for reading the comments.) Worse, it was a guy who used a sexist comment as an example of non-sexism. “women these days need to be more modest” *blinkblink* REALLY? That’s not sexist? Oh, because the person who says that might possibly think men should be more modest, too. And the “sexist trash” actually says “but men can be whatever they want” out loud. Um, first, by singling out women as the ones who should be more modest and not saying “people these days need to be more modest” you’re implying that men don’t need to be more modest and are juuuuust fine. Second, by singling out women and using the word modest, you’re suggesting modes of dress rather than humility (which, being generous, could be what is meant), and thus attempting to judge women’s self-expression in a sexual manner. Every damned person on earth should dress how they damned well please as long as they aren’t violating any laws and should fight laws that are overly restrictive as long as they’re willing to accept the consequences (e.g. the American servicewomen who refused to wear burkas in Middle Eastern countries that required them, even when military policy required compliance with local law, then ended up court martialed or otherwise prosecuted/imprisoned for it).

THEN, I go to Facebook and run across a picture with the comment of “Whoa! Common sense? Wow!” and the text in the picture reads “Thank you, Florida, Kentucky, and Missouri, which are the first states that will require drug testing when applying for welfare. Some people are crying and calling this unconstitutional. How is this unconstitutional???? It’s OK to drug test people who work for their money, but not for those who don’t?… Re-post if you’d like to see this done in all 50 states. If you can afford to buy drugs and extra illegal things then you can afford your own groceries.”

In my comments on the post, I didn’t even ADDRESS the fact that groceries are food stamps, which is a separate program from welfare, but the kind of mind-set that posts or reposts that kind of picture just lumps them all together anyway. Not to mention “extra illegal things” being poor phrasing. Again, with the mindset of the type of person who posts these, it’s illegal things that are extra, not things that are somehow over and above being merely illegal (like extra special). I just pointed out that private companies can drug test all day long and fire you for failing, just like they can have a gay-friendly or gay-neutral policy and fire you for shooting off your homophobic mouth in a public forum because you make them look bad. Private companies are not the government and can do things the government can’t do.

Let me repeat that.

Private companies are not the government and can do things the government can’t do.

The Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable searches, and drug testing as a requirement for applying for welfare of any variety constitutes an unreasonable search, because just applying for welfare does not, I repeat not constitute reasonable probable cause to assume someone is consuming an illegal substance.

There’s also the logical fallacy of assuming that someone applying for welfare isn’t working for their money. Many junior enlisted… active duty junior enlisted are on food stamps because military pay isn’t enough to cover what they need to feed their families. That discounts the guard and reserve servicemen and -women who aren’t on active status and having problems of their own with companies wiggling around the law requiring them to keep jobs open for those returning from active status or even simply finding a civilian job in the first place.

Or a 38-year-old mother with breast cancer who lost her job for failing a drug test due to using medical marijuana and is refused aid for failing the drug test, even though she can no longer afford to feed her kids, much less the medical marijuana that makes it so she can actually keep anything down, not that that would be a problem much longer, because she’d no longer be able to afford the chemo that was giving her the nausea anyway, at least until she was able to get coverage through the Affordable Care Act which most of these people are against as well. She’d also have the unmitigated hell of trying to find a provider who took Medicaid.

It’s the mindset of “I don’t want my hard-earned money going to taxes that pay for cushy lifestyles for lazy, shiftless druggies.” that completely ignores the very real human beings at the bottom-most rungs of society’s ladder, that assumes the examples I provided are the exceptions proving the rule.

I think what pisses me off the most is that so many of the people with this Fox News-inspired mindset claim to be Christian. Where the everliving hell is their Christian charity and freaking compassion?

GamerGate

Okay, I’ve actually carefully avoided using the name, but now I have something to say. Probably not anything new, but here it is.

Some of the GamerGaters have a bit of a point.

First, there are different types of GamerGaters. The ones getting the most attention are the doxxing, harassing, threatening trolls. Some of whom are doing these things to both sides simply to foment discord and some of whom are simply using GamerGate as an excuse to do these things to prominent women in gaming because they are misogynist jerks. Like I said, these are the ones getting attention, and that’s relevant later.

Then there are the ones who are frothing at the mouth about some massive conspiracy between indie game developers, games media (and sometimes mainstream media) and The Feminist Agenda. These people see The Feminist Agenda as made up of the kind of radical misandrist whatever-wave feminists who see sexualization of women as a tool of The Patriarchy and automatically oppressive. Their problem is that they often paint anyone, especially anyone female, who doesn’t specifically disavow being a “feminist” as That Kind of Feminist. (Newsflash…)

Somewhere in there are people who are honestly concerned about the incestuous relationships between game developers and journalists and worry about what lines there are if any and how often they’re crossed. These are trying to be heard and are the ones disavowing the trolls and occasionally the frothers.

The part where some of them have a point is that there ARE radical whatever-wave feminists railing against The Patriarchy who’ve latched onto anti-GamerGate as their platform of choice. There are misandrist jerks just like there are misogynist jerks.

The thing is, there are a lot fewer misandrist ones, and they really aren’t as loud as the misogynist ones. They’re just getting pointed at as justification for the frothers and the misogynists. Which is completely drowning out anyone else in GamerGate.

RMA

There’s been a Gawker article making the rounds asserting that “Douchebag” might just be the white racial slur we’ve all been waiting for, though it does specify that it’s intended at entitled white males. [See here]

I maintain that entitled white males have already given us what we’re looking for, though we do need to make a slight adjustment. Men’s Rights Advocates, or MRAs, tend to be at that particularly asinine, douchey intersection of racism and misogyny that is the default and wants to stay that way. The wonderful part about it is that with a slight rearranging of the letters, we come up with the acronym for Racist Misogynist Asshole. It has the benefit of using something they’ve co-opted for themselves and turning it around to call them out on the reality.

Othering

Someone on my Facebook feed shared an article on a Catholic website that includes part of an interview with an Iraqi bishop in an Italian paper. The Iraqi bishop “warns” Europeans and Western Christians, conflating all Muslims with the radicals that want everyone in the world converted or dead, ironically outing himself as the same kind of person deep down by stating that Muslims pose a danger and implying that they should be expelled lest that danger come to fruition.

It’s human nature to want to distinguish ourselves as separate, but also to band together. So we find ourselves in groups and insist that our group is the best. If our group is the best, then any and every other group can’t be as good, so they of course don’t deserve what we don’t want them to have. Like basic human rights.

Yes, this connects to the situation in Ferguson. Because despite the problems with militarization of the police, the real problem is more basic. Black people, black lives, have been othered. Like so many have said, Mike Brown’s murder is simply the culmination of decades-long systemic othering of non-white people, and is representative of what goes on around the country. Reservations, ghettos, barrios… Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Mike Brown, John Crawford, Ezell Ford… the litany goes on. We’ve put anyone non-white into that “other” group that doesn’t belong, can’t be as good, so doesn’t deserve what we don’t want to give. And that. is. wrong. Correcting it is going to be a long process, but first we need to acknowledge that it’s something that needs correcting. That it is WRONG.

Every life matters. Muslim lives matter.

Black lives matter.

Desperately Lonely. | Infactorium

From Desperately Lonely. | Infactorium. Retweeted by author Elizabeth Moon from @kejames. A powerful post on overcoming loneliness and entitlement.

I was a virgin until I was twenty-five. I was never any good at attracting attention from women from puberty. I spent about 12 years of my life desperately wanting a girlfriend. Longing with stupid boyish lust. I made humiliating abortive attempts. I rejected the women who were interested in me. Sometimes on purpose, because I didn’t like them as well. Sometimes not realizing what I was doing. Once, in high school, I have since discovered, the girl I liked liked me back, but I was too much of a coward to find out at the time. And I was lonely for all those years. I imagined I wanted a family. A wife. But I can see now that what I was looking for was a body. Access to physical affection. While that wasn’t clear to me at the time, it was perfectly clear to any woman I focused my interest on.

See more at link above.

Urge to Write

I have the urge to write, but absolutely no idea of what I might have to say. I suppose it boils down to the urge to simply create something, more than a mere tweet.

One of the reasons I got over 10K steps yesterday is that I spent the entire morning (post 7 am, anyway) and a little into the afternoon cleaning. I put a bunch of stuff away, or at least stacked it up neater, threw away a BUNCH of trash, vacuumed, Swiffered, deodorized, and generally made my house a more pleasant place to live and hang out. My FitBit only recorded about 8 minutes of that as “intense activity” but the limits of a gyroscope are fairly clear. Walking at a remotely reasonable pace racks up the minutes fairly quickly, so to reach my goal, I should probably just flat walk more. It might help the swelling I notice in my ankles, too.

In any case, I’ve been getting to bed earlier and up earlier in the last couple of days, and it’s a good trend to continue, so off I go!