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Ray Rice and the Same Old Same Old

with 27 comments

I was getting into trouble on FB again yesterday because I was intimating, as I often do, that the two sides of our supposed cultural and political divide were, pretty much, internchangable.

The article that got me started was not about Ray Rice, but about the Tea Party, and was one of those things.

The article is this one


If you look through it, you’ll probably see what my problem was without too much trouble.

Like all left of center “analyses” of the tea party, it picks a small segment of the movement, and even smaller segment of the movement’s positions, conveniently ignores all aspects of the situation that contradicts its thesis, then ends up concluding that it’s really all about racism, the Confederacy and the Ku Klux Klan.

In this case, what it also did was to insist that what the movement really is about is opposition to change that comes through the “democratic process.”

The trouble started when somebody posted a declaration that the liberal response to Bush was MUCH more rational and less radical than the conservative response to Obama–something that can only be maintained if you have complete amnesia of what went on during the Bush administration.

(This led me to one of those useful insights–NOBODY realizes how crazy they sound when they’re being crazy. We always sound reasonable to ourselves.)

And at that point I noted that liberals are no happier with the democratic process than conservatives are, if that process goes against them.

State bans and state constitutional amendments on gay marriage have been democratically arrived at, but most of the liberals I know want no part of them.

Which got me a little post on how my correspondent was “one of those people” who thought democracy should be limited in some ways.

Of course.

I’m one of those people, too.

The point is, so are the members of the Tea Party.

The difference isn’t in the principle, it’s in the application.  Liberals think the democratic process should be limited in some ways, the Tea Party thinks it should be limited in others, and I’ve got a whole laundry list of the ways I want it limited.

In that way, liberals and conservatives are pretty much alike–they BOTH want democracy limited, they just have different areas in which they want the limitations to apply.

Which brings me to the Ray Rice thing, which I spent a good deal of yesterday paying attention to, and which has the virtue of being something on which the left and right agree not only on the principle, but on the particulars.

In case you don’t know, Ray Rice was–until VERY recently–a football player for the Baltimore Ravens.

A little while ago, he got himself arrested on a domestic violence charge for beating his girlfriend into unconsciousness into a hotel elevator.

This is not a he said, she said situation.  There’s video.  Very explicit video.

The man behaved like a thug, and worse. 

Then two things happened.

On the day after the assault–and it WAS an assault; you can probably find it up on YouTube–she married him.

And yesterday, Ray Rice was fired from the Baltimore Ravens.

It’s that second thing I want to look at.

He was fired from the Baltimore Ravens.


Granted that what Ray Rice did was absolutely inexcusable and completely awful, he did it on his own time, when he was not on the clock.

He did it, in other words, in his capacity as a private person. 

On top of that, he hasn’t been convicted of anything, he isn’t about to go to jail any time soon, and you can’t even make the case that he’s soon to be unavailable to fulfill his contract.

Now, I know that NFL contracts, like many others in entertainment and sports, include clauses that allow owners to do all kinds of noxious things.

What I’m not hearing, from anybody, is any complaints that these clauses exist, or that employers establishing rules for what employees can and cannot do on their own are pretty much allowed to do so by the courts.

Liberals and conservatives do not disagree on the principle that employers should be allowed to penalize you on the basis of your private behavior–they only disagree on which private behavior should be allowed to be penalized.

To me, it seems that the 13th amendment should have put an end to this sort of thing.  Your employer owns your time when you’re on the clock. He should not own it when you’re off, because if he does he essentially owns YOU.

There will be obvious exceptions.  The public spokesperson of a firm or an organization can legitimately be asked not to do anything in his private life that would damage the company’s reputation or cause, because that spokesperson is the public face of the organization.

But in order for such a firing to be legitimate, the private behavior should have something to do with the job.  It would be legitimate for a Pro Life organization to fire a spokeswoman who went out and got an abortion.  It would not be legitimate for the Krisy Cereal Company to fire her for that same reason.

Most employees are not the official public face of their employers, however, and their private lives should be their own. 

This seems to me to be completely obvious, the sort of thing we shouldn’t have to argue about for even half a minute.

And we’re all quick to recognize the wrongness of specific cases of this kind of thing–the middle management superviser for a firm that makes pipe fittings tossed out because she opposes a bond measure that the company wants to see go through, or the janitor at a local television station fired for supporting a rise in the minimum wage.

Unfortunately, both sides are more than willing to let employers penalize workers for private behavior, and on a whole raft of issues that aren’t the ones you might think.

And they quite often do so in ways that are completely contradictory.

Most people on the left of center are usually admanantly opposed to drug testing in places like Walmart–but they’ve got nothing at all against rules that require employees not to smoke cigarettes even at home on their own time. 

Cigarettes are bad for you and crystal meth is–I don’t know.

Conservatives have completely laundry lists of things they think your employer should be able to regulate in your life–the economic conservative wing of the party (“establishment Republicans”) pretty much think employers ought to regulate everything all the time.’

In what I think would be a decent world, employers would not be able to regulate most of these things.  Your private life would be your own.  You would only be subject to firing or penalties if whatever you were doing affected your actual performance on the job.

But what ought to be obvious here is that, in respect to the issue of whether or not your employer should be able to penalize you for what you do in your private life in cases where what you do does NOT affect your job performance–the two sides are completely identical.

That don’t differ on the principle of employer regulation of employee’s private lives.

They only differ on what in particular should be regulated.

And the list of what should be regulated will make far different impacts on different people–if you don’t smoke, anti-smoking regulations won’t matter to you much; if you do, they will be oppressive.

But the rules are oppressive even if they DON’T feel like it.  And they shouldn’t be allowed.

So here we go–yet another case in which the two sides are, for me, entirely identical.

I keep waiting for a time and place when somebody, somewhere, will provide me with something actually different to vote for, but I’m not expecting it any time soon.

Written by janeh

September 10th, 2014 at 12:01 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

27 Responses to 'Ray Rice and the Same Old Same Old'

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  1. Excuse me? What happened to the OTHER Jane Haddam? The one who thinks out rights under the Constitution are negative ones–keeping the government out of certain aspects of our lives? Now suddenly my contract is to be a three-way deal between me, my employer and Eric Holder, who will decide what off-duty activities my bosses can legitimately object to? I’m a bit on the outs with my employer at the moment, but not that much.

    You might keep in mind that my prosperity depends to some degree on the firm’s. I need my fellow employees to be on the job, sane, safe, sober and of good repute. Have you got any IDEA what some of our wackier Justice Departments might decide was none of the boss’s business? And, no, I don’t much care that they’d probably lose on appeal to the Supreme Court during the next administration. For most practical purposes, the law is whatever the prosecuting power says it is. Don’t give them ideas.

    But even some of our more bizarre prosecutors probably wouldn’t object to a pro football club letting go of a thug caught on camera. The football fans talk interminably about their vice at work, and they really do watch the game because they want to see “their” team win. When the thugs are publically exposed, people are less likely want to see such people win, and so less likely to watch the team. So the clubs cover up when they can, and fire when they can’t. If this fellow wanted to beat up a woman on camera and not get fired, he should have become a rap star.


    10 Sep 14 at 4:47 pm

  2. Serendipity? Who knows, but last night I spent a busy half hour or so going through my Facebook friends list “unfriending” nearly everyone who is not a member of my immediate or extended family and a very few others that I know personally and well.

    The reason I did this is pretty much because I am sick to death of seeing mind-numbingly boring and stupendously simplistic, indeed profoundly ignorant, political statements from people, exclusively Democrats or other left-wing party fanatics, who really ought to know better. Invariably, these “statements” are either bumper-stickerish slogans or aggressive assertions of opinion stated as fact, daring people to disagree. (I do love my adverbs!)

    That they don’t know better seems to be symptomatic of the political pathology that also prevents them from recognising that virtually every single thing that they are accusing “Republicans” of saying or doing against Obama, his administration, and “liberals” in general are precisely the same things that they themselves were saying or doing against the Bushes, their administrations and Republicans in general. They simply can’t help themselves.

    I’ve been in more “fights” on the Internet than I can count challenging these people for their blatant hypocrisy. I’ve never yet managed to get a single individual to admit their double standards. The same applies to leftists down here in Oz. It is they who overwhelming claim to be the victims of right-wing extremist commentary in the very forums in which nary a single example of right-wing commentary is to be found, but which are awash with leftist rants.

    As for employers being able to expect that employees behave in accordance with employers’ rules while on their own time, I agree with Robert. People who wear a uniform can reasonably be expected to behave, while in uniform on their own time or not, in accordance with the ethos of their employer. Military personnel must behave at all times in accordance with military regulations, own time or not, in uniform or not. Ditto, police.

    If this is to change, then perhaps the media must be prevented from conducting the sort of witch-hunts such as those currently happening in the US and Australia where real or alleged (it makes no difference which) sexual crimes by military personnel are held to be a symptom of a military male sexist culture, and not as a symptom of a wider parent-society culture where both males and females now behave in ways which would have given our parents conniptions merely to read about let alone observe – daily, in broad daylight, in any shopping mall near you.

    I recall an argument long ago between my very own good self and, IIRC, Cathy F and one or two others in RAM where they argued that for employers to prohibit employees from off-duty drug taking was unreasonable. In effect, they argued that psychological testing was sufficiently mature and reliable to identify whether drug-taking aircrew were capable of safely performing their duties on any given day. They seemed impervious to the counter-argument that no airline (or military force) could carry sufficient additional qualified pilots (rated and current on all types of aircraft in the fleet) to fill in at short notice for aircrew who turned up for rostered duty and failed a psych test.


    10 Sep 14 at 10:33 pm

  3. I am in agreement with Mique. I am tired of reading posts by people who refer to Republicans as “The Stupid Party”. I am also tired of people who believe everything bad they read or hear about Republicans no matter what the source or whether there is any documentation.


    11 Sep 14 at 1:38 am

  4. jd

    11 Sep 14 at 1:56 am

  5. another hijack from the NY times



    15 Sep 14 at 7:58 pm

  6. Mique

    16 Sep 14 at 11:03 pm

  7. See your Salon article, Mike, and raise you this critique of Naomi Klein’s latest:


    It’s long, but worth persisting with, but if you get bored you can get the jist of it all by reading just the last paragraph which pretty much says all that needs to be said about the Naomi Kleins of this world.


    19 Sep 14 at 9:50 am

  8. I’ve been way over this kind of liberal crap since Al (Let’s jet all over the world and own a fleet of cars while insisting the rest of you all have to cut back) Gore came out with his “carbon credits make it okay” justification.

    I read about those carbon credits, and it turned out to be sentencing small brown children to growing up as the motive power for muscle-driven water pumps or something similar(because if Al gets a Hummer, the small brown child can’t have an actual water pump), and said to myself, “um, nope, no credibility there.”

    What strikes me most is the absolute concentration on attempting to change human nature (when has that ever worked?) and the absolute refusal to look friggin’ UP. All the power we need is 200 miles up. All the raw materials we could ever use are out there in the asteroid belt. Living space? It’s up there. Non-polluting industrial production? Low (or no) impact on the earth? But no. That’s technology, and btw, opens the door to people living the way they want to, beyond the reach of social tyrants, which it seems all the Left wants to be.

    Technology has always made it possible for more people to live better than before. The pseudo-pastoral fantasies have never existed. Klein fled the city for BC…have you see the prices of waterfront property? What does she think will happen if all the people she criticizes try to follow her lead? That her “low-stress” paradise will stay that way? Pfffff.


    19 Sep 14 at 12:09 pm

  9. What is 200 miles up that can provide power?


    19 Sep 14 at 7:42 pm

  10. All the solar power that streams past us, with never a cloudy day. Fissionables (out in the asteroids). Stuff we haven’t even discovered yet, because it’s up there, and we’re down here.


    19 Sep 14 at 8:56 pm

  11. Sunlight, JD. Set up your focusing lenses where no one will complain that you’re upsetting the desert tortoises, and with luck even move your high energy consumption industries off the planet. Given seriously efficient lifting systems, we could mine Luna or the Asteroid Belt instead of prying up mountains for low-grade ore here.

    But that would take actual research and investment in a space program instead of continual whining that if we put “all that money” into welfare programs, we might keep the Great Society going for another month. Greens who favor a space program could fit in the same small closet with the ones who favor nuclear power.

    In my lifetime, they’ve been fairly flexible about what the problem is–“bigness” “pollution” “capitalism” “inequality” “the coming ice age” and now “anthropogenic climate change”–but the solution is always wind, water and soar power. That’s until someone actually builds wind generators, dams and solar power plants, of course. Then the same people complain that the wind generators kill birds, the dams disrupt fish breeding and the solar plants upset the ecology of the desert. A Green is someone who can’t take “yes” for an answer.


    19 Sep 14 at 9:07 pm

  12. Speaking of dams, I am old enough to remember when there were serious floods on the Mississippi River every spring. A lot of dams were built on the tributaries in order to control the flooding.

    I have heard that the greens are demanding that dams be removed. Are they including the flood control dams in their demands?


    19 Sep 14 at 11:20 pm

  13. jd, as nearly as I can see, they’re attacking them the way they go after nuke plants: they pick off the vulnerable ones first, but they don’t defend any.

    Let me depress you further:

    The one hedge, is that I’ve never seen such a survey conducted over time. I can only speculate on the results 50 or 100 years ago. But I don’t think feelgood high schools are helping any.


    20 Sep 14 at 8:25 am

  14. Robert, that is indeed a frightening survey. I would doubt if most of the people surveyed knew that WW2 caused about 100,000 deaths a year in the US armed forces from a population less than half of the present population.

    The US seems to think that a 1000 deaths is unbearable and that it can simply walk away from a war without any consequences. That is a recipe for disaster!


    21 Sep 14 at 4:23 pm

  15. Oh, yes. Welcome to government by wishful thinking, where one wills the result, but not the means which will lead to the result. The greens want to stop carbon dioxide emissions, but not to build the nuclear power plants. The diplomats want their enemies to go away, but not to fight the wars which might do that. The political class wants greater equality–but not to give up micro-regulation and corruption and live on their salaries. And, of course, the population as a whole wants more government benefits than it wants to pay taxes for.

    I don’t think it’s much different anywhere in the West these days, and I keep flashing back to Piper’s SPACE VIKING–“a populace just out for what it can grab and an aristocracy which shirks its duties and is ashamed of its privileges.” (Quoted from memory: I want my books back!)

    Anyway, the thing about representative democracy is that you can get away with a certain amount of ignorance at the general populace or even registered voter level. But while the ruling class of a truly sovereign state can and should be civilized and benevolent, it HAS to be realistic and a little thick-skinned. Ours is–not going to get better. And as a consequence, at some point it’s going to be replaced by hard men. I very much doubt I’ll like the hard men, who tend to be ruthless and paranoid, and I’ll like even less the disaster which brings them to power. But unlike our present ruling class, I can tell the difference between what I want to be the case and what is.

    The young ones among the readers: next time we do this, how about actually training and educating our prospective rulers, instead of having them go through four years of Political Science followed by law school, then running off to Congress? If they ran off to join the Foreign Legion, the Peace Corps or the circus first, they might actually learn something.

    I suppose that’s why they don’t do it.


    21 Sep 14 at 6:05 pm

  16. Yet another hijack. This time on the problems with “climate science”



    22 Sep 14 at 2:08 am

  17. Whether it’s a feature or a bug depends on your point of view, but our modern western societies are in no sense similar to those that existed in our western nations before, during or after WWII. Both the Vietnam War and the Gulf Wars demonstrated that there is absolutely no will to fight any sort of protracted war. By protracted, I mean of a duration more than a couple of months.

    In the past, governments were able to put a censorship blanket over significant, and often seemingly quite insignificant, matters deemed to be of national security importance. People who actively sought to obtain classified information were ruthlessly rounded up and jailed for the duration, and those who were caught actually providing secrets to the enemy were executed.

    No doubt these arrangements led to what may well have been some real miscarriages of justice, but the national will to fight wars deemed necessary by their democratically elected political leaders was not eroded by traitors like Ramsay Clark and Jane Fonda or even useful idiots like the current US Secretary of State and the swarms of other “useful idiots” that abound pretty much everywhere these days.

    People say “but we will fight if we (our countries) are attacked”. Like hell they will if only because it will by then be far too late to do anything but to abjectly sue for the best peace on offer which is not likely to be anything we would actually wish for. Even without addressing the perennial moral issue of defeating genocidal forces wherever they exist as a matter of principle, it’s impossible to get across to taday’s golden youth that the only effective defence is forward defence, something that Obama and most western leaders have foregone for ridiculous vote-buying reasons like more social welfare programs. The national government’s main duty is the defence of the nation. Get that wrong and the rest will not be worth a struck match.

    But the bottom line is that the rot within is doing it’s level best to destroy national morale and sense of purpose without which we are doomed, sooner rather than later. I would not want to be my children or grandchildren.


    22 Sep 14 at 2:35 am

  18. Mique

    22 Sep 14 at 1:14 pm

  19. Just how low are liberals prepared to go in the Land of the Free:




    25 Sep 14 at 2:25 am

  20. Semi-hijack. The Oklahoma beheading. This is why, semi-libertarian that I am, I get upset about what a government prohibits, but not what a government collects information on. It should not be illegal to own or read the Koran. It should not be illegal to visit nutcase web sites, or to buy most things–but about the time someone checks a Koran out of a library, visits jihadist websites and sends away for a ginsu knife, or a copy of the Improvised Munitions Handbook, someone in authority should be taking an interest. And you can’t tell when three lemons come up without keeping an eye on the slot machine.

    I would much rather feed all the info into a computer and have it let police know when someone’s total score got over a certain limit than have a bunch of police infiltrators in mosques or rely on informants.

    An imperfect solution? Certainly. Someone may have noticed that we do not live in a perfect world.

    Now all the librarians and bookstore owners can beat up on me. But if what we read has no relation to our lives, why do any of us care?


    26 Sep 14 at 6:11 pm

  21. Robert, the beheading was in our newspaper but the headline was

    Oklahoma man beheads co-worker after being fired from food processing plant

    I didn’t read the story and didn’t connect it to Islam.


    26 Sep 14 at 8:36 pm

  22. No, that seems to go a little deeper in the articles. He was a convert. I think I can safely say that if he ever attended a Tea Party meeting, THAT would have been the headline. Our beloved media: all the news they think you should hear.


    27 Sep 14 at 7:03 am

  23. And a link–conversion, tattoos in Arabic, but buried fairly deep in the article, lest someone get the wrong (ie correct) impression:


    That’s been going on since at least the DC sniper of years gone by. But beheading, like suicide bombing, is becoming a signature Islamic crime. (US? Poisonings, often for the insurance, but most sniper attacks, “Terminator” style rampages, drones–and, in The Day, carpet bombing. I war re-reading David Drake’s “Arclight” this week.)


    27 Sep 14 at 7:49 am

  24. I’ve read the Koran, along with other things that might be considered suspect. I read a variety of websites and order things online, too. Maybe I will be hauled up in front of a court to explain my deviance!! And if the Canadians don’t do it, maybe the Americans will. I’m still annoyed, although more mildly so than many others in my boat, about the way the US government has decided that some foreign citizens (including those who lost their US citizenship in the days in which that was US law, by taking up allegiance to another country) are really dual citizens and should not only be paying US taxes now, but should have filed US tax returns all those decades during which they – and the US government – did not consider themselves to be US citizens. And dealing with the IRS is said to be so cheap and simple!

    I did spot the convert-reference, not that I followed the story that closely.

    The most recent Canadian beheading was carried out by someone who had a serious mental illness, and who was not Muslim. I’m not sure if you count other forms of dismemberment as beheading – some years back a local guy cut up the body of his girlfriend to hide in it a piece of luggage, but the details weren’t public knowledge. Sure, the crazier Muslim fanatics make a big thing about beheading; I’ve never been sure why – their victims are just as dead whatever method they use.


    27 Sep 14 at 2:21 pm

  25. Oh, not just the IRS! I’d have to say the most blatant lie told by the US government is the bit where they tell you how long they think it will take you to read the briefing/take the test/fill out the form.

    I’m not sure reading the Koran and surfing the Net would give you enough points on the Piepenbrink scale for special scrutiny. Possibly combined with a history of violent crime (which our latest case had) or travel to Turkey or Pakistan?

    And I think I’d rate beheading separate from chopping up the body to make ID difficult–or for ease of packing. I don’t say it’s especially heinous–that’s probably slow poison by family members–but that it’s becoming characteristically Muslim. You’d think they’d at least figure out how to sharpen their cutlery.

    And I repeat–legal is legal, even in combination. But if you want to limit homicides and not just do really nice after-action reports, you need to watch the most obvious candidates and either discourage them or arrest them for the first step over the line. You can do that with undercover police–but I really don’t like that one. The reward for uncovering plots makes it tempting to incite them. If you rely on informants–well, how many people will be accused of being jihadists because they dated the wrong woman or welshed on a bet? Of a lot of bad options, I think the least bad is stuffing a whole lot of public information into a computer and having it tell the police about the people who behave most like the ones who’ve already gone crazy. It’s not a good option. I just dislike the others more.

    It’s the outrage expressed over authorities collecting public information which intrigues me. If I buy a new product at Target, new ads pop up during my internet searches–so someone already connects my commercial and my Internet activity and draws conclusions from this combination. Why is it proper for everyone to do this except the people charged with keeping me safe?


    27 Sep 14 at 6:10 pm

  26. I have the Koran on my kindle but haven’t started reading it yet. Its way down on my TBR list.

    The last tax return I filed with IRS was 1987. I used to enjoy those. They sent a thick packet airmail with a $2 stamp. I sent the form back surface mail showing that my tax was $0 because I paid Australian income tax.

    I have no assets in the US and no plans to visit the US so let them knish their teeth!


    27 Sep 14 at 7:05 pm

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