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Author Topic: America the Free...Um, sort of...
OhPuhLeez
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What do you all think of this story?

Personally, I find it incredibly offensive.

Free speech? Anyone? Anyone?

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Gaoics79
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Free speech doesn't apply to airlines. They can do whatever they want. It's their plane. It sounds like overkill to me, but that being said, the last thing you want on a cramped airplane thousands of feet in the air, is a fight breaking out over an offensive t-shirt.
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Adam Lassek
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Private companies have no obligation to uphold the First Amendment. It's their plane, their rules. If you don't like it, vote with your wallet and fly with another company.
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Tezcatlipoca
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Their business, their choice.
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EDanaII
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I dunno... I suppose my father could sue Virgin Atlantic for asking him to remove his "401st Bomber Group" badge while boarding their plane.

One thing's for certain, it was certainly less offensive than that shirt, and, therefore, a suit would be more justified. But, as other's have pointed out, it was their business (literally) -- as well as the week after the London bombings -- so we minded it.

Ed.

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FiredrakeRAGE
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What they all said.

--Firedrake

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Jesse
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It's worth noting that the spelling of the offensive word on her shirt was...traditional.

There is no reason to believe she was kicked off the plane because of the sentiment the shirt expressed.

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tonylovern
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this woman should be suing. i've never heard of an airline enforcing dress code before. its not even a matter of free speech. its breech of contract. she bought her ticket from point a, to point b, with a reasonable expectation of getting there. when asked to cover her shirt, she did. when that wasn't good enough for whatever stewardess had the problem, she was told to change her dress or leave, at a layover junction apparently.

the faa spokesman stated clearly that no such rule about t-shirt slogans exists. this was a person or group trying to enforce thier own morality, or political ideals. doing so in mid flight, and providing a clear ultimatum, was beyond the authority of the plane crew.

had this woman been told ahead of time that southwest airlines doesn't tolerate t-shirts with political slogans, i'm sure the woman would have voted with her wallet. had there been a sign at the ticket desk stating southwests desire to only transport republicans, she could have easily chosen another company.

renegging on an already purchased ticket, midflight, over a previously non existant policy, is clearly breach of contract.

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OhPuhLeez
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Wow - I'm surprised at even the diehards over this one. Airline-enforced dress code? Give me a fokking break.
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FiredrakeRAGE
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OhPuhLeez -

They're a business. They have a right to refuse customers as they wish. As tonylovern said - if they broke a contract, they should be sued. Else, there is no call for government intervention.

As far as I am concerned, part of Free Speech is taking responsibility for the effects of that speech. If people do not wish to listen to the Dixie Chicks because of their outspoken political views, so be it. Likewise, if the airline does not wish to transport those that wear insulting t-shirts, that is their decision.

--Firedrake

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Dagonee
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I suspect everyone was responding more toward the implication in the thread title that somehow this is another step on the road to facism than to actually defending Southwestern's policy.
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Tezcatlipoca
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tony,

quote:
this woman should be suing. i've never heard of an airline enforcing dress code before. its not even a matter of free speech. its breech of contract. she bought her ticket from point a, to point b, with a reasonable expectation of getting there. when asked to cover her shirt, she did. when that wasn't good enough for whatever stewardess had the problem, she was told to change her dress or leave, at a layover junction apparently.
She got on that airplane knowing that she would have to follow their instructions for the duration of her time with them. She doesn't need to be reimbursed. Private companies can deny service to anyone at anytime, provided it's not based on race, creed, color, or religion.

If you pay to get into a club, but then get kicked out an hour later, they don't need to give you your money back, even with a reasonable expectation that you could stay the entire time.

quote:
the faa spokesman stated clearly that no such rule about t-shirt slogans exists. this was a person or group trying to enforce thier own morality, or political ideals. doing so in mid flight, and providing a clear ultimatum, was beyond the authority of the plane crew.
If they overstepped company policy, then they are only accountable to the company, not to the government or the client. Obviously they are siding with them on this, so case closed.

quote:
renegging on an already purchased ticket, midflight, over a previously non existant policy, is clearly breach of contract.
I never remember signing anything when I bought my airline tickets in the past. You pay in cash or credit, and the ticket is yours. Service provided, service rendered. She decided that it wasn't worth recieving her full service to make a statement, and she had to deal with the consequences.

It's not personal, it's just business.

OPL,
quote:
Airline-enforced dress code? Give me a fokking break.
If an airline company is losing business because something one person is wearing is offensive to other passengers, they have every right to take action. They don't need to suffer your political statements.

As I said before, private companies can deny service to anyone at anytime, provided it's not based on race, creed, color, or religion. Just like you can kick someone off your lawn or out of your place of business if you don't want them there or if you think they are hurting your business.

For example, if you owned a restaurant and 3 people walked in with "Death to N**gers" shirts on, don't you think that might negatively affect your business? Or do they have a right to come in and express their opinions? Do they have a right to a meal, even if they already paid?

The lawful answer is no.

[ October 09, 2005, 09:24 PM: Message edited by: Tezcatlipoca ]

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Pete at Home
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The news story wouldn't even post the content of the t-shirt on the website. If she can't even get airtime on the news, then certainly it seems reasonable for an airline to restrict the display of the message on a crowded airplane where a tussle between passengers can spell death for the whole plane. Free speech is abrogated in Airports. Try just saying the word "bomb" while they are checking your luggage. I believe that's a FELONY. Calling a famous controversial figure a "focker," on a crowded airplane, is MORE potentially dangerous than yelling fire in a crowded movie theater.

If this was 1999, and the t-shirt said "Impeach Clinton," I'd hold the same position. Feelings run high about things like that. In Illinois, a union stomped a guy half to death for carrying an anti-Clinton sign. That violates Free Speech; he had a right to protest on the sidewalk. But in a public airport, and especially on an airplane, the laws of our land, Supreme Court precedent, and common sense dictate that free speech takes a back seat to public safety. I respect your concern for free speech, but I disagree with your application here.

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FiredrakeRAGE
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Pete At Home said:
quote:
Calling a famous controversial figure a "focker," on a crowded airplane, is MORE potentially dangerous than yelling fire in a crowded movie theater.
Hardly. The woman has every right to not have the government interfere with wearing a shirt that says 'fock Bush' (or whatever) on a plane. She does not have the same right with regard to the airline corporation.

This does fall under the First Amendment. However, the First Amendment does not protect one from business, only government.

--Firedrake

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witless chum
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Pete,
How does a t-shirt fueled scuffle in the cabin endanger the plane? Passengers knock into the pilots and push the thing into a dive? I hope cockpit doors are at least kept locked nowadays. I hear there was trouble with that once...

As for the airline, they're like the Boy Scouts, they have the right to be jerks, but Southwest might find they'll lose at least a few dollars from people who care about free speech.

Dan

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FiredrakeRAGE
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Witless Chum said:
quote:
How does a t-shirt fueled scuffle in the cabin endanger the plane? Passengers knock into the pilots and push the thing into a dive? I hope cockpit doors are at least kept locked nowadays. I hear there was trouble with that once...
Even then, it would not be her fault that someone took offense at her t-shirt. It would be the fault of the person that assaulted her.

--Firedrake

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Passengers knock into the pilots and push the thing into a dive? I hope cockpit doors are at least kept locked nowadays. I hear there was trouble with that once
Cute. You don't have to get into the cockpit to bring a plane down. You just have to pierce a window at high altitude, or open an emergency door, or even pop the seal on the emergency door by body-slamming it, which could happen accidentally during a scuffle. Back in the 1970s, playing at a friend's house when we got the message that his plane had come down in pieces mid-flight. Data showed that the emergency door had not been properly closed, and pressure's a funny thing at high altitudes.


quote:
Originally posted by FiredrakeRAGE:
Pete At Home said:
quote:
Calling a famous controversial figure a "focker," on a crowded airplane, is MORE potentially dangerous than yelling fire in a crowded movie theater.
Hardly. The woman has every right to not have the government interfere with wearing a shirt that says 'fock Bush' (or whatever) on a plane.
That depends. If the t-shirt increases the change of a clear and present danger to public safety, the Supreme Court has made quite clear that the GOVERNMENT can stifle her. And let's be very clear about this -- it has nothing to do with obscenity. If the T-shirt said "IMPEACH THE PIG CLINTON," the results would be the same.


quote:
How does a t-shirt fueled scuffle in the cabin endanger the plane? ...
The perceived danger is that the crew lose control of the passengers.

The consensus among the transportation types is that the airlines need total control of the situation on the plane. People have been incarcerated for having shouting matches with stewardesses and refusing to follow instructions. Like anyone, the airlines have been known to abuse this absolute power, and compared to the real abuses, this little tshirt incident is really straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel.

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FiredrakeRAGE
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Pete -

I do not feel that a t-shirt that says anything (including obscenity/racial/etc) presents a clear and present public danger.

No matter what the display on the t-shirt, it is the person that gets in a shouting match with the stewardess, assaults a passenger, etc. that should be charged.

--Firedrake

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Pete at Home
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quote:
I do not feel that a t-shirt that says anything (including obscenity/racial/etc) presents a clear and present public danger.
Fine. The airline did, though. And many public authorities might have. Hell you don't even have to have a public danger per se -- you could get tossed out of court for a t-shirt like that, and if you disregarded the judge's instruction like this lady disregarded the airlines' instruction, you could wind up in with a punitive jail sentence. I think that would be taking it too far, but IIRC jail time would be within the court prerogative.

quote:
No matter what the display on the t-shirt, it is the person that gets in a shouting match with the stewardess, assaults a passenger, etc. that should be charged.
Well, in this case she refused to follow a stewardess' instructions on the plane. Even if her T-shirt said "Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me," if the stewardess said turn it inside out, and she refused, the law is against her.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by FiredrakeRAGE:
Witless Chum said:
quote:
How does a t-shirt fueled scuffle in the cabin endanger the plane? Passengers knock into the pilots and push the thing into a dive? I hope cockpit doors are at least kept locked nowadays. I hear there was trouble with that once...
Even then, it would not be her fault that someone took offense at her t-shirt. It would be the fault of the person that assaulted her.

--Firedrake

What's "It"? If It means the squabble, then sure. But if by "IT" you mean the plane going down because of a squabble, then legally, the fault is not entirely any one person's fault, at least in terms of civil liability.


If the uncooperative passenger disregarded the stewardess warning, and they let her alone, and a fight started between passengers over the t-shirt, and people died, it would be the AIRLINE'S fault for not taking action when they saw they had an uncooperative passenger who was cruising for a bruising. Once the airline makes that judgment call that lives are at stake, and ask her to cover the shirt, the airline is clearly liable for ANYTHING that results from the display, because the record now shows that they forsaw the danger.

That's how the airline will think, anyway. The stewardess might have more personal motives for avoiding a possible fight, such as "I'd really like to see my kids again and this seems like a really bad day to die over some stupid bitchy t-shirt."

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The Drake
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The plane is probably not going to go down. But you can bet somebody is going to catch an elbow. Please see: Major sporting event scuffles, cross reference innocent bystanders.

Unlike in other circumstances, there are no security guards or police available to calm things down at 30,000 ft. And guess who WILL sue the airline for not controlling the situation?

This woman is a tool, and I have no sympathy for her. She just wants to spread around the hate.

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Zyne
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SWA's a common carrier--it shouldn't be (and isn't) subject to the same rules as pop's newspaper stand. The airlines enjoy 'competition' in a marketplace heavily restricted by government.

Anyway, all of y'all know that. And you don't care. I look forward to the day when wearing a cross gets you thrown off a plane in a strange city.

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FiredrakeRAGE
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Pete at Home -

I have no problem with the liability issues. I have no issue with the airline telling someone to cover a shirt - their airplane, after all. I do have an issue with you claiming that the First Amendment does not cover the shirt [Smile]

--Firedrake

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Dagonee
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quote:
The airlines enjoy 'competition' in a marketplace heavily restricted by government.
There it is: first regulate it, then use that as an excuse to force government control into other areas.
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witless chum
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While "Mythbusters" might not be the most reputable source, they couldn't induce explosive decompression with a nine-millimeter. C4 did the trick, IIRC.

I'd rate the chances of fight as low and the chances of the fight bringing down the aircraft as nonexistent.

"This woman is a tool, and I have no sympathy for her. She just wants to spread around the hate."

Yikes. Annoying t-shirts = nonsympathetic? O, but I felt sorry for Pete's 'Impeach Clinton' dude. Shall we call you cotton Cotton Mather?

Dan

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by FiredrakeRAGE:
Pete at Home -

I have no problem with the liability issues. I have no issue with the airline telling someone to cover a shirt - their airplane, after all. I do have an issue with you claiming that the First Amendment does not cover the shirt [Smile]

--Firedrake

When did I say that? Of course it's a first amendment issue, just as yelling fire in a crowded theater does raise a first Amendment issue. All I said is that the first amendment is not the only issue at play.

I'm going to be listening to oral argumennts with the Nevada Supreme Court tomorrow; the Southern Panel is meeting at UNLV at 10:00 AM. In case any of you show up with a similar t-shirt in order to test my hypothesis about how the state would treat you wearing something distracting like that in court, I'll bring my wife's camera. Any takers? I'll be glad to snap and share any pictures of you getting hauled off by security, singing "Kum by ya, you mama-jumpers," or whatever floats your boat [Wink]

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Toreador VII
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RAGE and Tez hit the mark early on this.
That whole scuffle over the possible-endangerment-of-the-plane-caused-by-a-tshirt seems to be quite distracting from the main point of the topic, as I see it.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Zyne:
SWA's a common carrier--it shouldn't be (and isn't) subject to the same rules as pop's newspaper stand. The airlines enjoy 'competition' in a marketplace heavily restricted by government.

Anyway, all of y'all know that. And you don't care. I look forward to the day when wearing a cross gets you thrown off a plane in a strange city.

Zyne, you don't think any judge would have a problem with someone wearing that shirt in court?

As for a cross -- if a stewardess says cover it up, then you'd better cover it up. Complain later if you like, but cover it up. Don't tangle with the airlines at 2000 feet. They have all the power.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Toreador VII:
RAGE and Tez hit the mark early on this.
That whole scuffle over the possible-endangerment-of-the-plane-caused-by-a-tshirt seems to be quite distracting from the main point of the topic, as I see it.

Zyne's answered that. Airlines aren't really operating in the private sphere anymore, in the US.
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WarrsawPact
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They are operating enough in the private sphere that they are still businesses. They are still quite private enough to deny service at any time (side note: if Tez's comments look a little like my style of writing, I was talking over his shoulder a bit... just FYI so no one goes back to Murdoc's conspiracy theories).

That the government highly regulates things like security and flight safety does not mean they are the ones denying that lady her flight. The airlines haven't been nationalized.

[ October 10, 2005, 03:26 AM: Message edited by: WarrsawPact ]

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The Drake
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Nothing really operates in the private sphere anymore [Smile]

But, to clarify since some mistook my point. If the person showed up wearing the t-shirt and were booted summarily off the plane, I'd have much sympathy. When someone is asked politely to cover up something offensive - especially when it is impossible to remove yourself from the seat nearby - and then refuses and acts all outraged about it, that's a problem for me.

Just like when I watch my DVDs on the flight, I try to avoid hardcore porn. It's certainly my right to watch it, but common courtesy suggests that it is inappropriate when crammed inches away from eight other people.

I would also have much sympathy if it were a polite politically oriented t-shirt, or a standard campaign button.

Her shirt was profane and inflammatory, she was asked politely once, then asked again to hide her message, she refused and left the plane. I can't even imagine why anyone has a problem with the airline's behaviour.

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Pete at Home
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No, it's more like the government's being privatized. Not that different in the final analysis. It's not free market capitalism. People talk about socialized transportation and socialized medicine as if capitalism and free market economics were the alternative, but that's been dead for decades. We're living in a state of fascist airlines and fascist health care, where the companies lobby to pass their own rules and even to force citizens to use certain services, to allocate risk and restrict liability, etc.
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Pete at Home
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I have oodles of symathy for this lady. She's been brainwashed into believing that free speech was absolute, and clearly no one ever taught her what the world was about. She's probably a victim of parenting malpractice. Her school should have had a civics class. She had to have a painful catch-up lesson on the limits of free speech from a group of impatient and hyperpowerful airport personnel. Our useless schools are constantly sending students out into the world without a clue of what our society expects of them, or what the consequences are if you break one of the ten thousand unwritten rules of conduct. We're failing these people, and we pretend that it's a free country, when if we were honest we'd realize that you have to understand the rules by which it governs to keep any measure of freedom for very long.

The great justices that crafted the Miranda rule understood that there is no freedom without understanding. People have to be told their rights. Maybe some day someone will grasp the idea that people need to be told their responsibilities as well, and that it's tyrannical to send thousands of kids per year to jail for acts that none of them had reason to know were criminal.

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WarrsawPact
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quote:
We're living in a state of fascist airlines and fascist health care, where the companies lobby to pass their own rules and even to force citizens to use certain services, to allocate risk and restrict liability, etc.
Companies lobbying to pass their own rules is not fascist at all. They are obviously not doing everything in service of the Supreme State. This is about companies allocating resources to create advantage and opportunity for themselves, and often that requires at least some lobbying power with the state -- if nothing else, for protection against the kind of activity we've seen leveraged against MicroSoft. Heck, that's a great example -- massive companies resorting to state power to accomplish what they couldn't do through competition, not in service of the state but in manipulation of it.

I'll grant many negatives, but calling it fascist is overboard.
-=-=-=-=-
Drake -
quote:
If the person showed up wearing the t-shirt and were booted summarily off the plane, I'd have much sympathy. When someone is asked politely to cover up something offensive - especially when it is impossible to remove yourself from the seat nearby - and then refuses and acts all outraged about it, that's a problem for me.
I wonder what the big deal is in this story, myself.

Note the common thread in both "conflicting" accounts:
quote:
According to the airline spokeswoman, Heasley was asked to leave after she refused to cover up her T-shirt, an account that conflicts with Heasley's version in the Gazette-Journal.

Heasley told the newspaper that she agreed to cover her shirt with a sweatshirt, but it slipped as she slept. After she was ordered to wear her T-shirt inside-out or leave, she and her husband chose to leave, the paper said.

I'm tempted to say Case Closed.
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LoverOfJoy
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quote:
Heasley told the newspaper that she agreed to cover her shirt with a sweatshirt, but it slipped as she slept.
Huh? Aren't most t-shirt slogans about at the bra-line? How would a sweatshirt slip up to the slogan while she slept? Or does she mean she wasn't even WEARING the sweatshirt? She's asked to cover the shirt, she covers it inadequately and when asked again to cover it she gets upset and leaves? Something just sounds fishy.
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Pete at Home
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WP, when a company lobbies for the government to FORCE citizens to use their services, and at the same time, protect them from liability, Fascism is a more appropriate term than "free market."

Case in point: vaccines. Since the 1980s, we've more than doubled the number of vaccines that people are FORCED to administrate to their children. Some parents are threatened with jail if they don't comply, and others are put in a situation where they can't insure or school their children, or even get day care, because these new vacines are now suddenly required. Many of the components aren't tested, and some like thimerosal are proven neurotoxins, so Bill Frist took 1 million dollars from big Pharma to slip a provision into a 9-11 bill, that protects vaccine companies from liability for their own incompetence. Again:

1. Pharamaceutical company makes a new, dangerous product that it knows that no one would buy if given a choice.

2. Pharmaceutical company uses its leverage with the government to force citizens to purchase its product.

3. Pharamaceutical company uses its leverage with the government to make the company immune to lawsuits for damages that their untested vaccine components cause to children.

Free market?

Nope.

Fascist marketing?

If that's not fascist marketing, then please give me an example of what fascist marketing WOULD look like.

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WarrsawPact
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Well, the Italians said:
quote:
For the Fascist, everything is within the State and... neither individuals nor groups are outside the State... For Fascism, the State is an absolute, before which individuals or groups are only relative...
So while we may not have a free market, and that pisses me off, I wouldn't call most activites in your broad category of "health care" anything near "Fascist."

Had you brought up vaccines specifically before, I might have responded differently -- certainly, denying the sovereign individual the right to choose whether he/she gets a vaccine (if done in order to preserve the State) is tending toward Fascism.
That doesn't make the pharma companies fascist. They're trying to make money, not preserve the State. They're manipulating the State, not the other way around. The ends may look similar, but they do it for entirely different reasons.

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Pete at Home
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Agreed that the pharma companies aren't themselves fascist. Naturally big companies want money. Fascism is the system of government that exists when we allow them to take over to line their pockets.

Similarly, not all 24/7 sadists are Maoists, but Maoism is the form of government that results when you turn the country over to 24/7 sadists.

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Digger
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I'm reserving judgement until I see it broadcast on Airline.

BTW, this was a pretty shrewd move on Southwest's part: let people see the asinine and atrocious behavior of some passengers and watch as the Southwest employees try their best to make do. Now, surely the employees on the show are painfully aware that they are on camera, but some reactions just can't be controlled and we get to see just how frustrating the whole mess can be. I'd say 4 out of 5 times, I sympathize more with the employees than the passengers.

Just hearing what this twit thought was appropriate attire to wear in public, much less on a crowded flight stacks the deck against her, IMHO. I had my days of righteous indignation at the apparently capricious rule of societal norms as well, but I eventually finished college.

[ October 10, 2005, 04:10 PM: Message edited by: Digger ]

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FiredrakeRAGE
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Digger said:
quote:
I had my days of righteous indignation at the apparently capricious rule of societal norms as well, but I eventually finished college.
This kind of comment has begun to annoy me more and more lately. Speaking as someone that is currently in college (and soon to be out of college), being a college student is not an excuse to be a jerk. Yes, college is generally the time to try out new ideas/concepts/actions/etc. None the less, college students should take responsibility for their actions. Most college students are not minors; they should act like it.

--Firedrake

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