Archive for May, 2012


Slightly out of place from the normal for r/politics, today’s most upvoted link is a news report from Cagle Post pointing out the shocking rate of pay for employees of a UK branch of US owned Carnival Cruises.  Somewhat anomalous with the usual type of story on this subreddit, it reports that Carnival UK, previously P&O cruises before it merged with Florida owned Carnival Corporation, pays staff around $1.20 an hour.  Various people interviewed for the article decry this practise as exploitation akin to that of sweatshop workers, but say exploitation of workers at sea is rife due to the absence of regulation.  The article reports the slightly sickening figure of $2.2 billion in profits made last year by Carnival Corporation.  It ends by telling readers that the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) has been trying to adopt a convention that would minimise worker standards at sea, which the UK has yet to get on board with.

The overwhelming response to this link is mature and thoughtful consideration of the facts.  Many of the 1620 comments come from people who have had experience working on cruise ships or know people that have.  They point out that for many of the cruise workers, this job is better paid than anything they would find back home.  Others warn against bringing the issue up as again, the situation is much better for workers on cruise ships than it would be for them in their home countries.  Some point out the flawed economics of the cruise ship industry; if they paid their employees fair wages the companies would have to charge astronomical prices and potentially fail.  The overall sentiment seems to be that it is unfortunate, but the opportunity for employment on cruise ships can provide a better alternative than working in a developing country.

 

Continuing along the lines of unfair pay practice, the second most popular link of the day comes in the form of a news story from Think Progress detailing the breathtaking inequality between workers and CEOs in the US.  Reporting on a recent data from the Economic Policy Institute, the article informs us that in the last 30 years, CEO pay has increased 127 times faster than worker pay.  Since the 1970s, CEO pay has skyrocketed, unrelated to the success of the businesses they run.  In contrast to this, worker productivity has been steadily on the up while pay has remained flat.  The article reports that the US now has more wealth inequality than Pakistan or the Ivory Coast.

Over 1060 redditors weighed in to voice their opinions on this eye-opening story.  Many fall into the category of observing that this is jus the way things are, and that Western society is centred around money.  Others pose alternatives such as cooperatives in order to avoid such pay practices, and some users point out that the government is supposed to provide checks and balances against human greed to stop this from happening.

 

In third place on the r/politics page today is a story from the site auburnjournal.com.  Titled ‘Dubya is back’ it points out the disconcerting fact that Romney is embracing the legacy of George W. Bush by reappointing many of his advisors.  No less than 23 of Bush’s former policy advisors and aides have been welcomed by Romney, including those who pushed for war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and hold an Israel-first stance on the Middle East.  His Homeland security advisors were there at Bush’s side to advise the infamous full body scanners at airports and listening to American citizens phone calls in the name of security.  The article ends by pointing out that if Romney wins the election, America could be in for a repeat of all the mistakes of the Bush administration, particularly in the area of foreign policy.

There were 600 comments on this post at the time of reading.  Some argue that the advisors will be ‘preaching to the choir’, that Romney is already pro-war and pro-Israel, with a friendly relationship with Netanyahu going back years.  Other users engage in a pros vs. cons look at US foreign policy including a detailed of analysis of US actions and motivations over the years.  A number of comments look at the similarities between Bush and Obama in terms of foreign policy, with some redditors defending Obama’s actions (such as the failure to shut Gitmo) on a Republican-dominated Congress.

The top scoring link on the r/politics front page today is a news report from boston.com.  The story is about a senator form Massachusetts who is accused of hypocrisy by his political opponent.  Scott Brown was voted into power on the promise that he would oppose Obama’s Affordable Care Act, and has since voted to repeal it 3 times.  Despite his open opposition to the Act, he has admitted to using it to insure his 23yr old daughter onto the family health insurance.  His Democratic opponent has argued that he is using the benefits of the Act while trying to vote against it so other families can’t do the same.  Senator Scott Brown is still adamant he is in opposition to the Act, despite using it to benefit his family.

A significant portion of the 1817 comments argue in opposition to the article, saying he would a fool if he didn’t take advantage of the act.  Others state that he can’t be seen as hypocritical as he’s just making use of a law that’s in place. A lot of these sorts of comments make it clear that while they don’t think hypocritical is the right criticism to use, they still don’t like Brown or the fact that he opposed the law in the first place.  Other redditors do criticise him for being hypocritical, charging him with taking advantage of the ignorance of others by using the benefits of the law to his advantage while trying to take those benefits away from his constituents.  Some comments offer a closer examination of Brown’s actions while in office, including a detailed breakdown of his actions in opposing the law in the first place.

 
In second place today is a self post from a redditor who is trying to bring attention to presidential candidate Ron Paul’s idea to change the railroad pension system.  The link explains in brief the changes Paul plans to make, which all appear to be negative, and a link to a petition against the changes along with a plea for support on behalf of railroaders and their families.

954 redditors commented on this one.  Many ask about or suggest motives behind Paul’s meddling, including his want to ‘mess with’ the unions or simply because it gives him more publicity.  Users suggest reasons why the unions are a threat to government power, particularly republicans.  Others bring up and discuss the idea of cutting Congress members pension funds and see how they like it.

 

The third most upvoted link today is a report from the Los Angeles Times.  It tells us about a ruling by the Oklahoma Supreme Court which rejected a proposed law to consider any fertilized egg as a person.  Personhood Oklahoma’s move would have made all abortions illegal without exception and restricted birth control options for women, the article reported.  It was deemed unconstitutional and unanimously voted against.

There were 589 responses to this story.  People discuss the idea of whether judges are being politically active or just following the law, with some dryly observing that they are only seen to be ‘activist’ if they make a ruling that people disagree with.  Many redditors criticize the bill, claiming It violates women’s rights amongst other things, an unsurprising sentiment for a left-wing community such as Reddit.   A lot of users also compare the different negative reasons why particular states make it onto the r/politics front page, complaining about various political moves by the far right.