Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

When the shoe is on the other foot in politics

original article: God Bless Harry Reid
February 2, 2017 by CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER

Senate Democrats have Reid to thank for being powerless to block Gorsuch’s nomination.

There are many people to thank for the coming accession of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Donald Trump for winning the election. Hillary Clinton for losing it. Mitch McConnell for holding open the High Court seat through 2016, resolute and immovable against furious (and hypocritical) opposition from Democrats and media. And, of course, Harry Reid.

God bless Harry Reid. It’s because of him that Gorsuch is guaranteed elevation to the Court. In 2013, as then–Senate majority leader, Reid blew up the joint. He abolished the filibuster for federal appointments both executive (such as cabinet) and judicial, for all district- and circuit-court judgeships (excluding only the Supreme Court). Thus unencumbered, the Democratic-controlled Senate packed the lower courts with Obama nominees.

Reid was warned that the day would come when Republicans would be in the majority and would exploit the new rules to equal and opposite effect. That day is here. The result is striking.

Trump’s cabinet appointments are essentially unstoppable because Republicans need only 51 votes and they have 52. They have no need to reach 60, the number required to overcome a filibuster. Democrats are powerless to stop anyone on their own.

And equally powerless to stop Gorsuch. But isn’t the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees still standing? Yes, but if the Democrats dare try it, everyone knows that Majority Leader McConnell will do exactly what Reid did and invoke the nuclear option — filibuster abolition — for the Supreme Court, too.

Reid never fully appreciated the magnitude of his crime against the Senate. As I wrote at the time, the offense was not abolishing the filibuster — you can argue that issue either way — but that he did it by simple majority. In a serious body, a serious rule change requires a serious supermajority. (Amending the U.S. Constitution, for example, requires two-thirds of both houses plus three-quarters of all the states.) Otherwise you have rendered the place lawless. If in any given session you can summon up the day’s majority to change the institution’s fundamental rules, there are no rules.

McConnell can at any moment finish Reid’s work by extending filibuster abolition to the Supreme Court. But he hasn’t. He has neither invoked the nuclear option nor even threatened to. And he’s been asked often enough. His simple and unwavering response is that Gorsuch will be confirmed. Translation: If necessary, he will drop the big one.

It’s obvious that he prefers not to. No one wants to again devalue and destabilize the Senate by changing a major norm by simple majority vote. But Reid set the precedent.

Note that the issue is not the filibuster itself. There’s nothing sacred about it. Its routine use is a modern development — with effects both contradictory and unpredictable. The need for 60 votes can contribute to moderation and compromise because to achieve a supermajority you need to get a buy-in from at least some of the opposition. On the other hand, in a hyper-partisan atmosphere (like today’s), a 60-vote threshold can ensure that everything gets stopped and nothing gets done.

Filibuster abolition is good for conservatives today. It will be good for liberals tomorrow when they have regained power. There’s no great principle at stake, though as a practical matter, in this era of widespread frustration with congressional gridlock, the new norm may be salutary.

What is not salutary is the Reid precedent of changing the old norm using something so transient and capricious as the majority of the day. As I argued in 2015, eventually the two parties will need to work out a permanent arrangement under which major rule changes will require a supermajority (say, of two-thirds) to ensure substantial bipartisan support.

There are conflicting schools of thought as to whether even such a grand bargain could not itself be overturned by some future Congress — by simple majority led by the next Harry Reid. Nonetheless, even a problematic entente is better than the free-for-all that governs today.

The operative word, however, is “eventually.” Such an agreement is for the future. Not yet, not today. Republicans are no fools. They are not about to forfeit the advantage bequeathed to them by Harry Reid’s shortsighted willfulness. They will zealously retain the nuclear option for Supreme Court nominees through the current Republican tenure of Congress and the presidency.

After which, they should be ready to parlay and press the reset button. But only then. As the young Augustine famously beseeched the Lord, “Give me chastity and continency, only not yet.”

congress, constitution, Democrats, government, ideology, legislature, politics, Republicans, unintended consequences

Filed under: congress, constitution, Democrats, government, ideology, legislature, politics, Republicans, unintended consequences

The Gun Control Farce

original article: The Gun Control Farce
June 21, 2016 by Thomas Sowell

Surely murder is a serious subject, which ought to be examined seriously. Instead, it is almost always examined politically in the context of gun control controversies, with stock arguments on both sides that have remained the same for decades. And most of those arguments are irrelevant to the central question: Do tighter gun control laws reduce the murder rate?

That is not an esoteric question, nor one for which no empirical evidence is available. Think about it. We have 50 states, each with its own gun control laws, and many of those laws have gotten either tighter or looser over the years. There must be tons of data that could indicate whether murder rates went up or down when either of these things happened.

But have you ever heard any gun control advocate cite any such data? Tragically, gun control has become one of those fact-free issues that spawn outbursts of emotional rhetoric and mutual recriminations about the National Rifle Association or the Second Amendment.

If restrictions on gun ownership do reduce murders, we can repeal the Second Amendment, as other Constitutional Amendments have been repealed. Laws exist to protect people. People do not exist to perpetuate laws.

But if tighter restrictions on gun ownership do not reduce murders, what is the point of tighter gun control laws — and what is the point of demonizing the National Rifle Association?

There are data not only from our 50 states but also from other countries around the world. Professor Joyce Lee Malcolm’s empirical study, “Guns and Violence: The English Experience,” should be eye-opening for all those who want their eyes opened, however small that number of people might be.

Professor Malcolm’s book also illustrates the difference between isolated, cherry-picked facts and relevant empirical evidence.

Many gun control advocates have cited the much higher murder rates in the United States than in England as due to tighter gun control laws in England. But Professor Malcolm’s study points out that the murder rate in New York has been some multiple of the murder rate in London for two centuries — and, during most of that time, neither city had serious restrictions on gun ownership.

As late as 1954, “there were no controls on shotguns” in England, Professor Malcolm reported, but only 12 cases of armed robbery in London. Of these only 4 had real guns. But in the remainder of the 20th century, gun control laws became ever more severe — and armed robberies in London soared to 1,400 by 1974.

“As the numbers of legal firearms have dwindled, the numbers of armed crimes have risen” is her summary of that history in England. Conversely, in the United States the number of handguns in American homes more than doubled between 1973 and 1992, while the murder rate went down.

There are relevant facts available, but you are not likely to hear about them from politicians currently pushing for tighter gun control laws, or from the mainstream media, when those facts go against the claims of gun control advocates.

Despite hundreds of thousands of times a year when Americans use firearms defensively, none of those incidents is likely to be reported in the mainstream media, even when lives are saved as a result. But one accidental firearm death in a home will be broadcast and rebroadcast from coast to coast.

Virtually all empirical studies in the United States show that tightening gun control laws has not reduced crime rates in general or murder rates in particular. Is this because only people opposed to gun control do empirical studies? Or is it because the facts uncovered in empirical studies make the arguments of gun control zealots untenable?

In both England and the United States, those people most zealous for tighter gun control laws tend also to be most lenient toward criminals and most restrictive on police. The net result is that law-abiding citizens become more vulnerable when they are disarmed and criminals disobey gun control laws, as they disobey other laws.

The facts are too plain to be ignored. Moreover, the consequences are too dangerous to law-abiding citizens, whose lives are put in jeopardy on the basis of fact-free assumptions and unexamined dogmas. Such arguments are a farce, but not the least bit funny.

civil rights, constitution, culture, gun rights, ideology, law, study

Filed under: civil rights, constitution, culture, gun rights, ideology, law, study

Chronicle of Higher Ed misses irony

The left-leaning Chronicle of Higher Education’s liberal Peter Schmidt doesn’t like Campus Reform or The College Fix. In his recent Higher Education’s Internet Outrage Machine left-leaning Schmidt wants you to know all about “conservative” voices in the world of academe. Of course, we’re supposed to be suspicious of any one or group labeled as conservative in liberal Schmidt’s piece, and he’s sure to let you know. On the other hand he doesn’t label anyone or any group as “liberal”. Apparently, we are supposed to think conservative grievances about liberal abuse or bias are entirely unreasonable and even fictional, or downright dishonest. Seriously, read liberal Schmidt’s article and count the number of times he uses the “conservative” or “right-leaning” labels.

It’s almost as if Schmidt hasn’t actually stepped foot on an American college campus in decades.

Are the numerous false rape scandals from college campuses not worthy of news coverage? Or the gross violation of student due process rights? Or the countless examples of free speech limitations? Surely no one at the Chronicle of Higher Education is denying the existence of free speech zones which, ironically, are self contradictory, and are common place examples of liberal bias in higher education.

Perhaps a recap of a few incidents of liberal bias would help:

Higher Education doesn’t always protect academic freedom

Selective respect for academic freedom in higher education

Funny how sometimes an empty apology is enough for progressives to forgive racism

USC VP prefers Muslim and Progressive hate speech to legitimate discussion

They Messed With the Wrong Blogger

Academic Freedom Under Siege

Advanced Placement Framework Is Pure Anti-American Propaganda

The Daily Caller Presents: The Third Annual College Stupidity Awards

A Reply to Professor Bruce McKinney

A Queer Alliance Against Free Speech

Over at Politico you find a piece entitled PC Liberals Devour Their Own where Rich Lowry details an instance in which even liberal professors are becoming fearful of their liberal students, in what may be the inevitable result of political correctness in progressive hands.

Look, I understand not wanting one’s dirty laundry aired in public. That’s totally reasonable. (And with political correctness becoming more militant there is ample dirty laundry to by aired.) But the conservative grievances about liberal bias and abuse are not imaginary and they extend far beyond merely a few individuals who “feel” they were wronged. Even before the innumerable incidents of oppression and abuse (merely a tiny sampling of which is included above) we should take seriously the question of limiting free speech to free speech zones and social engineering on campus. What sort of environment are we inviting when limiting free speech (a constitutionally protected right) to tiny zones on college campuses or when students are taught to be politically active as part of their college experience? Note, I didn’t ask what sort of environment we are “asking for”. The intent behind limiting a constitutional right or encouraging political activism in this way may or may not be noble (I don’t read minds) but the results of these efforts are not what any reasonable person with constitutional rights should consider good.

Maybe Schmidt actually has visited college campuses recently, and perhaps he actually has read articles and researched the issues addressed by Campus Reform and The College Fix. It’s entirely possible he tried to keep himself apprised of these issues and still missed the point. After all, why should we expect a liberal to notice liberal bias? Schmidt’s article is rather ironic in that he dryly vents his contempt for conservatives while mocking their grievances about left wing bias. Apparently hate is in the eye of the beholder.

bias, bullies, censorship, conservative, constitution, culture, diversity, education, elitism, free speech, hate speech, hypocrisy, ideology, left wing, liberalism, pandering, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, relativism

Filed under: bias, bullies, censorship, conservative, constitution, culture, diversity, education, elitism, free speech, hate speech, hypocrisy, ideology, left wing, liberalism, pandering, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, relativism

Planned Parenthood and Unfettered Congressional Spending

original article: Planned Parenthood and Unfettered Congressional Spending
July 22, 2015 by Zack Pruitt

The U.S. Constitution permits congressional spending for two purposes only — to pay debts and to provide for the common defense and general welfare of the country (Article 1, Section 8).  Experts have debated ad nauseam over the proper interpretation of the terms “common defense” and “general welfare” but it is difficult to deny that modern spending has far surpassed the intent of the Founders and, in some cases, reached the point of absurdity.  With entire websites devoted to exposing the excesses of government spending that has virtually no limits, it is inevitable that taxpayers will be forced to subsidize things that they view as morally questionable.

Planned Parenthood receives over $500 million each year from American taxpayers, which comprises over 40 percent of its budget.  It was recently shown on video ostensibly seeking to profit from the sale of aborted baby parts (as opposed to being reimbursed for tissue donation), perhaps in violation of federal law.  Make no mistake, the big picture story here is not congressional overspending; it is the Senior Director of Medical Services at Planned Parenthood graphically describing her efforts to “not crush” vital organs when performing abortions in an effort to preserve them and recoup “between $30 and $100 per specimen.”  In another video, the President of Planned Parenthood’s Medical Directors Council indicates a profit-motive for aborted parts by negotiating for higher prices and haggling over the cost of “intact tissue.”  When a system allows for unfettered spending, taxpayers can wind up paying not only for unnecessary services, but ones that straddle the line between genocide and the commercialization of human body parts.

Without government assistance it is unlikely Planned Parenthood could survive as currently structured.  A system without proper checks and restraints allows for congressional funding of a multitude of programs that are unnecessary, and some, like Planned Parenthood, that blur ethical and moral lines.  Numerous calls for investigation and defunding have followed the release of this video, but under the current setup it will be difficult to fully strip federal grants because congressional Democrats and the President support the continued funding of Planned Parenthood despite the recent revelations.  In 2013, President Obama said, “You’ve also got a president who is going to be right there with you, fighting every step of the way… Thank you Planned Parenthood, God bless you.”

It should come as no surprise that when the government sanctions a morally questionable procedure such as abortion, that other morally suspect actions will stem from that tree, even ones that shock the conscience.  Historically, polls have shown this nation to be nearly 50-50 when it comes to general abortion rights, but the same polls move sharply against abortion in the 2ndand 3rd trimesters.  Partial-birth abortion is illegal but the methods described by Dr. Deborah Nucatola in the video closely resemble techniques in the partial-birth procedure.  She said that “[Planned Parenthood doctors are] very good at getting heart, lung, and liver…so I’m not going to crush that part, I’m going to crush below, I’m going to crush above, I’m going to see if I can get it all intact.”  Dr. Nucatola implies that specific steps are taken to preserve body parts, deviating from legal abortion standards.  In response to this aspect of the video evidence, Bill Murphy, co-Director of the Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center at the University of Wisconsin, told the Washington Post “The general consensus is that’s unethical and unsafe… you can’t modify a life-saving procedure for a patient in order to harvest organs.”

Control of the nation’s money with few limitations on expenditures encourages legislators to provide funding for projects they personally deem necessary for society and equality.  The results are runaway spending and massive budget deficits.  Politicians routinely use the public coffers to strengthen their reelection efforts by securing the support of special interest groups.  Irresponsible fiscal policy combined with substantial political support for abortion rights have led to taxpayer funding for an organization that harvests and sells baby body parts for research.  It strains credibility to reason that this is what the Founders had in mind when they authorized spending only for debt, defense, and general welfare.

Public money is used for a multitude of things that many Americans find objectionable.  When standards for congressional spending become virtually obsolete, the financial door swings wide-open for potential abuse.  Likewise, it is not a stretch that a society that permits abortion and the use of fetal parts for research would give rise to groups looking to profit from it.  As Dr. Nucatola explained in the video, “I think for [Planned Parenthood] affiliates, at the end of the day, they’re a non-profit… if they can do a little better than break even, and do so in a way that seems reasonable, they’re happy to do that.”

What has resulted is a perfect storm of economic entropy and blurred bioethical lines, in which congressional spending is rubber-stamped and prices can be placed on human body parts.  This lethal downward trajectory of fiscal and moral standards tugs at the fabric of society in ways that is harmful to both the economy and to the culture.  It is one thing for evil to exist but it is another for that evil to be sanctioned by the government and paid for by the people.  Without dramatic financial reforms and near-unanimous condemnation of immoral actions, we can expect an exponential increase of morally objectionable activity subsidized by the taxpayers.

Ending the trafficking of aborted baby parts will not be easy, but a return to the original plan for congressional spending would be a good start.

abortion, babies, bureaucracy, congress, constitution, corruption, ethics, extremism, funding, government, greed, ideology, political correctness, politics, public policy, reform, relativism, scandal, spending, taxes

Filed under: abortion, babies, bureaucracy, congress, constitution, corruption, ethics, extremism, funding, government, greed, ideology, political correctness, politics, public policy, reform, relativism, scandal, spending, taxes

What do Democrats really think of the first amendment?

Here is the full text of the 1st Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

DEMOCRATS TRY TO REPEAL FIRST AMENDMENT
June 3, 2014 by JOHN HINDERAKER

Today in the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Democrats held a hearing on Tom Udall’s proposal to gut the First Amendment by allowing Congress to prohibit or restrict participation in political campaigns. The Democrats like to say that the amendment would reverse the effect of the Citizens United and McCutcheon cases, but in fact it goes much farther than that. The amendment, which is favored by Harry Reid and most Senate Democrats, would give Congress unprecedented power to limit debate on public issues in the context of elections.

Democrats’ First Amendment Problem
September 10, 2014 by George Will

The constitutional amendment proposed in the Senate is a rare act of true extremism in American politics.

Senate Democrats’ Free Speech Problem
June 27, 2014 by Michael Barone

A proposed constitutional amendment would exclude political speech from protected status.

Govt will need to help shape U.S. media–Waxman
December 2, 2009 by IBTimes Staff Reporter

A top Democratic lawmaker predicted on Wednesday that the government will be involved in shaping the future for struggling U.S. media organizations.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, saying quality journalism was essential to U.S. democracy, said eventually government would have to help resolve the problems caused by a failing business model.

Krugman: Conservative Views About Debt Ceiling Should Be Censored From News Reports
July 27, 2011 by Noel Sheppard

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman on Tuesday said it was a “moral issue” for the press to censor conservative views about the debt ceiling.

Quite shockingly, the Nobel laureate took to his blog to complain that the news media are being too fair and balanced in their coverage of this highly contentious issue:

Sen. Kerry Asks Media to Stop Giving ‘Equal Time or Equal Balance’ to ‘Absurd’ Tea Party Ideas
August 5, 2011 by Noel Sheppard

Last week, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman said conservative views about the debt ceiling should be censored from news reports.

On Friday’s “Morning Joe,” Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) took this a step further calling on media to stop giving “equal time or equal balance” to Tea Party ideas that people like him consider “absurd” and “not factual”

Elizabeth Warren: First Amendment Right ‘Scares Me’, Needs ‘Dialing Back’
September 23, 2010 by Mark Finkelstein

Remember the MSM brouhaha when some conservatives suggested reconsidering the automatic granting of citizenship to children born in the US to illegal immigrants? Suddenly, the sanctity of the 14th Amendment became the single most precious thing to liberals—even though no amendment of it, let alone its abolition, would have been necessary to revise the policy on birthright citizenship.

So should we expect the liberal media to take up its constitutional cudgel against Elizabeth Warren? After all, Pres. Obama’s newly appointed [not nominated] head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau went on Morning Joe today and in effect proclaimed that the right to petition government for the redress of government “scares” her. More disturbingly, Warren suggested we need to work on “dialing back” that right.

Sen. Baldwin: 1st Amendment Doesn’t Apply to Individuals
July 2, 2015 by Brian Sikma

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) says the 1st Amendment’s religious liberty protections don’t apply to individuals. On MSNBC last week, Wisconsin’s junior Senator claimed that the Constitution’s protection of the free exercise of religion extends only to religious institutions, and that individual’s do not have a right to the free exercise of their own religion.

censorship, civil rights, congress, constitution, Democrats, elitism, extremism, first amendment, freedom, government, left wing, liberalism, philosophy, politics, progressive, public policy, regulation, relativism

Filed under: censorship, civil rights, congress, constitution, Democrats, elitism, extremism, first amendment, freedom, government, left wing, liberalism, philosophy, politics, progressive, public policy, regulation, relativism

HATE WINS: OREGON STATE ISSUES GAG ORDER AGAINST OPPOSING GAY MARRIAGE

original article: HATE WINS: OREGON STATE ISSUES GAG ORDER AGAINST OPPOSING GAY MARRIAGE
July 3, 2015 by John Nolte

In a sign of the overt fascism and religious persecution to come in the wake of a Left emboldened by the Supreme Court’s recent gay marriage ruling, a judge in Oregon has issued a gag order denying two Christian bakery owners from speaking out against same sex marriage.

“The Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries hereby orders [Aaron and Melissa Klein] to cease and desist from publishing, circulating, issuing or displaying, or causing to be published … any communication to the effect that any of the accommodations … will be refused, withheld from or denied to, or that any discrimination be made against, any person on account of their sexual orientation,” [Administrative Law Judge Alan] Avakian wrote.

The gag order is meant to stop Aaron and Melissa Klein from publicly speaking out about their desire to not bake cakes for same sex weddings. The State’s order came after the Kleins were interviewed by the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, and after the State fined the Kleins $135,000 for “emotional damages” incurred by a lesbian couple after the Kleins refused to bake their wedding cake.

That this kind of fascist oppression was always the endgame in the Left’s push for same sex marriage, was apparent to anyone familiar with the Left’s tactics.

The push for same sex marriage was always nothing more the Left’s sheep’s clothing in a crusade to destroy Christians and the Christian Church.

By adhering to the word of God, the Left will label Christians bigots and haters, and use the power of boycotts and the State to punish and silence us.

Now that gay marriage is the law of the land, the gay-pride flag will become the fascist banner under which any Church that doesn’t perform same sex marriages will be dismantled piece-by-piece. The tools used by the Gaystapo will include coordinated hate campaigns in the media, as well as political campaigns aimed at removing the Church’s tax exempt status.

Christians and conservatives who never believed this could happen are part of the problem.

1995: We don’t want marriage, just civil unions.

2005: Our marriage won’t affect your rights.

2014: Bake me a cake, or else.

2015: Your opinion against same sex marriage is illegal.

Moreover, it is not discrimination to not want to be forced by the State to participate in and profit from what Christians correctly see as the sacramentalization of sin, which is what a same sex marriage ceremony is. Christians believe our very soul is at stake.

Besides the State, the true bigoted oppressor here is the fascist lesbian couple demanding Christians be silenced by the State, but only after demanding the State force a small business owner into celebrating their marriage.

Oh, and happy Independence Day.

abuse, anti-religion, bias, bigotry, bullies, censorship, civil rights, constitution, corruption, culture, discrimination, diversity, elitism, extremism, first amendment, free speech, government, hate speech, homosexuality, hypocrisy, ideology, indoctrination, intolerance, justice, left wing, liberalism, litigation, nanny state, oppression, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, public policy, relativism, religion, scandal, tragedy

Filed under: abuse, anti-religion, bias, bigotry, bullies, censorship, civil rights, constitution, corruption, culture, discrimination, diversity, elitism, extremism, first amendment, free speech, government, hate speech, homosexuality, hypocrisy, ideology, indoctrination, intolerance, justice, left wing, liberalism, litigation, nanny state, oppression, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, public policy, relativism, religion, scandal, tragedy

Sotomayor: Every single individual in this society chooses, if they can, their sexual orientation

original article: Sotomayor: We’re not taking away your liberty, because we won’t force you to marry a gay person
April 29, 2015 by Ben Johnson

One moment in the Supreme Court’s oral arguments over same-sex “marriage” reveals what an embarrassment Sonia Sotomayor is as a justice.

John J. Bursch, who argued on behalf of marriage, said that the people, not five unelected justices, should be able to decide whether to redefine a pillar of society that predates the government and written history.

“This case isn’t about how to define marriage,” he said. “It’s about who gets to decide that question. Is it the people acting through the democratic process, or is it the federal courts? And we’re asking you to affirm every individual’s fundamental liberty interest in deciding the meaning of marriage.”

The “wise Latina” immediately interrupted him with the following non-sequitur:

“I’m sorry. Nobody is taking that [liberty] away from anybody. Every single individual in this society chooses, if they can, their sexual orientation, or who to marry or not marry. I suspect even with us giving gays rights to marry that there’s some gay people who will choose not to.”

I’ll pass over Sotomayor saying that “every single individual..chooses” his or her sexual preference. But don’t miss the full illuminating brilliance of her argument: The Supreme Court is not trampling on the right of 50 million people in 35 states to settle their own law as long as straight people are not forced to “marry” homosexuals.

For Sotomayor, apparently anything short of judicially mandated sodomy is within the justices’ constitutional prerogatives – a view that would surprise any of our nation’s founding jurists, whether Jeffersonian or Hamiltonian.

This would be a laugh line if the Left didn’t keep saying it with a straight face. (No pun intended.) The Obama administration made a similar argument about the HHS mandate. In February 2012, then-HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that the conscience-destroying provision of ObamaCare strongly upheld individual freedom. “It’s important to note that our rule has no effect on the longstanding conscience clause protections for providers, which allow a Catholic doctor, for example, to refuse to write a prescription for contraception. Nor does it affect an individual woman’s freedom to decide not to use birth control.” (Emphasis added.)

Sebelius basically said, “Hey, be happy we’re not stuffing birth control pills down your stupid Catholic face!” Coming from an administration whose Science Czar John Holdren has justified “compulsory abortion” for American women, that comes as cold comfort, indeed.

abortion, bias, civil rights, constitution, freedom, government, homosexuality, ideology, judiciary, left wing, liberalism, litigation, nanny state, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, relativism

Filed under: abortion, bias, civil rights, constitution, freedom, government, homosexuality, ideology, judiciary, left wing, liberalism, litigation, nanny state, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, relativism

Hillary wants government to change people’s religious beliefs: any MSM concern over separation between church and state?

original article: Hillary Clinton’s Plan to Change Your ‘Deep-Seated Cultural Codes, Religious Beliefs’
April 27, 2015 by Susan Calloway Knowles

Former Secretary of State and current 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is on a mission and it has been completely ignored by the mainstream media.

Speaking at the sixth annual 2015 Women in the World Summit in New York recently, Clinton had a few choice things to say to the world. And even though the summit was about women, Clinton had another agenda which went mostly unreported.

Clinton, the proud recipient of the Margaret Sanger award in 2009, the award from none other than the “mother of eugenics,” now wants to change your “deep seated…religious beliefs” among other aspects of your culture, so that abortions will be available without interference from principles that shouldn’t matter.

“Rights have to exist in practice — not just on paper,” Clinton argued. “Laws have to be backed up with resources and political will … And deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed,” Clinton added.

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 01: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attends a round table conversation and press conference announcing a childhood development initiative with first lady of New York City Chirlane McCray on April 1, 2015 in New York City. The initiative is between New York City Children's Cabinet and Too Small to Fail. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Reminiscent of the rhetoric from President Barack Obama’s “Hope & Change” campaign mantra, Clinton’s new campaign slogan, at least from what was said during her New York speech, should probably be “Move over God, Family & Culture.”

Reading between the lines, it was obvious that Clinton took aim at Christians in America during the recent women’s summit. Implications of Clinton’s speech toward Christians couldn’t be clearer.

It was perhaps Clinton’s attempt to hammer the final nail into America’s proverbial coffin by lessening Christians’ religious, cultural, and familial beliefs. If achieved, the result will be that God, the Bible and the U.S. Constitution which was founded upon Christian principles, will take a back seat to other progressive agendas, at least in a Clinton presidency.

America, under Clinton, would usher in yet another new era. It could possibly be such a cataclysmic transformation that even Obama will have to admit that he’s impressed.

Perhaps hoping that she had not revealed too much, Clinton returned to the original subject about women, setting aside religion and other important beliefs for a moment, and moved on toward “unfinished business.”

“As I have said and as I believe, the advancement of the full participation of women and girls in every aspect of their societies is the great unfinished business of the 21st century,” Clinton claimed.

Clinton added, “Not just for women but for everyone … And not just in faraway countries but right here in the United States.”

Clinton then moved on to another part of her discourse.

Clinton, not wanting to leave out those that may have the opportunity to illegally vote for her in the 2016 election should she become the Democratic presidential nominee, tied women’s rights to the rights of those illegally in the country and even took aim at talk radio.

“There are those who offer themselves as leaders who would deport mothers working to give their children a better life, rather than risk the ire of talk radio,” Clinton said.

What is ironic about Clinton’s speech and where it was given is that the summit was held at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center.

As you may know, Koch is a Republican and part of the “hated” Koch Brothers’ dynasty that all “good” progressives on the left despise as being a participant in the “war on women.”

Apparently, the irony of the venue was lost on Clinton and those in attendance.

But as for her religious principles, not to worry. I’m sure Clinton’s Christian principles will never change and parts of her speech were just a misunderstanding of what she really meant, right?

Clinton clarified in June 2014 while doing her best “Nancy Pelosi” impression during a New York Times interview that she’s really all about the “Word,” just like you.

Clinton was asked by the interviewer if she had to name one book that made her who she is today, what would it be?

In an answer that Pelosi could be proud of, Clinton answered, “At the risk of appearing predictable, the Bible was and remains the biggest influence on my thinking.”

She continued, “I was raised reading it, memorizing passages from it and being guided by it … I still find it a source of wisdom, comfort and encouragement.”

Perhaps Clinton’s recent statements at the women’s summit regarding religious beliefs just mirror the fact that religious liberties of Christians are currently under attack by the progressive left in this country. Maybe indicating that those beliefs must be changed is just her idea of “riding the popular left-wing progressive political agenda” with no intent to ever follow through on diminishing the rights granted to every American under the Constitution.

I’m not buying it. Let us not forget how Clinton once “evolved” on her views toward gay marriage when she was first against it and then for it.

Undoubtedly, if true to Clinton form, look for her further evolution when it comes to changing Americans’ religious beliefs, family and culture should she be elected president.

And, if true to form, also expect the mainstream media to remain silent on such a crucial issue to Christians.

anti-religion, bias, campaign, civil rights, constitution, Democrats, elections, extremism, first amendment, government, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, philosophy, political correctness, politics, progressive, propaganda, public policy, reform, relativism, religion, separation

Filed under: anti-religion, bias, campaign, civil rights, constitution, Democrats, elections, extremism, first amendment, government, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, philosophy, political correctness, politics, progressive, propaganda, public policy, reform, relativism, religion, separation

What Is Religious Freedom?

original article: What Is Religious Freedom?
April 7, 2015 by Joseph Backholm

Last week, America had a rigorous debate over religious freedom. Just in case you crawled into a cave for lent and are now emerging from isolation, I’ll catch you up.

First, Indiana passed a law called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). It mirrored a federal law that has been in place since 1993 which states that government must meet a very high standard before doing things that burden the free exercise of religion.

Fearing that it would create room for business owners not to be part of same-sex weddings, the tolerance mob threw themselves to the ground in unison and began convulsing…for days. Apple threatened to stop doing business in Indiana because of their “discriminatory” laws despite recently opening stores in Saudi Arabia, where homosexuality is punishable by flogging, imprisonment or execution.

Washington’s Governor Jay Inslee ordered a ban on state travel to Indiana despite recently taking a trip to China. Late last week he also had the communist Chinese flag flown on the state capitol grounds.

Connecticut’s Governor Dan Malloy also issued a travel ban to Indiana despite the fact that his state has a RFRA that is broader than the one passed in Indiana.

A reporter from an ABC affiliate in South Bend, Indiana traveled 30 miles to the town of Walkerton to search for business owners who didn’t support same-sex marriage. Inside Memories Pizza, they discovered a 21 year-old girl who, when asked, said she supported the new law. She explained that while the business would never decline serve a person who identified as gay, she thought they would decline to cater a gay wedding because of their beliefs about marriage.

Like that’s going to be an issue.

You pretty much lose your gay card if you have your wedding catered with pizza.

Still, once word got round that there’s a bigot in them there woods, the mob grabbed their torches and pitch forks and temporarily left their ivory towers to protest this monument to intolerance because indignation is what they do. The business was forced to close (hopefully, temporarily).

While the little businesses were being shut down, the big businesses started calling the politicians who promised to do whatever was necessary to keep the campaign contributions coming. In the end, the politicians passed a “fix” which was really a “break”. It clarified that if there is ever a conflict between religious liberty and sexual liberty that sexual liberty would win.

No longer are courts allowed to balance the competing interests of people who identify as gay with the people who have strong beliefs about marriage they are unwilling to compromise. In Indiana now, gay beats God. Every time.

As the debate raged, one thing became clear. Everyone says they believe in religious freedom, but there are very different understandings of what that means.

As one post on my social media feed stated, “Religious freedom is about the right to worship how you want on your own time.” Lots of people “liked” it.

But is it true? Is religious freedom about church and the right to say your prayers?

The American idea of religious freedom is rooted in the First Amendment. “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

Those eager to take a narrow view of religious freedom often cite Reynolds v. the United States when the Supreme Court said, “Laws are made for the government of actions, and while they cannot interfere with mere religious beliefs and opinions, they may with practices.”

This seems to suggest that the government can control our actions, even those we say are “religious.”

But that quote, and that case, is far from the end of the story.

In fact, it was the beginning story. Literally.

Reynolds, a case from 1878, was the first time the Supreme Court considered what the “free exercise” of religion meant. In that case, they took a narrow view of religious freedom because they wanted to ban polygamy and Mormons were arguing that the First Amendment protected their right to multiple wives.

Strangely, this 140 year-old case in which the conservatives of the day banned polygamy is now being used by modern day leftists to force today’s conservatives to celebrate same-sex weddings.

However, after Reynolds, the Supreme Court abandoned their own precedent and greatly expanded their understanding of what religious freedom was.

Jehovah’s Witnesses were acknowledged to have the right to pass out literature (Schneider v. Town of Irvington, 1939) and refuse to cite the pledge of allegiance (West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 1943). Seventh-Day Adventists could not lose unemployment benefits for declining to work on Saturday (Sherbert v. Verner, 1963) and the Amish could not be bound by compulsory school laws that conflicted with their beliefs (Wisconsin v. Yoder, 1972).

In these cases, the Supreme Court clarified that if government is going to burden religious freedom, they must: (1) have a compelling reason and (2) use the least restrictive means possible.

It wasn’t until Native American’s became involved that the Supreme Court moved away from strong protections for religious freedom. In 1988, the court ruled that it did not violate the law to build a road through Native Americans’ sacred lands (Lyng v. Northwest Indian Cemetery Protective Ass’n) and then in 1990 ruled that the government could stop them from using peyote in their religious ceremonies (Employment Division v. Smith) as they had done for thousands of years.

Curiously, building a road through sacred lands was not illegal because it did not “coerce individuals into acting contrary to their religious beliefs,” though that is exactly what is being attempted now.

In these cases, the court didn’t just change the outcome, they changed the test.

Instead of requiring the government to have a compelling reason and use the least restrictive means possible, the Court said the government needed only to prove that their laws were “neutral laws of general applicability.”

In other words, “everyone was required to eat the pork, so you Jews have no right to complain about being targeted.”

This is a much lower standard that disrespected the religious freedoms of everyone, not just the Native Americans who were impacted in these cases.

In recognition of this fact, Congress responded to the Supreme Court’s decision by passing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) which restored the standard that existed prior to 1990. It passed Congress almost unanimously and President Clinton signed it in 1993.

Once again, religious freedom received the highest protections we give to fundamental rights.

Since then, RFRA has been used to defend: (1) the rights of a Lipan Apache leader to own eagle feathers; (2) a Sikh devotee’s right to carry a kirpan (an emblem resembling a small knife with a blunt, curved blade) to his job at the IRS; and (3) allowed a kindergartner to enroll in kindergarten despite a policy that a boys hair should be shorter than the collar.

What’s the point of all this?

Religious freedom has always been about much more than “the right to worship how you want on your own time.”

“But not in your business”, they say.

While the law does treat businesses and individuals differently in many ways, it has long recognized that businesses do not exist independent of the people who own them. And those people still have rights.

This is why courts have acknowledged that corporations have free speech rights, the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure, and even a racial status. After all, you can’t have a minority owned business if the business doesn’t take on some of the characteristics (and resulting protections) of its owner.

If a business can be Hispanic, can it not also be Catholic, Jewish, or Muslim?

Unfortunately, for those who are working hardest to destroy the individual freedoms of Americans, none of this matters.

Things like legal precedent and the free exchange of ideas are simply roadblocks to a more tolerant world.

If they can just stop you from “discriminating”, then the world will become more tolerant. The fact that they have to be exceedingly intolerant in order to make the world more tolerant is lost on them because they have good intentions.

But it should not be lost on you.

anti-religion, bias, bigotry, bullies, christian, civil rights, constitution, culture, discrimination, diversity, first amendment, homosexuality, hypocrisy, ideology, intolerance, justice, nanny state, oppression, political correctness, politics, progressive, public policy, relativism, victimization

Filed under: anti-religion, bias, bigotry, bullies, christian, civil rights, constitution, culture, discrimination, diversity, first amendment, homosexuality, hypocrisy, ideology, intolerance, justice, nanny state, oppression, political correctness, politics, progressive, public policy, relativism, victimization

Common Core: You have rights ‘in certain situations’

November 17, 2014 by Dave Jolly

Brad McQueen is a public school teacher in Tucson, Arizona. He was also a Common Core insider who became aware of the dangers of curriculum. Those dangers so alarmed McQueen that he wrote the anti-Common Core book The Cult of Common Core: Obama’s Final Solution for Your Child’s Mind and Our Country’s Exceptionalism.

One day recently, he discovered that a US Constitution/Bill of Rights poster that hung in his classroom was not teaching the truth. The poster, created by the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services and Education had paraphrased the Second Amendment in such a way as to teach a lie. The poster read:

“You have the constitutional right to, in certain situations, ‘keep and bear arms’ without government interference.”

Note that whoever wrote the poster stated ‘in certain situations’ which is nowhere stated in the Second Amendment or Constitution. McQueen goes on to explain that there is a purposeful effort to teach specific liberal concepts in today’s public education instead of the truth.

McQueen wrote:

“When I was working on the Common Core test last year, the PARCC exam, I was told that the new Common Core way of writing and thinking demands that kids cite the ‘experts’ in the texts that are presented to them on the exam when writing their essays and not rely on their own thinking or opinions.”
“I was told that if they wrote about their own opinions or their own thinking that they would fail the Common Core test.”

“I was also told that they expected that teachers would mimic this new Common Core way of writing and thinking in their classroom instruction. The true goal of Common Core is to have kids parrot back talking points, determined by the administration in power no doubt, rather than to truly think for themselves.”

“What if a teacher used the ‘expert’ opinion put forth on the erroneous U.S. Constitution poster I have in my classroom? With a few small changes in wording to our founding documents kids would be presented with quite a different view of their rights guaranteed in those same documents.”

“Kids instructed in the Common Core method of thinking and writing would know that they had better parrot back the ‘experts’ on that poster, or the experts in their Common Core aligned textbooks as their grades, their test scores, and their teachers’ paychecks may depend on their mastery of this skill.”

“Luckily, I caught the bogus wording of the Second Amendment on the class poster and my class and I compared the poster’s wording to the original document, the U.S. Constitution.”

“The kids in my class were furious and I liked that they were furious. It shows that our kids are still independent thinkers. However, as Common Core takes hold that will all be changing soon and perhaps in just one generation.”

Like McQueen, others have been warning that Common Core is more interested in training students to believe and think the way liberals want them to think and believe than they are in teaching the truths. It is nothing more than a socialist propaganda brainwashing tool designed to raise a generation of good socialist comrades. That’s why it is so important to repeal and replace Common Core in every state as soon as possible before it’s too late. As McQueen said, it could happen in just one generation and your kids and grandkids are that generation being targeted.

original article: Common Core Insider Teacher Warns of Common Core Brainwashing

bias, children, constitution, education, freedom, government, gun rights, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, reform, second amendment

Filed under: bias, children, constitution, education, freedom, government, gun rights, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, reform, second amendment

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