Saturday, April 04, 2015

The Week That Was

What has been exciting the nattering classes on Twitter and the net in general this week?

The "comedian" set to replace Jon Stewart on The Daily Show had a set of Tweets from his Twitter feed emblazoned around the net, Tweets which indicate that either a) he is sexist; b) he is anti-Semitic; c) he is both and/or immature; or d) those by whom he was chosen to pick up JS's crown were seriously bad judges.

Most of today's comedians (and script writers) aren't witty enough or clever enough to be funny without being mean, cruel or outright gross, so Mr Noah's attitudes ought not to be surprising. What does puzzle me is why replacements for a couple of shows (The Daily Show and the Late Late Show on CBS vacated by Scot, Craig Ferguson) could not have been found among American comedians or presenters. Why go to English (James Corden) and South African (Trevor Noah) individuals?

The net was also excited by a legal matter - what I'm thinking of as "Son of Hobby Lobby" - for reminders about the parent see archived posts here, here and here.

This week's bout of chattering and nattering included Indiana's Religious Freedom Law

From link above:
If you’ve been following the controversy over Indiana’s new religious freedom law, you might be confused about what it really says and what it will actually do.

Some people describe the law as a “sword” that would allow discrimination against same-sex couples. Others say it’s a “shield” that would give people more freedom to follow the dictates of their faith.

Some say the law would give businesses more leeway to pick and choose which customers to serve. Others say it won’t make much difference -- that even with the law in place, virtually all businesses will end up behaving just as they would have before.

Some say the statute represents a significant change in the legal landscape, enacted at the behest of the Republican Party’s most conservative supporters. Others say it is strikingly similar to existing laws, including one that Congress passed with overwhelming bipartisan majorities and that a Democratic president, Bill Clinton, happily signed more than two decades ago.
Which one of these statements is correct? All of them.

Here we go again then, on a slightly different track from Hobby Lobby, but heading in the same direction...trying to get rid of that pesky (to some) separation of church and state.

The most popular example of what Indiana's (and some other states') laws might bring about has been related to wedding arrangements for a same-sex marriage. For example, a business refusing to provide flower arrangements or wedding cake, etc. to a same sex couple on religious grounds would not be liable to legal proceedings brought on the basis of discrimination.

Never having been in the market for either wedding flowers or wedding cake, in spite of having been married twice (fluffy weddings are not my thing, marriage I can just about tackle), I can still see how insulting and hurtful it would be, at such a happy time in life, to be refused service on such grounds as sexual orientation. There'd be a rather odd, counter-productive business practice going on, on the part of the other party too! While same sex marriage pairs are free to vote with their feet and purses to go elsewhere with their business and obtain their wedding fineries from more enlightened retailers, a scar from that refusal will remain, and it'd be one that surely ought to be unthinkable to have been caused by any business person claiming to follow the paths laid out by Jesus Christ.

A comment under another Huffington Post piece struck me as worthwhile saving - it was by one Fran Moore:
These laws are clearly a promotion of religion. They provide those who profess a particular religious belief the privilege of being exempt from the law...a privilege not granted to those citizens who don't have that particular belief.

That would give ALL those found guilty of illegal discrimination either an appeal based on claiming a sincere religious belief or even the basis for claiming the enforcement of anti-discrimination laws violates their XIV amendment protections of equal protection!

It was interesting that in the Hobby Lobby case five members of the court that is supposed to determine the constitutionality of a law ignored the constitution and cited congressional legislation instead.

What is even more remarkable about that is the law they cited was held unconstitutional as applied to the states in the City of Boerne v. Flores decision in 1997, which ruled that the RFRA is not a proper exercise of Congress's enforcement power.

So why did those justices decide that their "interpretation" of that law and not the Constitution had jurisdiction in that case?

They not only avoided applying the Constitution to the Hobby Lobby case, they did so by ignoring the serious constitutional problems of the law they used to justify their ruling.

As Ginsberg implied...what now see what the obvious motivation behind using the RFRA was...the five conservative Justices wanted to grant states the precedent for establishing their own RFRAs...
These ideological justices feel they have now addressed the previous ruling against the federal RFRA in 1997 without addressing the underlying constitutionality of providing exemptions to constitutional law.

RFRAs clearly violate of the establishment clause and the XIV all the SCOTUS did in the Hobby Lobby case was to delay the inevitable ruling on the constitutionality of the federal RFRA and subsequent state enacted religious "freedom" laws.

If that comment was a bit too sober and serious, and you have a spare few minutes still, do go take a look at what blogger Jim Wright of Stonekettle Station had to say about this topic in his post headed Dear Christians: A Modest Proposal.

And FINALLY...some good news!

Though the deal will not be sealed until later this year, a framework agreement, relating to Iran's nuclear program, was announced in Switzerland on Thursday. Agreement was reached between Iran and the P5+1 (five permanent members of the UN Security Council: China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the USA, plus Germany). It could be indication of better days ahead unless, of course, opponents manage to derail the agreement. Nothing is ever certain, but there is now at least room for hope. See HERE.


mike said...

$842,592 raised for homophobic pissaria:

"Religious liberty is under assault in Indiana and that's never been clearer than with the O'Connor family.

When asked by local press the hypothetical question of whether or not they'd prefer to have their family owned business, Memories Pizza, cater a gay wedding, the owner said no citing their own religious beliefs as the reason."


You haven't mentioned any throat-larynx issues, so I hope you've mended.


The USA is now fascist by definition:

"...Roger Griffin describes fascism as 'a genus of political ideology whose mythic core in its various permutations is a palingenetic form of populist ultranationalism'. Griffin describes the ideology as having three core components: '(i) the rebirth myth, (ii) populist ultra-nationalism and (iii) the myth of decadence'. Fascism is 'a genuinely revolutionary, trans-class form of anti-liberal, and in the last analysis, anti-conservative nationalism' built on a complex range of theoretical and cultural influences. He distinguishes an inter-war period in which it manifested itself in elite-led but populist 'armed party' politics opposing socialism and liberalism and promising radical politics to rescue the nation from decadence.

Robert Paxton says that fascism is 'a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.'"


"Are we always in control of our minds? As David Robson discovers, it’s surprisingly easy to plant ideas in peoples’ heads without them realising."


Happy ____________ (fill-in the blank with Spring, Easter, Resurrection, Day, Passover, Weekend, etc).

Twilight said...

mike ~ Groan (re the Pizz(ss)aria!
The Rude Pundit's brief observations on the subject today, as usual pull no punches:


Thanks for asking - throat much better than it was, still a bit rough around the edges, as is voice. Though advised not to use it, one can only do so much in that respect, so I have simply had to use it. Bruising takes time to heal, I guess. My left knee has a big bruise pattern all over it still, it developed after several days, it is quite painful. I'm at last free of the several Band-Aids on hands and an arm though. Just one remains on a split nail. :-)


Yes, either fascism or, as John Chuckman has written this morning, the reality of government by wealth, a way of domination that has endured for centuries, it has evolved, and is possibly harder to spot now, but remains as powerful and impossible to overcome as it ever was (more so!)


The manipulation thing is scary - yes, good piece. I do think, though, that many of us, especially the "mature" among us are now onto the manipulators, and have been for quite some time.


Happy whatever back atcha mike!

mike (again) said...

"While much of the discussion and debate surrounding Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) law has been about how it would allow Christian business owners to freely discriminate against LGBT customers, there’s a broader problem with RFRA (at both the state and federal levels) that’s been ignored.

The law essentially says everyone has to follow the law… but if you have a really good religious reason to not comply, that might be okay. Want to break the law because you think it’s unjust? You’re out of luck. But if God factors into your decision, you might be able to get away with it.

It’s one of the biggest complaints from opponents of RFRA: It privileges religious beliefs over strong personal convictions and the government shouldn’t be making that call. To that end, the Freedom From Religion Foundation will be taking out this quarter-page ad in Sunday’s New York Times calling for a repeal of RFRA..."

Read more:

Twilight said...

mike (again)~ Good!! It's a pity the ad. can't be carried as a pop-up on every website on the net. ;-/

Really, how different is this kind of discriminatory action from the segregation of African Americans that went on here for many years? It's that same odious burrowing worm of bigotry, wearing a different pattern on its skin, finding a way to the surface once again.

mike (again) said...

The do-gooder from the pisseria is now claiming the $842,592 is a reward: "God has blessed us for standing up for what we believe, and not denying him," Crystal told Cavuto.

A couple of comments:

Ralph Reinhold, "...A problem for them will be if a black, wheelchair bound, lesbian, Vietnam Era Veteran, wearing a Star of David, comes in their store and says her name is Cochise Gonzalez, they are in deep doodoo."

Maria Louise, "Actually, rumor has it that so many self-professed 'christians' have been so downright nasty to their fellow human beings lately that Jesus is going to have come back and die all over again for their sins. And he's pretty darn ticked off about it."

Shara Gray, "Catering, photographing and baking cakes are all creative acts which take some thought to the event. As a Christian, many of us believe as the Bible says... that same sex sexual relations are an abomination to God (Bible's words, not mine) and could result in the participants spending eternity in Hell. I certainly wouldn't want to have ANYTHING to do with condoning a ceremony that celebrates something that I would believe would result in the eternal torture of the celebrants. That kind of goes against my conscience. I would happily bake them a birthday cake for them or a child that they've adopted. God doesn't hate them, or even dislike them. Neither do I. I just don't want to do anything to harm them. A wedding cake, photographing a wedding, etc is too far and forcing someone who conscientiously objects is just sick and wrong. This is why the Indiana religious freedom law is needed."

Renee Ekleberry, "Attention FOOD BANKS - Post videos with pretend morons telling the public that you will never serve gays, lesbians, bi-sexual, and transgender people - maybe even blacks - so actual morons will send you enough money to feed the actual poor. I think it will work. (For normal people - please repost)."

Deborah Weiss, "Meanwhile, the Arizona State University professor overwhelmed with hate mail and death threats after Fox smeared him for having designed a college course to open up a dialogue on race?--he doesn't have his money from God. Not so far. Just the death threats, plus the cold hand of right-wing intolerance and repression in what is supposed to be the last sanctuary of free speech in America, the college campus.

And Dr. George Tiller, slain in his church vestibule after being targeted for months by Fox's Bill O'Reilly for the sin of practicing medicine on the basis of science and compassion rather than theology?--still dead. Killed in God's house.

And those two Unitarians gunned down in their Tennessee church during a youth performance, by a gunman who had been inspired by Fox's Bernie Goldberg to slaughter liberals?--they're still dead, too, in another one of God's houses. And no big cash payout from the Almighty to date.

So God does indeed move in mysterious ways.

Or else maybe, just maybe, some of us can still tell the difference between, on the one hand, God Almighty, Creator of the universe, and on the other, a vicious little political operative ginning up the "faithful" with the promise of big cash bonanzas if only they will join the right's very secular crusade of hate."

Marc Sylvestre, "Well so much for all the gay couples who wanted to serve delivery pizza at the wedding."

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~

From God (Tweet of God)
"NASCAR Decries Indiana Anti-Gay Law". And when NASCAR calls you homophobic, you are homo-friggin'-phobic.

Twilight said...

A straightforward approach:

If you own a business intended to serve the public, AND if that business requires a license from any civil governmental authority, AND if that business is subject to taxation, then that business should be obliged to serve THE ENTIRE PUBLIC. (Mark Sheffler comment HERE:

mike (again) said...

Yes, Mark Sheffler's comment is apropos and is the way I thought things were and should be, but RFRA is here to change all that liberal nonsense, if we haters would just leave them alone to do their gawd's work.

One of the commenters provided a link to "35 Founding Father Quotes Conservative Christians Will Hate"

Another comment on that post is from Bob Portune: "I've really had it with politicians who keep talking about 'faith' when commenting on secular, civil matters. Jindal (and every other Right wing crusader) have EVERY right to hold whatever personal religious belief they choose, but basing legislative decisions on it is another matter entirely.

Any American politician who can't recognize the line where personal religious faith stops and secular legislation begins should be automatically disqualified from holding public office!

Believe, preach, and proselytize all you want, Bobby - but do so at your local church social, NOT as Governor for ALL the citizens of your State."

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Just 5 words -
That's at the heart of it all, that's what they continue to try to chip away until the whole thing falls down. It won't happen though.
That's my prognosis. :-/