Sweet Cakes By Melissa Refuses to Comply With Gag Order

July 7, 2015

Phineas Fahrquar:

Good for the Kleins. Seriously. This bureaucrat’s decision was just appalling on so many levels.

Originally posted on Nice Deb:

aaron+and+melissa2

As you might have heard, the state of Oregon has decreed that Sweet Cakes by Melissa  must pay $135,000 to the lesbian couple whom they (apparently) “mentally raped” by refusing to bake their wedding cake.

Via Rachel Lu at the Federalist:

The final judgment, which came last Thursday, came with another twist. Aaron and Melissa Klein have also been given a “cease and desist” order, which effectively decrees they must refrain from stating their continued intention to abide by their moral beliefs.

Let’s be clear on why this is so sinister. There are times when speech rights conflict with other legitimate social goods. The public’s right to know can conflict with individual privacy rights. Sometimes threats to public safety warrant keeping secrets. There can be interesting debates about intellectual property rights. These cases can get tricky, and we should all understand that speech rights necessarily do have certain pragmatic limits.

 None of…

View original 508 more words


Say it after me: “Guns save lives”

June 11, 2015

Gun Control Stupid

Via Hot Air, this woman is certainly lucky to be alive, but that’s largely because she was also wise enough to have a firearm handy to even the odds:

A Detroit woman was able to fight off five home invaders in a shootout early Tuesday morning. The woman, who has a concealed carry permit, took the robbers by surprise after they burst in her bedroom window, WDIV reports.

“I was able to get to my gun. They didn’t know I had it. By that time, it was just gunfire,” Ms. Dee said.

Free Beacon has video, and Allahpundit can give you the lowdown on how crime has declined in Detroit since the police chief there began encouraging private gun ownership. (I can imagine Mike Bloomberg clutching his pearls even now.)

The gun control crowd keeps claiming that allowing widespread ownership of firearms will lead to a bloodbath, but the opposite seems empirically true: in jurisdictions where the 2nd Amendment is respected, violent crime rates have gone down. (Let’s face it, someone is less likely to rob or assault someone if he can’t be sure his target isn’t packing.)

But, in “progressive” jurisdictions with strict gun regulations, the violent crime rates are much, much higherHello, Chicago! — probably because the potential targets can’t defend themselves, so the criminals feel they’re in their own “safe zone.”

Someday it’s going to get through to the “Moms Demand” crowd that denying a person’s natural right to self-defense is not the way to prevent gun violence. Until then, we can be grateful for those jurisdictions that do, so the “Ms. Dees” of the world can legally protect themselves.

PS: I’m not saying that correlation is causation, of course, but the correlation is strong.


(Video) National Popular Vote and the attack on the electoral college

May 25, 2015

vote03

The Electoral College is one of the more obscure features of our government, yet it plays a crucial role: it elects the president, not the popular vote. When people in a state go to the polls, they’re really voting for slates of electors pledged to a particular candidate. The electors have traditionally honored the voters’ wishes (with the occasional individual exception for a protest vote), but the fact remains that they could choose someone other than “the People’s choice.” It also means that, occasionally, a candidate could win enough electoral votes to win the presidency while not winning the overall popular vote, as happened in 2,000 in the race between George W. Bush and Al Gore.

The fact that the winner of the popular vote might not win the race has annoyed a lot of people, especially on the Left (1), and they have proposed something called the “National Popular Vote,” a compact among the states comprising 270 electoral votes (the number need to win) to award them to whomever wins the national vote, regardless of individual state results. Not surprisingly, given the source, this represents an end-run around the system established in the Constitution, rather than an honest attempt to amend it.

In the video below from Prager University, attorney and author Tara Ross explains how the Electoral College works, why it was set up this way, and why NPV is a very bad idea:

Footnote:
(1) Because, you know, the Electoral College is “unfair!” “Unfairness” meaning “I didn’t get what I want!”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Free Speech: I find your lack of faith disturbing, America.

May 24, 2015
x

Do we need a refresher?

Via Tom Nichols, here’s Charles Cooke on the results of a survey showing a majority of Democrats and a significant minority of Republicans effectively favor repealing the 1st Amendment:

Depressing news from YouGov:

“YouGov’s latest research shows that many Americans support making it a criminal offense to make public statements which would stir up hatred against particular groups of people. Americans narrowly support (41%) rather than oppose (37%) criminalizing hate speech, but this conceals a partisan divide. Most Democrats (51%) support criminalizing hate speech, with only 26% opposed. Independents (41% to 35%) and Republicans (47% to 37%) tend to oppose making it illegal to stir up hatred against particular groups. Support for banning hate speech is also particularly strong among racial minorities. 62% of black Americans, and 50% of Hispanics support criminalizing comments which would stir up hatred. White Americans oppose a ban on hate speech 43% to 36%.”

What’s disturbing is that the speech in question doesn’t directly incite violence. It doesn’t urge people to go right now and burn the shops of those unliked people “over there.”

Rather, the “hate speech” referred to is a vague term (1) meaning “hurtful things you said that I don’t like.” To give a personal example, I’m very clear regarding my dislike for Islam: I think it an antisemitic, misogynistic, and bigoted faith with aggressive imperatives that lead it to demand supremacy over other faiths and to make war on their adherents until they submit. I have serious questions about whether it is or can be compatible with liberal, post-Enlightenment societies, at least with regard to Muslims who choose to live it as Muhammad intended.

For some, that would qualify as “hate speech”under the standards of that survey, because I would be “stirring up hatred” against Islam, though I would never advocate violence against Muslims, no matter how strong my criticisms of their faith. As Cooke explains, that standard is nevertheless exactly what would get me in trouble in the UK, where free speech protections are dying on the vine under the assault of laws such as the Public Order Act.

That a majority of the self-identified adherents of one of our two major parties would favor laws to criminalize the expression of thought — and that a large portion of the supposedly conservative party would agree with them! — is profoundly disturbing. I hope, indeed, I pray, that this is simply because people agreed with something they thought “sounded reasonable” and didn’t think through the implications thereof, rather than indicating a fundamental change to something that has made us, as a nation, truly exceptional.

Otherwise, we’re in deep trouble.

RELATED: While a number of Republicans have lost their way when it comes to free speech, let’s not forget that it was the Democrats who actually proposed an amendment effectively gutting the 1st Amendment.

Footnote:
(1) This is a great analysis of the increasing calls in the MSM for censoring free speech. Well-worth reading. (h/t Charles Cooke)


Once again, concealed-carry likely saved an innocent person’s life

April 23, 2015
"Crime stopper"

“Crime stopper”

In this case, a grandmother in Fort Worth, Texas, confronted by a robber with a knife:

A Fort Worth grandmother thwarted her would-be robber Monday when she pulled a pistol from her purse and scared her assailant away.

Jewell Turner, 74, told NBC 5 she was waiting in her minivan outside of her doctor’s office, near the corner of West Magnolia Avenue and 6th Avenue in the city’s Near South Side, when a man tapped on the glass of her driver’s side window.

“He stood there and we talked for a while, [him] just asking for directions and me giving them to him,” Turner recalled. “Never thought that when I turned my head that that young man would stick a knife to my throat.”

“He said, ‘I don’t want to hurt you, but I want your money. And I will hurt you if I have to,’” Turner said.

Turner said she told the man she only had some pocket change with her – $1.62 she counted after the ordeal – but he demanded what she had in her purse.

It was in that moment, Turner said, that she remembered she came prepared for an encounter such as this.

The widow first thought to pull out the pocket knife she always keeps with her for personal protection.

(…)

Instead, Turner remembered that earlier that very day she felt the need to bring her small pistol along with her.

“I seen the gun laying there. And I figured that would work better than the knife,” Turner said. “I just reached down, got the gun and turned around and pointed it to his face. And I told him, I said, ‘You back off, or I’ll blow your head off.’ And his eyes got big and he just backed up and he took off walking down the street like nothing happened.”

Four observations:

1) The robber obviously didn’t know the venerable rule, “Never bring a knife to a gunfight!”

2) Texas has much more sensible gun rules than my beloved California.

3) She had every right to shoot him on the spot, and he should take this as a sign he’s been given a second chance.

4) Never mess with Jewell Turner.

Seriously, this incident is a perfect example of what the founders had in mind when they enshrined in the Second Amendment the right to bear arms: not just to form a militia, but to be able to defend oneself when needed. If she hadn’t had the equalizing power of a firearm available, how do you think she would have fared against a much younger, probably much stronger man with a blade? Who would have helped her?

As the saying goes, “When every second counts, the police are minutes away.”

via The Tatler

Edit: Changed the title a bit.


(Video) Police State of Wisconsin: ‘I Thought It Was a Home Invasion’

April 22, 2015

Following up on my earlier post about the Left’s fascist abuse of the law to intimidate and terrorize political opponents, here’s an interview Dana Loesch of The Blaze TV conducted with David French, the author of the National Review exposé, and the head of the Wisconsin Club for Growth, one of the victims in this:

Someone needs to be fired over this, at the least.


Respectfully disagreeing: the Republican letter on Iran was proper and needed

March 10, 2015

Turn almost anywhere in D.C. and you’ll find someone screaming in outrage about something: taxes, health care, regulations of one sort or another, the secret Lizard People conspiracy to control our government, whatever. The latest chorus of outrage has arisen because of an open letter to the Iranian government written by Senator Cotton (R-AR) and 46 others among his Republican colleagues. The senators wanted to remind Iran that the US Senate has a constitutional role to play regarding any treaty with Tehran and that no agreement would be lasting without the Senate’s consent. You can read the letter here, but below is a key excerpt:

First, under our Constitution, while the president negotiates international agreements, Congress plays the significant role of ratifying them. In the case of a treaty, the Senate must ratify it by a two-thirds vote. A so-called congressional-executive agreement requires a majority vote in both the House and the Senate (which, because of procedural rules, effectively means a three-fifths vote in the Senate). Anything not approved by Congress is a mere executive agreement.

Second, the offices of our Constitution have different characteristics. For example, the president may serve only two 4-year terms, whereas senators may serve an unlimited number of 6-year terms. As applied today, for instance, President Obama will leave office in January 2017, while most of us will remain in office well beyond then—perhaps decades.

In other words, “there’s no real deal unless it contains provisions we approve of.”

This started a firestorm of criticism from the Left, with perhaps the most shrill, hysteria-laden attack coming on the cover of the New York Daily News:

Hyperbole much?

Hyperbole much?

Graphic via Hot Air

(Aside: “treason” is a word thrown around far too easily in recent years. By the Left and the Right.)

And the reaction from the White House and their allies in Congress wasn’t much farther behind:

Congressional Democrats joined the White House in denouncing the letter, with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) calling it “a cynical effort by Republican Senators to undermine sensitive international negotiations — it weakens America’s hand and highlights our political divisions to the rest of the world.”

(…)

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, accused Republicans of trying to “sabotage” the nuclear talks.

“This bizarre, inappropriate letter is a desperate ploy to scuttle a comprehensive agreement and the chance for a peaceful resolution, which is in the best interests of the United States, Israel and the world,” Boxer said in a statement.

Well, if anyone understands “bizarre,” it’s Barbara Boxer.

I’ll leave it to Noah Rothman to deal with the rank hypocrisy of the Democrats’ statements (here’s one huge example from The Federalist), but there were criticisms, or at least sad regret, from some on the Right, too. First, while Byron York at the Washington Examiner acknowledges that Obama started this mess, he still sees little good in the issuance of the Cotton letter:

It should go without saying that the reason Republicans are doing these things is because they are deeply concerned about a possible Iran deal. But another reason they’re acting is because they can. On Iran and before that on immigration, healthcare, and other matters, Obama has pushed his executive authority beyond its proper limits, on the flimsy pretense that he is entitled to act unilaterally if Congress does not pass bills he wants. Could anyone fail to anticipate that in response Congress would stretch its own authority, too?

(…)

Of course, it is still a bad thing. It is not good to invite a foreign leader to address Congress in a campaign against the U.S. president. It is not good to undermine the president’s authority to conduct foreign policy. But it’s not a good thing to undermine Congress’ authority to make laws, either. And to threaten even more undermining in the future, as Obama has done.

Meanwhile, at Hot Air, my friend Jazz Shaw thinks the letter is too much, too soon:

The whole point is that the system seems to be breaking down, and this letter is yet another example of the United States airing its dirty laundry for the rest of the world to see. Under ideal conditions, this would all be hammered out in private between Obama and the Congress and he could then send Kerry to negotiate something they could all live with. That didn’t happen either, so this is clearly not a case of all the fault being on one side of the aisle. In fact, when the President turned around and said this wasn’t really a treaty so he could do what he liked, that was possibly an even worse sin than what Tom Cotton and his cosigners have done. Trying to change the nature of a major deal between nations by calling it an agreement rather than a treaty is just a dodge, and not a particularly artful one at that.

Still, I find myself disagreeing with Tom Cotton (who I admire very much, and have since I interviewed him during the election) and wishing that this letter hadn’t been written. If there had to be an official response, a resolution of disapproval of the negotiations (or later, of the deal itself) could have been passed on the Senate floor. That would have at least kept the communications in house, rather than having the Legislative branch dive directly into the mix with Iran. The system of how things need to work to keep Washington functional continues to break down, and this letter did nothing to help with that challenge.

Both writers express an understandable wish for comity between the parties and branches when facing a dangerous foe. And many of us are old enough to remember when such a period existed when politics (mostly) “stopped at the water’s edge” — that era from World War II to the fall of the USSR when  there was a general consensus on foreign affairs between the parties in the face of threats from first the Nazis and then the Communists.

But that period slowly came to an end with two developments: first the rise of the anti-war socialist and communist-sympathizing Left and their liberal dupes to domination of the Democratic Party after 1968. They simply did not and do not share the foreign policy assumptions of the older, New Deal liberals who formed half of the consensus.

The other event was the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union.  With the deadly enemy gone, the pressure to unite against the outsider was lifted. Hence it became easier to take politics beyond the water’s edge.

And, while I opened this by saying I respectfully disagree, York and Shaw (and others) have a valid point: It *is* regrettable that there is no consensus anymore on our foreign affairs (1), and it is a shame that oru squabbles have to be carried out in public. Ours is a largely informal system in which policy makers would (should) come to a consensus based on agreement on broad principles.

But, for now at least, that agreement is gone, and one side pushes so far beyond the bounds of what has been acceptable that the other feels forced to retaliate.

Yet I still disagree that Senator Cotton and his colleagues should not have done this. As York himself notes, the administration and congressional  Democrats have shown little but contempt for constitutional norms and bounds since Obama was inaugurated. And in the face of the many slights against the American settlement perpetrated by the Obama White House and colluded in by the congressional Democrats, congressional Republicans have been nearly supine. The latest, the failure to stop Obama’s illegal, unconstitutional amnesty plan via the DHS budget, was a humiliating disgrace that could well encourage other adventures in petty tyranny on the president’s part. And it was just one moment, albeit egregious, in the long march of Congress surrendering more and more of its authority to the Executive since progressivism took hold.

Congress needed to push back to start reclaiming its role in our system, and this letter represents a good start. And it was better to do it now, while the agreement is still being worked out, than wait until it could be presented as “take it or leave it, and the consequences of rejection be on your shoulders.” Far from interfering in foreign affairs, this represents the Senate majority asserting its proper constitutional role and demanding it be honored. If Senator Cotton is representative of the newer generation of senators, then I have hope some balance will be restored.

While it’s regrettable that the fight has taken public, it’s much more heartening to see the legislature assert itself as Madison intended, jealously guarding its interest.

Footnote:
(1) Kind of hard to have one when one side still believes in a muscular, exceptional America as a force for good in the world, and the other sees American power as the problem and chooses national decline.

 


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