Thursday, July 10, 2014
California Removes 'Husband' and 'Wife' from California Marriage Law
One word can make all the difference when it comes to definitions. Exhibit A: exchange the words “husband and wife” for a more inclusive term, and you have the phrase “I now pronounce you spouses.” In the state of California, they are paying special attention to keep their vernacular as progressive as possible.
Governor Jerry Brown (D) signed a bill Monday to formally make marriage gender-neutral to reflect the state’s allowance of same-sex unions. According to Senate Bill 1306:
"Under existing law, a reference to “husband” and “wife,” “spouses,” or “married persons,” or a comparable term, includes persons who are lawfully married to each other and persons who were previously lawfully married to each other, as is appropriate under the circumstances of the particular case.
The bill would delete references to “husband” or “wife” in the Family Code and would instead refer to a “spouse,” and would make other related changes."
The current wording was set in place when 61 percent of California voters elected to define state recognized marriages as those between a man and a woman. The California Supreme Court struck down Proposition 22 in 2008, decrying the restriction as unconstitutional.
Californians again attempted to ban same-sex marriage by approving Proposition 8 by 52 percent. This too, was challenged via the court system and overturned at the U.S. Supreme Court level in the 2013 case Hollingsworth v. Perry.
Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), who authored the Senate Bill, tweeted:
Words are, without doubt, one of the key tools used to shape thought. This alteration in the state law is the next step to easing gay unions into cultural acceptance.
Top Five Liberal Myths About the Hobby Lobby Case
Judging from the seething reaction by liberals to the Supreme Court’s recent decision in the “Hobby Lobby” case, one might easily forget that just two years ago they were singing the Court’s praises after it refused to declare ObamaCare unconstitutional. Then again, such extreme emotional swings should not be unexpected when one’s perception of justice is based not on law, but on politics and emotion. Therefore, in spite of a ruling that was far more limited in scope than could easily have been the case, the Left’s over-the-top reaction to Hobby Lobby is based on myth and delusion. Below are the top five liberal myths about the Hobby Lobby case, and how one might explain why they are wrong.
In a 5-4 decision on June 30th, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby that the “contraceptive mandate” in ObamaCare violated the religious freedom of certain for-profit corporations like Hobby Lobby, which are morally opposed to such forms of contraceptives. While the Court recognized that contraceptive coverage was a “compelling government interest” (as a matter of law), it did not consider that forcing business owners to pay for such coverage was the “least restrictive” way of fulfilling this interest because of the impact on the free exercise religious freedom. In short, the Court extended to “closely held corporations” the same protections under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) afforded currently to non-profit corporations.
Myth 1: “The Supreme Court just declared a war on women.”
For many liberals, the notion of a “war on women” underlies most conservative legislative or legal victories. It is therefore not surprising the Hobby Lobby decision precipitated indignant howls from feminists and liberals. Even though the Court ruled that business owners did not have to pay for coverage, the majority stated the government could pay for such coverage directly, or utilize the same accommodations afforded to RFRA-exempted non-profit organizations currently applicable. The party who pays for the cost of covering contraceptives, not access to contraceptives, is the only aspect changed by the Court’s ruling. Thus, if the Left’s true concern was access to contraceptive coverage, then its outrage over the decision would be entirely unwarranted; but, of course, it is not.
Myth 2: “What is next, blood transfusions and vaccines?”
Even before the Court decided the case, liberals were sliding down the slippery slope of what else was next on the chopping block should the Justices rule in Hobby Lobby’s favor. Perhaps this is why Justice Samuel Alito directly confronted this paranoia in his ruling; noting that the Court’s narrowly-tailored opinion applied only to the contraceptive mandate, and “should not be understood to hold that all insurance-coverage mandates . . . must necessarily fall if they conflict with an employer’s religious beliefs.” Suggesting the ruling affords religious business owners a license for denying all other types of coverage is not only a gross misreading of the case, but contradicts what the Justices explicitly stated.
Myth 3: “The LGBT community should be concerned.”
Once again, such a claim falls well outside the intentionally narrow scope of the ruling, and directly contradicts the Court’s opinion. In the majority opinion summary, Alito wrote that the ruling does not “provide a shield for employers who might cloak illegal discrimination as a religious practice.” The intention of the Court with regard to the decision’s application to discriminatory practices could not be any clearer, which is why this myth is pure fear-mongering. Sure, a company might try to challenge anti-discrimination laws based on this ruling (courts cannot anticipatorily stop people from making frivolous challenges), but it is highly doubtful such a challenge would make it out of the lower courts based on this decision alone.
Myth 4: “Corporations don’t have a right to religious expression.”
The legal concept of corporate “personhood” dates back more than a century, and is the basis of much of modern corporate law. The concept of personhood protects individual shareholders from the actions of the business; so, for example, a person owning just a few shares of stock in General Motors cannot be sued directly if a Chevy Volt catches on fire. Furthermore, the courts have recognized certain fundamental protections for individuals should also be extended to corporations; preventing the government from seizing company assets without a warrant, or shutting down companies for speech with which government officials might disagree. The RFRA protects individuals from being compelled by law to take actions that violate their religious beliefs. This protection was then (naturally) extended to non-profit corporations, such as religious organizations. It seems unreasonable, as the Court stated, that a for-profit corporation ceases to be entitled to hold religious views simply because it makes a profit. After all, were not liberals protesting Chick-Fil-A two years ago for the company’s “religious expression” of Christian values?
Myth 5: “Employers can now mandate health decisions for their employees.”
When an employee agrees to work for a company, he or she agrees to certain salary and incentives as compensation. A mandate is not much of a mandate when it is a part of a voluntary agreement between two parties. Therefore, if an employee does not like the type of coverage offered by an employer -- the same as he or she might not like the salary offered – they are free to find employment elsewhere. Hired employees have no more right to demand customized insurance coverage than they do a corner office.
Humanitarianism Can Be an Effective Disguise for Profiteering
Billionaire Hungarian-American oligarch George Soros is an extremely concerned humanitarian who can be counted on to put his considerable bank balance where his concerns are. Lately, those concerns have included Ukraine and other former Soviet satellite states; Syria; immigration rights in America; the U.S. banking system; and the Great Lakes region of Africa, where all the mining opportunities just happen to be. Perhaps he could lay off the generosity long enough for us to recover from it all.
Humanitarianism and charity can't always be taken at face value, if only because there is no better front for less-than-altruistic endeavors. Islamic charities, for example, have been exposed as fronts for terrorist funding. Most people simply assume that charity automatically equates to goodwill.
Set up a non-governmental organization (NGO) or "think-tank" with a dreamy humanitarian name to ultimately funnel cash into various forms of political subversion and disruption, and you've just created the perfect instrument for the perpetual incitement of low-intensity political conflict.
Low-intensity operations are insidious because they occur at a level just below the threshold that triggers acute opposition. Much like the ignored second hand of an analog clock, these low-intensity operations subtly effect change. Russian President Vladimir Putin knows this, which is why he rammed through a law in 2012 requiring NGOs that receive foreign funding and are engaged in "political activity" to register as foreign agents. Predictably, people complained that it wasn't a very nice thing to do to all the well-meaning humanitarians.
Soros' Open Society Foundations have funded millions of dollars of operations in Georgia, Ukraine and Russia. The only one of those countries that hasn't experienced total anti-Russian upheaval followed by a return to a more balanced geopolitical reality is Russia itself -- which the foundations are constantly complaining about. In May, Soros wrote in The Guardian that Europe should offer "free political risk insurance" to companies that invest or do business in Ukraine, and "guarantee the losses in the same way as they underwrite the World Bank." This was his great offering to humanity in the wake of that crisis.
Yeah, nice try. Fourteen percent of Soros' stock portfolio, according to the investment website GuruFocus.com, consists of energy investments -- the likes of which would benefit from entry into Ukraine's underexploited domestic market. To put that into plain-speak for those of us who aren't among the richest people on the planet, it's like saying that the government should offer me "hunger risk insurance" and guarantee me a lifetime of free dining at taxpayer expense.
Why on earth would we taxpayers want to subsidize Soros' stock portfolio? According to Soros, it's necessary "to counteract Russia's efforts to destabilize Ukraine." Tu quoque. Russia was satisfied with its monopoly in Ukraine and not much interested in doing anything to disrupt it.
So, where else is Soros sticking his fingers? He gave $1 million in humanitarian aid to Syria through the International Rescue Committee, which, according to Eric Thomas Chester's book "Covert Network: Progressives, the International Rescue Committee and the CIA," has worked closely with the Central Intelligence Agency in various parts of the world over the past several decades.
On the domestic front, Obama-appointed regulatory decision-makers ranging from Daniel Tarullo (the Federal Reserve's informally designated lead governor for banking regulations) to Amias Gerety (who chairs the Financial Stability Oversight Council committee responsible for designating the entities to undergo the "too big to fail" regulatory straitjacketing process) are products of the Soros-funded Center for American Progress. Soros told the Wall Street Journal in 2010 that he was unhappy with President Obama's bailouts and instead wanted to see U.S. banks nationalized and taken over by the government. Many argue that strict new Dodd-Frank regulations effectively achieve this.
The Center for American Progress is also churning out pro-amnesty pieces about America's current undocumented-immigrant crisis.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the Open Society Foundations website has been advertising grants available for organizations interested in fighting against "Islamophobia" and "anti-Gypsyism" -- the sort of issues that only totally open borders in Europe could possibly fix, of course.
Not to speculate on possible motives behind supporting a flood of undocumented workers, but it would certainly serve to depress working wages to the benefit of oligarchs such as Soros -- a concern noted in a recent report from the Congressional Budget Office.
In Africa, the slippery slope from humanitarianism to profit has been much steeper and more obvious, with the Open Society Foundations moving from helping prostitutes in the resource-rich Great Lakes Region -- comprising Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda -- to commissioning reports with titles such as "Energy Policy and the Petroleum Industry Bill."
Hmmm. You won't convince the good-hearted naifs of the world to join forces with a multibillionaire to enrich his bottom line through low-intensity disruption operations -- er, I mean, to "save the world" -- with profiteering titles like that.
Russian oligarchs are effectively accountable to Putin as the elected leader of the country. To whom are our oligarchs accountable?
Wendy Davis Losing In Texas Is A Win, Or Something
Today on Slate’s feminist XX blog, there was a headline that read: Even if She Loses in Texas, Wendy Davis Is a Win for America. Seriously? So, a Texas State Senator, who filibustered a bill that would ban abortions twenty-weeks into a pregnancy last summer, is a “win for America?” Jessica Grose, who wrote the article, added:
"Now, for all the support Davis’ campaign has received from fellow Democrats in Washington and elsewhere—former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm called her “Joan of Arc, standing up there for women all across the country”—she’s still running for governor of a deeply red state. That means that the issue that made her a national star—abortion—is one she can’t really touch back at home. As NPR’s Wade Goodwin explains, “Her claim to fame is her filibuster against abortion restrictions, but in 2014, most Texas voters favor such legislation. So the candidate has mostly avoided talking about her signature issue.”
On Sunday, the New York Times published a big article outlining Davis’ campaign missteps. Initial poll numbers don’t look good. But whether she wins in Texas is somewhat beside the point, at least as far as her status as a national icon is concerned. As we head down the long road to the 2016 elections, Wendy Davis’ campaign serves as proof that a lot of people across the country can get fired up about women’s health and that hashtag activism can have concrete results."
Well, it isn’t just voters from Texas who support the ban on abortions twenty-weeks into a pregnancy. It’s pretty much everyone. In fact, a Washington Post/ABC News poll found that 60% of women support the ban. Quinnipiac’s poll had the same result.
Additionally, one could argue that Wendy Davis wouldn’t have received this much attention if it weren’t for President Obama tweeting out a link that broadcasted her filibuster.
But, the progressive left has made her a liberal icon. So, what are Wendy Davis' accomplishments? Right before the Fourth of July, Ashe Schow of the Washington Examiner wrote about a video made by supporters of Davis' Republican opponent Greg Abbott. For Davis being considered "Joan of Arc," her supporters were unable to name a single achievement.
So, it shouldn't be a shock that Wendy Davis is trailing Greg Abbott by an average of twelve points.
As for Grose's points about Hobby Lobby and Wendy Davis being catalysts to get women fired up for 2016, that remains to be seen. It's only been a week since the decision – and 2016 is very far away.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.