Wednesday, April 01, 2015
Indiana boycott urged after state passes 'anti-gay' law
It is not clear who exactly below is calling for a boycott but presumably they will all also be boycotting all Muslim countries. Muslims execute homosexuals -- which seems rather worse than refusing to bake cakes for them
Law that could make it easier for religious conservatives to refuse service to gay couples approved, sparking nationwide outrage
The Arkansas Senate overwhelmingly approved on Friday a Republican-backed bill whose authors say is intended to protect religious freedoms but critics contend could allow businesses to refuse service to gay people.
The Republican governor of Indiana signed into law a similar "religious freedom" bill on Thursday, prompting protests from human rights groups and criticism from some business leaders.
The bill advancing in the Republican-led Arkansas legislature says "governments should not substantially burden the free exercise of religion without compelling justification."
Supporters say a business should not be forced to, for example, cater a same-sex wedding if doing so would violate the religious beliefs of the owner.
The hashtag #boycottIndiana quickly became one of the most talked about topics on social media site Twitter.
Two of the most powerful companies in the United States, retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc, which has its home office in Arkansas, and technology giant Apple Inc have criticised the measure.
"We feel this legislation is counter to this core basic belief of respect for the individual and sends the wrong message about Arkansas, as well as the diverse environment which exists in the state," a Walmart spokesman said in a statement.
Apple CEO Tim Cook, referring to the measures in the two states, said in a tweet: "Apple is open for everyone. We are deeply disappointed in Indiana's new law and calling on Arkansas Gov. to veto the similar HB1228."
The measure passed the Arkansas House in February by a comfortable margin and now goes back to it for consideration of amendments in the Senate version. Governor Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, has said he would sign the measure into law.
A U.S. judge last year struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage but the decision has been put on hold pending appeals.
Pence: 'This Avalanche of Intolerance That's Been Poured on Our State Is Outrageous'
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) says his state has been hit by an "avalanche of intolerance" ever since he signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act last week.
"George, look, the issue here is, you know, is tolerance a two-way street or not?" Pence told ABC's "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos on Sunday.
"I mean, you know, there's a lot of talk about tolerance in this country today having to do with people on the left. But here Indiana steps forward to protect the constitutional rights and privileges of freedom of religion for people of faith and families of faith in our state, and this avalanche of intolerance that's been poured on our state is just outrageous."
Pence said the bill he signed is not about discrimination, nor is it about disputes between individuals unless government action is involved. He said the law is intended to empower individuals (as well as churches and businesses) when they believe the government is trampling on their religious freedom by requiring them to do things they oppose on religious grounds.
Critics say the new law will sanction discrimination against homosexuals.
"The Religious Freedom Restoration Act was signed into federal law by President Bill Clinton more than 20 years ago," Pence noted. "And it lays out a framework for ensuring that a very high level of scrutiny is given any time government action impinges on the religious liberty of any American."
Indiana is the 20th state to enact a law modeled after the federal legislation. Barack Obama voted for a similar law when he served in the Illinois State Senate.
Stephanopoulos asked Pence if the law will allow Christian florists who oppose same-sex marriage to refuse to serve homosexual couples, for example:
"George, the -- the question here is if the -- if there is a government action or a law that an individual believes impinges on their religious liberty, they have the opportunity to go to court, just as The Religious Freedom Restoration Act that Bill Clinton signed allowed them -- go to court and the court would evaluate the circumstance under the standards articulated in this Act.
"That's all it is. And when you see these headlines about -- about Indiana, a license to discriminate in Indiana and -- and -- it just -- I'm telling you, George, it is a red herring and I think it's deeply troubling to millions of Americans and -- and, frankly, people all across the state of Indiana who feel troubled about government overreach.
"This isn't about disputes between individuals, it's about government overreach. And I'm proud that Indiana stepped forward and I'm working -- I'm working hard to clarify this."
On Monday, Republican lawmakers in Indiana said they plan to add language to the state law to clarify that it doesn't allow discrimination against gays and lesbians.
But neither Pence nor those Republican lawmakers support the inclusion of language making homosexuals a protected class under the state's civil rights laws.
A multicultural drug baron
A playboy drug baron who stashed an arsenal of guns and ammunition in a young mother's Honda Civic in exchange for letting her friend drive his Maserati has been jailed for 27 years.
Babs Arogundade, 28, who also owned a Bentley, lived a life of luxury and regularly splashed out thousands of pounds on champagne and expensive jewellery including diamond-encrusted Rolex watches.
However, his gangster lifestyle came to light when he was caught stashing lethal weapons in the boot of 27-year-old mother Bianca Willoughby's car in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire.
Police found four shotguns, a loaded Smith and Wesson handgun and a Winchester rifle when they raided the vehicle during a surveillance operation focusing on Arogundade's criminal lifestyle.
His crimes were outlined at the Old Bailey on Friday, where he was convicted of conspiracy to supply drugs and possession of firearms.
The court heard how Arogundade often frequented expensive West End nightclubs and met Ms Willoughby two nights before he was caught in May 2013.
She is said to have agreed to help him with 'a favour' after she went to his home in St John's Wood, north west London, to ask for financial support for her business.
The 'favour' was to look after bags filled with the weapons in exchange for him allowing her friend to borrow his expensive Maserati for a wedding.
Prosecutor Tom Wilkins told the court about the operation on May 27, 2013, which led to the conviction of the 'charismatic gangster'.
He told the Old Bailey: 'Armed officers intercepted a blue Honda Civic parked in Hemel Hempstead and found Willoughby sitting in the driver's seat with her four-year-old son sitting next to her.
'Inside the boot was four shotguns, a hand gun and a rifle together with compatible ammunition.'
Arogundade was standing by the boot with a sports bag, the prosecutor said.
He added: 'The prosecution say he brought that bag and would have used it to take back whichever firearms he was going to select from Willoughby's car.'
The cache included a Smith and Wesson revolver containing one bullet, a Winchester rifle with seven rounds, a sawn off pump-action shotgun and three other shotguns with more than 300 shells.
Mr Wilkins said the stash could 'really only be described as an arsenal of guns and ammunition'.
Australia: NSW conservatives the big winner with Chinese voters after Labor and unions ‘racist’ election campaign backfires
Leftists are racist or anti-racist as it suits them. They have no lasting principles
LABOR and the unions’ “racist” campaign against Chinese investment in the state’s electricity network is being blamed for a swing towards the Liberal Party in seats such as Oatley, in Sydney’s southwest, that have substantial Chinese populations.
Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey described the anti-Chinese scaremongering of Labor and the unions as “backdoor xenophobia”.
The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union began TV ads last Monday warning that leasing 49 per cent of the electricity to a foreign country was “just not on”.
The union also said the NSW Treasurer Andrew Constance was having “secret” meetings with representatives of the Chinese government over the leasing plan.
Mr Hockey said yesterday the campaign against Chinese investment in the state’s publicly-owned poles and wires network was an example of “backdoor xenophobia that Australians hate”.
“There was an element of xenophobia and racism involved in the NSW Labor campaign that I have not seen in more than 20 years in politics,” Mr Hockey said.
“It was outrageous for a mainstream party to engage in the racism that the Labor Party engaged in.”
During the campaign, Opposition Leader Luke Foley said he did not trust the Foreign Investment Review Board to protect NSW residents in the event of a power sale to Chinese interests.
Mr Foley also said Chinese investment could present a security risk and claimed ASIO would be interested in it.
Despite the widespread opposition to Labor and the unions’ scaremongering, Mr Foley defended Labor’s campaign yesterday.
“My view is the very large swing to Labor – 9 per cent swing, a 14-seat lift – was based in part on the unpopularity of Mr Baird’s privatisation policy,” he said. “I also presented a swag of other policies to the electorate – positive plans.
“I said on day one I would lead a party of policies, never a mere party of protest, and that’s what I’ll continue to do.”
But senior Liberal sources said the strongest gains in Oatley were in booths with a high Chinese population.
A senior Liberal source said the union-Labor campaign had been grossly offensive to voters of Chinese descent.
“If you are Chinese, or of Chinese descent, a small business person, or a professional person in Oatley, and you saw that being played out, not only is it offensive culturally, and racially, but it is just stupid,” the source said.
But a Labor source claimed the anti-Chinese scare tactics did not affect the Oatley result, instead putting Mr Coure’s remarkable win down to the fact that he is a hugely popular local member.
“He was the only MP in focus groups that people could name,” the Labor Party source said yesterday. “He is extremely well-known and very popular.”
The electorate of Oatley in southern Sydney takes in the suburbs of Hurstville, Penshurst, Oatley and Mortdale.
With a swing of 3.1 per cent, it was one of five seats that swung towards the Liberals, the others being East Hills (0.8 per cent), Drummoyne (2.7 per cent), Seven Hills (0.6 per cent) and Parramatta (2.2 per cent).
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.