Thursday, March 17, 2016
My favorite Italian is still saying what he thinks
An earlier pic of the Boschi
Italy's former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has sparked outrage after suggesting a pregnant politician could not be the mayor of Rome.
It came amid a spat between the rival Forza Italia and Northern League parties, who are deciding who to endorse for the upcoming mayoral election.
'It's clear to everybody that a mother can't do that job,' said Berlusconi, in what was seen as a reference to the favourite candidate, Giorgia Meloni, who recently announced she was pregnant.
It prompted an angry reaction from Italy's Constitutional Reform Minister, Maria Boschi, who asked whether a male candidate would be asked to withdraw if he 'needs to be a father', the Local reported.
Berlusconi's Forza Italia party is backing Guido Bertolaso, 56, who currently heads up the country's Civil Protection Unit. He backed the controversial figure's inflammatory comments by saying Meloni should 'focus on being a mum'.
Meloni, who served under Berlusconi as Youth Minister as She now leads the nationalistic Brothers of Italy party.
Berlusconi added: 'The city is in a terrible state... Being mayor of Rome means spending 14 hours a day between travelling around the city and your office.'
He also attacked the Northern League for trying to 'force' her into joining the race to become Rome's next mayor.
The controversial comments have been held up as evidence of sexism in Italy, where female employment is among the lowest in the 34-nation Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Lower house speaker Laura Boldrini called the remark 'unacceptable misogyny. A former education minister, Maristella Gelmini, recalled an editorial in the Italian bishops' conference newspaper, Avvenire, advising her to spend more time at home after she gave birth while in office.
Meloni, 39, has been tapped by the Northern League leader Matteo Salvini to challenge Bertolaso, Silvio Berlusconi's candidate, as the two conservative leaders tussle for political dominance.
Berlusconi on Tuesday said Meloni shouldn't run, describing the campaign as 'difficult and challenging.'
Bertolaso, the former head of Italy's civil protection agency, said he intended no offense — then dug himself deeper by contending he was speaking to Meloni 'as if she were my wife.'
Meloni said she hoped to reconcile motherhood with work as many women do, but has yet to signal her decision whether to run.
Who Politicized the Courts?
The raging controversy over filling the Supreme Court vacancy of Justice Antonin Scalia, whose tragic death unleashed a political firestorm over whether Barack Obama should nominate his successor, or whether the next president should make the nomination, must be looked at in perspective. It’s a true waste of time giving more than a bemused passing notice to the ranting of Democrats, who accuse the Republican-led Congress of all manner of wrongdoing in opposing a nomination by Obama, all the while hypocritically ignoring their own precedent-setting actions over the last 20-30 years, when they wrote the book on how to oppose Supreme Court nominations. This process is and has long been a political exercise.
And at least one high-ranking judge proclaims that the High Court itself is politicized. Judge Richard A. Posner of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School, explains this in a commentary published by The Washington Post. He wrote, “[T]he significance of the Senate’s action lies in reminding us that the Supreme Court is not an ordinary court but a political court, or more precisely a politicized court, which is to say a court strongly influenced in making its decisions by the political beliefs of the judges.”
We expect Congress to be heavily political, and the president belongs to a political party and is chosen through a political process, so while it would be great if administrative agencies applied regulations and laws in a fair, neutral, non-political manner, bureaucracies are also often used as political tools.
Judges at all levels are expected and presumed to be impartial in applying the law and are sworn to follow the precepts of the U.S. Constitution. They must resist allowing their personal ideals or political leanings to affect the rulings or opinions they produce. The Constitution created three co-equal branches of the government; therefore all branches must employ restraint in order to remain within their constitutional boundaries.
Quaint and outdated idea, we know.
Posner excuses the tendency of judges to fall back on their personal and political beliefs because there is no clear instruction from the Constitution in situations the Framers could not have foreseen more than 200 years ago. Justice Scalia, however, had little trouble following the Constitution’s language when deciding his position on cases before the Court.
Scalia, you see, was a “conservative” judge — an “originalist.” According to the Oxford Dictionaries, “conservative” means: “Holding to traditional attitudes and values and cautious about change or innovation.” Applied to the federal judiciary, as viewed by believers in strict constructionism and originalism, the term means adhering to the meaning of the words in the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights as they were understood by those who wrote those documents at the time they wrote them.
On the other side of the spectrum, judicial liberals assert that the Constitution must be a “living” document, the exact meaning of which changes with the times or depends upon who is interpreting it. Such a view not only allows for “judicial activism,” it demands it.
“Judicial activism occurs when judges write subjective policy preferences into the law rather than apply the law impartially according to its original meaning,” according to a definition from The Heritage Foundation. “As such, activism does not mean the mere act of striking down a law,” it also means making law from the bench.
But the Constitution clearly and unmistakably gives Congress — and only Congress — the authority and responsibility to make law.
Judges should consider what the Framers of the Constitution intended and whether the parameters they set allowed for the size, power or cost of the federal government, given the abuses that produced the Revolution and the deliberate efforts to restrict all of those features. Or, whether they would have allowed the Supreme Court or the executive branch to misappropriate the law making authority of the Congress.
If you still doubt that the Supreme Court has become an activist court, consider this tidbit from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who told The New York Times that “she was fully engaged in her work as the leader of the liberal opposition on what she called ‘one of the most activist courts in history.’”
Making laws from the bench and judicial expansion are not products of judicial conservatives, whose adherence to original intent maintains a stable legal foundation. That is unpopular among judges who want to expand the authority and power of the courts.
The Supreme Court must not reinterpret the Constitution. If what might prompt the activists to vote in favor of one side or the other in a case before the Court is something that is indeed a good thing for the country, and passes the standard of constitutionalism, then it must be sanctioned by an act of Congress, not the courts.
The increase in the number of activist judges illustrates the dire need for restoring judicial conservatism to the nation’s highest court. Obama is unlikely to nominate anyone other than a liberal activist. Reports say that the list of potential nominees for the Scalia seat on the Court has been reduced to five, and four of them contributed to Obama campaigns. That should tell us all we need to know about not only his choices, but how important it is that we elect a solid conservative in the 2016 election.
The ‘Compassionate’ Bullying of the Left
Around the country, progressive bullies have attacked Christians for daring to put their faith ahead of the pet causes of those who feign compassion while destroying life-giving liberties
Under the guise of compassion and caring, the Left attacks people like Baronelle Stuzman, a helpless grandmother who refused to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding from her flower shop, trying to force her to approve of that which she cannot in good conscience endorse.
All the while, it claims it is acting in the best interest of society, acting on behalf of all those poor same-sex couples who can’t get flowers for their ceremonies—except that they can. They can even get flowers from Barronelle for anything other than a wedding. In spite of the lawsuits that happened after her refusal to sell the flowers, she says she still thinks of her former customer as a friend and would happily sell him flowers if he walked into her shop tomorrow. Meanwhile, both her former customer and the State of Washington are trying to take everything she has for not bowing at the altar of sexual sin.
But these radicals want to look like they care as they force their views on others. It’s what bullies do. That way other people think better of them and they sleep better at night, assuaging any guilt they may feel for giving nightmares to genteel grandmothers. The progressives’ compassionate bullying reminds me of the catchy slogan for “Monsters, Inc.,” in the Disney Pixar film of the same name: “We scare because we care.”
For example, the very people who support Planned Parenthood’s butchering and selling of baby body parts also advanced the disaster of Obamacare because they care for children. The same people who insist that “The Vagina Monologues” be permitted on college campuses also set up “safe zones” to restrict free speech because students must be protected from harmful ideas—like marriage being between a man and a woman. They outlaw incandescent light bulbs so we can use only toxic mercury because they care about polar bears and penguins with happy feet.
Around the country, progressive bullies have attacked Christians for daring to put their faith ahead of the pet causes of those who feign compassion while destroying life-giving liberties. What we are seeing is a scorched-earth, take-no-prisoners approach as the wildfire burns across our land. It is not enough that Christians be quiet. Christians must be silenced and punished. Their faith cannot be respected. Legislation that ensures people are free to live and work according to their faith without fear of being punished by government must be stopped and decried as discrimination.
In Denmark, France, San Bernardino, and elsewhere, we have seen Islamic extremists take lives because of the Islamic extremists’ beliefs. They do not want tolerance. They do not want pluralism. They do not want to show respect for the views of others. They will take life as revenge for being offended. There will be no magnanimity. There will be no mercy. In taking life, the Islamic extremists want to create a public spectacle. They want not just revenge for perceived wrongs, but also to make others fear—and to think twice before doing the same. They want to silence others and drive them from the town square. They use death and violence to do it.
Thankfully, unlike the radical jihadists, progressive activists have not turned physically violent for the most part.
Instead, they are intent on compassionately crushing any who disagree with them. Unlike the Islamic jihadists, they will not kill, but they will destroy. They won’t cut your head off, but they will destroy your reputation so that you are afraid to show your face in public. They won’t burn down your home, but they’ll take the homes, businesses, and life savings of any who defy them. They will use the tools of the state and mob action—fear and intimidation—to make it happen. They threaten, scare, and make public examples of those who disagree in order to send a message that dissent is hazardous to your emotional, mental, and financial health. There will be no magnanimity, and there will be no mercy. There will be no going down the street to another florist, baker, pharmacist, venue operator, or photographer. Any who defy them are labeled bigots and driven to the fringes of society.
The progressives’ compassionate bullying reminds me of the catchy slogan for “Monsters, Inc.,” in the Disney Pixar film of the same name: “We scare because we care.”
They will viciously attack those who disagree with them because they tire of the debate, which they never wanted to begin with. They have no interest in explaining or defending their beliefs. They want victory and know the only way to get it is to silence, isolate, and destroy any who get in their way. The progressive activists who yell bigot at those who disagree with them are the jihadists of American culture. But unlike the jihadists—who don’t care if everyone approves of their destructive ways—it’s important to progressives that they appear to be kind as they mercilessly crucify you for your faith.
Crushing legal action and punitive lawsuits are one way the Left punishes those who refuse to recant their faith. Death threats and harassment are other tactics the Left employs to make you care.
That’s what happened to Memories Pizza in Indiana after the state passed its own version of the federal Religious Freedom and Restoration Act (RFRA). A reporter in need of a story stuck a camera in the faces of Crystal O’Connor and her father, Kevin, owners of a small-town pizza shop. She asked them a hypothetical question—what would they do if a same-sex couple asked them to cater a wedding ceremony? The O’Connors said they would never deny anyone service on the basis of sexual orientation, but they would decline to sell pizzas for a same-sex wedding ceremony because of their religious beliefs. Key word: would. No one had asked them to cater a wedding. No customer had walked away displeased and claiming, as in other cases, that he or she had been emotionally raped by the ordeal. Nothing. Memories Pizza doesn’t even cater weddings. I. Kid. You. Not.
Yet the URL to the original story at the time of this writing still lists the headline as: “rfra-first-business-to-publicly-deny-same-sex-service.” Truth be damned. The national media ran with the story, and the backlash from progressive bullies began. Death threats, calls to burn the shop to the ground, incessant phone calls with fake orders, and endless harassment of all sorts forced the owners to shut the doors of the business for more than a week. The shop has now reopened, but the message was received loud and clear—state your religious beliefs at your own risk.
When conservatives set up a fund on the website GoFundMe.com to help Memories Pizza cover costs as it stayed closed, progressive bullies harassed GoFundMe. Alix Bryan, an employee of CBS’s Richmond, Va., affiliate, filed a complaint with the Internet fund-raising company alleging that the fund-raising campaign for Memories Pizza was fraudulent—“just in case,” as she tweeted. The progressives could not stand others standing with Memories Pizza. “Are you kidding me? Indiana pizzeria raises $17k in an hour by being bigoted?” tweeted Alix Bryan. In fact, the Memories Pizza fund-raiser, spearheaded by conservative radio host Dana Loesch, raised more than $842,000.
There is one key reason that those on the Left must force their beliefs on the rest of us. It’s really very simple. If they didn’t force their craziness on us, we would never embrace it. Deep down, they know that to be true. Progressive thinking doesn’t work in the real world. Its beliefs are inconsistent with all of nature. It requires us to believe things that we know do not fit with the reality we experience everyday. It is completely at odds with what we know to be true about ourselves.
Philosophical liberalism is built on lies about human nature. It is built on this truth that humanity is at root and at heart good, and the problem is that society tramples on otherwise good individuals. And so we ought to correct society by leveling the playing field altogether. That notion of inherent goodness, biblically speaking, is false and wrong. Liberalism is by nature coercive because it is built on a system of anthropological falsehoods. And for falsehoods to be taught and to gain acceptance in pop culture, they have to be mandated. . . . [L]iberalism succeeds by suppressing truth, and you suppress truth by codifying those lies into law.
Most of us are honest enough with ourselves to admit we are sinners, that we fall short of being the person we know we should be. We recognize that human nature is broken. Different religions speak about the flaws in humanity in different ways, but as a Christian I have no problem using the same word God uses to describe us even though He loves us—sinner. The word literally means one who falls short of the mark, of the holy standard defined by the God who created us. In the political arena, conservatives recognize that we are all defective at some level, and so our system of government must include both accountability through checks and balances and religious virtue that transforms us from within.
There is one key reason that those on the Left must force their beliefs on the rest of us: if they didn’t force their craziness on us, we would never embrace it.
The Left’s bullying tactics are not restricted to the issue of same-sex marriage, though. That is simply the latest front in its assault on freedom. It’s applying the same pressure to those who believe the rather obvious truth that there are only two genders—male and female—and not the more than eighty you can choose on Facebook. We used to view people who were confused about their gender with compassion. We recognized that they needed therapy. Now we must affirm them or be scorned as evil discriminators oppressing Bruce Jenner as he tries to discover his allegedly authentic self.
Progressives use the force of government to take money from those who work to give it to those who refuse to do so. No one would naturally do that and think it a good idea. Because we recognize our fallen nature, we innately know that a handout culture does more harm than good. So the Left must mandate the redistribution of hard-earned wealth to others as an act of compassion. It must use the force of government to fund abortion, because if progressives came to your door selling “I kill babies and sell their spare parts” T-shirts, you probably wouldn’t buy one. The Left must use the force of government to withhold water from the farmers of California’s central valley, turning what was once America’s breadbasket into a dust bowl. No one in his or her right mind would ever do such a thing. It must force us to embrace the top-down educational standards of Common Core even though it’s obvious that parents—not bureaucrats in Washington—are best positioned to direct the education of their own children.
If those on the Left did not force us to care, most of us would dismiss them as looney and go on about our lives. So it should come as no surprise that progressives resort to coercive tactics. The use of force is standard operating procedure for philosophies that lack the moral and logical fortitude to stand on their own. If you can’t convince someone through persuasive arguments and sound reason, apply pressure. History abounds with examples of oppressive ideologies that were supposed to magically usher us into a new era of enlightened living—if only we did as we were told. None of them ended well for the common person, like Barronelle Stutzman, who is simply trying to live a life grounded on core values of faith, family, and freedom.
The Little Fascist That Could
by FRANK SALVATO
Tonight, as I watch protesters in the streets of Chicago squash the free speech rights of those they do not agree with I exist ashamed of my hometown. I have understood for years that Chicago had arrived at being the epicenter of Progressive intolerance, even more so than the grounds of UC Berkeley or Columbia University. But listening to one of the "protesters" being interviewed after the announcement that they had succeeded in effecting the cancellation of a political rally featuring Donald Trump (of whom I am not necessarily a huge supporter), I have come to the conclusion that the brown shirt-jackboots of fascist regimes past have been resurrected; inhabiting the liberal bastions and college classrooms of the Windy City.
One giggling female protester said, "We are protesting inequality, we're protesting everything." And a self-anointed community activist (where does one go to get certified as a community activist anyway?), Quo Vadis, said the goal of the protesters - numbering in the high-hundreds, if not thousands - was for, "Donald to take the stage and to completely interrupt him. The plan is to shut Donald Trump all the way down." In other words, the protesters who consider themselves champions of "equality for all" executed a plan to affect the total censorship of a political figure. By any consideration, these "protesters" annihilated Donald Trump's First Amendment right to free speech. Correct me if I am wrong, but censorship is antithetical to equality for all. But maybe these protester's civics instructors haven't covered the Bill of Rights yet.
Fascism, by definition, means:
"...a political movement that employs the principles and methods of Fascism, the philosophy, principles, or methods of a governmental system that forcibly suppresses opposition and criticism, and emphasizing an aggressive Nationalism and often racism."
Censorship is a tool of Fascism, serving to suppress opposition and criticism. This is exactly what we witnessed in the streets of Chicago tonight: censorship at the hand of the "enlightened" Progressive movement. So it is that it is fair to characterize these "enlightened" people - young and old, male and female, Black, White, Latino and otherwise - as modern day fascists; individuals intolerant of opinions that exist in opposition to their own; individuals that exist delusional to who they have become; "useful idiots" denying others the right to political free speech in defiance of the Bill of Rights.
It is a consensus among scholars of history that,
"...Fascism rejects assertions that violence is automatically negative in nature, and views political violence, war and imperialism as means that can achieve national rejuvenation."
And so we witnessed censorship and politically motivated violence - even if the Chicago Police Department held it to a minimum - at the hand of our new era Progressive fascists both inside and outside of the UIC Pavilion. It is both ironic and interesting that a common chant among the protesters was, "Bernie, Bernie," referring to Bernie Sanders, the socialist candidate vying for the Democrat nomination.
To that end, Ayn Rand considered, where Fascism and Socialism were concerned, that:
"...It is too obvious, too easily demonstrable that Fascism and [Socialism/Communism] are...two rival gangs fighting over the same territory; that both are variants of Statism, based on the collectivist principle that man is the right-less slave of the state; that both are socialistic, in theory, in practice, and in the explicit statements of their leaders; that...Fascism is not the product of the political ‘right,' but of the ‘left'..."
While this type of modern day Fascism takes place across the country, and especially on college campuses; locations that by their very existence should tolerate all political and cultural speech in the pursuit of cultivating critical thinking skills and well-rounded graduates, it is particularly egregious when it happens in Chicago, a city that bears the ugly scars of the 1968 Democrat Convention riots; fascist violence burnt into the soul of that great city. Equally as disturbing is the uneducated, ignorant embrace by our modern day, "useful idiot" fascists of the pseudo-socialism of the Progressive Movement; a movement that is much more fascist than socialist, or even communist.
Tonight, as I watch the fascists of Chicago, young and old, cheer in the streets at their achievement - the successful censorship of political speech, I am embarrassed to call Chicago my hometown. I had always believed that the people of Chicago were vested with a modicum of common sense and at least a splinter of will to quest for knowledge and truth. Sadly, as I watch on, red-faced, I am being proven wrong. Chicago's streets, tonight, are filled with ignorant fascists who are proud of themselves.
The city that "won't let you down," just let me down...and in a magnificent way.
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.