The Indiana #RFRA, Memories Pizza, and the Left’s Fascist Orgasm

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**Posted by Phineas

satire left tolerance liberal fascism

(Credit: Michael Ramirez)

 

“I know there is an authoritarian Left in this country, and I fear it.”

Daniel Patrick Moynihan to Richard Nixon (1970)

(Preface: I should clarify something from the start — I am not a religious person. Born and raised Roman Catholic, I haven’t been to a Mass for anything other than a wedding or funeral in over 35 years. While I respect the Church (and most other faiths) and the opinions of the faithful (Well, most of them), I feel no need or urge to go to church on Sundays or offer up my voice in prayer; the existence or not of God is not of great importance to me, though I don’t doubt that God exists in some form. Neither atheist nor agnostic, perhaps the best description for me is “apatheist.” I just don’t care.

What I do care about passionately, however, is the promise of the American Revolution, the political and social settlement represented in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and the freedom of all decent people to live their lives as they see fit without fear of being picked on or persecuted for who they are. What I write below should be read in that context.)

What happened in Indiana over the last week was an utter, damnable disgrace, and a good portion of this nation should be ashamed of themselves for acting like a digital lynch mob.

How did this start? A bit over a week ago, the Indiana legislature passed a bill, similar to a federal act and laws in 19 other states, allowing defendants in lawsuits, including those brought by non-governmental actors, to offer religious belief as a defense when accused of discrimination. It was not a “safe harbor” or anything that precluded a suit or encouraged discrimination. A court still had to determine whether the professed religious defense was outweighed by a pressing state need. Its only purpose was to provide a possible shield to those who felt their religious beliefs were being trampled. (Further essential reading.)

The reaction to the bill made one wonder if Indiana hadn’t opened death camps for gays.

The hysteria generated by progressive reactionaries and other fools who I’m sure didn’t read the bill was appalling to behold. Monumental hypocrites such as Apple’s gay CEO Tim Cook roundly denounced Indiana for bigotry against gays and for denying their rights… while Apple makes iPhones in Communist China and sells them in Iran, where gays are regularly murdered by the state for being gay. Other ignoramuses called for the NCAA basketball tournament to be moved from Indiana next year, or ran to the microphones to condemn Indiana while pretending their own state’s RFRA didn’t exist..

Eventually the pressure from the howling horde of progressive corporate execs, the MSM, and “activists” proved too much for the cowardly lions in the Indiana legislature and their jelly-spined governor, and they amended the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to gut its provisions. The mob had won, and the democratic will of the people as expressed through their elected representatives was left beaten and bleeding in a back alley. If that were the end of it, it would be bad enough.

But it wasn’t.

During the week of furor over Indiana’s RFRA, a “reporter” at ABC’s Channel 57 affiliate in Indiana,  Alyssa Marino, went looking for devout Christians mouth-breathing, hate-filled homophobes who would refuse service to homosexuals.

And she found them at Memories Pizza

You can read Scott Ott’s report on how the media created the Hell that was about to descend on the O’Connors, owners of “Memories.” But I want to point out one especially egregious example,  a tale of two headlines:

headlines

(h/t @TDelovely)

The top is the first headline to run over Marino’s story, and below is the “corrected” version. See the enormous difference between the two? The first claims the O’Connors declared a blanket denial of service to gays. Pretty despicable, right? The later limits that to catering a gay wedding. (And who would order pizza for a wedding, anyway?) But, here’s the kicker: Marino’s question to Crystal O’Connor was wholly hypothetical! There was no gay couple seeking pizza for their wedding. Marino has simply walked in and asked a question along the lines of “What would you do if…?” O’Connor then made the mistake of answering honestly: gays would be welcome to eat at the restaurant, presumably also to get takeout or delivery, but that her business would decline to cater a wedding because it would require them to participate in an activity that went against their Christian faith. Again, a hypothetical answer to a hypothetical question. The hypothetical gay couple could then go to another pizza parlor for catering, which would profit.

Simple, right?

No. This was the crime of “wrong thought,” and for that the O’Connors became vragi naroda, “enemies of the people.” Thanks to the media and the firestorm ignited on the Internet, Memories Pizza’s social media presence was attacked, and threats of violence, arson, and even death were received. It got so bad the O’Connors closed their shop and went into hiding. While through the efforts of Dana Loesch and her crew at The Blaze TV, the O’Connors more then recouped their losses (1), one has to ask: Did they really deserve this for simply holding an opinion not popular with our media and urban elites?

Of course not! What happened to Memories Pizza and to the Indiana government was disgusting: Thinking they had found their new Emmanuel Goldstein, the ignorant, reactionary Left began with a ritual Two Minutes Hate and ran with it until it became nearly a sexual ecstasy of rage. The state government was intimidated, a couple was left in fear for their lives, and the rights of people to freedom of conscience and freedom of association were torn apart in a political Bacchanalia.

There is a sickness in our body politic, one brought about by the authoritarian Left the late Senator Moynihan cited at the start of this article. One key component of the American settlement is the idea of political and religious tolerance, that we can all hold different beliefs –and we don’t have to like those beliefs or even each other– but not be punished for them. Our English forebears, Catholics and Protestant Dissenters, experienced just that sort of oppression and came to a New World to escape it. Later it was the Jews fleeing persecution in Europe; a letter from President Washington to the Jews of Newport, Rhode Island eloquently describes that idea:

The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy—a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship.

It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

(…)

May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants—while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid.

Emphases added. Washington, I’m almost certain, would be nauseated by what happened this last week.

What the authoritarian Left is doing strikes at the heart of the American settlement by refusing to honor the “liberty of conscience” we have long made room for in this land. Remember the conscientious objectors of the Vietnam War era (and earlier wars), who refused to engage in combat because of religious objections? Then, the Left lionized them as heroes. Would they now be spat upon because they used religion as a defense? It was for moments like these, when the power of the State impinges on the deeply felt religious beliefs of people, whether in matters of war or simply participating in a wedding, that Congress passed nearly unanimously and President Clinton signed the federal RFRA, and the states followed with their own.

But the Left leaves no room for dissent, unless it is dissent they approve of. All others are not just disapproved of, but must be actively harassed and punished until they publicly recant and think right thoughts, like some Maoist “struggle session.”

I’m going to close with a long quote from attorney Kurt Schlichter, who served many years in the Army, including Kosovo, where he saw first hand what happened when the consensus of tolerance broke down:

Which brings us to America in 2015. It’s becoming a nation where an elite that is certain of its power and its moral rightness is waging a cultural war on a despised minority. Except it’s not actually a minority – it only seems that way because it is marginalized by the coastal elitist liberals who run the mainstream media.

Today in America, we have a liberal president refuses to recognize the majority sent to Congress as a reaction to his progressive failures, and who uses extra-Constitutional means like executive orders to stifle the voice of his opponents. We have a liberal establishment on a secular jihad against people who dare place their conscience ahead of progressive dogma. And we have two different sets of laws, one for the little people and one for liberals like Lois Lerner, Al Sharpton and Hillary Clinton, who can blatantly commit federal crimes and walk away scot free and smirking.

Today in America, a despised minority that is really no minority is the target of an establishment that considers this minority unworthy of respect, unworthy of rights, and unworthy of having a say in the direction of this country. It’s an establishment that has one law for itself, and another for its enemies. It’s an establishment that inflicts an ever-increasing series of petty humiliations on its opponents and considers this all hilarious.

That’s a recipe for disaster. You cannot expect to change the status quo for yourself and then expect those you victimize not to play by the new rules you have created. You cannot expect to be able to discard the rule of law in favor of the rule of force and have those you target not respond in kind.

Read the whole thing.

The Left is discarding the rule of law for the rule of force, substituting the power of the mob for the “immunities of citizenship,” and while you may think it silly to compare America to Kosovo, it may also be that Col. Schlichter has simply reconnoitered farther down the road they want us to walk and seen where it ends.

“I know there is an authoritarian Left in this country, and I fear it.”

And we should, still.

Footnote:
(1) Fair disclosure: I was one of the donors and was honored to do so.

RELATED: The Power Line podcast has an excellent discussion of the Indiana situation, and RFRAs in general, with law professor John Yoo.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Gwyneth Paltrow: useful idiot for Liberal Fascism

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**Posted by Phineas

"Ready for dictatorship."

“Ready for dictatorship.”

So, yesterday President Obama screwed up traffic here in Los Angeles so he could attend a(nother) fund-raiser at the California ATM, hobnobbing over $1,000 a plate meals with the Hollywood glitterati  at the home of actress and Obama fan-girl Gwyneth Paltrow. As Politico reports, her introduction of the President was cringe-worthy on several levels:

Gwyneth Paltrow wants President Barack Obama to know: she’s just like everyone else.

She makes $16 million per movie, sure, but that doesn’t mean that she’s not worried about Obama getting equal pay legislation through Congress.

At a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee held at her house in Brentwood Thursday evening, she called the issue “very important to me as a working mother.”

In front of a crowd that included fellow actors Julia Roberts (who took her picture in front of the presidential limo on her way out) and Bradley Whitford (that’s Josh Lyman from “The West Wing”), Paltrow told Obama she is “one of your biggest fans, if not the biggest.”

Reminding Obama that she hosted an expat fundraiser for him in London when she was living there, Paltrow described Obama as a president who would be studied for generations, and a role model for everyone of this generation.

“It would be wonderful if we were able to give this man all of the power that he needs to pass the things that he needs to pass,” she told the crowd.

Like I said yesterday on Twitter:

Because we all know “working moms” who struggle with making at least $16,000,000 per year, live in huge mansions in Brentwood and Bel Air, and have to get by with only a few dozen maids, nannies, groundskeepers, and cooks. Not to mention personal assistants.

Life must be hell for poor Gwyneth.

But that was nothing compared to the second highlighted statement, in which the “working mother” wishes Obama had absolute power. She yearns not for a constitutional chief executive, whose job is to enforce the laws Congress passes in an evenhanded manner. Nope, what she wants is a king, a caliph, an emperor, a dictator… a fuhrer.

Yeah, I went there. I’m not accusing Paltrow of consciously (1) being a fascist, liberal or otherwise; I don’t believe she’s bright enough or cares to really understand or care about such things. But she makes it clear that fascist leadership, in which all power is vested in a Leader who embodies the will of the nation and knows what’s best for it, is what she wants. Democracy is just too messy, and there are too many unenlightened people pushing their own wrongheaded agendas, in spite of what Gwyneth knows to be right. And so we need to get rid of it and just give Obama all the power he needs, because Gwyneth is sure Barack will only do good with it, progressive superhero that he is.

No, she’s not a liberal fascist. She’s just a useful idiot. A beautiful, smiling, and vapid useful idiot.

Trouble is, there are so many like her in our cultural elites.

RELATED: Other posts in Cult of Personality.

PS: Have a look at this photo of Paltrow staring worshipfully at the man who should have all the power he needs.

PPS: Oh, and here is how she finished her introduction of Him …er… him:‘Then turning over the microphone, she said, “you’re so handsome that I can’t speak properly.”  You may now barf.

PPPS: Speaking of liberal fascism, you need to read… well, “Liberal Fascism.” Trust me, it’s an eye-opener.

Footnote:
(1) There’s only one thing she’s conscious of.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Did Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) threaten a presidential coup d’etat?

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**Posted by Phineas

Hypocrite

Lackey

The topic was immigration, both the current crisis at the border and the Democrats’ desperate desire to have the House pass the comprehensive amnesty bill already approved in the Senate. You can read the whole thing at PJM, but I think the senior senator at Illinois might want to walk this part back:

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) piled on. Noting that a year has passed since the Senate passed a sweeping immigration reform bill with broad bipartisan support, he urged House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to bring a similar bill to the floor.

“I don’t know how much more time he thinks he needs, but I hope that Speaker Boehner will speak up today,” Durbin said. “And if he does not, the president will borrow the power that is needed to solve the problems of immigration.”

“Borrow the power,” Dick? Pray, under what authority would the president, to whom the Constitution assigns no lawmaking power (that’s your job, Dickie-boy), “borrow” the power to “solve the problem,” that is, to make law? What you mean is that he would unilaterally seize the power and abuse his administrative authority and prosecutorial discretion (even more than he already has) to create a new immigration reality (and millions of new Democratic voters, you hope) by fiat. By ukase. By his will, alone.

You call it “borrowing power,” Dick.

A rational person, on the other hand, and not some fawning courtier of a liberal fascist, calls it what it is: dictatorship.

Resign, Dick. You’re a disgrace to your oath of office.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

QOTD: On the many times #SCOTUS has ruled unanimously against the Obama admin

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Obama arrogance

John Fund on the Obama administration’s bad track record with respect to the Supreme Court’s many unanimous rulings against them (via):

Did you know the Obama administration’s position has been defeated in at least 13 – thirteen — cases before the Supreme Court since January 2012 that were unanimous decisions? It continued its abysmal record before the Supreme Court today with the announcement of two unanimous opinions against arguments the administration had supported. First, the Court rejected the administration’s power grab on recess appointments by making clear it could not decide when the Senate was in recess. Then it unanimously tossed out a law establishing abortion-clinic “buffer zones” against pro-life protests that the Obama administration argued on behalf of before the Court (though the case was led by Massachusetts attorney general Martha Coakley).

The tenure of both President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder has been marked by a dangerous push to legitimize a vast expansion of the power of the federal government that endangers the liberty and freedom of Americans. They have taken such extreme position on key issues that the Court has uncharacteristically slapped them down time and time again. Historically, the Justice Department has won about 70 percent of its cases before the high court. But in each of the last three terms, the Court has ruled against the administration a majority of the time.

So even the liberal justices on the Court, including the two justices appointed by President Barack Obama — Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor — have disagreed with the DOJ’s positions. As George Mason University law professor Ilya Somin told the Washington Times last year, “When the administration loses significant cases in unanimous decisions and cannot even hold the votes of its own appointees . . . it is an indication that they adopted such an extreme position on the scope of federal power that even generally sympathetic judges could not even support it.”

Disturbing, but true. Make sure to read the whole thing.

Efficient as ever, Hillary Clinton attacks 1st and 2nd amendments in one sentence

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**Posted by Phineas

Tolerance

Hey, why only gut one amendment in the Bill of Rights when you can trash two at the same time? It’s a progressive win-win!

During a televised town hall, Hillary Clinton was asked about guns, and said that the viewpoint held by gun-rights advocates “terrorizes” the majority of Americans.

The town hall, broadcast live on CNN on Tuesday, closely resembled a commercial for Clinton’s new memoir, “Hard Choices.”

(…)

“We cannot let a minority of people – and that’s what it is, it is a minority of people – hold a viewpoint that terrorizes the majority of people,” said Clinton.

Get that? Not only are you allowed to own firearms only at the sufferance of the State, but you are not even allowed to hold a point of view that differs from the majority opinion, presumably as long as that majority happens to agree with the progressive statist position.

And “terrorizes?” Really, Hillary? I’m not allowed to hold the opinion that the natural right to self-defense allows me and all other Americans to arm ourselves and that the Bill of Rights recognizes that unalienable right against government power, because said opinion might make your neighbors in Chappaqua get the vapors? How weird. In all my reading about the American Founding and our constitutional settlement, I never ran across the part that talked about how we have free speech as long as it isn’t scary. I don’t recall Voltaire saying “I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it, as long as it does not offend the majority.”

Hey, Hillary? What about other minorities? Blacks in the 1950s and 1960s were of the opinion that they held the same natural and civil rights as other Americans and loudly demonstrated to demand those rights be honored. That surely scared the majority Whites at the time, so should Blacks have not been allowed to hold those opinions? I’m curious for your thoughts on the matter.

File this away for 2016, folks, should Lady Macbeth decide to run: it is the opinion of a leading candidate for President of the United States, who swears an oath to uphold, protect, and defend the Constitution —including the Bill of Rights— that you are only allowed to express your own opinions as long as most people are comfortable with them.

Comforting, isn’t it?

h/t Bryan Preston

PS: Hillary is no outlier for her party: just the other day, President Obama was praising Australia’s draconian gun confiscation law. The simple truth is that the Left approves of the Constitution only when it is convenient to them.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel: Let’s videotape all gun sales in our city

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Rahm Emanuel

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel

When the stench of fascism is in the air, you know Chicago mayor and former Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel can’t be too far away:

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel introduced a proposal Wednesday that would require all gun sales in the city to be videotaped, as part of a plan to allow gun stores back in Chicago under very tight restrictions.

The measure, which would also ban gun stores near schools and parks, was introduced Wednesday at a city council meeting without discussion. It was then referred to the council’s Public Safety Committee.

A vote on the proposal has not been scheduled.

The move comes in response to a January federal court ruling that deemed Chicago’s longtime ban on gun stores unconstitutional. The court gave the city six months to approve store restrictions while lifting the ban, setting a deadline of July 14 for the new plan.

The Democratic mayor’s plan, which is likely to be controversial, would aim to significantly limit any gun dealer who wishes to operate in the city. Emanuel’s proposal would also require a 72-hour waiting period for purchasing handguns and a 24-hour waiting period for rifles and shotguns.

Dealers would then be able to sell only one handgun per month, per buyer. Store records would also be subject to quarterly audits.

And here’s your quote of the day – on the same topic:

On Tuesday, Emanuel told a downtown hotel ballroom full of police officers that the new rules are “a smart, tough and enforceable way to prevent illegal guns in the city of Chicago.”

“Now that we’re required to allow gun sales within the city limits, we do it in a way that does not undermine our public safety goals,” said Emanuel, speaking at the police department’s annual awards ceremony.

How long has he been mayor of the murder capital of America again? “Safety goals” under the leadership of of Mayor Emanuel will likely always fall short because, like a typical elected liberal Democrat, he believes the “solution” to gun violence – which is the major driving force behind the crime problem in Chicago –  is to keep innocent, law-abiding people who simply want to protect themselves disarmed while the thugs who mean to do them harm obtain guns in whatever way they can – legal or not.

Infuriating.  But, sadly, the cycle continues.

The IRS wants to tax your frequent flyer miles and hotel points

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**Posted by Phineas

"Shakedown"

It’s as if the agency was worried it wasn’t hated enough.

Writing at Reason, Ira Stoll reports that the Internal Revenue Service is looking at taxing rewards points offered by airlines and hotel chains:

Just in time for your summer vacation, the IRS is getting ready to toughen the tax treatment on frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty reward programs.

The IRS announced in 2002 that it wouldn’t try to go after individuals for income taxes on frequent flyer miles or hotel loyalty points earned on company-paid business trips. Yet the temptation to wring some tax revenue out of the vast non-dollar economy of Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints, Marriott Rewards points, American Airlines AAdvantage miles, Delta Skymiles, and so on is apparently so great that that the government just cannot resist.

Sure enough, the Tax Foundation, a research group that tracks tax issues, flags a recent post on the View From the Wing blog that runs under the provocative headline, “The IRS Looks To Be on the Verge of Imposing a Big Tax Burden on Loyalty Points.”

The IRS’s plans are vague, but they have airlines and hotel owners concerned enough about the issue that they reportedly sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew. “The IRS’ proposal to alter the tax treatment of loyalty programs will impose a significant new tax on existing and future loyalty points that travel customers enjoy and rely upon,” said the letter, according to a report in Politico. “Any change or clarification of loyalty program accounting should be made through the legislative process, not IRS promulgation.”

Frequent flyer mile fanatics got a wake-up call on the issue back in 2012 when Citibank sent IRS Forms 1099, documenting “miscellaneous income,” at a rate of 2.5 cents a mile, to customers who had signed up for an American Airlines-branded credit card and gotten 40,000 AAdvantage miles as a bonus. It was an unpleasant surprise to cardholders who thought they were getting a free trip, not an unwanted extra tax bill.

I’ll say. I rarely rack up enough points for a free flight or hotel night, but I know plenty of people who fly a lot and who rely on those points to help cover the occasional vacation. Suddenly taxing them not only diminishes their value as a customer-retention tool, but also burdens the consumer by imposing a monetary cost for a non-monetary reward. (Sure, the points have “value,” but it’s not like real income. Just try paying for a meal with airline points…)

Stoll covers several problems with this plan, but I’ll add one of my own: this is another example of the gradual bureaucratic usurpation of legislative power that’s grown to be such a problem since the Progressive Era. Congress writes laws that allow regulatory agencies to create rules for their implementation, but agencies, like bureaucracies everywhere, constantly push the bounds of that authority to accumulate ever-greater power to themselves, to the point whereat they’re no longer writing rules, but actually making law in place of the elected legislature. Which, for progressive ideology, is a feature, not a bug. (1)

Although, perhaps “usurpation” is too strong a word. After all, congresses dominated by both Democrats and Republicans have gone along with this, even if they didn’t agree with progressive ideology, passing vague legislation and letting agencies “fill in the blanks.” It’s a tempting bit of laziness: as Washington accumulated more power to itself, Congress had to deal with more and more, until it became expedient to let someone else deal with the details. And it gives them political cover: It wasn’t your congressman who decided to tax your airline miles, it was the IRS. Left unsaid is how generations of congressmen and senators have enabled this.

Of the many reforms our government needs, congress reclaiming its power to make laws and reining in the bureaucracy —especially the IRS!— is high on the list.

Footnote:
(1) The basic idea is that democratically-elected legislatures are too prone to public passions, too full of unqualified people, to be trusted with governance. Progressives prefer unelected, dispassionate boards of technocrats who would practice scientific management of public affairs. They may be right about the problems of legislatures, but I think the last century has shown their solution is even worse.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

The Democrats’ anti-constitutional constitutional amendment. Updated

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**Posted by Phineas

Senator Harry Reid

Hates free speech

Upset by court rulings that, in effect, declare that “free speech” really means free speech, Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) introduced a constitutional amendment granting Congress sweeping powers to regulate campaign expenditures, both monetary and “in kind.” This amendment has the full support of Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV):

“The shadowy Koch brothers are attempting… a hostile takeover of American democracy,” Reid charged Thursday. “No one should be able to pump unlimited funds into a political campaign.”

Reid urged his fellow lawmakers to support a proposed constitutional amendment, written by Democratic Sen. Tom Udall and co-sponsored by 40 of the Senate’s 55 Democrats, that would give Congress the right to regulate all political contributions and all spending of any kind in all federal elections. (It would also give states the power to do the same in state elections.) The Supreme Court has held such far-reaching restrictions to be unconstitutional, which is why Reid wants to take the extreme step of changing the nation’s founding document.

“Amending our Constitution is not something we take lightly,” Reid said. “But the flood of special interest money into our American democracy is one of the greatest threats our system of government has ever faced.”

You know, I fully expect Reid to soon start ranting about strawberries. But, back to the Left’s latest assault on free speech, here’s the key excerpt from the proposed amendment:

Congress shall have power to regulate the raising and spending of money and in-kind equivalents with respect to federal elections, including setting limits on (1) the amount of contributions to candidates for nomination for election to, or for election to, federal office, and (2) the amount of funds that may be spent by, in support of, or in opposition to such candidates.

Byron York is right, of course: this amendment has no chance of passing the Senate and House, where two-thirds votes are needed, nor has it any chance of being approved by three-fourths of the state legislatures. It’s another attempt to find an issue that will get their base voters excited for the coming election and distract from the rolling Obamacare disaster by invoking two great liberal demons — the Koch brothers (1) and the Citizens United decision.

What is disturbing, however, is Reid and the Democrats’ willingness to put themselves on record as willing to curb our fundamental freedoms, free speech being a natural, unalienable right, in pursuit of short-term electoral goals. It’s emblematic of progressivism, which sees the Constitution as obsolete, and of the Democrats’ predilection for putting their narrow electoral interests ahead of the nation’s well-being — for instance, undercutting American forces even before they enter battle in order to oppose a Republican president. It’s not new, however; we’ve seen plenty of examples in recent years of anti-democratic Democrats, such as former Governor Perdue of North Carolina suggesting that congressional elections be delayed, something not even done during the Civil War, largely because her party was set to do poorly.

It’s not that this amendment would be unconstitutional –by the nature of the process, ratification would make it part of the Constitution and therefore “constitutional”– but its very nature is profoundly and disturbingly anti-constitutional, striking at the concepts of natural rights that are foundational to the Republic. Political speech must be free to have any meaning at all, and that includes expressing your political opinions by donating money and time or other property to further a cause or support a candidate. That the Democrats would think of attacking this fundamental freedom in order to excite their base speaks of a deep rot within their party (2), something that should concern us all.

PS: Take a look at this list of the biggest donors since 1989, and note a couple of things: first, 11 of the top 16 at least lean Democratic. You don’t find one that leans Republican until number 17. And the evil Koch brothers, whom Harry Reid denounces daily like Cato demanding the destruction of Carthage, only place 59th on the list. That alone reveals the vile cynicism of his bleatings: the Majority Leader of the United States Senate by name demagoguing against two American citizens, regardless of the truth. Second, the proposed amendment would require statutes passed by Congress to be implemented. Take a good look again at that donor list: unions and other groups have donated tens of millions to the Democrats, with unions also providing invaluable in-kind donations in the form of campaign volunteers. Does anyone think the Democrats, given half a chance, wouldn’t write implementing legislation that somehow allowed these groups to keep right on helping Democrats? If so, raise your hand; I have a bridge to sell you.

Footnotes:
(1) A pair of libertarian billionaires who are apparently plotting to take over the government with the horrifying goal of leaving us alone. Where do I sign up?
(2) Not that I wholly excuse Republicans. John McCain’s sponsorship of the hateful McCain-Feingold bill revealed him as a constitutional lightweight.

UPDATE: National Review’s Charles Cooke wrote about this a few days and had the following to say:

The move is the final act of a contrived and hamfisted morality play, whose purpose is to cast the Democratic party and its allies as champions of the people and the Kochs as a proxy for all that ails America. Lofty as its broader goal may seek to be, the whole endeavor nevertheless carries with it the ugly smack of the Bill of Attainder — of a change to the nation’s constitutional settlement that serves largely to punish two people that the man with the gavel disdains. Rambling in the general direction of a BuzzFeed reporter earlier this week, Reid inadvertently revealed something about his motivations. His reelection to the Senate in 1998, he griped, “was awful”: “I won it, but just barely. I felt it was corrupting, all this corporate money.” Translation: I almost lost my seat once, so I need the supreme law to protect me. Corruption, schmorruption. This is about power.

Do read the whole thing.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Intellectual fascism: respected scientist hounded for daring to doubt the “climate consensus”

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**Posted by Phineas

"The new liberal tolerance"

“”Confess, Dr. Bengtsson! Recant your heresy!!””

Well, so much for freedom of thought and open debate in the sciences. Dr. Lennart Bengtsson, a Swedish meteorologist with an accomplished professional record, just a couple of weeks ago joined the advisory board of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), a British organization skeptical of the theory of catastrophic man-caused warming and headed by noted skeptic Lord Lawson. It was quite a coup for the GWPF, since Bengtsson was highly regarded in the Warmist camp and is a specialist in numerical modeling, which is critical to Warmist arguments. (1) But, Bengtsson had become highly critical both of the pressure for consensus in climate science, seeing it as anti-scientific, and of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the UN-sponsored global scientific organization that regular issues reports of “climate doom.” Via Judith Curry, here’s an excerpt from an interview Dr. Bengtsson gave with the Dutch web site State of the Climate, in which he shares his opinion on “scientific consensus:”

Interviewer: Is there according to you a “climate consensus” in the community of climate scientists and if so what is it?

Bengtsson: I believe the whole climate consensus debate is silly. There is not a single well educated scientist that question that greenhouse gases do affect climate. However, this is not the issue but rather how much and how fast. Here there is no consensus as you can see from the IPCC report where climate sensitivity varies with a factor of three! Based on observational data climate sensitivity is clearly rather small and much smaller that the majority of models. Here I intend to stick to Karl Popper in highlighting the need for proper validation.

If you read the whole interview, you see that Lennart Bengtsson is an “old school” scientist, one who respects the scientific method and knows that theories (which is what a model is!) must always be tested by observation. I doubt this man would ever say “The science is settled, so shut up.” Thus he joined the GWPF in the spirit of open investigation and good science.

That was his big mistake.

Just a week later, Dr. Bengtsson was forced to resign from the GWPF’s board of advisers, hounded by his former colleagues and even in fear of physical violence. From his resignation letter:

I have been put under such an enormous group pressure in recent days from all over the world that has become virtually unbearable to me. If this is going to continue I will be unable to conduct my normal work and will even start to worry about my health and safety. I see therefore no other way out therefore than resigning from GWPF. I had not expecting such an enormous world-wide pressure put at me from a community that I have been close to all my active life. Colleagues are withdrawing their support, other colleagues are withdrawing from joint authorship etc. I see no limit and end to what will happen.

It is a situation that reminds me about the time of McCarthy. I would never have expecting anything similar in such an original peaceful community as meteorology. Apparently it has been transformed in recent years. Under these situation I will be unable to contribute positively to the work of GWPF and consequently therefore I believe it is the best for me to reverse my decision to join its Board at the earliest possible time.

Emphases added. This isn’t “science.” This is a mob of fanatics, a primitive tribe turning on one of their own who’s dared to point out their idol is just a piece of wood. It’s naked Lysenkoism; all that’s needed is a show-trial. They should be praising Professor Bengtsson for being willing to work with reasonable skeptics, but, instead, they set on him like a rabid pack of hounds. Convinced of their righteousness, they’re willing to frighten an old man for the cause. (2)

Science, and with it civilization itself, does not advance when scientific questions are put off-limits as untouchable dogma. Down that path lies a new bonfire of the vanities.

RELATED: Science as McCarthyism.

Footnote:
(1) Especially since the Earth keeps refusing to cooperate.
(2) He’s nearly 80, for Pete’s sake!

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Victor Davis Hanson on the new Inquisition and freedom of speech

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**Posted by Phineas

"The new liberal tolerance"

“The new liberal tolerance”

And even freedom of thought.

Writing at National Review Online, Dr. Hanson reviews recent incidents of people being hounded for their political opinions or scientific skepticism –among others, Brendan Eich at Mozilla; Dr. Richard Tol for not towing the party line on global warming; antisemitism at a major university that only draws a slap on the wrist;  and let’s add Brandeis University’s disgusting insult to Ayaan Hirsi Ali– and then argues that the president has enabled or encouraged this behavior both actively and passively. (And I do believe Hanson is right.)

After all that, VDH offers this about how civil liberties will die in America:

All of that them/us rhetoric has given a top-down green light to radical thought police to harass anyone who is open-minded about man-caused global warming, or believes that gay marriage needs more debate, or that supporting Israel is a legitimate cause, or that breaking federal immigration law is still a crime and therefore “illegal.”

Our civil liberties will not be lost to crude fascists in jackboots. More likely, the death of free speech will be the work of the new medieval Torquemadas who claim they destroyed freedom of expression for the sake of “equality” and “fairness” and “saving the planet.”

And either the irony is lost on them, or they don’t give a damn.

UPDATE: And just like that, another example — the progessive, tolerant, open-minded mob has gone after Dropbox for adding Condoleezza Rice to their board of directors. Can we call them “racists,” yet?  (h/t Stephen Kruiser)

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)