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Comment Matt Taibi (Score 1) 318

Anyone following Matt Taibi's career can clearly tell you that he is a Russian-trained spy. He may have been born in the US, but he was clearly recruited during his 10-year sting as a reporter for an English-language newspaper in Moscow. His argument style is most reminiscent of the old-Soviet propaganda. And he consistently sides with Russia and blames the US in any conflict between the two countries. I, personally, have also seen him use a direct translation of the Russian phrase "neither fish nor meat" instead of the English idiom "neither fish not fowl". Which is entirely unexpected from a professional English-language writer. The only explanation I have for his whole persona is massive training received based on literature used to directly train Russian spies in English or directly in Russian.

Comment Re: Finally, the gloves will come off! (Score 1) 1046

the government investigates marriage claims for immigration purposes. Even overseas ones, making a federal-state issue moot.

Not quite. The fact that it has to take it case-by-case basis already makes it the rule of men rather than a rule of law. The federal government has to address the issue of what is and what is a marriage in immigration cases. Which makes it the federal government's domain to define what can or cannot be considered a marriage. An opinion that it should be done without a law in-place is a pro-anarchy view.

Comment Re: Finally, the gloves will come off! (Score 1) 1046

Disestablishment was meant to keep the state from compelling religion on people, not the other way around, and the state maintains its forms of compulsion. Thats why jury duty can still be compelled. Military conscription.

I was under impression that Quakers were exempt from military conscription.

Comment Re: Finally, the gloves will come off! (Score 1) 1046

Only in the sense that you are choosing to be engaged in business where you will be expected to follow the state's laws, rather than rise in revolution, or stop baking cakes. Or even just stop baking custom cakes.

No, not only. It's the subtle difference between putting your creative energies into bettering the occasion rather than enabling the occasion. Having had this discussion has allowed me to actually think my position through a bit more and I actually now think that the court's decision is squarely at odds with disestablishment clause. But the civil rights are guaranteed through bills and, to the best of my knowledge, have not been tested as to whether they take precedence over the right of religious expression. This isn't about the right to reasonable accomodation, mind you. Not having that one bakery be the one which bakes the cake does not prevent the marriage from taking place. It's about the right to a special accommodation.

Comment few consider another possibility (Score 1) 512

What if the underground economy is actually burgeoning? We've long equated (or nearly equated) unlawful behavior with unethical behavior, but in most countries around the world where business is heavily regulated, such notions don't exist. Sure there is a strong propaganda to maintain such belief, but what if it's actually crumbling? What if the underground economy is not just selling drugs, gambling, prostitution anymore? What's if it's now manufacturing? Even if we were to discount the driving of business underground due to regulation, there is also a pressure for regular businesses to go underground to avoid litigation risks (which are, by far, the single most damaging risks any business can suffer)?

Comment how to lie with statistics (Score 1) 512

Unemployment is at lowest since 2007 (mention the number). Labor force participation decreased to 62.7 (mention a different number). Labor force participation is lowest in 40 years (don't mention this number because it makes the unemployment rate meaningless). That's labor force participation percentage -- not absolute number. So you it's not effected by retirements due to aging population. It's the number of people of working age not looking for work and not attending school or job training.

Comment Re: Finally, the gloves will come off! (Score 1) 1046

And churches have already had to deal with issues like childcare, rummage sales, and even leasing out their parking lots. Not to mention their public spaces. Only allow members of your church to get married? Ok. Start letting non-members do it, uh-oh. Start charging money for it? Oh-my.

Yes, and not allowing any degree of selectivity forces them to lose their counseling capacity. As I am sure you know, "it's fun to stay at the YMCA" doesn't refer to it being a place to marvel in gospel.

Comment Re: Finally, the gloves will come off! (Score 1) 1046

This is like all the people who claimed that marriage was somehow belonging to religion

Side note, but no, I don't think that can be the case. I don't even think marriage can be decided on state-by-state basis. So there should be a federal statute on age limits, too. Not because it's the right or wrong, but because immigration is clearly within the domain of the federal government and immigration is inseparably entangled with marriage. Israel tried to put marriage in the religion-only domain (and has no civil marriage) and the only result is that any couple which doesn't pass a muster of one of the religions' norms for marriage has to marry outside the country. So not having a fully federally-regulated marriage is actually quite cumbersome on our system as well.

Comment Re: Finally, the gloves will come off! (Score 1) 1046

And I'm not convinced that baking and preparing a cake or weaving flowers indicates endorsement. Sanctification of the ceremony? Ok, that is. Cake? Flowers? No.

There in lies the rub. This is really the reason why you reject the argument. Providing custom service requires a degree (however little it may be) of creativity. The vendor, at the time of performing the creative work, has to put their mind into how to better that one specific occasion. And that amounts to a tacit endorsement of the occasion. If such endorsement goes against their religious beliefs, then the court is forcing them to put their creative efforts into something which, in their mind, goes against the behavior prescribed by a higher power. They are literally being asked to chose between law and [Gg]od. And that's precisely the type of situation which the disestablishment was meant to address.

Comment Re: Finally, the gloves will come off! (Score 1) 1046

Once again, you are missing the point that religion is in the eyes of the beholder. It need not be rational or consistent. But perhaps a similar example would illustrate the point without veering off topic or being too hyperbolic. What if they ran a flower shop and said that they were willing to sell as many flowers as the couple wanted and of as many varieties as the couple wanted, but they would not make floral arrangements for the wedding because they would feel it made them endorse the proceeding in the eyes of [Gg]od? You may have made my own argument when you said that the state has a right to regulate a business. It does. But it does not have a right to regulate a religion. In fact, forcing any business to perform any custom-made (as opposed to generic) service is slippery slope to giving the state the right to compel any action. Just as gedanke experiment, consider what if they made half the cake and said this was it? They would then agree to sell the half or refuse the business. Would they then be required to make the 2nd half of the cake? If there were, then this would be a state compelling a private business to not only take an action, but also micromanaging how that action is to be taken. Remember I said that they would agree not to be paid, so the material loss by the consumer does not come into play.

This kind of reminds me of the prohibition for businesses to sell liquor in Salt Lake City. All the bars and restaurants just declared themselves to be "private clubs". And everyone had to sign their name on entering the bar or restaurant to become a member of a private club. Private clubs do not serve general public -- only members. This is going to (with time) create the same situation for any wedding services owned by religious people who do not wan to assist in gay weddings. They will simply create a procedure which will make it every aspect of business which deals with custom-made items into a private arrangement. It will make these services not for-general-public de jure. But the standard that the government has a stronger hand in when it can compel someone to abandon religious practice will have already been established.

Comment Re: Finally, the gloves will come off! (Score 2) 1046

it makes them bakers, they were not doing anything different for that cake than any other wedding

That's the part which is false. They do something different for every wedding. It's not like they refused to sell bottles of champagne (which are the same regardless of where they go).

Do you really think they make a considered judgement towards all the cakes they baked?

I am not the one ordering their service. My opinion on the matter is of little consequence. Their customers think that.

I think if even the worst imaginable straight couple came in, they'd bake the cake.

Ok. They didn't refuse to participate because they disliked the couple. In fact, the couple wanted a cake from them because they were regular customers. They didn't want to participate because they felt it would be at odds with their religious views. Religious views do not need to be rational. They don't need to be justified or even consistent. I am not sure that I even disagree with the court. But I don't see any difference between refusing to make a custom-made cake and refusing to attend a wedding. Can a court compel a father to give away his daughter at a lesbian wedding?

the state has its own marriages. And those civil servants better do their jobs.

I would tend to agree. As long as they want to keep their jobs, that is. If they chose to quit over it, they should be allowed to. But what if they chose to strike over it? When my grandmother was buried, one element of the religion-mandated part of the burial could not be performed because of the grave diggers union contract with the local government. Can civil servants union go on strike and then be compelled to end the strike to perform gay weddings? If the answer is "no", then we have elevated labor laws over religious expression rights.

And let's not have any more stupid pharmacists thinking they can refuse to dispense prescriptions.

I would think that's between the pharmacist and their employer. If the pharmacy carries the medicine and a legal script is presented, I think it would be just a case of refusing to do one's job if they were to not fill the script. If the pharmacy doesn't carry the drug, then well, that's just something that happens from time to time.

Comment Re: Finally, the gloves will come off! (Score 5, Insightful) 1046

The key was custom wedding cake. They were prohibited from not making a custom-made item for a proceeding when participating in such a proceeding would violate their religious choice. They weren't refusing to sell a general item like a pre-made cake for a gay wedding. They were forced to make a custom cake. Which made them active participants in the wedding. States governments have to abide by the BIll of Rights to the same degree as the federal government. I don't recall the SCOTUS decision, but there was one which established this standard. So this court decision prioritized civil rights over religious rights clear and simple.

Depending on New York State law, with which I'm not familiar, Donald Trump's restaurants may have the same requirement.

Nonsense. Restaurants provide general service. If they refused to host a special occasion or make some off-menu item, then it would be a fair comparison. But the bakery in the Oregon case did not refuse to sell any items for a gay wedding. They refused to sell custom-made items. It makes all the difference when discussing whether this was a religious coercion or not.

Comment Re:Still wrong (Score 1) 1425

You've tripled down on the derp.

Yes, yes, I get it that when I got down in the dirt fight with the pig, the pig would like it, but you will still lose.

state shall appoint, in such manner as the Legislature thereof may direct

This part of the 12th Amendment is what makes the job of appointing the electors a state (rather than federal) matter.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

This text of the 10th Amendment is what makes it states' prerogative to define the job of electors as the states see fit. They are not prohibited from narrowing the electors' job, so it is the states' reserved right to define the job of the electors when they are appointed. The verb is "appoint" not "apportion". So, as with all other government appointments, the legislature gets to not only name the people who are to have the job, but also to define the responsibilities and limitations of the job. Oh, and since you decided to come the defense of the fellow tool (Lessig), I should inform you that I no longer think he is just a tool. He is an imbecile recklessly risking peaceful transition of power and should not only be fired from any teaching position, but should never appear in front of any court without handcuffs. Since you don't understand what that means, I am saying he should be disbarred.

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