Reject neoliberalism and resuscitate the fundamental right to human dignity

July 10, 2014

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Good afternoon:

The time has come for all the people of the world to reject neoliberalism and its fundamental assumptions that greed and exploitation of people, resources and the environment serve the greater good. Instead, they serve an ever diminishing group of supremely selfish parasites who enrich themselves at the expense of everyone else.

In his State of the Union address to Congress on January 6, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt identified four essential freedoms:

“In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.

The first is freedom of speech and expression—everywhere in the world.

The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way—everywhere in the world.

The third is freedom from want—which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants—everywhere in the world.

The fourth is freedom from fear—which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor—anywhere in the world.

Human dignity is the basis of the four essential freedoms.

Each human being has a right to dignity.

We must recognize and enshrine this right for all time together with the Golden Rule by which we assure it by our deeds:

That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow.

We know about freedom of speech and religion. They are protected by the First Amendment to our Constitution.

Freedom from want means the right to a job and a guaranteed living wage with benefits, including universal health care. The government should be the employer of last resort to assure that anyone who wants to work will have a job compensated by a living wage with benefits. That wage shall be the minimum wage.

Exploitation of labor shall be prohibited.

Freedom from want shall also include the right to a free education.

Freedom from fear means outlawing aggressive wars and prosecuting those who initiate them.

There shall be no right for a nation to start a war in preemptive self-defense.

This is our 1126th post. If you appreciate what we do, please toss some money into the hat. We need it to keep the lights on.

Thank you,

Fred


The Hobby Lobby case violates the First Amendment

July 3, 2014

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Good morning:

I write again today about the Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case. I believe it is an awful decision with great potential to be used to impose a set of religious beliefs on people who oppose those beliefs.

The Freedom of Religion Clause was intended to assure and protect a person’s right to believe anything they wanted to believe that might reasonably be described as a religious belief, including a denial of the existence of God and a supernatural world. To protect religious freedom, the First Amendment prohibits Congress from enacting a law that discriminates against a person because of their religious belief.

Beliefs must be distinguished from actions. Although beliefs are protected, actions taken that are consistent with a particular religious belief are not protected. For example, a person cannot be discriminated against because they believe in human sacrifice, but they can be prosecuted for murder if they sacrifice a human.

In the Hobby Lobby case the Supreme Court has ruled that an employer can impose its religious beliefs against abortion and emergency contraception on its employees by excluding those acts from coverage in an employee health insurance policy.

Abortion and emergency contraception are lawful medical procedures. By upholding the employer’s religious based opposition to abortion and emergency contraception, which are lawful medical procedures, the court has approved of action taken in support of a religious belief to deny insurance coverage for lawful medical procedures.

A decision to have an abortion or to undergo emergency contraception is no one’s business except the doctor and the patient. A health insurance policy should cover all medical procedures. Denial of coverage based on religious belief permits people holding one belief to impose it on others who do not share that belief and that is exactly what our Founding Fathers sought to prohibit with the Freedom of Religion Clause.

If you appreciate what we do, please make a donation.

Thank you,

Fred


Arizona legislature passes bill legitimizing discrimination against homosexuals

February 22, 2014

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Good morning:

When the going gets tough, the hypocritical and willfully ignorant right-wing-hate-machine in Arizona gets weird.

Standing the First Amendment on its head the Arizona legislature has passed a bill legitimizing discrimination by businesses against homosexuals.

If signed into law by Governor Jan Brewer, the law would permit business owners with sincerely held religious beliefs to refuse service to homosexuals. It also would create a legal defense for any business, church or person to assert in any action brought by the government or an individual claiming discrimination, and it would authorize the business, church or person to seek an injunction prohibiting the government or an individual from claiming discrimination (1) once they show that their actions are based on a sincere religious belief and (2) the claim places a burden on the free exercise of their religious beliefs.

The First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances

These fools do not understand the difference between between belief and action. In 1879 Chief Justice Waite of the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) wrote in Reynolds v. United States, 98 U.S. 145 (1879),

Freedom of religion means freedom to hold an opinion or belief, but not to take action in violation of social duties or subversive to good order.

/snip/

[to rule otherwise], would be to make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land, and in effect permit every citizen to become a law unto himself. Government would exist only in name under such circumstances.

The Court used human sacrifice as an example of a religious practice that the law can prohibit.

Wiki provides a good summary of developments since the SCOTUS decided Reynolds.

In Cantwell v. State of Connecticut the Court held that the free exercise of religion is one of the “liberties” protected by the due process clause of the 14th Amendment and thus applied it to the states. The freedom to believe is absolute, but the freedom to act is not absolute.

In Sherbert v. Verner (1963), the Supreme Court required states to meet the “strict scrutiny” standard when refusing to accommodate religiously motivated conduct. This meant that a government needed to have a “compelling interest” regarding such a refusal. The case involved Adele Sherbert, who was denied unemployment benefits by South Carolina because she refused to work on Saturdays, something forbidden by her Seventh-day Adventist faith. In Wisconsin v. Yoder (1972), the Court ruled that a law that “unduly burdens the practice of religion” without a compelling interest, even though it might be “neutral on its face,” would be unconstitutional.

The need for a compelling interest was narrowed in Employment Division v. Smith (1990), which held no such interest was required under the Free Exercise Clause regarding a law that does not target a particular religious practice. In Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah (1993), the Supreme Court ruled Hialeah had passed an ordinance banning ritual slaughter, a practice central to the Santería religion, while providing exceptions for some practices such as the kosher slaughter. Since the ordinance was not “generally applicable,” the Court ruled that it needed to have a compelling interest, which it failed to have, and so was declared unconstitutional.

In 1993, the Congress passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which sought to restore the compelling interest requirement applied in Sherbert and Yoder. In City of Boerne v. Flores (1997), the Court struck down the provisions of the Act that forced state and local governments to provide protections exceeding those required by the First Amendment on the grounds that while the Congress could enforce the Supreme Court’s interpretation of a constitutional right, the Congress could not impose its own interpretation on states and localities. According to the court’s ruling in Gonzales v. UDV (2006), RFRA remains applicable to federal laws and so those laws must still have a “compelling interest”.

[citations omitted]

The Arizona legislature can cite to no compelling state interest to support or justify this proposed law legitimizing discrimination against homosexuals other than discrimination for the sake of discrimination.

Next steps these fools will take, if Governor Brewer signs this POS bill into law, probably will be to pass bills legitimizing slavery and the human sacrifice of homosexuals, illegal immigrants, minorities and the mentally ill as activities that cannot be prohibited by the Free Exercise of Religion Clause.

I don’t know about y’all, but I have had enough of these disgusting racist and homophobic fools.

Time to call them out for what they are, mock them relentlessly and boycott Arizona until the voters replace them with representatives who respect the rights of all people regardless of race, gender, sexual preference and religious belief.

A good beginning, if Governor Brewer signs the bill into law would be to petition the NFL to move next year’s Superbowl from Arizona to another location outside of Arizona and boycott Arizona and the Superbowl, if the NFL refuses to do so.


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