Oregon Court Upholds $135,000 Fine Against Christian Bakers Who Refused to Bake Gay Wedding Cake

Oregon Court Upholds $135,000 Fine Against Christian Bakers Who Refused to Bake Gay Wedding Cake, by Charlie Nash.

The Oregon Court of Appeals has upheld a $135,000 fine against two Christian bakers who were ordered to pay the money to a lesbian couple after declining to bake them a gay wedding cake in 2013, before gay marriage was legal in Oregon. …

The Kleins are evangelical Christians. Their lawyers argued in court that the government’s penalties against the Kleins violated their rights to free speech, free exercise of religion, and due process under the U.S. Constitution. … “The Oregon Court of Appeals decided that Aaron and Melissa Klein are not entitled to the Constitution’s promise of religious liberty and free speech.” …

The court sentenced the Christian couple to a fine of $135,000 for the “emotional damage” they had allegedly caused the lesbian pair. Rachel Cryer-Bowman and Laurel Bowman-Cryer had accused the Kleins of “mental rape,” adding that they had suffered a “loss of appetite” and “impaired digestion” from the ordeal, which remarkably led to simultaneous “weight gain.” …

Though the [Kleins] repeatedly served customers of any sexual orientation, they did not feel comfortable custom-designing the wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony. They likewise have declined to customize cakes for divorce parties, bachelor parties, and even Halloween — anything that is inconsistent with their personal understanding of their Christian faith.

“We lost everything we loved and worked so hard to build,” Melissa Klein proclaimed following the incident.

The government court is playing fast and loose with both natural justice and the US Constitution, in order to play favorites with identity groups in accordance with the current PC narrative. Punish the unbelievers! PC supremacy!

hat-tip Stephen Neil

‘Accept the Will of the People on Migration, Culture, or Hit the Road’: Orbán Tells Europe’s Leaders

‘Accept the Will of the People on Migration, Culture, or Hit the Road’: Orbán Tells Europe’s Leaders, by Victoria Friedman.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that Europeans are “asserting their will” by supporting leaders who reject mass migration and support Christian foundations, and gave a warning to politicians who deny the “natural order of democracy”. …

Asked by the 180 Minutes host what made him think that after two years, since the migrant crisis, progressive leaders would listen now, Mr. Orbán said: “Because in the meantime elections are being held in Europe.”

Those who argue for a “mixed population” and to “abolish societies based on national and Christian foundations” in favour of living in multicultural societies “are continually losing ground in national elections”, he observed. …

In France, “the entire political elite was swept away” and likewise in Germany, which he noted is three months without a government post-election, “immigration has changed the balance of political power”.

hat-tip Stephen Neil

Right Wing Populism Could Become ‘New Normal’, No End in Sight For Surge: Tony Blair Institute

Right Wing Populism Could Become ‘New Normal’, No End in Sight For Surge: Tony Blair Institute, by Oliver Lane.

The “populist surge” in Europe has far from peaked and is the most significant change to the European order since the end of the Cold War, a new report by former British left-wing Prime Minister Tony Blair’s own think tank has claimed. …

To the contrary, the Institute’s own research shows “the trend line suggests that populists will continue to gain strength in the next round of elections”, and particularly in Eastern Europe, the report noting: “Populists are strongest in Eastern Europe. They routinely out-compete the political mainstream and have already taken power in seven countries: Bosnia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Serbia, and Slovakia.”

Populism could instead prove to be “the new normal” and may “drive European politics into a more nationalist and protectionist direction… governments would move decisively towards restricting net migration flows; make access to some social benefits conditional on citizenship status; and undermine minority rights in key respects.”

It is hard to think of anyone who has caused the British more harm in the last thousand years than Tony Blair. “Labour wanted mass immigration to make UK more multicultural, says former adviser,” by Tom Whitehead in 2009:

The huge increases in migrants over the last decade were partly due to a politically motivated attempt by ministers to radically change the country and “rub the Right’s nose in diversity”, according to Andrew Neather, a former adviser to Tony Blair, Jack Straw and David Blunkett.

He said Labour’s relaxation of controls was a deliberate plan to “open up the UK to mass migration” but that ministers were nervous and reluctant to discuss such a move publicly for fear it would alienate its “core working class vote”. …

And then there’s Rotherham etc., enabled by Blair’s climate of PC.

hat-tip Stephen Neil

Populist Woman Mayor Wins Rome by Landslide: ‘New Era’ Begins

Populist Woman Mayor Wins Rome by Landslide: ‘New Era’ Begins, by Thomas Williams.

Virginia Raggi, the telegenic populist candidate from Italy’s 5-Star Movement (M5S), has won a landslide victory to become the first female mayor of Rome, defeating the Democratic Party candidate Roberto Giachetti by more than thirty points in Sunday’s runoff election.

“This is a historic moment, a turning point,” said Raggi, who has been called “the Trump of Rome.” …

The decisive victory of the populist movement in Rome and Turin is also indicative of a larger trend throughout Europe marked by diffidence toward what many see as the gradual surrender of national sovereignty to the European Union, especially in the face of a mismanaged European migrant crisis.

Trump, the Insurgent, Breaks With 70 Years of American Foreign Policy

Trump, the Insurgent, Breaks With 70 Years of American Foreign Policy, by Mark Landler.

President Trump has transformed the world’s view of the United States from an anchor of the international order into something more inward-looking and unpredictable. …

The plush new NATO HQ :

President Trump was already revved up when he emerged from his limousine to visit NATO’s new headquarters in Brussels last May. He had just met France’s recently elected president, Emmanuel Macron, whom he greeted with a white-knuckle handshake and a complaint that Europeans do not pay their fair share of the alliance’s costs.

On the long walk through the NATO building’s cathedral-like atrium, the president’s anger grew. He looked at the polished floors and shimmering glass walls with a property developer’s eye. (“It’s all glass,” he said later. “One bomb could take it out.”) By the time he reached an outdoor plaza where he was to speak to the other NATO leaders, Mr. Trump was fuming, according to two aides who were with him that day.

US$1.2 billion. Reminds me of Canberra.

He was there to dedicate the building, but instead he took a shot at it.

“I never asked once what the new NATO headquarters cost,” Mr. Trump told the leaders, his voice thick with sarcasm. “I refuse to do that. But it is beautiful.” His visceral reaction to the $1.2 billion building, more than anything else, colored his first encounter with the alliance, aides said.

Globalist vs. Nationalist:

For some of Mr. Trump’s advisers, the key to understanding his statecraft is not how he deals with Mr. Xi or Ms. Merkel, but the ideological contest over America’s role that plays out daily between the West Wing and agencies like the State Department and the Pentagon.

There’s a chasm that can’t be bridged between the globalists and the nationalists,” said Stephen K. Bannon, the president’s former chief strategist and the leader of the nationalist wing, who has kept Mr. Trump’s ear since leaving the White House last summer.

On the globalist side of the debate stand General McMaster; Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis; Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson; and Mr. Trump’s chief economic adviser, Gary D. Cohn. On the nationalist side, in addition to Mr. Bannon, stand Stephen Miller, the president’s top domestic adviser, and Robert Lighthizer, the chief trade negotiator. On many days, the nationalist group includes the commander in chief himself.

The globalists have curbed some of Mr. Trump’s most radical impulses. He has yet to rip up the Iran nuclear deal, though he has refused to recertify it. He has reaffirmed the United States’ support for NATO, despite his objections about those members he believes are freeloading. And he has ordered thousands of additional American troops into Afghanistan, even after promising during the campaign to stay away from nation-building. …

Mr. Trump acknowledges that being in office has changed him. “My original instinct was to pull out,” he said of Afghanistan, “and, historically, I like following my instincts. But all my life I’ve heard that decisions are much different when you sit behind the desk in the Oval Office.”

hat-tip Stephen Neil

Debating the boycott, divestiture and sanctions (BDS) movement of Israel with Cornel West

Debating the boycott, divestiture and sanctions (BDS) movement of Israel with Cornel West, by Alan Dershowitz.

West argued that Israel was a “colonialist-settler” state and that apartheid in the West Bank was “worse” than it was in white-ruled South Africa and should be subject to the same kind of economic and cultural isolation that helped bring about the fall of that regime.

I replied that the Jews who emigrated to Israel — a land in which Jews have lived continuously for thousands of years — were escaping from the countries that persecuted them, not acting as colonial settlers for those countries. Indeed, Israel fought against British Colonial rule. Zionism was the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, not a colonial enterprise. Nor is Israel in any way like South Africa, where a minority of whites ruled over a majority of Blacks, who were denied the most fundamental human rights. In Israel, Arabs, Druze and Christians have equal rights and serve in high positions in government, business, the arts and academia. Jews were a majority in Israel, both when the U.S. divided mandatory Palestine (Eretz Yisrael) into “two states for two people,” and at present, although the Arab population has increased considerably since 1948. Even the situation on the West Bank – where Palestinians have the right to vote for their leaders and criticize Israel, and where in cities such as Ramallah there is no Israeli military or police presence – the situation is no way comparable to apartheid South Africa. …

BDS is not a protest against Israel’s policies. It is a protest against Israel’s very existence.

How the left explains it. Omissions abound.

West argued that BDS would encourage Israel to make peace with the Palestinians. I replied that Israel would never be blackmailed into compromising its security, and that the Palestinians are disincentivized into making compromises by the fantasy that they will get a state through economic and cultural extortion. …

I told my mother’s favorite joke about Sam, an Orthodox Jew, who prayed every day to win the N.Y. Lottery before he turned 80. On his 80th birthday, he complains to God that he hasn’t won. God replies, “Sam, help me out a little – buy a ticket.” I argued that the Palestinians expect to “win” a state without “buying a ticket” — sitting down to negotiate a compromise solution. …

The audience voted twice, once before the debate and once after. The final tally was 129 opposed to BDS and 16 in favor. The vote before the debate was 93 opposed and 14 in favor. I swayed 36 votes. West swayed 2.

hat-tip Scott of the Pacific

Six Insane California Laws That Go Into Effect Monday

Six Insane California Laws That Go Into Effect Monday, by Jared Sichel. California is completely controlled by the Democrats.

  1. The entire state will now ignore U.S. immigration law …
  2. The DMV [Department of Motor Vehicles] is raising vehicle registration fees: This is a minor blip in California’s war on cars …
  3. Employers can’t ask applicants about their salary history: Private employers … can’t ask people who want money from them silly questions like how much money they’ve made in the past or are making at their current job. It will be interesting to see the inevitable unintended consequences … But, really, it’s not the government’s business how an employer and an applicant work out any mutually beneficial agreement.
  4. Low-skilled workers will have a harder time finding work: … The minimum wage will increase from $10.50 an hour to $11 an hour … and … will increase each year until it hits $15 an hour in 2022. … A company is not going to pay a 20-year-old $11 an hour if he’s only bringing $9 an hour worth of value to the company. … If an applicant wants to make $9 an hour, and an employer wants to pay $9 an hour, how is it not a bad thing for the government to say that’s illegal?
  5. You can make up your gender on official state IDs: … Men can say they’re women, and vice-versa, on state IDs like driver’s licenses. Beginning in 2019, driver’s licenses will have three options for sex: male, female, and nonbinary.
  6. Schools will no longer be allowed to decide whether or not they’re “gun-free zones”: … School administrators can no longer permit employees with concealed carry permits to conceal and carry firearms on campus. Which means the only people with guns on campus will be criminals and campus police.

A warning for Australia … especially Victoria.

hat-tip Scott of the Pacific

The Greatest Bubble Ever

The Greatest Bubble Ever, by David Stockman, who was Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan.

Now has come the greatest central bank fueled bubble ever. During nine years of radical monetary experimentation under ZIRP and QE, the value of equities owned by US households exploded still higher—-this time by $12.5 trillion. Yet this eruption, like the prior two [(the dotcom bubble of 2000, and the bubble just before the GFC of 2008)], was not a reflection of main street growth and prosperity, but Wall Street speculation fostered by massive central bank liquidity and price-keeping operations.

Nevertheless, this time is, actually, very different. This time the central banks are out of dry powder and belatedly recognize that they have stranded themselves on or near the zero bound [of zero interest rates] where they are saddled with massively bloated balance sheets [have created too much money].

So an epochal pivot has begun—-led by the Fed’s committement to shrink its balance sheet at a $600 billion annual rate beginning next October. This pivot to QT (quantitative tightening) is something new under the sun and was necessitated by the radical money printing spree of the past three decades.

What this momentous pivot really means, of course, is ill understood in the day-trading and robo-machine driven casinos at today’s nosebleed valuations. Yet what is coming down the pike is nothing less than a drastic, permanent downward reset of financial asset prices that will rattle the rafters in the casino. …

In all, what was a $1.3 trillion central bank bond purchase rate [(i.e. creation of money out of thin air)] earlier this year will fade to nearly zero in 2019; and then it will become a large cash drain as central banks shrink their balance sheets [(i.e. destroy money)] in the context of hyper-bloated global financial markets.

With less money sloshing around, or at least a decreased rate of new money creation, asset prices will fall. All the western central banks are on approximately the same policy. If they carry through on their stated policy, a radical market revaluation must follow, probably in 2018 but almost certainly by 2020.

The reign of artificially low interest rates since the GFC, bureaucrat-driven rather than market-driven, caused the boom in asset prices and widening social inequity. It is about to end.

A huge chunk of the over-valuation in today’s stock markets reflects the cheap debt fueled financial engineering “bid” for stocks that will be literally monkey-hammered by the central bank pivot to QT—compounded by the fiscal insanity of the Trump-GOP debt binge. …

Valuation levels have never been higher relative to income and forward prospects. Central banks have never been on the precipice of a multi-trillion cash extraction and pivot to QT. And nine years of central bank fostered bubble inflation and fake recovery have never rendered the casino so complacent.

In all, we’d say Wall Street is calling the sheep to the final slaughter. At the moment, in fact, the bleating is so loud that the gamblers are seriously debating whether the 50X gain in bitcoin in just 22 months is sustainable.

David Evans, money supply

In addition, if this leads to a return to normal levels of money, a truly great depression would follow. This is not what Stockman is talking about — he is merely pointing to the impending curtailment of one of the main forces keeping the post-1982 bubble afloat.

However, when the market gyrations start, do not be surprised if the political and financial authorities cave and simply inflate everything by turning on the money spigots again. An inflationary end to the bubble was always far more likely than a depressionary end.

The partisan divide now dwarfs demographic differences on key political values

The partisan divide now dwarfs demographic differences on key political values, by Abigail Geiger. From the Pew Research Center, on US research in 2017.

Two decades ago, the average partisan differences on [10 political values] were only slightly wider than differences by religious attendance or educational attainment, and about as wide as differences across racial lines. Today, the partisan gaps far exceed differences across other key demographics.

The PC fantasy-land stuff on the left is increasing the gulf between the left and the rest on so many issues now.

Why should we hire women?

Why should we hire women? By Anonymous. A long post on an incendiary issue as society comes to a turning point.

The #metoo hashtag … movement is about speaking out against sexual harassment … It´s like poverty or living an unhappy life — nobody is actually promoting poverty or living unhappy. …

There are however two big problems with the whole situation:

  1. Accusations alone kill careers and businesses just through the media attention and absence from any investigation or evidence
  2. The narrative of the whole debate is that every claim must be believed  —  regardless how ridiculous the claim itself is and that any questioning of this or that people want an investigation is automatically anti female.

These two social justice paradigms have made it impossible to defend anybody against accusations …

Another problem is that the meaning of sexual harassment was widened to include what most of us would consider normal behavior among adults. This includes but is not limited to: getting invited for a drink, making somebody a compliment or standing in the same room.

This paints almost any interaction at a workplace in a sexualized context which in turn makes it almost impossible to be comfortable with each other. This has a major chilling effect on teamwork, arbitration and general communication. …

“If you make any women in any way uncomfortable” then you are doing something wrong and support harassment…

James Damore spoke truths that made some women uncomfortable:

When James Damore was asked for feedback from his supervisor and internally circulated his google memo, it got leaked, he got fired and women stayed at home the next day because “for emotional reasons”

A ten page summary of data and analysis from Damore was enough to “emotional distress” the women at the company.

I’m not arguing here about the validity of the memo — we can talk about that on a separate occasion — my point here is that a ten-page document with written words that suggested possible gender differences cost multiple sick days!

Where does this leave men?

Right now the message of #metoo to men is very clear:

  • As a man, you are automatically a possible rapist
  • As a man, it is automatically harassment if you make women uncomfortable in any way
  • And if you say anything against that then you are just some misogynistic a**hole that doesn’t want women to succeed or have their freedom

So what are men doing in response? The author owns a business and talked to some of his friends:

“We will probably not hire women if they have to work together with men” (paraphrased) …

“We have to consider gender segregation at the workplace as a next step so we hire women only for positions where we can make a team out of them and where we have to hire a spot in the male-dominated parts we hire additional men” (paraphrased) …

“We are considering to drop our female staffers in the non-support teams, this way we can eliminate the risk and from the outside, it looks like we just have a 90/10 split which is low but not unreasonable for a tech company” (paraphrased)

I have to say it makes perfect sense when I heard their reasoning… Even an unproven or false allegation can cost a company a significant sum of money! For some businesses it could even mean bankruptcy because clients could drop them, they can’t bear the expensive legal fees or the media outrage kills their reputation.

And I don’t know anyone who is willing to take that kind of risk.

Adding to that the risk of possible pregnancy, that some call for sick leave when they have their period and the whole depiction of women in the mainstream media — and you have the perfect mix for “high risk, high cost, low reward” (actual quote) …

Now you have to understand here, these are not people that don’t want women to succeed. They are not bigots or misogynistic pigs! Some of what you read was said by women. These are people that have their own business, they feel responsible for everybody to provide a good work atmosphere, to pay good salaries and they take responsibility for everybody under their roof. …

It’s like a return to the old ways, before the 1960s:

Maybe we do need gender-segregated workplaces…

A lot of young men are pissed — in my view totally justified — and the media could start a 4-week apology tour and it wouldn’t bring anything anymore… The damage is done!

A lot of men I know even in their private lives shifted in the last years from “I want to help women” to “I don’t care anymore”. This applies especially to young men in their 20´s but also older veterans and older women that could be great mentors. …

Movements like MGTOW get more and more members & momentum and everytime women say “men are the problem — get with the program” they annihilate more men for their side and push them to see women just as rivals.

Glenn Reynolds:

Feminists used to mock Victorian ideas about the fragility of women. Now they embody them.

Per Desteen:

This is why a sole proprietor or small partnership is a far better way of doing business.

You can manage to avoid hiring females if you stay small. The only other thing that I’ve seen that works is to have only one woman working in the office, preferably an older woman. More than one and the claws come out. …

Men built civilization because their biological ability to cooperate with other men to achieve a greater result than they could alone increases everyone involved’s status and resources, and those resources were apportioned by their effort, mental or physical. Women destroy civilization because their biological ability to apportion those resources is solely related to their derived status, and resources are divided based on that status, not effort.

Replace civilization with any word, like work, business, etc. Women devolve to mud huts and grass skirts, because they can’t cooperate with other women but must always compete with them as if everything is a zero sum game.

Don’t hire women. Work for yourself. Men know that life is not a zero sum game.

The talk of zero sum games based on status, versus positive sum games where only results and effort count, are redolent of socialism versus capitalism.

TangoMan:

I too am tired, so tired, of the drama from women, from minorities, from immigrants, from SJWs. I want to live my life without their demands on me. I don’t make demands on them. If a homosexual wants to discriminate against me, he can. If a woman doesn’t want to hire me, she can. If a Mexican doesn’t want me in his restaurant, just say the word. If a Black doesn’t want to put any White actors on his TV show, don’t.

My only demand is to leave me the hell alone. …

Every single woman comes with litigation risk because every single woman falls under the category of “protected identity.” This means that every single woman has the power, if she chooses to use it, to accuse you and ruin your life, a power that men do not have under law. You are categorically safer to hire a White man than you are a woman, a racial minority or a sexual freak.

Substitute “mass murderer” for “woman” and you may see the problem. That mass murderer doesn’t kill every single person he comes across in his daily life, so most people are safe in his presence. Ted Bundy didn’t kill everyone, just some people. So, within the group of mass murderers there will be people who will kill you and some who won’t. The problem here is not identifying which will kill you and which won’t, the safe play is to not have mass murderers in your presence, thereby taking yourself off their potential target list.

The First Anti-American President

The First Anti-American President, by Michael Ledeen.

Barack Obama will no doubt be chronicled, among other things, as the first anti-American president. No wonder; he’s the product of an educational system that has become increasingly radical and anti-American with each passing decade, and his mother was a stereotypical leftist anthropologist with a passion for the Third World.

The pattern is unmistakable. As Luis Fleischman notes, Obama wanted to make deals with our enemies, Iran being the most dramatic example. …

Iran:

There is no confusion about the nature of the Iranian regime or its intent to develop nuclear attack weapons or its savage repression of seventy-plus million people who would undoubtedly enter the ranks of the West if they could. But if we do not directly challenge the regime, no one else is going to do it. …

There are many protests in Iran today, and the Khamenei/Rouhani regime has responded by executing half as many Iranians as in the past. We should relentlessly expose this mass murder, and we should publicize the ongoing protests.

The target audience for such exposes is the great mass of the population. Paradoxically, Iranians are better informed about events in Jerusalem and Washington than in Iranian Kurdistan, the southern oil regions, and cities like Mashad and Qom.

All Iranians need this information, which shows them that they are not alone. The technology for such a campaign exists. It is the same as it was when we deployed it against the Soviet Union with such powerful consequences: our broadcasting network, starting with the Voice of America. Today, Farsi-language VOA is often a vehicle for anti-American polemics, since personnel is virtually unchanged from the Obama years.