Sutherland: A Law of Unintended Consequences or The Homintern Rules

dwight!In 1989, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down what many saw as a troubling decision..

In Employment Division v. Smith, the Court held that an American Indian was not exempted from a criminal law prohibiting use of hallucinogenic drugs, even though peyote was used as part of the ritual of the Native American Church.  The Court, in a majority decision by Justice Scaglia, found that since the statute in question did not single out American Indians in its ban on hallucinogens, it was not unconstitutional under the First Amendment’s prohibition of restraints on the free exercise of religion.

Noting that the country was founded as a haven for religious dissenters, observers who were bothered by this result successfully petitioned Congress in 1993 to pass legislation known as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“RFRA”).  The RFRA was intended to allow people like the appellant in Smith to engage in practices required by their religious faith that might otherwise be unlawful absent some compelling state interest that otherwise could not be protected.  In 1999 the U.S. Supreme Court interpreted the RFRA to only apply to federal laws (Boerne v. Flores), so a number of states (including Arizona) passed their own version of the Act, intending to protect religious practices found to conflict with state laws by exempting them from such laws’ purview.

This same issue has come up in connection with Obamacare, specifically whether employers will be required to offer contraceptives and abortion under their group health care plans, even though it might conflict with the business owners’ religious convictions. 

(This will be addressed by the Supreme Court next summer in a case brought by Hobby Lobby.)

o-GAY-MARRIAGE-MAP-GIF-facebookAnother concern that has many social conservatives worried arises from incidents where people like a wedding photographer (New Mexico) and a baker of wedding cakes (Oregon) have been subjected to prosecution under state discrimination laws for refusing to provide their services in connection with gay weddings, claiming their religious beliefs preclude their participation in such events, however tangential.  This has led seven states to consider adopting their own versions of the RFRA to avoid these situations.  They are Oklahoma, Tennessee, Ohio, South Dakota, Mississippi, Idaho, and Kansas.

When the Arizona state legislature recently passed amendments to its version of the RFRA, even though there is no mention of same sex marriage in the original act or the amendments, there was a huge national outcry.  The argument was that even clarification of the law (e.g. saying whether the law applied to incorporated businesses, as well as individuals), would unleash a torrent of harsh and punitive legislation (“Jim Crow laws” or “Segregation” against gays) under the guise of religious freedom.

The criticism of the Arizona legislation eventually extended to all parts of the political spectrum, including the last two Republican presidential nominees, and was so widespread and vehement that Arizona governor Jan Brewer, a Republican, vetoed the law on Wednesday, February 26, 2014.  The legislation creating Religious Freedom acts in the other states this year never made it out of their legislatures for the same reason.

Once more, Republicans and conservatives are in a no win situation.

more dwightIf they pass such laws, they will be beat up even more as bigots and fools.  Never mind that the original Federal act on which such recent legislation was based was passed unanimously by the House, by 97 to 3 votes in the Senate, and was signed into law by Bill Clinton or that it was co-sponsored by such well known champions of the Religious Right as Chuck Schumer and Ted Kennedy.

The rationale behind caving is that Governor Brewer had no choice given the pressure she was under, not the least from fellow Republicans terrified of the horrendous political fall-out the bill’s passage threatened to bring.  The problem, however, with this “Pick your battles!” argument is that if you surrender on enough of the small fights, you eventually paint yourself into a logical and legal corner on the big ones.

What do I mean by this?

I think it’s only a matter of time before the U.S. Supreme Court yields to both such political pressure and the shifts in public opinion, largely manufactured by the purveyors of popular culture.  (Did you see this years Grammy’s, with the Moonie-style mass wedding of 33 couples, many of them same-sex?  That sure changed my thinking on the subject!  What does it matter that no other culture in history has thought to recognize gay marriage, even the ones like Greece and Rome which were much more tolerant of homosexuality than our own.  If it was good enough for Macklemore, I’m down with it!)

tumblr_static_imageGay marriage will become the law of the land, a matter of right in all fifty states. 

And without the protection of the principles behind the RFRA, anyone acting on the minority, religious based, view of traditional marriage will be subject to a variety of legal sanctions. 

What is to prevent a gay activist from now quietly joining a conservative evangelical church and then demanding to be married in that church by its minister?  (You might ask why anyone would want to join a church where they wouldn’t feel welcome.  Because the whole debate has been mostly about publicity and political symbolism.  Because the campaign for gay marriage is more about removing the social stigma of being gay and forcing people to accept homosexuality and less about extending the actual right to marry, with all the benefits and burdens the institution of marriage conveys, to same sex couples.

What percentage of gay adults are married in the Scandinavian countries where gay marriage has long been permitted? Three percent? Seven percent?  How many people in the sizable gay and lesbian communities in New York City and San Francisco have taken advantage of recent changes in New York state and California law to get married?  If there was really this pent-up demand that has been created by a cruel and repressive hetero society, why aren’t the figures higher?)

510x340Since a clergyman is an agent of the state—he has to sign the marriage license creating the legal relationship of marriage under state law—isn’t he subject to state regulation?  If he refuses to perform a gay marriage isn’t he discriminating against people based on their sexual preference such that he would be subject to civil rights laws?  Could his refusal subject himself or his church to civil liability by those damaged by such a refusal?  Could such a church put its tax exempt status at risk under policies adopted by the IRS for political reasons?  (I know the idea that the IRS acts based on the ideology of whatever party is in power is totally far-fetched but bear with me for the sake of argument.)

The other thing to consider in the current fight over the RFRA is that conservatives and Republicans will still get beat up on this issue even though they give up quietly without a fight.

For example, the Kansas bill did not even make it out of committee but there has been a constant drum beat of editorials, opinion pieces, and letters to the editor about how deeply shaming it is to us as a state that we would even consider such legislation.  No mention, of course, of the 18 other states that have passed similar laws with bi-partisan support.

That was then, this is now. 

phil_robertson_duck_dynasty_3The other infuriating aspect to the debate is the glaring double standard.  Society must defer to the religious sensitivity of Indian peyote users, even if that means legislatively overturning a Supreme Court decision by an act of Congress.  By contrast, the beliefs of Christian evangelicals in traditional marriage are not only disregarded but are ridiculed for even being raised.

I have paid a considerable price personally for questioning the need for legislation that really was gay-bashing:  the petty, mean-spirited, Kansas proposal to prohibit gays from adopting.  (See my 8-16-13 post, “Up on Brownback Mountain.”)  I want my gay friends and family members to live without fear and harassment.  If they choose to enter into a committed, loving relationship with another person, I am more than willing to honor that.  All that I ask is that the same tolerance be extended in return.

The right to be left alone in one’s beliefs extends to everyone, from drag queen RuPaul to Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty.  

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37 Responses to Sutherland: A Law of Unintended Consequences or The Homintern Rules

  1. Jim says:

    Man, this world would be such a better place if people would focus on their own lives and not other’s lives. Life is short. Living it angry or judgmentally is such a waste. I’ll drink my beer. You drink your wine. I’ll smoke my cigars. You chew your tobacco. I’ll be the best person I can be. You worship your God. I’ll love who I want. You love who you want. So easy, yet so hard for so many.

    • Shawnster says:

      Amen to that Jim. If everyone would just remember to keep their religious beliefs to themselves, and out of our laws, what a wonderful world it would be. Remember, your God is not my God. Stop trying to legislate another person’s morality. I don’t want religon in my legislature.

      • Nick says:

        Therein lies the rub; there are always those individuals/groups -whether they be christians, druids or pagans- who either insist their beliefs be codified into law or demand they be exempt from the law due to those same beliefs. Politicians, of course, merely exacerbate the problem.

        I have hope that technology solves the issue – there are a number of parallel movements afoot to build self-sustaining cities at sea, outside our territorial waters. Perhaps those that want to live by their religious beliefs can repeat history and ’emigrate.’

  2. Paracelsus says:

    Old Bill Burroughs said it best, “Here’s to a country where no one is allowed to mind their own business. ”

    The concept that it’s ok to deny someone state or civil services based on your holy books (or your crooked understanding of same) is a non-starter, as it should be. The lesson is hard learned to some that we live in a secular republic. Your religion or lack of religion is constitutionally protected; denying services based on your prejudice is not.

    The idea that our nation was founded by religious dissenters is not exactly the whole truth. Even if it were, it’s worth remembering that those religious dissenters tolerated zero dissent, and repeated some of the worst sins of Europe in terms of intolerance, burning, and torture. Because God loves that.

    Jan Brewer’s veto marked a significant point in this latest losing attempt by Republicans to market bigotry as freedom. No friend to liberals or progressives, Brewer had at least enough sense to know a losing fight.

    The reason why these silly, frivolous, and cowardly laws (and those who market them) are ridiculed so much is that they deserve it. Strategically speaking, the Republicans had better find a real issue, and find it quick.

    • Dwight Sutherland says:

      The Republican Party wants no part of this issue, nor did the Democrats,until public opinion swung in their direction. In 2004 and 2008 all of the Democratic presidential contenders refused to endorse gay marriage.(Bill Clinton even signed the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act”,which let states refuse to recognize the validity of gay marriages performed in other states,even if it violates the Constitution’s full faith and credit clause.With characteristic political courage,he signed it into law at midnight on a Saturday so it would be too late to appear in the Sunday news cycle!) “W” refused repeatedly to sign on to anti-gay rights legislation while President until his hand was forced by a three judge panel in Massachusetts, which created a right to gay marriage out of whole cloth. (He said he had no problem with Vermont’s law, which was at least passed by the state legislature as the elected representatives of the people of that state.) So stop the moral preening about Democrats being the great champions of the gay and lesbian community. They only did so when it became politically expedient, just as they did with civil rights for blacks. ( How about the following “Fun Facts To Know” ? Who was elected as Governor of Georgia in 1970 running as “a George Wallace Democrat”? Hint: As an honored former U.S. president he was sitting in a box with Al Sharpton at the last Democratic Convention. Answer: James Earl Carter. Who was Al Gore’s 1988 Kansas presidential campaign chairman? Answer:The Right Reverend Fred Phelps,Sr. Esquire.!)

      • Paracelsus says:

        I’ve never preened about the Democrats being on the right side of this issue historically; I’m simply pointing out the craziness of Republicans choosing this fight at this time, and the strangeness of casting it as a desperate bid for religious freedom by those poor victimized evangelicals.

        Thanks for reminding me how much I don’t miss Clinton or Bush. However, in the here and now, these laws are being advocated by the worst moral preeners of all time; local level Republicans with no grasp of how far out this ship has sailed.

        Good history lesson. Hypocrisy abounds on all sides. But here, today, this is a backward, losing strategy bringing justified ridicule to its supporters….no matter how they want to wrap themselves in the flag and roll like pigs in the pages of the Good Old Holy Bible.

        • Dwight D. Sutherland, Jr. says:

          The disappointing thing about these exchanges is no one seems to recognize that there is an age old dilemma that is not easily resolved,i.e. the needs of the state versus the dictates of the individual conscience. We don’t want people subject to invidious discrimination but we also don’t want to force people to violate their religious beliefs.The regulation of baking wedding cakes or taking wedding photographs may seem like no big deal, but the next steps of shutting down churches or prosecuting clergy are. Paula Dean and Phil Robertson may be fools(not least for opening their mouths in public) but I get very uneasy when I see their livelihoods are threatened for expressing their views, however ignorant and wrongheaded. I am also not much comforted by the suggestion that those who hold such beliefs can always leave the country to live in undersea colonies,like something out of bad science fiction.

          • Nick says:

            Many of us do recognize the inherent tension in the needs of the state versus the dictates of our consciences. That is why, for example, I don’t till in the bloody defense industry fields. Or sell meth to small children. Or work as a barista – there must be a line somewhere, n’est-ce pas?

            However I am not silly enough to assert, a priori, conscience and religion are one and the same; the notion is specious on its face. To further argue that selling a cake, lilies-of-the-valley, or even aftershave to anyone gay, green or dwarfish because it violates one’s religious “freedoms” is risible. While there is plenty of freedom to practice one’s religion in this country, there is little to no room to impose it on others.

            Should baking cakes for idolaters and other pagans offend you, follow the example of the modern-day Quaker/Amish/Mennonite communities; create your own insulated world where you will be happy.

            And, seriously – don’t discount the above water ocean communities. They’re really not bad science fiction, more like Waterworld. Which was…oh, wait…never mind.

          • Paracelsus says:

            In America you can state your opinions, but you’re not insulated from the consequences.

            The rights are in the hands of consumers….if I don’t like your company’s position, or your bizarre and atavistic reality show personality’s opinion, I can choose to take my business or viewing elsewhere. You’d think such a big tough hunter could take some criticism (also a constitutionally guaranteed right).

            I see the point, a good one, about the state versus the individual conscience. However, in this specific case, marriage is defined as a civil boon with civil and legal consequences. If you provide a state or civil service, then you must offer it to everyone and not willy-nilly according to your sect.

            That’s because Madison, thank God, gave us a secular state.

  3. chuck says:

    Next years Academy Award for Best Picture will go to Oliver Stone’s moving tail of an oppressed, black, pre-op transexual, gay, Santeria Clergyman’s struggle to aquire dogs from shelters for sacrifice in Blue States. Set against the oppression and bias of a right wing myopic, unjustified xenophobia, “Lassie” played by Sean Penn, has no problem locating “bitches” in Blue States for his/her ceremonies, but is thwarted by legal oppostion from outdated laws and Constitutional considerations, which, happily, in the end are done away with by a pen and a phone.

    I can’t wait for the acceptance speech.

    • balbonis moleskine says:

      uhh…chuck you must have missed his last one. Oliver Stone’s Savages. Not exactly a happy go lucky lefty hugfest where non-white characters are blameless. Proving you are just a cut and paste warrior bro.

      • chuck says:

        Oliver Stone’s oeuvre is your kinda revisionist history “bro”, thanks for the update. I will continue to depend on you and your “Thought Leaders” to keep me informed.

        Here is some cut and paste you can relate to.

        “All with within the state, nothing outside of the state, nothing against the state.”

    • Paracelsus says:

      Wow. You hit every mark. A sense of impotence, disenfranchisement and fear when faced with any kind of difference, a childish roll call of your pet hates, and to top it off a scenario that stars all of the strawmen you can summon up! Well, I suppose it’s easier than logic. And you get all the attention a halfwit keyboard commando armed with stale nonsense deserves.

      It’s just like the Turner Diaries!

      • chuck says:

        Paracelsus- Founded the discipline of toxicology. Ok…

        Fear is a good thing. Toxins, heights, spoiled food, no brakes, tornados, the plague, destructive, suicidal liberal legislation, the list of fears, real and imagined is endless and subjective until it’s not. You can keep your doctor, until you can’t. People are safe on the streets unitl they are not. American is exceptional until it isn’t.

        Simple minded inductive reasoning from one dimensional “Manchurian Candidate” intellects, steeped in liberal cant and loosed into the comments section provides confirmation bias for those folks on the short bus. It’s so clubby and of course, makes everyone feel good. Especially when the cost in blood and treasure “other people’s taxes” and the next generation’s future.

        I embrace that impotence, disenfranchisement and fear in anticipation of the continued desultory administration of the growing, galactic socialist bureaucracy now in power.

        You fit right in with the rest of the lemmings.

      • chuck says:

        I guess I am awaiting moderation.

        The FCC is here.

        • Paracelsus says:

          Some fear is adaptive, yes. It makes good evolutionary sense to not, say, rush towards a tornado or give Sarah Palin nuclear weapons. But it’s the most rudimentary mechanism of survival; at some point you have to give up howling at the other cavemen and accept that not all difference is a threat. Well, maybe one day.

          I can see what you get out of it. Launching your meaningless salvos of cherished zingers, saving up the good ones for a special occasion, crouching in your habitat and howl-squealing at all of those challenging images. You have more syllables at your disposal than the hominids in ‘2001’, but you dwell in precisely the same darkness. Everything not exactly congruent with your inner myth must be railed at, assaulted, destroyed.

          Frankly I hope you’re never moderated, abridged or censored. Those things would give you an outsized notion of your importance. Let me tell you something, and I hope it doesn’t bruise to discomfort: The FCC doesn’t care.

          At least you were noticed by someone today, and–shall we be honest?–that’s what it’s really all about. What adventure will today hold for you, I wonder?

          • chuck says:

            I like the 2001 reference. Especially from someone whose affectations in conjunction with his chosen nom de plume, Paracelsus, a renaissance man, places himself, by his own hand, in such company.

            Your insistance that “difference” is the crux of conservative angst and the resistance to “difference” denotes character flaws in conservative ideology and conservatives themselves is noted. That difference, as usual, with Liberal thought, brokes no “difference” of opinion.

            From the White House, to the IRS, to the FCC, crime speak and crime thought will be punished and it would be no different in the comment section here at kcconfidentil if you Paracelsus were the king, like Obama.

            I can prove it.

            “Frankly I hope you’re never moderated, abridged or censored.”

            Your unconscious admission there, is that you believe that my comments even now are being scrutinized for transgressions. That would stem from what? Profanity? There are those writing here far more profane than I. Inappropriate sexual content? Not a peep. No, your assumption, as with all hive minded, holier-than-thou liberals, is that your subjective emotional attatchment to a higher cause, defined by that same attatchment, trumps free speech as defined by hive minded, holier-than-thou liberals.

            That circular logic serves you well when faced daily with facts that don’t fit the narrative.

            Your racist, facist in chief, would be proud.

            Just for the record, there is no one on earth, who doesn’t live their lives inside their heads.

          • Stomper says:

            Chuck; You continue to paint all things in black and white. Every comment, opinion, idea that falls even slightly to the left of your perspective is a part of the “galactic socialist regime”. Obama is the devil incarnate in your view and nothing he or anyone in his administration does is anything but premeditated evil. While I do enjoy reading your comments, they just seem to be a constant word masturbation of over the top attacks. Rarely do I see facts to support your thoughts or a defense of republican ideology. It’s a continual accusation that we liberals are all lemmings, controlled by our “thought police”.

            I’m certainly not going to try to speak for all liberals, and thankfully I know you do not speak for all conservatives. Neither party has a lock on what’s correct. The world is all just shades of gray, Chuck. Let’s agree that both sides have good ideas and bad ideas. Both parties have used the IRS to attack their enemies. It only took your guy Coolidge a few years after the creation of the IRS to figure it out. The office of POTUS is a bully pulpit, with vast powers. It should come as no shock that whoever sits in the oval office, dem or rep , is going to use that power to support their view of the role of government. The overwhelming majority of liberals recognize the ACA has faults to need to be addressed. Even the erudite Mr. Sutherland acknowledges faults on the right side of the aisle. Let’s look for some common ground, Chuck.

            The federal government is not the enemy. Yes, they are too big in areas and yes, they overstep in areas but they and the private sector are partners that need to work together if our country is going to move forward. The federal government has responsibilities to fulfill.

            Take a breath, Chuck. We liberals are not all evil bent on the destruction of our country.

  4. the dude says:

    Stone’s new movie will be about a free black transgender that gets kidnapped into slavery and goes into a time machine to the present and wants to get married to his Latino lover. So if the academy doesn’t vote for that they are racist and anti-transgender and homophobic at the same time. Suck it academy!!

  5. Dwight D. Sutherland, Jr. says:

    The problem is that the wedding cake baker/wedding photographer/wedding reception caterer conundrum that supposedly requires these laws to be passed is too close to the old “public accommodation”cases from the civil rights era. The connection with the protection of the exercise of religion is tenuous. However,once gay marriage is legalized,the clash between religious belief and a newly enshrined right to same-sex marriage will be direct and unavoidable. What is to prevent the government from bringing discrimination law suits against churches that do not recognize that right? What about civil suits by private individuals against those churches and their clergy? What about the IRS trying to curry favor with the executive branch by going after the tax exemptions of religious institutions that don’t go along with these new practices? Why will all you clever,sophisticated,articulate liberals not answer these concerns? If my fears are misplaced say so.( I suspect no one wants to go on record because you know I’m right. Some “progressives’ are already happily anticipating these results!) Ross Douthat said it best on Sunday in the NY Times: The war is over.The only remaining question for religious conservatives is whether they get to negotiate the terms of their surrender or must lay down their arms unconditionally.

    • the dude says:

      I never have been for government getting involved with marriage in the first place. Marriage is an institution of the church. The government should have civil unions for all people that do not want to get married in the church but both marriage and civil unions are treated the same in the eyes of the law.

      Government deciding to get involved with marriage was the start of the slippery slope in the first place.

  6. hot harley says:

    as a constitutional expert…lets understand that the constitution was meant
    to be flexible.
    2nd amendment was written to be flexible and interpreted in many ways.
    all the ammendments were written that way too.
    Before we had all this constitutional crap we had a pretty good life
    where we had no real wedge issues to divide us.
    Now…the monied politicians found their gravy train….encourage the
    people on each side of the issue to hate the other…to fight each other…
    then take their money. But never let an issue get solved because then
    the money gets dried up. ACAis here…but there are those using it to
    get money on both sides. Why can’t they take what is there…fix it..
    like the dems did with the medicare donut along with the repubs.
    Its here…make it a good program and stop the lies and scams and
    hate that is forced upon the people.
    In the end…its all about money. America is hanging on.

  7. Jimmy Cliff says:

    The FCC did want to put in moniters in newsrooms jsut this month it was in the news.

  8. chuck says:

    Stomper-

    “Take a breath, Chuck. We liberals are not all evil bent on the destruction of our country.”

    Condescension. Ok.

    I believe your “black and white” reference means I tow the company Republican line. I do not and you know this, as we have discussed it. I think George Bush’s war, based on non existant WMDs is one of the most grievous American tragedies in our history. Walter Reed hospital, processing still, the injured and maimed from this pointless war sickens me to my soul. Isupport Obama’s NON intervention in the Ukraine and think Bill O’reilly is crazy for thinking we would do any good wrecking the Russian Ruble, screwing up oil supplies and destablizing Eastern Europe.

    My smartazz March 4th “Academy Awards” comment pushed a few buttons by going after the Liberal Company Line. Facts with regard to the IRS and the FCC? I am sorry, I did take it for granted, that folks commenting on this blog, were aware of the Attorney General’s refusal to exitte the FBI enough to actually interview any of the victims in Lois Lerner’s excellent adventure. Here is some news for every one, the FCC, earlier this month, initiated an effort that would have placed Federal employees in news rooms all over the United States to monitor the news and content of the news with an eye towards certain groups, who, as usual, need an “Equal Playing Field”.

    Sorry everyone, for taking for granted you had heard of these stories.

    I categorically deny your assertation that I never use facts to back up my comments, I often use urls and quote facts from sources I have read, indeed, you and I have had in depth discussions with regard to those sources. Where you are coming from on that – I have no idea.

    Finally, Mr. Paracelsus made my point with regard to comments on this blog and discussion throughout the US when he accidentally revealed that he of course, by way of the content of my comments, thought that the powers here and everywhere would seek to silence descension.

    If the Federal Government, made up of 30% minorities (You want some stats on hwo they vote? Didn’t think so.) and stocked full of Lois Lerner Liberals is not the enemy of a free people, then it sure is a fair weather friend at best.

    I breathe fine, my resting heart rate is the same as my age. 63

    Not dead yet Oprah.

    • Stomper says:

      I say take a breath because your choice of words and phrases when talking about liberals is confrontational, disrespectful, and insulting. “simple-minded”, “one dimensional intellects”, “short bus” Seriously, Chuck ?? Dial it down a notch. Dwight is at least polite and subtle when he trashes you. Follow his lead.

      With regards to your use of facts, Senator Moynihan’s quote comes to mind. A link to American Thinker does not pass the smell test of factual truth.

      Did I understand your statement correctly where you implied that being a member of a minority while working for the federal government makes you an enemy of free people?

      • chuck says:

        Sorry busy at work, have to run right back out, but…

        1) While Dwight is no doubt the Gold Standard on this blog, that has nothing to do with me. I read everything he says and think he is erudite, polished and makes his points with verve and elan. That ain’t me. I am from Ruskin Heights and have vastly different life experiences than he has. God bless him.

        2) Your “American Thinker” comment is the usual kill the messenger if you don’t like the message go to. I read the Huffington post, which is at least 50% pictures and stories of Kim Kardahsian’s azz and conentrate on the columns and the facts presented. I subscribe to emails from “Media Matters” (Today’s offering, with regard to Issa and the IRS was priceless. Unbelievable.)

        3) I willingly walk directly into your trap. YES, emphatically YES, minorites and liberals in the new demographic who vote in a block to evforce the type of laws which engender the pathetic numbers shown in the post below (Cato Institute) are enemies of a free people. Again, minorities who vote in a block, who actually vote for a living now, at this point, are enemies of a free people.

        Back to work, hope that cleared some stuff up.

        Like John Houseman in “Three Days Of The Condor” I am longing for the f*ckin clarity and have no problem with it.

    • Paracelsus says:

      You’ve mentioned me twice, Chuck, by asserting that I’d advocate censorship. Your argument for this is my statement that I wouldn’t want you censored. Strange. And completely false. The marketplace of ideas is perilous and full of distraction, but it must remain open. That way, anyone’s statements can be evaluated fairly. In this case, your rambling, semi-interactive, somewhat grandiose and totally paranoid rant. But that’s just my opinion.

      You then go on to dress me up in your favorite labels–liberal! Obama supporter! And whatever other characterization that lets you excape a real discussion. I doubt if mere facts will stand in your way, but I’m no liberal, I have assorted issues of buyer’s remorse with Obama, and I consider Hillary Clinton unfit for presidency. Again, this is only my statement; I don’t expect it to stand for long before the full flood of your rhetorical emesis.

      For what it’s worth, I think the Huffington Post a boutique celebrity-skin tabloid. I have exactly one agreement with Lindsay Graham in that elected officials should wear donor stickers the way NASCAR vehicles do. And the figures you state for inflated salaries below, though they come from reeking rightwing think tank Cato, annoy me as well.

      I echo Stomper’s patient words above. You’re not encountering the wax dummies of your inner life here. But, if you won’t listen, I’ve got the FCC ready to crack down, the IRS poised for a punitive audit, and the black helicopters gassed up and ready to move.

      Perhaps I should have mentioned that my disdain for Oliver Stone likely dwarfs your own.

      • Stomper says:

        Thanks Paracelsus. Actually it is Huff Post Hill and Huff Post Politics that I encouraged Chuck to include among his lengthy list of research sources.

        • Jimmy Cliff says:

          Parcelus in his first post after Chuck, said Chuck was a half witted keyboard commando. That is attacking the guy talking.

          Stomper has different rules for guys whose ideas he likes.

  9. chuck says:

    Here are some stats. The Bread and Circus Fed.

    The Cato Institute released an updated 2013 study (original study in 1955) showing that welfare benefits pay more than a minimum wage job in 33 states and the District of Columbia. Even worse, welfare pays more than $15 per hour in 13 states. According to the study, welfare benefits have increased faster than minimum wage. It’s now more profitable to sit at home than it is to earn an honest day’s pay.
    Hawaii is the biggest offender, where welfare recipients earn $29.13 per hour, or a $60,590 yearly salary, all for doing nothing.
    Here is the list of the states where the pre-tax equivalent “salary” that welfare recipients receive is higher than having a job:

    1. Hawaii: $60,590
    2. District of Columbia: $50,820
    3. Massachusetts: $50,540
    4. Connecticut: $44,370
    5. New York: $43,700
    6. New Jersey: $43,450
    7. Rhode Island: $43,330
    8. Vermont: $42,350
    9. New Hampshire: $39,750
    10. Maryland: $38,160
    11. California: $37,160
    12. Oregon: $34,300
    13. Wyoming: $32,620
    14. Nevada: $29,820
    15. Minnesota: $29,350
    16. Delaware: $29,220
    17. Washington: $28,840
    18. North Dakota: $28,830
    19. Pennsylvania: $28,670
    20. New Mexico: $27,900
    21. Montana: $26,930
    22. South Dakota: $26,610
    23. Kansas: $26,490
    24. Michigan: $26,430
    25. Alaska: $26,400
    26. Ohio: $26,200
    27. North Carolina: $25,760
    28. West Virginia: $24,900
    29. Alabama: $23,310
    30. Indiana: $22,900
    31. Missouri: $22,800
    32. Oklahoma: $22,480
    33. Louisiana: $22,250
    34. South Carolina: $21,910

    As a point of reference the average Middle Class annual income today is $50,000, down from $54,000 at the beginning of the Great Recession. Hawaii, DC, and Massachusetts pay more in welfare than the average working folks earn there. Is it any wonder that they stay home rather than look for a job. Time for a drastic change. America is virtually bankrupt. Are we Nuts or what? How do we un-do this type of stupidity on the part of Americans? This is crazy!

    Salary of retired US Presidents … .$180,000 FOR LIFE

    Salary of House/Senate….$174,000 FOR LIFE

    This is stupid
    Salary of Speaker of the House ….$223,500 FOR LIFE!

    This is really stupid
    Salary of Majority/Minority Leader $193,400 FOR LIFE

  10. vincent vega says:

    Speaking of free speech, I read that Rutgers has “disinvited” Condaleesa Rice to/from giving the commencement speech. Right on, right on, right on….NAALCP….

  11. vincent vega says:

    Tiny bubbles….

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