Wednesday, February 26, 2014

To an Old Friend . . . ^ | February 26, 2014 | Paul Greenberg

Your Honor, It is always a pleasure to recall you, even in your last but still undiminished days. Last time I saw you, you were hooked up to various tubes and electronic monitors, but your mind -- oh, your mind! -- was as graceful, your words as succinct, your manner as judicious, your spirit as luminous as ever, maybe more so. As if you were packing up, getting ready to leave, clearing your docket of anything extraneous, and preparing to make a clean break from this life, leaving your affairs in their usual order. You were listening to my small talk, pausing before each response, as was always your way, before responding in whole sentences -- whole precise, brief paragraphs without a needless word. You replied to my every comment, just on a level one step higher. Just enough to raise the level of the conversation without losing me. Your ears were attuned to my every word while your eyes followed the ball game on the television at the foot of your hospital bed. "Do you like baseball?" you asked. Is a bluebird blue? "Have you ever come across a paper called 'The Common Law Origins of the Infield Fly Rule'?" you wanted to know. No, I hadn't. "In that case," you said, "I'll see that you get a copy." You did. It turned out to be the best explanation this baseball fan had yet encountered of how the common law develops in response to each challenge. And why it is superior to the kind of codified law -- see the Napoleonic Code -- that begins to grow archaic from the moment it's adopted. Because it's too rigid to reflect the ever-flow of time and events, the flux and change that must mark the course of human events. . . Put it this way: Ever pass a stop sign rising at a lonely intersection out in the country where it would take an act of imagination to picture any traffic at all? It's a safe bet that some ghastly accident occurred there. It's the same with the common law. It reflects the process of challenge and response in the real world, not an abstract legal one. The common law endures because it changes as judges interpret it, adapting to each real need in an all too real world. It reflects things as they are, usually hurtling toward us at a high rate of speed. . . You aren't just missed, absent friend. But remembered and consulted in memory. ("What would Richard Arnold have to say?") Not since Learned Hand had an American jurist been described as "the greatest judge never to have sat on the Supreme Court of the United States." How did you come to earn that distinction? Because a president of the United States lacked the vision to see that a decade of service by a Richard Sheppard Arnold on that high court, which was as long as you would live after your fatal illness was diagnosed, would have been worth infinitely more to the country than the longest tenure on the court by whichever nonentity that president chose to appoint in your stead. You know the type he would choose: some whited sepulchre who stages a road show with an equally sonorous colleague to debate the decisions they made -- all for the entertainment and edification of us rubes out here. They succeed only in making a spectacle of themselves and the law. Judges who comment on their decisions off the bench, as if they were coaches talking about their strategy in a post-game interview, raise neither their stature nor the law's. They lower both. This is not some kind of game. It is -- or should be -- the law of the land. You made the news just the other day, Your Honor, when your name surfaced in the late Diane Blair's notes on conversations with her long-time friend Hillary Clinton, who shrugged off your remarkable mind, character and grace with a dismissive phrase or two. Some folks wouldn't recognize greatness if they were standing in its shadow, as Ms. Clinton was at the time. It was a time when everything was going wrong at the White House, and she responded by going off like a pack of Furies in some Greek tragedy, only in her case it was all buzz and no bite. Hillary Clinton's little hissy may have reached its profane nadir when she told her friend Diane that she'd opposed your being nominated to the highest court in the land (which is where you belonged) because she wanted to vent her spleen on the publisher of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, who's named Walter Hussman, and just pressure the paper in general. Or as she unfortunately put it: "...G------ Hussman needs to know that it's his own g------ fault; that he can't destroy everybody from Ark. and everything about the state and then not pay the price for his precious Richard. He needs to get the message big-time, that Richard might have a chance next round if Hussman and his minions will lay off all this outrageous lies and innuendo. They should have their noses rubbed into it." (Caveat Lector: I've taken the liberty of correcting some of the misspellings in this section of Mrs. Blair's memoir, but left the rest of Hillary Clinton's diatribe unchanged.) Goodness, can the First Lady really have thought that the editorial policy of the paper I work for was for sale in exchange for a political appointment? What was she going to offer us next -- a mess of pottage? Somebody should have sent the lady -- well, the woman -- a copy of the First Amendment with a few of its phrases underlined, like freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Those ideas are kind of respected around this newsroom. But time passes, memory fades, and we forget. In this case, we forget how petty, how mean, how crass, how as self-absorbed as Tom and Daisy Buchanan in "The Great Gatsby" the Clintons could be. And then a scrap of paper like this one surfaces, and brings it all back. Like a bad hangover. But you were beyond all that, Your Honor, in life as you are now in memory. A Yiddish saying comes to mind at such times: Some of the dead still live and some of the living are already dead. Rest easy, Your Honor. That's how you were addressed, and the salutation applied. In so many ways. --Inky Wretch

Obama's Minimum Wage Economy ^ | February 26, 2014 | Donald Lambro

WASHINGTON - Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal came up with the perfect name for the Obama economy that you'll be hearing a lot in this year's midterm election campaigns. "After more than five years under this administration, the Obama economy is now the minimum wage economy," the Republican governor told reporters after a meeting he and his gubernatorial colleagues held with Obama at the White House. With his anemic economy still unable to produce enough jobs to put millions of unemployed Americans back to work full-time, Obama is offering a old, threadbare idea to raise the nation's minimum hourly wage to over $10. Congress's budget analysts say it could result in the loss of at least a half million jobs, and possibly a million. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said that forcing small businesses to raise their hourly wages would result in layoffs to keep their payroll costs down, or cause employers to hire fewer low- wage workers in the future. In a nation with a workforce of 160 million people, many of whom are jobless or can only find part-time work, this is a poor excuse for an economic recovery program. In fact, it is pathetic. Making struggling businesses in a weak economy pay higher wages is not a plan to get America growing again. "I think we can do better than that. I think America can do better than that," Jindal said. If this sounds vaguely familiar, it is almost word for word what John F. Kennedy told voters in the 1960 presidential election as he touted his plan for cutting income tax rates for everyone to boost economic growth and job creation. Surely we can do better than this, but don't hold your breath believing that this do-nothing president will put the American economy back to work anytime soon. What could we do right now to jump start the engine of a stalled economy? For starters, Jindal suggested that the president could approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline "if he was serious about growing the economy." That would create thousands of jobs and give the U.S. energy industry a booster shot that would send a signal to the economy that we're serious about boosting the growth rate beyond its anemic 2 percent range. But Obama has been dithering over this issue for the past two years because he fears his approval will anger his party's radical environmental allies in a critical election year that could put Republicans in charge of the Senate. His reluctance is holding back the economy and stronger job growth in the process. But that's not the only pro-growth initiative he has been blocking. Congress's tax-writing committees have been at work since 2011 on overhauling our costly, dysfunctional tax code that is also hurting our economy, slowing down job creation, and making us less competitive in global markets. House Republicans, led by Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp of Michigan, were expected to lay out their plan Wednesday. It would simplify the tax code by slashing its seven tax brackets down to two: 10 percent for lower income workers and 25 percent for the top rate. The plan would be revenue neutral because it calls for eliminating a number of tax loopholes and exemptions that now litter the tax code. This is what the co-chairmen of Obama's deficit-cutting commission proposed in his first term in a report that the White House has ignored ever since. But the idea took hold in Congress where Camp and his Senate Democratic counterpart, Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, were working together on a tax reduction bill. But as their work was bearing fruit, Baucus decided he would retire from the Senate at the end of of his term. Still, it appeared a deal between the two was possible. That is, until Obama suddenly offered Baucus the prestigious post of ambassador to China, getting rid of one of tax reforms' most enthusiastic supporters. It certainly wasn't because Obama decided that Baucus was head and shoulders the most qualified candidate for the post. Indeed, Baucus said at his nomination hearings that he knew next to nothing about China. The timing of Obama's offer to Baucus raised eyebrows in and out of Congress since it meant that any possibility of tax reform was dead in the Senate for this year. That's because the chairmanship of Baucus' committee fell to liberal Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon who has since focused on other issues that he considers higher priority. It's unclear whether House GOP leaders will take up tax reform this year, though they haven't ruled out doing so in the months to come. Congressional reformers think that if Speaker Boehner puts it on a fast track, it would send a powerful political signal to voters that the GOP is serious about a pro-growth initiative that would strengthen our economy and put Americans back to work. And where's Obama in all of this? The Washington Post wrote Tuesday that "the White House continues to show little interest in a comprehensive tax overhaul." The newspaper went on to say that "administration officials have dismissed reform of the individual code, saying it would be mathematically impossible to lower the top rate paid by the wealthy, protect the middle class and achieve Democrats' goal of raising fresh cash to shrink chronic budget deficits." This was to a large extent what critics said of President Kennedy's across-the-board income tax cuts: They would worsen the deficits, endanger middle class programs, and benefit the rich. But in the end, his tax cuts led to business expansion, created jobs and it didn't worsen the deficit. By the end of 1960s, we had a budget surplus. Obama says he wants to lift the middle class as well as those below the poverty income line, but he's opposed to pro-growth, pro-job policies to do that. Instead, he and his party have become the champions of a jobless, minimum wage economy. What a contrast in economic policymaking. Kennedy defended his tax cuts for all incomes by saying, "A rising tide lifts all boats," while Obama and the Democrats say raising the minimum wage is the best we can do.

Welfare Payout Statistics That Will Make You Really Angry! ^ | February 26, 2014 | Seriously Epic Staff

Now, don’t tell me that welfare recipients aren’t innovative! No reason to stand on your feet waiting to get your check. Just put your flip-flops next in line and go back and sit on your ass. What a great country!

Related Article Corporate Welfare Statistics That Will Make You Sick

With all the talk about unemployment benefits and welfare, it’s important to understand just how much money we’re talking about.

In 35 states, welfare, housing assistance and other benefits pays more than a minimum wage job, according to a new study by the Cato Institute. The study also found that in 13 states, the payout is more than $15 per hour.

Of course, this study doesn’t take into account that not everyone on public assistance receives all of the programs. But if they did, their payout would be significantly higher than even a starting teacher’s salary in 11 states or a computer programmer in 3 states.

The states with the highest welfare payouts – more than $20 per hour – are Hawaii, with payments equaling $29.13 per hour, DC at $24.43 per hour, Massachusetts at $24.30 , Connecticut at $21.33, New York at $21.01 per hour, New Jersey at $20.89 per hour, Rhode Island at $20.83 per hour and Vermont at $20.36 per hour.

Critics say this ignores real situations. The study “does make a lot of assumptions about what benefits a typical family receives and argues that all the means-tested programs should be included in their fictional family profile,” said Catherine Lawrence, an assistant professor at the University of Albany’s School of Social Welfare. “”Research with actual families shows the extreme financial strain of living on welfare or low-wage work; neither welfare nor low-wage employment alone do a very good job supporting the health and well-being of families with children.”

It varies from state to state, but most states’ welfare payouts top out after about 60 months in one lifetime.

The study was called “The Work Versus Welfare Trade-Off, 2013, authored by Michael Tanner and Charles Hughes.

How do these statistics make you, the reader, feel?

Obama’s Treasonous Squandering of American Power

Conservative HQ ^ | 2/26/14 | CHQ Staff

We don’t usually flak for The Washington Post, but every so often the Washington elite’s liberal “paper of record” gets something right, or at least asks the right question.

Such was the case on Monday, February 24, when the Post published an opinion piece by Richard Cohen entitled “Susan Rice and the retreat of American power,” that detailed a bill of particulars against President Obama’s national security advisor, Susan Rice, and the President himself, for the treasonous squandering of American lives, treasure and influence in the world’s affairs. While what happened at Benghazi, Libya and how the events there led to the deaths of four Americans receives some treatment in Cohen’s column what interests us is Cohen’s drilldown on the favorite tactic used by Rice and Obama to sell their foreign policy failures as success: the false choice or straw man of “American boots on the ground” versus doing nothing, or at least nothing effective. As Cohen so correctly observed: “An increasingly messy world is looking for guidance. But not only does the United States refuse to be its policeman, it won’t even be its hall monitor. The utterly false choice in Syria articulated by Rice — America can do nothing because it won’t do everything — is noticed by the rest of the world. Obama threatened ‘consequences’ if someone stepped ‘over the line’ in Ukraine. Ah, another line. Is it red?” Cohen, however, misses the opportunity to ask the final, and most important, question: How would Obama enforce “consequences” even if he had the inclination to impose them? The President and his Secretary of Defense have just announced that the United States military will but cut back to the lowest level it has been since before World War II, which was the last time the dangerous threat of super-nationalism that concludes Cohen’s article stalked Europe. And along with the announcement of the cuts came this statement from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, “we are entering an era where American dominance on the seas, in the skies, and in space can no longer be taken for granted.” The reason, said Hagel, is that the current force is “larger than we can afford to modernize and keep ready.” Translation: We blew the money we should be spending to protect America and defend western civilization on Nancy Pelosi’s “shovel ready” stimulus program, green energy, doubling food stamps and other Democratic Party vote-buying schemes. So the only way we can use economic influence or expand our military capability is to borrow more trillions from the Chinese. The result of this is, as retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas G. McInerney put it to Bill Gertz in an interview for The Washington Free Beacon, the Obama administration is “continuing on its path of unilateral disarmament that was started by Defense Secretary Robert Gates in April 2009.” “This action,” said McInerney, “will escalate the demise of our military unilaterally and we still have no strategy for defeating radical Islam after 9/11. This is very dangerous.” Through the peculiar combination of lies, arrogance and ignorance that is the hallmark of almost all Obama foreign policy actions the President has squandered the legacy left to him by conservative Republican President Ronald Reagan, and his anti-communist Democratic predecessors, such as President Harry Truman. It took sixty-nine years to build America into the world's only superpower; it has taken Obama less than six to flippantly throwaway America’s national influence and unilaterally disarm America through a conscious and treasonous hollowing-out of America’s military capability.

Young Conservatives Fuel Optimism in the Liberty Movement! ^ | February 26, 2014 | Bob Barr

Normally these columns highlight the fact that something bad has occurred in American politics; in recent years, something usually relating to federal spending, privacy, government surveillance, loss of individual liberty, erosion of Second Amendment rights -- come to think of it, most everything this Administration does. This week, however, something’s different. There’s a slight whiff of optimism in the air; not a lot mind you, but enough to justify sitting up and taking notice. After years of being buffeted by government’s relentless drive to increase its own size, scope, cost and power, there is some evidence the tide may be turning; or if not turning, at least beginning to negotiate such a maneuver. Last week in this column, I wrote about a plan by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (commonly known as “ICE,” a branch of the Department of Homeland Security) to build a national database for tracking license plates, using data collected mostly by local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. Several other notable voices in the liberty movement also covered this dangerous program, helping to rally the voices of millions of Americans against its implementation. Within days of first being proposed, DHS announced it was scrapping the program. “The solicitation, which was posted without the awareness of ICE leadership, has been cancelled,” said ICE spokeswoman Gillian Christensen with a straight face. Removing the veneer of bureaucratese that invariably disguises reality when government officials speak, what she really said was, “We’re sorry we got caught.” But that wasn’t the only good news last week. A controversial program hatched by the Federal Communications Commission, which would have placed federal “monitors” in newsrooms across the country sniffing out “media bias,” also received the axe after being proposed. Like DHS, the FCC was on the receiving end of severe criticism from prominent privacy advocates like Judge Andrew Napolitano, and even one of its own, sitting commissioners! The FCC apparently has decided – at least for now -- the fight wasn’t worth it, and backed-down. Regrettably, the Commission already had wasted more than a half-million taxpayer dollars greasing the skids for the program’s implementation. It is not simply a few small victories in the press, or an occasional constitutionally-correct decision rendered by a lone judge, which are becoming small but bright points of light beginning to shine in the long, dark tunnel of government power. What is stirring a slight but very palpable sense of optimism is seeing a growing number of young people fighting back against the Big Government juggernaut -- a frightening vehicle that has accelerated markedly since Obama first raised his hand and mislead the American people into believing he actually was a supporter of the Constitution to which he swore feigned allegiance. Just this past weekend, for example, a report surfaced about the rise of significant numbers of young, liberty-minded conservatives. In particular, the article focused on Young Americans for Liberty, an organization for young adults who seek to restore the Constitution in American politics, by electing pro-liberty candidates to office. “We are just getting started,” YAL Executive Director Jeff Frazee told US News. “Our hope is to raise between $10,000 and $50,000 per candidate.” Polling indicates that groups like YAF could not come at a more opportune time. Attacks on America’s fundamental freedoms occur with increasing frequency, as Obama settles into his role as a second-term Commander-in-Chief unburdened by even a fig leaf of constitutional respect. Making matters worse is the near complete absence of constitutional push back from most members of Congress and the Department of Justice. Yet, liberty is also in danger on college campuses as well -- a crucial ecosystem of knowledge where students often develop their first meaningful political identities. When schools try to manipulate this self-exploration, such as banning the distributions of pocket Constitutions on Constitution Day (a special thanks to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education for intervening), they become dangerous battlegrounds for the minds of these students rather than a toolshed from which students identify and learn to wield intellectual principles objectively. Fortunately, many students are fighting back against such bullying administrations, just as other Americans are fighting back against a bully government. Recent victories over onerous government programs show progress is being won. Importantly, polls are showing that these new “liberty voters” tend overwhelmingly to favor Republican candidates. Ronald Reagan completed his final term in office before many of these voters were even born, but it is his vision and understanding of Liberty that guides them; even if they don’t remember its author.

Eric Holder To State Attorneys General: You Don't Have to Enforce Laws You Disagree With!

townhall ^

Attorney General Eric Holder is taking the lawless attitude of the Obama administration and passing it down to state attorneys general. Yesterday during an interview with The New York Times, Holder said state attorneys general do not have to enforce laws they disagree with, specifically when it comes to the issue of gay marriage.
It is highly unusual for the United States attorney general to advise his state counterparts on how and when to refuse to defend state laws. But Mr. Holder said when laws touch on core constitutional issues like equal protection, an attorney general should apply the highest level of scrutiny before reaching a decision on whether to defend it. He said the decision should never be political or based on policy objections.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Nugent: Obama ‘Really Wants to Destroy America’

Tea Party ^ | Feb. 25, 2014 | Politico

After last week apologizing for comments calling the president a “subhuman mongrel,” Ted Nugent on Monday attacked the administration for what he called similarities to Nazi Germany.
The rocker and gun rights activist defended some of his past remarks on Monday on Dennis Miller’s radio show, days after apologizing for using the term “mongrel” to refer to President Barack Obama, which caused a storm of controversy when he hit the campaign trail for Texas Republican governor hopeful Greg Abbott.Miller pressed Nugent on using the term “jackbooted thug.” “The guy, he’s just a horribly inept civil servant,” Miller said, according to audio posted by left-leaning watchdog Media Matters. “He’s just the guy in the toll booth who keeps giving back too much change to people and I’ll be glad when he’s out of there, but he’s not a Nazi.” “Well I don’t think he’s Adolf Hitler,” Nugent said, but he told Miller he disagreed that the “jackbooted thug” comment was inappropriate. “There was an incrementalism to what happened in Germany and other places historically, where they came in slowly,” Nugent said. “And I think that’s what Obamacare is, that’s what I think most of what he represents. The IRS — I really believe that what we see with the IRS can be compared accurately and historically to the early maneuvers of people like jackbooted thugs, like the Brownshirts [Nazi Storm Troopers]. I really believe that and I think that you are being too soft on them.” Miller again told Nugent he disagreed with the comparison, but Nugent pressed that the President Barack Obama wants to “destroy” the country. “I think he really wants to destroy America. I think he wants to follow the Saul Alinsky ‘Rules for Radicals’ book, destroy our economy, have a … war between the haves and the have-nots.” In his apology on Friday, Nugent said he was trying to learn from “better men” with whom he had appeared on the campaign trail and said he would try to use “more understandable language” rather than “street-fighter” terms in the future.

How to irritate Obama

Save me $8000!

Not even a smidgen of truth!

The Promise!

The Museum

Red Lines Crossed

Homicides Committed

"A Free People..."

Your Cherry Tree!

An Oscar!

Would they?

Snake Handlers!

My hands are tied!

Fly, my pretties!

Yes, of course a business owner should have the right to refuse service to queers!

The Matt Walsh Blog ^ | February 25, 2014 | Matt Walsh

We critics of modern society tend to run into a problem very similar to the one you encounter when you go to a bar with 27 different beers on tap.
Sometimes, we just don’t know where to begin. That’s how I feel when I read about the progressives working themselves into a lather over that religious freedom bill in Arizona. The legislation simply solidifies a business owner’s right to act according to his or her religious beliefs (I say “further solidifies” because the First Amendment already covers this ground pretty thoroughly). “News” outlets like CNN, engaging in blatant editorializing (surprise!), refer to it as ”the anti-gay bill,” because part of religious freedom is the right to not participate in activities which you find mortally sinful. It’s not that business owners want to “refuse service” to gays simply because they’re gay; it’s that some business owners — particularly people who work in the wedding industry — don’t want to be forced to employ their talents in service of something that defies their deeply held religious convictions. This shouldn’t be an issue, but it is, because some gays in some states have specifically and maliciously targeted religious florists, bakers, and photographers, so that they can put these innocent people in a compromising position, and then run to the media and the courts when — GASP! — Christians decide to follow the dictates of Christianity. Yet, the cases that sparked this law are hardly discussed. The progressive mob claims that this legislation is about shoving gays to the back of the bus and making them drink out of separate fountains. George Takei echoed the sentiments of many when he likened the Arizona bill to “Jim Crow.” And here we arrive at my quandary. There are so many lies being told about this bill; so many ridiculous and offensive exaggerations; so many untruths, half-truths, and truth-omissions; so many dishonest tactics at play, that I’m utterly overwhelmed by it all. The propagandists are shouting from all around me, and I can’t engage them from every side at once. If I had the time, I’d specifically address the continued comparisons drawn between the historical plight of blacks in America and the imagined plight of gays in present day. I’d point out how this is much like comparing a stubbed toe to the Holocaust. We should remember that blacks were in chains in this country. They were literally treated as less than human. They could be legally murdered and beaten and starved. They were set apart, cast aside, and violently and systematically oppressed. Not only are gays in a better position than this, but the two scenarios are diametrically opposite. Unlike historical blacks, gays are afforded special legal protections. They are celebrated by the president, Hollywood, pop culture, the media, mainstream culture, and most major corporations. They are hoisted on a pedestal by only the most powerful and influential people in the country. Black people ought to deliver a sound verbal smackdown to any historically illiterate gasbag who even attempts to paint the slightest equivalency between the suffering of blacks and gays. But I could write several pages on this aspect alone, and maybe I will soon. For now, I think I have to do the work that the media, and even many talking head ”conservatives,” won’t. Left wingers are busily constructing fantastical narratives about restaurant owners who wish to prevent gays from eating at their establishments, and cab drivers who want nothing more than to drive right past the gay man hailing him on the sidewalk. Meanwhile, here in the Land of Things That Actually Happen, nobody is proposing, nor condoning, nor anticipating, nor hoping for, nor looking to specifically protect that sort of thing. That sort of thing isn’t happening, and it won’t happen. It’s not an issue. It’s not real. It’s a fantasy. A lie. A total fabrication. Instead, some see it necessary and prudent to stop private citizens from using the courts to force other private citizens to actively participate in a particular act which they find morally objectionable. That’s all. And — unlike the handwringing about the mystical Denny’s manager who might try to use the Bible to justify not serving pancakes to a lesbian — this is a real thing that has occurred several times recently. Examples: Hands On Originals. The Christian owner of a local t-shirt company declined to produce shirts advertising Lexington’s annual Gay Pride Festival. Hands On Originals had likely made shirts for many gay people in the past. As far as I know, they never asked anyone to fill out a questionnaire about their sexual proclivities before ordering their apparel. In this case, however, the company was being asked to advertise for a gay pride festival. He politely turned down the business and even pointed the organizers to other manufacturers that would make the shirts at the same or better rates. Nobody’s rights were infringed upon. Nobody was victimized. Nobody was even inconvenienced. But the bullies at Kentucky’s Gay and Lesbian Services Organization smelled an opportunity. They dragged Hands On before the “Human Rights Commission” and accused them of “human rights violations.” The HRC sided with the gay bullies. So did Lexington’s mayor. Lexington’s mayor is openly gay, by the way. But I’m sure that had nothing to do with his opinion on the matter. Masterpiece Cake Shop. The Christian owner of a Colorado bakery has been forced by a judge to bake cakes for gay weddings, after declining the business 0f two gay men who wanted him to make a cake for their same sex nuptials. The baker didn’t refuse them “because they’re gay.” In fact, he specifically said: “I’ll make you birthday cakes, shower cakes, sell you cookies and brownies, I just don’t make cakes for same-sex weddings.” He had a problem with the activity itself, not the people participating in it. But the gay couple, instead of respecting the man’s beliefs, decided to whine to the ACLU. Eventually a lawsuit was filed, and the couple complained in court of being “dehumanized.” DEHUMANIZED. Because some guy wouldn’t make a cake for their wedding. Dehumanized. Unborn babies butchered in abortion mills? Sorry, not dehumanizing. One bakery in the entire country decides not to make dessert for a gay wedding? DEHUMANIZING. Makes sense, right? Elane Photography. A New Mexico judge ruled that a small photography company in the state is not allowed to decide which weddings they will photograph and which weddings they won’t photograph. He compelled the Christian photographers who own the business to work gay weddings, despite their religious convictions. This ruling came after Elane Huguenin politely declined to photograph a lesbian wedding back in 2006. As Huguenin explained: they will “gladly serve gays and lesbians—by, for example, providing them with portrait photography—whenever doing so would not require them to create expression conveying messages that conflict with their religious beliefs.” But this wasn’t good enough. Even though the lesbian customers promptly found a different photographer who charged better rates, they still took the matter to the courts. Arlene’s Flowers and Gifts. A florist in Washington state was sued after she decided not to provide flowers for a gay wedding. In this case, even the customers admit that the business owner had served them many times over ten years. If she wanted to “refuse service to gays,” she would have already. But it wasn’t the gay men she had a problem with — it was the gay wedding. Of course this explanation, reasonable as it might be, wasn’t sufficient. She was dragged to court. The lawsuit, I believe, is still ongoing. In none of these cases did the business owner forgo service to a gay person out of some kind of disgust or animosity towards gays. They simply wished to take no part in a gay wedding. To call this discrimination against gays is to make no distinction between the person of a homosexual and the activity of a homosexual. It’s absolutely nonsensical. It also, again, makes any comparison to “Jim Crow laws” seem insane. Blacks were denied basic services because they were black — not because of their activity. The gay people in these cases are asking Christians to specifically participate in a morally objectionable act. You can tell me that gay weddings are not morally objectionable, but that isn’t up to you. That’s your belief. This is their belief. In America, we are supposed to be free to live according to our convictions. We can only be stopped from living our convictions if our convictions call us to do harm to another. Were any of these gay couples “harmed” by having to go back to Google and find any of a thousand other options? Perhaps their feelings were hurt. Fine. Are we saying that we have no right to do something if it might hurt someone’s feelings? Are we prepared to take that logic to its fullest extent? Put differently, to tell a Christian that they must provide services to a gay wedding because that’s what a gay person wants, is to say that one must condone the actions of a gay person in order to affirm the dignity and inherent human worth of a gay person. Now we have, yet once more, provided special legal accommodations to this protected class. No other group is afforded such privileges. I can’t force a Jewish deli to provide me with non kosher meat. I can’t force a gay sign company to print me “Homosexual sex is a sin” banners (I’d probably be sued just for making the request). I can’t force a Muslim caterer to serve pork. I can’t force a pro-choice business to buy ad space on my website. I can’t force a Baptist sculptor to carve me a statue of the Virgin Mary. I can’t force a private citizen to involve himself in a thing which he finds abhorrent, objectionable, or sinful. And you know what? I would never try. Maybe that’s what separates liberty lovers from liberals. For all their talk about “minding your business” and “this doesn’t concern you” and “live and let live,” theirs is truly an ideology of compulsion. The free speech and expression of other citizens must be tamed by the whip of their lobbying, legislating, and litigating. It is, of course, ridiculous to insist that any man or woman has a “right” to have a cake baked or t-shirt printed. It’s equally ridiculous to put the desire and convenience of the would-be cake consumer and t-shirt wearer above the First Amendment rights of the cake maker and t-shirt printer. But this is tyranny. It doesn’t have to make sense. Make no mistake: this is tyranny. Tyranny is not injured emotions, hurt feelings, and minor inconveniences. Tyranny is the government compelling a man or woman to conform to a dogma or bow to an idol. Tyranny is when you are forced to abandon your beliefs and fall in line. And tyranny is still tyranny, even when it comes wrapped in tolerance and “human rights.”