International Cat Speculators Since 2006

In case you’ve been living under a rock of some sort, you’ll have noticed a really silly “Internet Party” has been founded by one Kim “Dot Com”, convicted criminal awaiting extradition to the US.

Mr “Dot Com” is keen to avoid said extradition, and hence is using his money to buy his way into our parliament.

Now, clearly he’s been casting around for which political grouping might be most open to his ministrations. 

We now know the answer to his careful research. He has discovered that left-wing environmentalists are most easily bought

That’s not to say he’ll actually succeed in buying enough to get anywhere of course. But don’t let’s forget that supposed “anti-big money” principles are quickly forgotten on the left.

More Hobby Lobby fun

After yesterday’s post, I noticed this article – trying to tell Christians that they’ve done the wrong thing… or something.

Here are the reasons one “Carol Howard Merritt” has.

Christians should always uphold human rights. Jesus taught us a great deal when he healed the woman who had been bleeding. He taught us that women who demand healing ought to find that cure. Jesus restored her to health, even though the established religion deemed that she was unclean. Jesus ignored the men in charge, and he listened to the woman in suffering.

So far, so good.

That medical condition would now be treated with contraception. Birth Control is considered a basic human right, according to the United Nations. It’s important for the health of women. It keeps women and children out of poverty.

Got that?

1. Christians should uphold human rights.

2. Human rights are defined by the UN.

Therefore, we conclude:

3. The UN is the body that decides which rights a Christian should support.

Wait, that seems wrong somehow. Wasn’t the Bible supposed to be in there somewhere?

But that raises a serious concern: how did Christians know what to do before the UN came along? Maybe they had some sort of system of deciding right and wrong before the UN? It’s possible people!

The fact that a corporation would want to deny (yes, I said deny. If you’re making a Hobby Lobby clerk’s salary, it’s very difficult to pay for contraception without insurance coverage) a woman’s basic human right is disgraceful. People of faith should care about the dignity of all humans–particularly those who cannot afford to have children. We should always be willing to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, and see to the dignity, worth, and healing of women, even when the established religious power says that she should be denied.

Jesus healed a woman, so how dare you deny a woman earning well above minimum wage (seriously, google it) the right to have their employer pay for 4 out of 20 mandated birth control methods.

Christians should encourage life-saving science and medicine.

Paging Dr Obvious.

It has been frustrating to watch people say that contraception is an “abortifacient” when the medical and scientific community has said that it is not.

Wait, what? One second we’re talking about life-saving medicine, next we’re abusing people for avoiding something that they think kills.

Uh, ok.

Anyway, having done a bit of reading, it is entirely possible that she’s right on this point – is may well be that at least one of the 4 disputed methods does not work by preventing implantation.

If so, yay! There is no ethical concern here. All we have is a failure to communicate the science properly. That’s a pity.

But on the other, if some of them do in fact prevent implantation then they are considered by Christian ethicists to be abortifacients. In other words, talking about what science has proven misses the point that this is a debate about the ethics.

Here’s a silly analogy. Let’s say Jim refuses to ride in John’s car, because it’s a Honda and Jim believes all Hondas are diesel and he refuses to ride in diesel cars. Now, Jim is wrong about the facts – John’s honda uses petrol. But that mistaken believe about the facts says nothing either way about Jim’s decision to avoid diesel cars.

A religious person’s belief should not trump the facts and take away basic medical care for women, even if it’s sincerely held. Plus, we really should have a faith that is strong enough to endure an eighth grade sex education class.

Here we have a couple of non sequiturs.

  • As just demonstrated, there are no “facts” to “trump”. If in fact these methods do not prevent implantation there is no ethical objection.
  • The contention that contraception is “basic medical care for women” has not been established in even a cursory way.

Given these issues, it’s hard to analyse the first sentence any further.

Finally for this section, she engages in a childish jab about sex education classes. I have no idea where that even came from.

Christians should care about the environment. One of the very first commands in Genesis was when God told us to care for creation. We were to be stewards of the fish, birds, cattle, wild animals, and every creeping thing.

Again, so far so good. Oh, outside of the whole “fall” thing where a very long-term slide into destruction started, ending in God eventually re-creating the whole thing sometime in the future.

In the United States, we use more resources than people in other parts of the world, and we are causing our destruction. Wars are being fought over petroleum. We frack the ground God gave us because we’re hungry for more fuel. Tension is growing over water rights. Because of our overuse of resources, overpopulation can cause us to defy one of God’s first instructions to us. Allowing for birth control helps us care for creation.

So essentially she’s trying to:

a) make the claim that overpopulation is a real thing
b) make the claim that Christians should be doing something about that and
c) make the claim that birth control is the “something” that should be done.

Quite outside the fact she hasn’t proven that any of those things are valid, this case isn’t about whether a woman can buy birth control. It’s about whether an employer has to pay for a method their beliefs say is unethical.

So… yea, a long bow being drawn there.

Christians believe that women and men are made in the image of God.

Again, start with the statement that no one disagrees with.

People are made in the image of God, not corporations.

Two true statements in a row! We’re on a roll people!

Because of that basic theological understanding, we know that corporations should not be considered over individuals. One of the guiding principles of the Supreme Court’s decision is one of “corporate personhood.” Corporations have corrupted our political process as they have given more power and because they have more money than individual people. We have watched as poor and working class people have lost their voice to the will of corporations. Our economy strains with the increased disparity between the rich and poor. Our country is watching that gap become deep and wide with the related disparities in our quality of education.

So to sum up, Corporations are Evil (TM). They’re run by faceless shareholders… oh wait, this decision covers closely-held corporations, where the company is the personal property of a very small number of individuals.

Now, we give corporations even more power, through allowing the greatest stakeholders the right to withhold medical care to women.

Frustrating how the Christian ethic of “not lying” never seems to occur to this author. No such rights have been given, a very limited ethical objection has been respected.

Jesus said that we should always be looking after “the least of these.” Through giving corporations more power, we are taking away a woman’s human rights and we are ensuring more poverty among women and children.

Yet again, an assertion completely unsupported by any of the facts here. Let alone the idea that small families are better, which isn’t something I see supported in scripture – in fact quite the opposite (Psalm 127).

As a Christian, I am profoundly upset by the Supreme Courts’ decision. And I hope that other men and women of faith might stand with individuals, who are made in the image of God, and who have the right to access the medical care they need.

As a Christian, I just wish people would make conclusions from something resembling an argument. Because it’s pretty hard to respect anyone who writes junk as bad as this one does.

I ran across this report earlier today.

I’ve seen some bad reporting over the years, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen an article that seems to be deliberately designed to make people more ignorant.

Let’s look at a few points:

1. If you work at certain types of for-profit companies, they no longer have to cover the cost of any contraception that they say violates their religious beliefs

The Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) requires most health insurance plans to cover birth control without cost-sharing. Without healthcare coverage, the pill can cost about $25 a month and an IUD (intrauterine device) can cost up to $900 (though it’s inserted once and lasts up to 12 years).

So my first observation is that they all but admit that this is about saving a measly $25 per month at worst. And there’s the elephant in the room that this is covering something that anywhere else would not be an insurance item.

They also tacitly admit that there was only 4 of the 20 methods covered. So really, it’s hard to see this being a very serious sort of issue. They also start out by talking about the Pill, giving the impression that that is one of the methods removed – but it’s not.

2. All three female Justices dissented, arguing that this ruling limits women’s rights

All of the women on the court are liberals. The liberals voted for less religious liberty, and only one of them is a man. Apparently (since this article is aimed at women) it’s important that you know that all the women on the court were rooting for you. Or something.

Then there’s this quote.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the dissenting opinion and was joined by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Justice Elena Kagan and Justice Stephen Breyer (the only male justice who dissented). “The exemption sought by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga would…deny legions of women who do not hold their employers’ beliefs access to contraceptive coverage,” Ginsberg wrote

Here’s the thing about that. It’s complete nonsense.

It is not even remotely true. It is literally impossible for one simple reason: this decision has given employers of any sort precisely no, zero, zilch rights to determine what pharmaceuticals and employee might buy. That’s not a right employers have ever had, sought, or wanted, even in their wildest dreams.

Yet, that claim not only appears in a media report, but a supreme court decision.

3. The ruling may depress use of IUDs at some privately held corporations that deem it a form of emergency contraception

This is where we really get into the weird zone. I mean, who cared about the IUD use rate at privately held corporations? Seriously, that’s a really weird thing to say.

Now, it would be more useful to say, “this will reduce the use of this really effective method”. And they do try to say that… sort of.

But note this:

The IUD can also be used as emergency contraception if it is inserted five days after intercourse, hence the Hobby Lobby’s objection to it and not birth control pills.

That’s about as good an example of what the article does all the way through: skirts the core issue that this ruling is about abortifacients. Seriously, the word never appears yet that was the entire ethical objection that the court case was about.

4. Women’s rights groups are angry because they see the ruling as a loss of autonomy for women

Feminists don’t like this? Gee, who knew.

See what I mean about making people more ignorant?

Oh, and did you notice that having someone else pay for your birth control somehow = more autonomy. Feminism, gotta love it. (Seriously, you have to, it’s in the rules of modern liberalism.)

In fact, this point is so idiotic, it required detailed fisking.

Some women’s rights advocates have taken the argument even further than Ginsburg did. Up until this point the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) has been interpreted as a protection for individuals’ religious practices—not those of corporations. The Supreme Court just said that these protections also extend to for-profit companies,

Bzzzt. Wrong. It ruled that when you have a closely-held company, forcing a company to do something is forcing an individual (or a small group of individuals) to do something.

but didn’t protect a woman’s right to choose her method of birth control.

Bzzzt. Wrong. As pointed out above, this ruling says precisely nothing about that. It’s about who pays for it.

Thus, many critics argue, the Supreme Court decided that corporations are people, but women are not.

They may even honestly believe that. But I doubt it – I mean, they’re not that stupid, aren’t they?

Women’s rights groups say restricting insurance coverage for some types of contraception, or making coverage more difficult to obtain, undermines access to birth control in general and point to studies that have shown that offering greater access to contraception—rather than restricting it—leads to fewer unintended pregnancies and thus reduces the number of abortions by 75 percent annually.

That’s a true statement, they do say that. They also say that women are more autonomous when given $25/month worth of pills by their employer. Did I mention that? Yep… ok, just checking.

5. Under the ruling, some corporations could attempt to refuse coverage for other, non-contraceptive medications and procedures citing their religious beliefs

But even the people who wrote this admit almost immediately that it’s a bogus claim:

In the majority opinion written by Justice Alito, he specifies that the ruling applies only to the contraceptive mandate, and states that it should not be understood to include to other insurance mandates, like those for blood transfusions or vaccinations.

Fact is, if something else comes up, it’ll go through the courts again.

So there you have it. A report that never actually talks about the key issue, grossly insults women, tells incredibly silly lies, and then tells us about the most obvious thing ever written.

Modern journalism – gotta love it.

 (See also this post at Patterico)

This is from the “you’ve got to be kidding me” files. George Zimmerman’s lawsuit against NBC came up recently, and the same judge that appeared to be so biased against him during his criminal trial proved it by throwing out what is really a slam-dunk case.

In the audio played repeatedly by NBC on the air to a national audience, the dispatcher’s inquiry was spliced out, as was Zimmerman’s explanatory text of why it appeared that Martin’s behavior was notable:

Zimmerman: “This guy looks like he’s up to no good . . . He looks black.”

The doctored audio obviously suggests that Zimmerman purportedly believed Martin was “up to no good” solely on the basis of being black–prima facie racism.  Utterly fabricated, of course.

Despite this, Judge Nelson has dismissed Zimmerman’s libel suit against NBC on the basis that he had become a “limited public figure” in the controversy.  How so? Judge Nelson writes:

[Zimmerman]e voluntarily injected his views into the public controversy surrounding race relations and public safety in Sanford and pursued a course of conduct that ultimately led to the death of Martin and the specific controversy surrounding it.  Moreover, Zimmerman’s shooting of Martin rendered him a public figure in the ensuing controversy.

Yep, according to Judge Nelson, Zimmerman became a limited public figure unable to pursue a clear case of libel because, while doing nothing whatever unlawful himself, and conducting himself precisely as instructed by the police who managed the Neighborhood Watch Program in which he participated, became the victim of a vicious, life-threatening attack by Trayvon Martin.

More simply, if you are the utterly innocent victim of a violent criminal attack by someone of another race, and defend yourself, that makes you a limited public figure subject without recourse to deliberate libel by the news media.

Nice.

Of course, even as a limited public figure Zimmerman could still sue for libel if he could demonstrate malice. Judge Nelson deals with that by simply concluding that he cannot demonstrate malice:

Zimmerman cannot carry his burden of proving that the single, allegedly [?!?!--AFB] defamatory statement he challenges in the March 20 TODAY show broadcast was disseminated with actual malice.

She similarly dismisses other disseminations of essentially the same libelous content.

Go read the whole post. And yes, this is the exact same judge that ignored the law and threw out perfectly valid cellphone evidence, without actually telling anyone why (which would have made the judgement appeal-able).

Frankly I’m amazed that she, or the prosecution the Zimmerman case, are allowed in a courtroom at all.

I mean, seriously. If conservatives are so evil, show some real data and stop making it up.

Because if you don’t have real data, not only does that say something about the people you’re trying to smear, it also says something about you.

I’ve said many times, you should not trust a characterisation. Check the original source.

This is a classic example:

The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank, who has an increasing reputation as a shill for the left wing, viciously attacked the Heritage Foundation in a column on Monday evening. The column, “Heritage’s ugly Benghazi panel” characterized the event as though it were a full-throated, Muslim-bashing hate-crime cleverly disguised as a public forum to discuss the Benghazi attack.

The video is in the post. Milbank’s characterisation is completely self-serving. 

For example, Brigitte Gabriel was talking about an attack on “our government” and then, by way of correcting herself, asked Ahmed if she was a US citizen. No big deal really.

But Millbank described that this way:

“Are you an American?” Gabriel demanded of Ahmed, after accusing her of taking “the limelight” and before informing her that her “political correctness” belongs “in the garbage.”

Not the inflammatory language – “demanded of”, while connecting it to a later statement about political correctness. 

This, my friends, is why people loathe journalists. They twist and turn and play gotcha games. Also, they make stuff up. A good editor in my past told me that he was always suspicious of reporters who rely on breaking up a quote multiple times and adding in their own words in between. It means they’re trying to force the speaker to say something. We can now call this the Milbank Rule. I mean, was everything quoted in his piece accurate? Absolutely. Were his words or description of what transpired accurate? Hell no.

The press has a lot to answer for these days. 

Anyway, go have a read, and watch the video.

There are people in the US who think that their country has too many guns. They’re probably right in thinking this.

Problem is, when those people get together to try and change that fact, they invariably make fools of themselves.

Take the latest example. An anti-gun group created a list of 74 supposed school shootings in the last 18 months. Problem is, only 15 are actually what most people would call “school shootings”.

Oops.

Actually, the 15 is CNN’s number. Charles C. Johnson from the Daily Caller reckons it’s more like 7.

In recent days, there’s been a lot of fuss over National supposedly doing something evil by “gifting” Epsom to ACT.

It’s all incredibly idiotic, given… well let’s have Idiot/Savant take up the story.

It doesn’t help that there’s the usual enormous helping of hypocrisy from Labour on this. Despite their claims to have been “principled and consistent” on the issue, they quietly gifted Coromandel to the Greens in 1999; their opposition is more recent, and based entirely on a desire to rob National of potential coalition partners. And in order to do that, they’re willing to make our Parliament less representative and rob their fellow citizens of a democratic voice. 

Someone on the left changing the law to put a spoke through their opponent’s vote, even at the expense of their supposed principles? Say it isn’t so!

Oh, and that’s before we have Cunliffe refusing to rule out the internet party as a partner.

But seriously, the entire problem (as Idiot goes on to say) is the 5% threshold. It’s entire purpose was to keep radicals out of parliament. Yet, the entire current debate has been kicked off because of one Hone Harawira, a man who’s so radical that he’s perfectly happy to commit crimes to keep the poor out of houses – while taking their votes of course. 

But the silliest thing is that parties do not own votes. Voters do – and they’ll vote for whoever they want to.

It’s ever so wrong when the rich people who send their kids to private schools don’t pay their full tax due.

But, if we don’t offer them free insulation, then National is evil!

 

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