A Judge’s Error

The Trump administration had expanded rules allowing employers to opt out of being required to provide birth control coverage to their employees at no cost to the employees, so long as the opting out was convincingly based on religious or moral grounds.  Federal District Judge Haywood Gilliam of the Northern District of California has issued an injunction blocking enforcement of the expansion while an underlying lawsuit against the expansion is underway.

Ordinarily, blocking an enforcement while the underlying case proceeds is no big deal, but this one is just plain wrong.  Gilliam based his ruling in significant part on the premise that

Negotiate on the Wall?

That’s what some Progressive-Democrats in the House claim they want to do.  After the partial government shutdown is ended.  Congressmen Eric Swalwell (D, CA) and John Garamendi (D, CA) have made such commitments.

However.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D, CA) has told President Donald Trump she will not negotiate on a border wall, demanding no funding whatsoever, even after the partial shutdown is ended.

Some questions arise.

Was Pelosi lying when she said that to Trump?

Was Pelosi lying to her caucus when they elected her Speaker on the basis of her promise to a significant fraction of her Party that she always and forever would oppose border wall funding?

Religious Bigotry?

North Dakota wants to let its high schools teach a Bible studies class, and the ACLU (among others) has gotten its institutional panties in a twist over it. State Congressman Aaron McWilliams (R) has a bill moving through the State’s legislature that would achieve that.  He said

The intention of this bill is to provide an option to schools to teach a class on the bible from a historical perspective.  My position is that no religious text should be excluded from being taught as it relates to the historical or philosophical influences in our history or on our society today.

Dismantling Great Britain

The EU is pressing its effort to punish Great Britain for the latter’s effrontery in leaving the EU.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has reiterated that the EU finds a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland “unacceptable.” He warned of “serious damage” in the event of a no deal scenario.

Because the EU wants to split Northern Ireland away from Great Britain.

No threat there.

Political Power

Here come the Progressive-Democrats, and they’ve made their priorities clear in the House with the first things they want to get done.  Here’s some of what’s in their HR1:

  • “campaign-finance reform”—requires some advocacy groups to publicly disclose the names of donors who give more than $10,000, even if the groups aren’t running ads that endorse candidates but merely inform voters about the issues. Except when rich folks like Tom Steyer or Mike Bloomberg are spending on Progressive-Democrats.  Those names aren’t required to be exposed.

Of Course They Can

President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China increased pressure on the Republic of China to surrender and be “unified” with the PRC.

Mr Xi said differences in political systems can’t be used as an excuse to resist unification.

Of course they can. Those differences are what makes the two nations separate from each other.  Never mind that the two have been independent of each other ever since the mainland under Mao Tse-tung won then-China’s civil war and drove the Kuomintang off the mainland onto the island of Taiwan, with Mao then creating the PRC.  The reason for the civil war was precisely those differences, differences over which the Communists were willing to kill those who opposed them.

Facebook’s Secret Rule Book

Facebook has written a massive, byzantine, and secret document of rules packed with spreadsheets and power point slides to help it censor the news posted tackle misinformation posted to its facility.

Even the New York Times gets it, at least to an extent.

The closely held rules are extensive, and they make the company a far more powerful arbiter of global speech than has been publicly recognized or acknowledged by the company itself[.]

It’s also internally inconsistent.

The [NYT] discovered a range of gaps, biases and outright errors—including instances where Facebook allowed extremism to spread in some counties while censoring mainstream speech in others.

Child Molestation and Bankruptcy Escapes

Ironically, it’s the Catholic Church that has invented this ruse.

The Archdiocese of Portland was the first to do it. Three months later the Roman Catholic Diocese in Tucson, AZ, followed suit and three months after that the diocese in Spokane, WA, did it, too.
They all filed for bankruptcy and since then more than 15 other Catholic dioceses and religious orders have filed for bankruptcy to seek protection from lawsuits by sexual-assault victims, resulting in about 4,000 claims seeking compensation for past wrongdoing. This year, three more Catholic dioceses announced intentions to file.

Foolish Misunderstanding

CNN‘s Fareed Zakaria is dismayed with our Constitution and the concept of a republican democracy.

[T]he Constitutional concept of equal representation in the U.S. Senate [is] a “structural problem.”

And

…”new dividing line in Western politics,” which [Zakaria] describes is the “less-educated rural populations” he calls “Outsiders” who “feel ignored or looked down upon” and “feel deep resentment towards metropolitan elites.”

And

…30% of America is now electing 70% of the Senate.  All those states with—you think of Wyoming. It has roughly a million people. It has two senators. California with 70 million people has two senators as well. So we have a kind of structural problem here where the land is being overrepresented. The people are being underrepresented. So both sides feel deeply wronged.

Faith in the PRC

The People’s Republic of China is broadening the reach of its religion.

Officials have threatened to close the Early Rain Covenant Church in the central city of Chengdu by the end of the year in keeping with new religious-management regulations, according to several congregants who said they had been waiting for the net to fall. In coordinated raids starting Sunday night, police detained Pastor Wang Yi and more than 100 of the church’s 500 members, said Li Yingqiang, a church leader.