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    Testing comment post on the Mercury News thread before attempted merge to prior thread (about same court opinion).

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      More generally, the family is often used as a metaphor for how government ought to work. You’ll find this across the political spectrum and even in some religious circles but it seems that leftists are most enamored with it, in contrast with the rough and tumble of the free market. Ironically, while wishing to model society on the family they are busy undermining the family that they so admire.

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        I don’t think it’s the family that socialists admire. What they seek is the unquestioned leadership of a parental figure in a system where the participants know their place. Children don’t know better. They mostly accept the beneficence and rules of their parents because it is offered for innocent purposes, love. The healthy ones grow into slightly rebellious teenagers who want and seek independence. How many times do we hear the progressives lament the stubbornness of the plebes who vote against their interests. Shouldn’t we all want free college, free healthcare, managed resources and markets, guided by the parental figure who just wants what best for his/her children. The benefits of childhood morph into the legally binding entitlement when they become adults. But the power structure remains the same. A grateful beneficiary obedient to a wise pater-familias.

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          Yep, the most likely answer to your original question (“what conclusions can we draw?”) is that socialists want to replicate the authority that parents have over their young children. Clean up your room or get punished! Instant verdicts, immediate penalties. No appeals.

          To respond to the family metaphor point, I’d say (some of) the left is applauding the demise of the family, and the decrease in the U.S. birthrate, so that metaphor may roll off their tongues a bit awkwardly. Here’s one warning:

          Harvard sociologist Carle C. Zimmerman’s 1947 classic Family And Civilization (available on Kindle for only $9.99) will knock you off your chair. In brief, Zimmerman examines the role family structure played in Greco-Roman civilization, as well as the medieval period, up until today.

          He shows that in ancient Greece and Rome, a collapse of “familism” — a worldview that placed the family at the core of society’s self-understanding — preceded a more general civilizational collapse. Zimmerman explains how and why this works. Signs of the ongoing and future collapse include declining fertility rates, abandonment of marital norms, widespread divorce, and the normalization of aberrant forms of sexuality. For contemporary readers, one striking aspect of the book is that Zimmerman published it in 1947, and saw all these things rising in the West in his day — and indeed, had been rising for centuries. Any conservative today who thinks this all began in the 1960s should read Zimmerman.

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        This is insidious. I have personally observed people, who were open the libertarian limited government argument, maintain loyalty to mixed-economy statism because they personally benefited, or had a relative who personally benefited from some entitlement program. (E.g., social security disability, special ed, food stamps, Medi-Cal, etc…) This is pre-loaded bribery of potential voters, or the children of illegal immigrants who will be granted citizenship and thus become voters. Maybe we need a category for “bread & circuses.”

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          When you subsidize something, you get… wait, was that more of that something, or less of it?

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            • That should read “open TO the libertarian limited government argument….
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            This is well written, and nicely argued. But it strikes me as overly optimistic. In this case the university (through possible negligence on the part of counsel), the definition of a deep-pocketed institution, exposed itself to legal liability. And it will, reasonably, pay the price. This will be part of the 2020 Case Handbook sent to university GCs, and, at the margin, university administrators will be a bit more careful in this area.

            But David French is (if you’ll forgive me) engaging in a bit of David French-ism to argue that it goes any further than that, or makes any broader point. There was an “online shame mob,” he correctly writes. But its members are facing no punishment; Mr. French doesn’t even include their names. If the university administrators had lawyered up a bit more carefully, they would have escaped liability (and, given that there’s no mention of them being fired, they’ve escaped punishment as well).

            Holding the university liable is the correct result, IMHO. But it would be incorrect to draw sweeping conclusions, at least ones that apply outside the 2020 Case Handbook, here.

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              So in the final analysis the Bundy response is the correct response? When the gubmint’ comes a calling, take down the shotgun from over the fireplace and tell them to stay off your land, or someone is going to get killed. [Of course that isn’t what actually happened to Bundy, but “When the legend become fact, print the legend.”]

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                If that is an answer, it’s only a good one if you have strength in numbers!

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                Today’s order list:


                CERTIORARI DENIED
                18-936 KETTLER, JEREMY V. UNITED STATES
                18-7451 COX, SHANE V. UNITED STATES

                Documents for case No. 18-936 (Kettler v. U.S.):


                Excerpt from the cert petition:

                Petitioner was convicted of possessing an unregistered firearm sound suppressor in violation of the National Firearms Act of 1934, 26 U.S.C § 5861(d). He challenged whether the NFA continues to be a proper exercise of Congress’s taxing power due to changed circumstances, and if so, whether it imposes an impermissible tax on the exercise of a constitutional right. The Tenth Circuit concluded that it was bound by this Court’s decision in United States v. Sonzinsky, 300 U.S. 506 (1937), upholding the NFA, and that only this Court could overturn its own decisions. The Tenth Circuit also concluded that the Second Amendment protects only “bearable arms,” not including firearm accessories such as sound suppressors. The questions presented are:

                1. Whether the National Firearms Act of 1934, upheld in Sonzinsky, continues to be a constitutional exercise of Congress’s taxing power when the justifications for that decision have significantly eroded over the last 82 years.
                1. Whether the Second Amendment protects firearm accessories such as sound suppressors.
                1. Whether the tax imposed by the National Firearms Act, targeting the exercise of a Second Amendment right, violates the rule of Murdock v. Pennsylvania, 319 U.S. 105 (1943) and Cox v. New Hampshire, 312 U.S. 669 (1941).
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                  The ballot measure from BAWN (Ban Assault Weapons NOW) is here: https://bawnfl.org/amendment.html

                  It looks like existing owners of “assault weapons” must register them with the government or face mandatory third-degree felony charges for mere possession. No “assault weapons” may be sold or transferred after the date on which the prohibition takes effect. “Assault weapons” are defined as:

                  Definitions - a) Assault Weapons - For purposes of this subsection, any semiautomatic rifle or shotgun capable of holding more than ten (10) rounds of ammunition at once, either in a fixed or detachable magazine, or any other ammunition feeding device.

                  This seems fairly broad.

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                    This seems like a worthwhile proposal. Here’s the heart of it:

                    Create at least one (could be many competing) browser plugins that enable you to (a) select feeds and then (b) display them alongside a user’s Twitter, Facebook, etc., feeds. (This could be an adaptation of Greasemonkey.) In other words, once this feature were available, you could tell your friends: “I’m not on Twitter. But if you want to see my Tweet-like posts appear in your Twitter feed, then simply install this plugin and input my feed address. You’ll see my posts pop up just as if they were on Twitter. But they’re not! And we can do this because you can control how any website appears to you from your own browser. It’s totally legal and it’s actually a really good idea.” In this way, while you might never look at Twitter or Facebook, you can stay in contact with your friends who are still there—but on your own terms.

                    A browser plug-in may be a good start. But even better would be to have this functionality embedded in the browser.

                    It strikes me that there are some very large organizations that (a) make browsers, (b) do not have significant social media revenue/exposure, and (c) therefore might not object to this functionality: Google’s Chrome, Microsoft IE/Edge, Apple’s Safari, and Mozilla’s Firefox.

                    Even if it were only Microsoft, that would still cover about 14% of the desktop browser market, though of course Google would be the one to convince. The initial objection you’d have to overcome, I think, would be the potential negative impact on YouTube as a discussion platform (of sorts, I know). But presumably that would be balanced out by its impact on Twitter and Facebook…

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                      Why not expand to webpage software like Wordpress. I know they have a widget that you can install on your personal webpage that has something like a twitter scroll/update.

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                        Not a bad idea! It’s actually pretty easy to do this already.

                        First, pick which Talki.ng RSS feed you want. Here’s the one for the whole site: https://talki.ng/rss Or an RSS feed for just a single tag, like gunrights: https://talki.ng/t/gunrights.rss

                        Second, go to a site like this one: https://www.rssinclude.com/my_rssboxes/create_new_box It lets you pick options like the width of your widget, the height, the padding, the color, and generate PHP or Javascript code you can include on your own. There’s an option for Wordpress as well.

                        Third, include that code in your blog or Wordpress site.

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                      By way of background, here’s NR’s David French’s reply to the original “Against David French-ism” essay written by Sohrab Ahmari: https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/05/david-french-response-sohrab-ahmari/

                      And another reply from Friday: https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/the-cruelty-is-the-point/

                      Also on Friday, here’s Mr. French tweeting that he has become “a hate object for the gutter right”: https://twitter.com/DavidAFrench/status/1137104673440182272

                      I haven’t read everything that’s been written about this, and I don’t know exactly who the “gutter right” includes. But it certainly wasn’t true of the original essay by Mr. Ahmari, which called Mr. French “nice,” “insistently polite,” with a “guileless public mien,” and someone who has been “admirably and passionately advocating for Christians” and has “done yeoman’s work in defense of Christians and other people of faith.”

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                        Thanks for posting. This is a long piece and worth reading in full. Two excerpts:

                        Naturally, the left is committed to the idea that gun control is the single most important factor in reducing homicide rates in the United States. Gun control activists often insist — or at least strongly imply — that a lack of more strict gun control laws is all that lies between the status quo and Swiss-style ultra-low homicide rates. Moreover, the left is committed to identity politics and strives to reduce feelings of solidarity between racial and ethnic groups. The suggestion that this strategy could worsen violent crime runs afoul of the identity-politics narrative.

                        The fact that the root causes of homicide lie far deeper than guns, however, would force gun-control advocates to prove that reducing access to legal guns would actually make Americans less homicidal. If Americans really are more homicidal due to deep-seated cultural and historical factors, then homicide may persist at similar rates even in the absence of legal guns. The result, it seems, would be continued feelings among the population that government institutions cannot be trusted to reduce homicides and provide judicial fairness. Consequently, the population would be likely to conclude guns — including illegal ones — are necessary for self-defense and to execute true justice. Indeed, if a lack of legitimacy is the problem, this would suggest tighter gun control laws would not push the US in the direction of high-legitimacy Canada; but instead in the direction of low-legitimacy Mexico.

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                          Excerpt from linked article:

                          In one Brooklyn zine, author and non-binary witch Dakota Bracciale—co-owner of Catland Books, the occult store behind the Kavanaugh hexing—celebrates the potential of traditional “dark magic” and outright devil-worship as a levying force for social justice… “If one must ride into battle under the banner of the Devil himself to do so then I say so be it…”

                          As with the denizens of The Satanic Temple, Bracciale uses the imagery of Satanism as a direct attack on what he perceives as Christian hegemony. So too Jex Blackmore, a self-proclaimed Satanic feminist (and former national spokesperson for the Satanic Temple) who appeared in the Hail Satan? documentary performing a Satanic ritual involving half-naked worshippers and pigs’ heads on spikes, announcing: “We are going to disrupt, distort, destroy… We are going to storm press conferences, kidnap an executive, release snakes in the governor’s mansion, execute the president.”

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                            Rod Dreher replies: https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/religious-left-is-occult-pat-robertson-is-right/

                            Under liberalism, many of us have a habit of ironically distancing ourselves from taking religion — mainstream religion, or outsider religion — seriously. For example, we think of religious rites as an expression of how the practitioner feels about this or that. Secular unbelievers, obviously, don’t think that there is anything real happening with satanic rites, spell-casting, and suchlike. It is nothing more than a form of theater. They also regard Christian rituals in the same way.

                            If materialism is an accurate and complete account of reality, then they’re right: it’s nothing more than emotive pageantry. Still, if that’s all it is, then we should at least take seriously the fact that there are people who wish to express in ritual a desire to “disrupt, distort [and] destroy.” […]

                            But what if materialism’s account of reality is untrue? What if there really is something actual going on with religion? That is, what if people who perform religious rites — Catholics, Taoists, witches, everyone — are not simply expressing how they feel, but truly making contact with the numinous, and engaging its power? […]

                            Ask yourself, if only as a thought experiment: if the people in Tara Isabella Burton’s report are in touch with actual dark spiritual forces, and trying to invoke or otherwise activate them to affect people and events in the material world, what does that mean? Can your settled pieties, secular and otherwise, afford to take them seriously? is what I’m asking.

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                              Nowadays, a racist is someone who wants a colorblind society and an end to universities’ race-based admissions practices, both of which are in keeping with the original public meaning of the 14th Amendment and only possible because Christianity revolutionized our view of human moral equality and dignity. An anti-racist, if you can believe it, demonizes all whites just because they’re white and is happy to see the return of all-black (i.e., segregated) dorms.

                              Social justice means recognizing group rights, tossing out the presumption of innocence (recall l’affaire Kavanaugh), and affording special privileges to people based on the unchosen circumstances of their birth. What was wrong with plain old justice—rendering to each his due?

                              Tolerance means that Christians play their assigned role: meekly accepting secular subservience and social ostracization while the Left beats the war drums, fanatically pushing abortion on demand until the moment of birth and beyond, sexual chaos, and socialism.

                              Inclusion means, “You’re only part of the in-group if you swallow hook, line, and sinker progressivism’s dreary historical materialism”—not, “All are welcome.”

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                                Orwell’s work illustrates a point made by Josef Goebbels and swallowed whole by the proponents of identity politics in our day: “The essence of propaganda is not in variety, but rather the forcefulness and persistence with which one selects ideas from the larger pool and hammers them into the masses using the most varied methods.” Hammering in a few selected ideas is at the farthest remove from genuine liberal education, whose aim is to free both mind and spirit and to engage the whole person with reality, including what actually happens. It is still possible, even now, to hide one’s face in a great book. And rumors of real conversations persist.

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                                  In related news yesterday, a (lefty anti-Trump, anti-GOP, anti-Breitbart, etc.) Google employee who co-organized a recent employee walkout has quit. Unlike James Damore, this now-former Google employee, Claire Stapleton, was not fired: her departure was voluntary. It comes after management awarded her and her team a “Culture Award” for organizing the walkout. Here’s management’s statement about her departure:

                                  “To reiterate, we don’t tolerate retaliation. Our employee relations team did a thorough investigation of her claims and found no evidence of retaliation. They found that Claire’s management team supported her contributions to our workplace, including awarding her their team Culture Award for her role in the Walkout.”

                                  Here’s Ms. Stapleton’s Medium post describing why she quit: https://medium.com/@GoogleWalkout/why-a-googlewalkout-organizer-left-google-26d1e3fbe317

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                                    Link to the resolutions (a long PDF): https://cdpconvention.org/assets/pdfs/Resolutions%20Packet%20053019.pdf

                                    Excerpts, emphasis added:

                                    WHEREAS, Protecting First Amendment rights is critical, but is also limited to exclude hate speech using the concept that offending statements first should be viewed through the lens of the party experiencing the hate, and that Jews, LatinX, African-American, Asian Pacific Islander, Muslims, Disabilities and LGBTI communities can be targets of oppression and hate speech for a variety of reasons.

                                    WHEREAS while our constitutional right to free speech make it difficult to prevent all incitements to persecution and violence, we must protect the lives and liberty of those targeted by hate speech, law enforcement should understand the connections between hate speech and violence and they should monitor and track such hateful activities both in public and on-line

                                    But there is no exemption in the First Amendment for “hate speech.” And even the progressive left hasn’t officially proposed a constitutional amendment to carve one out. No chance they’ll try to to surreptitiously add such a prohibition by persuading courts to creatively discover penumbral “anti-hate speech” emanations. Right?

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                                      Here’s a link to the press release from Harmeet Dhillon, the attorney representing the plaintiffs: https://www.dhillonlaw.com/lawsuits/google-discrimination/

                                      The ruling itself: https://www.dhillonlaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Google-Employee-Discrimination-Class-Action-Ruling.pdf

                                      An initial plaintiff in the litigation was James Damore, probably the best known (former) employee of Google fired for daring to dissent from progressive orthodoxy. Last fall, Mr. Damore and another plaintiff agreed to private arbitration and dropped out of the case. It continues with the remaining plaintiffs.

                                      Plaintiffs have overcome only an initial hurdle, and still have a bunch more they need to jump. Excerpts from the ruling are below.

                                      Google contends that the Political Subclass is not ascertainable because plaintiffs plead no objective criteria to identify applicants who engaged in “conservative” activity; they allege no rule, regulation, policy, or practice common to the class and thus no community of interest; and the class proceedings they propose are not manageable because such proceedings would require extensive inquiry into millions of applicants’ public and application information.

                                      The Court indeed has doubts regarding the viability of the putative Political Subclass claims on each of these grounds. However, it is not prepared to find at the pleading stage that there is “no reasonable possibility that the requirements for class certification will be satisfied” as to these claims. […]

                                      Google contends that class discovery on the Political Subclass will be unmanageable. It points to practical issues with regard to identifying members of the putative class that are real and may well prove insurmountable for plaintiffs. Still, for the reasons already discussed, the Court will not bar plaintiffs from attempting to prove that a class can be certified on the novel theory they allege. Notably, many of the sources of information that Google contends cannot be manageably searched, such as historical social media data and other public platforms, are likely not within Google’s possession, custody, or control in the first place; others, such as applications, resumes, and applicants’ communications with Google, are equally relevant to the putative class claims alleging race and gender discrimination. For these reasons, it is unlikely that leaving the putative Political Subclass in the mix will dramatically impact class discovery. […]

                                      Ultimately, it will be plaintiffs’ burden to show that certification of the Political Subclass is appropriate. The Court anticipates that this will not be an easy burden to satisfy; however, the pleadings do not establish that there is no reasonable possibility it can be met.

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                                        Excerpt from this AJC story about the same professor: https://www.ajc.com/news/local-education/georgia-professor-immigration-comments-cause-stir-social-media/17i7NphdnCroxthP0Sz5hJ/

                                        “If you are going to to reward illegal immigrants, there will be more illegal immigrants,” he said.

                                        Zhou said he has plenty of students who disagree with his viewpoints, some have sent him hate mail. Critics, he said, must come with information to defend their position.

                                        “To make a convincing argument, please present evidence,” Zhou said.

                                        Clearly hate speech!

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                                          This is well argued. It’s David French at his best. Mr. French has come under some fire in the last few weeks (see this), but there may be no better writers today when we’re talking about the Supreme Court and freedom of religion.

                                          This essay also correctly points out the problems with the Supreme Court choosing to decide cases narrowly. It doesn’t really resolve the issue. Worse, in religious freedom cases, it gives governments a road map: To put a devout Christian baker out of business for remaining true to his or her beliefs, follow this path, check these boxes, make these findings, and you’ll likely get away with it. That uppity, noisome Christian will be bankrupt. Good luck!

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                                            So a prominent pastor posted the below paragraph on Facebook in April 2016. Then, in December 2018, Facebook staff noticed it (or a political adversary called it to Facebook’s attention) and the pastor had his account temporarily suspended.

                                            April 9, 2016— Bruce Springsteen, a long-time gay rights activist, has cancelled his North Carolina concert. He says the NC law #HB2 to prevent men from being able to use women’s restrooms and locker rooms is going ‘backwards instead of forwards.’ Well, to be honest, we need to go back! Back to God. Back to respecting and honoring His commands. Back to common sense. Mr. Springsteen, a nation embracing sin and bowing at the feet of godless secularism and political correctness is not progress. I’m thankful North Carolina has a governor, Pat McCrory, and a lieutenant governor, Dan Forest, and legislators who put the safety of our women and children first! HB2 protects the safety and privacy of women and children and preserves the human rights of millions of faith-based citizens of this state.

                                            It’s sure nice to be able to talk in a place where you don’t have to worry about being #Zucked.