Daily Recap — June 4

“Justice is the foremost virtue of the civilizing races. It subdues the barbarous nations, while injustice arouses the weakest.”

— Jose Rizal


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A VICTORY FOR FAITH

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Of sorts.

Today’s 7-2 Supreme Court decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission is a big win for the religious liberty of all Americans. The court made it clear that hostility toward religion has no place in America, least of all in our government.

At the center of Masterpiece Cakeshop is Jack Phillips, the Christian cake artist who, because of his faith, could not in good conscience bake a cake for a homosexual marriage ceremony. The court held that the state of Colorado was “neither tolerant nor respectful” of Phillips’s beliefs about marriage. The court pointed out that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission showed “clear and impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious beliefs motivating his objection.”

The court also noted “religious and philosophical objections to gay marriage are protected views and in some instances protected forms of expression.” Which is why the Colorado Commission should have respected Phillips’s views about marriage and this should have never gone to court in the first place. It’s absurd.

What’s worse is this same commission ruled that three other bakers who’d refused to bake anti-gay cakes did not violate the anti-discrimination statute when they declined to make cakes with religious messages opposing homosexuality. And yet the commission held that Phillips violated the anti-discrimination statute when he declined to create a cake celebrating a same-sex wedding. One can hardly think of a more clear-cut double standard. 

The Trump-appointed Neil Gorsuch, who has worried me in the past, came through with some solid common sense today, noting that either all 4 of the bakers broke the statute, or none did:

[T]here’s no indication the bakers actually intended to refuse service because of a customer’s protected characteristic. We know this because all of the bakers explained without contradiction that they would not sell the requested cakes to anyone, while they would sell other cakes to members of the protected class (as well as to anyone else).

Of course, the baker has been portrayed as a hateful Christian bigot, as the Left are so keen to do. But as usual, their narrative bears little to no resemblance to the facts. 

Phillips didn’t discriminate based on sexual orientation when he refused to design and bake a cake for a same-sex wedding. He didn’t take his customer’s sexual orientation into consideration at all. He declined to use his artistic abili­ties to create a custom cake to celebrate a same-sex wedding because he objected to same-sex marriage, based on the common Christian belief that marriage is a holy union between man and woman under God. 

It wasn’t his customer’s identity that motivated Phillips at all. As Phillips said to the gay couple, “I’ll make you birthday cakes, shower cakes, sell you cookies and brownies, I just don’t make cakes for same-sex weddings.” He sought only to avoid complicity in what he considered one distortion of marriage among oth­ers—as shown by his refusal to create divorce cakes as well.

You can read the entire SCOTUS opinion here:

 

 


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THE BAD NEWS: 

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While this was certainly a victory for Jack Phillips and Masterpiece Cakeshop, it’s far from any sort of milestone in protecting religious liberty.  This case was decided on the narrowest grounds imaginable—that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission during its consideration of the case had shown anti-religious bias. The result was a decision that provides almost no guidance for lower courts facing similar cases. “In this case,” as America’s wannabe philosopher king Anthony Kennedy wrote, “the adjudication concerned a context that may well be different going forward.” Thus, “the outcome of cases like this in other circumstances must await further elaboration in the courts.”

In other words, some other gay person could walk into Masterpiece right now, request a gay wedding cake and sue for not receiving it. This ruling was against the Colorado Civil Rights commission, not against the depraved gay activists who initiated it. 

Kennedy’s opinion began by setting out his vision of the conflict of two constitutional principles. “The first is the authority of a state … to protect the rights and dignity of gay persons who are, or wish to be, married”; the second is “the right of all persons to exercise fundamental freedoms under the First Amendment.” Jack Phillips claimed the commission’s order violated his rights of free speech and free exercise; Kennedy found him half right. The opinion was written entirely in terms of “free exercise” of religion—a narrower ground than the free-speech argument.

I suppose the good news is that more definitive rulings may be issued in the coming weeks to months, as there are many other cases in the pipeline that may soon give the court the opportunities to sort through the legal issues at the center of the Masterpiece Cakeshop case. One is Ingersoll v. Arlene’s Flowers, in which a florist shop refused to sell flowers to a gay couple for their wedding. The Washington state Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the shop had no constitutional right to turn the couple away, and a petition for review by the U.S. Supreme Court remains pending. 

The SCOTUS will decide whether to take that and many other cases next Monday. I have to be honest, though, the language used today doesn’t make me feel very hopeful. Kennedy tends to be the swing vote in these types of cases and he was fairly explicit today in his support of the State’s right to enforce equality laws on private business. 

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HIDDEN PART OF THIS STORY:

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No one is mentioning this but it could bite us in the rear end in the near future. Justice Kennedy ranted on for a while about the anti-religious statements made by Commission. That may seem like a breath of fresh air to those who have been waiting forever to hear someone take anti-religious bigots to task, but it may not bode well for future rulings.

Specifically, I’m referring to the upcoming travel ban case, which has yet to receive a definitive ruling. if you’ll recall, a big part of the opposition case involves statements made by PDT on the campaign trail regarding Muslims and #KeepingThemTheHellOutOfOurCountry. 

If Kennedy saw the public statements of officials as carrying considerable weight in this case, what’s to stop him from doing so in the future? If he factors PDT’s statements into his travel ban ruling, it likely won’t be good news for us. Of course, this would require logical consistency on Kennedy’s part, which hasn’t been his strong suit through the years, but it could be problematic nonetheless.

Let’s hope he has a level-headed day when that ruling is issued.

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BIG PICTURE:

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It’s a bittersweet ruling. While the anti-Christian bigotry of the Colorado Civil Rights commission was certainly taken to task, nothing was done to protect religious liberty long term. 

Basically, the commission just got busted for applying double standards. But the Court voiced no opposition to the standards being in place to start with, which is the Constitutional question everyone wants answered.

In this writer’s opinion, we need at least one more conservative justice on the SCOTUS to issue a definitive ruling to protect private business from compelled transactions. It’s a damn shame to say such a thing, since no one in a free country should be compelled to do business with any damn body, but that’s political landscape as I see it.

I hope it changes, for the sake of our country. 

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ROCKET MAN CLEANING HOUSE

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We have what could, I repeat, could be a hopeful sign coming out of the Rocket Man regime. 

Lil Kim has reportedly replaced all three of his top generals…at once.

To be sure, turnover is nothing new for Rocket Man, Inc. In fact, he may be the only leader on Earth who changes out people more often than PDT. Kim has proved himself ruthless in eliminating rivals. He killed his exiled half-brother, Kim Jong Nam, a potential rival who was poisoned with a toxic nerve agent in Malaysia last year. Kim also executed five senior government officials with anti-aircraft guns.

Charming guy.

The most recent changes were not violent and appear to be in line with ongoing efforts to prevent any one leader or group of leaders from accumulating too much power.

it’s the timing, along with the scope, of these changes that have gotten the attention of analysts like myself.  

Kim’s overhaul of his top military leadership comes only a week before a planned summit with PDT, which leads many of us in the foreign policy community to speculate that it’s a sign he’s worried about opposition from his powerful military heading into the talks.

The timing and scope aren’t the only things turning heads, though. The new generals he’s appointed as replacements are known to our intel as being more “liberal,” though that’s an admittedly relative term. What it means for sure, though, is that they’re more receptive to the warming relations with the U.S. and opening up the country’s economy, two things thate would go a very long way toward disarming those nukes. This is one of those rare cases when we should be celebrating the arrival of liberals.


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The military is the most powerful institution in North Korea, and its top leaders view the country’s nuclear arsenal as essential to its influence in the country. For many of the top brass, the very notion of disarming the nuclear program is sacreligious, as the construction and maintenance of nukes is as close to a religious tenet as an atheist regime such as theirs has. 

Kim’s latest overhaul may be designed to quell that opposition, though it is unclear whether Kim’s action is aimed at eliminating a threat before it emerged or whether he is reacting to growing discontent among military leaders. The fact that the former is so likely is a big deal, though, simply because it means there is opposition to quell, which means there is something to oppose, meaning he’s actually behaving seriously about disarming.

A very big deal, indeed. 

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BIG PICTURE:

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You may count me among the ranks of analysts who think this is a big deal.

It’s not so much the timing of the replacements or the rank of those involved, though those are certainly important facts. It’s the ideological bent of those he promoted that gives me hope.

South Korean intelligence briefed the SK parliament back in February about discontent within the NK armed forces, so this move isn’t completely surprising, but other factors now give us evidence of the nature of that discontent, which we now have reason to believe is political in nature.

As I said, that’s good. It shows the man at the top making moves in our direction, or at least the direction we’d like to see. Unfortunately, information always comes at a premium with the North Korean regime so that’s about as potent an analysis as I can provide at the moment.

I would keep my eyes on Rocket Man, though. Let’s hope these types of patterns continue to emerge, for the sake of peace. 

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CONGRESS BANS ZUCK FOR 30 DAYS

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Just kidding, but it would serve that little bastard right. 

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Hoeever, a Democrat congressman did hammer Zuck pretty good on social media today (ironically) following a report that Faceboook is sharing large amounts of its users’ data with other companies (other items included in the report are that water is wet and the sun is hot). 

“Sure looks like Zuckerberg lied to Congress about whether users have ‘complete control’ over who sees our data on Facebook,” Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) tweeted on Sunday, adding: “This needs to be investigated and the people responsible need to be held accountable.”


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Cicilline’s tweet came in response to a Sunday Failing New York Times story that detailed “far-reaching data partnerships” Facebook has established with roughly 60 device manufacturers, including Apple, Amazon, BlackBerry, Microsoft and Samsung over the last decade.

The partnerships allowed device makers to obtain Facebook user data like relationship status, religion and political leanings from users and also allowed for the sharing of the data of users’ Facebook friends.

Facebook had started to end these partnerships in April, according to the story.

The controversy revolves around questions over whether Facebook violated a 2011 agreement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that it would not override users’ privacy settings without first getting their expressed consent.

The FTC is already investigating Facebook over whether it violated this consent decree following revelations of how it handled user data in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, only because C.A. has brief connections to the Trump campaign, of course.


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Today, Facebook pushed back against the Failing New York Times’s report, saying that the data shared with the device makers was never abused.

“These partners signed agreements that prevented people’s Facebook information from being used for any other purpose than to recreate Facebook-like experiences,” wrote Ime Archibong, Facebook’s vice president of product partnerships.

“Contrary to claims by the New York Times, friends’ information, like photos, was only accessible on devices when people made a decision to share their information with those friends.”

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BIG PICTURE:

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I’m sure many people are stoked about the congressman firing shots in Zuck’s direction, but he’s not headed to jail anytime soon. First, he can afford a lot of lobbyists, which ultimately means he’s lining the pockets of the Swamp.

That’s a good way to stay out of jail.

Additionally, the agreements mentioned in the failing NYT report were reportedly ended by the time Zuck had to testify on the Hill, and even if they weren’t there are technicalities in regards to how data is shared that would likely leave Facebook in the clear. These people have good lawyers who write up good user agreements. They’re not stupid.

But a Democrat got some headlines in the paper for protecting everyone’s privacy.

Yay him!

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VOLCANO ERUPTS IN GUATEMALA

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The death toll from Guatemala’s Fuego volcano eruption keeps rising, and now more hazards threaten already-grieving residents.

 

At least 62 people were killed after the volcano erupted Sunday, spewing a river of lava and plumes of smoke almost 6 miles into the air. Only thirteen of the dead have been identified so far.
At least 15 people have been hospitalized, including 12 children — some of whom suffered severe burns.  Volcanic ash has already stretched across a 12-mile radius, and winds could carry the cloud even farther.
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Guatemala’s President Jimmy Morales has declared three days of national mourning.
 
 
Residents flee El Rodeo village after the Fuego volcano erupted.
All told, about 1.7 million people total are being affected by the massive eruption.
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Maybe you didn’t expect to see this story in the Recap, but I thought it prudent to remind ourselves that however bad our days were, they likely weren’t the worst. Not even close.
Hold your family close, kiss and hug them. We are blessed.
Please pray for these victims.
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NO ONE INVITED YOU ANYWAY

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It’s long been a great American tradition to invite the champions of our various major sports to the White House after they’ve won the title in their respective sport. That tradition has been shaky (at best) since PDT took office, as scores of pampered millionaire athletes can’t bring themselves to honor an invitation from the White House since its occupant has the audacity to tell them to shut up and honor the anthem. 

Enter the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles, who were only able to scrounge up a small contingent of their team to be honored at the White House. PDT wasn’t impressed, to say the least, and gave them the Rocket Man treatment, cancelling the event altogether:

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In case you’re wondering, yes, this is an unprecedented move by PDT. 

The NBA champion Golden State Warriors declined an invitation from the President to visit the White House after winning the 2017 championship, but presidents typically honor their invitations to championship teams, and he did in that case as well. Players also have refused those invitations in the past — Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas declined to visit the White House in 2012 because he didn’t want to pal around with Barry the communist. But this is the first time a POTUS has outright cancelled a team’s visit.

But Trump is nothing if not groundbreaking. 


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Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney released a statement, where he said Trump’s decision “proves that our President is not a true patriot.”
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“The Eagles call the birthplace of our democracy home, so it’s no surprise that this team embodies everything that makes our country and our city great. Their athletic accomplishments on the field led to an historic victory this year,” Kenney said.
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“Disinviting them from the White House only proves that our President is not a true patriot, but a fragile egomaniac obsessed with crowd size and afraid of the embarrassment of throwing a party to which no one wants to attend,” he later said in the statement.
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Such class acts, those Dims. And they wonder why PDT cancels garbage like the Fake News Correspondents Dinner and the upcoming White House summit with the Philadelphia chapter of Black Lives Matter, formerly known as the Eagles. 
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Meanwhile, Sen. Bob Casey, a Pennsylvania Dim, said he’s skipping the White House event, and instead invited the team to take a tour of the US Capitol.
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“I’m proud of what the @Eagles accomplished this year. I’m skipping this political stunt at the White House and just invited the Eagles to Congress. @Eagles How about a tour of the Capitol?” Casey wrote on Twitter.
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BIG PICTURE:

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What Dims like Kenney and Casey can’t seem to grasp, thankfully, is that yes, this is a political stunt……and one they fall for continuously.
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What I mean by that is PDT has seized on this issue to make political hay. Just like his fights with the media, he picks them because he knows he’ll win. The majority of the country still want to see the flag respected.
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When teams like the Eagles show their natural born asses over issues such as these, PDT is all too happy to lend them a megaphone. Meaningless platitudes such as what a “true patriot” would do in Trump’s position fall on deaf ears when issued by people who have stomped on the flag every week for a couple years now. The elite leftist establishment is shockingly tone-deaf on this issue, as they are with most anything related to the culture war.
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PDT will continue using this issue to bash Dims over the head because they make themselves all too willing participants. He knows how to navigate the culture war many of his opponents don’t even realize they’re in.
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And by the way, about that culture war…..he’s winning it. 
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We’re winning it. 
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Our enemies will learn that the hard way in 2020. 
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There it is, homeskillet. You know the drill: questions, comments, concerns, memes, insults, compliments, stickers, jokes, emojis and, if we have time, complaints.


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2 thoughts on “Daily Recap — June 4

  1. Kathryn Suzanne Sower June 5, 2018 — 2:29 am

    Gosh, what a great recap—“rocket man” is troubling & I strongly dislike NFL football & Zuck. Fantastic recap, no stress, no anxiety. Thank you, Trey.

  2. Great!

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