Monthly Archives: May 2019

Separating Religion and State is intentional and there’s no reason to change it.

*DEEP sigh*

Okay, so we’ll break it down one more time:

From Wiki (yes, it’s that easy to find):
Here’s what the Constitution actually SAYS in the First Amendment:
First Amendment to the United States Constitution

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”[1]

The Prohibition:
Congress shall make no law respecting
Okay… so respecting about, or pertaining, to WHAT?

Part 1, before the comma:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,
So we know that respecting means “about or pertaining to”…
SO… Congress is as of this point under a Blanket Prohibition which specifically prohibits them from using Law to speak about an establishment of religion… can’t say ANYTHING in Law, either for it or against it.

What’s an establishment?
So… here’s that bit:

[ih-stab-lish-muhnt] Show IPA noun
1. the act or an instance of establishing.
2. the state or fact of being established.
3. something established; a constituted order or system.
4. ( often initial capital letter ) the existing power structure in society; the dominant groups in society and their customs or institutions; institutional authority (usually preceded by the ): The Establishment believes exploring outer space is worth any tax money spent.
5. ( often initial capital letter ) the dominant group in a field of endeavor, organization, etc. (usually preceded by the ): the literary Establishment.

From Jon Grouberts’ wifes’ hard copy of Blacks Dictionary of law regarding The Establishment Clause;

Such language prohibits a state or the federal government from setting up a church, or passing laws which aid one, or all, religions, or giving preference to one religion, or forcing belief or disbelief in any religion.”

So to translate this into modern English:
Congress may not EVER use Law to speak about Religion, they also may not EVER limit the freedom of speech, or the freedom of the Press, or restrict the Right of the People to peaceably assemble to demand a redress of grievances from the government.”

Seems pretty crystal clear to me. In short – Government may NOT ever use Law to support religion, but they ALSO can not ever use Law to stop you from supporting it in your private* life.

*Private life = as a private Citizen, as opposed to as a member of our government.

To put a finer point on it:
You’re more than welcome to pray or read your holy book pretty much anytime and anywhere you please, but you are not permitted to use a government position (say as a court clerk or publicly funded school teacher) to force others to comply with your beliefs.

So… if you want to read your bible on your lunch… fine. If you want to refuse to issue marriage licenses for gays in a State where gay marriage is legal… not fine. This last is called “Using a government position in an attempt to enforce your religious beliefs upon others.”

As to claims that “This doesn’t apply to the States.”

Sorry, wrong. If for no other reason than the Fact that marriage is, under the Law, a privilege* which offers immunities.**

Here’s the full Answer to that blatantly false claim…

U.S. Constitution, Amendment XIV
Section 1.

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Since the several States explicitly agreed to be legally bound by this language through the process of Ratification…. Yes, sorry, it does apply. Further, because of the explicit agreement from the several States, it applies directly and specifically to the States.

For those unclear on the concept:

Approval or confirmation of a previous contract or other act that would not otherwise be binding in the absence of such approval. If an employer ratifies the unauthorized acts of an employee, those actions become binding on the employer. A person who is under the legal age to enter into a contract may ratify (and thereby adopt) the contract when he or she reaches majority, or may refuse to honor the contract without obligation.

We Ratified this Amendment (= change or revision) in 1868 and though large parts of the provisions have been un-enforced the actual words still mean the exact same thing: “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge (means injure, limit, or damage) the privileges or immunities of Citizens of the United States,…”
Note carefully that there are precisely zero exceptions contained in this language. That’s intentional!

The other reason we think this limitation is in the First Amendment to Our Constitution is because (as noted here and thanks for the heads up to Roger Simpson) one of the folks who wrote our Constitution said as much repeatedly.

From the above comment:

Simply put, President Jefferson wrote to the Danbury Baptist Association why he would not proclaim national days of fasting and thanksgiving. In his letter, he wrote that:

“I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”

As to what he meant by that, it is easy to see. Jefferson was the author of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom (of which he was more proud than writing the Declaration of Independence), which states:

“… no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities”

I’ve had some additional thoughts come up as a result of the comments and discussions below…

First is that I glossed over the free exercise bit, so here it is. I’d note that this part seems just as absolute as the rest does.
“or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
This, quite blatantly prohibits federal government; and since the 14th Amendment, ALL government, from doing 2 things:
1) Saying that you can’t practice your religion as a private Citizen.
2) Imposing ANY form of religion which you didn’t choose upon you.

So this sword of the First Amendment cuts both ways, as we’ve seen in the cases of American Indian religions which have successfully challenged drug laws with this.

*Reply to an appologist claiming that the Constitution allows religion in Law by using quotes from the original body of the Constitution*

Yes, that’s the original language which was changed by Amendment via Ratification by the States.

Everything religious apologists claim about the original words of Our Constitution WAS true. It was also CHANGED in 1868, BECAUSE they were seeing a de facto trend in government (State and Federal) towards religious activism using laws and regulations. This change was the First Amendment which says, quite clearly:
“Congress shall make no law respecting (about) an establishment (organization in general) of religion…”

The direct, semantic, translation of that to modern language is, as I said, “Congress shall not use Law to speak about Religion. Neither for it, nor against it.”

Since this language was explicitly agreed to (Ratified) by the several States and the language of the 14th Amendment was also Ratified, that change in the First Amendment also applies to States.

Basically what the 14th says is that ALL Citizens of any State are also Citizens of the USA. Then it goes on to say that States may offer Citizens of the United States MORE Rights and Protections than the US Constitution does; but may not ever offer fewer rights and protections that the United States Constitution does.

Because the Several States explicitly, and legally, agreed to this language in the 14th Amendment through Ratification of it, those changes to Our Constitution apply directly to the States.

Now: Here’s the grand convenient “error” so many religious apologists make in this area of discussion…

The United States Constitution and its Amendments (means changes to) are not, in any way, shape, or form, “different things.”

These Amendments are all part and parcel of the same supreme law. We merely retain the original (superseded/changed by Amendment) language, by tradition and intent, so that everyone (Citizens and Legislators) can track these changes and monitor them.

I’d also note that the intent of the First Amendment is made even clearer because one of the unchanged parts of the original Constitution (Article 6 last paragraph) also says, quite clearly, that:

“… no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

This paragraph is especially interesting in that, while it deals specifically with the issue of Religion in Government that the First Amendment addresses, it was intentionally left unchanged by the Amendment.

IF what religious apologists claim were true, (that religion belongs in our government) then any sane, reasonable, persons would have addressed and changed this Article 6 prohibition on religious tests with the First Amendment.
They, most emphatically, did not do that in the First Amendment which was Ratified (explicitly agreed to by the several States) just 4 years after the signing of the original Constitution.

With these Facts included in the picture, it is an utterly disengenuious obfuscation to claim that there was ANY intention to permit religion any entre into our government because this “oops we missed that bit” of the Bill of Rights just 4 years later would have been the perfect opportunity to make that clear.

Instead they chose to bolt the door, after slamming it on religion in government, by saying “Congress shall pass no Law respecting an establishment of religion…”

Sorry there’s just zero wiggle room in these Facts, no matter how badly apologists want to “create” some.

This has been an awesome, incredibly valuable, discussion and I’m grateful to this community for bringing a large dose of sanity, fact and reason to the comments below; in what is a very difficult, emotionally fraught discussion. Kudos to all!

The truth about policing

Whenever a cop abuses their authority (which.. To be perfectly clear is only LOANED to them by us in our name) to harm a person who’s done nothing wrong there’s several places I place the blame:

  • First and foremost the lions share of the blame goes to the cop who abused their authority and their oath to protect our Constitution.
  • The next largest share of the blame goes to the ostensibly good cops who struck themselves blind and mute in order to protect the false sanctity of the Thin Blue Line, in the exact same way Catholic bishops did to CYA for child molesters in the church.
  • Don’t try to tell me this shit of cops LYING doesn’t happen or that it’s “an aberration.” It isn’t and we both know it. I’m sorry the Truth hurts folks, and standing silent in the face of Evil IS Evil! Zero excuses. If y’all want to point at a mess on my kitchen counter, y’all need to clean your OWN damned house first.
  • Next the balance of the blame goes to the ass hats who decided it was a good idea to train cops to believe that ordinary citizens are The Enemy.
  • The fuck wad cuntmuffins who thought that allowing corporate fascists to profit from human misery was A Okay.
  • I also blame every congresscritter whose ever supported the fascist, racist, false flag, CIA supplied , War on Drugs .
  • (Looking STRAIGHT at you here Hillary)Marco Rubio and Hillary Clinton Accepted Almost the Same Amount of Prison Lobbyist Donations

Michael A Woods Jr called this shit out when he blew the whistle on the entire Boston PD as an anonymous Twitter account 4 years ago, and more recently out in the open.

Y’all want my respect? Y’all want my cooperation? EARN IT by standing T.F. Up when you run across these Shitweasels As Michael A Woods Jr did. Y’all know who they are as well as I do. Probably better.

As Answered: When a cop abuses his power and hurts private citizens do you blame the cop or system that trained him?

Our NBFU Gig Economy

I’ve been watching what we’re calling the gig economy since its beginning and it’s a really interesting thing.

I need to say up front, as a life long Electical Engineer and Field Service Technician, that I have little to no respect for the field of Economics Theory as a “science” because it really isn’t a science and isn’t used or empirically tested as actual Scientific Theory would be. This Fact makes Economic Theory an art rather than a science every bit as much as painting pictures or sculpting marble is an art. Arts don’t require any relationship to verifiable, testable, disprovable, fact. Science does.

Ergo: Economic Theory is strictly an art, and yes; I will fight you on this until such time as the parameters and results of Economic Theories can be empirically tested in the lab using instrumentation and without the use of psychology (another art).

From: xkcd

As with traditional jobs, and depending entirely upon how it’s structured, gig work can be a huge boon to both the buyer and the worker, or it can serve the buyer and absolutely screw the worker.

Here’s the difference between those two outcomes.

When applied through an open medium like Craigslist, (which is where this whole thing started in the modern age) gig jobs and gig skills get advertised and organically matched in a way which serves both the buyer and seller. The seller has complete control over the wage they get and the buyer has complete control over the wage they pay. Where these two meet a gig job is created via mutual agreement. If the wage offered is too low there’s an opportunity for the seller to counter-offer a higher wage or other concessions. If the wage demanded is too high there’s an opportunity for the buyer to offer a lower wage or other inducements.. But.. And here’s the critical part:

If there is a mismatch where the sellers don’t feel served by the terms offered, the job goes begging; and this metric applies in BOTH sides of the transaction equally.

This is the best case for a gig job and a gig worker. It’s essentially equivalent to walking into a shop electronically and negotiating with the owner to have a table built. This process allows the seller to account for all their costs and profit in setting the end price. It ALSO allows the buyer to limit price according to their budget for the task. Now let’s look at the worst case:

Uber and Lyft

With these two “Gig-Economy” jobs an app is used to “match” buyers and sellers with a dictated pay scale based upon hidden demand metrics which the buyer and seller each have zero control over except to walk away from the gig on offer. There’s no opportunity to negotiate terms or rate for either party. There’s no opportunity to account for your costs in providing a service or product, and there’s no opportunity to limit costs by offering better non-cash terms. The (variable) rate paid is dictated to both parties by the company and the company skims a percentage of the transaction (rather than a flat fee as Craigslist does) right off the top.

This dynamic introduced by the app (which is designed into it) changes the ground level dynamic of the exchange from one where both the buyer and seller get to account for their needs in negotiating a match into one where the buyer and seller are forced to an Accept Or Reject choice rather than a true gig where the terms are negotiated.

There’s also a huge, and onerous, list of requirements dictated by the company, and a ranking/buyer feedback component, without a matching seller ranking/feedback component, which effectively places all power to dictate terms in the hands of the buyer without any regard for the sellers fixed costs.

This is the problem, and that single mismatch of power in the transaction makes the Gig-Economy a straight rip-off from the worker’s perspective.

If Lyft and Uber didn’t have those requirements they dictate it might be a marginally better deal for the worker but those mandates are there.

Here’s the difference: In a cab company there are fixed expenses and if the company is to survive it MUST account for those vehicle, insurance, taxes, fuel, maintenance, medallion (permit), and etc. expenses in its rates to customers.

With the gig app (as it’s currently set up) there’s zero need from the company’s standpoint, (or more importantly the buyers standpoint) to account for any of those things except when they hit the point where sellers start walking away completely.

Here’s what those requirements looked like in ‘14.

Lyft says its drivers can make $35 an hour. I spent a week driving to see if that’s true.

This set up transfers ALL the legitimate costs of running a business from the company to the workers (sellers) and, with the same hand, takes away the ability of the worker (seller) to negotiate any terms to account for their fixed costs in their wage.

The results are that Lyft and Uber get to skim pure profits off of transactions without having to pay for any maintenance or equipment costs.

This tactic is directly equivalent to a factory owner forcing workers to buy the machines making the product and then refusing to perform, or pay for, any maintenance of that equipment.

Which gives us this today:

‘Uber is a rip-off for its drivers and the public’: Cab Drivers Protest Rideshares in Chicago

Federal Lawsuit: Lyft drivers being underpaid by company

Greedy Lying Bastards