Poll: Significant minority supports religious freedom for some, not all

I’ve previously argued that the current “religious freedom” bandwagon is little more than a smokescreen for Christian theocracy, especially since it seems to have been an explicit reaction to the marriage equality victories around the country. A new AP poll suggests I’m right, but not to the extent I thought.

Eighty-two percent said religious liberty protections were important for Christians, compared with 61 percent who said the same for Muslims. About seven in 10 said preserving Jews’ religious freedom was important, while 67 percent said so of Mormons.

I expected the Muslim number to be far lower, but that leaves 21% of adults who think, like Rick Santorum in a recent GOP debate, that religious liberty applies to Christianity but not Islam.

And surprisingly, the numbers aren’t that different for Republicans and Democrats.

2015 Predictions Mostly True — With Some Surprises

Some had hoped Zuckerberg’s generosity would be the story of the year. They were disappointed.

 

As 2015 comes to a close and we begin the start of a new election year — and, fingers crossed, a new trajectory for the country away from hyper-focus on social issues and more of a balanced approached toward leadership — it’s interesting to look back and see if what the pundits predicted about the last year came true, and what they may have missed.

The Washington Examiner, back in January, laid out a list of five stories they thought would top the news cycle for the year, leading with the horse race for the GOP nomination. They also wondered if anyone would challenge Hillary Clinton, and if the economy would be the primary policy issue for office seekers.

While their musings on what Obama’s next move would be fell flat — turns out he really isn’t all that much a man of action — they certainly got the GOP presidential race right because who in their right mind could have predicted the ascendency of Donald Trump (and, hopefully, his slow fade to black as more and more people get wise to his brand of beat-you-over-the-head-with-your-basest-desires brand of advertising)?

The Electability Argument: Romney 2012 vs Rubio 2016

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It might seem counterintuitive, but losing an election doesn’t mean you weren’t “electable”.

In 2012, one of the main arguments for Mitt Romney as the Republican nominee was that he was the most electable. This point is usually supported by favorability polls and subtle campaign factors like wide, not specific or tribalist, general election appeal.

Romney’s claim of electability in 2012 was based on this data. His favorability varied quite a bit, but was positive from early summer right up to election day. More people liked him than didn’t, in the end. Unfortunately Obama had a comparable favorability rating; he wasn’t the unpopular figure most Republicans assumed he was.

As we all know, Romney lost. He wasn’t as electable as he thought, but he was still the most electable of the Republican candidates at the time. Rick Santorum’s favorability rating was almost never in positive territory. Newt Gingrich was one of the least popular politicians in the country, two weeks after he won the South Carolina primary.

This year the electability argument has come back around again, primarily as a point in favor of Marco Rubio. As a young, well-spoken conservative with minority immigrant parents, a middle-class history, and solid grasp of current cultural trends, his appeal is broader than the Republican party has seen in ages.

The War Against Cash, Part I

http://www.slate.com/content/dam/slate/articles/news_and_politics/intelligence_squared/2011/10/111021_IQ2_danielMitchellFW.jpg.CROP.original-original.jpg

This is the first in a two-part series, originally published at International Liberty. ~ Ed.

 

Politicians hate cash.

That may seem an odd assertion given that they love spending money (other people’s money, of course, as illustrated by this cartoon).

But what I’m talking about is the fact that politicians get upset when there’s not 100 percent compliance with tax laws.

They hate tax havens since the option of a fiscal refuge makes confiscatory taxation impractical.

They hate the underground economy because that means hard-to-tax economic activity.

And they hate cash because it gives consumers an anonymous payment mechanism.

Let’s explore the animosity to cash.

It’s basically because a cashless society is an easier-to-tax society, as expressed by an editorial from the U.K.-based Financial Times.

Obama Welcomes Terrorists, Shuns Allies

If we have learned nothing else from the Obama years, it is that Obama cannot be trusted. In his first days in office he insulted one of our strongest allies, England, when he returned a bust of former Prime Minister Winston Churchill (and in the first attempted assassination by boredom, Obama later sent to Queen Elizabeth an iPod containing a collection of his speeches). This was followed by truly dangerous actions, which put our allies in harm’s way, as with his decision to renege on our commitment to Poland and the Czech Republic to build a missile shield in Eastern Europe as a firewall against Russian aggression. Obama instead sent Hillary to Russia with a “reset” button for Putin, and we all know how disastrously that turned out.

Yet none have felt the consequences of Obama’s betrayal as harshly as have our allies whom he abandoned in Iraq and Afghanistan after making the decision to unilaterally withdraw U.S. forces against the recommendations of his senior theater commanders and top military advisers. Claiming he was leaving behind a “stable, sovereign, and self-reliant Iraq”, Obama left them to fend for themselves. In the vacuum created by the exit of American forces, we have witnessed the resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan, as well as the rise of the most brutal, murderous Islamist terror regime we’ve seen to date, ISIS.

Climate Change Consensus and the First Amendment

Following the COP21 Paris Climate Conference last week, wherein, as Rich Lowery writes, an agreement was reached on the agreement — and not much else — I was reminded of a speech by author Michael Crichton (you may know him as the writer of Jurassic Park, but he was also a graduate of medical school and a rather accomplished researcher, so he was arguably a legitimate scientist in his own right) gave on the danger of “consensus” scientific inquiry and results. That is to say, believing something is true because everyone says it is. Crichton is much more eloquent in his speech, remarkably given at CalTech way back in 2003 and titled “Aliens Cause Global Warming”:

I want to pause here and talk about this notion of consensus, and the rise of what has been called consensus science. I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled.

Should Taxpayers Be Forced to Fund a Climate Change Advocacy Group?

 

While is clear that both scientists and the public continue to debate whether there is any significant amount of global warming occurring, or the separate question of whether human activity on the Earth is causing it, it is clear to many that the advocacy of public policy supposedly remedying “climate change” is a separate issue. While leaders of many nations convened in Paris to work out another global warming accord, the United Nations, with the support of several partnering groups, organized a campaign to convince the world to support the global warming agenda.

The agenda becomes very clear when it’s revealed what the goal of the campaign really is to gain support for a massive international re-distribution of wealth from the wealthiest nations to the less economically successful nations of the world. There is no doubt that much of the costs of this will be paid by U.S. taxpayers.

“Whether anything substantive happen[ed] at all in Paris is still up in the air, as developed and developing nations squabbl[ed], among other things, over whether and how to provide a $100 billion annual transfer from rich to poor nations as part of the agreement, and over how the greenhouse gas promises might actually be measured,” Fox News reported.

The campaign, designed to create a “bandwagon effect” of mindless support for the extreme global warming agenda of wealth redistribution, carbon taxes, etc. was organized by the UN and is supported by the United Nations Foundation and the Energy Future Coalition.

Good News and Good Laughs for Supporters of the Second Amendment

I almost feel sorry for the gun-control crowd.

They keep trying to convince themselves that people are on their side, but schemes to restrict the 2nd Amendment keep getting defeated on Capitol Hill.

And when a handful of state governments go against the trend and try to trample on constitutional rights to gun ownership, politicians get tossed out of office and gun owners engage in massive civil disobedience.

Now we get to the icing on the cake.

The New York Times just released polling data showing that a majority of Americans are against banning so-called assault weapons. Look at the bottom line and see how the numbers have dramatically moved in the right direction.

These results are especially remarkable because many non-gun owners probably think “assault weapon” refers to a machine gun.

PC Security Policies Welcoming In Jihadists

Last night’s GOP debate focused on foreign policy and national security. It’s a good thing, too, because the stratospheric levels of unbridled incompetence and militant political correctness that is the hallmark of the Obama administration should terrify each and every American. Even in the aftermath of the ISIS-inspired attack in San Bernardino, which left 14 dead and 21 wounded, the Obama administration is doubling down on its PC policies, and in the process putting the lives of each and every American at increased risk.

With multiple investigations underway into Islamist terrorists Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik following the San Bernardino attack, reports are revealing that what can only be termed political correctness on the part of the Obama administration has directly contributed to an inability to prevent the deaths of U.S. citizens.

Despite strong protests from senior officials within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Obama administration refused to end a secret policy which prohibited security officials from reviewing the social media posts of foreign citizens attempting to obtain visas for entry into the United States. This was due to the fear of DHS Director Jeh Johnson that the policy might create “bad public relations”.

Speaking to ABC News, former acting Under-secretary for Intelligence and Analysis at DHS, John Cohen, reported that “During that time period immigration officials were not allowed to use or review social media as part of the screening process…The primary concern was that it would be viewed negatively if it was disclosed publicly and there were concerns that it would be embarrassing.”

Trump, and Cruz, and Civil Discourse

Just in time for tonight’s debate, Donald Trump spread his particular brand of Holiday joy at a gathering last night in Vegas, near where the GOP debate is scheduled to take place. Here’s a rather astonishing takedown of the event, where apparently things looked more like the beginnings of a bar brawl rather than a serious campaign speech. And the man himself was crucial in keeping blood boiling. Here’s a disturbing snippet:

Trump, meanwhile, gleefully narrated the madness from his podium like a tabloid talk show host presiding over an on-camera brawl between guests — egging on the confrontation, whipping the audience into a frenzy, and basking in his fans’ celebratory chants.

“Trump! Trump! Trump! Trump!”

“This is what we should have been doing to the other side for the last seven years!” Trump exclaimed during one of the scuffles with protesters.

At several points, Trump berated the reporters in the room for taking pictures of the clashes. “They are terrible!” Trump hissed of the press. “The worst!” Hundreds of riled-up Trump fans turned to face the press corps, and booed loudly.

 


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