The legislation—which passed 290-137 in the House—is headed to the Senate, where Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has all but guaranteed its passage. President Joe Biden is expected to sign the bill into law swiftly, averting a railroad strike that some experts estimate could cost the U.S. economy upwards of $1 billion in the first week.
The bill passed by the House would provide railroad workers with 24% pay increases retroactive to 2020, immediate $11,000 payouts upon the legislation getting signed, and an extra paid day off. In a separate bill, the House approved a resolution to give workers seven days of paid sick leave instead of one, potentially giving railroad workers paid sick leave which they don’t currently have.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Friday, December 2, 2022. Persecution exists around the world -- including the US where so many work overtime to pretend they're fair while attacking groups of people.
Let's start with the deeply stupid. Notorious homophobe Jonathan Turley is back to sharing his increasingly warped and unfit opinions:
Justice Amy Coney Barrett is facing increasing calls to recuse herself from a major Supreme Court case due to her religion. These absurd demands say less about the ethics of Barrett than the bias of her critics, who have waged an unrelenting and vicious campaign against the jurist and her family.
At issue is 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis’ Dec. 5 argument. Even before the court granted review, I noted it could be one of the most important free-speech cases in history. It involves a web designer who declines jobs for same-sex marriages over her religious beliefs.
Liberal academics and pundits have decried Barrett’s participation in the case because she has been part of the Christian group People of Praise, which holds traditional views of marriage and homosexuality. The media are quoting former members calling themselves “survivors” saying the group holds views that make it impossible for her to judge the case fairly.
Impossible, that is, if Barrett is willing to discard every principle of legal and judicial integrity she has maintained her entire career.
It's not a free speech case, first of all. Tradeswoman Lorie Smith designs webs sites. She wants the government to give her an out so she never has to design for thoe 'icky' gays -- apparently Lorie's a closet case who fears proximity to equality will unleash her inner demons and immediately turn her into a muff diver if she's forced to treat all customers the same.
Jonathan lies -- because that's what he does now -- and writes that Coney Barrett (it is Coney Barrett -- those are two last names and Jonathan and others need to get that right) is being called out for being "part of the Christian group People of Praise, which holds traditional views of marriage and homosexuality." Let's leave aside Jonathan's misguided nothing of ''traditional'' -- he's a raging homophobe -- and focus on that claim -- all she did was belong to a group that holds beliefs.
Stephanie Kirchgaessner (GUARDIAN) explains a detail Jonathan -- accidentally, we're sure -- omits:
They point to Barrett’s former role on the board of Trinity Schools Inc, a private group of Christian schools that is affiliated with the People of Praise and, in effect, barred children of same-sex parents from attending the school.
A faculty guide published in 2015, the year Barrett joined the board, said “blatant sexual immorality” – which the guide said included “homosexual acts” – had “no place in the culture of Trinity Schools”. The discriminatory policies were in place before and after Barrett joined.
The schools’ attitude, the former People of Praise members said, reflect the Christian group’s staunchly anti-gay beliefs and adherence to traditional family values, including – they say – expelling or ostracizing members of the People of Praise “community” who came out as gay later in life or their gay children.
“I don’t believe that someone in her position, who is a member of this group, could put those biases aside, especially in a decision like the one coming up,” said Maura Sullivan, a 46-year-old who was raised in the People of Praise community in South Bend, Indiana. Sullivan identifies as bisexual and recalls coming out to her parents, who were members of the People of Praise, when she was 19.
“They decided that I wasn’t allowed to be around my sister, who was 13 at the time, without them around, because I could ‘influence’ her in bad ways. Stuff like that. So I had a tenuous relationship with my family,” she said. “To be cut off from my family was the ultimate loss of community.” Sullivan and her parents, who are no longer members of the faith group, have since repaired their relationship, she said.
Questions about the People of Praise’s attitude toward LGBTQ+ members and their families, and Trinity Schools’ policies, have resurfaced because the supreme court will hear oral arguments on 5 December in the case of 303 Creative LLC v Elenis.
Jonathan Turley is not an honest broker. Her sitting on the board and doing so when it refused children because their parents were same-sex goes to why she should recuse herself. It's the equivalent of racial restrictive covenants that allowed 'traditional' people to refuse to sell their home to Jews, African-Americans, etc.
This isn't minor. And she should have to recuse herself.
Jonathan's confident that she can follow the rules.
Of course, Jonathan was confident -- even after DOBBS was leaked -- that ROE wouldn't be overturned.
And, of course, in that case Amy tossed aside precedent, five decades of precedent, to abuse the law and to 'honor' her 'religion.'
Jonathan's becoming a damn liar. He seems to have some grand purpose these days involving self-humiliation. It's sad and pathetic to watch him.
Amy sat on a board that discriminated against gay people and she did so only a few years ago. She didn't disclose this when she nominated for the Court:
Barrett has never publicly acknowledged her membership in the community since becoming a judge and did not disclose it during her 2020 confirmation. It was reported at the time that the People of Praise erased all mentions and photos of her from its website ahead of her meetings with lawmakers.
Had she made the disclosure, she wouldn't be on the bench now.
She's part of the reason it is now an illegitimate Supreme Court. Liars like Amy misled America to get on the bench and now are refusing to respect settled law so that they can instead attack the very fabric of America.
And there's Jonathan Turley lying for them.
By the way, Jonathan, don't think I'm forgetting that you've claimed this Lori Smith case is about freedom of religion, not freedom of speech. You left that out in this column, didn't you? Why? Because freedom of religion means that the American people are free of it and being free of someone imposing their religion means Amy and her history necessitate that she excuse herself from the case.
You've become so pathetic, Jonathan.
We're not done with the pathetic and stupid. Self-proclaimed 'radical feminist' Marissa Darlingh takes to FOX NEWS -- because that's what we feminists do, right? -- and whines that she's lost her job as a counselor at a public school and it's all so unfair. Marissa moans:
On April 23 of this year, a Saturday, on my own time, I delivered a very short, unscripted speech at a feminist rally denouncing the threat that gender identity ideology poses to the physical and mental health of my students. This rally was on the steps of the state Capitol, far away from my school district. For this I was fired from my job. This clear violation of my First Amendment right to free speech is why I am suing Milwaukee Public Schools and the MPS employees who were involved in my termination.
I have worked in a few different urban public school districts across the Midwest with hundreds of students who come to me with an array of experiences that shape their emotional lives. My politics have never interfered with my work or my relationships with students, their teachers or their families. After I spoke out in April, a top-down investigation began of my fitness to serve in my role as a school counselor. Ostensibly, this was because I said the words "f--- transgenderism" and for expressing my personal belief that a child cannot be born in the wrong body.
Your statements mean you can't do your job.
You're working with children. They may go through a period where they think they are trans or they may, in fact, be trans. And your statements indicate that they can trust you and that they will not receive rational care.
Your statements removed you from your job because you declared to the world that you are not impartial.
You can't continue in your job having made that statement. You're a liability to the school.
As a counselor -- and even one as woefully uneducated and unprepared as you -- should grasp that these type of statements create walls between yourself and those you are supposed to be helping.
You screwed up. The school was within their rights. They hired a person with the expectation that the person would be able to address the various issues the student body might have. Instead, they got you declaring "F**K transgenderism." With that statement alone, you created a problem for the school and the student body you were supposed to serve.
You are supposed to counsel. Students have problems and difficulties are supposed to believe you will be fair and help them. Your statements were offensive and prejudicial. The school did what you forced them to do -- find a counselor who could serve all the students.
Let's stay on this topic for a moment more to include something cut earlier this week.
Prejudice and persecution exist all over the world -- and needs to be combatted where ever it pops up. The editorial board of THE NATIONAL notes:
Christians in Iraq were persecuted by ISIS, which forcibly transferred them, seized their property and subjected them to sexual violence and other “inhumane acts”, a UN report has found.
An investigative team said they had collected evidence that strengthens preliminary findings that the extremist group committed crimes against humanity and war crimes against the Christian community after it seized about a third of the country in 2014.
The report on Thursday night to the UN Security Council said crimes also included enslavement, forced conversions and destruction of cultural and religious sites.
The team said they had identified leaders and prominent members of ISIS who participated in the attack and takeover of three predominantly Christian towns in the Nineveh plains north of Iraq’s second-largest city, Mosul, in July and August 2014 ― Hamdaniyah, Karamlays and Bartella. It also started collecting evidence of crimes committed against the Christian community in Mosul.
ISIS fighters seized Iraqi cities and declared a self-styled caliphate in large areas of territory in Syria and Iraq in 2014. The group was formally declared defeated in Iraq in 2017 following a three-year bloody battle that left tens of thousands dead and cities in ruins, but its sleeper cells continue to stage attacks in different parts of Iraq.
ISIS was not defeated. It's a terrorist group. By definition its goal is to disrupt and terrify. It somehow -- Nouri al-Maliki and his pathetic leadership -- managed to seize control of multiple cities in Iraq and try to 'govern.' That's what the pushback and battles ended. They never ended the actual terrorism and ISIS has continue its acts of terrorism.
Christians are only one of many persecuted in Iraq. Helen Fitzwilliam explains at Chatham House:
Malaeen Luqman was 13 years old when Islamic State militants kidnapped her family in a coordinated attack on the Yazidi homeland of Iraq’s Mount Sinjar in 2014. Separated from her mother and taken to Raqqa in Syria, she managed to escape to Turkey after 12 weeks of captivity.
Today, Malaeen is one of 16 women survivors scattered across camps in northern Iraq who are documenting the experiences and customs of the Yazidi people on camera, canvas and film to create a digital cultural archive. It is one of many initiatives to safeguard this fragile minority’s identity since Islamic State jihadis tried to erase their heritage by mass murder, sexual enslavement and the destruction of historic shrines and villages.
Considered heretics by the jihadis, 5,000 Yazidi civilians were killed when they refused to accept forced conversion following the onslaught. Some 2,700 Yazidi women and children remain unaccounted for. Though estimates vary, it is thought that Iraqi Yazidis numbered more than 600,000 when Islamic State embarked on what United Nations investigators have described as genocide.
Up to 40 per cent of Yazidis fled abroad. More than 200,000 are displaced and weary of living in displacement camps around Dohuk in northern Iraq. If they seek asylum in the West, the fear is that the memories and practices central to their culture and religion will disappear as well.
This esoteric peacock-worshipping sect has no holy book, and its sacred scriptures are passed on orally by a priestly caste of sheikhs. Yazidis do not accept religious converts and many elders have opposed writing oral traditions down or putting them online. Their syncretic faith combines elements of Zoroastrianism, Christianity and Islam, but as Gerard Russell remarks in his book Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms: ‘The religion’s secrets have been kept well, even from its own followers.’
And FANACK notes:
The Kakaism minority lives as a non-missionary religious group in Iraq, a country known for its rich ethnicities and multiple religions. Kakaism is trying to preserve its identity amid the transformations and changes that the world and the region are witnessing. At a time when Iraq’s religious and ethnic diversity faces multiple threats, Kakaism has had its share of these pressures. Kakaists suffer from significant stresses that threaten their faith and existence.
Kakaism dates back to 3000 BC. While this sect is called “Kakaist” in Iraq, its followers in Iran refer to it as “Yarsanist,” meaning “lovers of the Creator.” The followers of this sect are not limited to Iraq and Iran, but their presence extends to Pakistan, India, Turkey and other countries.
Researcher Abdulrahman Karim Darwesh traces the origin of “Kakaism” to the Kurdish word “Kaka.” This word means “elder brother who is compassionate, helpful, chivalrous, honest, supporting, responsible for the affairs of others, a caretaker and defender of the weak.” According to Darwesh, in some cases, this name is given to the father and grandparents in large families. The name “Kaka” is also given to public figures.
Researcher Jamal Rashid links the term “Kakaism” to the development of the historical roots of the Kurdish honorifics. According to Rashid, the common roots of the term have evolved to be interpreted by both Kurds and Kakaists.
Some believe the Kurds designated the term to Kakaists out of respect. Others believe that the name reflected their religious beliefs, which preach brotherhood among human beings and oblige them to call any human being by the word Kaka.
Based on the name, Iraqi historian Abbas al-Azzawi believes that Kakaism has become a spiritual bond around which Kakaists are united.
Some in Iran call Kakaists Ahl al-Haq or People of Truth. Other names include Men of Magnanimity, People of the Chain, and Yarsanism: Yar San, meaning friend of the sultan. Yarsanism in Persian and Kurdish also means “the beloved.”
We'll wind down with this from Restore The Fourth:
Restore the Fourth and the #StopShotSpotter Coalition have launched a petition to Demand the ShotSpotter CEO stop using faulty and invasive technology to track our daily lives for profit at the expense of our safety and privacy.
ShotSpotter sells faulty aerial gunshot recognition technology that at least 130 U.S. cities and towns are squandering money on. The 20-25 sensors per square mile they install stores vulnerable audio data for days at a time. Some state courts have ruled audio evidence from ShotSpotter sensors as inadmissible under wiretapping statutes.
ShotSpotter has reserved the right to own and sell this data with little oversight or regulation - including selling it to third parties and developing biometric surveillance devices. The sheer scope of ShotSpotter's operations guarantees that one of their devices could be outside your home, recording the conversations and activities of your daily life. These eavesdropping devices record everything they hear, even conversations at normal volume up to 50 feet away.
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