Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Last Call For The First Meets The Second Meets The Tenth

Religious freedom meets the right to bear arms in a Pennsylvania case that could have big unintended consequences for states with religious freedom laws and states with background checks for firearms.

Lately, Americans have argued both about their right to bear arms and whether the free exercise of religion allows businesses and state officials to claim exemptions from requirements that conflict with their religious beliefs. It’s not everyday, however, that the two issues, guns and religion, wind up together in a single case.

In a suit that brings together the Second Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), an Amish man filed a federal lawsuit in Pennsylvania last week because he wants to buy a gun without the required photo ID — and because getting that photo ID would violate his religious beliefs.

Andrew Hertzler, according to the suit, is from Lancaster County, Pa., and is an “active and practicing” member of the community; his “parents, grandparents, and siblings are all active and practicing Amish”; and he “has a sincerely held religious belief that prevents him from knowingly and willingly having his photograph taken and stored.”

“The Amish faith prohibits an individual from having his/her photograph taken,” the suit read. “This belief stems from the Biblical passage Exodus 20:4, which mandates that ‘You shall not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth,’ as well as the Christian belief in humility.”

But Hertzler’s humility caused a problem when, in June, he tried to buy a gun from a Pennsylvania dealer “using a non-photo, state-issued identification.” This wasn’t enough, according to the dealer — Hertzler was told he needed a picture ID.

This case would almost have to go to the Supreme Court, and what the Roberts Court could decide may have very big consequences for states that require photo IDs for firearms background checks (and voting), the limits of religious freedoms, and states being able to set their own laws and which one takes precedence.

The First vs the Second vs the Tenth?  Yeah, this one's heading for SCOTUS for sure over the next several years.

Worst Kasich Scenario, Con't

John Kasich's clock is almost up on his presidential aspirations, so he's trying to break through ahead of tonight's debate by playing the angry dad in the room full of children.

"Do you know how crazy this election is?" he shouted during a pre-debate rally in Ohio on Tuesday. "Let me tell you something. I've about had it with these people. Let me tell you why. We got one candidate that says we ought to abolish Medicaid and Medicare. You ever heard anything so crazy as that, telling our people in this country who are seniors or about to be seniors that we're going to abolish Medicaid or Medicare," Kasich continued, referencing Ben Carson who has changed his opinion on the matter seemingly overnight.

"We got one guy that says we ought to take 10 or 11 million people and pick them up, where the—I don't know where, we're going to go in their homes, their apartments. We're going to pick them up and we're going to take them to the border and scream at them to get out of our country," Kasich said in an obvious dig at frontrunner Donald Trump. "Well that's just crazy. That is just crazy." 
"We got one candidate that claimed, one candidate that actually said that the reason why we signed an agreement with Ford to bring jobs back from Mexico is because he's been yelling for the last week ok," Kasich said again referencing Trump to uproarious laughter. "That was like something out of a Back to the Future movie."

Kasich's communications director Chris Schrimpf told The Daily Beast "Part of being President is speaking the truth to the American people. That's what Governor Kasich did today."

Kasich is trying to play to the sane Republicans, and while there are sane voters left in the GOP ranks, let's not be fooled for a second by Kasich pretending to be a nice guy here.  Maybe he doesn't want to get rid of Medicare or Medicaid like Carson, and he doesn't want to forcibly deport 11 million like Trump, but he does want to end abortion (and has already closed two-thirds of Ohio abortion clinics with TRAP laws) and is still gunning for a federal balanced budget amendment, which would require massive austerity cuts across the board.

Let's not forget either that Kasich was the guy behind the Contract With America budget, as Digby points out.

In April 1995, Budget Committee chairman John Kasich (R-Ohio) muscled through the House of Representatives the Contract with America budget plan. It was a towering achievement by Washington standards. Three cabinet departments--Commerce, Education, and Energy--were to be eliminated. Hundreds of small government programs and several large ones--from the National Endowment for the Arts, to mass transit grants, to the federal helium reserve, to the peanut subsidy program--were to be canceled. In short, it would have dramatically halted the government's fiscal expansion of the past 40 years.

The only difference between Kasich and the Trump/Carson wing of the GOP is that Kasich has the benefit of experience and is hiding his massive austerity cuts under the "balanced budget amendment" farce.

In a lot of way, he'd be worse than Carson or Trump ever would be as President, because unlike those two, Kasich knows how the game is played.

Marco Thinks You're A Rube-io, Con't

The Orlando Sun-Sentinel editorial board did not take kindly to this week's story on GOP Sen. Marco Rubio hating his job and is now openly calling for Rubio's resignation from the Senate.

Rubio has missed more votes than any other senator this year. His seat is regularly empty for floor votes, committee meetings and intelligence briefings. He says he's MIA from his J-O-B because he finds it frustrating and wants to be president, instead. 
"I'm not missing votes because I'm on vacation," he told CNN on Sunday. "I'm running for president so that the votes they take in the Senate are actually meaningful again." 
Sorry, senator, but Floridians sent you to Washington to do a job. We've got serious problems with clogged highways, eroding beaches, flat Social Security checks and people who want to shut down the government.

If you hate your job, senator, follow the honorable lead of House Speaker John Boehner and resign it
Let us elect someone who wants to be there and earn an honest dollar for an honest day's work. Don't leave us without one of our two representatives in the Senate for the next 15 months or so. 
You are paid $174,000 per year to represent us, to fight for us, to solve our problems. Plus you take a $10,000 federal subsidy — declined by some in the Senate — to participate in one of the Obamacare health plans, though you are a big critic of Obamacare. 
You are ripping us off, senator.


Doesn't get much worse for Rubio at this point, does it?

Well, except when he drops out of the race and fades into obscurity.  I'm sure he'll be back at some point to plague the state again as Governor or something, but man, his 2016 presidential aspirations are kinda done.


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