Politics for Monday

Conservatives typically defend the right of businesses to do whatsoever they want and follow any policies they want. Not so much when what they want is to support gay rights. And again here.

•Jim Bakker says he wouldn’t be surprised if the government sent storm troopers to stop him preaching the Bible. Because that happens just so often, and Christians have so little influence over the government.

•Anti-gay religious activist Bryan Fischer believes the First Amendment only applies to Christians (as I detail at the link, this is bullshit). He also claims the First Amendment only applies to Congress — except when he wants it to apply to some other branch of government.

•Ted Cruz sneers at New York values. The Bronx sneers back. Good for the Bronx.

•former House speaker Dennis Hastert is really, really sorry about allegedly molesting kids when he was a high-school teacher. This apparently deeply moved prosecutors since the worst he’s supposed to be looking at is six months jail time.

•The battle to force Apple to help decrypt encrypted phones continues. A new bill would settle the question (in the government’s favor) but apparently it’s vague enough to give both sides some wriggle room.

•Sen. Chuck Grassley says the problem for the Judiciary Committee (he sits on it) approving Obama’s Supreme Court nominee is that any justice who isn’t a Republican pick is too political—which he defines as a judge who doesn’t “vote in a way that advances conservative policy.” Dahlia Lithwick dismembers Grassley at the link.

•Yes we tortured and covered it up.

•Uber is paying $25 million to settle charges it lied about how thorough its background checks on drivers are. And a California judge has ruled that the amount in Lyft’s proposed class-action settlement is too small.

•Maryland has passed a bill keeping pesticides that hurt bees off retail shelves.

•Lack of competition in the special access market — the tech that connects ATMs to the bank’s network or cell towers to the network — costs $20 billion a year. The FCC is looking into it.

•Tennessee has passed a bill that says therapists and counselors can refuses patients if the patient goes against the counselor’s sincere personal principles (expanded from sincere religious belief). LGM discusses the principles of one of the bill’s sponsors. Tennessee has also made the Bible the state book, but as Slacktivist points out, doesn’t specify which version.

•Vox looks at the nature of white right-wing nostalgia for the good old days (and the racial resentment entangled with it). It’s good but I find the ending argument that liberals need to offer solutions that will stabilize the lives of the working class a little odd—liberals propose a lot of the things (higher wages, protection from predatory lending) and there are advocates for several of the others he suggests. And while I’m sympathetic that government should do things like that, the whole tone reminded me of Digby’s recent observation (can’t find the link) that working-class whites aren’t forgotten or neglected: every four years they’re held up as a measure of whether America still works, as voters who have to be considered and taken seriously. Even though they’re a dwindling minority.

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