Films, newspapers, magazines and intranets and other media spread decadent ideologies, cultural poisoning

Photo courtesy KCNA.

North Korea’s Rodong Sinmun Calls for Foiling Ideological and Cultural Poisoning by Imperialism

Date: 20/01/2018 | Source: KCNA.kp (En) | Read original version at source

Pyongyang, January 20 (KCNA) — For all the nations aspiring to independence and opposing imperialism to combat the poisoning of decadent ideologies and culture of every description precisely means a fierce struggle to defend their sovereignty and dignity, says Rodong Sinmun in an article Saturday.

The article goes on:

The imperialists regard the reactionary ideological and cultural poisoning as the most effective way for attaining their aggression and predatory aims with ease.

The degenerate reactionary ideology and the American outlook on value, which were employed as a guide to aggression, play the main role in aggression at present.

The imperialists consider the rising generation as the main target of their corrupt ideological and cultural poisoning.

Through films, newspapers, magazines and intranets and other media which the young people enjoy very much, the imperialists make them corrupt and degenerate and spread illusions about imperialism.

Those young people infected with luxury and enjoyment are reduced to renegades of their countries and stooges of imperialism unwittingly.

North Korean Defector: Return DPRK to State Sponsored Terrorism List

Some countries witnessed regime changes and government falls and the young people took the lead in causing such abnormal situations. That is because they were infected with the imperialist ideological and cultural poisoning.

The struggle in the ideological and cultural field is a war without gunfire. And a wrong struggle results in the worse consequences than the defeat in war.

The bourgeois ideological and cultural poisoning is more dangerous than a formidable enemy coming in attack with guns.

Any hesitation and concession to the ideological confrontation would give way to the bourgeois ideological and cultural poisoning and then it would make mess of the destiny of a nation and country.

The Amazing Kims: Mythology and the Cult of Personality in North Korea

Atheists Denounce Trump Administration’s New “Religious Freedom” Office and Dangerous New Rules Promoting Discrimination

Washington, DC—As part of its continued assault on LGBTQ people and women under the guise of “religious freedom,” the Trump administration has announced the creation of a new “Conscience and Religious Freedom Division” within the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights. The new division would be charged with shielding medical professionals who refuse to treat patients because of religious objections.

In addition, HHS is expected to announce a proposed rule change that would allow healthcare providers to discriminate against patients and deny treatment on the basis of religious objections.

The rule change would roll back Obama-era regulations that provided non-discrimination protections for individuals receiving healthcare services. Prior to these regulations, healthcare providers were able to use “conscience” exceptions to deny access to birth control, treatment for HIV and AIDS, and end-of-life care; discriminate against transgender patients and even deny emergency ambulance services to a woman seeking an abortion.

“The Trump administration seems to define religious freedom as the ability to freely discriminate against LGBTQ people and women,” said Alison Gill, legal and policy director for American Atheists. “I have no doubt that changing this rule will cost people their lives. Medical evidence, not religious dogma, should be deciding medical care.”

So-called “conscience” protections are the latest tactic being used by the Religious Right to undermine civil rights laws and equal protection. In a proclamation for National Religious Freedom Day, the Trump administration said that Americans could pick and choose which laws to follow on the basis of their religious beliefs, a sentiment echoed by Roger Severino, the director of HHS’ Office for Civil Rights, in a statement announcing the proposed changes.

“These changes fly in the face of established law and court precedent. This new office and the proposed rule don’t protect religious freedom. They merely elevate one particular set of religious views—namely that LGBTQ people are sinful and that abortion is immoral—above all others, and weaponize it against vulnerable people,” added Gill. “The Office for Civil Rights should try focusing on protecting civil rights instead of wasting time and money to undermine them.”

Severino, the chief architect of the proposed HHS rule, has previously worked to expand religious exemptions and undermine basic civil rights protections for LGBTQ people, particularly transgender people.

Religious Freedom Act Violations: Annual Designation by US State Dept. Released

Today, the Department of State announces that the Secretary of State re-designated Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan as Countries of Particular Concern on December 22, 2017. The Secretary also placed Pakistan on a Special Watch List for severe violations of religious freedom.

Designations Under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998

Press Statement

Heather Nauert
Department Spokesperson
Washington, DC
January 4, 2018

In far too many places around the globe, people continue to be persecuted, unjustly prosecuted, or imprisoned for exercising their right to freedom of religion or belief. Today, a number of governments infringe upon individuals’ ability to adopt, change, or renounce their religion or belief, worship in accordance with their religion or beliefs, or be free from coercion to practice a particular religion or belief.

In accordance with the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, the Secretary of State annually designates governments that have engaged in or tolerated systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom as “Countries of Particular Concern”. Today, the Department of State announces that the Secretary of State re-designated Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan as Countries of Particular Concern on December 22, 2017. The Secretary also placed Pakistan on a Special Watch List for severe violations of religious freedom.

The protection of religious freedom is vital to peace, stability, and prosperity. These designations are aimed at improving the respect for religious freedom in these countries. We recognize that several designated countries are working to improve their respect for religious freedom; we welcome these initiatives and look forward to continued dialogue. The United States remains committed to working with governments, civil society organizations, and religious leaders to advance religious freedom around the world.

Update: Refusal to Make a Cake for a Gay Wedding: Discrimination or First Amendment Right?

Photo courtesy Masterpiece Cakeshop, Facebook.

UPDATE: Excellent summary of today’s events: 12.5.17

Recommended Citation: Amy Howe, Argument analysis: Conservative majority leaning toward ruling for Colorado baker (UPDATED), SCOTUSblog (Dec. 5, 2017, 12:18 PM), http://www.scotusblog.com/2017/12/argument-analysis-conservative-majority-leaning-toward-ruling-colorado-baker/

United States Supreme Court Docket, December 5, 2017

16-111 MASTERPIECE CAKESHOP V. CO CIVIL RIGHTS COMMISSION

QUESTION PRESENTED:
Jack Phillips is a cake artist. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission ruled that he engaged in sexual orientation discrimination under the Colorado Anti- Discrimination Act (“CADA”) when he declined to design and create a custom cake honoring a same-sex marriage because doing so conflicts with his sincerely held religious beliefs.
The Colorado Court of Appeals found no violation of the Free Speech or Free Exercise Clauses because it deemed Phillips’ speech to be mere conduct compelled by a neutral and generally applicable law. It reached this conclusion despite the artistry of Phillips’ cakes and the
Commission’s exemption of other cake artists who declined to create custom cakes based on their message. This analysis (1) flouts this Court’s controlling precedent, (2) conflicts with Ninth and Eleventh Circuit decisions regarding the free speech protection of art, (3) deepens an existing conflict between the Second, Third, Sixth, and Eleventh Circuits as to the proper test for identifying expressive conduct, and (4) conflicts with free exercise rulings by the Third,
Sixth, and Tenth Circuits.

The question presented is: Whether applying Colorado’s public accommodations law to compel Phillips to create expression that violates his sincerely held religious beliefs about marriage violates the Free Speech or Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment.

————–

Courtesy ACLU:

On December 5, 2017, the United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on whether a business open to the public has a constitutional right to discriminate.

David Mullins and Charlie Craig visited Masterpiece Cakeshop in July 2012, with Charlie’s mother, to order a cake for their upcoming wedding reception. Dave and Charlie planned to marry in Massachusetts and then celebrate with family and friends back home in Colorado. But bakery owner Jack Phillips informed them that the bakery wouldn’t sell wedding cakes to same-sex couples.

Longstanding Colorado state law prohibits public accommodations, including businesses open to the public such as Masterpiece Cakeshop, from refusing service based on characteristics like race, religion, orsexual orientation. Dave and Charlie filed complaintswith the Colorado Civil Rights Division contendingthat the bakery violated

Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act. Following an investigation and hearings, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission determined that the bakery illegally discriminated against Dave and Charlie when it refused them service.

On August 13, 2015, the Colorado Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed the Commission’s order, finding that the bakery discriminated because of sexual orientation in violation of state law. The court also concluded that application of Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act did not infringe the bakery’s freedom of speech or free exercise of religion. The Colorado Supreme Court denied review, and the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari on June 26, 2017.

Status: After victories for equality at every stage of the case, the United States Supreme Court will hear oral argument on December 5, 2017. In advance of oral argument, more than 40 friend-of-the-court briefs were filed in support of Dave and Charlie.

Google & YouTube Sued for Discrimination: PragerU Takes Legal Action

LOS ANGELES — Prager University (PragerU) has filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California to stop Google and YouTube from unlawfully censoring its educational videos and discriminating against its right to freedom of speech.

The lawsuit cites more than 50 PragerU videos which have either been “restricted” or “demonetized” by Google/YouTube. The PragerU videos range on various subjects presenting a conservative point of view, and include a video by noted Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz on the founding of Israel. PragerU previously compiled a complete list of their restricted videos here, which includes: “Why America Must Lead,” “The Ten Commandments: Do Not Murder,” “Why Did America Fight the Korean War,” and “The World’s Most Persecuted Minority: Christians.”

In correspondence cited in the filing, Google/YouTube made it clear that the censorship of certain videos was because they were deemed “inappropriate” for younger audiences.

“Watch any one of our videos and you’ll immediately realize that Google/YouTube censorship is entirely ideologically driven. For the record, our videos are presented by some of the finest minds in the Western world, including four Pulitzer Prize winners, former prime ministers, and professors from the most prestigious universities in America,” stated PragerU founder Dennis Prager.

Prager added, “They are engaging in an arbitrary and capricious use of their ‘restricted mode’ and ‘demonetization’ to restrict non-left political thought. Their censorship is profoundly damaging because Google and YouTube own and control the largest forum for public participation in video-based speech in not only California, but the United States, and the world.”

The total number of people who currently use YouTube exceeds 1.3 billion people. Google and YouTube advertise YouTube to the public as a forum intended to defend and protect free speech where members of the general public may express and exchange their ideas. They have represented that their platforms and services are intended to effectuate the exercise of free speech among the public. According to Google and YouTube: “voices matter.” YouTube states that it is “committed to fostering a community where everyone’s voice can be heard.”

“However,” said Eric George of Browne George Ross, the firm representing PragerU, “Google and YouTube use restricted mode filtering not to protect younger or sensitive viewers from ‘inappropriate’ video content, but as a political gag mechanism to silence PragerU. Google and YouTube do this not because they have identified video content that violates their guidelines or is otherwise inappropriate for younger viewers, but because PragerU is a conservative nonprofit organization that is associated with and espouses the views of leading conservative speakers and scholars.”

“This is speech discrimination plain and simple, censorship based entirely on unspecified ideological objection to the message or on the perceived identity and political viewpoint of the speaker,” said former California Governor Pete Wilson of Browne George Ross. “Google and YouTube’s use of restricted mode filtering to silence PragerU violates its fundamental First Amendment rights under both the California and United States Constitutions. It constitutes unlawful discrimination under California law, is a misleading and unfair business practice, and breaches the warranty of good faith and fair dealing implied in Google and YouTube’s own Terms of Use and ‘Community Guidelines.’”

“There is absolutely nothing ‘inappropriate’ about the content of the PragerU videos censored by Google and YouTube; the videos do not contain any profanity, nudity or otherwise inappropriate ‘mature’ content and they fully comply with the letter of YouTube’s Terms of Use and Community Guidelines,” said Marissa Streit, PragerU’s chief executive officer who has engaged in a year-long-effort to try and persuade Google to stop censoring PragerU content. Streit continues, “It’s clear that someone doesn’t like what we teach and so they intend on stopping us from teaching it. Can you imagine what the world would look like if Google is allowed to continue to arbitrarily censor ideas they simply don’t agree with?”

“This is not a left/right issue. It is a free speech issue, which is why prominent liberals, such as Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, are supporting our lawsuit,” Prager concluded.

The lawsuit filed in the Northern District of California is available here.

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Advisory Legal Council:
Former Governor Pete Wilson’s Law Firm, Browne, George and Ross;
Eric George;
Alan Dershowitz;
Barak Lurie, Kelly Shackelford, Mat Staver;
and additional prominent attorneys.

PragerU, founded by Dennis Prager in 2011, is a not-for-profit organization that helps millions understand the values that shaped America and provides millions of Americans and people around the world with the intellectual ammunition they need to advocate for limited government, individual responsibility and economic freedom. In 2016 alone, PragerU’s videos received over 250 million views, a figure that will eclipse 350 million in 2017. PragerU is a resource for all who value liberty. It is a threat to all those who do not.

Website | www.PragerU.com        Twitter | @PragerU