News and Politics

Before we get all butthurt about the rest of the piece: 1) About the only people I discriminate against a folks with bad tattoos…you obviously make bad decisions, but hey! that’ll look great at 65! 2) I live in a state with a RFRA and that didn’t lead to flaming pyres with homosexuals roasting upon them. 3) As a libertarian (or “real liberal”) I don’t care what you do, so long as you don’t scare the horse, and everyone’s on board with it. So check the pro- or anti-gay bullshit at the door if you choose to comment.

Oh, you might need this…


Indiana joined the ranks of 19 other states, and the federal government, that have some version of a Religious Freedom Restoration Act (or “riff-ra”) last week and the interwebz melted down with deliriously outrageous outrage. Apparently, the passage of this bill will lead to some manner of Auschwitz-style oppression of homosexuals in the state. You’d be well forgiven for thinking this if you’ve been getting your news Facefuck Facebook or some other mainstream media outlet (except Fox…then civilization is imperiled by the protests.) However, unless you are protesting and boycotting the other states on the map below, you’re a fucking hypocrite…or just really uninformed. You choose:


So doing what I know not a single one of the people complaining on Facebook has done, I RTFM (military folks know what this means, for the rest of you…) I read the damned bill before I opined. Novel, I know. Here’s a quick comparison of RFRA for those of you who can’t click here and read it.

What RFRA does, in this case, is — as in all of the other instances of this sort of law — establish that the state cannot “burden an individual’s exercise of religion unless the burden is of a compelling government interest and is the least restrictive means of furthering that interest. Here are some examples of what that means:

  1. The government’s compelling someone to do something that violates his religious beliefs, or prohibiting someone from doing something that is mandated by his religious beliefs.
  2. The government’s denying someone a tax exemption or unemployment compensation unless he does something that violates his religious beliefs, or refrains from something that is mandated by his religious beliefs.
  3. As to state and federal constitutional regimes, it’s not clear whether the above also applies when the objector’s conduct is merely motivated by his religious beliefs (e.g., the objector thinks it’s a religiously valuable thing for him to stay home on the Sabbath, rather than a religious commandment) and not actually mandated by those beliefs. The federal RFRA, many state RFRAs, and RLUIPA expressly apply to “any exercise of religion, whether or not compelled by … a system of religious belief.”
  4. The beliefs need not be longstanding, central to the claimant’s religious beliefs, internally consistent, consistent with any written scripture, or reasonable from the judge’s perspective. They need only be sincere.

RFRA laws got their start in 1993, mostly due to the 1990 Employment Division v. Smith decision (Google it — research is good for you…) with a federal law that “statutory presumptive entitlement to exemption from generally applicable laws.” This doesn’t not abnegate other civil rights or legal obligations, but places the burden — rightfully — on the government not the plaintiff and states the State cannot compel you to do something against your conscience. You know, that conscience that people respect until it doesn’t align with their conscience.. RFRA, as The Washington Post tells us, are “…about accommodating religious belief, not authorizing discrimination…” no matter what Tim Cook’s (or your Facebook friend from England or France or Germany, or wherever they are whinging from) opinion on the matter might be.

“But, Scott,” someone is currently wheezing through their vapors, “It will be used to discriminate against gay people!” 1) Happy people are cool and shouldn’t be discriminated against, no matter their sexual orientation, but in case you mean homosexual, then 2) no it fucking won’t. How do I know? Let’s look at a few cases where RFRA laws were involved in legal cases concerning discrimination by businesses against homosexuals.

New Mexico has a RFRA. We’re also a recent cynosure for religious vs. homosexual personal rights. Here’s some ways this has played out.

1) In 2006, a New Mexico church was using hoasca tea in their ceremonies…because it gets you high, if we’re going to be honest, but let’s assume that it is vital to their communications with whatever Almighty they worship. The federal government used the Controlled Substances Act to seize their hoasca and harass the membership. In a rare moment of protecting the interests of the people, the Supreme Court found against the government, thanks to RFRA.

2) Last year, a Elaine Photography was found to have violated the civil rights of a homosexual couple when they refused to provide services for their wedding. So right there is your precedent for why the Indiana law won’t discriminate against gays. It’s settled law.

But that’s just New Mexico, you say? I read in The Atlantic that it’s different in significant ways! Nope. But it says that religious protections exist even when the government isn’t involved in the case…well, that’s the pesky First Amendment for you; you can’t discriminate against me because I’m Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, an agnostic, or a Scientologist. Well…Scientologist…

It also establishes that companies, not just non-profits have the right to religious protections, similar to the Texas RFRA. This is due to the recent Burwel v Hobby Lobby decision. And what about Burwell v Hobby Lobby you ask? Even the creepily progressive rag Slate couldn’t find fault here –even Sam Alito, not a favorite of the Progressives, said the ruling was not a “…shield [for]…religious practice to escape legal sanction…” So that’s, again, precedence set by the Supreme Court of the nation. Nowhere, over the two decades of RFRA, has it been used successfully to discriminate against homosexuals.

You are, simply, wrong.

So why is everyone so fired up about this law? Here’s the truth: Progressives are trying to get in front of the 2016 election, in which Indiana governor Mike Pence was seen as a strong contender for the Republicans. They only wish this was happening in Wisconsin so they could go after Scott Walker. It’s political theater produced to make people who read headlines like they were the full story have a visceral, emotional reaction that goes viral on FaceTwitSpace.

You have, simply, been used.

Now, if after all that, you still want to boycott GenCon, here’s some good reasons — the prices for airfare,  admission, hotels, and food are too bloody high and Indianapolis should pay the price for their perfidy. Or so I read someplace.


These bloody statist never learn, do they? Between the power mad legislators and “well-meaning” activists, we’re always onthe edge of a good ol’ fashioned authoritarian regime. This time the culprit is HB2549, now on Governor Brewer’s desk. It was ostensibly created to stop cyber-bullying and online stalking, but of course, the lawmakers had to go a touch further than that, making it a crime to use “any electronic or digital device” to send “obscene, lewd or profane language” or suggest such acts with the intent to “terrify, intimidate, threaten, harass, annoy or offend.”

NBC reports: ” ‘…H.B. 2549 “would apply to the Internet as a whole, thus criminalizing all manner of writing, cartoons, and other protected material the state finds offensive or annoying,’ Media Coalition says on its website…”

So pretty much anything. And because of the interstate/national nature of the internet, I’m sure these self-important tits in Arizona will try going after folks outside their jurisdiction for pretty much anything. Call or write Jan Brewer if you want this nonsense stopped.

If it passes, this might help you pussies offended by everything:

I’ve been urging people to not fly.  My girlfriend was able to stop a business trip for herself and three others because of concerns regarding the backscatter scanners and the sexual assault enhanced pat-downs.  If you have to fly, do everything you can to make the experience as horrible for the TSA as you can:  call them names, pretend like this is your favorite thing (getting groped), maybe ask if they can finger them back…you know, to be fair.

Write your Congressmen and senators.  Write the ACLU.  Write the airlines.  Tell them you will not fly and you will not submit.  Because this is just the beginning, not the final destination, for what power these thugs want.

The New York Times had an editorial a few months ago on an idea floating through the hall of Comgress, and splattered out there by the “Paper of Record”: “search neutrality“… If this doesn’t sound scary to you, you need to think some more on it, or remember this — eventually, you’re people will be out of power and someone else will have access to those organs of government you set up.

Here’s the gist: Google,which is a massive Democratic Party supporter, managed to get a bunch of halfwitted Progressives into office. They were one of the major forces behind “net neutrality”, a staggeringly bad idea couched in terms of “freedom” and “fairness” (mostly the latter, since it would limit the former), and designed to benefit smaller bandwidth sites Vis-a-vis larger ones. In other words, it’s a subsidy for smaller sites (political ones, if you hadn’t gotten the inference) that can’t compete. This support wouldn’t go to me, for instance…I’ll still have to pay my ISP and put up with service transfer limits, high as they are. If I want to take my blog here big time, I have to pay for a swankier site, a domain name.

No, this is for the political websites — the DNC supported sites, the small opinion maker sites, and other groups that want a free ride competing in the marketplace of ideas. And guess who gets to decide what’s fair in this marketplace? It’s the electronic Fairness Doctrine, and the pushers of Net Neutrality hope to strengthen their hold on the political and historical narrative with it.

Now comes along “search neutrality”, which is touted as aiding smaller sites to be seen on Google’s search engine. Right now, you can pay to have your site be a banner result, or the engine occasionally throws up a few likely websites you’re looking for based on your previous search history. But that doesn’t get government funded or subsidized companies in the top slots of the search returns, and it doesn’t let less innovative or motivated companies do the same (think the small oil companies that couldn’t compete with Standard Oil…answer: have your Comgressman attack Standard Oil.) It also doesn’t get you to politically approved sites for the information you are looking for. There’s to much chance you might wind up on a blog or site that do not have the correct political persuasion and might cause you to question the wisdom of certain policies or politicians.

Search Neutrality is a cudgel to quash free speech and competition, as is net neutrality, wrapped in the promise of “fairness”. It also ignores the fact that Google has competition in the search engine market. Bing has become a popular engine for those looking to escape the data mining and sales activities of Google. There’s Start Page, Dogpile (which used to be fantastic and was my go-to for years.). Why does Google have such a good market share on searching? They do it better than their competition!

Google was none too fond of China curtailing their activities; it should be a lesson for the company: government regulation always comes at a cost. Think about that, the next time you’re pushing some “neutrality plot”, boys.

Hot Air has a piece here on how the Apollo 11 astronauts are viewing the decision to cancel the Constellation program a bit differently.  Armstrong is deriding the president’s decision to close out the massively expensive program, while Aldrin is supporting the decision.  Like me, Aldrin thinks the future of space travel rests with the private sector.

Of course, considering the damage being done to the private sector by government policy for the last year, I think Aldrin might be a bit more optimistic about the prospects than is realistic.  (Although we’ll have a lovely spaceport a few hours south of here, if they finish it.)

NASA is a badly managed agency with serious aversion to physical and public relations risks.  They are underfunded for their visions, often because of their connections to the “bilk them dry” military contractor industry.  While they do good science with drones and robotic explorers, their manned mission future is doubtful.

The public sector is much more likely to do the job on the cheap, but they will need a reason to go to space:  profit.  The space tourism industry is a good addition to the massive telecommunications satellite business, but it probably won’t be enough to get us to the moon or Mars.  And I doubt it’ll be an American company that does it, at this rate.

Into protection and transport of drug smuggling.  Reuters is reporting a “rogue aviation network” including Boeing 727s (which can carry about 10 tons of cargo) is operating as an illicit bridge between drug producing countries in the Andies and the West Coast of Africa.  The Africa end of the operation appears to be Al-Qaida in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

There’s some obvious game fodder in here that I intend to be using.

Predator drone: $4.5 million…simple Windows shareware: $26…knowing when the Americans are gonna nuke your sandy butthole: priceless!

Iraqi-based terrorists were able to intercept video from the Predator drones on laptops, using data-leeching software and a small sat dish for a measly $26. You simply scan for the packet IDs and transponder codes, and HEY! Predator TV!  I wonder if any of the wunderkind out of Huachuca could, maybe, encrypt the data.

This is another example of how communications and computer technology is serious threat to the power of nations around the world (and also incredibly liberating to the individual.) I find myself torn on this one. While I really want us to eradicate the bad guys, I have to respect their ingenuity.

It also should give espionage gamers a good idea for the next time their GM throws a RPV at them.  You might not be able to hack the vehicle and take charge, but if it’s signaling the base unit, you should be able to tap the feed.  And maybe they’re not encrypted because there’s an issue at the base unit…how many people have turned off their router security because their laptop won’t link up with their home netowkr and they don’t have time to debug it?

Military missions are often time-sensitive.  Can’t get the drone up fast enough with the encryption on?  Have a team out there that needs cover?  Have a lieutenant that’s worried his FITREP is going to look like crap if you don’t get that bird aloft rightnowsoldier! ?

Yet another example of why I am rapidly losing patience for, and increasingly distrust, Federal law enforcement…

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