Category Archives: Politics

Trump Assures Free Enterprise in Outer Space

We have some very good news to report today. As our long-time readers are aware, your Curmudgeon is an advocate of free enterprise — not only here on Earth, but also out in space. Therefore we have criticized the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which was signed by the US. According to Wikipedia:

The treaty explicitly forbids any government from claiming a celestial resource such as the Moon or a planet, claiming that they are the common heritage of mankind.

In How Not To Enter the Space Age we said:

Isn’t that sweet? [It] means that no one owns anything. It means no private company will ever develop the resources that are out there. Government clerks might talk about it, but no one in his right mind thinks they could ever accomplish anything.

But then there was some good news. In 2015 we wrote Free Enterprise in Space?, and said:

Today we have some very surprising news. Congress has just passed the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act. To our astonishment, it’s reported that Obama has signed it.

We quoted a news story that said:

The U.S. commercial space industry is celebrating today. President Obama just signed new legislation that allows resources on Mars, the Moon, asteroids and bodies in space to be extracted, used as well as sold for commercial utilization and exploration.

[…]

The Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act for 2015 or HR 2262, the Act permits companies that specialize in asteroid mining to keep all resources collected.

[…]

The new legislation permits U.S. citizens to own minerals extracted on the Moon and asteroids, but not own the land where they can be found. The implication with regard to property rights in space as stirred a great deal of attentions amongst lawmakers and entrepreneurs.

The last time we discussed the subject was four years ago, in Where No One Has Gone Before, where we mentioned that PhysOrg had a copy of a blog article that was wildly ranting against the free enterprise system in outer space. We ended that post by saying:

And so, dear reader, if you were running a mining company, would you be interested in financing the titanic effort to explore the asteroid belt or the moons of Jupiter, under the wise and benign supervision — hee hee! — of an international body for the benefit of everyone on Earth — including the Amazonian tribes and the villagers of Bangladesh, who probably never even heard of the asteroids?

We have, shall we say, a few doubts that such an academically contrived regime will result in a flow — or even a trickle — of much-needed resources to Earth. But maybe we’re wrong. Perhaps international bureaucracies, not free enterprise, will boldly go where no one has gone before.

The reason for all that background is because the subject of economic freedom off the Earth is back in the news. We just found this at PhysOrg: Trump signs an executive order allowing mining the moon and asteroids. This will be difficult for those who dislike both free enterprise and Trump, so we hope you can control yourselves. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

In 2015, the Obama administration signed the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act (CSLCA, or H.R. 2262) into law. … On April 6th, the Trump administration took things a step further by signing an executive order that formally recognizes the rights of private interests to claim resources in space. This order, titled “Encouraging International Support for the Recovery and Use of Space Resources,” effectively ends the decades-long debate that began with the signing of the Outer Space Treaty in 1967.

Control yourself, dear reader. PhysOrg then says:

This order builds on both the CSLCA and Space Directive-1 (SD-1), which the Trump administration signed into law on December 11th, 2017. It establishes that “Americans should have the right to engage in commercial exploration, recovery, and use of resources in outer space, consistent with applicable law,” and that the United States does not view space as a “global commons.”

Unbelievably fantastic news! PhysOrg then tells us:

This order puts an end to decades of ambiguity regarding commercial activities in space, which were technically not addressed by the Outer Space or Moon treaties. … As of June 2019, the treaty has been signed by no less than 109 countries, while another 23 have signed it but have not yet completed the ratification process. At the same time, there has been an ongoing debate regarding the full meaning and implications of the treaty. Specifically, Article II of the treaty states: “Outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means.”

We’re only about a third of the way through the PhysOrg article, but this is already a very long post. Oh wait — we have to include this:

Russia’s space agency (Roscosmos) officially condemned the executive order and likened it to colonialism. [BWAHAHAHAHAHA!] These sentiments were summed up in a statement issued by Sergey Saveliev, Roscosmos’ deputy director-general on international cooperation: “Attempts to expropriate outer space and aggressive plans to actually seize territories of other planets hardly set the countries (on course for) fruitful cooperation. There have already been examples in history when one country decided to start seizing territories in its interest— everyone remembers what came of it.”

When the Ruskies are opposed to something, you know it’s good. Okay, we’ve said enough. Now it’s your turn, dear reader.

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Creative Challenge #63: The Space Force

This is a rare deviation from our usual subject matter, but we think it’s something you may enjoy. You’re all familiar with the newly-created United States Space Force, which has existed as an independent branch of the U.S. Armed Forces since 20 December 2019.

But now there’s a problem: What will the members of the Space Force be called? Army personnel are soldiers, the Navy has sailors, the Air Force has airmen, etc. But so far, there hasn’t been an answer for the new branch of the military. The problem is outlined in: The Pentagon Is Crowdsourcing Names for the Members of Space Force. They quote U.S. Space Force Lt. Gen. David Thompson, who said in an internal Space Force email:

“What should the enlisted E1-E9 ranks in the Space Force be called? Must be gender neutral,” says one bullet point in the email, per the Facebook post. “What should the collective group of members serving in the Space Force be called? Some names floating around already are Guardians, Sentinels, and Vanguards. Feel free to create a brand new word for those who are linguistically inclined,” says another.

Popular Mechanics has a story on the nomenclature problem — see Are Members of the Space Force Called…Spacers? Despite the silly title, it’s a good discussion of the problems with various suggestions.

And so, dear reader, because the big shots are stymied, we are putting the question to the brightest and best-informed group we know — our readers. The form of today’s challenge is that you must tell us, with reasonable brevity:

What gender-neutral name should be used for members of the U.S. Space Force?

You know the rules: You may enter the contest as many times as you wish, but you must avoid profanity, vulgarity, childish anatomical analogies, etc. Also, avoid slanderous statements about individuals. Feel free to comment on the entries submitted by others — with praise, criticism, or whatever — but you must do so tastefully.

There may not be a winner of this contest, but if there is, your Curmudgeon will decide, and whenever we get around to it we’ll announce who the winner is. There is no tangible prize — as always in life’s great challenges, the accomplishment is its own reward. We now throw open the comments section, dear reader. Go for it!

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Bryan Fischer — One More Time

Vomit

It’s been a while since we wrote about Bryan Fischer. The last time was more than five years ago — Bryan Fischer: Theocratic Creationist. That links to a few of our earlier posts about him.

As you may know, Bryan used to be a director of the American Family Association. Any outfit with the word “Family” in its title, but not “Planning,” is either creationist or it’s connected with Charles Manson. Now he’s just a radio talk show host.

We found Bryan’s latest column at a website called OneNewsNow, which says it’s the website of the American Family News Network (AFN), a national Christian news service. His column is titled In defense of Christian nationalism. They have a comments feature, with no comments yet. Here are some excerpts from Bryan’s column, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

I am a Christian nationalist because the Founders were. [What?] The Founders established a nation grounded and rooted in Christianity, Christian principles, and a Christian worldview. They enshrined their view of what a Christian nation looks like in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

Balderdash! First, the Declaration isn’t the law of the United States –it’s a political declaration. Second, Jefferson (the Declaration’s author) was no fundie theocrat, and his reference to the Creator was defined in the sentence that immediately preceded its use: ” … the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them … .” Third, the Constitution isn’t a theocratic document — not in the slightest. We’ve discussed all of this before — see Is America a “Christian Nation”? Bryan is off to a great start. Then he says:

I use the term “constitutionalist” synonymously with “Christian nationalist,” because our constitution is the constitution of a Christian nation, and could only be the constitution of a Christian nation. Our Constitution is shot through, warp and woof, with the thinking of Christian statesmen who shared a deep-dyed view of the world, soaked deeply in the Bible.

If you want to see what the constitution of a Christian nation looks like, read one or two of the colonial charters we linked to in Is America a “Christian Nation”? In contrast to those, the US Constitution is flamingly secular.

Bryan goes on and on, but we’ve been there before so we won’t bother with any more excerpts and rebuttals. He finishes with this:

So, my friend, whether you know it or not, if you believe in a God who is the Creator of all men who are made in the image and likeness of God, you are a Christian nationalist. If you believe that our rights come from Him and not from our government, you are a constitutionalist. And you may stand proudly in the lineage of the men who founded our nation and our Constitution upon the Rock. Welcome to the club.

It’s always interesting to see what creationists are like in their political views. And it’s also a bit frightening. Fortunately, theirs isn’t a majority view.

Copyright © 2020. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Learn Why Hambo Is Happy Today

We often encounter rage and rants from Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) — the ayatollah of Appalachia, the world’s holiest man who knows more about religion and science than everyone else. That often surprises us because this country has been so good to him. He’s had remarkable success in building his creationist empire in Kentucky, which consists not only of his mind-boggling Creation Museum, but also his exact replica of Noah’s Ark known as Ark Encounter.

But today, Hambo is happy. He just posted this at the website of Answers in Genesis (AIG), his creationist ministry: Good News in the Fight to Keep Religious Freedom in America. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

Most of what we hear and see on the news is bad. That’s certainly true for issues regarding freedom of religion and the free exercise of religion (Christianity) in America. [Gasp! In America?] It seems every week there’s a new attack on Christian freedoms (including around the world, often in very horrific ways). But there was recently some good news on this front [link omitted], and it’s right here in Kentucky, the state where we’re located.

We’ve got your curiosity aroused, so let’s find out why Hambo is excited. His news link is to a religious website. Here’s the news from NBC: Kentucky Supreme Court dismisses gay pride T-shirt case. Hambo says:

The Kentucky Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of the Christian owner of a T-shirt print shop, Hands On Originals Christian Outfitters. He had declined to print T-shirts for a “pride” festival in Kentucky because of his religious beliefs. Unsurprisingly, the group that requested the T-shirts sued for discrimination. This case has been in the courts for seven years and has finally been settled by the state’s Supreme Court.

Hambo is thrilled. He tells us:

One of the justices wrote this opinion about the case,

Hands On was in good faith objecting to the message it was being asked to disseminate . . . forcing free and independent individuals to endorse ideas they find objectionable is always demeaning.

Fair enough — although printing up some T-shirts isn’t quite the same as “endorsing” the message on the shirts. Or is it? Anyway, Hambo continues:

As is often the case in these situations, the owner of this print shop does not discriminate against homosexuals themselves (he even has homosexual employees). [That’s interesting.] But he will not violate his conscience by printing a message he disagrees with.

Okay, we get it. Let’s read on:

Christianity isn’t just something you believe. God’s Word shapes not only our thoughts and beliefs but also our actions and attitudes. It impacts how we live!

It certainly impacts how Hambo lives. Here’s another excerpt:

Many LGBT activists are trying to change the definition of religious freedom so that it no longer applies to the public sphere, something like “you can believe whatever you want, but you can’t act on what you believe.”

That’s fuzzy. We’re not sure what Hambo has in mind regarding the public sphere. Does it include government? They’re not supposed to get involved in religion — one way or another — but we get the impression that Hambo would like them to be actively supporting his beliefs and enterprises, and preventing criticism. Sorry, Hambo, it doesn’t work like that. Anyway, here’s a bit more:

What we believe determines how we live, and we should have the freedom to live out our convictions.

Not without limitations, Hambo. You can’t violate the rights of others — even if you think your religion tells you to do so. And now we come to the end:

We’re thankful for this good news in the courts and continue to pray for more good news as Christians, and Christian groups fight to protect the precious liberties we enjoy here in America.

So there you have it, dear reader. The T-shirt guy wins, the gays lose, and Hambo is happy. Make of it what you will.

Copyright © 2019. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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