Saturday, June 27, 2015

SCOTUS Ruling On Gay Marriage Signals End of Christian Dominance

Yesterday's monumental Supreme Court decision, essentially putting to rest the debate over marriage rights, was long overdue. The significance of the day would be difficult to over state.

But on that day that the issue formerly known as "gay rights" became just "rights," it also became clear that the once-mighty influence that religion has had over this country has withered.

The number of U.S. citizens identifying themselves as Christian has been in decline for some time, with the sharpest change visible in the younger generations.

Could the familiar image of the evangelical holding the "God Hates Fags" sign be the reason why so many have become disillusioned with the world of faith?

Why faith is in decline, of course, is too complex an answer for this moment. But one must consider that the Christian right going all in on stopping the unstoppable march toward marriage rights has tarnished the wholesome, friendly mask that the Christian lobby once wore.

In the era of ever-present video, the old guard like Pat Robertson can't spout crazy shit and pretend like they never said it when questioned later. Their bigotry and madness are archived and searchable, and not very appealing to a generation that has grown up chafed by ever-present war with a traditional cause (see: religion).

Is it possible that one tradition — banning the formal recognition of a union between two people for a minority group — might have laid bare the inherent hypocrisy of faith-inspired legislation?

"Treat others as you would have them treat you, unless..."

Metafederalism on Marriage

In an ideal world, it is the position of this site that the government would have no hand in marriage whatsoever. There's no reason that churches or other organizations can't handle the ceremonies on their own, and I'm sure we have enough attorneys to iron out the contractual obligations (the medieval reason that government got involved in love in the first place).

However, with all the strings attached to marriage today, and the tune those strings play for healthcare, finances, and a host of other mashed potato bowl in which the government has stuck its... hand, Metafederalism is proud to congratulate all those involved in scoring a major victory for civil rights and liberty in the Obergefell v. Hodges case.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Libertarian News Magazine Gagged by Justice Department

The Justice Department just forced a news outlet to remain silent. In America. From
For the past two weeks, Reason, a magazine dedicated to "Free Minds and Free Markets," has been barred by an order from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York from speaking publicly about a grand jury subpoena that court sent to
Yesterday, after preparing an extensive legal brief, Reason asked the US Attorney's Office to join with it in asking that the gag order - now moot and clearly an unconstitutional prior restraint - be lifted. This morning, the US Attorney's Office asked the Court to vacate the order, which it did. We are free to tell the story for the first time.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Press Solidarity!

...with journalists using the name Kirby Delauter. The Washington Post's full story about Kirby Delauter is here. Kirby's Facebook post looked like this:

Oops, sorry, actually it's this (courtesy of NPR, click to embiggen):

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

John Yoo for Worst Human of Millennium

Conor Friederdorf of the Atlantic is reporting today that John Yoo, former definition manufacturer for the Bush administration, says the "enhanced interrogation techniques" that he spent years defending from public and legal criticism are, in fact, possibly illegal.

From the CNN interview that Friederdorf quotes:
"[I]f these things happened as they are described in the report, as you describe them, those were not authorized by the Justice Department. They were not supposed to be done and those people who did those are at risk legally because they were acting outside their orders."
Hey John, fuck you.

It's bad enough that we had people running our government that were so blinded by their patriotism and nationalist zeal that they were willing to let their moral obligations slip aside. At the very least, a member of the previous administration might elicit some sympathy for the war crimes (for which they were never charged) by saying they weren't sure what they were doing was wrong.

But Yoo knew, and he found a way to mold some facade of legality around it all. To me, that seems worse than mere ignorance or lack of moral understanding.

Just as a reminder, here is a YouTube video of John Yoo defending the concept of crushing the testicles of an innocent child:

Happy Tuesday.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

You're Not the Only One

Joshua Steimle has nice takedown of net neutrality up on
"I don’t like how much power the telecoms have. But the reason they’re big and powerful isn’t because there is a lack of government regulation, but because of it. Government regulations are written by large corporate interests which collude with officials in government. The image of government being full of people on a mission to protect the little guy from predatory corporate behemoths is an illusion fostered by politicians and corporate interests alike. Many, if not most, government regulations are the product of crony capitalism designed to prevent small entrepreneurs from becoming real threats to large corporations."

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Number of the Day


That's the number of people arrested for simple possession of marijuana in the U.S. in 2012, according to the recently released FBI crime stats.

Two-thirds of a million people who were put in jail for something that's relatively safe to use, not dangerous to others (barring the black market of supply created by its illegality), and presently legal in two of the fifty states (18 if you count medical).

That's over 650-thousand new "patients" being "referred" to drug and alcohol treatment facilities. The number of people put in jail for imbibing a plant is larger than entire the population of Vermont or Wyoming.

The number of people who's job applications will be haunted with criminal charges for the next seven to ten years, at least, is larger than the populations of all but the 19 largest cities -- larger than the populations of Boston, Seattle, Denver, Portland, Ore. and Washington D.C.

This is the prohibition your government is pursuing despite your majority opinion. Any questions?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Silencing the People

Don't be fooled by the hopeful wording of the following quote from USA Today:
The Senate Judiciary Committee, on a 13-5 vote, approved the federal Free Flow of Information Act and sent it to the Senate floor. The measure has long been sought by journalism organizations and First Amendment advocates to protect reporters from having to choose between breaking a promise to a source and going to jail.
Why would this seemingly-positive development be cause for concern? Well, because:
Under the committee's compromise, those covered would include someone who has had an employment relationship with a journalism organization for one year within the past 20 years, or three months within the past five years. Also covered are people with "a substantial track record of freelancing" in the past five years and student journalists. 
Significantly, the measure also includes a provision covering those who a federal judge decides "should be able to avail him or herself of the protections of the privilege, consistent with the interests of justice and the protection of lawful and legitimate newsgathering activities."
In other words, this bill, if passed, would grant a new power to the federal courts -- the power to determine who is and who isn't "press." And since the press is protected by the 1st Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, this bill effectively give the federal government the power to decide who qualifies for a constitutionally protected civil right.

MF applauds attempts to provide greater protection for journalists, especially under an administration that has been as hard as any on whistleblowers, but granting this type of power to the federal government is not the way to go about it.

The freedom of speech and of the press exists because, without it, the people have no way of bringing to light violations of any of the subsequent protections under the Bill of Rights. In essence, this makes this civil right the most important, for violations of the other civil rights cannot be addressed if the public is ignorant of them.

It should come as no surprise that organizations like the Newspaper Association of America support the bill, since it's members are included under the bill's journalist requirements (and not potential grassroots competitors). But members of the news reporting community should be in the unique position to be aware of what such a deal with the devil might lead to.

Once the government has the power, they are all but guaranteed to use it.

All it would take is some "crisis," some distraction, which are seemingly plentiful in the post-9/11 world, for "revisions" to be made to the requirements for one to be considered a journalist. If this bill passes, what's to stop the implementation of a journalist licensing regimen?

The fault of letting the powerful decide who is allowed to observe them exercising power is self-evident, but one need only look to numerous examples throughout history to see such an idea's folly. Time and again, when a dictatorship takes power, the first major action is to silence the critics.

When you silence the press, you silence the people. And that's what's going on here, despite how nobly the bill is being presented.