Despite my best efforts to take a break from the political cesspool, the story of Mr. Pence's theater trip has bubbled onto my timeline. So I have been thinking about the idiocy of the latest round of "Religious Freedom" bills that have been making the rounds.

The root problem with the bills is that Religious Beliefs are not well-defined.

Allowing religion to be a valid reason for denial of goods and services is a terrible idea. The primary reason is that the boundaries can not be objectively tested and it would require the Court to determine what a person's religion actually means.

Take the classic example of a baker refusing to bake a cake for a gay-wedding.

Even among religious scholars there is much debate as to whether the Bible allows sales of goods and services to sinners. Some scholars point to 1 Corinthians disallowing it while others argue that it does not.

Even if 1 Corinthians disallows the sales of goods and services to sinners, wouldn't that mean all sales of goods and services and not just Wedding services?

If religious scholars can not agree on what the Bible says, do we really want the Court to make a determination?

I've had a few people message me about my stepping back from politics for a while. The general gist of the messages was that I was a sore loser that can't handle the other side winning.

It is that last part that is key and what I believe is one of the fundamental problems with our society. People are treating politics like sports teams. "Our side is right", "The Other side is wrong", "Party Loyalty", etc...

What I am seeing happening right now matches really close to what happens after a sporting event when two teams have extremely dedicated fan-bases. It isn't enough for these fans that they saw a good match as they often tie their self-worth to the success or failure of their chosen team. They also tie the worth of other people to the team that they chose.

I refuse to go down this route with politics. I don't pick teams, I pick stances on individual issues.

I didn't vote for Mr. Trump because I think that he is a horrid human being. But, by the skin of his teeth, he won the EC vote. He is going to be President come 2017.

I'm not going to disagree with every policy proposal that he puts forth as President just because I loathe him. I'll look at each policy and make a case-by-case assessment and take action as appropriate. (And based on many of policy proposals that he has put forth during the campaign, I'm going to have an ACLU donation number on speed-dial)

However, right now, many folks are caught up in the sports team mentality and are throwing monkey-shit at each other.

And for the record, only 3 items out of 20 on the ballot went opposite of how I voted. As I've stated before, it is the local and state races that will have a bigger impact on ones quality of life.

I'm pretty much done with politics for this season. I'll likely have something to say after the election, but I'm tired of politics right now. At this point, everyone has voted or has determined how they are going to vote, so there is little to be gain by continued debate.

My final pre-election thought is on "Third Parties", specifically the Libertarian and Green parties.

They are a joke.

There are a total of 7383 seats in State Legislatures. As of today, the Libertarian Party has a total of 4 seats and the Green party has none. Between them, they have a 0.05% of available seats in State Legislatures and 0 governorship, US House Seats, and US Senators.

With so few office holders, the Libertarian and Green parties have not have their policies tested in the crucible of the real world.

Why should we take them as serious Presidential contenders?

They are film students trying to win an Oscar and claiming victory for just being considered for nomination. They are members of the JV football team thinking that they can win the Superbowl if only they were given a playoff slot.

Instead of wasting resources on the Presidential race, they should be focused on State Legislatures.

They first need to gain a solid minority in State Legislatures so that they are the ones making and breaking deals. From there, they can start going after governorship, US House seats and eventually US Senate seats. Only after they have 10 or so Senate seats should they start focusing on the US Presidential race.

This is doable. Right now, the Progressive party of Vermont is becoming a viable 3rd party in that State. They have 10% of their State Senate and 3% of the State House. That is 9 seats, which is over double the national total of the Libertarian and Green Parties combined.

Yes, it will a long time to take this route, but it has a better chance of success than the once every 4 year Hail-Mary that they always seem to try.

So, the thought that by voting 3rd party in order for them to get matching funding for 2020 is plain silly. Neither party is ready for the big leagues and it will be money (and votes) thrown down the drain.

Does anyone refer to the Chicago Bears as the "World Champion Chicago Bears" these days?

Of course not, the Bears last won the Superbowl in 1986.

So, I was a bit taken aback the other night when a radio political commentator referred to the Democrats as the "Party of the KKK".

While, once upon a time, the KKK and Democrats had overlapping membership, that hasn't been true since 1948 when the Dixicrats left the Democrats over the Democrats adopting "Civil Rights" as a plank of their platform.

Like sports teams, political parties change over time. To call the Democrats the "Party of the KKK" in an attempt to sway black voters in the 2016 election is to ignore the last ~65 years.


Mr. Trump's speech at Gettysburg is a great example of how not to do things. Billed at laying out his first 100 days in office, what does he do at the start of the speech? Complaining about rigged polls, rigged media, voter fraud and how he is going to sue all of the women who have come forward with sexual harassment complaints.


So what gets the headlines? That's right, his vow to sue his accusers. And I'm not just talking about US news sites, but news sites in other countries as well had Mr. Trump's lawsuit threat as the headline.


So while his speech had some good ideas, he drowned out all coverage of them with his need for petty revenge. After all, the media is driven by ratings and Mr Trump vowing to block the AT&T/Time Warner merger doesn't generate anywhere near as much ratings as Mr. Trump vowing to sue a number of women.


I've seen lots of chatter lately on my Facebook feed about the Wikileaks vs Mr. Trump's tax leak.


While both bits of information were obtained by less than legal means does not mean we should treat them the same way.


The Trump campaign has not disavowed the leaked documents. Additionally, they were only 2 pages and could easily be examined for tampering.


One the other hand, the Clinton campaign has refused to authenticate the Wikileaks emails as being authentic and unaltered. I really don't blame them as there are thousands of emails that would have to be compared to the originals, a task that could take months.


Wikileaks is interesting. One the one hand, it is a safety value on "the powers that be" desire to keep secrets from the public. On the other hand, it is easy to slip in a "poison pill" hidden within thousands of otherwise legit documents.


Without verification of the leaks, we really shouldn't take anything published by Wikileaks at face-value. Remember that when the Snowden files were released, they were not really taken serious until Mr. Snowden stepped forward to vouch for them.


The Clinton campaign emails should have the same degree of skepticism. Until someone vouches for them, we should take them with a grain of salt.

It is interesting to look at the CNN post-debate poll.


Ms. Clinton clearly won the debate. However, winning debates is like getting hits in baseball. If they are not converted to runs, they are meaningless.


The poll showed that while she won the debate, Ms. Clinton split the pool of swayed voters roughly 50/50.


While Ms. Clinton had more Hits, she and Mr. Trump tied for the number of Runs scored.


It will still take a week before we see if their is any real movement in the polls due to the debate.


However, Mr. Trump is way behind and he really needed to hit a Grand Slam last night in order to shake up the race.