Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit.

It’s National Hate Week!

Link here.

Today, we’re all hating on Indiana. Who will be the left’s Emmanuel Goldstein next week?

Evidently, the sole function of the media these days is to subject the public to a steady stream of manufactured events: “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot”; nuclear power kills; Lena Dunham’s rape by a college conservative at Oberlin; the “mattress girl” raped at Columbia University; Jon Stewart is funny; a fraternity gang-rape at the University of Virginia; and a law protecting religious freedom will lead to separate water fountains for gays in Indiana.

The whole country has to keep being dragged through these liberal hate campaigns, but as soon as the precipitating event turns out to be a gigantic hoax, the truth is revealed like a bedtime story being read to a child: The ending is whispered and the narrator tiptoes out of the room.

Read it all. It will help you distinguish between real news and modern leftwing propaganda, based on lies, being promoted by our modern mainstream press.

Meanwhile, that pizzeria whose owner said they wouldn’t cater a same-sex wedding, though they’d be glad to sell pizzas to homosexuals, has been forced to close because of death threats, including one threat on twitter from a high school coach who thought it a good idea to get together and burn the place down. She has since been suspended from her job.

Readers! My Quick November Fund-Raiser for Behind the Black is now over

I cannot thank the numerous people who so generously donated or subscribed to Behind the Black during this fund drive. The response was remarkable, and reflected the steady growth and popularity of the work I have been doing here for the past ten-plus years.

Thank you again!

Though the find-raising campaign is officially over, and I am no longer plastering the main page with requests for help, if you like what you have read you can still contribute, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.

Regular readers can support Behind The Black with a contribution via paypal:

Or with a subscription with regular donations from your Paypal or credit card account:


If Paypal doesn't work for you, you can support Behind The Black directly by sending your donation by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman, to

Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652


  • Cotour

    And after all that the picture is painted and the bell can not be unrung.

    Liberal media, understand it and learn to counter it.

  • Keith

    Our country is on the path imagined by Orwell in his book “1984”. The last few lines are the thoughts of Winston, who has suffered the great crudity of the Party for daring to question the beliefs fostered upon him:

    “But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.”

  • pzatchok

    I am starting to get fed up with the extreme right of this nation.

    They have every right to believe wht ever they want and i will do my best to stand by them to keep that right.

    But why do some of them just get a wide hair in their bum and decide to feed the left exactly what the left wants. More examples of hate and stupidity.

    I am a fan of strategy games. The more complex or realistic the better. I like getting into the strategy loop of my enemy and using his energies and materials to harm him. Make him waste his time and effort at achieving nothing.

    The left is inside our collective strategy loop and they are picking the weak off from the herd. Taking out the small targets at no cost to themselves.

    We have to go back on the SMART offensive and get inside their thought loop.
    But we can’t do that if we have no coordination and control, no command structure.
    What was the purpose of that stupid Religious freedom law?
    It does nothing but limit what the state can force the person to do against their will. It does not stop the state just limits it to a reasonable level.
    The baker still has to bake the cake, the caterer still has to cater the event, the photographer still has to take the pictures. They just can’t be forced to take the pictures while skydiving or cater the even under water.

    If you don’t what your church to be forced to host a religious service outside of its faith then find a law to stop just that.
    If you don’t want your church to be forced to accept members who participate in activities counter to the churches doctrines or are members of another faith then find a law to protect against that.

    But if you want nothing to do with people of another race, gender choice, faith, smell or their general temperament then don’t open a store dealing with the public or hire someone who will deal with them.

  • Cotour

    Be careful, your starting to sound like me.

  • Cotour

    This is how the more Conservative among Americans will have to begin to think about and represent and avoid such discrimination situations. You have heard no one in the media or any legal or business individuals laying things out like this, this is the way that this begins to be resolved. You read it here first:


    1. Individuals have rights as private individuals in their personal life. All individuals participating in commerce in open to the public businesses will be respected related to their race, creed, color or sexual orientation.

    2. All business entity structures exist as a function of the state and the state is bound by its founding documents to not establish any religion or religious test and as a general rule promote equality and “fairness” between business and individuals through duly passed law .

    3. Although individuals own and run businesses an operational distinction must be made between the absolute rights an individual possesses in their private lives and their business lives which they have chosen to modify by entering into business, which is an extension of the state, and has created a responsibility when serving the public to be fare and reasonable in their transactions with the public . (not easy for some but an effort to be flexible and reasonable must made, the business owner has made themselves superior to their potential customer in their ability to freely participate in commerce and that superior position entails certain responsibilities to be flexible over and above their personal dislikes or religious taboos within reason )

    4. Individuals of the public doing business in the public square, depending on the type of business venue, have a right to purchase what everyone else is able to purchase without any religious test being administered to make that purchase.

    5. Potential customers in an open to the public business have an obligation to act respectfully and within reason related to the particular business venue they are patronizing.

    6. A member of the public does not have absolute rights to demand anything other than being generally respected in making their transaction in purchasing what everyone else is freely purchasing.

    7. All “special” order or contracted like services that would remove the business owner or their employees from their place of regular business or in the operation of their regular business are optional at the business owners discretion for what ever reasonable reason they might or might not disclose.

    8. No business owner or the employees under their direction will be forced to write any text or participate in any way, shape or form with any activity or to produce or install anything that is religiously or morally offensive to be determined by the business owner at the time of contract negotiations.

    These are some off the cuff general rules of operation for successful open to the public businesses, anyone who knows anyone in the Illinois state government please forward this to them. I will continue to work on these so please feel free to contribute any suggestions or point out any obvious contradictions.

  • The first rules of a fascist state, from your own words:

    “All business entity structures exist as a function of the state.”

    Although individuals own and run businesses an operational distinction must be made between the absolute rights an individual possesses in their private lives and their business lives which they have chosen to modify by entering into business, which is an extension of the state.” [Emphasis mine.]

    In the end, you cede private ownership to the state. You cede private property to the state. You cede power to the state. You create a fascist state.

    As I said, we fundamentally disagree. I believe in freedom. You do not. You believe the state has the right to dictate how we behave.

    You will note that I am not really debating you any longer on this subject, merely repeating in my own words my interpretation of your position. I (and others) obviously can’t change your mind, but at the least I want my readers to understand how I see your position. You can disagree of course, but you can’t force me change my mind.

  • Cotour

    “In the end, you cede private ownership to the state. ” No, I do not, I plainly state that the individual owns and controls the business but a distinction must be made and understood between the business entity which like it or not IS a structure granted by the state within which you live.

    The state is a function of the people, the people must have government to have civilization, the Constitution attempts to balance the nature of those who would fill the positions of power in that government that is an extension of the people, the nature of man is to abuse power. Do you dispute any of that?

    And I point out that all INDIVIDUALS have an an absolute right to THEIR beliefs but that when they choose to create a business entity they choose to create a responsibility related to the public and the laws that govern us all. Do you disagree with that?

    I again point out yours and Edwards stiff and inflexible way of choosing to think about these issues and remaining in your Libertarian mode you are creating the opportunity for those who you oppose to dominate you and by extension the politics of the entire country.

    Having the ability to think different about some things can go along way to moving ahead in the direction that is needed. Refuse to be flexible and your enemy, like I have pointed out will dominate you and prevail. Republicans / Conservatives can not get out of their own way when it comes to such matters.

    I want to take this opportunity to wish you and your family along with the rest of the people that may read this a happy and healthy holiday. Maybe during the relaxing times of the holiday you will further consider observations and what I propose.

  • You call my position “stiff and inflexible.”

    Was the man who wrote the following “stiff and inflexible”? “I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”

    Was he “stiff and inflexible” when he wrote these words? “Almighty God hath created the mind free. All attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens…are a departure from the plan of the holy Author of our religion…No man shall be compelled to frequent or support religious worship or ministry or shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but all men shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion.”

    In truth, he was “stiff and inflexible.” He stood for freedom. So do I. I appreciate your willingness to wish everyone a happy holiday. I do the same to you. However, I consider your additional willingness to give my freedom away so the state will have the power to punish me if I disagree with them quite offensive and deadly. Such thinking led to the deaths of numerous of my ancestors in Germany. It will lead to the same brutality here. To this possibility I cannot be kind.

  • Edward

    Cotour wrote,
    > Refuse to be flexible and your enemy, like I have pointed out will dominate you and prevail.

    Actually, flexibility allows an enemy to get you to compromise your position until it looks just like his. This has been happening in America for the past century and accelerated over the past half century. This one-directional compromise is how we came to be where we are today.

    Your own “flexibility,” Cotour, is why you are willing to compromise away another little bit of freedom over this issue, taking us another step farther into the tyranny that the enemy desires.

    The enemy has been patient, and the Fabians who began the transformation of America into the socialist state that it is becoming did not mind that they would not be around to see the socialism that they desired. It was only important to them that America get here, one day.

    As the essay pointed out, religious freedom laws only guarantee that both sides get heard in court, which is exactly what didn’t happen to the florist in Washington. The judge would not hear her side of the story, discriminating against her, then summarily ruled against her. What a terribly biased way to run a (tyrannical) justice system.

    Choose freedom, Cotour, not tyranny.

  • Cotour

    Please point out what I listed above that is so counter to freedom. A system of mutually understood respect between proprietors and customers where no one can demand anything unreasonable from the other. OUTRAGEOUS !

    I again point out that your Liberterianism is a philosophy and not a form of governance, two very different things. Liberterianism stifles you drenched in the yelling and screaming about freedom and justice, while those who mean to really confiscate your freedom through the changing of the actual way words are defined and laws are interpreted.

    Besides your yelling and screaming and outrage about your diminishing freedoms where do you see the workable strategy to success? The Republican party? Conservatives that may never again gain the mantle of power?

    The people are being brain washed by one side and the other side of which I identify can not put more than two words together in order to properly communicate with those who can empower them, the people of America.

    Again, besides your outrage where is your path to success? All’s fair in love and war, and this ain’t love we are ensnarled in.

  • Cotour

    A question to Robert and / or Edward or anyone who would like to comment:

    Where does the structure for all legal business in America come from as you understand it ? Whether it be a Corporation, an LLC, a DBA, a non profit, a for profit, any structure that is formed to conduct business? Where does it come from?

    (lets keep in mind that although the structure may come from one place it does not in the context of ownership in America mean that that is who owns and controls it. That degree of control is where the controversy comes and in this instance is being misrepresented. Besides reasonably following the agreed upon and duly passed laws that do change to and fro the source of the structure does not indicate who the owner and controller of the structure is. Fascism is the insidious creeping in of government into this area of ownership and control and is certainly to be ever on guard against.)

  • If you build a well reasoned argument based on a fundamentally flawed premise, your argument will be as manure. (and not the good kind that you compost to eventually grow sweet fruit)

    Clearly and simply you are advocating for fascism.

    On the surface, the fascists DID make the trains run on time. But in the end it didn’t work out so well. At least not for Mussolini…

  • Actually, I have read (though the source escapes me now) that the fascists not only took away freedom and committed genocide, they also actually failed to make the trains run on time as well. The claim that they made them run on schedule is an urban myth that is false.

  • Edward

    Cotour wrote:
    > Please point out what I listed above that is so counter to freedom.

    What you listed above that is counter to freedom in that it lists eight rules to solve one problem.

    As I pointed out in some thread, somewhere, the more rules there are, the less freedom you have.

    The previous solution to such problems, for the past four centuries, used to be for the customer to find a shop that provided the desired goods or services. Although this is imperfect for the customer, it worked well for most customers and most shopkeepers. Many shopkeepers even expanded their business models in order to accommodate more customers. However, that has changed in the past half decade.

    These days, if a good or service is not provided, the vindictive customer goes to the courts to find satisfaction (anyone can file a lawsuit for any reason at any time that the court is open, however, the court need not hear all cases, as many complaints are not supported by laws, precedences, or traditions). Instead of the court rejecting the unreasonable complaint, the court chooses to hear only the plaintiff’s side, ignores the defendant’s side, and rules against the unheard defendant. Is that justice?

    It is one thing to hear the plaintiff, realize that he does not have a case, then rule against him without hearing the other side, but it is not reasonable to summarily rule against the defendant without hearing her side of the argument.

    The problem is not in the behavior of the shopkeeper, it is in the behavior of the vicious customer and the behavior of the tyrannical government.

    But it has now gotten so much worse. As Robert points out with this post, those who are winning the summary rulings are sore winners. They now seek out new victims in order to intimidate all others into toeing the tyrannical line and silencing any and all critics.

    Just as with the shameful behavior of the Ferguson residents, these people are advocating, inciting, and preaching intolerance, hate, and violence against those whose religions preach tolerance, love, and peace.

    This type of shameful behavior has been spreading widely across the country in the past half decade, going from drumming people out of their jobs for supporting political positions, to fining shopkeepers out of their businesses, to terrorizing shopkeepers into hiding. The sore winners have even recruited celebrities, such as Miley Cirus, to spread the hatred.

    This is what happens when tyrannies are allowed to get out of control. People begin to believe that they must join the tyranny in order to survive it. They fear that if they do not join, they may become the next targeted victim of it.

    > I again point out that your Liberterianism

    I suspect that our definitions of Libertarianism are not the same.

    > where do you see the workable strategy to success?

    We the People must stop accepting the creeping tyranny that is upon us. As long as we are not intimidated, frightened, or terrorized into silence, we still have a chance to collectively demand that the government serve us, rather than serve a tiny minority or serve itself.

    The workable strategy is to continue to speak out, insist that government perform its basic duties to We the People, and protect, rather than violate, our rights — or worse, to subject us to involuntary servitude.

    Many times in the past, government has been forced to accede to public outrage and demand. It is harder, now that our government sees itself as a tyranny that can ignore its subjects (as well as Congress and the Supreme Court), but it can still be done — even if that means demanding that the states call a convention for proposing amendments, per Article V of the US Constitution. Such an uprising would be hard for a tyranny to ignore. Even the Soviet Union could not withstand the pressure that the public applied when they finally had had enough of that tyranny.

    No matter what you do, don’t shut up.

    And join the side of freedom, reject the side of tyranny.

    As for making the trains run on time (PeterF’s post, below), my understanding is that the Italian fascists redefined “on time” to mean whenever the trains arrived or departed. Thus the claim could be made, but it didn’t help those who needed to schedule their time in order to meet an arriving passenger, to catch a train, or worse, to change trains. Lord knows what happened to the businesses that depended upon the railroads to provide raw materials or to get their goods to market.

  • Edward

    At the risk of misinterpreting your meaning of “structure for all legal business in America:”

    The foundation is free markets. On top of that, capitalism is built. The free market system allows businessmen to run their businesses as they believe will work best for them and their customers. Those who are wrong will either fail, stagnate, or grow slowly until they finally conform to what the customers desire more — or someone else does the job better, causing the first business to fail. Those who are right will succeed famously, or at least succeed. Free markets encourage improvement through innovation and rewards for being right.

    Capitalism is the method of funding business, either by loans (e.g. bonds), ownership (e.g. shares), or charity (e.g. donations to a symphony). Capitalism allows for more rapid innovation and expansion, as the investors put pressure on those who are wrong to rapidly improve. Plus, it spreads around the rewards for being right.

    Although history has shown that some amount of social oversight (e.g. government, trade organizations, or chambers of commerce) is desirable in order to prevent unscrupulous behavior and unfair trade practices, history has also shown that overregulation stifles the very ingenuity that produces the better goods, services, or business practices that the buying public desires.

    One of my favorite examples is crop rotation. Invented in England in the 13th century, crop rotation was against the law, which required each field lay fallow every other year. Yet as farmers slowly became scofflaws, England’s food production increased and allowed for her, small as she was, to become a superpower by the 17th century. One can only wonder what would have happened had that law not been in place and England’s food production were at full capacity three or four centuries earlier.

    Many examples of overregulation prevent newcomers from entering an industry, either at the national or the town level. In recent years, we even observe crony capitalism, in which the government attempts to choose winners, as in “reward friends and punish enemies.” Solindra is an example of a failed attempt to reward friends. Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, Washington is an example of a successful attempt to punish enemies.

    The corruption of the free market foundation is causing a terrible strain on the rest of the structure. Some businesses fail due to this corruption, others survive by becoming corrupted.

    To answer the question, the current structure clearly is crony capitalism, along with overregulation and mob (in)justice.

  • Cotour

    I did not read any further than this part of the sentence in your response “The foundation is free markets. “.

    Incorrect, free markets or markets are a function of the need or desire to trade, the legal structures or entities within which people who live within states in America do legal business is an entirely and totally different thing.

    Yes, you have misinterpreted or misunderstood the question. Words have meaning in the sentences that they are used.

  • Edward

    Could you please explain your question? Your response makes it seem that you are asking about the legal structure for business in America rather than the (political, social, ecological, financial, environmental, economic, etc.) structure for legal business. I’m sorry to have chosen the economic structure over the environmental structure, but the free markets system seemed to me as best fit for the discussion at hand, as in who does or should control legal businesses.

    At this point, I am a bit “gun shy” at making another guess as to the meaning of your question. Or the purpose of the question, which could help me understand the nature of the answer you seek.

  • Cotour

    “Where does the structure for all legal business in America come from as you understand it ? ”

    A simple question, legal business does business how, in what form?

    A: All legal businesses in America come into being in the form of an entity granted to individuals by the state, I.E. a Corporation, a DBA, an LLC etc. This fact does NOT however mean that the state is the primary owner and or the primary controller of the business, other than the duly passed laws that apply to the proposed business.

    An individual petitions the state for the states sanction and the state grants the individual the entity that is appropriate to the business model proposed by the individual.

    Why is this important? Our conversation has to do with the individual and their rights as individuals. An individual that becomes responsible for a business because they are the primary person responsible for and are the primary controller of the entity that has been granted by the state is a bit different than just the rights of an individual as they might relate to another individual.

    The state does not own nor does the state control nor can the state demand the business entity carry any particular product. Nor can the state demand that a business owner take a religious stance one way or the other. The only thing that the state can do is insist that a business reasonably follow the duly passed laws of the state within which the business exists.

    Since the business owner, who is an individual, has the additional responsibility and burden to comply with the duly passed laws, all reasonable decisions related to the running of the business or the duties of the owner and their employees are the responsibility of the owner.

    This describes the difference between an individual as an individual among individuals and an individual who runs a business and who has additional responsibilities related to all individuals rights in the context of doing business.

  • Edward

    > The only thing that the state can do is insist that a business reasonably follow the duly passed laws of the state within which the business exists.

    And since we are discussing the righteousness of the interpretations of these laws, I am not sure why it is important to bring this up, unless you are advocating that we follow, without complaint or disapproval, any and all tyrannical, unconstitutional, anti-freedom laws or their (mis)interpretations that come along.

    Frankly, I will complain and disapprove of laws that turn this country into a tyranny. I will do the same about any (mis)interpretations of any law (real or imagined by the governing body) that does the same. Or any rules and regulations that do the same.

    An argument that we follow the laws and rulings just because they exist is an argument in favor of tyranny, and it encourages a tyrannical government to impose more of the same. This country was founded because of the tyrannical rule of King George, and I do not want us to end up in that same situation.

    Thousands, if not millions, of people came to this land in order to escape religious persecution, and I do not want this country to continue on its current course of becoming one that persecutes the religious.

    I ask you to favor freedom over the growing tyranny that is taking over this country.

Readers: the rules for commenting!


No registration is required. I welcome all opinions, even those that strongly criticize my commentary.


However, name-calling and obscenities will not be tolerated. First time offenders who are new to the site will be warned. Second time offenders or first time offenders who have been here awhile will be suspended for a week. After that, I will ban you. Period.


Note also that first time commenters as well as any comment with more than one link will be placed in moderation for my approval. Be patient, I will get to it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *