Shocker of the Day, FBI Intelligence Violations

Prepared to be shocked because the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has uncovered proof that the Federal Bureau of Intelligence (FBI) is violating laws in their pursuit of made-up bogeymen:

EFF has uncovered widespread violations stemming from FBI intelligence investigations from 2001 – 2008. In a report released today, EFF documents alarming trends in the Bureau’s intelligence investigation practices, suggesting that FBI intelligence investigations have compromised the civil liberties of American citizens far more frequently, and to a greater extent, than was previously assumed.

It’s OK though since they’re violating your rights to fight the terrorists. Also nobody is going to hear nor care about this so the FBI will likely not even get a slap on the wrist. Hell they’ll probably get a pat on the back for a job well done. Your government at work ladies and gentlemen.

Internet Kill Switch

I’m sure you’ve heard that Egypt has basically killed Internet access in a pointless attempt to censor those rightly angry with their dictator government. Many people are decrying this and rightfully so but many of these people are also making statements proclaiming how glad they are that such a situation couldn’t happen here. These people are stating that only fascists and dictators would do such things.

So, which on is our government? Personally I’d say closer to fascists since we don’t really have a single dictator in power at the moment. Either way our government has been pushing for legislation to create some form of “Internet kill switch” for some time now. They want to have the legal authority to shutdown the Internet in “times of emergency.”

This can happen here and our overlords representatives are trying to make it a possibility. If you don’t want to see the Egypt style kill switch here you need to complain to your so-called representatives now before they decide to pass it in some lame duck session.

Did You Hear Things are Happening in Egypt

Did you know bad shit is going down in Egypt? If you didn’t you’re apparently the average American because of the handful of people I’ve brought Egypt up to only two knew about the massive civil unrest and riots. Do yourself a favor, don’t be a stereotypical ignorant American and read on on the situation in Egypt. It’s far more important than any shit happening within our borders at the moment.

ATF Releases Study

Although it seems the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms Explosives and Fun (ATF) a little late Snowlakes in Hell let us know they finally released their shotgun study [PDF]. Surprisingly it seems Saigas may be safe.

There is some stupid shit in there. For example exhibit four talks about integrated rails. If your rail runs along the top of the shotgun it’s “for sporting purposes” while rails located anywhere else are apparently only for murdering people with our side mounted flashlight (flashlights are also an item on the “bad things” list). Forward pistol grips are apparently evil as are those horrible magazines that can store an arbitrarily high number of rounds (the ATF chose five to be the number of rounds useful for “sporting purposes”). Oh and mounts for grenade launchers are also a no-no.

Basically the list contains a ton of stupid shit, about what you expect from a government agency that only exists to bad things that are fun. Thankfully nothing on that list specifically prohibits the Saiga shotgun (it’s imported with a five round magazine).

The White House Looking to Lose the Next Election

I took a bit of time out of my busy day to mock the anti-gunners because Obama didn’t heed their call and mention gun control in his State of the Union address. Well rumors are circulating that the White House will be making a push for stronger gun control in a short while:

But in the next two weeks, the White House will unveil a new gun-control effort in which it will urge Congress to strengthen current laws, which now allow some mentally unstable people, such as alleged Arizona shooter Jared Loughner, to obtain certain assault weapons, in some cases without even a background check.

Who knows if this is true or not but you can be sure you’ll hear about it on the gun blogs if it is. I’m sure if a push is made they will be trying to perform the impossible and require the NICS system to detect crazy. I’d mention a potential ban on large capacity magazines may be in the works but McCarthy already showed those cards with her stupid ass legislation.

Keep your ear to the ground ladies and gentlemen, if there is one entity on the planet that can’t be trusted to do the right thing (not make more worthless gun control laws) it’s government.

Minnesota Looking to Repeal Permit to Purchase Requirement

It looks like some rare good news is making it’s way through Minnesota’s legislature. Apparently the Republicans want to earn their keep here right away and have proposed legislation to eliminate Minnesota’s permit to purchase law.

For those of you not familiar with Minnesota’s permit to purchase system it goes something like this. If you want to purchase a handgun or an “assault weapon” you need to either have a permit to carry or obtain a permit to purchase. A permit to purchase is a piece of paper you obtain from your local police headquarters. When you want to purchase a handgun or an “assault weapon” you need to go to your local police station and apply for a permit to purchase. After turning in your application there is a seven day waiting period while the police pretend to run more than a National Criminal Instant Background Check System (NICS) check on you. After seven days you return to the police station and they hand you a piece of paper that says it’s OK for you to have more than a shotgun or “hunting rifle” (unless you’re a prohibited person of course). Of course the permit is only good for a year after which you have to repeat this entire process.

This system is a huge pain in the ass and has needed the boot for a long time. Why does it need the boot? Well because you can’t get these permits outside of weekdays during normal business hours. I’m going to use a little example here to explain the problem with such a system. I have a friend who is unable to drive and works full time. This person is also a strong supporter of the right to keep and bear arms. In order for this person to purchase a handgun or an “assault weapon” a trip to the police station is required. This is quite the pain in the ass when you can’t drive and work during the same hours the police station is open. How does such a person obtain a permit? Well it usually involves having somebody else give them a ride which results in two people having to take time off of work, twice (the permit has to be picked up a week later as they won’t mail it to your home).

Although the story in the Red Star I liked to has people who claim the system prevents violence such claims haven’t been demonstrated in any way. The police are also against repealing the law:

The Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association and the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association both testified against the bill, saying it could strip them of their ability to do proper backgrounding.

Of course this has nothing to do with background checks, one is performed every time you purchase a firearm through the FBI’s NICS system. The police don’t want this repealed because it takes away something they desire, power over the peasantry. Some common sense did come out of the debates:

At one point, as legislators debated the recent Arizona shootings that left six people dead and U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords severely wounded, Cornish said that the “bald-headed goon” arrested for the shootings probably would not have been stopped from buying a gun under the Minnesota law.

Exactly. The Minnesota system wouldn’t have helped catch that asshole. The seven day waiting period can’t detect crazy any better than other background check systems (which is to day background checks don’t detect crazy). I’m glad to see the new legislature is moving to repeal this worthless law. The law (which I’m not sure of the name of so can’t look it up, thanks Red Star) made it out of committee and will be moving through our legislature.

I hope to see more restrictions against our right to keep and bear arms repealed. Heck get rid of the Minnesota prohibition against suppressors and allow us to purchase machine guns with the requirement they be on the curio and relic list and I’ll most likely work to reelect you guys.

An Example of Burden of Proof

I love it when examples make themselves apparent. Shortly after I posted about the whole idea that burden of proof is on the accuser Uncle posted a story where the accuser presents not facts to backup their claim.

The claim made by Salon author Gene Lyons is, “Guns costs more lives than they save.” The numbers provided to backup that claim? Nonexistent. The author provides a couple of unverified (no link or description of where the story originated from) stories where police officers were shot in the line of duty. Oh and the author flat out lies about this:

Anyway, here’s the thing: In the wake of the Tucson tragedy, handgun advocates argue that a well-armed private citizen could have saved lives by putting a decisive end to alleged gunman Jared Loughner’s mad act. Never mind that Arizona has the most permissive gun laws in the country. Indeed, the killer had broken no laws until he shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords at point-blank range.

Emphasis mine.

Actually he committed a crime when he purchased the firearm because he was a user of marijuana which legally prohibited him from possessing a firearm.

See how that works? I made a claim and backed it up with citations of evidence.

Facebook Turns on HTTPS

Just to let everybody know it seems Facebook has finally activated the option of turning on HTTPS. HTTPS encrypts the traffic between your computer and Facebook making it more difficult to eavesdrop on your traffic (useful for example if you actually use open Wi-Fi access points). You should go to your settings and enable this right away.

Of course if you’re using HTTPS Everywhere you don’t have to worry about manually enabling this Facebook feature. Or you could add Facebook to NoScript’s force HTTPS section.

Security Theater at the Theater

Yo Dawg, I heard you liked security theater so we put security theater in your theater so you can watch while you watch.

It seems Broadway theaters think they’re pretty important targets of opportunity:

Additional steps are needed to prepare Broadway theaters in New York City for a potential WMD attack or other crisis, a New York state legislature subcommittee said yesterday (see GSN, Sept. 23, 2010).

I’m sure the terrorists are going to spend a lot of time and effort to smuggle a nuclear or biological weapon into a Broadway theater in an attempt to kill thousands of people. That makes so much sense considering all the weapons of mass destruction we’ve been finding terrorists with as of late… wait, that hasn’t happened.