A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for February, 2012

All is Peaceful at the Minnesota State Capitol

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Everything is peaceful at the Minnesota State Capitol, which means Dayton’s office isn’t getting hammered with enough phone calls. It would be great to get those phone ringing off the hook with statements from people who want the Governor to sign HR 1467. Make a quick call to 651-201-3400 or 800-657-3717 when you have five minutes. If you’re an old school kind of person you can also send a fax to 651-797-1850. For those who are kind of old school and kind of new school you can use FaxZero to send a free fax from the Interwebitubes.

To those of you who have called Dayton’s office I thank you, now call it again. There’s no reason not to raise the urgency of this by calling his office every day until he signs the bill.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 28th, 2012 at 10:00 am

Posted in Gun Rights

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The Fifth Amendment has Been Buried

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Last month I reported about a judge who ordered a woman to decrypt here laptop and in doing so violated her Fifth Amendment right. The decision was appealed but the state is usually very consistent in violating rights so the order to decrypt the laptop was upheld:

Colorado federal authorities seized the encrypted Toshiba laptop from defendant Ramona Fricosu in 2010 with valid court warrants while investigating alleged mortgage fraud, and demanded she decrypt it by typing in her password. In January, U.S. District Judge Robert Blackburn ordered the woman, who faces decades in prison if convicted, to decrypt the laptop by the end of February.

Her attorney appealed, hoping to win a reprieve based on the assertion that being forced to decrypt her laptop amounts to a breach of the woman’s Fifth Amendment right against compelled self-incrimination.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, however, sided with the government’s contention that an appeal was not ripe — that she must be convicted or acquitted before the circuit court would entertain an appeal. Appellate courts usually frown on hearing appeals until after there’s been a verdict.

The appellate court wrote (.pdf) Wednesday that it lacks “jurisdiction to consider the resulting proceeding under any exception to our usual finality rules.”

In other words the woman is in a catch-22 situation, the 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals doesn’t want to make any ruling until after the case has concluded and the woman doesn’t want to decrypt her laptop meaning the case won’t conclude. If there is incriminating evidence on the laptop the woman should not be forced to decrypt the drive because doing so is self-incrimination. Unfortunately, according to the state, that’s irrelevant and she must possible incriminate herself in order to seek protection against self-incrimination.

The Fifth Amendment dies in the first ruling but it was buried by this most recent decision.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 27th, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Kickstarter Demonstrates the Effectiveness of Voluntary Giving

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I’m a huge fan of voluntary charity, which is why I like the idea behind Kickstarter. Kickstarter is a service where people can post ideas in need of funding and people can voluntarily donate money to the ideas they like. In essence Kickstarter has established site based on a form of mutual aid and they’re kicking some major ass:

Kickstarter is off to a running start this year. As Alexis Madrigal reported, the crowdfunding platform saw its first two million-dollar projects in one day, within four hours of each other, and a third reached that benchmark this past Monday. Earlier this month, people on the site pledged more than $1.6 million in a 24-hour period, more than doubling the previous record, which had been set the day before. Now, Carl Franzen of Talking Points Memo is putting that cash flow in perspective. He reports that the company is expecting to bring in $150 million in funding total this year — more than the $146 million provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, the federal agency charged with supporting the arts (many Kickstarter initiatives are art projects of one kind or another).

Instead of using government coercion to take money from people and redistribute it to others Kickstarter simply asks members to donate money to project they want to see happen. Kickstarter’s success demonstrates that people are more than willing to give to causes they support, a fact that many collectivists deny.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 27th, 2012 at 11:30 am

If I Disappear the FBI Probably Kidnapped Me

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The state’s war on self-ownership is ramping up something fierce:

The Homeland Security Department has ranked the movement [sovereign] as a major threat.

[…]

According to court papers, Rice was involved in the “sovereign citizen” movement, a group that has attracted little national media attention but which the FBI classifies as an “extremist antigovernment group.” So-called sovereign citizens argue that they are not subject to local, state or federal laws, and some refuse to recognize the authority of courts or police.

Since 2000, members of the movement have killed six police officers, and clashes with law enforcement are on the rise, according to the FBI. The deadliest incident came in 2010, when a shootout with a member left four people dead, including two police officers, during what began as a routine traffic stop in West Memphis, Ark.

[…]

In two recent unpublished studies, the Homeland Security Department and the National Counterterrorism Center ranked the sovereign citizen movement as a major threat, along with Islamic extremists and white supremacists. The FBI assigned a supervisor to coordinate investigations of the movement last year.

“This is a movement that has absolutely exploded,” said Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit organization based in Montgomery, Ala., that tracks domestic terrorists and hate groups. More than 100,000 Americans have aligned themselves with the sovereign citizens, the center said.

It’s come to this, those of us who recognized the axiomatic principle of each person being a sovereign are not seen as equal to Islamic extremists in the eyes of the state. If this site goes offline (and it’s not a DNS issue) it probably means I’ve been kidnapped by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents and am being held on fabricated charges. Never mind the fact that out of, supposedly 100,000 people, only six incidents of violence (that’s 0.006%) have been recorded, we’re all apparently violent scumbags.

What I find most hilarious is the fact that this “sovereign” movement supposedly only consists of 100,000 people. Why does this strike me as funny? Because every human being is sovereign. How can I make such a claim? By using Hans-Herman Hoppe’s demonstration of the axiomatic nature of individual sovereignty.

When you choose to persuade somebody that they’re not sovereign using argumentation you’re recognizing the other person’s sovereignty by the fact you recognize their right to use their body in order to argue. The act of arguing demonstrates you’re recognition of another’s free will and that free will is the definition of sovereignty.

Let’s look up the definition of sovereign on Google:

1. A supreme ruler, esp. a monarch

2. A former British gold coin worth one pound sterling, now only minted for commemorative purposes

For this case we’re interested in the first definition, a supreme ruler. By definition having complete control over one’s own actions makes that person a sovereign, or supreme ruler, of him or herself.

There is no “sovereign” movement. Yet most people don’t understand the nature of sovereignty and therefore the state, who doesn’t recognize the sovereign nature of individuals as demonstrated by their use of force instead of arguments to convince, can use it to drum up more fear and therefore justify seizing more power. Looking at the FBI’s presented numbers shows how much of a non-threat the “sovereign” movement is, only 0.006% have demonstrated any capacity for violence.

This is likely because those who recognize their sovereign nature also recognize the sovereign nature of others. Recognition of another person as a sovereign individual usually brings the non-aggression principle into play. That is to say you recognize every other person as a sovereign, recognize that sovereigns coming together to cooperate is more productive than fighting, and therefore find the idea of initiating violence against others distasteful.

Saying one recognizes the value of cooperation by recognizing sovereignty probably sounds like a large assumption but it is one that can be stated with reason. As previously state one recognizes another as sovereign by the very act of using arguments to persuade them of something instead of force. If you desire a property held by another you will likely attempt to persuade him or her to give it to you by offering something to exchange. That is to say you recognize the sovereign nature of the other individual by using something other than force in an attempt to get something they hold, and by not using force you have chosen to use cooperative non-violent methods in your attempt to obtain the object you desire. Therefore those that actually understand and recognize sovereignty also adhere to the non-aggression principle.

What the FBI is claiming is false. They’re applying the title “sovereign” movement to anybody that doesn’t recognize the state’s authority over their person. Basically “sovereign” to them means inconvenient or politically undesirable. Don’t believe the FBI’s lies, these are the same people who create terrorists so they can look like heros when they “stop” them. Their actions are built on lies and deception because that is the only way to drum up fear and fear is the only way they get more funding and power.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 27th, 2012 at 11:00 am

Have You Bugged Mark Dayton’s Office Yet

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HR 1467, the bill that will bring stand your ground law to Minnesota, has passed both bodies of the legislature and is now awaiting Governor Dayton’s signature. This means we need to make ourselves nuisances so that he’ll sign the bill to shut us up. Contacting his office is easy, all you need to do is pick up a phone and dial 651-201-3400 or 800-657-3717. If you have a fax machine you can always fax your statement to 651-797-1850. In fact doing both would be even more enjoyable.

Right now we’re not sure where Dayton stands on this and he’s made no commitment regarding this bill. One Chief of Police has gone so far as to lie about the bill in an attempt to get the governor’s veto. Let’s make Dayton well aware of the fact that his veto on this bill means our veto of his job.

EDIT: 2012-02-27 12:18: A good point was brought to my attention by Andrew, the title Have You Harassed Mark Dayton’s Office Yet was probably not the greatest pick in the universe because the anti-gunners could construe the word harass as meaning more than I actually intended. I’m not a man who generally cares what others think of me, my site, or my sometimes (often?) offensive writing style but I’m also willing to take valid criticism and act on it. Needless to say the title has been changed to Have You Bugged Mark Dayton’s Office Yet.

This is why it’s not safe to unleash me with a keyboard, a medium that people can read, and no copy editor.

Oh, I also corrected a few grammar mistakes, but you guys should be used to seeing those by now.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 27th, 2012 at 10:30 am

Posted in Gun Rights

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Monday Metal: Thor by Rebellion

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I’m a huge fan of Norse mythology. While other cultures had mythology surround gods fighting one another the Norse took it to a new level. Thor carried a hammer around and smashed frost giants in the face with it, Loki pissed the giants off and they bound him in a cave with the entrails of his son, and the ultimate battle Ragnarök was to destroy the entire world. Is it any surprise that Norse mythology is the center of so many metal songs?

The band Rebellion did a third album history of Norse mythology and, fitting with the mythology, is entirely bad ass. This song is titled Thor and, as you can guess, is about the son of Odin himself:

Written by Christopher Burg

February 27th, 2012 at 10:00 am

Posted in Media

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Transferring Domains is Apparently Something Only Geniuses can Accomplish

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If you’re reading this then my Dynamic Name System (DNS) changes have finally propagated. Let me tell you that something as simple as a domain name transfer is apparently very difficult to do. Looking at it I can’t imagine where the difficulty is, you simply take the settings from one registrar and copy them to another. Apparently that part is very difficult.

When I first registered this name I did it through Google act as a reseller for eNom and GoDaddy. Basically when you register with Google you get a 50/50 chance on which registrar you’re setup with, I got eNom. Since then I’ve been registering my domain names through Hover, mainly because I far prefer their management interface and have been trying to move my stuff away from Google (nothing really wrong with Google but the amount of control they had over my digital life was scary). The final move was taking this domain and moving it over to Hover where all my other domains rest.

When I’m at work I usually connect to my Virtual Private Network (VPN) server so I have access to my home network. This morning when I tried to connect I kept getting failures and noted that I could access other websites. There were only two real possibilities here, either my server was down or my domain name was fucked up. Doing a quick nslookup showed that it was my domain name, somehow Hover lost all of my settings.

I changed the settings this morning only to be informed by Jeff this evening that the changes still hadn’t propagated (thanks Jeff for brining that to my attention). Apparently logging back into my Hover account and reapplying my settings has worked because the site is back up again, at least it will be once the DNS changes propagate to everybody (Jeff has already informed me that the site is accessible to him so I know things are all finagled correctly this time).

The lesson to be learned from this is that transferring domains from one registrar to another is either more difficult than it appears, Hover’s employees are drinking on the job, or Hover has monkeys working there instead of actual humans.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 24th, 2012 at 11:51 pm

Posted in Side Notes

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The State Isn’t Happy Until Everything is Taxed into the Ground

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In the fight about income tax, payroll tax, and corporate gains tax people often fail to recognize all the other taxes an individual is faced with. Everything from food (in some states) to gasoline is taxed. Some localities have their own special taxes like Minneapolis and its additional taxes on lodging and entertainment [PDF]. Obviously our tax burden isn’t enough so Obama is trying to raise the tax on dividends received by those holding stocks that actually pay dividends:

President Obama’s 2013 budget is the gift that keeps on giving—to government. One buried surprise is his proposal to triple the tax rate on corporate dividends, which believe it or not is higher than in his previous budgets.

Mr. Obama is proposing to raise the dividend tax rate to the higher personal income tax rate of 39.6% that will kick in next year. Add in the planned phase-out of deductions and exemptions, and the rate hits 41%. Then add the 3.8% investment tax surcharge in ObamaCare, and the new dividend tax rate in 2013 would be 44.8%—nearly three times today’s 15% rate.

What laughable is the fact that dividends are taxed differently from income yet most logical people would agree that receiving dividends is a form of income. Another interesting quirk with dividend taxes is that it’s a tax on something that’s already been taxed:

Keep in mind that dividends are paid to shareholders only after the corporation pays taxes on its profits. So assuming a maximum 35% corporate tax rate and a 44.8% dividend tax, the total tax on corporate earnings passed through as dividends would be 64.1%.

The state isn’t happy until it has a big chunk of every dollar that trades hands. You would think entities that have this many different ways of stealing money from people could manage to run profitably instead of at a deficit so staggering that no private entity could ever hope to mirror it.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 24th, 2012 at 12:00 pm

More Proof that Humans Natural Tendency is to Cooperate

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According to Thomas Hobbes humans are natural brutish beasts that will use violence before cooperation. Logically Hobbes’s argument made little sense because he believed the only way to overcome our naturally violent tendencies was to implement powerful governments to keep everybody in line. The hole in his theory is this: if humans are naturally brutish then giving a handful of them power over the rest will only lead to those few elite reigning violence down upon everybody else. In essence if Hobbes was right humanity is almost completely fucked.

Thankfully more and more evidence keeps cropping up that demonstrates humans have a natural tendency to cooperate:

Biological research is increasingly debunking the view of humanity as competitive, aggressive and brutish.

“Humans have a lot of pro-social tendencies,” Frans de Waal, a biologist at Emory University in Atlanta, told the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science on Monday.

New research on higher animals from primates and elephants to mice shows there is a biological basis for behavior such as co-operation, said de Waal, author of The Age of Empathy: Nature’s Lessons for a Kinder Society.

Until just 12 years ago, the common view among scientists was that humans were “nasty” at the core but had developed a veneer of morality – albeit a thin one, de Waal told scientists and journalists from some 50 countries at the conference in Vancouver, Canada.

But human children – and most higher animals – are “moral” in a scientific sense, because they need to co-operate with each other to reproduce and pass on their genes, he said.

The fact that humans around the globe came together to form societies demonstrates our natural tendency to cooperate. If Hobbes was right societies should never have formed because members of our species would have been too busy committing acts of murder and theft against one another to actually cooperate enough to found communities. Communities, after all, developed when humans started understanding the value of dividing labor. Even the cavemen realized it was valuable to have some people out picking berries, some fashioning tools and clothing, and other hunting. Sadly this fact is lost on a large number (possibly a majority) of people.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 24th, 2012 at 11:30 am

Champlin Police Chief Lies About Minnesota HF 1467

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As the Senate debated HF 1467 the anti-gunners brought up the usual nonsensical arguments. One of these arguments, as I’ll demonstrate, was entirely false:

“This bill provides a loophole for a defense of what I would call cold-blooded murder,” said Champlin Police Chief David Kolb of the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association.

Kolb recounted being 10 years old and sneaking onto a neighbor’s south Minneapolis property to steal apples from a tree.

Based on the proposal, “now the property owner can use force, and even deadly force, against that 10-year-old apple thief,” Kolb said. “You can see the disconnect here with reality.”

Let me say this as nicely as I possibly can, Police Chief David Kolb is a lying sack of shit. I say this with confidence because unlike him I actually read the bill and the scenario he describes, even with the passage of this bill, is clearly illegal. Let’s look at the language:

Subd. 3. Degree of force; retreat. An individual taking defensive action pursuant to subdivision 2 may use all force and means, including deadly force, that the individual in good faith believes is required to succeed in defense. The individual may meet force with superior force when the individual’s objective is defensive; the individual is not required to retreat; and the individual may continue defensive actions against an assailant until the danger has ended.

In order to legally employ the use of deadly force one must first in good faith believe it is required in defense. One does not have good faith that deadly force is needed to prevent a child from stealing an apple. While the bill gives a person using deadly force the presumption that such force was necessary the following must be remembered:

Subd. 6. Justifiable use of force; burden of proof. In a criminal trial, when there is any evidence of justifiable use of force under this section or section 609.06, the state has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant’s actions were not justifiable.

Section 609.06 describes the legitimate scenarios in which a person can use deadly force in Minnesota, a kid stealing an apple isn’t one of them. Ignoring 609.06 we still have the fact that even the dumbest of lawyers could prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person who shot an apple stealing child had no reasonable expectation that such force was necessary.

The fact that an anti-gunner said this statement doesn’t surprise me, the fact that a police chief said this statement demonstrates how unqualified he is. If he can’t even read the law how does anybody expect him to enforce it?

Written by Christopher Burg

February 24th, 2012 at 11:00 am