Month: April 2015
Politics is a Sport
A new study has been released that confirms what everybody already knew:
A new study published at Political Research Quarterly indicates that many Americans who identify with one of the major parties make their electoral decisions more like a sports fan than an informed voter.
What motivates partisans to vote is “not high-minded, good-government, issue-based goals,” says Patrick Miller of the University of Kansas, who co-authored the research with the University of North Carolina’s Pamela Johnston Conover. Instead, “It’s, ‘I hate the other party. I’m going to go out, and we’re going to beat them.'”
I’m not exactly sure what “high-minded, good-government” is but I do understand the gist of the study. Voters closely resemble those annoying drunks at sportsball events that paint their preferred team’s colors on their body, wear some stupid hate, and scream loudly every time their preferred team does something. The only difference, and I believe this is a major downside, is that voters tend to be more restrained. I would much prefer it if voters got drunk, painted themselves, and screamed loudly at political events. At least that would be mildly entertaining and treat the subject matter with the seriousness it deserves. But I’ve been to political events and the fans are usually stuffy codgers in suits, or at the very least business casual dress, who merely clap when their preferred politician says something they like.
We should take the treating of elections to the next logical step. All political events should involve keg stands, beer pong, and drinking games. Nothing any politician says will change what team the fans vote for so they might as well turn their boring speeches into fun parities.
It’s also probably worth noting that this is why you will change nothing through voting. Most people don’t give a shit about the issues. All they care about is that their team beats the other team.
Jeb Bush Offers to Be Four More Years of Obama
If you’re paying attention to the upcoming presidential race, and may the gods have mercy on your soul if you are, you know that the selection of candidates is even worse than last year (which is saying something). Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Hillary Clinton are all terrible individuals and there is another terrible individual that everybody knows is going to run: Jeb Bush. In a press conference Jeb Bush promised that he would deliver four more years of Obama, which is kind of funny since Obama has deliver eight years of Jeb’s father:
Jeb Bush, a likely presidential contender, said Tuesday that President Obama’s greatest accomplishment was keeping in place controversial spying programs at the National Security Agency.
“I would say the best part of the Obama administration would be his continuance of the protections of the homeland using the big metadata programs,” Bush said in an interview on the Michael Medved radio show.
Bush argued the NSA programs had been “enhanced” under Obama, even if the president “never defends them or openly admits it.”
What’s that say about a man when he thinks the best part of Obama’s administration has been the continuation of an unaccountable, illegal (not that that means anything), and entirely ineffective surveillance apparatus? It says that he’s a police state fuckwit who probably read 1984 and thought the Inner Party sounded pretty good.
Unfortunately if he decides to run, and he will, the Republicans will nominate him and we’ll have a Jeb Bush versus Hillary Clinton race, which means we’ll have a neocon versus another neocon. Fortunately we have hope in Vermin Supreme.
Calling the Police is Dangerous
Most situations can only be made worse by involving the police. For example, if somebody breaks into your home and you shoot them the situations has concluded. Unless the police show up. Then they might gun you down:
Huntsville police spokesman Lt. Darryl Lawson tells AL.com the woman’s estranged husband came into the house she shared with her mother armed with a gun Sunday afternoon. The woman opened fire with a shotgun, wounding him.
Her mother called 911 and when police arrived, they heard gunshots and saw the woman in the garage holding the shotgun. They demanded she drop the weapon and when she turned toward them with the gun in her hand, at least one officer fired.
Officers say the estranged husband’s injuries are life threatening. The woman is expected to survive.
I’m sure some will put the blame on the woman for “turning towards the police” but we need to remember that that claim is from the officers who are most likely trying to cover their asses. Either way the woman would have been better off shooting her estranged husband, leaving the house, and then calling the police so she wouldn’t be around when one of those trigger happy fucks decides to get his rocks off by blasting an innocent bystander.
Never call the police unless not doing so could hold terrible legal liability. In those cases make sure you’re away from the immediate area so the police won’t assume you’re a bad guy who they can shoot at will.
A Good Use of Religious Freedom Laws
When you heard the phrase “religious freedom laws” your mind probably jumps to thoughts of business owners discriminating against patrons based on their sexual orientation. That has been the primary motivation of the politicians who passed these laws and the angle being covered by the press. But these laws can also be used for good. Let’s take the state’s war against the homeless as an example. One woman has cited a religious freedom law in response to the state trying to stop her from feeding the homeless:
Joan Cheever of San Antonio has been serving meals to the city’s homeless for 10 years. But last week, police officers handed her a ticket with a potential fine of $2,000. Despite having a food permit for the food truck she cooks out of, which she calls the Chow Train, she was cited for transporting and serving it from a different vehicle.
But that hasn’t stopped her from continuing to hand out three-course meals to the homeless. On Friday, she went back to Maverick Park with 50 supporters to hand out food, and this time she wasn’t ticketed. Cheever has argued that she has a right to feed the homeless under Texas’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act because she considers it exercising her religious beliefs.
Christianity teaches compassion for the poor and afflicted so it’s not extent to claim feeding the homeless is a protected act under religious freedom laws. Now the question becomes whether the state will find and act that goes against its interest a lawful act of religious freedom.
Metal and Antistatism
Anarchism and metal are like fish and water. Metal has a long history of counterculture and antistatism. In fact in many areas of the world metal is illegal but bands exist anyways (proving once again that laws can’t control behavior). Vice recently did an interview with members of Al-Namrood. Al-Namrood, for those who are unfamiliar with Middle Eastern metal, is a Saudi Arabian black metal band. They’re worth nothing not only for their music but also for the fact that they stand the real chance of being executed for playing their music:
Black metal bands have never been keen on religion. However, in parts of the world where religion can actually be oppressive, bands inspired by Bathory and Mayhem and Burzum are few and far between.
That’s presumably because it’s a lot easier to be in an anti-Christian metal band in the US, than in an anti-Islamic metal band in Saudi Arabia. In America, your obstacles extend to overhearing your mom tell a friend you’re just “going through a phase.” In Saudi Arabia, you face social ostracism and the possibility of imprisonment or death.
With that in mind, you’ve got to give it to Saudi Arabia’s only black metal band, Al-Namrood, whose lyrics include all sorts of things that could get them executed. I got in touch with guitarist and bassist Mephisto for a chat.
It’s an interesting interview. Al-Namrood is one of those bands that I look up to for its willingness to give a giant middle finger to the state. It also gives me hope because even the oppressive Saudi government can’t find the members of Al-Namrood. If an oppressive regime such as Saudi Arabia can’t find a single band that sells physical merchandise then there’s hope for all of us agorists.
Using Copyright Laws to Push Independent Mechanics Out of the Market
You have two options when your out of warranty vehicle needs repairs. Option one is to spend a small fortune taking your vehicle to the certified dealer and having their mechanics fix it. The other option is to spend far less money and either repair it yourself or take it to an independent mechanic. Because automobile manufacturers make tons of money off repairing the vehicles they sell they have a direct interest in locking out independent mechanics (both professional and hobbyists).
It’s difficult to lock people out of purely mechanical devices. Any part on a car can be fabricated with enough machining tools and many people rely on this fact to restore old vehicles. But computer technology is offering automobile manufacturers an option to legally lock out independent mechanics through copyright law:
Allowing them to continue to fix their cars has become “legally problematic,” according to a written statement from the Auto Alliance, the main lobbying arm of automakers.
The dispute arises from a section of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that no one thought could apply to vehicles when it was signed into law in 1998. But now, in an era where cars are rolling computing platforms, the U.S. Copyright Office is examining whether provisions of the law that protect intellectual property should prohibit people from modifying and tuning their cars.
In comments submitted so far, automakers have expressed concern that allowing outsiders to access electronic control units that run critical vehicle functions like steering, throttle inputs and braking “leads to an imbalance by which the negative consequences far outweigh any suggested benefits,” according to the Alliance of Global Automakers. In the worst cases, the organizations said an exemption for enthusiasts “leads to disastrous consequences.”
If automobile manufacturers are allowed to charge people who modify a vehicle’s electronics it opens the door for locking independent mechanics out of the automobile repair business. All it would take is including some rudimentary electronics on every major component of a vehicle (which often exist already) and require it to receive the proper digital signature from the on-board computer to operate. Then, in order for the vehicle to start, the manufacturer can set a requirement that each part must transmit the proper digital signature to the on-board computer. If any part or the on-board computer fails to provide the proper digital signature the car can simply refuse to start (for security purposes, of course).
By holding the private keys to create the correct digital signatures an automobile manufacturer could tightly control who can and cannot create parts for their vehicles. It could also control who it is willing to supply parts to. Right now investing so much money into implementing such a scheme is pointless because there’s no recourse for manufacturers to take against those who modify the electronics. That would change quickly if they could charge anybody who modifies the electronics of a vehicle under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Then they could get the state to go after anybody who modifies a vehicle’s electronics for them. Anybody who modifies the electronics on a vehicle would then face serious cage time and fines at little cost to the manufacturer.
Police officers like to justify their trigger happy nature but uttering the magical words “officer safety”. When an officer beats and unarmed man to death? Officer safety! When 10 officers unload 1,000 rounds into a truck that wasn’t even being driven by a suspect? Officer safety! What happens when officer safety puts officers at risk though? That’s what happened when a group of Miami police officers when all officer safety on a couple unarmed individuals:
As the car was wedged helplessly between a light pole and a tree, nearly a minute passed before officers opened up – firing approximately 50 bullets at the car and the two unarmed men inside the vehicle.
The two men inside the car survived that initial volley of gunfire, according to witnesses, who said they could see the men moving inside the Volvo. Everything went quiet for nearly two minutes before the officers opened up a second time – unleashing an unrelenting torrent of bullets that lasted almost 25 seconds. By the time it was over, the two men inside the car were dead.
CBS4 News has learned a total of 23 officers fired a total of at least 377 rounds.
Nothing unusual about this story, right? But wait, there’s more:
Montesano and Valdes were killed by the dozens of rounds that tore through their bodies.
But Montesano and Valdes weren’t the only ones struck – two Miami Dade police officers were hit as well – caught in the crossfire. One officer was shot in the arm and the second was hit in the arm and grazed in the head. If the bullet had struck just a half an inch to the side the officer would have been killed.
The officers were going officer safety so hard on the unarmed suspects that they ended up hitting two of their own in the crossfire. Considering this was the unloading of 377 rounds into two unarmed suspects really defensible under the magical words “officer safety”?
Monday Metal: Du Hast by Rammstein
This week’s Monday Metal entry isn’t really metal. Rammstein is usually considered new German hardness, not metal, but their style varies greatly and they end up falling into different categories all of the time. None of this matters though because this is my blog and I make the rule. So this week we’re listening to Du Hast, which is probably the band’s most well-known song in the United States:
Don’t Stay at Motel 6
As a general principle I avoid doing business with snitches. What this means is that I don’t do business with individuals or organizations that I know voluntarily hand over customer information to law enforcement personnel (I understand they can’t do much about it when a warrant is issued though). This isn’t a big deal since most businesses aren’t handing over customer lists to local law enforcers. Motel 6, on the other hand, has decided to do exactly that:
WARWICK, R.I. — City police have arrested four people staying at the Motel 6 on Jefferson Boulevard as a result of the hotel chain’s agreement to provide police with a daily guest list, Mayor Scott Avedisian said Tuesday.
The names of Motel 6 guests, which police then check for outstanding warrants, is one of five steps Motel 6 corporate managers agreed to take in response to a string of high-profile incidents and concerns the establishment was becoming a haven for passing criminals.
The other measures listed in an agreement Motel 6 executives signed Tuesday include raising the minimum age to rent a room from 18 years old to 21, hiring a police detail every night, sharing their national “do not rent list” with police and conducting regular training, including on how to spot human trafficking.
I don’t understand this strategy. To alleviate concerns that Motel 6 is a haven for passing criminals the company is going to get more deeply involved with the biggest gang of criminals wherever it operates. That doesn’t make sense. But it looks like a good deal for the gangs. In addition to receiving customer lists the local agencies are looking to make some extra cash on the side since Motel 6 will be hiring officers for “protection”.
Mind you, I’ve never really planned to stay at a Motel 6 before but I will make sure to avoid the chain wherever I travel. The last thing I’m going to do is hand over cash to a company that has gotten into bed with the most dangerous local gangs.