If you live somewhere that gets hammered by frequent snow storms, you’ve probably heard some statist tell you that the government is necessary to plow the roads. After all, without government, who would plow the roads? It turns out that porn websites will:
When Boston plow truck drivers get to work clearing snow during tomorrow’s big storm, they’ll have some help—from Pornhub.
Pledging to assist anyone who “wants to get plowed,” the adult entertainment site says it is sending out a fleet of branded trucks to clean the city’s streets and parking lots for free.
“The Pornhub team understands that by this time of year, most cities have run up their budget in snow removal,” Pornhub Vice President Corey Price tells Boston, “and we thought we’d lend a hand in getting our fans plowed.”
The trucks will also be available on demand to clear lots owned by small businesses, Price says. Requests for a plowing are being accepted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. They are not offering to plow driveways, he says.
And unlike government, Pornhub won’t force you to use its service or steal your fucking property if you refuse to pay it for services you’re not using.
Why is healthcare coverage so tightly tied to employment? Because during World War II the government implemented wage and price controls so employers had to find another forms of compensation to offer in order to attract employees. Although those controls are gone the damage remains.
Since health insurance is tied to employment (i.e. the employer usually pays part of an employees health insurance premium), employers have become incentivized to control the price of health insurance. This has lead some companies to implement various wellness programs while other employers want to take things to an entirely different level:
It’s hard to imagine a more sensitive type of personal information than your own genetic blueprints. With varying degrees of accuracy, the four-base code can reveal bits of your family’s past, explain some of your current traits and health, and may provide a glimpse into your future with possible conditions and health problems you could face. And that information doesn’t just apply to you but potentially your blood relatives, too.
Most people would likely want to keep the results of genetic tests highly guarded—if they want their genetic code deciphered at all. But, as STAT reports, a new bill that is quietly moving through the House would allow companies to strong-arm their employees into taking genetic tests and then sharing that data with unregulated third parties as well as the employer. Employees that resist could face penalties of thousands of dollars.
First the government implements wage and price control laws that force employers to find another means of compensating their employees. After the system is firmly cemented the government then swoops in to save the day by implementing information control laws. Then the government implements a healthcare law that prevents insurance companies from turning away people with preexisting conditions, which causes healthcare coverage premiums to skyrocket. Now the government is taking away the privacy laws that were enacted because of it’s original stupidity in order to help employers dodge the consequences from the government’s previous idiocy.
A company can’t just fire somebody because of their genetic makeup, right? While the existence of government enacted employee protection laws might lead you to believe such a thing the truth is that there is a practically limitless number of reasons for an employer to fire an employee. If an employee is a potential liability due to the effect they might have on the group healthcare coverage premium, an employer can find some reason to legally fire them.
We are here because of what government has done but I’m sure people will continue to blame the “free market” instead.
Last year Minnesotans had the option to vote in favor of creating an entirely unaccountable council to decide when politicians should get a raise. A lot of people were suckered into voting for this because they thought it would take away the politicians’ ability to vote themselves raises willy nilly. Opponents of the ballot initiative pointed out that giving such power to an entirely unaccountable council would lead to politicians receiving more frequent wages. Not surprisingly, the opponents of the initiative were right:
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota lawmakers will get their first raise since 1999 after a newly created citizen council voted Friday to increase annual pay for members of the Legislature to $45,000 — a roughly 45 percent pay bump.
The Legislative Salary Council’s 13-1 vote increases lawmaker pay beginning in July, making Minnesota’s part-time Legislature among the highest paid in the country. Minnesota voters themselves set the increase in motion in November, overwhelmingly approving a constitutional amendment that removed lawmakers’ ability to set their own pay and instead handed the power to an independent council.
I wish somebody would vote a 45 percent wage increase for me!
Before the existence of the council, legislators who voted to give themselves wages might face some punishment from voters. Now there’s nobody to punish so legislator wages can go up and up! Isn’t democracy great?
If you live outside of Minnesota you may not be aware that it’s currently illegal here to buy alcohol for offsite consumption on Sunday. A law was recently passed to overturn this ridiculous restriction but it doesn’t take affect until July. However, one local liquor store decided to jump ahead of the game and was selling alcohol for offsite consumption Sunday. Needless to say, even though that very action will be legal in a few months the government doesn’t tolerate any amount of disobedience:
The liquor license at Surdyk’s Liquor and Cheese Shop will be suspended for 30 days in July, the city of Minneapolis ruled Monday, and the business must pay a $2,000 fine.
Owner Jim Surdyk opened for business Sunday, even though the repeal of the state’s 159-year-old ban on Sunday liquor sales won’t go into effect until July 2.
Instead of temporarily suspending the store’s license immediately the government chose to wait until July when it could cause the maximum amount of damage (Sunday alcohol sales will be legal plus there’s the whole July 4th alcohol sales bonanza). Why? It certainly wasn’t because Surdyk’s caused anybody any harm. It was because the store failed to respect some random government goon’s authority and to the State there is no greater transgression than failing to respect its authority.
Most of you probably didn’t notice but over the weekend I changed this blog over to Let’s Encrypt. There really aren’t any changes for you but this is a project that I’ve been planning to do for a while now.
Since I changed this site over to HTTPS only, I’ve been using StartSSL certificates. However, when it was announced that StartCom, the owner of StartSSL, was bought by WoSign I was wary to renew my certificates through them. When it was later announced that StartCom and WoSign were backdating certificates to get around the SHA-1 depreciation deadline I knew it was time to move on. The good news is that Let’s Encrypt is far easier than StartSSL was. Setting it up took a bit of time because Nginx support in Let’s Encrypt is still experimental and the other options for pulling certificates without shutting down the server required some server customizations. But once everything was setup it was simple to pull certificates.
So you can breathe easy knowing that you browsing experience is even safer now than it was before.
If there’s one thing the State won’t tolerate, it’s disobedience:
Authorities are opening a federal criminal investigation into WikiLeaks’s publication of troves of documents detailing purported CIA hacking programs, CNN reported Wednesday.
The FBI and CIA will collaborate on the probe, according to CNN, which reported that it is focused on determining how the anti-secrecy organization obtained the documents and whether they were leaked by an employee or contractor.
Notice how the criminal investigation is being performed against WikiLeaks and not the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)? That shows you where the State’s priorities are. Much like when it went after Snowden instead of the National Security Agency (NSA), when the State is given a choice to go after criminals within its agencies or the people who blew the whistle on those criminals, it always chooses the latter.
Once again I must reiterate the point that the State doesn’t exist to protect the people, it exists to exploit the people and will go to any extent to do it.
Hypothetically speaking, if you walked up to a teenage girl, grabbed her, and slammed her into the ground what would you expect to happen? If you said that you’d expect to go to prison you don’t have a badge:
A North Carolina police officer who was shown on a video throwing a 15-year-old girl to the ground while trying to break up a fight at a high school in January will not face criminal charges, the Wake County district attorney said this week.
The district attorney, N. Lorrin Freeman, said in a statement that a grand jury had declined to bring criminal charges against the officer, Ruben De Los Santos, for his actions in the cafeteria at Rolesville High School on Jan. 3. Ms. Freeman had asked the grand jury to review whether the case showed “willful failure to discharge duties” and “assault on a female.”
Grand Juries tend to indite everybody unless they have a badge. For some reason, when the accused party has a badge, grand juries almost always vote against pressing charges.
On the upside, the officer resigned:
The police department in Rolesville, a town of about 5,000 people 15 miles northeast of Raleigh, said it put the officer on paid administrative leave after the incident. He resigned last Thursday, the department said in a statement.
Hopefully that means that a police union can’t force the department to hire him back. The downside to this is that the officer is free to terrorize people in another community.
At the end of the day, this story yet again demonstrates that if you want to beat the shit out of people legally you can become a police officer.
There has been a lot of bad stories and comments about Vault 7, the trove of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) documents WikiLeaks recently posted. Claims that the CIA has broken Signal, can use any Samsung smart television to spy on people, and a whole bunch of other unsubstantiated or outright false claims have been circulating. Basically, idiots who speak before they think have been claiming that Vault 7 is proof that privacy is dead. But that’s not the case. The tools described in the Vault 7 leak appear to be aimed at targeted surveillance:
Perhaps a future cache of documents from this CIA division will change things on this front, but an admittedly cursory examination of these documents indicates that the CIA’s methods for weakening the privacy of these tools all seem to require attackers to first succeed in deeply subverting the security of the mobile device — either through a remote-access vulnerability in the underlying operating system or via physical access to the target’s phone.
As Bloomberg’s tech op-ed writer Leonid Bershidsky notes, the documentation released here shows that these attacks are “not about mass surveillance — something that should bother the vast majority of internet users — but about monitoring specific targets.”
The threats of mass surveillance and targeted government surveillance are very different. Let’s consider Signal. If the CIA had broken Signal it would be able to covertly collect Signal packets as they traveled from source to destination, decrypt the packets, and read the messages. This would enable mass surveillance like the National Security Agency (NSA) has been doing. But the CIA didn’t break Signal, it found a way to attack Android (most likely a specific version of Android). This type of attack doesn’t lend itself well to mass surveillance because it requires targeting specific devices. However, if the CIA wants to surveil a specific target then this attack works well.
Avoiding mass surveillance is much easier to deal with than defending yourself against an organization with effectively limitless funds and a massive military to back it up that specifically wants your head on a platter. But unlike mass surveillance, very few people have to actually deal with the latter. And so far the data released as part of Vault 7 indicates the surveillance tools the CIA has developed are aimed at targeted surveillance so you most likely won’t have to deal with them.
Privacy isn’t dead, at least so long as you’re not being specifically targeted by a three letter agency.
When a slave by the name of Delvon King failed to stop talking in Robert Nalley’s courtroom, the muumuu-clad judge ordered one of his thugs to shock the shit out of the slave. Nalley’s thug, of course, dutifully complied:
And then the judge took a smoke break:
Courtroom video shows Delvon King—who despite the judge’s orders won’t stop talking—falling to the ground and screaming in pain during a hearing about what questions should be submitted to prospective jurors. According to the video of the 2014 episode, the judge told the courtroom deputy, “Mr. Sheriff do it, use it.”
King then hit the floor and screamed in agony, according to the video.
“All right we’re gonna take five and I’ll be back,” the judge said before he left the courtroom. All the while, King was on the ground and moaning.
This incident demonstrates yet again that there are separate rules for slaves and the king’s men. If I shocked the shit out of somebody in my place of business because they failed to stop talking I’d be brought up on charges. Such behavior is not acceptable for lowly slave like me. But when you’re adorned with the king’s muumuu, you can get away with such behavior because you get to play by a separate rulebook.
The judge’s thug also deserves criticism here. Upon hearing an order to shock somebody for talking too much, a decent person would have told the man giving order to go pound sand. Violence is not an acceptable response to somebody running their mouth. But that officer isn’t a decent person. At best he’s a mindless automaton who follows whatever orders he’s given. At worst he’s a sadist who sought the position of police officer so he could legally inflict pain.