The State has redundant layers of protection to defend itself from being meaningfully changed. We see this every time a police officer is fired for excessive use of force but is then later rehired because the union forced the department’s hand. But the redundancies don’t stop there. When a government goon goes rouge the system quickly moves to stop them from doing any damage.
Rand Paul, while mostly a run of the mill statist, has moments where he decides to go off of the rails. The Republicans have been crafting their Obamacare replacement bill in secret. Since he wasn’t invited to the party, Rand decided to grab a camera crew and attempt to bust into the secret meeting only to be stopped by armed guards:
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Thursday blasted House Republicans for keeping their ObamaCare repeal and replace legislation under wraps.
“I have been told that the House Obamacare bill is under lock & key, in a secure location, & not available for me or the public to view,” Paul tweeted.
Reporters later tweeted photos of the senator attempting to access the room where the bill is being kept, and being denied entry.
It was a good publicity stunt and it shows why the electoral process is not an effective means of changing the system. Even when voters manage to elect somebody who is mostly unoffensive to the State, like Rand Paul, he’s unable to make even minor maneuvers against the status quo. His father, likewise, was almost entirely ineffective as a politician because of the system’s redundant layers of protection. No matter how hard you vote you’re still playing in a system designed by the people in power.
Watching politics is a lot like watching a train wreck. Part of you wants to look away but the other part of you is too fascinated by the death and destruction.
For me, one of the most entertaining aspects of politics is the boogeymen. Every politician and political group has boogeymen that are supposedly responsible for the nation’s woes. These boogeymen change whenever it’s politically expedient and when they do we’re told that we were never at war with the previous boogeymen but we were always at war with the new boogeyman.
Right now the Republicans and Democrats seem to have settled on their current boogeymen. The Republicans are blaming the nation’s woes on immigrants while the Democrats are blaming the nation’s woes on Russia.
Why do politicians and political groups always point to boogeymen? Because they need to deflect attention away from the people who have been screwing things up, the people who are actually in power in this nation, themselves. And if you talk to most people they’ll acknowledge that the politicians have screwed things up. But then they’ll totally ignore that sentiment when one of the boogeymen is brought up. Mention Russia around Democrats and they’ll fly into a frenzy about how Putin manipulated our election like some kind of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) agent. Mention immigrants around Republicans and they’ll foam and the mouth as they spew vitriol about the evil immigrants who built their deck and roofed their house being lazy and unwilling to work.
The reason politicians continue wrecking things but remain in power is because the average person is stupid enough to ignore their antics so long as they’re given something else to fear.
Every politician needs a boogeyman. The Democrats have decided that Russia is their boogeyman while Republicans have decided that immigrants are their boogeyman. While the Democrats pursue their boogeyman by claiming every Republican is a secret Russian agent, the Republicans have been working to ramp up harassment of immigrants. One method the Republicans have decided on is releasing private data on immigrants in the country:
Over the last month, the Trump administration has waged a war on the rights of immigrants and foreigners — including by issuing a policy that strips away basic privacy protections that have been provided by Democratic and Republican presidents for decades.
This policy shift was tucked into Trump’s immigration enforcement executive order released on January 25. It could let the Trump administration release the names and private information of non-U.S. citizens — including refugees, college students, tourists, and people here on work visas. The new policy could also make it easier for Immigration and Customs Enforcement to obtain information from other agencies that can be used to detain or deport people.
If the government didn’t have the data in the first place it wouldn’t be able to release it.
That’s the lesson people should be taking away from this. Government databases are always dangerous. Sure, they sound like a jolly good idea when your team is in power, especially if the databases are being used to store information about people you don’t like. But when the team you don’t like gets into power they’re granted access to every existing database, including those containing information about yourself and people you like.
If you’ve ever supported the government keeping data on people; whether it be on motorists, gun owners, or anybody who holds an ideology that you don’t agree with; then this recent development is the inevitable result of what you wanted.
The Internet of Things (IoT) should be called the idiotic attempt to connect every mundane device to the Internet whether there’s a good reason or not. I admit that my more honest version is a mouthful but I believe it would remind people about what they’re actually buying and that could avoid fiasco like this:
Since Christmas day of last year and at least until the first week of January, Spiral Toys left customer data of its CloudPets brand on a database that wasn’t behind a firewall or password-protected. The MongoDB was easy to find using Shodan, a search engine makes it easy to find unprotected websites and servers, according to several security researchers who found and inspected the data.
The exposed data included more than 800,000 emails and passwords, which are secured with the strong, and thus supposedly harder to crack, hashing function bcrypt. Unfortunately, however, a large number of these passwords were so weak that it’s possible to crack them, according to Troy Hunt, a security researcher who maintains Have I Been Pwned and has analyzed the CloudPets data.
When you buy something you should ask yourself what the benefits and costs are. People often make the mistake of thinking that the cost is purely the amount you have to pay at the store. But there are always other hidden costs. In the case of these IoT stuffed animals one of the costs is brining a surveillance apparatus into your home. Sure, most people probably aren’t too worried about toy manufacturers having a bug in their home. But another cost is the risk of the remotely accessible surveillance device being accessed by an unauthorized party, which is what happened here.
The sordid history of security failures that plagues the IoT market should be considered whenever you’re buying an IoT product.
With Hillary running for president and Obama occupying the White House, last year was a good year for the firearm market. Gun sales were up, ammunition sales were up, and the number of issued carry permits were up. Even a socialist paradise like Minnesota saw a record number of issued carry permits:
Law enforcement issued more than 71,000 permits to Minnesotans allowing them to carry a firearm in public, a record one-year total and a sharp increase from 2015, state officials said Wednesday.
As of Wednesday, the total number of valid permits in Minnesota was 265,728, the highest total ever reported in the annual release from the Department of Public Safety’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Roughly one year ago, that total was 217,909.
Of course, those are rookie numbers and, unfortunately, I’m expecting that number to drop. Politicians who favor gun control are the best thing going for the firearm market. When people are told they won’t be able to buy something in the near future they rush out and buy it. Standard capacity magazines will fly off of the shelf when politicians start whispering about passing legislation restricting magazines to 10 rounds. AR-15s and AK-47s will fly off of the shelf when politicians start whispering about banning modern rifles. The best way to bolster the sale of something is to get a politician to threaten to ban it.
What happens when the police in a city are brutally honest about their intentions? People get upset:
CATLETTSBURG — An Eastern Kentucky police chief has removed large decals with the Punisher skull and “Blue Lives Matter” from eight police cars after a backlash following the publication of a Herald-Leader story.
The Catlettsburg Police department, which employs eight full-time and two part-time officers for a population of about 2,500, featured the images on the hoods of its 2013 and 2017 Ford Interceptor sedans and sport-utility vehicles, assistant police chief Gerry Hatzel said. The stylized skull was from “The Punisher” comic book series.
The Punisher is one of my favorite anti-heroes. He’s a no nonsense dude who straight up kills evildoers. Considering the way police act today, I can see why The Punisher would be an idol to them. Of course, The Punisher goes after bad guys whereas American police officers spend a vast majority of their time going after people who haven’t harmed anybody.
Still, I appreciate that the officers put a symbol on their cars that blatantly stated their intentions. But I understand that most people don’t appreciate such honesty so I would have expected this kind of outrage.
Axon, Tasers body camera division, has announced a new product. It’s a holster sensor that activates all nearby body cameras when an officer draws their firearm:
The Signal Sidearm, despite its slightly confusing name and provided artwork, isn’t a pricey, complex smart weapon, but rather a sensor that can be retrofitted into “most existing firearm holsters.” The sensor is powered by a coin cell battery that lasts approximately 1.5 years. It sounds like the sensor is technologically very simple, which hopefully means it’s also very reliable.
Body cams to be worn by more than 22,000 London cops after rollout delay
When a weapon is drawn from the holster, the Signal Sidearm tells any Axon camera within 30 feet to start recording. If there are multiple Axon cameras present, they all start recording, providing video footage from a variety of angles.
The sensor activates nearby body cameras after guns have been drawn so they won’t record whether the police unnecessarily escalated the situation to deadly force or not. That’s convenient.
As one of my friends commented, “Every technology deployed by the state will benefit the state, which is why we need our own technology.” If the State is willing to issue technology to police officers, such as body cameras, you know that technology will be of significant benefit to the State while being a significant detriment to you and me. Body cameras sound like a great technology for holding officers accountable but since the State controls all footage it’s trivial to disappear any inconvenient evidence while keeping evidence that allows the State to prosecute somebody.
I would think that a nation primary composed of people who have had a rather unpleasant history with government databases would be very reluctant about creating government databases. But then I would be wrong:
The Knesset passed the biometric database law Monday night.
The bill was approved in its second and third readings after all objections were overcome. The final vote was 39-29 in favor.
The bill was significantly changed from its original version.
Over the course of the day it was decided that the database will not include fingerprints of anyone under the age of 16 and will not be used for unusual police applications.
New additions to the law were intended to amend the arrangements for the biometric database, in which all residents of the State will have their pictures and fingerprints taken, but for those who object, their data would be tied to their smart-cards instead of being entered into a database. However, those who choose to not be entered into the database will have to renew their passports and ID cards once every five years instead of every ten.
Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.