A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for June, 2017

Defending Against Propaganda

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Fake news and propaganda are still hot issues for a lot of people. Why? Most likely because they’re products of the public schooling government indoctrination system and are therefore unable to differentiate between facts and fiction when they’re being reported by a respected authority figure. When you can’t tell the difference between the two the fact that some of what you’re being told is factual while the other is fictional probably seems very scary.

But that’s OK because there are some solutions that will fix everything:

In a sense, social media audiences need basic “stranger danger” lessons. Every kid knows that the nice person offering candy and a ride might actually be trying to kidnap them. We need the same instincts in online public spaces, too. The friendly person tweeting at you from Georgia might actually be a bot under the control of Russian hackers. Don’t trust Internet people until you know them.

One of the most hopeful responses I’ve seen to these problems has come from an unlikely place: the Girl Scouts of America. The group has just created a cybersecurity badge that girls can earn alongside more traditional badges for skills like camping, first aid, and music (apparently the “whittling” badge I was so proud of as a kid is no longer offered).

It’s encouraging to see the Girl Scouts teaching cybersecurity to children, because this is the kind of basic skill that people will need more than ever in years to come.

Perhaps the next step will be encouraging teachers and librarians to teach kids defensive social-media skills. Lessons would start with the basics, like how to find the sources for an article and how to understand who has made edits on Wikipedia. More advanced students could be trained to recognize the kinds of bots that are used in propaganda campaigns. Eventually, students could learn to build tools that block known sources of malicious information, much the way Block Together works to prevent the spread of trolling and sockpuppet armies on Twitter.

While education about computer security is extremely beneficial, the flaw of the above proposals is that they rely too much on domain specific knowledge and dictation from authority.

The greatest defense against propaganda is an educated populace. A lot of people make the mistake of assuming that an educated populace is one where a large percentage hold college degrees of some sort. The fact that people often exclusively tie education and college together is a good example of how bad the government indoctrination system is in this country.

Whether a population is education or not has nothing to do with pieces of paper. The ultimate determining factor is whether or not the overwhelming majority of the populace is capable of independent thought. That is to say, an educated populace is one where critical thinking is in abundance and reliance on authority figures for knowledge is at a minimum. An uneducated individual is willing to accept any knowledge provided to them by an authority figure whereas an educated individual will be skeptical of any knowledge provided by an authority figure and attempt to verify it through personal investigation.

Propaganda becomes less effective when individuals default to a state of skepticism. Therefore the most effective tool for fighting against propaganda is teaching individuals how to think for themselves. Once they can do that they can seek out the knowledge they need to further guard themselves. Having authority figures dictate to individuals what is or isn’t propaganda and what they should or should not do to guard against it only exacerbates the problem because it keeps those individuals in a state of mind where they seek knowledge from authority, which is what propagandists rely on.

Unfortunately, the State relies on propaganda and therefore has a vested interest in teaching people to blindly accept knowledge from authority instead of seeking it out themselves. That being the case, the government indoctrination system will continue doing its damnedest to prevent students from thinking for themselves. Until parents stop sending their children to these indoctrination centers propaganda will continue being effective.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 28th, 2017 at 11:00 am

More Evidence that Secession is Necessary

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The United States of America doesn’t respect the rights of individuals. Even the constitutionally granted rights are ignored by it. That alone is a solid argument for secession. Another solid argument is the fact that many of the individual states don’t get along very well. California, for example, has implemented a travel ban against eight states for official state business:

SACRAMENTO — President Trump’s proposed “travel ban” from several Muslim-majority countries has consistently been blocked by the courts. But California has a ban of its own — barring official travel to a growing list of pariah states.

The new law took effect in January, outlawing state employees and officials from using tax money to go to states with laws California deems discriminatory in regards to LGBT issues.

The first states on the list were Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee. But late last week, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced that the list has doubled and now includes Alabama, Kentucky, South Dakota and Texas, the second-largest state in the U.S.

I’m sure the eight listed states are jumping for joy. Likewise, they’re probably drawing up their own travel bans against California.

If each state starts issuing official travel bans for its employees based on disagreements between laws things could get interesting. Several states could issue official travel bans on California and New York for their restrictive gun laws. Other states could issue official travel bans against California and Minnesota for their fiscally irresponsible socialist policies. As Internet privacy laws start getting passed states could issue travel bans based on those. The options are practically limitless. In the end there could effectively be a blanket travel ban for the employees of individual states traveling for official business to other states.

I also wouldn’t be surprised if these travel bans for state employees traveling on official business end up being used as a precedence for banning any individual within the state from traveling, at least directly, to verboten states. If things continue at this rate, the future is going to be very interesting.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 28th, 2017 at 10:30 am

Hope for the Future

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It’s pretty clear that there’s no hope to be found amongst the current generation of rulers. However, Texans may have a glimmer of home in the next generation of rulers:

But it recently got a boost from some unlikely supporters: a contingent of high school boys.

Earlier this month, a secession bill won overwhelming support from the mock legislature in Texas Boys State, the American Legion’s summer program where youth leaders create and run their own government, as the Wise County Messenger reported Saturday. The vote, held June 15, marked the first time in the nearly 80 years since the program’s inception in Texas that both chambers of the Texas Boys State legislature voted in favor of seceding from the Union.

It’s nice to see at least some young individuals have their heads screwed on right about secession. There’s no saving the United States of America. Between crippling amounts of debt, a body of law that no individual can ever fully memorize, an unwillingness to respect both the rights of individuals and the constitutionally granted privileges of the individual states, etc. it’s clear that the only way to chisel out a little extra freedom is for the individual states to secede. Once they’ve seceded and become the new tyrants then the counties can secede and then the townships and finally the individuals.

Secession down to the last individual!

Written by Christopher Burg

June 28th, 2017 at 10:00 am

Background Checks are Legalized Harassment

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Gun control advocates have been clamoring for universal background checks. In their fantasy world a background check is a simple and sensible tools to prevent prohibited individuals from obtaining a firearm. But background checks aren’t simple or sensible if you find yourself on the prohibited persons list.

Unlike the fantasy world gun control advocates live in, here in the real world the government can and do add people to the prohibited list without cause. Whether an incident is due to an honest clerical mistake or purposeful harassment will always remain unknown because the process is opaque. But if your name is wrongly added to the list the only recourse available to you is to sue the federal government, which can drag out the court case to increase your expenses and then finally take your name off of the list voluntarily so that you’re stuck with those expenses:

Recently, Stamboulieh Law, PLLC, posted up on one of their latest cases, Ledet v. USA, where their client Mr. Ledet was forced to sue the United States to get his NICS checks records corrected. Despite having NICS “roll over” and correct the records, Mr. Ledet is not the “prevailing party” in his own lawsuit, as no judgment was rendered as the point of the suit was moot – NICS corrected its records.

Basically, the Court did not issue a ruling as the claimant received “relief” through the successful resolution of the NICS check allowing him to purchase a firearm. Therefore, he was not a “prevailing party”. Per the Court’s judgement:

“[A] plaintiff does not prevail even though its action has caused the defendant to change is primary conduct, because the plaintiff does not thereby obtain a ‘judicially sanctioned change in the legal relationship of the parties.’”

So, in short, unless a court orders the FBI to change its records, the FBI and its NICS division can drag out a case and increase the costs of the plaintiff and so long as they change voluntarily without a court order, NICS is off the hook for costs.

The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) has create yet another avenue for the State to harass gun owners and people who are interested in becoming gun owners. People who have been wrongly placed on the prohibited persons list are looking at massive legal expenses if they want to exercise their so-called right to keep and bear arms.

If gun control advocates were sincere they would be working to fix glaring issues with NICS, such as this one, before demanding the system be made mandatory for all firearm transfers. However, their support of universal background checks doesn’t stem from a desire to keep weapons out of the hands of bad individuals, it stems from a desire to prohibit gun ownership. Under the current laws of the United States an outright ban is difficult to pass into law. But an de facto ban can be established by artificially raising the cost of buying a gun by introducing license and legal fees. Mr. Ledet just got to experience how NICS is a perfect tool for greatly increasing the cost of gun ownership.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 27th, 2017 at 11:00 am

The $3 Million “Justified” Shoot

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One of the more disgusting claims being made by cop apologists is that the jury’s ruling in the Yanez case proves that the officer’s killing of Castile was justified. The jury only ruled that Yanez wasn’t guilty of the crimes the prosecutor brought against him. That’s different from ruling that his actions were justified. Now we have evidence that even the municipal government of St. Anthony thought the actions of its office were in error. How much in error? Roughly $3 million in error:

The mother of Philando Castile, a black motorist killed by a Minnesota police officer last year, has reached a nearly $3 million settlement in his death, according to an announcement Monday by her attorneys and the Minneapolis suburb that employed the officer.

The settlement to be paid to Valerie Castile will avoid a federal wrongful death lawsuit stemming from Philando Castile’s death. The 32-year-old elementary school cafeteria worker was killed by St. Anthony officer Jeronimo Yanez during a traffic stop July 6 after Castile told the officer he was armed. Castile had a permit for his gun.

Valerie Castile was probably smart in taking this settlement after seeing how the court system works. Between the prosecution being able to select charges based on whether or not they want to win or lose a case; the jury selection process, which usually results in the jury box being stacked with people of low intelligence and high susceptibility to manipulation; the judge’s almost absolute authority in the courtroom; and various other little tricks the State has available to ensure a jury trial goes the way it wants, jury trials end up being a mechanism for the State to reinforce its own policies by claiming they were reviewed by an impartial body.

If Valerie pursued a federal lawsuit, it’s likely she would end up receiving nothing since the State’s courts have an unsurprising tendency to side with the State.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 27th, 2017 at 10:30 am

No Honor Among Thieves

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The primary job of a police officer is to extort wealth from the subjects of the State by enforcing the letter of the law. Most people don’t sign up for the job since the law prohibits a mind boggling number of peaceful activities and most people are disinclined to initiate violence against peaceful individuals. That means that the State has to recruit from the minority of people who enjoy initiating violence. While this gives the State an army of officers willing to do whatever it says, it also means that it has to deal with its ranks being filled with psychopaths and that has a lot of unintended consequences:

ST LOUIS – A black off-duty St. Louis police officer was shot by a white on-duty police officer from the same department who apparently mistook him for a fleeing suspect, according to a statement from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

There’s no honor among thieves. If given the opportunity one thief will gladly steal from another or, in this case, shoot another. With that said, I do appreciate it when violent gangs confine their violence to their own ranks.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 27th, 2017 at 10:00 am

Monday Metal: Lords of the Hunt by Dragony

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I hope you’re in the mood for some cheesy power metal because that’s what we’re listening to this week:

Written by Christopher Burg

June 26th, 2017 at 10:00 am

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It’s Not Your Property, Serf

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Can you own property in the United States of America? Many people would make the mistake of answering yes to that question. But the United States itself as well as the individual states that make it up are democracies and democracies mean that individuals cannot own property. At best an individual can lease property from the government. If, for example, an individual fails to pay their rent property taxes the government will revoke their lease. And it’s not even a contractual lease because the rules can change whenever an empowered voting body votes to alter the terms:

Tom Erickson feels like someone is taking a bite out of his front yard.

A 12-foot-wide strip of lawn will become part of a multi-use path, which he says will reduce his front yard by about a third.

“It’s incredible to me that they can just grab your property,” said Erickson, who is fighting Woodbury city officials over the plan to create the path along Commonwealth Avenue.

Mr. Erickson paid a large buy in for the privilege to lease the property he currently lives on. He probably thought that his buy in entitled him to perpetual use of the same amount of property so long as he paid his rent on time. But the city officials voted to change the terms of his lease so now he’ll likely have to pay the same amount of rent (or more if the officials decide the trail increases his property value) for only two-thirds the amount of property.

What Mr. Erickson is experiencing isn’t unusual. City governments are constantly voting to change the terms of their denizens’ leases. Oftentimes they completely invalidate leases so they can be transferred to somebody else (this is usually referred to by the euphemism “eminent domain”). So Mr. Erickson should be grateful that he is being allowed to continue living on any of the property he’s currently paying rent for.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 23rd, 2017 at 11:00 am

Twin Cities Pride Disassociates Itself with Local Gang Members

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After Officer Yanez was declared not guilty by a jury a lot of people are finally waking up to the realization that the police can literally get away with murder. This realization has lead a great deal of anger as well as a desire by many to disassociate themselves from the police as much as possible. The organizations of Twin Cities Pride, for example, announced that they will only have the legally mandated police presence. Not surprisingly this decision has created some butthurt in police circles:

St. Paul Deputy Police Chief Mary Nash said she was disappointed and that her colleagues have shared their frustration.

Nash, the department’s LGBTQ liaison, said 12 to 25 St. Paul officers have taken part in the parade in previous years.

“I understand people are angry and we can respect their feelings, but the reality is at the end of the day if we can’t work together it becomes more challenging to become better as a community and to become better as a police department,” Nash said.

It’s hard to work together with people who take every opportunity to steal from you and have a propensity for killing you because you had a taillight out, you were selling cigarettes, the officer smelled cannabis, your skin was too dark, or any of the plethora of other reasons cops have murdered peaceful individuals. Perhaps if the police made themselves easier to work with more people would be willing to work together with them.

At least Nash’s statement was, I believe, heartfelt and pretty decent. Bob Kroll’s statement? Not so much:

Lt. Bob Kroll, president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, said organizers should be “ashamed” and called the action “disturbing.”

“It’s shameful to see this group of leadership head in this direction,” Kroll said in a statement. “With the uptick in terrorist attacks worldwide, this outward anti-police sentiment is alarming. For an organization that prides itself on being accepting and inclusive, the hypocrisy amazes me.”

Uptick of terrorist attacks? That’s the kind of old fashioned fear mongering that I’ve come to expect from Kroll. As for this disassociation going against Pride’s history of inclusiveness, I will paraphrase one of the dumbest phrases I constantly hear from the alt-right and statist libertarians and apply it intelligently. Inclusiveness isn’t a suicide pact. Just because you’re inclusive doesn’t mean you have to associate with people whose job is literally extorting wealth from you.

I’m glad to see some pushback against the police. Perhaps someday there will be enough pushback to wake some police officers up enough to perform some serious introspection. If that were to happen, they might change their behavior and everybody could benefit.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 23rd, 2017 at 10:30 am

Taxes Them Again

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Whenever you mention privatizing roads some statist inevitably says, “But then we’ll all have to pay tolls to use the roads!” This is an especially funny criticism because many states including Illinois, Florida, and Texas charge tolls. And now Minnesota is looking to do the same thing:

State lawmakers have given Minnesota transportation officials an assignment: Study the feasibility of toll roads here and report back by January.

Were this to turn into a law Minnesotans would not only have to continue paying property taxes for local roads and gas taxes for state roads but they would also have to pay a toll on various roads. That is where privatized and government roads differ. On privatized roads you may have to pay a toll. However, unlike tolled government roads, you aren’t required to pay a tax in addition to the toll.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 23rd, 2017 at 10:00 am