A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for January, 2018

Getting Away with Murder

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Yesterday Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced that Officer Noor will be getting away with murder:

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman has convened a grand jury to compel testimony and gather evidence in the July 2017 officer involved shooting death of Justine Damond.

For those wondering why I’m so sure Officer Noor won’t be charged it’s because grand juries have an extremely strong tendency to side with officers and that’s because grand juries are designed to intimidate jurors into siding with officers. Grand juries are usually just officious rituals tacked onto the act of dismissing charges against an officer.

Another point of interest in this decision is that it goes against one of Freeman’s previously made promise:

In recent years, Freeman has said he would no longer use grand juries to decide whether officers would be charged in police shootings, saying he would make those decisions himself to provide more accountability and transparency.

I understand that Freeman is caught between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand he’s an employee of Hennepin County. As a government employee he has a conflict of interest. Officer Noor, like himself, is also a government employee and government employees are supposed to have each other’s backs. But if Freeman just declared Noor innocent there would likely be civil unrest. By reneging on his promise he can effectively let Noor off while claiming he did the best that he could but the decision was in the hands of a grand jury.

Welcome to the United States of America, the freest country on Earth… if you have a badge.

Written by Christopher Burg

January 25th, 2018 at 11:00 am

Prosecutors are Scum

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If one mindlessly accepts the bullshit fed to them by public schools and other government propaganda departments, they believe that governments exist to protect the people by ensuring justice is served. After even a minor amount of analysis though one is left realizing that the purpose of government is to rob wealth from the masses. A good example of this is how government approaches justice.

For justice to be served there must first be a crime. A crime necessarily involves a victim. The government gets around this by espousing a nonsense belief that society, a concept that exists solely in our imaginations, can be a victim. It uses this belief to charge people with victimless crimes such as being in possession of a plant or firearm that has been arbitrarily declared verboten. Another factor that must exist for justice to be served is that only a person guilty of a crime is punished for it. Prosectors, however, are primarily concerned with conviction rates, not justice:

Prosecutors are supposed to disclose any information they uncover that might help the defense. But enforcing that obligation — and punishing those who ignore it — has been no easy task. After Mr. Thompson was freed, he won a $14 million judgment, only to have the Supreme Court reverse the award in 2011, ruling that prosecutors can be held financially liable only if they are shown to have a pattern of unethical behavior. He received nothing.

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This time, lawyers for Mr. Jones and experts at the Innocence Project have pored over court records to compile evidence of a pattern.

“This was a galling disregard for the constitutional rights of defendants,” said Michael L. Banks, a lawyer with the Philadelphia firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. “From the top of this office, there was a culture of winning. And winning meant getting convictions. And that’s why there’s such a striking pattern of wrongful convictions.”

Once again we see the redundancies built into the government to protect its power. Withholding evidence from the defense is supposed to be a crime itself but the Supreme Court ruled that it’s only a crime if there is a pattern of such behavior. What constitutes a pattern? Who knows. But it ensures that yet another barrier exists between corrupt prosecutors (a redundant term) and their victims so business can continue as usual. And that’s the way government works.

Written by Christopher Burg

January 25th, 2018 at 10:30 am

If Your Device Relies on the Cloud, You Don’t Own It

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Towards the end of 2016 Pebble announced that much of it had been acquired by Fitbit. Since Pebble wasn’t doing well financially, news of it being acquired wasn’t surprising. However, Pebble fans had hoped that Fitbit was planning to continue the Pebble line. As is often the case with acquisitions, Fitbit was primarily interested in Pebble’s intellectual property, not its product portfolio. As part of the acquisition Fitbit promised to keep Pebble’s online services running for a while. Yesterday Fitbit announced the date it would be shutting down those services:

But for those who want nothing to do with Fitbit OS development and only care about how long their Pebbles will last, this news is bittersweet. According to Fitbit’s announcement, Pebble devices will continue to work after June 30, but these features will stop working: the Pebble app store, the Pebble forum, voice recognition features, SMS and email replies, timeline pins from third-party apps (although calendar pins will still function), and the CloudPebble development tool.

Pebble fans have been unhappy with the acquisition every since Fitbit announced that it was planning to shutdown Pebble’s online services. However, I think Fitbit was actually pretty decent about the entire thing since it left the online services running for as long as it did and even allowed Pebble developers to push some firmware updates to allowed existing Pebble devices to continue operating in some capacity without the online services. Unfortunately, even with those firmware changes, a lot of Pebble functionality will be crippled once Fitbit turns off the old Pebble servers.

So the lesson people should take away from this is that proprietary devices that rely on proprietary online services aren’t owned property, they’re temporarily licensed products. At any moment the manufacturer can decide to turn off the online services, which will effectively brick or reduce the functionality of the devices that rely on those services. Had the Pebble been an open source product the option would have at least existed for the community to develop new firmware and alternate online services to keep their Pebbles running.

Written by Christopher Burg

January 25th, 2018 at 10:00 am

Posted in Technology

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America Had Always Been at War with the Great Powers

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America was at war with the great powers. America had always been at war with the great power.

US Defence Secretary James Mattis has said competition between great powers, not terrorism, is now the main focus of America’s national security.

Just like that the War on Terror has taken a backseat and America is locked in a conflict with the forces of communism the great powers.

This shift in enemies isn’t surprising. America has been at war with terrorism for over one and a half decades and hasn’t achieved victory. It has to be pretty embarrassing for the world’s most powerful military to be unable to declare victory against a bunch of desert peasants in tents after more than a decade and a half. So instead of continuing to declare those peasants public enemy number one, America is going to shift focus to Russia and China who at least match up militarily and therefore aren’t as embarrassing to lose to.

The important thing to remember though is that America is at war with somebody and you should therefore continue to believe that the federal government is the only thing standing between you and certain death.

Written by Christopher Burg

January 24th, 2018 at 11:00 am

Rise Again

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The Spanish government dealt a blow to Catalonia last year when it brought the boot down on the autonomous community. However, while the Catalonians may be down, they’re not out:

MADRID/COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – Catalonia’s parliament nominated former leader Carles Puigdemont, sacked by Spain for unilaterally declaring independence, as candidate to rule the region again in a sign of defiance to Madrid and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s government.

Puigdemont and his suporters say he can rule from self-imposed exile in Belgium, where he fled to in October to avoid arrest for his part in organising a banned referendum on a split from Spain and the consequent declaration of independence.

I’m glad to see that the Catalonian parliament, unlike any state level government in this country, has enough backbone to stand up against the national level of government. This move should also demonstrate to the Spanish government that it’s attempt to continue oppressing Catalonia isn’t likely to succeed. One of two things can happen when a government brings the boot down on its subjects. The first thing is that the subjects are frightened enough to roll over. However, if that doesn’t happen then more often than not the subjects are emboldened to resist further. In the latter case there is very little a government can do outside of wiping out the entire rebellious population.

In the long run, if the Catalonians keep up their current pace of resistance, Catalonia will will likely win its independence.

Written by Christopher Burg

January 24th, 2018 at 10:30 am

Welcome to Costco. I Love You.

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Tide Pods have been in the news as of late. A series of challenge videos made predominantly by teenagers have been cropping up and apparently the challenges are being accepted by other teenagers. I would argue that if you survived at least 13 years on this planet, you should be smart enough to read the warning label on the Tide Pod bag that specifically warns against consuming the product. However, if you’ve made it all the way to college and still can’t read the warming label, you’re a unique level of stupid:

A Utah State University student was reportedly rushed to a hospital Saturday after ingesting a Tide Pod, which has become a dangerous trend on social media as teens dare each other to eat the miniature, neon, detergent-filled pods.

I’ve understood that education has been diminishing here in the United States for a long time. I didn’t realize just how far it had diminished though. At this point I’m convinced that the only inaccuracy in Idiocracy was the timeline. It won’t take 500 years for humanity to reach the level of stupidity portrayed in that movie. That level is already being achieved today.

Written by Christopher Burg

January 24th, 2018 at 10:00 am

Political Euphemism are My Favorite

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Politicians come up with a lot of euphemisms to make their decisions appear friendlier than they are. For example, when you break a law you’re not kidnapped, you’re “arrested.” When you buy a home you’re not required to pay rent, you’re required to pay “property taxes.” Furthermore, when the government steals from you it’s not theft, it’s “taxation.” But politicians are at their absolute best when they’re creating euphemisms related to war.

The United States of America hasn’t been in many declared wars since World War II. It has been engaged in many “policing actions” though. Likewise, the United States isn’t planning to occupy Syria, it’s planning to have an “open-ended military presence.”

The US will maintain an open-ended military presence in Syria to ensure the enduring defeat of the jihadist group Islamic State, counter Iranian influence, and help end the civil war.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said President Donald Trump did not want to “make the same mistakes” that were made in 2011, when US forces left Iraq.

The US has about 2,000 troops in Syria.

See? The United States isn’t making the same mistake it made in Vietnam, Iraq, or Afghanistan because it’s not occupying Syria. It’s merely keeping 2,000 soldiers in the country as an open-ended military presence! Think of it as the United States giving Syria a warm, friendly hug!

War is Peace! Freedom is Slavery! Ignorance is Strength!

Written by Christopher Burg

January 23rd, 2018 at 11:00 am

The Government Was Shutdown? I Couldn’t Even Tell!

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The media wouldn’t shut up about the government shutdown. Apparently it was shutdown all weekend. While this news was treated apocalyptically by many partisans wanting to blame the other party for the shutdown, people who weren’t wasting their weekend with politics and didn’t watch the news would have had a hard time knowing that the government was shutdown. Why is that? Because a government shutdown doesn’t actually mean the government is shutdown. It means a few services that will inconvenience the plebeians are shutdown while the “essential services” remain operational:

Mulvaney said the closures would inflict less pain on citizens who use government services than the last time Congress failed to pass a spending bill in time. The 2013 shutdown closed down many government functions for 16 days until House Republicans relented on their demands that a spending bill include a repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Mandatory spending like Social Security and disaster relief will continue, as they have in past shutdowns. Military troops, police and other essential workers would also continue, but their pay could be held up if the shutdown lasts more than a week. Even federal workers told not to report to work would likely be paid eventually — Congress has historically voted to pay them retroactively.

Federal workers who didn’t show up to work get retroactively paid? Talk about a sweet gig. A shutdown for government employees is effectively a paid vacation. This is also why I just roll my eyes when some statist tries to make me feel guilty for cheering government shutdowns by pointing out that federal employees aren’t getting paid. Not that I care that parasites get paid but I do like to point out that those employees will end up being retroactively paid so their pain will be, at most, temporary.

Unfortunately, as a libertarian anarchist, government shutdowns are mostly disappointing to me. They’re sold as government ceasing to function, which fills me with happy thoughts. But then the government continues to function and I’m left disappointed.

Written by Christopher Burg

January 23rd, 2018 at 10:30 am

Making Up Numbers

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The economic boost provided by major sporting events can’t be emphasized enough… by how lackluster it is. Those who argue for public funding to build stadiums or host major sporting events like the Olympics and Super Bowl will show a bunch of numbers to make their point. One of their favorite numbers to bring up is the number of visitors the hosting city will receive from events. For example, we’ve been told that Minneapolis will receive about 1 million visitors during the Super Bowl. That number sounds impressive until you realize that it’s bullshit:

The number is tossed about frequently in national and local media reports: 1 million people are expected to visit Minneapolis for the Super Bowl.

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“What’s a visitor?” I asked Kenneth McGill, managing director of West Chester, Pa.-based Rockport Analytics.

“A visitor is one of two things,” McGill said. “It’s a person who has stayed overnight in some sort of paid accommodation. In that context it doesn’t matter where they’re from. The could live downtown and move to a hotel just to experience it all.

“The second definition of a visitor is someone who has traveled more than 50 miles, one-way, to get to the event.”

If McGill’s visitor estimate comes true, it means that roughly 874,600 of the 1 million visitors expected by the Host Committee already live in the Twin Cities, a metro area with a population of 3.5 million.

So Minneapolis shouldn’t expect 1 million visitors. It should expect roughly 125,000. While 125,000 people might bring a bit of business to the Twin Cities that wouldn’t have existed without the Super Bowl, I have my doubts that it will be anywhere near enough to compensate the tax cattle of Minneapolis and Minnesota for the publicly funded security expenses alone.

I guess on the upside the arrival of the Super Bowl has forced the state and municipal governments to fix some of their damned roads. Even though I’m told that I have to pay taxes to maintain the roads it seems like the roads are only maintained when people from out of town are visiting. Why I have to pay for road repairs to impress people from out of town is also a mystery to me.

Written by Christopher Burg

January 23rd, 2018 at 10:00 am

Monday Metal: A Fool’s Tale by Rebellion

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Rebellion has a new album coming out titled A Tragedy in Steel Part II – Shakespeare’s King Lear. A Fool’s Tale is the first song from that album to be released. If it’s anything to go by, A Tragedy in Steel Party II will be a solid album:

Written by Christopher Burg

January 22nd, 2018 at 10:00 am

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