A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

The Best Timeline

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Tuesday’s election resulted in a prisoner, dead pimp, and man with a thing for Bigfoot erotica all winning offices. We truly do live in the best timeline.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 8th, 2018 at 10:00 am

Your Vote Matters

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After the last election the Democrats were throwing a fit over supposed Russian interference with the presidential election (funny how politicians here get bent out of shape when somebody interferes with their elections). Implied in the accusation is that an extremely sophisticated enemy such as a state actor is necessary to interfere with a United States election. However, the security of many election machines and election-related sites is so bad that an 11-year-old can break into them:

An 11-year-old boy on Friday was able to hack into a replica of the Florida state election website and change voting results found there in under 10 minutes during the world’s largest yearly hacking convention, DEFCON 26, organizers of the event said.

Thousands of adult hackers attend the convention annually, while this year a group of children attempted to hack 13 imitation websites linked to voting in presidential battleground states.

The boy, who was identified by DEFCON officials as Emmett Brewer, accessed a replica of the Florida secretary of state’s website. He was one of about 50 children between the ages of 8 and 16 who were taking part in the so-called “DEFCON Voting Machine Hacking Village,” a portion of which allowed kids the chance to manipulate party names, candidate names and vote count totals.

Florida’s website isn’t an isolated incident. The entire infrastructure supporting elections here in the United States is a mess:

Even though most states have moved away from voting equipment that does not produce a paper trail, when experts talk about “voting systems,” that phrase encompasses the entire process of voting: how citizens register, how they find their polling places, how they check in, how they cast their ballots and, ultimately, how they find out who won.

Much of that process is digital.

“This is the problem we always have in computer security — basically nobody has ever built a secure computer. That’s the reality,” Schneier said. “I want to build a robust system that is secure despite the fact that computers have vulnerabilities, rather than pretend that they don’t because no one has found them yet. And people will find them — whether it’s nation-states or teenagers on a weekend.”

And before you think that you’re state is smart for not using voting machines, you should be aware that computers are involved in various steps of any modern voting process. Minnesota, for example, uses paper ballots but they’re fed into an electronic machine. Results from local ballot counts are transmitted electronically. Those results are then eventually transmitted electronically to media sources and from there to the masses.

If you go to cast your ballot today, know that there is no reason to believe that it will matter. There are far too many pieces of the voting infrastructure that are vulnerable to the machinations of 11-year-olds.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 6th, 2018 at 11:00 am

Ensuring Your Fellow Cultists Attend Worship Services

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As with any religious cult, the clergy of the state are always coming up with new ways to ensure that their flock are attending worship services. One of the most common tactics religious cults use to ensure worshipers attend services is peer pressure. When one cultist notices that another was absent from service, they will often “check-in” on them. To make this easier, the clergy of the state have made service attendance records publicly available. Some innovative worshipers decided to tie the publicly available attendance records to an app to make it easier for worshipers to chide their fellows who fail to attend services:

It’s easy enough to say you’re going to the polls, but nobody is really tracking whether you cast your ballot — until now. Two new political apps, VoteWithMe and OutVote, will help you see if your friends voted and what their party affiliations are. Both apps were designed to help you encourage your friends and family to vote in the upcoming midterm election, as first reported by The New York Times.

How your friends voted in previous elections remains secret, but their voting histories are not. The two apps take information from public government records and make it more easily accessible. Now, instead of having to look up each of your friends to see if they’ve voted, you only need to sync your phone contacts.

I, of course, will be labeled by an infidel by these apps, which is fine by me.

In addition to streamlining peer pressure, these apps will also streamline the upcoming ideological purge by making party affiliation publicly available. No longer will you have to wonder whether your fellow cultist voted the right way. If they’re affiliated with the wrong sect, you can demonstrate your devotion to your sect through some good old fashioned propaganda of the deed!

Written by Christopher Burg

November 6th, 2018 at 10:30 am

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Remember, Remember! The Fifth of November!

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Remember, remember! The fifth of November… and the fact that a Catholic theocracy seems like a pretty sane alternative to the choices with which this nation’s suckers, err, voters will be presented tomorrow.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 5th, 2018 at 10:30 am

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Rule Are for Thee, Not for Me

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Senator Ron Wyden has had enough of consumers’ privacy being violated and has decided to do something:

The Senator’s proposal would dramatically beef up Federal Trade Commission authority and funding to crack down on privacy violations, let consumers opt out of having their sensitive personal data collected and sold, and impose harsh new penalties on a massive data monetization industry that has for years claimed that self-regulation is all that’s necessary to protect consumer privacy.

Wyden’s bill proposes that companies whose revenue exceeds $1 billion per year—or warehouse data on more than 50 million consumers or consumer devices—submit “annual data protection reports” to the government detailing all steps taken to protect the security and privacy of consumers’ personal information.

The proposed legislation would also levy penalties up to 20 years in prison and $5 million in fines for executives who knowingly mislead the FTC in these reports. The FTC’s authority over such matters is currently limited—one of the reasons telecom giants have been eager to move oversight of their industry from the Federal Communications Commission to the FTC.

I read through his proposal [PDF]. Strangely enough the proposal doesn’t mention any punishments or penalties for politicians or other government agents who violate people’s privacy.

Rules are for thee, not for me, ya fuckin’ plebs.

When it comes to surveillance my primary concern is government surveillance. The main reason I’m concerned about private surveillance is because it can turn into government surveillance (either by payment or by a subpoena). If that weren’t the case, I’d be far less concerned because, unlike government surveillance, I can opt out of private surveillance. Moreover, if private surveillance couldn’t turn into government surveillance, a company seeing me do something it didn’t like wouldn’t result in men with guns busting down my door at oh dark thirty to either kidnap or murder me. So any legislation that doesn’t curtail government surveillance is, in my opinion, worthless.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 2nd, 2018 at 11:30 am

The Arbitrary Decrees Called Law

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The United States is often advertised as a land where “the law reigns supreme.” The upside about this is that if you don’t like what is currently reigning supreme, you just need to wait 15 minutes for it to change:

U.S. President Donald Trump said he plans to sign an executive order ending birthright citizenship for babies of non-citizens and unauthorized immigrants born on U.S. soil, according to excerpts of an interview released Tuesday.

Arbitrary laws changing arbitrarily.

This executive order is more interesting than most because it is attempting to nullify the Fourteenth Amendment:

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Fortunately for Trump, there is a great deal of precedence for politicians nullifying the clauses of the Constitution. Every single gun restriction law is a demonstration of the fact that the Constitution is toothless and therefore irrelevant. Perhaps some members of Congress or the judiciary will find their spine and declare Trump’s executive order irrelevant but I wouldn’t hold my breath. After all, if Congress or the judiciary had a spine, executive orders wouldn’t be a thing.

Written by Christopher Burg

October 31st, 2018 at 10:00 am

Everybody, Regardless of Personal Political Beliefs, Should Vote!

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There are a lot of people who plea for everybody, regardless of personal political beliefs, to go out and vote. Because they add the part “regardless of personal political beliefs” their plea appears magnanimous and unbiased because it doesn’t appear to be pushing their political agenda (They want everybody’s voice to be heard!).

But whether they’re conscious of the fact or not, if everybody who heard or read their plea complied, it would skew the vote in their political favor. Why? Because most people surround themselves primarily with like-minded individuals. So the majority of the people hearing or reading their plea will likely align politically with them.

Thus what appears to be magnanimous and unbiased is really personal agenda pushing.

Written by Christopher Burg

October 26th, 2018 at 11:00 am

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The Government Giveth, the Government Taketh Away

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The problem with basing federal civil rights laws on government defined groups is that the government can at any time redefine or remove group definitions. One moment you might be a member of a protected group as defined by the federal government, the next moment you might not:

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is considering narrowly defining gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth, the most drastic move yet in a governmentwide effort to roll back recognition and protections of transgender people under federal civil rights law.


Now the Department of Health and Human Services is spearheading an effort to establish a legal definition of sex under Title IX, the federal civil rights law that bans gender discrimination in education programs that receive government financial assistance, according to a memo obtained by The New York Times.

Libertarianism, being an individualistic philosophy, argues that all should be equal under the law. This article demonstrates why. The principle that all are equal under the law is meant to take away the government’s ability to give and take protections willy nilly.

Of course it’s impossible for everybody to be equal under the law as soon as a government is established because members of a government by definition have privileges that people outside of the government lack (one of those privileges being the ability to define what protections exist). But I digress.

As soon as any individual is made unequal under the law the door is open for making other individuals unequal under the law. Title IX was meant to guard against gender-based discrimination in federally financed educational programs and activities. However, this law only came into existence because all were not already equal under the law. Instead of fixing the root of the problem, a group of politicians decided that two legally defined groups, men and women, should enjoy the same privileges from federally financed educational programs and activities. These protections were later expanded to transgender individuals by the previous administration. Now the current administration is proposing to redefine the applicable groups in such a way that transgender individuals lose Title IX protections.

Debates like this are inevitable when legal protections are granted collectively to legally defined groups instead of equally to every individual.

Written by Christopher Burg

October 24th, 2018 at 11:00 am

Voter Fraud

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There are certain rules in the universe. Light travels at 299,792,458 meters per second, the total entropy of an isolated system can never decrease over time, and arguments about voter fraud become more frequent as election dates near. An election is drawing near here in the United States so politicos are arguing about voter fraud. As is tradition the Republicans are arguing that voter fraud is a major problem while the Democrats are arguing it isn’t.

What amuses me most about this argument is that everybody involved in it uses the term voter fraud as if voting itself wasn’t a form of fraud. According to Wikipedia, “fraud is deliberate deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain, or to deprive a victim of a legal right.”

When people go to the voting booth, what are they trying to accomplish? They’re trying to get their preferred candidates into office. Why would they care about what candidates are in office? Because they hope that their preferred candidates will reciprocate by giving supporters special favors.

Mind you, no self-respecting voter will admit to this, which is where the deception comes in. If you ask 10 voters what they hope to accomplish by voting, you’ll probably hear 10 people tell you that they’re trying to make their nation, state, and/or local community better for everybody living in it. They don’t claim to being voting for themselves but for the greater good. Isn’t that so magnanimous?

If the claim to be voting for the benefit of everybody is a lie, what special favors might a voter hope to gain if their preferred candidates get into office? A business owner might hope that their preferred candidate will pass regulatory legislation that will hinder their competitors. An anti-gun activist might hope that their preferred candidate will pass legislation that prohibits nongovernmental entities from possessing firearms. A religious individual might hope that their preferred candidate will pass legislation that gives their religious beliefs force of law.

Voting is nothing more than a deception to realize unfair gain or deprive individuals of legal rights. When somebody commits what is commonly referred to as voter fraud, they’re simply cheating at cheating. That being the case, I believe that the term voter fraud is redundant and should instead simply be referred to as voting.

Written by Christopher Burg

October 23rd, 2018 at 11:00 am

Reduced Competition

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Pat Robertson appealed to the people of the United States to overlook the Saudis’ minor transgression of butchering a journalist because a $100 billion weapons sale was on the table. Not only does it appear as though those weapons sales will continue but there may actually be more! One of the United States’ competitors has announced its intention of pulling out of future arms deal with Saudi Arabia:

BERLIN — In a move that could put further pressure on President Trump to stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced Sunday evening that her government would not approve new arms exports to the kingdom until further notice.

If the United States can exploit Germany’s decision, it could ensure that Germany never gets another arms deal with Saudi Arabia. That would put the United States one step closer to being the despotic regime’s sole arms dealer! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

Written by Christopher Burg

October 23rd, 2018 at 10:00 am

Posted in Politics

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