A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Today’s Arbitrary Rule Changes

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What’s the difference between a dictatorship and a democracy? A lot of people claim that one of the major differences is that under a dictatorship an individual ruler or their ilk can arbitrarily make new laws whereas under a democracy laws are created through a process that requires input by many. If that’s the difference then I’m sorry to inform all of you that we live under a dictatorship.

Laws in the United States are often passed by Congress and signed by the president. However, not every law passed in this country has to go through that process. Many laws are created out of thin air by regulators. In one of today’s example of this arbitrary process I bring you the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) newly declared rules:

US authorities will no longer allow travelers from 13 African and Middle Eastern countries to bring computers and laptops into airplane cabins anymore, two news agencies have reported.

The new rules were laid out in an e-mail sent to airlines today by the US Transportation Safety Administration. This is according to The Guardian, which was first to report on the matter. Cell phones will still be allowed, but anything larger—including laptops, tablets, and cameras—must be put in checked baggage. CNN, citing two unnamed “administration officials,” confirmed the report.

And as Billy Mays often said, “But wait, there’s more!”

In a decision that could have broad implications throughout the silencer industry as well as with shooters/consumers, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (BATFE or ATF) has notified silencer manufacturer Dead Air Armament that the wipes used in their Ghost M silencer is a silencer part.

[…]

At this point, it is unclear why the ATF has decided to reverse their opinion on a nearly 20 year old issue. Once used in a variety of now dated silencer designs, the wipe has seen a limited resurgence as of late in modular suppressors and small silencers that require the use of an ablative media (“wet”) for increased noise reduction.

DHS and the ATF both created new rules out of thin air. In the case of ATF, the rule change contradicted previous declarations made by the agency. But it doesn’t matter because both agencies enjoy dictator-like powers over their domains and can make any arbitrary declaration they so choose.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 21st, 2017 at 10:00 am

Monday Metal: Lataa Ja Varmista by Turmion Kätilöt

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This week we’re heading to Finland to listen to a band that sounds quite a bit like Raubtier (which is a high complement):

Written by Christopher Burg

March 20th, 2017 at 10:00 am

Posted in Media

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Nothing to See Here

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I was busy with shit last night. But, hey, you get what you pay for.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 17th, 2017 at 10:00 am

Posted in Side Notes

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Cost Effective Drone Defense

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Fourth generation, or asymmetrical, warfare is much more reliant on economics than firepower. Instead of attacking an enemy directly, a military practicing fourth generation warfare tries to slowly chip away at its enemy until that enemy loses the ability or will to fight. If, for example, a military can cost their enemy $3 million by spending $200 it’s only a matter of time until their enemy is bankrupt:

A Patriot missile – usually priced at about $3m (£2.5m) – was used to shoot down a small quadcopter drone, according to a US general.

The strike was made by a US ally, Gen David Perkins told a military symposium.

“That quadcopter that cost 200 bucks from Amazon.com did not stand a chance against a Patriot,” he said.

According to the story, the missile was fired by an unspecified United States ally. Perhaps they were given the Patriot launcher for free and therefore aren’t concerned about the cost disparity. But anybody looking at the United States and its allies is probably getting some clever ideas. Sure, it’s unlikely that a Patriot will be used to take down a cheap quadcopter again but the basic idea is pretty solid, cheap drones can lead to an expenditure of expensive military equipment.

If the United States’ allies continue pulling this kind of stunt the country will have to decide whether it will keep handing out expensive toys or not. If not, its allies will be weakened and its enemies will be able to declare a victory. If so, the United States will continue throwing money down a hole until it’s bankrupt, which will cause its enemies to declare victory as well. There’s no winning when you enemy can cost you millions of dollars by spending a couple of hundred dollars.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 16th, 2017 at 11:00 am

Government Weed

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I’ve searched high and low for something government does better than private entities. So far the only thing I’ve found that the government is competent at is causing death and destruction. In fact, the government can’t even get weed right:

All federal marijuana is grown at a single facility at the University of Mississippi, overseen by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Last summer the DEA formally took steps to allow other entities to supply marijuana for research purposes. So far, none have been approved.

The problems with the Mississippi weed go well beyond aesthetics.

For instance, the pot grown there maxes out, potency-wise, at about 13 percent THC (the main chemical that gets you high). And that might be an overstatement — Sisley’s own testing found that one of NIDA’s strains purported to be 13 percent THC was actually closer to 8 percent.

By comparison, the typical commercial weed available in Colorado is at about 19 percent THC, according to a laboratory that tests commercial marijuana in the state. And that’s just the average — some of the higher-end strains are pushing 30 percent THC or more.

For a researcher, it’s difficult to assess the real-world impact of high-end pot if you only have access to the low-quality stuff. It’s akin to investigating the effects of bourbon by giving people Bud Light.

This news has some pretty significant results. The federal government continues to claim that cannabis has no medicinal uses. It may be true that the shitty cannabis the government has approved for testing has no medical uses but the government approved cannabis doesn’t reflect the cannabis people actually use.

Why would anybody trust any federally sanctioned research into cannabis knowing that such research is hampered by artificially placed restrictions that guarantee that the results won’t reflect real world usage?

Written by Christopher Burg

March 16th, 2017 at 10:30 am

The Opportunity to Provide Free Labor to Billionaires

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Are you friendly? Can you pass a background check? Are you stupid enough to provide free labor to a multibillion dollar organization? If so, there’s an opportunity for you:

Minnesotans who aren’t Hall of Fame quarterbacks can still make a play to get in the action for the 2018 Super Bowl.

The Minnesota Host Committee needs 10,000 volunteers to run the event, and the process starts Wednesday with online applications.

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Obviously, volunteers don’t get paid, but they do get a complete Super Bowl LII outfit unique to the effort that will include top-grade winter gear, including a parka built to withstand extreme cold, a sturdy backpack, beanie and thermos.

Talk about a sucker’s deal. 10,000 people will provide labor to the National Football League (NFL) and in return they only receive marketed attire that will allow them to act as free walking advertisements in the future. They don’t even receive a free ticket to the event they’re going to bust their asses for. And you know what? The Minnesota Host Committee will get its volunteers. It’ll probably get so many volunteers that it’ll be able to pick and choose who it wants.

To me this demonstrates the sordid state of economic education in this country. Anybody willing to provide free labor to a multibillion dollar organization is a goddamn fool in my book. Especially when you consider the fact that the organization needs workers and would therefore offer some kind of actual compensation if nobody was stupid enough to provide labor for free.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 16th, 2017 at 10:00 am

It’s Not Your Property

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One of the easiest mistakes to make in the United States is assuming that you can own property. If you could own property you wouldn’t have to pay rent and you could do whatever you wanted with it so long as your activities didn’t harm your neighbors or their property. But here in the United States you have to pay rent, usually referred to by the euphemism “property taxes,” and you can only do approved activities on what is mistakenly referred to as your property:

A Pennsylvania family thought building a hockey rink in the backyard was the solution for keeping the kids active during the winter — until town officials told them to tear it down.

“We want a space for them to… just get outside and get some exercise and kind of bring back the old school fun that we had when we were kids,” Terry Beam told Fox News.

This is the second winter the Beam family made a hockey rink Beam says, but it didn’t sit well with South Middleton Township authorities this year. In a letter to the family, the township engineer said the rink was a violation.

“A drainage easement is located on your property,” the letter noted. “By placing objects and fences that block the water, such as the skating rink constructed on your property, the amount of storage available is reduced, and the basin will not function as designed.”

I’m sure somebody will note that hindering a drainage basin could cause harm to neighbors’ properties. But the ice rink isn’t being removed because their was evidence that it was hindering the purpose of the drainage basin, it’s being removed because the government said so.

When the government says something it doesn’t care if its statement is logical, truthful, or supported by evidence. All it cares about is its authority. Slaves will either obey whatever the government says or it will punish them. This attitude means that the idea that government serves the people is a myth and that the idea that an individual can own property is also a myth.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 15th, 2017 at 11:00 am

Looking Good While Thumping Skulls

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The Los Angeles Country Sheriff’s Department decided that its current silver colored metal uniform ornaments are no longer in vogue. To correct this horrible fact the department is going to spend $300,000 of taxpayer money on replacing all of its current silver colored ornaments with brass colored ornaments:

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is getting down to brass tactics.

Sheriff’s officials are spending $300,000 on items they say would make deputies look more professional in their jobs and could help make them safer.

But the taxpayer dollars won’t go toward tools such as higher-quality ballistic vests, backup guns or body cameras, all of which are optional items that deputies have to pay for on their own.

Instead, Sheriff Jim McDonnell is spending the money on a minor cosmetic makeover of deputies’ uniforms: changing the color of their belt buckles and other metal pieces of gear from silver to gold. That way, the metallic bits — all made of brass — will match the gold-hued tie clips, lapel pins and six-pointed star badges that deputies already wear, McDonnell said.

This waste of money wouldn’t be so bad if the department was a business with funds acquired through voluntary trade. But the department is funded entirely through expropriating wealth from the people is claims to protect. I doubt the color of the metal ornaments will even be noticed by 99.9 percent of the department’s victims clientele. After all, who really gives a shit what color the metal ornaments on an officer’s uniform are when they’re either responding to your 911 call or thumping your skull because your skin color is a bit too dark for their liking? Since nobody will likely notice nor care about this change it’s an even bigger waste of taxpayer money than most expenditures.

But I’m sure the officers will feel better knowing that the metal bits on their belt finally match their tie clips.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 15th, 2017 at 10:30 am

Without Government, Who Will Plow the Roads

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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.”

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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 phubplows@gmail.com. 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.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 15th, 2017 at 10:00 am

Where Government Involvement in the Healthcare Market Leads

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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.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 14th, 2017 at 11:00 am