A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for the ‘Superdickery’ tag

Everything Old is New Again

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History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme. Every government needs scapegoats. The United States and Europe have Islam. Islamists in the Middle East have the United States and Europe. North Korea has South Korea. Every government has somebody. In fact, almost every government has multiple somebodies. In addition to Islam, the United States also has North Korea and North Korea, likewise, has the United States. Islamists in the Middle East have the United States, Europe, and Israel.

The war is not meant to be won. It is meant to be continuous. If a government doesn’t have multiple scapegoats, it runs the risk of running out. Russia has had the United States for a long time but it, like every other government, is constantly looking for more. Recently, if found a new scapegoat in the form of Jehovah’s Witnesses:

MOSCOW — Russia’s Supreme Court on Thursday declared Jehovah’s Witnesses, a Christian denomination that rejects violence, an extremist organization, banning the group from operating on Russian territory and putting its more than 170,000 Russian worshipers in the same category as Islamic State militants.

The ruling, which confirmed an order last month by the Justice Ministry that the denomination be “liquidated” — essentially eliminated or disbanded — had been widely expected. Russian courts rarely challenge government decisions, no matter what the evidence.

What threat could a small non-violent denomination have to the Russian people? None whatsoever. But that’s not the point. The point is that Jehovah’s Witnesses are a minority religion within Russia, which means a lot of Russians aren’t familiar with them so the State can therefore mold the believers into whatever it needs. The Russian government also knows that ordering the religion disbanded won’t work, it will merely push the believers underground. This, again, is exactly what the government wants. If the religion is allowed to exist above ground then its believers can openly present themselves to the masses. This makes it easier for them to show Russians exactly what Jehovah’s Witnesses really are all about. If their religion is forced underground, they cannot openly present themselves so the State is more or less free to propagandize against them.

It’s an old trick but an effective one. Now the Russian government will be free to blame whatever ills it has inflicted on its people on Jehovah’s Witnesses and show the people why they need their government to protect them.

Written by Christopher Burg

April 28th, 2017 at 10:30 am

Who Will Protect Us from the State

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Statists always ask, in the absence of government who will protect us? I want to know, in the presences of government who will protect us? The State commits murder on a massive scale but it also finds time to murder little guys as well. Consider the case of Terrill Thomas. He ended up in jail because of an undiagnosed mental illness. His kidnappers then turned the water off to his cell and let him slowly die of dehydration over the next eight days:

Terrill Thomas spent seven straight days holed up in a solitary confinement cell with no running water, slowly withering away.

Thomas started the weeklong stretch at the Milwaukee County Jail belligerent and loud, the result of an untreated mental illness, prosecutors said. But as the days wore on, he grew weak and dehydrated. He lost nearly 35 pounds and turned quiet, never asking for or receiving medical attention.

Barely two hours into his eighth day in solitary, jail staff found Thomas, 38, dead on his jail cell floor, the result of profound dehydration.

[…]

In his opening statement, Assistant District Attorney Kurt Benkley said surveillance videos show three corrections officers cut off the water in Thomas’ cell – a disciplinary measure after Thomas flooded another cell – and never turned it back on. The same officers never documented the water cutoff or notified supervisors, leaving fellow corrections officers in the dark.

Based on the history of how these kinds of incidents are handled, the officers who cut off the water probably won’t face any real disciplinary action. If there is a trial, the officers might receive a paid vacation for the duration of the trail. If they’re found guilty, they might even be fired. But then their union representative will step in and strong arm the prison into reinstating them.

And people wonder why I have no faith in government.

Written by Christopher Burg

April 26th, 2017 at 10:30 am

License, Please

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Occupational licenses are sold to the public as a mechanism for protecting consumers from fraudulent providers. Licenses don’t actually provide such protections since they’re just pieces of paper. More importantly, they can actually reduce protections since their existence convinces people that actual protections, such as regular inspections by private independent inspection organizations, aren’t as necessary. So what purpose do occupational licenses server? They serve as a source of revenue for the State as well as a mechanism for it to lash out at its critics:

In September 2014, Mats Järlström, an electronics engineer living in Beaverton, Oregon, sent an email to the state’s engineering board. The email claimed that yellow traffic lights don’t last long enough, which “puts the public at risk.”

“I would like to present these facts for your review and comments,” he wrote.

This email resulted not with a meeting, but with a threat. The Oregon State Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying responded with this dystopian message:

“ORS 672.020(1) prohibits the practice of engineering in Oregon without registration … at a minimum, your use of the title ‘electronics engineer’ and the statement ‘I’m an engineer’ … create violations.”

In January of this year, Järlström was officially fined $500 by the state for the crime of “practicing engineering without being registered.”

How dare he practice engineering without a license? The audacity of this criminal scum!

You almost have to admire the vindictive nature of the State. An individual came forward offering information that could potentially lead to the correction of a bug in a system and the State slaps him with a fine for daring to question its authority. Welcome to America, the freest goddamn country on Earth!

Written by Christopher Burg

April 26th, 2017 at 10:00 am

Snapping Up Everything of Value

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The collapse of Venezuela continues unimpeded. A couple days ago the Venezuelan government announced that it was arming loyalists, likely in expectation of massive civil unrest. Yesterday that same government decided to seize an automobile plant from General Motors:

GM (GM) described the takeover as an “illegal judicial seizure of its assets.”

The automaker said the seizure showed a “total disregard” of its legal rights. It said that authorities had removed assets including cars from company facilities.

“[GM] strongly rejects the arbitrary measures taken by the authorities and will vigorously take all legal actions, within and outside of Venezuela, to defend its rights,” it said in a statement.

Authorities in Venezuela, which is mired in a severe economic crisis, did not respond to requests for comment.

This isn’t surprisingly. Only a fool would believe that the Venezuelan regime can be propped up much longer. Since the Maduro and his cronies don’t come off as fools, they’re probably preparing for the collapse of their regime. A lot of historical rulers when put in the same position started grabbing anything of wealth they could so they could enrich themselves before fleeing the country. I wouldn’t be surprised if Maduro seizes more valuable production facilities so he can sell off the assets to enlarge his bank account so he has a comfortable nest egg for his eventual escape.

Written by Christopher Burg

April 21st, 2017 at 10:30 am

You’re Property

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Tax seasons has once again come and gone. Now that everybody has filed their papers that will hopefully appease the State enough that it won’t send men with guns to your doorstep, I think it’s time to reflect on just what the income tax means. Simply put, the existence of the income tax means that you’re property:

The great essayist Frank Chodorov once described the income tax as the root of all evil. His target was not the tax itself, but the principle behind it. Since its implementation in 1913, he wrote, “The government says to the citizen: ‘Your earnings are not exclusively your own; we have a claim on them, and our claim precedes yours; we will allow you to keep some of it, because we recognize your need, not your right; but whatever we grant you for yourself is for us to decide.”

The income tax, like so many other government evils, seemed innocent enough when it was first proposed. It wasn’t going to be used to soak the poor or middle class. Heck, it wasn’t even going to be used to soak the wealthy. It was only going to be used to take an infinitesimal percentage of the income of the wealthiest Americans. Fast forward 104 years and we’re all being soaked.

Precedence is something I like to point out periodically. The government likes to grant itself seemingly innocent powers. Often these grants of power are even celebrated by the masses. But as time goes on the seemingly innocent grants of power are used as justification for overtly sinister grants of power. The income tax is the perfect example. Although it started as a tax that only targeted the rich, it established the precedence that the State has first claim to income. That precedence was used to expand the income tax until it applied to everybody’s income. Now even the poor get a percentage of their income skimmed off of the top by Uncle Sam.

The income tax may have been one of the most egregious grants of power because it established the precedence that individuals, not just the products they make or trade, are government property.

Written by Christopher Burg

April 20th, 2017 at 10:30 am

Revolution on the Horizon in Venezuela

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The people of Venezuela are starving, the nation’s currency is in free fall, and the government is arresting anybody who expresses displeasure with the situation on charges of sabotage. In other words, Venezuela is experiencing late stage socialism. As with most failing socialist (a redundant term, I know) governments, the government of Venezuela is trying to maintain its grip through terror. But terror only works when people have something to lose. When faced with the prospects of complying and starving to death or fighting and possibly surviving, people will often choose the latter.

Maduro, Venezuela’s dictator, is seeing the writing on the wall. The people are angry with him and his policies and look to be gearing up for a revolution. In response, he has begun arming his loyalists:

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said he will expand the number of civilians involved in armed militias, providing guns to as many as 400,000 loyalists.

The announcement came as Maduro’s opponents are gearing up for what they pledge will be the largest rally yet to press for elections and a host of other demands Wednesday.

History shows that late stage socialism has two possible outcomes. The first is that somebody like Gorbachev obtains power and implements policies that allow a peaceful transition away from socialism. Maduro doesn’t appear to be a Gorvachev so Venezuela will likely experience the second possible outcome, civil war. I hope that Maduro sees the hopelessness of his situation and abdicates power but I’m guessing this mess will only end with blood.

Written by Christopher Burg

April 19th, 2017 at 10:30 am

Everybody is a Terrorist

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Denying people listed on government terrorist watch lists the ability to own firearms has been a pursuit of gun control zealots in recent years. They’re not fans of due process and foolishly believe that the government had good cause to add people to those lists. But we keep finding examples of people being added to those lists who have no business appearing on them. Take this three-month old baby for example:

A three-month old baby was summoned to the US embassy in London for an interview after his grandfather mistakenly identified him as a terrorist.

Harvey Kenyon-Cairns had been due to fly to Orlando in Florida for his first overseas holiday, until his grandfather Paul Kenyon made the error on a visa waiver form.

On the part of the Esta form which reads “Do you seek to engage in or have you ever engaged in terrorist activities, espionage, sabotage, or genocide?” Kenyon ticked yes instead of no.

He only learned of his error when his grandson’s travel was refused. “I couldn’t believe that they couldn’t see it was a genuine mistake and that a three-month-old baby would be no harm to anyone,” said the 62-year-old.

I’m not expert but I can’t imagine a three-month old child having the ability to engage in terrorist activities, espionage, sabotage, or genocide. A quick look at the applicant’s date of birth would have lead any sensible person to realize that the checkbox was obviously checked in error. But governments don’t care about common sense, it’s all about the process to them.

Furthermore, having that question is just plain stupid. Anybody with intent of engaging in those activities isn’t going to alert authorities to their intentions on a government form. After all, people who are willing to break more serious laws probably won’t be dissuaded by charges of lying on a government form. The only purpose such a question on a visa application serves is to add a field where an innocent person can make a stupid mistake.

Government lists are horribly unreliable because there are so many ways to get on them and almost no oversight when it comes to adding names to them. That’s why relying on government lists for any form of punishment is stupid. Something as simple as checking the wrong box on a form might get you added to some watch list.

Written by Christopher Burg

April 18th, 2017 at 11:00 am

You Keep Using That Word

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New York is considering make college tuition “free”for all students from households that earn less than $125,000 per year:

ALBANY, New York (Fox 32 News) – This weekend, the New York state legislature moved another step towards making tuition free for all public four-year colleges in the state.

The free college educations are part of the state budget agreement.

The Washington Post reported if the budget passes, the state it will pay tuition for any New York resident accepted into a New York community college or four-year university. The student’s family must earn less than $125,000/year.

There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch. Electricity, water, building maintenance, food, professors, etc. all need to be acquired and acquiring those things costs money. Simply passing a piece of legislation doesn’t make economic realities go away (believe me, many socialist nations have tried). New York isn’t proposing free college, it’s proposing a plan to dump the costs on somebody besides the students. In this case, as is the case with all “free” government programs, the costs will be dumped on the denizens of New York. Not only will households making more than $125,000 per year be soaked more but taxes will have to go towards college tuition as well. Instead of the students going to college paying for it, this proposal will make tax payers in New York pay for it whether they are or have students in a New York university or not.

But so many people have been “educated” in government indoctrination centers that they’ll eagerly lap this nonsense up. Then after everything goes to Hell they’ll demand the government step in again to fix the mess it created.

Written by Christopher Burg

April 13th, 2017 at 10:30 am

Degrees of Separation from Hitler

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One form of propaganda I’m getting tired of is character assassination. Whenever somebody runs afoul with police officers the tough on crime folks and the media begin performing a thorough background check. Their goal is to find something, anything, that can be used to justify the actions of the police officers.

David Dao, who was roughed up by airport police on behest of United Airlines, is now in the media’s crosshairs and, not surprisingly, they found some dirt on him:

Dao was trying to regain his medical license when he worked at the practice from August 2015 to August 2016, Nadeau said. Dao had surrendered his medical license in February 2005 after being convicted of drug-related offenses, according to documents filed with the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure last June. Broadcast and print coverage of Dao’s arrest, conviction and sentencing made his name familiar to some Kentuckians.

What?! Mr. Dao was convicted of a drug-related offense 12 years ago? Well that changes everything! He totally had that beating on United coming!

The absurdity of this practice is difficult to overstate. What does something that happened 12 years ago have to do with the beating Mr. Dao received last weekend? Nothing. But it gives the tough on crime people and propagandists something to latch onto to justify their view of officer infallibility.

And this practice becomes more absurd every year. At one point stories might be run if a victim of police brutality had a history of violence. Then stories might be run if a victim had a history of drug use. Now stories are run when somebody was convicted of a crime over a decade ago. At this rate it’s only a matter of time until the media starts playing Degrees of Separation from Hitler.

“Up next, on CNN, we present a chilling story. Our researchers have discovered that the unarmed man who was gunned down by police after he was handcuffed and placed in the back of a squad car only had 37 degrees of separation from Adolf Hitler!” Mark my words, we’re going to start seeing stories like this (although, perhaps, not exactly this) run when people have been brutalized by police officers.

Written by Christopher Burg

April 12th, 2017 at 11:00 am

More Corruption at the ATF

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Here we go again, another story of corruption at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF)! This time the agency that likes to sell guns to Mexican drug cartels was caught using an off the books bank account for some rather luxurious expenditures:

WASHINGTON — Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives used a secret, off-the-books bank account to rent a $21,000 suite at a Nascar race, take a trip to Las Vegas and donate money to the school of one of the agent’s children, according to records and interviews.

Agents also used the account to finance undercover operations around the country, despite laws prohibiting government officials from using private money to supplement their budgets, according to current and former government officials and others familiar with the account.

Before you make the mistake of assuming that those expenses were related to an investigation:

Other expenses, such as renting a 16-person suite at Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee, had no obvious connection to law enforcement operations. A.T.F. agents, along with some community members, used the suite in 2012 for the Irwin Tools Night Race, a Nascar event, according to two people who worked closely with the bureau at the time. A receipt obtained by The Times shows the suite cost $21,000.

Agents also donated money from the account, according to documents and interviews, including thousands of dollars to the high school and volleyball team of the daughter of an A.T.F. agent in Bristol. The agent, Thomas Lesnak, is now retired and did not respond to messages seeking comment. He has previously dismissed suggestions that anything was done improperly.

It’s good to be the king’s men and family of the king’s men!

Although every government agency is corrupt, the ATF seems to excel at corruption. There doesn’t seem to be a year that goes by where the agency isn’t caught in some kind of major scandal. The story notes that this latest incident shows the lack of ATF oversight but this is really a minor offense when it comes to the shenanigans of the agency. And if arming Mexican drug cartels didn’t result in more agency oversight this certainly won’t.

What this story really illustrates is how ineffective it is to give an organization a monopoly on holding itself accountable. The government maintains such a monopoly. The consequences of this have become obvious. When an agency is caught doing something corrupt no punishment, or at least no noteworthy punishment, is dispensed. Usually a hearing happens before Congress. During the hearing some members of Congress pretend that they’re shocked to find corruption within the agency in question. The hearing will be followed by a few days of government officials appearing on news channels berating the corrupt agency. Then, after the week’s news cycle is over, the entire matter vanishes from the headlines and people’s memories.

Written by Christopher Burg

April 12th, 2017 at 10:30 am