A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for the ‘Your Government Doesn’t Love You’ tag

Getting What You Want Good and Hard

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Stories of genies often involve a poor sap coming across a genie’s lantern, being granted three wishes, and receiving exactly what they wished for. The twist is that their wishes are usually poorly thought out and therefore the fulfillment of their wishes brings despair instead of joy. This is why when somebody expresses a poorly thought out desire I often tell them that I hope that they get everything wish for and that they get it good and hard.

At one point in time the United States government had virtually no involvement in marriage. The lack of government involvement meant practices such as polygamy were legal. This didn’t sit well with many Christians of the time. Relying on the fact that most of the people in the government were also Christians, they made a wish for the government to get involved in the institute of marriage and that wish was granted:

The idea that the Constitution protects only what happens between a person’s ears isn’t novel. It has roots in a series of laws, and the Supreme Court decisions that upheld them, from 1862 through 1890. The goal at the time was to rein in a new and dangerous-seeming religious movement called Mormonism by criminalizing its most eccentric practice: polygamy. But by claiming the right to regulate the behavior of people of faith, mainstream believers set the stage for the modern political left to step in and regulate them—and to have 150 years’ worth of precedents on their side when they did it.

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In 1852, the LDS Church began openly defending plural marriage. This is what elevated the “Mormon problem” to the national stage. Beginning in the 1850s, Eastern newspapers were rife with references to polygamy as “evil,” “licentious,” a “brutalizing practice,” “repugnant to our sentiments of morality and social order,” and “shocking to the moral sense of the world.” The New York Times editorialized repeatedly for taking direct action against the Latter-day Saints. “The fact, if it be a fact, that the women are willing to live in polygamy, is no reason for our allowing them to do so,” the editors of the paper wrote in March 1860. What had begun as rival groups skirmishing over frontier resources came to be seen as an existential conflict: The soul of the whole country seemed to be at stake if the federal government allowed such behavior to continue.

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In December 1881, Sen. George F. Edmunds of Vermont introduced a law to make anyone who accepted the Church’s teachings on polygamy ineligible to vote, hold public office, or serve on a jury. Again, the editors of the Times endorsed the act’s passage: “It must be admitted that the Edmunds bill is a harsh remedy for polygamy. But then the disease in Utah has gone beyond remedies that are not more or less heroic.”

It passed, as did another law five years later disincorporating the Church and declaring that all Church property and assets above $50,000 would be confiscated by the government.

The Christians of the day got what they wanted but they didn’t think their wish through very well. When you grant government power over something that power is almost always permanent. What happens when your group is no longer the primary influencer of the government? You suddenly find those powers you granted it being used against your wishes.

Today hardcore Christians find themselves at odds with the government when it comes to marriage. The government has become more liberal and has begun allowing same-sex marriages. This hasn’t sat well with many Christians who not only believe that marriage can only be between one man and one woman but also believe the governments should enforce their belief.

Marriage isn’t unique in this regard. Whenever a government gets involved in something the advocates of it doing so cheer… until that government no longer sides with their beliefs. Suddenly they find the power they granted to the government being used against their beliefs but are powerless to do anything about it.

Always keep in mind that granting government more power will turn out poorly in the long run.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 27th, 2017 at 10:30 am

Money Won’t Save Government Indoctrination Centers

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How many times have you heard a statist claims that government indoctrination centers, or public education to use their euphemism, don’t receive enough money? If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard that I’d have enough money to fund a government indoctrination center for 15 to 20 minutes!

Statists are predictable creatures. Whenever a government programs fails to deliver expected results they resort to claiming that the program simply didn’t receive enough funding. To them government programs are furnaces. If the program isn’t delivering expected results then you need to shovel more coal into it. But how much money is needed to make the furnace of government indoctrination centers produce some heat? Apparently a lot:

There’s also lots of waste and inefficiency when Uncle Sam gets involved. With great fanfare, President Obama spent buckets of money to supposedly boost government schools. The results were predictably bad.

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The administration funneled $7 billion into the program between 2010 and 2015… Arne Duncan, Obama’s education secretary from 2009 to 2016, said his aim was to turn around 1,000 schools every year for five years. ..The school turnaround effort, he told The Washington Post days before he left office in 2016, was arguably the administration’s “biggest bet.”

It was a “bet,” but he used our money. And he lost. Or, to be more accurate, taxpayers lost. And children lost.

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Indeed, I’ve seen this movie before. Many times. Bush’s no-bureaucrat-left-behind initiative flopped. Obama’s latest initiative flopped. Common Core also failed. Various schemes at the state level to dump more money into government schools also lead to failure. Local initiatives to spend more don’t lead to good results, either.

Throwing more money into government indoctrination centers is an exercise in doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If shoveling money into the program was capable of fixing it then we’d have see at least some marginal improvement over the decades. But student performance continues to dwindle, the nation is becoming dumber.

Will statists listen to reason on this matter? Of course not. In their world all problems can only be solved by the State. If the State’s current initiatives aren’t working then it’s the fault of a hated political party, the free market, or a lack of funding. But the fault never lies with statism itself!

Written by Christopher Burg

March 23rd, 2017 at 11:00 am

The Most Fragile Economy On Earth

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Venezuela is in late stage communism. The economy is in shambles, people are starving, and the government is looking for somebody, anybody, to blame besides itself. At this point in communism most of the former baddies; such as bourgeois, speculators, and price fixers; have either been “reeducated” or wiped out so the only people left to blame are regular folk like farmers and bakers:

In a press release, the National Superintendent for the Defense of Socioeconomic Rights said it had charged four people and temporarily seized two bakeries as the socialist administration accused bakers of being part of a broad “economic war” aimed at destabilizing the country.

In a statement, the government said the bakers had been selling underweight bread and were using price-regulated flour to illegally make specialty items, like sweet rolls and croissants.

The government said bakeries are only allowed to produce French bread and white loaves, or pan canilla, with government-imported flour. However, in a tweet on Thursday, price control czar William Contreras said only 90 percent of baked goods had to be price-controlled products.

If your economy is so fragile that bakers making sweet rolls and croissants can destabilize it then your country is far beyond the point of no return. It is literally game over. Also, I really found Mr. Contreras’ comment hilarious. Only 90 percent of baked goods have to be price-controlled products.

The more the Venezuelan government pushes the closer the nation will be to revolution. It’s only a matter of time until the people of Venezuela decide that they’ve had enough abuse and rise up against their tormenters. I look forward to that day.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 23rd, 2017 at 10:30 am

Never Listen to the Government

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First the government told everybody to get electric cars. It even went so far as to offer subsidies to both electric car manufacturers and buyers. Why? Because it claimed electric cars were better for the environment. Now that enough people have followed to the government’s suggestion it’s proposing to tax electric cars more heavily:

State lawmakers may take back some of the money that Minnesota electric vehicle owners are saving by not having to pay a gasoline tax.

Bills in the House and Senate would impose an annual surcharge of $75 to $85 on vehicles that are all-electric and plug-in hybrids based on electric motors. Gasoline-electric hybrids would be exempt.

The move would bring Minnesota in line with state governments across the country that are increasingly seeking to slap fees on electric vehicles, some exceeding $150 per year.

Today’s lesson is never listen to the government.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 23rd, 2017 at 10:00 am

An Entire System of Bad Apples

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When it comes to police are there just a few bad apples or is the entire system rotten to the core? According to people who make excuses for any officer misdeed there are just a few bad apples. But if you look at how the system deals with those bad apples you quickly realize that their claim is false:

Almost five years ago, Darren Rainey, a mentally ill black man serving a two-year prison sentence for drug possession, was locked in a shower by prison guards at Dade Correctional Institution in Florida after they said he defecated on himself in his cell. The water was allegedly turned up to a scalding 180 degrees and he was left in there for hours. He entered the shower at around 7:30 p.m. and was pronounced dead two hours later.

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We could debate and wonder about all of this, but one horrific detail is not debatable. When Darren Rainey was removed from that shower, his skin was falling off of his body. This is not normal — particularly in light of the fact that “confinement in a shower” was ruled as one of the primary causes of his death.

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That Darren Rainey died on their watch, in a shower that they put him in for hours on end, with skin falling off of his body, and they didn’t even lose their jobs or law enforcement certification, and that many of these staff members are still working in law enforcement is incomprehensible. What worse could happen on a staff member’s watch in Florida than this?

Here we have a few bad apples who locked a mentally ill man in a shower, with water far hotter than the legally allowed hottest temperature of 120 degrees, until he died. At the absolute minimum that’s a negligence-related death that would probably get most people charged with manslaughter. Yet those few bad apples were protected by another bad apple, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle, who didn’t prosecute the officers after seeing the evidence. Those bad apples were also protected by the bad apples who are charged with personnel matters who should have fired the officers on the spot.

Perhaps there were only a few bad apples at first but it’s obvious that the entire system is rotten at this point.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 22nd, 2017 at 11:00 am

Government Funding of Science is a Curse

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Donald Trump announced his budget. It’s what you’d expect from a neocon. Money was shuffled from neoliberal favored programs into the military:

Yesterday, the Trump administration released its first proposed budget outline. While this is just the first step in what will inevitably be extensive negotiations with Congress, it gives a clear indication of what Trump’s priorities are. First and foremost, he is focused on the military, which will see a $54 billion increase in spending, offset by cuts or wholesale elimination of programs elsewhere. Science is clearly not a priority, as it is repeatedly targeted for cuts in every agency that funds it.

But those cuts aren’t evenly distributed. NASA’s budget is almost entirely unscathed, although Earth sciences research funded by the agency will be cut to expand funding elsewhere. The National Science Foundation, a major source of grants for fundamental research, isn’t even mentioned, so there’s no sense of how it will fare. And the harshest cuts appear to be directed at biomedical research, which will see a dramatic 20 percent drop in funding for the National Institutes of Health.

As one would expect, the neocons are cheering this increase in military spending while the neoliberals are flipping out because the proposed budget cuts from their beloved science. What they fail to realize is that cutting funding for science would be a good thing for actual science.

Resource misallocation has plagued science for decades. Instead of science that focuses on the market (that would be you and me), companies have been allocating resources for the State’s pet projects in order to obtain government funding (which takes the form of tax dollars stolen from you and me). With less government funding to go around researchers would once again have to rely on the market to decide where resources were allocated. That would mean more research into making better goods and services instead of whatever idiotic pet project some random politician drummed up.

Of course, since the military budget is going up resource misallocation will continue to plagues science. Researchers will continue to focus on the State’s pet projects instead of what the market wants. Those pet projects will merely shift to making more effective methods of blowing shit up. This, of course, will anger the neoliberals because blowing shit up isn’t within their vision of what science ought to be. But the belief that science ought to be one thing or another and dictated by the State is the fundamental error being made here.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 22nd, 2017 at 10:30 am

Once You Post Something Online It Exists Forever

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The University of California Berkeley posted 20,000 lectures online for free and there was great joy. Unfortunately, two students from another university decided to ruin the jovial atmosphere by brining a lawsuit against the university claiming that the videos weren’t accessible to everybody and therefore posting them was a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The university ended up pulling the videos offline. While the two little bitches may have high-fived each other after their apparent victory, they were obviously too stupid to realize that the Internet is forever:

Today, the University of California at Berkeley has deleted 20,000 college lectures from its YouTube channel. Berkeley removed the videos because of a lawsuit brought by two students from another university under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

We copied all 20,000 and are making them permanently available for free via LBRY.

This makes the videos freely available and discoverable by all, without reliance on any one entity to provide them (even us!).

The full catalog is over 4 TB and will be synced over the next several days.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how the Internet works.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 22nd, 2017 at 10:00 am

Minnesota Department of Human Services Questions Whether Mayo’s Desire to Get Paid Violates the Law

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Minnesota really is a socialist shithole. The CEO of the Mayo Clinic, Dr. John Noseworthy, announced that his organization will give preference to holders of private insurance because Medicaid has a rather nasty habit of not paying for services rendered. His announcement sparked a lot of controversy because idiot socialists (a redundant term, I know) think profit is evil. The State of Minnesota is so heavily infected with this idiotic belief that it has announced that the Department of Health and Human Services will investigate the Mayo to determine whether its desire to get paid violates the law:

The Minnesota Department of Human Services is probing the Mayo Clinic for possible violations of civil- and human-rights laws by putting a higher priority on patients with commercial insurance.

The review, confirmed Thursday by DHS Commissioner Emily Piper, follows reports that Mayo will give preference to privately insured patients.

Piper’s department is also evaluating its various contracts with the Mayo Clinic system, which reaches far beyond its Rochester home base. Those contracts served over 150,000 public program enrollees last year, including lab work and pharmacy services.

What the fuck is wrong with this state? Hell, what the fuck is wrong with this country? Anybody expressing an interest in wanting to get paid for services rendered shouldn’t even merit an acknowledgement in the back page of the local section of a newspaper. It should be assumed that everybody wants to get paid for providing goods or services.

Critics have been pointing out that the Mayo Clinic made a good amount of revenue last year. It’s as if they believe there is some amount of revenue that when exceeded is too much and therefore bad. Whether the Mayo Clinic made $100 million or $100 billion is irrelevant. Okay, I lied. Revenue is relevant because the more revenue a provider makes the more it can invest in provided better services in the future. This is especially true when you look at the costs the Mayo Clinic faces. Being involved in the medical industry in the United States is damn expensive. Upgrading wings to the latest and greatest doesn’t come cheap. The more revenue Mayo makes the better equipment and services it can provide. The less revenue Mayo makes the more dilapidated its facilities become and by extension the worse its services become.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 21st, 2017 at 11:00 am

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.

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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

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