A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

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

Buying Less for More

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The Trump administration has decided to devalue your dollars even more by placing additional tariffs on Chinese goods:

The US is imposing new tariffs on $200bn (£150bn) of Chinese goods as it escalates its trade war with Beijing.

These will apply to almost 6,000 items, marking the biggest round of US tariffs so far.

Handbags, rice and textiles will be included, but some items expected to be targeted such as smart watches and high chairs have been excluded.

The Chinese commerce ministry said it had no choice but to retaliate but is yet to detail what action it will take.

The US taxes will take effect from 24 September, starting at 10% and increasing to 25% from the start of next year unless the two countries agree a deal.

The upside of trade wars is that they don’t start out as shooting wars. The downside of trade wars is that they’re a war on consumers. Every tariff means that consumers are stuck paying more for less. A bag of rice that costs $5.00 can suddenly cost $6.25 for no reason other than where it was produced. A cell phone that costs $500 can suddenly cost $625. What makes tariffs a real gut punch though is that since they’re usually calculated by the price of a good, they increase as inflation causes prices to increase. If that $500 cell pone begins to cost $600 due to inflation, the cost with the tariff tax included will be $750.

The only winner in a trade war is the government because it pockets the tariffs.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 18th, 2018 at 10:00 am

From Their Beloved to Their Bitter Enemy

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Remember just a few weeks ago when the European Union passed the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and became the beloved of Internet activists across the globe? In the wake of GDPR’s passage I saw a ton of European peasants claim that the passage of the law demonstrated that the European Union, unlike the United States government, actually represents and watches out for its people.

A rule I live by is if you see a government do something you like, stick around for a short while longer because it’ll soon do something you really don’t like. The European Union just proved this rule. Within a few short weeks it went from the beloved of Internet activists to their bitter enemy:

The EU has voted on copyright reform (again), with members of European Parliament this time voting in favor of the extremely controversial Articles 11 and 13. The 438 to 226 vote, described as “the worst possible outcome” by some quarters, could have significant repercussions on the way we use the internet.

The Copyright Directive, first proposed in 2016, is intended to bring the issue of copyright in line with the digital age. Articles 11 and 13 have caused particular controversy, with many heralding their adoption as the death of the internet. Article 11, also known as the “link tax”, would require online platforms such as Google and Facebook to pay media companies to link to their content, while Article 13, the “upload filter”, would force them to check all content uploaded to their sites and remove any copyrighted material. How this will affect regular internet users is still subject to debate, but it could seriously limit the variety of content available online — and it could pretty much spell the end of memes.

Excuse me for a minute while I laugh at all of the suckers who claimed that the European Union represents and watches out for its people.

The Internet started off as a strongly decentralized network. Eventually it turned into the highly centralized mess that we’re dealing with now. Soon it may return to its decentralized nature as international companies find themselves having to abandon regions because they cannot comply with all of the different legal frameworks. Google and Facebook make a lot of money off of Europe but do they make enough money to justify paying link taxes? Do small content hosting sites have the spare resources to scan every file that has been uploaded for copyrighted material?

Moreover, legislation like this will push more Internet traffic “underground.” As long ago as the Napster lawsuit it became obvious that people on the Internet weren’t going to comply with copyright laws. Instead when one system of bypassing copyright laws is destroyed by the State, another is created in its place. So sharing memes online, at least for European peasants, might require the Tor Browser in order to access hidden image sharing sites but they will continue to share memes.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 14th, 2018 at 11:00 am

Marijuana You Say? Case Dismissed!

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Do you remember the Dallas law enforcers that went to Botham Jean’s apartment to plant, err, find evidence to assassinate his character? This is probably going to come as a shock but they found something:

One of the warrants became a public record Thursday afternoon when it was returned to the judge who signed it. It was shortly after Jean’s funeral had ended. It listed several items found in Jean’s apartment, including a small amount of marijuana.

I can see the courtroom now. The officer’s defense attorney mentions that the search warrant resulted in the discovery of marijuana. The judge says, “Marijuana you say?” He then taps his gavel and says, “Case dismissed!”

Truth be told, the discovery of marijuana is irrelevant to the case at hand. Even if Officer Guyger was aware that Jean was in possession of cannabis, she had no warrant to enter the premise. Without a warrant or an invitation, which she never claimed to be given, she was in his dwelling unlawfully. But I’m sure the discovery of cannabis will give all of the boot lickers their much needed reason to defend Officer Guyger’s actions and that’s what the warrant was all about, assassinating Jean’s character.

Creating Justification After the Fact

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Most of you have probably heard about Officer Amber Guyger, the Dallas law enforcer who entered Botham Jean’s apartment and summarily executed him. When I first heard about the story, Guyger was enjoying a paid vacation. That vacation ended when she was arrested after the story had spread across the Internet. However, she was still granted the professional courtesy of receiving a few days to craft her story. Even with a few days her story was pretty feeble though. She claimed that she mistook the man’s apartment for her own (apparently black men have a magical power where they can quickly remove all of your furnishings from an apartment and replace them with new furnishings) and only shot Jean after he failed to respond to verbal commands.

Now it appears as thought the department is extending a bit more professional courtesy by helping Guyger’s defense team find some kind of evidence with which to smear Jean’s character:

Now KXAS reports that the day after the shooting, a Dallas Police Department investigator obtained a warrant to search Jean’s apartment. The warrant, signed by 292nd District Court Judge Brandon Birmingham, says the police intended to look for “any contraband, such as narcotics,” that could “constitute[e] evidence of a criminal offense.”

If I entered another person’s apartment and gunned them down, I highly doubt that the local police department would extend me the courtesies of giving me a few days to craft my story and searching my victim’s apartment for evidence that could help my defense lawyer smear them. Those levels of courtesy are only granted to members of the brotherhood.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 13th, 2018 at 11:00 am

A Potential Agorist Business Opportunity

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I initially hesitated to post this article because I didn’t want to face a bunch of agorists crowding into my brilliant underground business plan but after considering how many vape shops existed before the Fascist Drug Administration (FDA) initiated its first crackdown (seriously, it’s almost as if there were two on every street corner), I realized that there was plenty of room in the market for literally everybody. So if any agorists are looking for a hustle, the (FDA) may have an opportunity lined up for you:

The agency has hardly ignored the issue. It is reviewing more than a half million public comments as it mulls whether to restrict or even ban flavors in the liquid and is investigating youth marketing by Juul, which attracts young vapers with its nicotine-packed products, easily hidden USB size and alluring social media presence.

Vape juice is dead simple to make and the handful of ingredients necessary are dirt cheap. The process is so easy and the ingredients are so cheap that I never understood how vape shops remained in business. If the FDA outright banned flavored vape juice, it would create an underground market where anybody could play. Best of all, judging by the number of vape shops that used to exist, there is obviously a massive market.

I’m sure any “concerned individual” who reads this will think that I’m the devil incarnate because I’m openly advocating for the sale of a product that they view is the embodiment of all that is wrong with this world. But I don’t care what a bunch of teetotalers think. Inhaling flavored vape juice isn’t my thing but if somebody wants to do so, they should be free to do so. It’s your body so you can put whatever you want into it.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 13th, 2018 at 10:30 am

There’s No Law So Minor That a Law Enforcer Won’t Murder You over It

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Whenever I point out that laws are violence and that law enforcers will escalate even minor transgressions against the law to lethal force, some statist will rebut by asking, “When’s the last time somebody was killed over a traffic ticket?” The answer to that is, just a few months ago:

Locked away in the Mineral County Jail for failing to take care of her traffic tickets, 27-year-old Kelly Coltrain asked to go to the hospital. Instead, as her condition worsened, she was handed a mop and told to clean up her own vomit. She died in her jail cell less than an hour later.

Despite being in a video-monitored cell, Mineral County Sheriff’s deputies did not recognize that Coltrain had suffered an apparent seizure and had not moved for more than six hours. When a deputy finally entered her cell and couldn’t wake her, he did not call for medical assistance or attempt to resuscitate her. Coltrain lay dead in her cell until the next morning when state officials arrived to investigate­­.

Are the officers who, probably literally, watched her die in their cage facing punishment? You probably already know the answer to that question:

The investigators also asked the Mineral County District Attorney to consider criminal charges in the case, after finding evidence the Mineral County Sheriff’s Office may have violated state laws prohibiting inhumane treatment of prisoners and using one’s official authority for oppression.

To avoid a conflict of interest, the investigation was forwarded to Lyon County District Attorney Stephen Rye for review. Rye declined to press charges in the case.

“The review of the case, in our opinion, did not establish any willful or malicious acts by jail staff that would justify the filing of charges under the requirements of the statute,” Rye said.

I guess locking somebody in a cage, refusing them medical care when it was obvious there was something seriously wrong, handing them a mop after they suffered a seizure and telling them to clean up the mess, and failing to even attempt to resuscitate them when they ceased responding to stimuli isn’t “willful of malicious” behavior… at least when you wear a badge.

Although I heap a lot of deserved criticism on law enforcers, they aren’t the only bad actors in the State. Part of the reason there are so many bad law enforcers is because those tasked with overseeing them fail to hold the bad actors responsible. Prosecutors, for example, regularly refuse to bring charges against law enforcers even when handed a mountain of evidence indicating that they did something heinous. If by some miracle a bad law enforcer is taken to court and found guilty of a crime, judges will often hand out a lenient sentences in “recognition of their years of service to the community.” This creates an environment that is a magnet for bad actors. A person with violent urges looks at a situation like this and realizes that they can get away with acting on their urges if they become a cop.

So long as the entire system refuses to punish law enforcers who act in bad faith, the profession will continue to attract the lowest humanity has to offer.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 6th, 2018 at 11:00 am

Bernie Sanders: Acronym Master

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Bernie Sanders has been standing on his high horse condemning companies for paying their employees the same amount he pays his interns at least since he entered politics. One of his primary targets as of late has been Amazon. Why? Because Amazon is a household name and nobody has ever gained political fame by going after a company that nobody has heard of. In his crusade to convince companies to pay their employees more than he pays his interns, Bernie has introduced legislation which, if nothing else, should receive in award for best convoluted acronym:

Sanders’ Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies Act (abbreviated “Stop BEZOS”)…

It’s too bad the ability to create clever acronyms wasn’t a more marketable skill because if it were, whichever intern came up with that one would have a promising career ahead of them.

What may be even more noteworthy than the acronym itself is the target. The name of this legislation makes it obvious that it’s a personal attack against Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos. The reason this is noteworthy is because it demonstrates that the myth that democratic governments are a neutral party is false. No government has ever been neutral. They always have a list of targets. However, democratic ones usually try to maintain a thin veneer of neutrality.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 6th, 2018 at 10:00 am

California Gives Bureaucrats More Leeway to Impost Pretrial Punishment

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Bail is an old concept that allows individuals accused of a crime to avoid the pretrial punishment of rotting in a cage. The idea is that an individual hands over a substantial stake (along with travel documents such as passports) that will be returned when they show up for their trial date. Simple enough, right? Not so much. Since bail is set by bureaucrats of the court, a court that wants to punish somebody who hasn’t yet been found guilty of a crime can do so by setting a suspect’s bail absurdly high. The government of California decided that this practice was unfair and chose to eradicate it. However, as is always the case with government, there’s a catch:

California will end the cash bail system in a sweeping reform for the state. Rather than requiring defendants to pay in order to be released before trial, their release will hinge on an assessment of their risk to public safety.

“Today, California reforms its bail system so that rich and poor alike are treated fairly,” Gov. Jerry Brown said in a statement.

By rich and poor being treated fairly, Governor Brown means they will all have their fate solely in the hands of a board of bureaucrats. In other words, nothing has changed. Now, instead of setting bail absurdly high, bureaucrats of the court merely need to claim that an individual is too dangerous to be allowed to roam free if they want to punish them before their trail.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 5th, 2018 at 10:30 am

The People Who Decide Legality

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Anybody who has looked into the history of the politics and legalities of firearms knows that the people who write and interpret laws regarding firearms are generally clueless about the subject matter. The same is true for technology (and possibly more so). The people who write and interpret laws regarding technology are almost always completely clueless about the subject matter. But what happens when you combine firearms and technology? An entirely new level of ignorance is unlocked:

On Monday, a federal court in Washington state blocked Cody Wilson and his company Defense Distributed from putting his 3D-printed gun schematic online. The court’s order—the latest in a years-long legal tussle that has picked up this summer—largely focuses on government rulemaking procedures, but a number of times it has to consider how technology works. When it does, it manages to get the technology remarkably wrong.

Perhaps the most comical of these is when the decision considers whether letting the schematic go online will cause “irreparable harm.” Most of the files are already online, Wilson’s attorneys argued, so what’s the harm in putting them up yet again? Yet the court disagreed, saying those online copies might be hard to find—only “a cybernaut with a BitTorrent protocol” could locate them “in the dark or remote recesses of the internet.”

If you think downloading a schematic for a firearm is insane, just want until you see what else I can do with a BitTorrent protocol! You’ll have to wait though since I’m short on BitTorrent protocols at the moment (please donate).

In addition to the use of the word cybernaut, I find it comical that the Internet Archive is considered a dark and remote recess of the Internet by this judge.

What should really stand out about this story though is that court officials who are entirely ignorant about the subject matter that they’re ruling on are allowed to make official rulings. When this judge issued their spiel about cybernauts using BitTorrent protocols to obtain schematics from the dark and remote recesses of the Internet, it had the force of law. If Defense Distributed violated this ruling, armed thugs with badges could be sent out to kidnap Cody Wilson or even kill him if he resisted their kidnapping attempt because an idiot in a magic muumuu has the power to make whatever they say an enforceable law. If that isn’t a great case against statism, I don’t know what is.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 4th, 2018 at 11:00 am

Creating New Definitions

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I’ve often heard people say “words have meanings” when they believe somebody is using a word incorrectly (especially in a debate). It’s true, words do have meanings. Unfortunately, many words have multiple meanings. What makes this matter even more complicated is that words often have different meanings when used in a legal context. For example, a monopoly is generally considered an entity that operates without competition. However, according to the Fascist Communications Club (FCC) and a court that backed it, an entity that operates without competition isn’t necessarily a monopoly:

An appeals court has upheld a Federal Communications Commission ruling that broadband markets can be competitive even when there is only one Internet provider.

The real tragedy here isn’t that the FCC and a court have decided that the absence of competition is a competitive market, it’s the fact that the ruling backs a regulatory environment that the government created.

The lack of competition in the Internet Service Provider (ISP) market isn’t due to market phenomenon, it’s due to regulations put in place by government officials to protect their favored ISPs from competition. But nobody (besides government officials and monopolists) likes monopolies so in order to appeal to the stupid sheep that continue to vote for them, government officials have had to create a new definition of monopoly that allows them to grant monopolies without actually calling the companies that receive their grants monopolists. It’s a complicated business. You should probably just pick up the newest version of the Newspeak dictionary and learn the new definitions and roll with them.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 4th, 2018 at 10:30 am