A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for the ‘You’re Doing it Right’ tag

Mutual Aid in the Real World

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As an opponent of statism I’m often confronted with statists who want to know where welfare would come from without a government. Explaining how mutual aid has worked before governments involved themselves in the industry doesn’t appease them because they can simply write such examples off as archaic solutions that cannot work in the modern world. I therefore keep my eyes open for examples of mutual aid being practiced in the modern world.

I’ve been reading Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles. So far it has been a really good overview of modern history in various African countries. The opening of the chapter on Senegal introduced a fascinating Islamic Sufi order. From pages 255-256:

In 1895 the Senegalese Islamic mystic and poet Cheikh Amadu Bamba Mbacke got out of the boat that was taking him to exile in Gabon and, kneeling on a mat that appeared miraculously in the water, prayed to Allah. Then he walked across the water back to Senegal and founded a global African trading company based on Islamic principles. Those who work for it are known as Mourides. In any city in the world today, if an African street trader offers you jewellery, belts or bags, he is almost certainly a Mouride, a follow of Amadu Bamba.

[…]

The movement he founded is based on three rules: follow God, work and provoke no-one.

[…]

Later his followers founded dahiras, prayer circles where they could meet, socialize and read the Koran and Amadu Bamba’s poems. They were also required to pay a subscription to help follow members in trouble and to contribute to the expenses of the whole movement and its leader.

[…]

For rural people arriving in town for the first time, the dahira provides a base and a network. The subscription enables new members to find accommodations and work. If one of their number dies, it gives money to bring the body home for burial.

Furthermore, taxes aren’t paid in the city where the order was founded, an autonomous zone in Senegal. From pages 257-258:

One shopkeeper in a long robe and Muslim kufi, selling music CDs and tapes, tells me that he came here and joined the Mouride because no-on pays taxes in Tourba. ‘Touba is not part of the state,’ he says.

If there is a problem that requires money the Marabout calls a committee and they ask everyone to contribute. And immediately everyone gives, it’s called Adiya. They give because they follow the Marabout but also because if they give, people know the road will be fixed and the water will run again. This is not like Dakar … It’s all one family here. If you believe in the father, you believe in his sons. Then there is the money you pay for the poor here — two and a half percent of your profit, so no-one suffers.

Entrepreneurs who have setup a network of mutual aid to help other members of their entrepreneurial order? And membership in the order is voluntary? I’ve been told that such a thing is impossible.

I’m not claiming that Tourban is an anarchist utopia or that the Mouride are anarchists. But they are practicing a way of life that provides the commodities most people ascribe to statism without statism. The Mouride are demonstrating today that there is more than one solution to the problems statists mistakenly believe can only be solved by governments.

Written by Christopher Burg

December 12th, 2017 at 11:00 am

Decentralized the Internet

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I’m glad to see that other people are beginning to understand the need to decentralized the Internet:

Net neutrality as a principle of the federal government will soon be dead, but the protections are wildly popular among the American people and are integral to the internet as we know it. Rather than putting such a core tenet of the internet in the hands of politicians, whose whims and interests change with their donors, net neutrality must be protected by a populist revolution in the ownership of internet infrastructure and networks.

In short, we must end our reliance on big telecom monopolies and build decentralized, affordable, locally owned internet infrastructure. The great news is this is currently possible in most parts of the United States.

I’ve been saying this for years. If you want a feature like net neutrality, you have to control the infrastructure. Personally, I’d like to see a decentralized Internet that encrypts all traffic by default for both confidentiality and anonymity purposes. What people are calling net neutrality would be enforced by default on such a network because nobody could see the traffic to throttle or block it. However, it would come at a performance cost (TANSTAAFL).

One thing is certain, begging the Federal Communications Commission Fascist Communications Club (FCC) to enforce net neutrality isn’t a longterm solution as we’re seeing today. Under the Obama administration net neutrality was enforced by the FCC. Under the Trump administration it looks like it won’t be enforced. When the next administration comes into power it could go either way. Begging Congress isn’t any better because what one Congress passes a future Congress can eliminate.

Written by Christopher Burg

December 8th, 2017 at 11:00 am

Rookie Numbers

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These are rookie numbers but at least they’re increasing:

There are nearly twice as many guns in the average gun-owning household today as there were 20 years ago, according to new Wonkblog estimates based data from surveys and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. In 2013, there were an estimated 8.1 firearms in the typical gun-owning household, according to these data. In 1994, the average gun-owning household owned 4.2 guns.

I wonder how much that number has increased since 2013.

Establishing gun ownership numbers in the United States, thankfully, is very difficult. For the longest time gun control advocates have been claiming that gun ownership rates are declining. When National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) checks, a number that is released by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), shows record numbers the gun control advocates claim that it’s just the same gun owners buying more guns. When it’s pointed out that there is a record number of new carry permits being issued and record attendance at shooting competitions the gun control advocates cover their ears and start screaming, “I can’t hear you,” over and over again.

My point is that by almost every metric gun ownership rates in the United States are increasing. This is good for many reasons. Politically it is becoming more expensive for politicians to attack gun rights. While politicians don’t care what they’re constituents they are naturally lazy bums who would rather chase an easy victory than one that will result in them having to listen to a bunch of plebs complain to them.

Written by Christopher Burg

December 1st, 2017 at 10:00 am

There’s Hope for the Internet of Things

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Granted, it’s not a lot of hope but it seems like some consumers are actually holding off on buying Internet of Things (IoT) products due to security concerns:

Consumers are uneasy about being watched, listened to, or tracked by devices they place in their homes, consulting firm Deloitte found in a new survey it released Wednesday. Thanks to such discomfort, consumer interest in connected home home technology lags behind their interest in other types of IoT devices, Deloitte found.

“Consumers are more open to, and interested in, the connected world,” the firm said in its report. Noting the concerns about smart home devices, it added: “But not all IoT is created equal.”

Nearly 40% of those who participated in the survey said they were concerned about connected-home devices tracking their usage. More than 40% said they were worried that such gadgets would expose too much about their daily lives.

IoT companies have been extremely lazy when it comes to implementing security, which is a huge problem when their devices provide surveillance capabilities. If enough consumers avoid purchasing insecure IoT devices, IoT companies will be forced to either improve the security of their devices or go into bankruptcy.

Apple has done a good job at easing consumer’s security concerns with its biometric authentication technology. When Touch ID was first introduced, a lot of people were concerned about their fingerprints being uploaded to the Internet. However, Apple was able to east these concerns by explaining how its Secure Enclave chip works and how users’ fingerprints never leave that secure chip. The same technology was used for Face ID. IoT companies can do the same thing by properly securing their products. If, for example, an Internet accessible home surveillance device encrypted all of the data it recorded with a key that only the users possessed, it could provide Internet accessible home surveillance capabilities without putting user data at risk of being accessed by unwanted personnel.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 16th, 2017 at 10:30 am

Professionalism

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Once in a while the War on Drugs brings us humor instead of tragedy:

Sources say it started when two special ops officers from the 12th Precinct were operating a “push off” on Andover near Seven Mile. That is when two undercover officers pretend to be dope dealers, waiting for eager customers to approach, and then arrest potential buyers and seize their vehicles.

But this time, instead of customers, special ops officers from the 11th Precinct showed up. Not realizing they were fellow officers, they ordered the other undercover officers to the ground.

FOX 2 is told the rest of the special ops team from the 12th Precinct showed up, and officers began raiding a house in the 19300 block of Andover. But instead of fighting crime, officers from both precincts began fighting with each other.

Sources say guns were drawn and punches were thrown while the homeowner stood and watched.

I’m glad to see the officers were fighting with the actual criminals for once.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 16th, 2017 at 10:00 am

Let the Games Being

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I’m sure I’ve made my feelings about the Super Bowl coming to Minneapolis obvious. However, I do believe that people should get what they wants and they should get it good and hard. That being the case, I do take some pleasure in the fact that Minneapolis will be turned into a prison for the duration of the Super Bowl. But the icing on the cake could be the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), which has declared its intent to strike during the Super Bowl:

Unionized bus drivers, LRT operators and others at Metro Transit voted overwhelmingly to reject a final contract offer and authorize a strike during Super Bowl festivities next year.

The Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1005, which represents about 2,500 workers at Metro Transit, voted 93 percent in favor of rejecting the Metropolitan Council’s last contract offer and authorizing a strike during the period leading up to the Super Bowl.

The City of Minneapolis will be relying heavily on its public transportation system during the Super Bowl since traffic there is a clusterfuck at the best of times and will be worse with the combination of tourists and closed streets. Either the Metropolitan Council gives into the ATU’s demands or the ATU follows through with its threat to strike and the public transportation system is unavailable during the Super Bowl.

I’m expecting the Metropolitan Council to give the ATU whatever it wants but I’m really hoping it won’t and the strike will occur.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 14th, 2017 at 10:00 am

Something to Look Forward To

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Here’s something to look forward to:

Nov 8 (Reuters) – The Minnesota Senate will furlough its workers and suspend operations as soon as Dec. 1 due to an ongoing funding dispute with Governor Mark Dayton, the chamber’s Republican leader announced on Wednesday.

Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said his chamber will run out of money by next month unless the state courts restore funding for the legislature that was vetoed by Dayton. He added that the Senate plans to seek certain funds from the Legislative Coordinating Committee which would keep the chamber operating through Jan. 12.

My only hope is that this suspension of operations ends up being permanent. But that’s a bit too optimistic.

I’m sure this news is being treated with a significant amount of gloom and doom by statists. They probably believe that Minnesotans will end up having to resort to cannibalism because all of the food will magically disappear along with the Senate. But we’ve all been through this before. The Minnesota government has a tradition of “shutting down” various parts of itself and so far the state hasn’t collapsed. In fact it’s usually hard to tell anything is amiss.

The Minnesota Senate suspending operations won’t cause anybody any harm. It will actually reduce harm since the senators won’t be passing new legislation. So kick back, relax, and enjoy a reprieve from the vultures.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 9th, 2017 at 11:00 am

Not All Heroes Wear Capes

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Not all heroes wear capes. Some heroes wear business suits and work as accountants and lawyers who specialized in defending their client’s assets from thieving governments:

The world’s most profitable firm has a secretive new structure that would enable it to continue avoiding billions in taxes, the Paradise Papers show.

They reveal how Apple sidestepped a 2013 crackdown on its controversial Irish tax practices by actively shopping around for a tax haven.

It then moved the firm holding most of its untaxed offshore cash, now $252bn, to the Channel Island of Jersey.

Apple said the new structure had not lowered its taxes.

It said it remained the world’s largest taxpayer, paying about $35bn (£26bn) in corporation tax over the past three years, that it had followed the law and its changes “did not reduce our tax payments in any country”.

The article appears to be implying that Apple is lying about its tax payments not changing. However, I’m betting that Apple is being truthful and the move prevented its tax payments from increasing after the crackdown in Ireland (Ireland had a sweet deal until its neighbors, upset that Ireland was getting a lot of business, put pressure on it to bring its corporate tax structure up to their standards).

The accountants and lawyers that Apple hired to pull this off deserve the same applause as anybody else who stops a thief from mugging another person. Unfortunately, the world is populated with statists so those heroes will be treated like villains.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 8th, 2017 at 10:30 am

Open Whisper Systems Released Standalone Desktop Client

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Signal is my favorite messaging application. It offers very good confidentiality and is easy to use. I also appreciate the fact that a desktop client was released, which meant I didn’t have to pull out my phone every time I wanted to reply to somebody. What I didn’t like though was the fact that the Signal desktop client was a Chrome app. If you use a browser besides Chrome you had to install Chrome just to use Signal’s desktop client. Fortunately, Google announced that it was deprecating Chrome apps and that forced Open Whisper Systems to release a standalone desktop client.

Now you can run the Signal desktop client without having to install Chrome.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 1st, 2017 at 10:00 am

Trigger Warning

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I make not effort to hide the fact that I believe gun ownership should be expanded to everybody, which is why I was happy to read this article:

ROCHESTER, N.Y.—The former pacifist pumped a shotgun at the firing line.

Lore McSpadden never touched a gun before the Trigger Warning Queer & Trans Gun Club started this past year. Now McSpadden is among the shooters routinely yelling, “Pull!” and blasting at clay pigeons angling over a mowed field near Rochester.

Trigger Warning members are anxious about armed and organized extremists who seem increasingly emboldened. Their response has a touch of symmetry to it: They started a club to teach members how to take up arms.

“It’s a way to assert our strength,” said Jake Allen, 27, who helped form the group. “Often, queer people are thought of as being weak, as being defenceless, and I think in many ways this pushes back against that. And I want white supremacists and neo-Nazis to know that queer people are taking steps necessary to protect themselves.”

Trigger Warning members meet once a month to shoot still targets and saucer-shaped pigeons. The 18 dues-paying members are all LGBTQ, many just learning about guns.

Traditionally individuals who fall under the LGBT banner have been tagged as anti-gun progressives. This has lead quite a few curmudgeons in gun owner circles to see LGBT individuals as opponents, which has established a rather nasty circle where LGBT individuals are put off by gun owners who are put off by LGBT individuals being put off by gun owners and so on. But necessity is the mother of invention. Feeling threatened is usually a good motivator for people to learn how to defend themselves.

Although Trigger Warning is a small group at the moment, which isn’t surprising since it currently exists in a state ruled by a very anti-gun government, I hope its ranks expand quickly and new groups like it spring up all around the country. The stereotype of LGBT individuals being anti-gun has made violent individuals who wish to prey on them see them as easy targets. If more LGBT individuals become open gun owners, that stereotype will hopefully fade with time. If that stereotype fades away, it will likely dissuade a lot of predators who are looking for easy targets.

Written by Christopher Burg

October 25th, 2017 at 10:30 am