A Geek With Guns

Views from a geek gun nut

Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

I’m Truly Shocked, California Did Something Right

Holy shit I’m actually surprised by something that happened in California, and it’s a pleasant surprise. I never thought I would actually have something nice to say about that forsaken state but it sounds as though they’re going to stop paying their “representatives” until the state budget is balanced:

It is often said if the state of California was a country it would be the eighth biggest economy in the world.

But with a $10bn deficit to match, and residents fed up of legislators missing the annual budget deadline by months, they voted for a new law.

It is the first time Proposition 25 has been put into effect – and it means all 120 elected members of the State Assembly and Senate will not be paid their wages, or their living allowances, until they pass a balanced budget.

Hell. Fucking. Yes. Obviously the “representatives” are complaining but they have no ground to stand on. Those people were hired to do a job and have failed to do it. As they have failed to do their job it’s only right that they don’t get paid (I’d fire them frankly but alas that’s not an option when government is involved). California should expand on this and refuse to pay their “representatives” until the state debt is paid off as well. Imagine how quickly such a program would accomplish turning California from a the most debt-ridden state into a debt-free state.

For once I can say there is something other states can learn from California, don’t pay the legislature until the budget is balanced.

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Written by Christopher Burg

June 22, 2011 at 12:00 pm

I Bet He Cures Blindness By Throwing Mud in Your Eyes Too

When I saw this article on the BBC asking why the crime rate in the United States have been dropping I expected no mention would be made of the increase in issuance of carry permits. I’ve come to expect that from the media, especially Britain where guns are almost completely illegal. What I didn’t expect was the theory that our lower crime rate is due to the election of the Obamessiah:

1. The Obama effect could explain the increased pace of the reduction of the last few years, says one of the country’s top criminologists, Alfred Blumstein. “The prior expectation was that the recession would have the opposite effect. The question then is what distinctive event occurred in ’09?” The election of a black president could have inspired some young black men, who are disproportionately involved in arrests for robbery and homicide, says the professor. It’s very speculative, he adds, and probably only one factor of many, as one of the cities with a huge drop in crime is Phoenix, in Arizona, which does not have a large black population. “In the field of criminology, you don’t get consistent indicators as you would in physics. There are so many factors that could have contributed.” A separate study on school test scores supports the view that some black teenagers were motivated to try harder by the new presidency.

Hallelujah brother, it’s a miracle! Our president can cure the blind by throwing mud in their eyes, he can walk on water, he can turn water into wine, and he can lower the crime rate! Seriously could the media suck his… I’ll let you fill in the blank here, any harder? Did Barack personally send the BBC a shipment of hookers and blow?

Before some Obamabot comes on here and claims my heated reaction is just due to the fact that I’m a Republican/Glenn Beck supporter/dirty Satanist/whatever I should state that I’d have the same reaction regardless of what president it was about (also I’m not a Republican or Glenn Beck supporter or dirty Satanist).

Beyond that stupidity the article was written as I expected it. Almost all of the theories stated are attributed to the state and not a single mention was made about liberalized (in the classical definition of the word) carry laws raising the stacks for committing crimes. Regardless of the reason the decline in crime does demonstrate that liberalized (again the classic definition) carry laws don’t lead to higher crime rates and thus enacting stricter gun control laws to curb crime is an exercise in stupidity. This is even more important to note when you consider the fact that liberalized (classical definition) carry laws may be part of the reason crime rates are declining.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 22, 2011 at 10:00 am

I May Take Back Everything I Said About Texas

I ripped on Texas a short while back because they were trying to play tough and stand up to the federal government but folded the second the guys in Washington D.C. pushed back. Texas has a chance to redeem itself though as they have reintroduced the anti-molestation bill during a special session:

On Monday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry presented legislation for consideration in the ongoing Eighty-Second Texas Legislature, First Called Session that would ban intrusive TSA pat-downs.

OK Texas this is your chance to prove to the rest of the union that you don’t take shit from anybody. Get this legislation through and tell the federal government where to shove their legalization of federal agents committing sexual assault. On yet another bright side it appears as through Texas may not be the only state telling the boys at the federal capitol where to shove it:

Sources close to the Tenth Amendment Center tell us to expect at least 10 other states considering similar legislation in the 2012 legislative session. Utah and Michigan have already joined in. CLICK HERE to track the progress of all “travel freedom” legislation around the country.

I would love to see all fifty states take a stand against the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). There is no valid reason for allowing government agents to commit sexual assault on people simply trying to fly from one place to another.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 21, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Family of Murdered Border Patrol Agent Want the ATF Prosecuted

Things have heated up for the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF). An investigation has been called for and the head of the ATF may have to resign and everybody else will likely get a congratulations and complimentary pat on the pack for their work in suppressing our rights. But as Uncle points out not everybody is happy with simply giving the ATF a slap on the wrist:

The idea was that once the weapons in Mexico were traced back to the straw purchasers, the entire arms smuggling network could be brought down. Instead, the report argues, letting the weapons slip into the wrong hands was a deadly miscalculation that resulted in preventable deaths, including that of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

Terry was killed last year north of the Mexican border in Arizona after confronting bandits believed to be preying on illegal immigrants. Two weapons found near the scene of the killing were traced to Fast and Furious.

“I was flabbergasted. I couldn’t believe it at first,” Terry’s mother, Josephine, said when she learned the ATF may have let some of the guns used in the attack slip through its fingers. Terry’s relatives said they want all those involved in his killing and who helped put the weapons in their hands to be prosecuted.

“We ask that if a government official made a wrong decision, that they admit their error and take responsibility for his or her actions,” Robert Heyer, Terry’s cousin and family spokesman, said in a hearing last week by the House panel.

I wish Terry’s family the best of luck but alas I’m guessing they’re more likely to receive a lesson in the evils of statism than receive any compensation for the murder of their family member. The government has a habit of protecting their own which has lead to many government agencies literally getting away with murder without so much as an apology.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 21, 2011 at 11:30 am

Obama Doesn’t Get Economics

I know you read the title of this post and thought to yourself “no shit Sherlock.” Well it’s worse than we thought because it seems Obama believes automation which increases productivity and frees up labor for other areas is actually the cause of unemployment:

There are some structural issues with our economy where a lot of businesses have learned to become much more efficient with a lot fewer workers. You see it when you go to a bank and you use an ATM, you don’t go to a bank teller, or you go to the airport and you’re using a kiosk instead of checking in at the gate.

I think Obama desperately needs to read some Hazlitt, namely Economics in One Lesson [PDF] which can be found freely available at this link. Specifically Obama needs to read chapter 7, The Curse of Machinery:

After the machine has produced economies sufficient to offset its cost, the clothing manufacturer has more profits than before. (We shall assume that he merely sells his coats for the same price as his competitors, and makes no effort to undersell them.) At this point, it may seem, labor has suffered a net loss of employment, while it is only the manufacturer, the capitalist, who has gained. But it is precisely out of these extra profits that the subsequent social gains must come. The manufacturer must use these extra profits in at least one of three ways, and possibly he will use part of them in all three: (1) he will use the extra profits to expand his operations by buying more machines to make more coats; or (2) he will invest the extra profits in some other industry; or (3) he will spend the extra profits on increasing his own consumption. Whichever of these three courses he takes, he will increase employment.

In other words, the manufacturer, as a result of his economies, has profits that he did not have before. Every dollar of the amount he has saved in direct wages to former coat makers, he now has to pay out in indirect wages to the makers of the new machine, or to the workers in another capital industry, or to the makers of a new house or motor car for himself, or of jewelry and furs for his wife. In any case (unless he is a pointless hoarder) he gives indirectly as many jobs as he ceased to give directly.

Claiming that machines cause unemployment does nothing besides demonstrate ignorance in economics. People that blame machines for unemployment doesn’t stop to think about who builds those machines, who maintains them, who manufactures more raw materials to handle the increase in consumption due to ability to produce more, etc. Basically those who believe automation is the enemy of employment are unable to see the whole picture and instead only concern themselves with the part they’re looking at right then and there.

If automation were the enemy of employment then a large portion of the population should have remained unemployed after the Industrial Revolution where automation took over a huge amount of work previously performed manually by people.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 16, 2011 at 11:30 am

Government Using Fear to Justify Its Own Existence

The state of Minnesota has something of a deficit going on which has required a rework of our state budget. Because politicians can’t actually do the job their elected to do we currently have a stalemate between the Democrats who want to reduce our budget by $1 and the Republican who want to reduce our budget by $1. The problem is the two parties can’t agree on which $1 to cut and thus we’re facing a potential government shutdown. As our state government is a government it has already moved to bypass it’s own laws by using fear to justify its existence:

In a petition to Ramsey County District Court, Lori Swanson said that unless a court keeps core services running, sexual predators could be out on the streets, veterans turned out of nursing homes, unemployment checks left languishing, and there would be a “catch-and-release” criminal justice system if no judges were able to preside over hearings.

What the government wants you to see is the reason you need them to live. What you should be seeing is a weakness, a central entity that is critical to the livelihood of many people. A lack of redundancies is a bad thing as any network administrator will tell you. If you only have one central e-mail server and it goes down that means your organization can’t send or receive e-mails until the system is fixed. On the other hand if you have redundant e-mail systems and one goes down you will be just fine.

Having so many services administered by the government means there is a complete lack of redundancies. If the government goes down then peoples’ lives are negatively affected. This is why giving the government a monopoly on anything is a very bad idea (well that and because they use their monopoly on the initiation of force to provide everything they do). Imagine for a minute if the government didn’t have a monopoly on critical services.

Let’s use the police force for this this example. As it sits now the government wants you to believe there will be chaos in the streets if they shutdown because the police will not be funded and thus unable to perform their duties (this of course ignores the ability of individuals to defend themselves without the need of state assistance). Now let’s image police forces were privatized and communities or even individuals could hire the services of any private security company they so chose. If the company you’re currently contracted with goes bankrupt and thus can’t provide their services the solution is simple, you hire a different security company.

When I talk about the privatization of police forces people instantly jump up and yell about why that’s a terrible idea. I disagree but this post isn’t about that, it’s about having redundancies for critical services which the government doesn’t allow for. Either way any system controlled by government is a weak point because private entities are seldom allowed to provide similar systems (either by law or by the fact that government can undercut any private entity as government can run at a constant loss).

Claiming that society will basically collapse if the government shuts down is fear mongering. It’s no different than a fire department allowing a house to burn to the ground to make an example of somebody who wouldn’t play by their rules. In order to maintain their current power and to continue grabbing more the people in the government’s territory must be afraid, they must fear something and believe the government is the only entity that can protect them. The war on terror is a similar tactic used by the federal government to grab power through such atrocities to liberty as the PATRIOT Act.

If you believe society will collapse if the government shuts down you need to open your eyes and realize why that’s such a bad thing. It’s not because the government is glorious and the only thing that separates society from chaos, it’s because they’ve removed any redundancies to the services they provide and thus are a central point of failure. This is one reason for the advocacy of small government, every system you remove government interference from is a system can will be provided by private individuals and thus competition and redundancy will be allowed to flourish. Don’t fear a government shut down, fear government control which causes a shut down to affect so many lives.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 16, 2011 at 10:30 am

The Government’s Attack on Bitcoin Has Begun

One thing many people fail to realize is that government’s like to control what is legal currency as it gives them unprecedented power. This tradition has gone back to the days of kings issuing coins with their images on them and disallowing commerce in their realm unless it was done with the use of coinage bearing their faces. It’s not at all surprising that the United States government eliminated the gold standard, a standard most often chosen in a free market, and created the Federal Reserve to issue all legal tender. Not only did the United States government switch to a fiat currency which they basically control they also made the possession of gold coins illegal and then confiscate coins in private hands.

Every time a new currency starts to make any headway the government steps in and shuts it down. These shut downs are always preceded by justifications for eliminating the potential alternative currency and now the government has unveiled their excuse for attacking Bitcoin, which not surprisingly involves the drug war:

Two U.S. senators have written an open letter to the United States attorney general, asking federal authorities to crack down on “Silk Road,” the Internet black market drug trade, and the digital currency that funds it, Bitcoins.

After reading the report on Silk Road, written by Gawker’s Adrian Chen, Democratic Senators Charles Schumer of New York and Joe Manchin of West Virginia wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Reuters reports. The letter states:

“The only method of payment for these illegal purchases is an untraceable peer-to-peer currency known as Bitcoins. After purchasing Bitcoins through an exchange, a user can create an account on Silk Road and start purchasing illegal drugs from individuals around the world and have them delivered to their homes within days. We urge you to take immediate action and shut down the Silk Road network.”

The truth behind this attack though is the bankers aren’t happy with the idea of an alternative currency that they can’t control. Unlike previous currencies though Bitcoins aren’t controlled in any manner by a central system making the elimination of the currency difficult. That being said there is nothing stopping the government from making possession of Bitcoins illegal and then establishing a method of searching for Bitcoin related Internet traffic. It will be interesting to see how this continues to play out, especially if Bitcoins become more popular in commerce.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 14, 2011 at 11:30 am