A Geek With Guns

Views from a geek gun nut

Posts Tagged ‘Superdickery

Slate Doesn’t Know Shit About Libertarianism

Slate magazine demonstrated a few days ago that they don’t know jack shit about libertarianism. The article is a long diatribe build almost entirely on made up “facts.” Instead of going through the article piece by piece and pointing out each of Slate’s numerous errors I’m going to stand on the shoulder of giants and let others who have gone before me point out the flaws in Slate’s article.

First we have a nice piece that explains the fact that libertarianism didn’t start in the 1970s as claimed by Slate but was alive and well before that under the name liberalism. The same article points to the fact that Ayn Rand did more to bring people to libertarianism than the supposed father of libertarian (according to Slate) Robert Nozick (whom I never actually heard of until I read Slates article strangely enough).

The following links were obtained from the previous so a heartfelt thanks goes out to the author, V.A. Luttrell. First the Cato institute has a nice piece destroying Slate’s claim that Nozick disavowed libertarianism.

Slate then went ahead and made a claim that Keynes (you know an article is worthless when it’s citing Keynes as an authoritative source on anything) said a rather nasty thing about Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom. What Slate got wrong was that Keynes made the comment about Hayek’s Prices and Productions but actually wrote that he found himself in agreement with The Road to Serfdom. Oops.

Slate’s article then claimed that two of the fathers of libertarianism (you know besides the apparent father Nozick), von Mises and Hayek, were nothing but corporate shills. Unfortunately for Slate that isn’t true. Whoops again.

Although I feel the fact is self-evident apparently others do not. Slate wrote the usual and completely false claim that Libertarianism is composed of nothing but greedy individuals who care nothing for others. Once again this claim is false. The fact of the matter is the libertarian movement is an attempt to make all interactions between people voluntary instead of done at the point of a gun. Libertarianism is the abhorrence of violence and coercion which is made clear by the fact the foundation of libertarianism is the non-aggression principle.

Slate would do well to actually research libertarianism before making such blatant and false claims. Of course writing a factual critique wasn’t the point, I firmly believe the author knew damned well that he was printing false information and wanted nothing more than to slander the movement he hates so much. Too bad for the author that people who do follow libertarian philosophy don’t let such falsities go without challenge.

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Written by Christopher Burg

June 23, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Using Legislation to Force Adoption of Your Product

Let’s pretend that you’re a fledgeling inventor who has come up with a new mechanism to make a currently available tool safer. The idea seems solid but it’s also very expensive which has lead to nobody licensing your invention from you. What do you do? If you’re the asshole who invented SawStop you go to Capitol Hill and try to use government to force companies to license your invention:

Gass’ saw uses an electrical sensor to detect when the blade touches flesh instead of wood. Within a few thousandths of a second, the blade slammed to a stop.

But as well as the technology works, the major tool companies have failed to put this kind of device on any of their table saws — even eight years after Gass offered to license it to them.

“They came back and said, ‘Well, we’ve looked at it, but we’re not interested because safety doesn’t sell,’ ” Gass says.

SawStop, Gass’ little upstart company, has sold tens of thousands of these safer table saws, and lately things have been heating up in Washington. The National Consumers League last month brought in injured woodworkers to meet with lawmakers and regulators. They want to make the SawStop safety brake mandatory on all table saws.

That’s one of the most dick moves somebody can perform. When you want to make money by creating a better mouse trap that is great and I fully support you. On the other hand if you want to make money by getting the government to use their monopoly on the initiation of force to make people buy your mouse trap I will condemn you.

The reason saw companies aren’t adopting SawStop isn’t because safety doesn’t sell, it’s because safety isn’t worth the asking price to most people:

In other words, let consumers decide. Young says many consumers won’t want to pay for the SawStop technology, which could add $100 to $300 in cost, depending on which side you talk to.

As mentioned earlier in the article SawStop has sold tens of thousands of their safer saws. His customers obviously felt the additional cost of those saws was small enough that it outweighed their fear of getting injured should their finger get near the saw blade. On the other hand other people who’ve purchased saws want something that is cheap (for instance a person who uses a saw sporadically for hobby project) and adding an additional $100 to $300 will make a big difference to those people.

The reason a free market is great is because it allows us to determine what will be available. Different customers have different wants. Some people want an industrial saw because their business requires it while others want a cheap saw because they only use it once every two years. By mandating SawStop the legislature would destroy the market for those wanting a cheap saw as the cost of licensing the technology is more than some of those saws are.

And in the end there is an incredibly cheap and effective safety mechanism for saws called a push stick. Hell you can make a push stick with basic woodworking tools (no saw required) in a few minutes. Not only do I hope legislation mandating the inclusion of SawStop on all saws fails but I hope Mr. Gass goes out of business and ends up poor and penniless on the streets. Does that sound harsh? It should, I’m not a fan of somebody using force to line their own pockets.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 21, 2011 at 11:00 am

Iowa Sheriff Intimidating Businesses in Attempt to Get Them to Ban Guns on Their Property

Iowa’s law involving the issuance of carry permits changed and now people living in that state are able to obtain a legal means of self-defense without requiring permission from their local sheriff. One local sheriff though is pissed that the state has usurped his authority and is trying to intimidate business owners into banning firearms from their property:

A letter to approximately 600 Marion businesses along with “no weapons allowed” stickers is kicking up a fuss with one conservative group.

The letter to businesses in Marion last week was sent by Marion Police Chief Harry Daugherty. It referred to changes in Iowa code that no longer allow sheriffs to mandate concealing weapons when a permit holder is out in public. That change in gun permit policy took effect January 1st.

The letter from Chief Daugherty urged businesses to ban weapons from private property to “make both (business and police) our jobs easier.” The chief also included two “no weapons allowed” stickers for businesses to place on the front doors if they agreed with his recommendation.

It seems Sheriff Daugherty believes that his life and lives of his officers is easier if people are defenseless. I guess this makes sense if he believes his job is to force the citizenry to comply with his demands and being he’s acting like an authoritarian asshole I’m pretty sure that’s what he believes his job to be. But here’s the kicker:

But Chief Daugherty argued what he authorized was education and not politics. The chief said unless businesses post a “no weapons” notice in a visible location police can’t enforce any trespassing rules against anyone bringing a weapon inside.

According to Daugherty if somebody is carrying a weapon the police can’t enforce any trespassing laws against him or her. The implication I get from this is if somebody is being unruly the police will not remove that person if they’re carrying a firearm. That’s a great little intimidation factor if I’ve ever seen one.

So where Daugherty get the money to print these stickers? At first I thought it was the taxpayers which would have been ironic as Daugherty would have been using violence in order to supposedly prevent violence. Well he didn’t use tax money but the source of his money is through violent means:

And Daugherty also said the $600 cost of the printing and mail wasn’t tax dollars. Rather, the chief used money confiscated in drug raids and other seizures to pay the cost. Those dollars typically go for purchases not on the department’s budget.

Will you look at that, the drug war at work paying for yet another authoritarian power trip. Obviously second amendment supporters are talking about boycotting any businesses that put up those stickers and it appears as though some business owners don’t recognize how strongly many of us like our right to self-defense:

But Rich Foens, owner of Smitty’s Shoe Repair, said he wasn’t that concerned when he posted the sticker from Marion Police.

“I don’t see anybody so strong on the other side they’re going to boycott your business because of it,” Foens said.

As an advocate of the ability to defend yourself I do feel strongly enough where I’ll boycott a business because they don’t respect my life enough to allow me to carry a means of self-defense onto their property. I respect your property rights enough that I’m willing to do business with your competitors should you chose to bar me my rights though so you’ll not have to worry about my patronage or the patronage of many gun owners.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 21, 2011 at 10:00 am

Obama Doesn’t Considering Bombing a Country to be Hostilities

Because of oil humanitarian reasons Obama decided it would be a jolly good time to cruise some of our warships over to Libya and hurtle missiles into the country. After 90-days of this the War Powers Act states that the President must get Congressional approval to continue killing people on foreign countries. Obama not being one to follow United States law decided that rule doesn’t apply to him because bombing the shit out of Libya doesn’t qualify as hostilities:

“The president is of the view that the current U.S. military operations in Libya are consistent with the War Powers Resolution and do not under that law require further congressional authorization because U.S. military operations are distinct from the kind of “hostilities” contemplated by the resolution’s 60-day termination provision.,” the White House said.

Personally I’d find the act of somebody hurtling bombs onto my property to be pretty fucking hostile. Then again I also believe the whole humanitarian argument is bullshit because the Syrian government is killing demonstrators and we’re not even talking about it. How people can’t see that Obama is just as much a war monger as Bush is beyond me. Oh, and I love the definition of hostilities the White House uses:

“U.S. operations do not involve sustained fighting or active exchanges of fire with hostile forces, nor do they involve the presence of U.S. ground troops, U.S. casualties or a serious threat thereof, or any significant chance of escalation into a conflict characterized by those factors,” the report said.

So hostilities are only hostilities if any of our people may get hurt. Thus somebody hurtling bombs onto your property isn’t hostilities unless the guy bombing your place could get hurt. I’ll try to keep that in mind.

Personally I think impeachment hearings should begin immediately but instead all we get is a lawsuit:

The White House rebuttal came as a bipartisan group of US lawmakers sued Mr Obama in federal court for taking military action in Libya without authorisation from Congress.

The lawsuit alleges that the president had violated the US constitution in bypassing Congress.

The lawsuit, which also targets Defence Secretary Robert Gates, challenges the policy “that any president can take the US to war unilaterally”, Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich of Ohio said.

“We have asked the courts to move to protect the American people from the results of these illegal policies,” he added.

I think commencing the bombing of a foreign nation not only counts as hostilities but an act of war. Obama dragged us into Libya without Congressional approval which is required by United States law and thus he has broken the law. How that’s not grounds for impeachment I’ll never understand.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 17, 2011 at 10:00 am

SWAT Team Cleared in Murder of Former Marine

Remember the SWAT team in Arizona that stormed into Jose Guerena’s home and put 70 rounds into his home? Remember how I said the SWAT team was likely to receive nothing more than a paid vacation followed by clearance to return to duty? Well I hate being right in these cases:

The SWAT team that gunned down a former Marine in his Tucson, Ariz., home was cleared today of any wrongdoing in the incident.

Jose Guerena, 26, was killed in a hail of bullets from the SWAT team, which broke down the door to his home on May 5 while trying to serve a search warrant as part of a home invasion probe.

Guerena did not fire a single shot in the incident, but Pima County Chief Criminal Deputy Attorney David Berkman said in the report issued today that the five SWAT team members were justified in using deadly force because the former Marine pointed his weapon at them.

You have to admire how the fact that Mr. Guerena was pointing a weapon at the SWAT team because they came busting into his home is completely ignored. Mr. Guerena never fired a shot, likely because he was either identifying his assailants or because he had identified them but was unable to lower his weapon before being riddled with bullets. Oh, and get this:

“A close examination of the rifle revealed it appeared to have been damaged by being fired upon from such an angle that it must have been pointed toward officers,” Berkman wrote. “The officers were mistaken in believing Mr. Guerena fired at them. However, when Mr. Guerena raised the AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle in their direction, they needed to take immediate action to stop the deadly threat against them.”

Emphasis mine. They were mistaken that Mr. Guerena fired at them? How do you make that kind of fucking mistake? An AR-15 is a fairly loud weapon especially when fired indoors and although I realize those SWAT team helmets likely muffle some sound I don’t think they can muffle gun fire as you can hear human voiced through the damned things. And the outrage doesn’t stop there ladies and gentlemen:

He said “many guns” were found in the house, including the AR-15 that Guerena was holding, another rifle and a handgun. Body armor and a U.S. Border Patrol hat also were found, he said.

“He was well-armed, well armored,” Krygier said.

But when asked if Guerena was wearing body armor at the time of his death, he said, “No. … He basically had a pair of boxer briefs on and that was it.”

What the fuck does that have to do with anything? I understand you SWAT team members made a huge fucking mistake and are trying to improve your image any way you can but trying to sully the image of Mr. Guerena but making him sound like a man up to something is disgusting. Owning firearms and body armor is irrelevant to the case beyond the point that it makes Mr. Guerena look crazy in the eyes of many people.

Either way I’m not at all surprised by this result. The police can get away with murder, literally, because the same legal system that employs them also determines the validity of their actions. When you get to determine the validity of your own actions you can get away with anything as this story proves.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 15, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Pennies No Longer Legal Tender

We’ve all heard stories of people paying fines in pennies and most of us cheer on this kind of behavior. The government may be able to put a gun to our heads and force us to pay unjust fines but paying it in pennies is one way we can at least stick it to them a little bit. Well that used to be the case as it seems paying in pennies will get you charged with disorderly conduct now:

No lucky pennies here: Police have charged Jason West, an aggrieved medical patient in Vernal, Utah, with disorderly conduct. His alleged crime? Attempting to pay a disputed medical bill of $25 entirely in pennies.

What’s funny is this charge came not from trying to pay an unjust government fine but by paying a bill to a private corporation. According to United States law any currency issued by the Federal Reserve is considered legal tender for all debts. Although you don’t have to accept Federal Reserve issued money for instant transactions you must accept them if somebody is paying back a debt which a bill can be considered. Apparently pennies are no longer considered legal tender though if this charge is to be taken into account.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 8, 2011 at 7:30 pm

Did Somebody Say Corruption

I have a love hate relationship going with Texas. On one hand the state is one of the few that is willing to stand up to the federal government, until they fold at least, but on the other hand they enact many authoritarian rules. Take for instance the latest executive order issued by Texas governor Rick Perry which will require all girls entering to sixth grade to get the Gardasil vaccination.

This is a major problem for three reasons; first the governor used his executive order powers to enact this and bypassed the legislation, second this occurred shortly after a doubling of lobbying efforts, and third Gardasil has been linked to paralysis. Let’s first talk about the lobbying effort that preceded this executive order:

Perry has ties to Merck and Women in Government. One of the drug company’s three lobbyists in Texas is Mike Toomey, Perry’s former chief of staff. His current chief of staff’s mother-in-law, Texas Republican state Rep. Dianne White Delisi, is a state director for Women in Government.

The governor also received $6,000 from Merck’s political action committee during his re-election campaign.

The order is effective until Perry or a successor changes it, and the Legislature has no authority to repeal it, said Perry spokeswoman Krista Moody. Moody said the Texas Constitution permits the governor, as head of the executive branch, to order other members of the executive branch to adopt rules like this one.

So it seems governor Perry received a fair bit of money from Merck which causes this entire situation to reek of corruption. Fuck the whole idea of parents having a right to chose what is put into their childrens’ bodies and fuck the possibility that this drug could cause paralysis. If I lived in Texas I’d honestly consider this action an abuse of power and look into what is needed to perform a recall on the governor. The story claims the only means of overturning this executive order is if he successor removes it thus is seems pertinent to remove the current governor as soon as humanly possible. Of course if you can make a religious or philosophical reason against jacking your kids with this shit you could get an opt-out:

Texas allows parents to opt out of inoculations by filing an affidavit objecting to the vaccine on religious or philosophical reasons. Even with such provisions, however, conservative groups say such requirements interfere with parents’ rights to make medical decisions for their children.

I wonder if parents can opt-out because the drug is potentially dangerous? That’s not a religious or philosophical reason but just common-fucking-sense. Just remember that the nanny state knows what’s best for you and your children so shut up and take the damned vaccine. If the vaccine causes your child to be unable to move afterward well that’s your problem not the state’s.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 7, 2011 at 11:00 am