Longtime readers of this blog know that I’ve given up on the political means to defend gun rights. The state has too many reasons to disarm the people to be reliable upon to uphold the right to keep and bear arms. Instead of begging politicians to carve out a few exceptions in their plan to leave the people defenseless I advocate the people perform acts of civil disobedience. When the Colorado politicians passed several restrictive gun control measures, including a prohibition against standard capacity magazines, I advocated the people of Colorado to start manufacturing standard capacity magazines and buying them from surrounding states. As it turns out, I’m not the only person following this line of thinking:
At least two formal events have popped up on Facebook that are encouraging Colorado gun owners to engage in civil disobedience and break the recent law that prohibits the sale or transfer of gun magazines capable of holding more than 15 rounds.
The events encourage participants from Colorado and other surrounding states to buy, sell and swap magazines that can hold more than 15 rounds in disobedience of the law.
Actions like this stand a far better chance of rendering Colorado’s magazine ban irrelevant than any political activism. First, buying standard capacity magazines from another state means you’ll have standard capacity magazines immediately whereas relying on political activism means you may not have standard capacity magazines for years or ever. Second, thumbing your nose at the law demonstrates how impotent the state really is. The state may catch one or two people to make an example out of but, as with any law, the state will be unable to catch a vast majority of offenders. Demonstrating the state’s impotency is the best way to encourage more people to ignore its decrees.
As they say, Rosa Parks didn’t vote her way to the front of the bus. In the same way gun owners aren’t going to vote their way to more freedom. When you want freedom you must take it.
A couple of weeks ago Michael Lind, an writer for Salon, thought he had the ultimate trump card against libertarianism. He asked why no libertarian countries exist. As I, and many other libertarians explained, libertarianism is a philosophy built upon the idea of non-aggression, which is ultimately incompatible with statism. Mr. Lind, looking to generate more page hits from outraged libertarians, decided he would attempt to rebut that argument:
An unscientific survey of the blogosphere turns up a number of libertarians claiming in response to my essay that, because libertarianism is anti-statist, to ask for an example of a real-world libertarian state shows a failure to understand libertarianism. But if the libertarian ideal is a stateless society, then libertarianism is merely a different name for utopian anarchism and deserves to be similarly ignored.
The caricature created by Mr. Lind is that everybody who advocates anti-statism is a utopian anarchist and therefore can be dismissed without argument. It’s a classic straw man fallacy. Apparently Mr. Lind is not able to argue against the claim so he has created a much easier caricature to argue against.
Most anarchists, myself included, are not utopian. We don’t claim that a stateless society will be perfect. There will always been some amount of theft, rape, murder, and other acts of violence. Likewise, fraud and other nonviolent transgressions will almost certainly be ever present in human society.
What we do argue is that statism, being a system based on violence, is worse than a system based on mutual cooperation. In my previous post I provided several examples of societies that succeeded without a state, one of which still exists today. The fact that such societies have existed and continue to exist today demonstrates that statelessness isn’t an impossible reality that can be dismissed without argument. If Mr. Lind doesn’t believe anarchism can succeed he needs to provide some argumentation to backup his claim. Simply labeling anarchists as utopians doesn’t count since most of us aren’t utopians.
Seeing Mr. Lind’s dismissal of anarchism also raises a question, why does he think statism is the best foundation to base a society on? Why is a society that has one group of individuals ruling over everybody else better than a society where nobody rules of anybody else better? I could never find a satisfactory answer to those questions, which is why I eventually became an anarchist.
Last month the Minnesota government passed an Internet sales tax law. Although proponents of this law claimed it would raise revenue (isn’t funny how statists always consider other people’s money the state’s revenue), those of us who opposed it pointed out that it wasn’t enforceable. The State of Minnesota can only enforce its laws against entities physically located here. This being the case, Internet merchants not wanting to pay Minnesota sales taxes need only relocate to another state.
In response to the passage of Minnesota’s Internet sales tax law Amazon has decided to terminate it’s Associates Program with Minnesotans, effectively ending its physical presence in this state:
We are writing from the Amazon Associates Program to notify you that your Associates account will be closed and your Amazon Services LLC Associates Program Operating Agreement will be terminated effective June 30, 2013. This is a direct result of the unconstitutional Minnesota state tax collection legislation passed by the state legislature and signed by Governor Dayton on May 23, 2013, with an effective date of July 1, 2013. As a result, we will no longer pay any advertising fees for customers referred to an Amazon Site after June 30 nor will we accept new applications for the Associates Program from Minnesota residents.
Libertarians and other advocates of small or no government are jumping for joy because this move demonstrates that tax increases drive businesses away… or does it? If you continue reading their notice you’ll see that avoiding taxes, a noble cause, isn’t Amazon’s goal:
We thank you for being part of the Amazon Associates Program, and look forward to re-opening our program when Congress passes the Marketplace Fairness Act.
Herein lies Amazon’s goals, they want to drum up support for the Marketplace Fairness Act. The Marketplace Fairness Act promises to level the playing field between online merchants and traditional brick-and-mortar merchants. In reality, the law is blatent protectionism, which is why Amazon is in support of it.
The text of the law says any online retailer that has over $1 million in gross online sales must pay sales taxes in all 50 states. Since Amazon is an online retailer and has well over $1 million in gross online sales it would stand to reason that it would oppose this law, right? Not exactly. Amazon is a massive company that rakes in tremendous amounts of cash. It can easily absorb the costs associated with complying with 50 different tax codes. However, its smaller competitors may not be able to.
$1 million in gross online sales isn’t that much when you figure in the expenses of paying employees, maintaining a website, building and shipping product, etc. A company that made $1 million in gross online sales may not be turning much of a, if any, profit. Even if it is turning a profit that money is unlikely to be enough to ensure compliance with 50 different tax laws, which may require hiring 50 different tax lawyers. Whenever a large company supports a piece of legislation always ask yourself how that legislation will harm its competitors, because that’s usually its end goal.
Amazon wants the Marketplace Fairness Act to pass because it would reduce the number of competitors. In order to get the bill to pass Amazon is sending members of its Minnesota Associates Program an ultimatum: support the Marketplace Fairness Act or never again enjoy the benefits of being an Amazon Associate.
In the end, Minnesota’s Internet sales tax law was a lose-lose-lose for everybody besides Amazon. The State of Minnesota won’t gain any additional funds since online retailers can easily relocate to another state. Members of Amazon’s Associates Program are no longer able to rake in that program’s benefits because Amazon wants to use them as political pawns to crush its competitors. Finally, everybody in the United States loses because Amazon’s exploitation of Minnesota’s Internet sales tax law will likely create more supporters for the Marketplace Fairness Act, which would increase the amount of taxes we have to pay.
It’s not a secret that due process is dead in this country but the most recent news from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility really drives the point home:
The US has listed 46 inmates held at its military prison in Guantanamo Bay who it says it does not have the evidence to try but are too dangerous to release.
Could somebody explain to me how the federal government lacks enough evidence to try these 46 individuals but has enough evidence to indicate that they’re too dangerous to release? If there’s evidence that they’ve performed violent acts in the past they can be tried, if there no such evidence exists then they’re not demonstrably dangerous and should be released immediately.
The message here is quite simple: you’re guilty and will be punished when the state says you’re guilty and should be punished. There is no due process here, just a state that has reserved the power to indefinitely detain anybody it wants for whatever reason it wants.
This information does raise an interesting question though, what would happen if a foreign government decided to arrest Americans and detain them without trial?
Gun control advocates have been harming about supposed loopholes that allow individuals to purchase firearms without first submitting to a background check. They’ve come up with fancy names for these supposed loopholes such as the “gun show loophole” and the “private sale loophole.” Oddly enough, they never discuss another way to get around background checks, be a violent revolutionary in a country that isn’t on friendly terms with the United States government:
President Barack Obama’s decision to begin arming Syria’s rebels deepens U.S. involvement in a regional proxy war that is increasingly being fought along sectarian lines, pitting Sunni against Shiite Muslims, and threatening the stability of Syria’s neighbors.
Another way to get around background checks is to be a member of a Mexican drug cartel.
Why haven’t gun control advocates spent any notable time discussing these loopholes? Unlike the “gun show loophole” and the “private sale loophole” the violent revolutionary loophole and the Mexican drug cartel loophole are almost exclusively used by violent individuals. Perhaps these loopholes aren’t discussed by most gun control advocates because the same organization they want to close the gun show and the private sale “loopholes” are also creating the violent revolutionary and Mexican drug cartel loopholes by supplying both of those organizations with arms.
I know Americans like to think of themselves as number one. However, when it comes to establishing and running a police state, the United States is still learning from the truth granddaddy of the police state, Great Britain. As it turns out the British government was spying on foreign officials who came to London for the 2009 G20 conference:
Foreign politicians and officials who took part in two G20 summit meetings in London in 2009 had their computers monitored and their phone calls intercepted on the instructions of their British government hosts, according to documents seen by the Guardian. Some delegates were tricked into using internet cafes which had been set up by British intelligence agencies to read their email traffic.
The revelation comes as Britain prepares to host another summit on Monday – for the G8 nations, all of whom attended the 2009 meetings which were the object of the systematic spying. It is likely to lead to some tension among visiting delegates who will want the prime minister to explain whether they were targets in 2009 and whether the exercise is to be repeated this week.
America may have PRISM but Britain had Closed-Circuit Television Cameras (CCTV) on almost every street corner before the National Security Agency’s (NSA) massive surveillance network was a twinkle in a snoopy bureaucrat’s eye. Unfortunately, as the unveiling of PRISM demonstrated, the United States is quickly catching up to its ally across the pond.
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled this week that authorities can seek custody of a child, even where there’s no evidence of abuse or neglect.
The case involved a divorced Camden County mother of 9-year-old twin girls. In 2007, she asked New Jersey’s Division of Child Protection and Permanency for help, claiming she was unable to care for the girls who had psychological and developmental disabilities and needed to be placed in residential care.
“You can turn to the Division for help, but it may come with a cost,” says Diana Autin, executive director of Statewide Parent Advocacy Network of New Jersey. The group filed an amicus brief in the case.
Autin says under the court’s ruling, the state can get custody of a child with behavior problems if it proves that the parent can’t provide the type of services the child needs and the services are in the child’s best interest. She says the division can get custody without using the state’s abuse and neglect law.
In layman’s terms your child is the property of the state. You may be allowed to raise the state’s child if you are the biological or adoptive parent but that privilege may also be revoked if the state decides you are unworthy of the task. Or, to be put even more tersely, shut the fuck up slave and raise “your” child as you’re told to.
Seriously, how much more ridiculous does the legal system in this country have to get before people finally see it as illegitimate?
The Nazgûl have finally ruled on whether or not your decision to remain silent when confronted by the police can be used against you in a court of law. As you can guess they ruled that your silence can be used against you:
In a 5-4 decision the Supreme Court ruled today that a potential defendant’s silence can be used against him if he is being interviewed by police but is not arrested (and read his Miranda rights) and has not verbally invoked the protection of the Fifth Amendment.
In other words you only enjoy your Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination if you’ve specifically invoked it or are being arrested and have been read your Miranda rights. If, on the other hand, you simply remain silent your act of not talking can be used against you.
At this point the entirety of the so-called Bill of Rights, with the exception of the Third Amendment, have been turned into a Bill of State Granted Privileges. I’m sure that the only reason the Third Amendment remains unmolested is because the state hasn’t found a sufficient way to exploit it without a war breaking out here. Then again, with the way the current administration is continuously murdering people in foreign countries with remote controlled killing machines, a war in the United States isn’t entirely out of the question.
A lot of information regarding the National Security Agency (NSA) has come to light in the last few weeks but none of the information we’ve seen so far as been as disturbing as this:
The National Security Agency (NSA) has used sensitive data on network threats and other classified information as a carrot to gain unprecedented access to information from thousands of companies in technology, telecommunications, financial, and manufacturing companies, according to a report by Michael Riley of Bloomberg. And that data includes information on “zero-day” security threats from Microsoft and other software companies, according to anonymous sources familiar with the data-swapping program.
In the security industry this is what we would call bad news. Having early access to otherwise unknown zero-day exploits would give the NSA an window of opportunity to attack systems before the owner’s knew a problem existed. Effectively, the NSA could do anything from take down a network controlled by Microsoft systems to installing back doors into networks controlled by Microsoft systems. Beyond receiving information regarding zero-day exploits the NSA may have even more influence over Micorsoft.
This information, combined with the information that Microsoft was the first company to sign onto the PRISM system, makes me wonder how much influence the NSA has over that company. Could the NSA convince Microsoft to hold back patches that fix exploits that the NSA is currently using to attack systems?
I’m also curious how many other companies are giving this type of preferential treatment to the NSA. Is Apple giving the NSA information regarding exploits? Are the lead developers of Linux? Things could become very interesting in the next couple of weeks.
Remember when Mr. Obama said the National Security Agency (NSA) wasn’t listening to your phone calls:
The president added that the “hype” surrounding the NSA revelations is largely unwarranted. He said that “nobody is listening to your phone calls” and that if the feds decided to actually listen in, they would have to go back and ask for a warrant from a FISA court judge by showing probable cause.
Turns out he was lying:
The National Security Agency has acknowledged in a new classified briefing that it does not need court authorization to listen to domestic phone calls, a participant said.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, disclosed on Thursday that during a secret briefing to members of Congress, he was told that the contents of a phone call could be accessed “simply based on an analyst deciding that.”
If the NSA wants “to listen to the phone,” an analyst’s decision is sufficient, without any other legal authorization required, Nadler said he learned. “I was rather startled,” said Nadler, an attorney and congressman who serves on the House Judiciary committee.
Not only does this disclosure shed more light on how the NSA’s formidable eavesdropping apparatus works domestically, it also suggests the Justice Department has secretly interpreted federal surveillance law to permit thousands of low-ranking analysts to eavesdrop on phone calls.
So much for needing a warrant from a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court judge. It’s nice to know that the NSA not only has a widespread surveillance system but they have no oversight. This story just gets better and better.