A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

North and South Korea May Bury the Hatchet

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Although the Korean War “ended,” North and South Korea never declared an end to the war, which means that the war has now been going for 68 years. Fortunately, there are signs, albeit minor ones, that that could soon change:

North and South Korean officials are discussing an end to the military conflict that has existed between the two nations for the last 68 years, Bloomberg News reports.

An unnamed South Korean official told a local newspaper that a direct line between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un could be established by the end of the week and that the two leaders may release a joint statement officially ending the conflict at a summit next week.

I’m not sure how the United States government will react to one of its forward operating bases burying the hatchet with one of its boogeymen but for everybody else this would be great news. Ending the war could open the border between the two countries, which could bring a great deal of trade. South Korean goods could filter into North Korea while North Korean labor, which already trickles into South Korea, could flow into South Korea in greater quantities. Both sides would be enriched by the market activity, which could allow North Korea to overcome its economic woes (such as struggling to feed its people) and ease the iron grip its government has over its people (which is partially justified by the state of war that continues to exist between the two countries).

Written by Christopher Burg

April 18th, 2018 at 10:30 am

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How Do I Internet?

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Yesterday people who are in charge of the largest violator of privacy, the United States Congress, ironically grilled Mark Zuckerberg on the topic of privacy. I didn’t watch the hearing because I have better things to do with my time but I did check the highlights and they were what I expected. A bunch of old white people who have no idea how the Internet works made a public show of authority in the hopes of convincing the masses that their desire to further control the Internet is necessary:

In doing so, many of the senators betrayed a general lack of knowledge about how Facebook operates. Imagine trying to explain social media to your grandparents—this was essentially Zuckerberg’s task.

Sen. Roy Blunt, (R–Mo.), for instance, didn’t seem to understand that Facebook lacks a means of accessing information from other apps unless users specifically opt in. The same was true of Sen. Roger Wicker (R–Miss.), who needed a lot of clarification on how Facebook Messenger interacts with cellular service. Zuckerberg had to carefully explain to Sen. Brian Schatz (D–Hawaii) that WhatsApp is encrypted, and Facebook can’t read, let alone monetize, the information people exchange using that service. Zuckerberg had to explain to multiple senators, including Dean Heller (R–Nev.), that Facebook doesn’t technically sell its data: The ad companies don’t get to see the raw information.

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But senators on both sides of the political aisle were clear about their concerns—and more than willing to step in.

“If Facebook and other online companies will not or cannot fix their privacy invasions, then we are going to have to,” said Sen. Bill Nelson (D–Fla.). “We, the Congress.”

What Nelson and his colleagues largely failed to do was demonstrate that “we, the Congress” possess the requisite knowledge to regulate Facebook, or that those regulations would improve upon the policies Facebook would like to implement on its own.

The article contains other ignorant questions and concerns that were fielded by senators. From reading through them it’s obvious that the people tasked with the hearing are entirely out of touch with the topic at hand. Were it not for the positions of power that they hold, their opinions on the matter would almost certainly be dismissed by most people. But they wear suits and occupy a marble building so their ignorance is irrelevant. They have the power to give themselves whatever control they so desire. They may not understand how Facebook or the overall Internet works but they can vote themselves the power to regulate them.

This is part of the reason why political solutions always fail. There is no requirement that the politicians understand the problem to which they’re providing a solution. If you don’t understand the problem, you cannot hope to provide a valid solution.

Written by Christopher Burg

April 11th, 2018 at 10:00 am

Posse Comitatus Act

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Trump announced that he intends to deploy the United States military along the Mexican border to guard it until his proposed wall is built:

(CNN) — President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he’s calling on the military to guard the US-Mexico border until his long-promised border wall is complete.

“I told Mexico, and I respect what they did, I said, look, your laws are very powerful, your laws are very strong. We have very bad laws for our border and we are going to be doing some things, I spoke with (Defense Secretary James) Mattis, we’re going to do some things militarily. Until we can have a wall and proper security, we’re going to be guarding our border with the military. That’s a big step,” he said during a luncheon with leaders of the Baltic states.

According to the Posse Comitatus Act, neither the Army nor the Air Force can be deployed to enforce laws within the United States without an act of Congress. The Department of the Navy has also created regulations that make the Navy and the Marines operate under the same rules.

However, does the Posse Comitatus Act matter this day and age? Congress has already granted the president the power to wage war without a congressional declaration of war, which is required under the United States Constitution. Since Congress has ceded that power, I see no reason to believe it won’t cede its powers granted by the Posse Comitatus Act. As an aside, if Trump does follow through with his plan, it may be the first time that the Third Amendment gets some love.

But all of this may be a moot point. There isn’t a strong correlation between what Trump says and what he does. He’ll say he’s going to do something one day then seemingly forget all about it the next day.

Written by Christopher Burg

April 4th, 2018 at 11:00 am

No Meaningful Discussion Can Occur without Specifics

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One of my biggest pet peeves in political discussions is the number of unspecific and entirely subjective statements that get tossed around. For example, gun control advocates like to claim that they want common sense gun control laws but common sense is entirely subjective. What is common sense to me may not be common sense to you.

One person might believe that it’s common sense to prohibit private ownership of machine guns but not at all common sense to prohibit private ownership of semi-automatic firearms. Another person might believe that it’s common sense to prohibit private ownership of standard capacity magazines but not magazines with a capacity of seven or fewer rounds. Yet another person might believe that abolishing private gun ownership entirely is common sense.

If somebody claims that they want common sense gun control laws, they’re not presenting anything that can be meaningfully discussed. Without the ability to have a meaningful discussion, both sides of the aisle will end up making assumptions about the other and those assumptions will generally be the best case when a subjective statement is made by somebody with whom they agree and the worst case when a statement is made by somebody with whom they disagree. In the end both sides will just end up screeching at each other.

I used gun control as an example because I spend a lot of time writing about guns but what I’ve said is true of every political discussion. People will claim that they’re pushing a political agenda to make the nation a better place, guard the average person against the rich, help the poor reclaim their dignity, etc. But what qualifies as a better nation is subjective. What qualifies a person as poor, average, or rich is subjective. What qualifies as dignity is subjective.

Subjective statements should really be dropped in favor of specific proposals. To return to our gun control example, a gun control advocate could propose to implement a law that requires all firearm transfers to go through a federally licensed dealer in order to be legal or a ban on semi-automatic firearms with specific features. Since those are specific proposals, the pros and cons of those proposals can be debated. Instead of having to make assumptions about the other’s definition of a subjective idea, both sides can now discuss the specific proposal.

Unfortunately, I see no signs that political discourse in the United States will shift away from the subjective. All signs point to the opposite.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 29th, 2018 at 11:00 am

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Legalizing Parenting

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There is a long list of laws that shouldn’t be necessary. This law that will soon go into effect in Utah:

A new law legalizing free-range parenting will soon take effect in Utah allowing children to do things alone like travelling to school.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed the bill on March 15, which takes effect in May.

The bill redefines “neglect” in Utah law so that kids can participate in some unsupervised activities without their parents being charged, a representative from the state confirmed to ABC News Monday.

Why does allowing children to walk to school unattended need to be a law? Because the government has declared itself the owner of all people in the nation and has used that power to decide what does and doesn’t qualify as childhood neglect. In many areas children playing unattended in parks or walking to school unattended are valid grounds for law enforcers to charge parents with neglect. It’s absurd considering that not too long ago I was playing with my friends around town and walking to school unattended and everybody consider it normal.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 29th, 2018 at 10:30 am

Let’s See Some Follow Through

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It’s fashionable to point out parallels between the collapse of the Roman Republic and the current political situation here in the United States. While history doesn’t repeat itself, it does rhyme. One of the turning points in the Roman Republic was the death of Tiberius Gracchus. Tiberius was a popularis, a politician who appealed to the masses instead of the political elite. He proposed a number of reforms that favored the masses, which resulted in a group of senators grabbing clubs and beating Tiberius to death. This event was the first in what would become a long list of incidents where violence was overtly used to solve political disagreements.

While the United States’ wilder early years saw incidents where politicians used violence against each other to settle disputes, such violence has been entirely absent for a very long time. However, America might be tiptoeing closer to that precipice:

Biden, 75, who was captured making the remarks in a video posted to Facebook, told the audience that Trump, 71, once said, “‘I can grab a woman anywhere and she likes it’ and then said, ‘I made a mistake.'”

“If we were in high school, I’d take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him,” Biden said to applause.

Admittedly, I have my doubts that either man has the constitution necessary to take a swing at the other. But I would greatly enjoy seeing some follow through. Imagine the ratings that a Pay Per View politician cage match would bring in! Hell, it might be enough to offset the ballooning national debt increases!

With how device the United States is becoming, I believe that it’s only a matter of time until a politician attempts to prove his convictions by physically assaulting or even outright murdering an opposing politician. When that happens it will create another rhyme with the downfall of the Roman Republic.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 27th, 2018 at 10:30 am

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Members of Congress Will Continue to Use Your Money to Settle Their Sexual Harassment Cases

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Sexual harassment has been a hot button issue since last year. Hollywood and Washington DC has been awash in accusations, apologies, and payoffs. However, when an actor in Hollywood decides to pay off their victims, they use their own money. When a politicians decides to pay off their victims, they use your money:

An overhaul of Capitol Hill’s workplace misconduct system is in jeopardy and likely won’t be attached to a government spending bill this week, diminishing the likelihood of reform before the midterm elections, according to Politico.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), who introduced the bipartisan Congressional Harassment Reform Act last December, said on Monday that House and Senate leadership “stripped” provisions from the language from the spending bill at the eleventh hour.

[…]

Among its provisions, the act requires that members of Congress personally pay for sexual harassment settlements when they are found liable. Currently, lawmakers can tap taxpayer funds to settle with victims. Also, unless the victim opts for privacy, under the act, settlements would automatically be made public, thus lifting the veil of secrecy around the process.

Having access to tax dollars is yet another mechanism that politicians can use to shield themselves from the consequences of their actions. If Congress was composed of angels, this wouldn’t be an issue because the members wouldn’t vote themselves the power to use tax dollars to pay off sexual harassment victims. But Congress isn’t composed of angels, it’s composed of crooked bastards who only care about power.

While many voters will likely claim that they’re outraged by this, members of Congress know that voters will toss aside all of their outrage come election day because most of them will continue to cast their vote for the “lesser evil” incumbent. Members of Congress won’t hold themselves accountable and neither will the voters.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 22nd, 2018 at 11:00 am

If Violence Isn’t Solving Your Problem, You’re Not Using Enough of It

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The United States government has been waging a war against drugs since 1914 when it passed the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act. In 1970 it greatly stepped up its efforts after passing the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970. For the entirety of its war against drugs, drugs have been winning by a landslide. I would think after unsuccessfully waging a war as rigorously as the United States has been waging its war against drugs since the 1970s, most sane people would realize the futility of the war and stop. But the United States prefers to live by the mantra of if violence isn’t solving your problem, you’re not using enough of it:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump will unveil a plan on Monday to combat the opioid addiction crisis that includes seeking the death penalty for drug dealers and urging Congress to toughen sentencing laws for drug traffickers, White House officials said on Sunday.

The White House plan will also seek to cut opioid prescriptions by a third over the next three years by promoting practices that reduce overprescription of opioids in federal healthcare programs, officials told a news briefing.

As Anatoly Rybakov wrote, “Death solves all problems — no man, no problem.”

What will this likely accomplish? Nothing positive. People who suffer from chronic pain will have to resort to taking an aspirin and toughing it out, which will likely lead a few sufferers choose suicide over living a life of constant agony. But, hey, at least if they’re dead they won’t be addicted to opioids! Drug traffickers will continue to traffic drugs because they’re already subject to summary execution by law enforcers so the possibility of being sentenced to death is nothing new. I guess it will provide a little dog and pony show for the masses who want to see a drug trafficker executed after a trial instead of before.

Unfortunately, the war on drugs isn’t going anywhere. The profits of the government, especially its law enforcers, are too dependent on the wealth confiscated from drug manufacturers, sellers, and users.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 21st, 2018 at 10:30 am

Technically a Gulag Is a Retirement Plan

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A writer for Pravda Salon was giddy when he learned that some millennials aren’t bothering to save for retirement because they’re expecting a great socialist revolution within their lifetime:

Wood, 32, a political consultant, told me via Twitter that she felt similarly. “I don’t think the world can sustain capitalism for another decade,” she explained. “It’s socialism or bust. We will literally start having resource wars that will kill us all if we don’t accept that the free market will absolutely destroy us within our lifetime [if] we don’t start fighting its hegemony,” she added.

Technically spending your golden years in a gulag is a retirement plan.

I don’t think these millennials are complete fools but I do believe that they have been suckered by socialist propaganda. It’s no secret that the United States is becoming more of a shithole every year. Unemployment is at record lows… but more and more employment is becoming part time. Costs of healthcare and college are through the roof and the only reason people haven’t been forced to abandon hospitals and colleges is because they’ve taken on tons of debt. Speaking of debt, the national debt continues to rise at an astronomical rate. While the United States may not have prison camps per se, a massive percentage of the population is currently being held behind bars and many of those prisoners are stuck working for Federal Prison Industries. It’s also no coincidence that this degradation coincides with the United States abandoning capitalism for socialism, which is why socialists have to keep desperately parroting the claim that the United States is a capitalist nation and that all of its ills are being caused by capitalism.

A nation that operated under capitalism wouldn’t have Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, a Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, or any other government provided welfare program. In order to provide all of those programs a government must necessarily nationalize a portion of businesses. Of course, politicians in the United States don’t use the term nationalization. Instead they call their seizing a portion of a company’s wealth taxation. Whether one calls it nationalization or taxation the result is the same, the government claims a portion of every business in the country. Every business owner works first for the State and secondly for themselves.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 20th, 2018 at 11:00 am

Chipping Away at the Drug War

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The public sale of cannabis has been legal in Colorado since January 1, 2014. Three years later and none of the doom and gloom predictions of the prohibitionists have come to pass. Now Colorado is planning to step up its game of chipping away at the drug war by considering lowering the severity of psilocybin possession:

The group calls itself Colorado for Psilocybin after the fungi’s scientific name. Their proposed measure would do away with felony charges for people caught with mushrooms, and make them the lowest enforcement priority for Denver police.

Anyone caught with more than two ounces of dried mushrooms, or two pounds of uncured “wet” mushrooms, would be subject to a citation: less than $99 for the first offense, increased by increments of $100 for subsequent offenses, and never more than $999 per citation.

If this is passed, the prohibitionists will once again predict doom and gloom and their predictions will once again fail to manifest. Despite what prohibitions believe, consuming psilocybin doesn’t turn an individual into a killing machine. What is can do though is help those suffering from depression and, of course, offer those looking for a good psychedelic trip what they want.

I really hope that this is the beginning of the next chapter of an individual state telling the feds where to stick their drug war.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 9th, 2018 at 10:30 am