A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for the ‘Wall of Fame Assholes’ Category

It’s Time to Play Sheriff’s Department or ISIS

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Much of the Middle East is currently engaged in a war with a government that has a penchant for broadcasting videos of a guy talking while masked men stand behind him looking all serious. While the location makes it obvious that I’m talking about the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), the description of the organization alone would apply equally to the Lake County Sheriff’s Department:

Florida Sheriff Peyton Grinnell has a no-nonsense take on handling America’s heroin epidemic.

In a widely-shared video posted on the sheriff’s Facebook page, Grinnell appears at a lectern, flanked by the rest of Lake County’s “community engagement unit” — four Kevlar-clad deputies in face masks.

Here’s an image of Sheriff Peyton Grinnell and his gang of merry men:

Tell me, without the badges and word “Sheriff” plastered on their uniforms, would you be able to tell the difference between them and ISIS? I’d certainly be hard pressed to do so.

The reason ISIS uses this kind of imagery is because it’s intimidating, which makes sense since that government’s goal is to scare people into submission. Supposedly a sheriff’s office is tasked with protecting and serving a community so why would one project an image of intimidation? Perhaps it’s not interested in protecting and serving. Perhaps it’s interesting in subjugation.

Written by Christopher Burg

April 13th, 2017 at 11:00 am

Fly the Extremely Hostile Skies

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When you buy a plane ticket you’re renting a seat aboard a particular flight from one airport to another, right? Wrong. You’re buying a chance to use a seat aboard a flight, not a guarantee. Buying a planet ticket is like playing a lottery, albeit with much better odds:

In plain language under Rule 25—on page 35 if you print it out—the agreement says exactly what happens if the flight is oversold. “If there are not enough volunteers, other Passengers may be denied boarding involuntarily,” the language reads. (Of course, the deplaned man was not denied boarding, he was already boarded.)

I’ve been on many overbooked flights. Since I don’t fly very often the fact that I’ve been on many overbooked flights illustrates how prevalent the practice of overbooking is. This mostly works because whenever a flight is overbooked the poor schmuck working at the front desk will offer people who volunteer to take a later flight some kind of compensation and they usually get enough volunteers. However, I’ve often wondered what would happen if they didn’t get enough volunteers. Fortunately, United answered the question:

CHICAGO, IL — A man aboard a United Airlines flight from Chicago to Louisville was forcibly lifted from his seat, dragged down the aisle and removed from the plane as horrified passengers protested and recorded the episode on their smartphones Sunday night at O’Hare International Airport.

The man was among four passengers randomly selected on the full flight to give up their seats for United Airlines employees who needed to be in Louisville by Monday, according to witnesses. Flight 3411 was overbooked, according to the airline.

If a flight is overbooked and the airliner doesn’t get enough volunteers then a few cops are sent aboard to rough up a passenger and forcefully remove them. As an aside, I’ll note that the officers had no problem roughing up and removing that paying passenger. But I’ll leave the moral judgement of that fact for you to make.

I would go so far as to accuse United, and every other airline, of fraud since they’re misrepresenting their product. With the exception of the 3,000 pages of legalese hidden in some dark recess of their websites, every airline strongly implies that when you buy a flight ticket you’re reserving a seat aboard a selected flight. Some airlines even allow you to select a seat. However, you’re not reserving a seat, you’re buying a chance at getting a seat, which is not what is being advertised. What makes matters worse is that the State is willing to subsidize this fraudulent practice by providing the muscle to deal with any customers who are unhappy about getting ripped off.

While other airlines also sell lottery tickets instead of flight tickets, they haven’t been caught sending police aboard when somebody loses. Because of that, I would recommend playing the lottery with another airliner. At least then if you lose you might not get roughed up.

Written by Christopher Burg

April 11th, 2017 at 11:00 am

The Internet of Things Means Not Owning Your Devices

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Every consumer product can be made better by connecting it to the Internet, right? If you prefer licensing your products instead of owning them then that may be the case. However, if you’re like me and believe that you should own the products you buy, then that may not be the best idea.

A poor schmuck purchased an Internet connected garage door opener then later ran afoul with the company’s support has learned a valuable lesson about the difference between licensing and ownership:

Denis Grisak, the man behind the Internet-connected garage opener Garadget, is having a very bad week. Grisak and his Colorado-based company SoftComplex launched Garadget, a device built using Wi-Fi-based cloud connectivity from Particle, on Indiegogo earlier this year, hitting 209 percent of his launch goal in February. But this week, his response to an unhappy customer has gotten Garadget a totally different sort of attention.

On April 1, a customer who purchased Garadget on Amazon using the name R. Martin reported problems with the iPhone application that controls Garadget.

[…]

Grisak then responded by bricking Martin’s product remotely, posting on the support forum:

Martin,
The abusive language here and in your negative Amazon review, submitted minutes after experiencing a technical difficulty, only demonstrates your poor impulse control. I’m happy to provide the technical support to the customers on my Saturday night but I’m not going to tolerate any tantrums.

At this time your only option is return Garadget to Amazon for refund. Your unit ID 2f0036… will be denied server connection.

Welcome to the Internet of Things where any device can be remotely bricked by an angry service provider!

When it comes to Internet connected devices I ask two questions. First, is the device being provided by a company that has a good security track record? Second, what benefits would I derive from connecting that device to the Internet?

The first question is important to ask about any device that will be connected to the Internet because you don’t want your Internet connected coffee pot to become part of a botnet or act as a gateway for a malicious actor to access your network. While the second question is subjective, I believe it’s important to consider. Why, for example, would I want my garage door opener to connect to the Internet? I only want the garage door to open when I’m entering or leaving the garage. For me, there is no value in being able to open my garage door while I’m sitting at work. Furthermore, having to unlock my phone and open an app takes longer than pressing a button on a remote control attached to my vehicle’s visor. So an Internet connected garage door ends up being less convenient for me than a regular one. Answering the second question just saved me a potential security vulnerability in my network and the possibility of having my device bricked by a pissy provider (not to mention it probably saved me some money).

Written by Christopher Burg

April 6th, 2017 at 10:30 am

Watch a Dying Business Thrash Desperately

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I will go so far as to say that Let’s Encrypt revolutionized the Transport Layer Security (TLS) certificate market. While there were some free sources of certificates, the general rule remained that you had to pay if you wanted to implement a secure connection for you website. Then Let’s Encrypt was released. Now anybody can implement a secure connection for their website for free. On top of that, Let’s Encrypt greatly simplified the process of managing certificates. So it’s no surprise that certificate vendors are feeling the squeeze and responding desperately:

The fact that Let’s Encrypt is now being used to make phishing sites look legit is a total burn for us, and a potential house fire for users who rely on simple cues like the green padlock for assurance. According to certificate reseller The SSL Store, “between January 1st, 2016 and March 6th, 2017, Let’s Encrypt has issued a total of 15,270 SSL certificates containing the word ‘PayPal.'”

Keep in mind that the SSL Store is a provider of those incredibly overpriced certificates, so Let’s Encrypt’s mission isn’t necessarily in their interests. Even still, their post points out that the “vast majority of this issuance has occurred since November — since then Let’s Encrypt has issued nearly 100 ‘PayPal’ certificates per day.” Based on a random sample, SSL Store said, 96.7 percent of these certificates were intended for use on phishing sites.

The reseller added that, while their analysis has focused on fake PayPal sites, the firm’s findings have spotted other SSL phishing fakers, including Bank of America, Apple IDs, and Google.

The SSL Store paints a frightening picture. But the picture requires ignoring two facts.

First, TLS doesn’t verify if a website is legitimate. TLS verifies that the URL you’re connecting to matches the name in the certificate provided by the server and that the certificate was issued by a trusted authority. For example, if you connect to https://paypaltotallyascam.com, TLS will verify that the URL in the certificate is for https://paypaltotallyascam.com and that the certificate was issued by a trusted authority. However, TLS is not magical and cannot determine whether the site is a scam or not.

Second, you can’t even pull a certificate with Let’s Encrypt unless you have a registered URL. So why is Let’s Encrypt getting all of the blame but not the Domain Name System (DNS) registrar that allowed the domain to be registered in the first place? Because DNS registrars aren’t a threat to The SSL Store’s business model, Let’s Encrypt is.

This report by The SSL Store is nothing more than the desperate thrashings of a dying business model.

Written by Christopher Burg

April 4th, 2017 at 10:30 am

The Most Fragile Economy On Earth

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Venezuela is in late stage communism. The economy is in shambles, people are starving, and the government is looking for somebody, anybody, to blame besides itself. At this point in communism most of the former baddies; such as bourgeois, speculators, and price fixers; have either been “reeducated” or wiped out so the only people left to blame are regular folk like farmers and bakers:

In a press release, the National Superintendent for the Defense of Socioeconomic Rights said it had charged four people and temporarily seized two bakeries as the socialist administration accused bakers of being part of a broad “economic war” aimed at destabilizing the country.

In a statement, the government said the bakers had been selling underweight bread and were using price-regulated flour to illegally make specialty items, like sweet rolls and croissants.

The government said bakeries are only allowed to produce French bread and white loaves, or pan canilla, with government-imported flour. However, in a tweet on Thursday, price control czar William Contreras said only 90 percent of baked goods had to be price-controlled products.

If your economy is so fragile that bakers making sweet rolls and croissants can destabilize it then your country is far beyond the point of no return. It is literally game over. Also, I really found Mr. Contreras’ comment hilarious. Only 90 percent of baked goods have to be price-controlled products.

The more the Venezuelan government pushes the closer the nation will be to revolution. It’s only a matter of time until the people of Venezuela decide that they’ve had enough abuse and rise up against their tormenters. I look forward to that day.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 23rd, 2017 at 10:30 am

It’s Not Your Property

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One of the easiest mistakes to make in the United States is assuming that you can own property. If you could own property you wouldn’t have to pay rent and you could do whatever you wanted with it so long as your activities didn’t harm your neighbors or their property. But here in the United States you have to pay rent, usually referred to by the euphemism “property taxes,” and you can only do approved activities on what is mistakenly referred to as your property:

A Pennsylvania family thought building a hockey rink in the backyard was the solution for keeping the kids active during the winter — until town officials told them to tear it down.

“We want a space for them to… just get outside and get some exercise and kind of bring back the old school fun that we had when we were kids,” Terry Beam told Fox News.

This is the second winter the Beam family made a hockey rink Beam says, but it didn’t sit well with South Middleton Township authorities this year. In a letter to the family, the township engineer said the rink was a violation.

“A drainage easement is located on your property,” the letter noted. “By placing objects and fences that block the water, such as the skating rink constructed on your property, the amount of storage available is reduced, and the basin will not function as designed.”

I’m sure somebody will note that hindering a drainage basin could cause harm to neighbors’ properties. But the ice rink isn’t being removed because their was evidence that it was hindering the purpose of the drainage basin, it’s being removed because the government said so.

When the government says something it doesn’t care if its statement is logical, truthful, or supported by evidence. All it cares about is its authority. Slaves will either obey whatever the government says or it will punish them. This attitude means that the idea that government serves the people is a myth and that the idea that an individual can own property is also a myth.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 15th, 2017 at 11:00 am

Shut Up, Slave

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When a slave by the name of Delvon King failed to stop talking in Robert Nalley’s courtroom, the muumuu-clad judge ordered one of his thugs to shock the shit out of the slave. Nalley’s thug, of course, dutifully complied:

And then the judge took a smoke break:

Courtroom video shows Delvon King—who despite the judge’s orders won’t stop talking—falling to the ground and screaming in pain during a hearing about what questions should be submitted to prospective jurors. According to the video of the 2014 episode, the judge told the courtroom deputy, “Mr. Sheriff do it, use it.”

King then hit the floor and screamed in agony, according to the video.

“All right we’re gonna take five and I’ll be back,” the judge said before he left the courtroom. All the while, King was on the ground and moaning.

This incident demonstrates yet again that there are separate rules for slaves and the king’s men. If I shocked the shit out of somebody in my place of business because they failed to stop talking I’d be brought up on charges. Such behavior is not acceptable for lowly slave like me. But when you’re adorned with the king’s muumuu, you can get away with such behavior because you get to play by a separate rulebook.

The judge’s thug also deserves criticism here. Upon hearing an order to shock somebody for talking too much, a decent person would have told the man giving order to go pound sand. Violence is not an acceptable response to somebody running their mouth. But that officer isn’t a decent person. At best he’s a mindless automaton who follows whatever orders he’s given. At worst he’s a sadist who sought the position of police officer so he could legally inflict pain.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 9th, 2017 at 10:30 am

Without Government Who Would Punish the Victims

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Let’s say that you’re in an interracial marriage. Now let’s say a rather unpleasant individual spray painted a racial slur on your garage door. Under the circumstance you’d expect the government to step in to find the vandal and arrest them, right? What would you say if the government decided to fine you for the graffiti through?

The N-word was written on the couple’s garage door over the Martin Luther King holiday weekend, but so far, no one has been arrested for the crime.

Heather Lindsay, who is white, said they won’t scrub it off until authorities “do their job” and “not just cover it up and sweep it under the table as they have done in the past.”

The Stamford, Conn., officials have slapped the couple with a blight citation, which carries a $100 daily fine.

The first thing worth noting is the fact that Mrs. Lindsay feels the need to leave the graffiti up in order to motivate the police to do their supposed job. Unfortunately, police are generally disinterested in enforcing property crimes because the State doesn’t stand to rake in a ton of cash off of them. Second, what Mrs. Lindsay does with her own property should be her own business. If she wants to leave the graffiti up then she should be able to leave it up. Third, and this is the most important point in my opinion, Mrs. Lindsay shouldn’t be held responsible for removing the graffiti, the perpetrator should be.

Under any sane justice system the perpetrator is the only person required to right their wrong. Under statism the victim is just as likely to suffer as the perpetrator. This is especially true when the crime that was committed wasn’t one that is generally profitable to the State. I guess the State has to make its profit somewhere.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 23rd, 2017 at 10:30 am

Without Government Who Would Attack the Homeless

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According to statists, the State is necessary to provide a social safety net for those with nothing. Like all statist beliefs it exploits that unease people feel when they are uncertain about their ability to provide for their needs. Why do statist beliefs have to exploit our unease? Because they’re entirely fictitious.

What demographic has less than the homeless? Homeless individuals generally have about as close to nothing as one can get without actually having nothing. Since the State provides a social safety net that means it is providing the homeless with clean water, food, clothing, and shelter, right? Wrong. The State doesn’t give a shit about people who have nothing to steal so instead of providing the homeless with a social safety net it is waging war against them:

Enforcement of new regulations targeting homeless people who live in their vehicles will start today, reports KPCC. The new rules dictate where people living in RVs and cars can park. For example, parking “for habitation purposes” on residential streets from 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. is now banned.

And, living in a vehicle is prohibited at all times within one block, or 500 feet, of schools, pre-schools, daycare facilities, and parks.

Results from the 2016 homeless count found more than 7,000 people live in their cars in Los Angeles, says KPCC.

Politicians create regulations like this in the hopes that they will make the lives of homeless individuals so miserable that they’ll go somewhere else and thus become somebody else’s problem. They aren’t even particularly coy about it. Yet people continue to buy into the statists’ bullshit claims.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 9th, 2017 at 10:30 am

Finishing the Job

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The Obama administration had a hard-on for bombing people with drones. Its fetish was so strong that it even went so far as to assassinate an American citizen and his 16-year-old son with a drone. Although Hillary made it clear that she planned to continue Obama’s reign of terror, Trump didn’t make his position as well known. This caused some suckers to believe that he might curtail the war a bit. Not only has he continued bombing people, he’s trying to finish what Obama started:

In a hideous symbol of the bipartisan continuity of U.S. barbarism, Nasser al-Awlaki just lost another one of his young grandchildren to U.S. violence. On Sunday, the Navy’s SEAL Team 6, using armed Reaper drones for cover, carried out a commando raid on what it said was a compound harboring officials of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. A statement issued by President Trump lamented the death of an American service member and several others who were wounded, but made no mention of any civilian deaths. U.S. military officials initially denied any civilian deaths, and (therefore) the CNN report on the raid said nothing about any civilians being killed.

But reports from Yemen quickly surfaced that 30 people were killed, including 10 women and children. Among the dead: the 8-year-old granddaughter of Nasser al-Awlaki, Nawar, who was also the daughter of Anwar Awlaki.

Every despot knows that if you don’t take out you opponent’s entire family they’ll just grow up and seek revenge on you!

Nawar wasn’t even the first 8-year-old murdered by the United States and almost certainly won’t be the last. And that pisses me off. What pisses me off even more is that those hypocrites who call themselves the anti-war left didn’t give a shit about dead children until now. For four years the children of the Middle East can enjoy the fact that when they’re murdered some Americans will at least pretend to give a damn. After that, whether they’re remembered or not will depend on who wins the election because most people in this country don’t have principles.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 1st, 2017 at 10:30 am