A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for the ‘Politics’ tag

Civitates Foederatae Americae Delendae Sunt

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Since I’m on the topic of perspective, let’s take a moment to consider the current crisis, immigrant children being held in concentration camps:

Reporters and Democratic lawmakers have been allowed inside a detention centre that lies at the heart of a growing storm over a new US policy separating migrant children from their parents.

Authorities did not allow photos or videos to be taken inside the centre, but US Customs and Border Protection later released several images. Former First Lady Laura Bush has compared it to the internment camps used for Japanese-Americans during World War Two. A Democratic congressman who visited the site said it was “nothing short of a prison”.

If you listen to many partisans, you may be lead to believe that Trump is personally kidnapping these children to put them in concentration camps. The first red flag in this article should be that photos were not allowed. Why should that be a read flag? Because it raises an awkward question, from where have all of the pictures of these concentration camps come? Awkward questions often have awkward answers:

There’s also precedent for warehousing immigrant children at military bases. In 2014, Obama temporarily held kids at an emergency shelter at Lackland AFB in San Antonio — a development that Ted Cruz and Greg Abbott were appalled by at the time. The photo at the top of this story — of Central American kids at a Border Patrol processing center — has been repeatedly mistaken as a recent, Trump-era image. In fact, it’s from 2014, during the Central American refugee surge.

Many of the pictures being passed around supposedly from current concentration camps full of children are actually from concentration camps full of children that existed under the previous president. Yes, you read correctly, concentration camps that existed under Obama.

If it wasn’t for humanity’s wonderful feature referred to as cognitive dissonance, this news might shake some partisain’s political faith in their party. Fortunately for them, cognitive dissonance will guard most of them from having to accept this difficult information. However, all of us should keep in mind that human rights abuse is nothing new for the United States of America.

From kidnapping Native American children and forcing them to abandon their heritage and language under the guide of civilizing and educating them to interring Japanese Americans during World War II for no other reason than their descent to the continuous abuse of black individuals from slavery to Jim Crow laws to the drug war, there hasn’t been a single instance in the United States’ history where the federal government wasn’t abusing large swaths of people.

None of the human rights abuses being perpetrated under Trump are new or without precedence. Moreover, if voting could fix this, as most partisans either outright claim or imply, this issue would have been fixed already.

If you’re actually looking for a solution to the human rights abuses perpetrated by the United States government, there is only one solution.

Civitates Foederatae Americae delendae sunt!

Written by Christopher Burg

June 19th, 2018 at 11:00 am

Perspective

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I’m of the opinion that you can despise somebody but not despise everything single thing that they do. For example, I despise Adolf Hitler. Adolf Hitler drank water. Does that mean I despise drinking water? Of course not. Likewise, I despise Donald Trump. Donald Trump is making inroads with North Korea that could lead to a reduction in hostilities if not outright peace. Does that mean I despise peace? Of course not.

Unfortunately, this attitude, albeit quite simple, still qualifies as rather nuanced by modern standards. Many people, especially those who have given themselves over entirely to a binary political spectrum, are unable to deal with even minor nuances so even some former peaceniks have begun screaming about the evils of making peace with North Korea for the sole reason of who is making that peace. This has lead to some rather unexpected propaganda. Case in point, Engadget, a website that posts articles almost exclusively about technology products, felt the need to pen an article that can be summed up as, “North Korea is evil! It cannot be trusted! We can’t make peace with it!” The argument put forward by the article, like the attitude that lead to the writing of the article, is built on the lack of being able to understand nuance.

The first part I’m going to pick out isn’t an argument but an attempt to frame North Korea as an evil nation who did terrible things to Americans. What it fails to do is take perspective into account:

North and South Korea have been divided since 1945; for a short period Russia occupied the North while the US occupied the south; during the war, China aided the north and the US aided the south (we lost 54,246 lives, and 7,704 American soldiers are still unaccounted for). The Korean War ended with an armistice agreement but no peace settlement, so technically the war has never ended. American military remains in the south as part of a mutual defense treaty.

North Korea killed 54,246 Americans! See how evil it is! What’s missing is the other side of the equation. You see, the Korean War was, as the name implies, a war. In war soldiers on both sides tend to die. As it turns out, a lot of North Koreans died:

In a 1984 interview, Air Force General Curtis LeMay, head of the Strategic Air Command during the Korean War, claimed U.S. bombs “killed off 20 percent of the population” and “targeted everything that moved in North Korea.” These acts, largely ignored by the U.S. collective memory, have deeply contributed to Pyongyang’s contempt for the U.S. and especially its ongoing military presence on the Korean Peninsula.

If an estimated 20 percent of the North Korean population wasn’t enough, many North Korean cities, including Pyongyang, ceased to exist.

I don’t say this to give North Korea a pass on the regime’s abuses. The North Korean government is an absolutely brutal one. However, to only give one side of the story is propaganda, not accurate history. Understanding the conflict requires analyzing all sides of the war, not just the American side.

Now that the outright propaganda of the article has been addressed, let’s consider the argument against making peace with North Korea:

Fast forward to 1963, and the world finds out that the North has begun building a nuclear reactor. Then a nuclear weapons program in the 1980s. The first time North Korea committed to denuclearization was 1992’s Joint Declaration of the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula — though historically, nuclear inspectors have been barred from surveying North Korean facilities.

North Korea entered the Joint Declaration of the Denuclearization and failed to abide by the agreement! How can we trust a regime that has broken its promises in the past? But why did North Korea fail to abide by its side of the agreement? Fortunately, I’ve read The Dead Hand by David Hoffman. Part of it touched on the history of nuclear weapons in North Korea and the agreement that was made between it and the United States. As with any agreement, this agreement involved concessions from both sides. One of the concessions made by the United Stats was a commitment to provide North Korea with two light water nuclear reactors. However, after the agreement was made, as is so often the case in the United States, the rules changed:

Soon after the agreement was signed, U.S. Congress control changed to the Republican Party, who did not support the agreement.[19][20] Some Republican Senators were strongly against the agreement, regarding it as appeasement.[21][22] Initially, U.S. Department of Defense emergency funds not under Congress’ control were used to fund the transitional oil supplies under the agreement,[23] together with international funding. From 1996 Congress provided funding, though not always sufficient amounts.

The United States didn’t abide by its part of the agreement. Normally when one side fails to uphold its end of an agreement, the other side is not expected to uphold its part. Apparently North Korea was supposed to uphold its end even though it didn’t receive what was promised to it.

Once again the issue wasn’t the upstanding United States being snuffed by wicked North Korea. The issue was two belligerents continuing to be belligerent. This is not to say that North Korea was the good guy or an innocent victim, it’s to point out that the United States wasn’t an angel.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 19th, 2018 at 10:00 am

The Best Timeline

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This timeline that I find myself in just gets better and better. While one might think that a retired eccentric basketball star buddying up with a former reality television show host to make peace with the pudgy dictator of a small isolated nation is the story for an awful summer comedy movie, it actually happened. Likewise, if I told you that a pimp won the primary for a political party that is most known for being neopuritanical, you’d probably think that it was also the story of a terrible summer comedy movie. But once again it actually happened:

LAS VEGAS — Pimp Dennis Hof, owner of half a dozen legal brothels in Nevada and star of the HBO adult reality series “Cathouse,” won a Republican primary for the state Legislature on Tuesday, ousting a three-term lawmaker.

Hof defeated hospital executive James Oscarson. He’ll face Democrat Lesia Romanov in November, and will be the favored candidate in the Republican-leaning Assembly district.

We’re well on our way to a President Camacho.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 14th, 2018 at 10:00 am

Posted in Politics

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Bizzaro Earth

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At some point in the past I must have fallen through an interdimensional portal because the universe I’m currently occupying is rather bizarre.

The good news is that Donald Trump can finally claim an accomplishment during his time in office. He actually met Kim Jong-un and had an apparently friendly talk with the North Korean leader that concluded with an agreement:

US President Donald Trump says his historic talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un that ended in a joint agreement were “tremendous”.

The signed document includes a pledge from Mr Kim to rid the Korean peninsula of nuclear weapons.

But in an extraordinary media conference later, Mr Trump announced details not in the paper.

He said he would halt US military exercises in South Korea, something widely seen as a concession.

Of course the hawks have to shit all over this by claiming that agreeing not to hold military exercises in South Korea is capitulating. But agreements are about giving and taking and if agreement not to play war games in South Korea leads to a potential reduction in nuclear weapons, that’s not a bad trade off.

Now for the more bizarre, Dennis Rodman:

NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman gave an emotional, bizarre TV interview on Tuesday reacting to the highly anticipated summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat and sunglasses, Rodman, who has personally visited North Korea multiple times, spoke for roughly 20 minutes about his relationship with Kim and his expectations for the historic meeting between the two leaders as it got underway in Singapore. He began to cry about halfway through the interview, periodically dabbing his nose with a tissue.

Who would have thought that the most public American to meet with Kim Jong-un until the recent South Korean and United States summits would be a basketball star knowing for his eccentricities? In all likelihood, his meetings with Kim Jong-un played a not insignificant part in building the foundation for both summits.

While this universe is bizarre, it is damn interesting.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 12th, 2018 at 10:00 am

Posted in Politics

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Defining Evil

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Anybody who has identified as a libertarian for any length of time has likely been accused of being a paid Koch brothers shill. The Koch brothers are evil incarnate who want nothing more than to kill every poor person on the planet. At least that’s what my self-proclaimed progressive friends continue to tell me. Those same friends also tell me that anybody who is working to topple Trump is doing God’s work. So now I’m left to wonder, are the Koch brothers still evil incarnate:

Powerful US billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch are funding a multi-million dollar campaign against President Donald Trump’s trade tariffs.

Three political groups backed by the brothers say they will use advertising, lobbying and grassroots campaigns to push the benefits of free trade.

This is an excellent illustration of the trap most politicos fall into eventually fall into. They tend to define other politicos on a binary scale. Either you’re on “their” side and therefore good or you’re on the “other” side and therefor evil. But people are complex creatures and seldom fit nicely onto a binary political spectrum. Two good examples of this are pro-gun progressives and pro-choice conservatives. Even if every other political belief an individual in either group holds agrees with their respective political label, they are considered heretics by both sides.

I honestly don’t know much about the Koch brothers other than the check they’re supposed to send me for being a libertarian shill has yet to arrive (if this is due to an address mishap, would a representative of the Koch brothers please contact me so it can be corrected). I’m sure if I dug into their beliefs I would find things that I agree with and disagree with. This is probably true for every person on the planet. If you spend the time to get to know somebody, you’ll inevitable find that there are things on which you two agree and things on which you two disagree. Needless to say, having only a binary spectrum is insufficient for judging human beings.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 7th, 2018 at 10:30 am

Posted in Politics

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Just Chop Off Everybody’s Hands

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Britain suffers from a severe case of hoplophobia. First the British government enacted an ever increasing number of regulations on firearms until it was all but illegal to own one. Now the government wants to do the same to knives:

Judge Nic Madge said ordinary kitchen knives were causing a “soaring loss of life”, rather than more heavily regulated large-bladed weapons.

He was speaking at Luton Crown Court at a ceremony to mark his retirement.

Knife crime rose by 22% in England and Wales in 2017, according to the Office for National Statistics.

“Kitchens contain lethal knives which are potential murder weapons and only butchers and fishmongers need eight or 10 inch kitchen knives with points,” the judge said.

He wants manufacturers to produce knives with rounded points for domestic use and those with points to be sold under strict rules.

First it was the guns. Now it’s the knives. Next it will be sporting equipment (Only professional cricket players need cricket bats!). If the British government continues pursuing this train of thought to its logical conclusion, all people living in Britain will have to have their hands chopped off at birth.

Written by Christopher Burg

May 30th, 2018 at 10:00 am

Milking All of the Tax Cattle

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While I still stand by my ruling that Atlas Shrugged was a poorly written book with dull two-dimensional characters, I will admit that it was also prescient. The United States appears to be entering the part in of the book where the infrastructure is in a constant state of deterioration. Even the parking ramps are falling apart. And you know what that means! Soak the tax payers a little more:

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter ordered the shutdown of a major downtown parking ramp Thursday, the day after a chunk of concrete fell on a parked car and two days after he and other local leaders launched a public campaign for $58 million in state money to replace the aging structure.

Strange, I didn’t realize that a parking ramp in St. Paul served the entirety of Minnesota. But it must otherwise Carter wouldn’t be asking the entire state to pay for his city’s shitty infrastructure, right?

Unfortunately, when infrastructure fails, it serves as an excuse by the political class to steal more wealth from those they rule. To compound this problem, even though the political class is stealing more wealth, the infrastructure never improves. So a vicious cycle of failing infrastructure leading to more stolen wealth followed by more failing infrastructure persists.

Written by Christopher Burg

May 18th, 2018 at 10:30 am

Shame Only Works on Those Who Feel Shame

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It seems like every time I turn around it’s election season again. Primary seasons has just come and gone for some states, which means a bunch of statists just finished up trying to make people feel guilty for not suffering the same bullshit they just suffered:

Some Pennsylvania voters have received letters publicising whether they had voted in previous elections before they head to the polls on Tuesday.

The letters appeared to be intended to “embarrass” people into voting by revealing their voting record compared to that of friends and neighbours.

[…]

The information used in the letters comes from a public registry that costs $20 (£15) to access. This data is typically used by political parties for voter outreach.

“What if your friends, your neighbours, and your community knew whether you vote?” the letter asks.

What if my friends, neighbors, and community members knew whether I voted? They already do because I’m quite loud about the fact that I don’t vote.

Blackmail, which is what these letters are threatening, only works if the person being threatened wants a secret kept secret. As soon as the person being threatened ceases to care about whatever secret somebody is threatening to reveal, blackmail no longer works. If, for example, somebody is threatening to reveal that you didn’t vote in the last election, the best thing you can do to take their power away is publicly advertise the fact that you didn’t vote in the last election.

Written by Christopher Burg

May 16th, 2018 at 11:00 am

Government Goons Declare Anarchy Symbol a Hate Symbol

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The City of Hamilton’s bureaucrats have declared that the anarchy symbol is a hate symbol in the same league as the Nazi swastika:

The City of Hamilton has forced a local anarchist group to remove the circle A anarchy symbol from its headquarters, saying it is “hate material” similar to the swastika.

City officials say they’re taking direction from Hamilton police on the issue, but police say that’s not the case.

Since anarchists want to abolish government, I understand why a bunch of government parasites would find the anarchy symbol hateful.

When people bring up the topic of hate speech, I like to point out that hate is a subjective idea. This rankles a lot of people because the topic of hate is often emotionally charged and most individuals seem to believe that hate is an objectively provable thing. They also seem to believe that hate is objectively whatever they believe hate to be.

I don’t consider the anarchy symbol to be a symbol of hate. In fact, I consider symbols of government to be symbols of hate. Am I right? That depends on whom you ask.

What I really want to know now is whether or not I as an anarchist qualify as an oppressed person in Hamilton.

Written by Christopher Burg

May 16th, 2018 at 10:30 am

Everybody Gets a Vote

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Should people who are ignorant about a topic be given the ability to vote on it? If not, the United States should cease holding all elections because nobody has any idea what is going on:

Washington may be more secretive nowadays than at any time in recent decades. Federal policymakers have become accustomed to rationing what they release while citizens are assured that official secrecy makes them more secure. But American democracy cannot survive perpetual bipartisan coverups from the political ruling class.

Since 9/11, U.S. foreign policy has practically been governed by a Non-Disclosure Agreement. Did you know that U.S. troops are currently engaged in combat in 14 foreign nations fighting purported terrorists? That jolting fact is practically a state secret, though it did slip out in a recent New York Times editorial. After four U.S. soldiers were killed in Niger last October, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) admitted they did not know that a thousand U.S. troops were deployed to that African nation. Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, admitted, “We don’t know exactly where we’re at in the world militarily and what we’re doing.” Congress has utterly defaulted on its role as a check-and-balance on the Pentagon, thereby enabling a surge in deadly covert interventions abroad.

An informed electorate doesn’t exist in the United States because the government that is supposedly guided by the voice of the people has developed a fetish for secrecy.

I’m going to return to the question with which I opened this post. Most people would instinctively say that everybody should get a vote even if they’re ignorant about the topic up for vote. This response is the result of living life in a country where democracy is touted as the greatest governmental system of all time. However, few people tolerate such a philosophy in their private dealings. Would you let somebody who is entirely ignorant about automobiles vote on what is wrong with your vehicle? Would you let somebody who is compute illiterate vote on how to fix your computer? Would you let somebody who knows nothing about medicine vote on what drugs you should take? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re a damned fool. If any of these resulted in your problem being fixed, it would be by sheer luck. The most likely outcome would be that a lot of money would be spent for nothing. The result of the last situation could even be your death.

As the article notes, even the people elected to the government often have no idea what is going on. Graham and Schumer may not have been aware that there were thousands of troops deployed in Africa but they certainly got to vote on military matters. This really should strike everybody as a problem. Why are people who are ignorant about matters voting on them? Why should a senator who doesn’t even know how to use e-mail have a say on topics such as national computer security laws? Why should a senator who doesn’t know what a barrel shroud is have a say in what firearm features should be prohibited?

When nobody has any clue about what is happening, it’s not realistic to expect people to make good decisions.

Written by Christopher Burg

May 11th, 2018 at 11:00 am