A Geek With Guns

Discount security adviser to the proles.

Archive for the ‘Shut Up Slave’ tag

They Want Your Fuckin’ Retirement Money

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George Carlin once said, “And now they’re coming for your Social Security money. They want your fuckin’ retirement money. They want it back so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you know something? They’ll get it. They’ll get it all from you sooner or later ’cause they own this fuckin’ place. It’s a big club and you ain’t in it.”

Social Security is often referred to as a Ponzi scheme and that is a fairly accurate assessment. Ponzi schemes tend to enrich the early participants of the scheme at the expense of the newer participants and the State, which passed the legislation mandating we all participate in this scheme, was certainly enriched while newer participants continue to get screwed harder than the last set of participants. What makes matters worse is that we all realize it. How many people in their 20s and 30s have you heard say “I don’t expect to get anything from Social Security?” Hell, I say it quite frequently. But you know who is benefitting from Social Security? The State.

Since its inception the Social Security Trust Fund has been “invested” in Treasury securities. In other words, the State pulls money from peoples’ supposed retirement accounts and lends it to itself. But its cronies have been wanting to get a piece of the action and, as George Carlin predicted, they’re going to get it.

The State has been unwilling to directly cut its cronies in on the Social Security scheme but it did throw them a bone. The bone was a tax rule that allowed money invested into a sanctioned scheme to be withdrawn from employee paychecks before taxes. This scheme, referred to as 401(k), has two major flaws from the point of view of the State’s cronies. First, it’s decentralized. There is no single mandatory 401(k) account that all employees have to invest in. Second, it is voluntary so many employees didn’t hand their money over to the State’s cronies. A lot of that is likely to change in the near future under President Clinton:

While Hillary Clinton has spent the presidential campaign saying as little as possible about her ties to Wall Street, the executive who some observers say could be her Treasury Secretary has been openly promoting a plan to give financial firms control of hundreds of billions of dollars in retirement savings. The executive is Tony James, president of the Blackstone Group.


It is a plan that proponents say could help millions of Americans — but could also enrich another constituency: the hedge fund and private equity industries that Blackstone dominates and that have donated millions to support Clinton’s presidential bid.

The proposal would require workers and employers to put a percentage of payroll into individual retirement accounts “to be invested well in pooled plans run by professional investment managers,” as James put it. In other words, individual voluntary 401(k)s would be replaced by a single national system, and much of the mandated savings would flow to Wall Street, where companies like Blackstone could earn big fees off the assets. And because of a gap in federal anti-corruption rules, there would be little to prevent the biggest investment contracts from being awarded to the biggest presidential campaign donors.

The “millions of Americans” that proponents are claiming will be helped by this change are the State’s cronies on Wall Street. Me and you? We’ll get fucked on the deal just as we’ve been getting fucked on Social Security. Instead of voluntarily opting to enter into 401(k) we’ll be forced to give money to yet another national retirement scheme. It’ll basically be Social Security II but the money will go to the State’s cronies instead of itself.

Every decree by the State exists to expropriate wealth from the populace. It’s a nice system if you’re either the king or are connected enough to the king to hold a royal title. But it really sucks for us lowly serfs.

Written by Christopher Burg

October 20th, 2016 at 10:00 am

You’re Not the Customer, You’re the Product

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There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch (TANSTAAFL). Whenever somebody appears to be giving you something for free it likely means you’re the product, not the customer. Social media is a prime example of this. A lot of people claim that social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram are Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) products meant to surveil the populace. I personally don’t believe any government agency is clever enough to come up with a successful product like Facebook. But I also know they don’t care because they understand that Facebook exists to mine and sell information so they can forego the expenses of starting a service and just buy the data.

Geofeedia was recently caught selling social media data to law enforcement departments. The company managed to get its hands on this data by simply becoming a paying customer for sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Once the company was a paying customer it could grab user data, which is the real product, and package it up to sell to law enforcement departments.

But United States law enforcers aren’t the only buyers of social media data. Government agencies across the blog pay top dollar for surveillance data. The British Transport Police were also buying social media data:

The BTP, meanwhile, has purchased software called RepKnight. According to the company’s website, RepKnight can help identify, investigate or prevent political unrest, criminal activity, and activists. It can also be used to investigate DDoS attacks.

As well as searching Facebook, Reddit, Twitter and other social networks, RepKnight can be used for “sentiment analysis,” which presents users with “an instant summary of the mood across your search results, letting you quickly spot if something’s going wrong,” RepKnight’s site reads. Customers can use the service through a normal web browser, as well as on tablets and mobile phones.

In all, the BTP has spent £41,400 ($50,500) on purchasing the software and annual licenses for its use since July 2014, according to figures published by the Department for Transport.

A lot of people mistakenly believe their personal information isn’t worth anything. These are the people that usually say “Nobody cares what I do, I’m boring.” or “If they spy on me they’ll be bored.” or something else along those lines. But BTP forked out $50,000 just to surveil the seemingly mundane lives of everyday people. In other words, even the most boring person’s data is valuable.

What’s interesting is RepKnight seems to have some interesting capabilities. Geofeedia seems to be tailored towards surveillance but RepKnight seems to be tailored towards crushing political dissidence by allowing customers to go so far as launch a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack.

As more of our lives move online the public-private surveillance partnership will continue to grow. Don’t be surprised if you’re pulled over in the near future and the law enforcer drags you out of your vehicle and beats the shit out of you because the surveillance software on his car’s laptop pulled up a negative commend you made about the police (the software, of course, will be loaded to enhance officer safety).

Written by Christopher Burg

October 18th, 2016 at 10:30 am

All Loyal Party Members are Expected to Subscribe to Pravda

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“News” today is already little more than propaganda for the State. But that isn’t enough for Obama. He wants wants a system in place to filter our information that isn’t propagandistic:

Pittsburgh (AFP) – President Barack Obama on Thursday decried America’s “wild, wild west” media environment for allowing conspiracy theorists a broad platform and destroying a common basis for debate.

Recalling past days when three television channels delivered fact-based news that most people trusted, Obama said democracy require citizens to be able to sift through lies and distortions.

“We are going to have to rebuild within this wild-wild-west-of-information flow some sort of curating function that people agree to,” Obama said at an innovation conference in Pittsburgh.

“There has to be, I think, some sort of way in which we can sort through information that passes some basic truthiness tests and those that we have to discard, because they just don’t have any basis in anything that’s actually happening in the world,” Obama added.

What is true? If we’re talking about mathematical formulas or physics we can establish truth through logical deduction and the scientific method. But judging complex human interactions and philosophies as either true or false is a different beast.

Let’s take the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as an example. If I say the ACA has been a success would you believe my statement is true or false? It really depends on what you define as success. Supporters of the ACA will often look at the total number of people insured declare the ACA a success because the number is higher now than before the law was passed. Others will look at the rate health insurance premiums have increased and declare the ACA a failure because premiums today are higher than they were before the ACA was passed.

How do we determine “truthiness” (what a stupid word) when discussing things like whether or not a government program has succeeded? According to the government its programs are almost always successful. It will demonstrate success by pointing at various statistics it has chosen as being important. But other people will question the importance of those statistics. Going back to our example, is the total number of people who are covered by health insurance really an important number? There are arguments both for and against relying on that number to determine success. But which arguments are true and which are false?

Like so much in life, truth often boils down to personal philosophy. As a libertarian I believe the initiation of force is always wrong. Since the State’s existence is entirely reliant on initiating force I believe the State to be immoral. A utilitarian will likely disagree with me. They will likely find the State moral because it is the most utilitarian way to accomplish certain tasks. I will disagree with that and we’ll go back and forth because our ideas of morality are different.

The idea that we can create a system that can determine whether questions like our example are true is laughable because such a system will inevitably be colored by the personal beliefs of the designer.

Written by Christopher Burg

October 17th, 2016 at 10:30 am

Law Enforcement Priorities

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Law enforcers are heroes! They protect us against the scourges plaguing society! Murders, muggers, and rapists will be offered no quarter… because they probably won’t encounter a law enforcers. As it turns out, our supposed heroes in blue have different priorities than we’re often told. They’re not spending a majority of their time dealing with crimes involving victims. They’re spending a majority of their time enforcing profitable laws:

Federal figures on drug arrests and drug use over the past three decades tell the story. Drug possession arrests skyrocketed, from fewer than 200 arrests for every 100,000 people in 1979 to more than 500 in the mid-2000s. The drug possession rate has since fallen slightly, according to the FBI, hovering now around 400 arrests per 100,000 people.


“Around the country, police make more arrests for drug possession than for any other crime,” the report finds, citing FBI data. “More than one of every nine arrests by state law enforcement is for drug possession, amounting to more than 1.25 million arrests each year.”

In fact, police make more arrests for marijuana possession alone than for all violent crimes combined.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody. Law enforcers are humans and humans are self-interested. In fact everybody in the chain is a human (or a reasonable facsimile for a human).

The laws are written and passed by politicians. Politicians are self-intersted individuals who use their position within the State for personal profit. That profit doesn’t come from providing goods or services that people want but through expropriation. When they pass a law it gives law enforcers permission to start enforcing that law.

Law enforcers are self-intersted individuals who use their position within the State for personal profit (are you noticing a trend). That profit also doesn’t come from providing goods or services that people want. A law enforcer’s profit comes from a paycheck, which is issued by the State. The State issues paychecks to law enforcers so long as they do a good job. A good job in this case involves raking in cash for the politicians. And like a salesman, law enforcers are often paid commission. Their department will often receive a cut of the wealth expropriated from drug manufacturers, sellers, and users. If the department is flush with cash it can afford to issue raises.

What does enforcing laws against murder, theft, and rape net the State? Not much. Sure, they get additional laborers for their slave labor camps prisons but it doesn’t get a nice chunk of cash, which is far more liquid than slaves. That being the case, priority is given to enforcing drug laws instead of laws against actions that create victims.

There is no reform that can fix this other than abolishing the State. So long as it exists it will attract self-interested people who lack any meaningful morals and they will use the State for personal profit.

Written by Christopher Burg

October 13th, 2016 at 10:30 am

You’re the Product, Not the Customer

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In his novel The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Robert Heinlein coined the phrase there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch (usually abbreviated as TANSTAAFL). The phrase is used by the main characters of the book to remind themselves and others that there’s no such thing as free. This is a lesson too many people fail to learn in real life. People are obsessed with the fantasy of free. They want free food, free money, free healthcare, and free online services.

People commonly make the mistake that online services such as Facebook and Twitter are free. On the surface they appear to be free since you don’t pay to use them. But TANSTAAFL. When you’re using a service for free you’re not the customer, you’re the product:

The American Civil Liberties Union on Tuesday outed Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for feeding a Chicago-based company their user streams—a feed that was then sold to police agencies for surveillance purposes.


Geofeedia, which did not respond for comment, says it has more than 500 customers, including the Denver Police Department. That agency recently signed a $30,000 annual deal with the company. The money came from the agency’s “confiscation” fund. The department’s intelligence agency’s top brass wrote that it would allow cops to analyze and respond in real time to “social media content from anywhere in the world.”

Geofeedia, the actual customer, has been paying for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram’s product, your personal information. It has then been turning around and selling it to various police departments, which use the information to more effectively expropriate wealth from the people they victimize. The only person not making any money on this deal is you. In fact, you’re losing money if any of the sold information about you is used by the police to take some of your wealth.

Because this revelation could turn into a loss of product for these sites they have apparently announced that they’ve cut off Geofeedia’s access. That shouldn’t make you feel better though. That access can be regranted at any time and there are likely many other companies doing the same thing as Geofeedia who just haven’t been caught yet. So long as you continue to be the product you shouldn’t believe any of your information is safe.

The Public Education System’s Ongoing War with Education

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Since its inception the public education system has been at war with education. Instead of education people the United States public education system is based off of the Prussian system that was designed to make automatons that were smart enough to operate the machinery but not smart enough to revolt against the State. But remnants of education continued to stick around for a few generations until we finally reached the point we’re at today where the movie Idiocracy looks more like prophecy than satire.

The Hibbing School District has identified a remnant of education that has managed to remain untouched and is working to address that hiccup:

HIBBING — The Hibbing School District is considering ending its nearly 60-year partnership with the Hibbing Rifle and Pistol Club.

During a school board meeting Wednesday, Superintendent Brad Johnson said various concerns from the public regarding the gun range in the basement of Lincoln Elementary has led him to strictly limit access to the facility until there’s a permanent solution to ensure everyone’s safety and to limit concerns from the public.

The facility can only be used once school-organized activities and events have concluded on Wednesdays, or when inclement weather prevents gun safety classes from being held outdoors.

There has never been an incident on the range so safety isn’t the actual reason for attempting to shutdown the range. But teaching children how to safety and effectively operate firearms is education and potentially threatening to the State. And I’m not even talking about the potential form armed revolution in this case. People who have the ability to defend themselves and are confident in their ability are much harder to scare. Fear is the health of the State. Without fear the State has a hard time manipulating people into surrendering their autonomy.

Consider the police state we live in today. It was able to expand because first people were afraid of the communists then they were afraid of the drugs and now they’re afraid of the terrorists. People are willing to put up with widespread surveillance, again, because they’re afraid of the terrorists. Now the State is drumming up fears of war with Russia and that will be used by it to grab even more power.

The knowledge and ability to defend yourself is a significant threat to the State. The public education system has been hard at work stamping down this knowledge by teaching children to never fight back against bullies but instead run to a school administrator. In recent years schools have even begun punishing students who do defend themselves under the idea that violence is never the answer. Sometime like a gun range that teaches children how to use the most effective tools of self-defense commonly available wasn’t going to fly forever.

Written by Christopher Burg

October 12th, 2016 at 10:30 am

We’re All Terrorists Now

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In many governmental circles I’m considered a terrorist sympathizer. Why? It’s not because I’ve sold arms to terrorists or provided them logistical support. It’s because I teach people how to use secure communication tools, which can get you arrested in certain parts of the world:

Samata Ullah, 33, was charged with six terrorism offences after being arrested in a street in Cardiff on September 22 by officers from Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism squad.

The charge sheet includes one count of preparation of terrorism “by researching an encryption programme, developing an encrypted version of his blog site, and publishing the instructions around the use of [the] programme on his blog site.”

Ullah is also accused of knowingly providing “instruction or training in the use of encryption programmes” in relation to “the commission or preparation of acts of terrorism or for assisting the commission or preparation by others of such acts.”

He has additionally been charged with being in possession of a “Universal Serial Bus (USB) cufflink that had an operating system loaded on to it for a purpose connected with the commission, preparation, or instigation of terrorism.”

This is the nightmare Orwell alluded to in Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four. The State has become so controlling that merely providing an encrypted version of your blog, which I am currently doing since my blog is served exclusively over HTTPS, can be considered noteworthy enough to mention on a list of charges. The same goes for USB cufflinks. We are at a point that even mundane activities can be labeled criminal offenses if the State decides thrust the word terrorism upon you.

I have no doubts that this will come to the United States. The United Kingdom seems to be where new tyrannies are birthday and the United States seems to be where tyrannies go to grow up. And anybody who watched the hearings surrounding Farook’s iPhone, which the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) wanted to force Apple to break into, knows that the United States government is already at war with cryptography. If it passes a law mandating all domestic encryption include a government accessible back door I’ll be a criminal for teaching people how to use secure foreign encryption.

To Better Protect and Serve You

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The police exist to protect and serve you, which is why police departments invest so much money into buying equipment that better enables them to protect and serve you. Take Ford’s new innovation that will surely help you feel safer:

Just when it seemed like undercover police cars couldn’t get any stealthier, along comes this.

After adding red-and-blue emergency lights inside the front visors of unmarked police cars, Ford said Monday that it is introducing rear emergency lights built into the spoiler.

The system means that in states where officers in unmarked cruisers are allowed to pull over speeders, it may be harder to recognize their vehicles — until those lights go on.

Here in Minnesota police cars are required to be marked. That requirement has lead to black police cars with black lettering on them that is difficult to distinguish unless you’re close to the vehicle. I won’t be surprised if I see these innovative spoilers even on “marked” cars.

So how will these innovative spoilers help police better protect and serve you? The same way International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) catchers, surplus Ballistic Engineered Armored Response Counter Attack Trucks (BearCat), drug sniffing dogs, laser speed detectors, and most of the other fancy shit law enforcers buy: not at all. What it will do is help law enforcers expropriate even more wealth from the people they prey on.

Written by Christopher Burg

October 4th, 2016 at 10:00 am

Forensic Voodoo

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If you hang out with enough gunnies you’ll eventually run across Mr. Tough On Crime. Mr. Tough On Crime is remorseless. If somebody has been stopped by a police officer Mr. Tough On Crime more often than not has already judge them to be a criminal. In his eyes the police only stop people who are perpetrating crimes. And if you’ve been convicted of a crime Mr. Tough On Crime will forever disparage your name because you were proven to be filthy criminal scum. Judge Dredd has nothing on Mr. Tough On Crime.

But how guilty are the people sitting in prison right now? Last year it was revealed that microscopic hair forensics was basically voodoo. As it turns out, microscopic hair forensics cannot reliably tell one person from another. This has raised the question about what other supposedly scientific forensic techniques are bullshit and therefore what individuals in prison are actually criminals:

The White House will release a report Tuesday that will fundamentally change the way many criminal trials are conducted. The new study from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) examines the scientific validity of forensic-evidence techniques—DNA, fingerprint, bitemark, firearm, footwear and hair analysis. It concludes that virtually all of these methods are flawed, some irredeemably so.

Americans have long had an abiding faith in science, including forensic science. Popular TV shows like “CSI” and “Forensic Files” stoke this confidence. Yet the PCAST report will likely upend many people’s beliefs, as it should. Why trust a justice system that imprisons and even executes people based on junk science?

Only the most basic form of DNA analysis is scientifically reliable, the study indicates. Some forensic methods have significant error rates and others are rank guesswork. “The prospects of developing bitemark analysis into a scientifically valid method” are low, according to the report. In plain terms: Bitemark analysis is about as reliable as astrology. Yet many unfortunates languish in prison based on such bad science.

Mr. Tough On Crime is a blithering idiot. Condemning anybody who has ended up in one of the State’s slave labor facilities is asinine because many crimes don’t even involve a victim (and therefore aren’t actually crimes) and even when there is a victim the guilt of the accused perpetrator is often not proven beyond a reasonable because so much forensic “science” is voodoo.

I blame a great deal of this on the State’s monopoly on the legal system. Since the State has declared a monopoly on the legal system it is the prosecuting party in almost all criminal cases. The State is necessarily biased against anybody charged with a crime because its job is to prosecute them, not discover the truth about the crime. Many forensic labs work for the prosecutor and are therefore also biased against the defendant because they want to make their paying client happy so they’ll purchase their services again. The judge, at best, is a neutral party but realistically, as en employee of the State, is likely going to be biased against the defendant as well, which is a major problem because they instruct the jury. Members of the jury are often clueless about forensic techniques so they often lap up what the forensic labs, which are usually on the side of the prosecutor, feed them. Jurors are also usually ignorant about their rights as jurors, which is exacerbated by the judge lying to them. Often the only person in a court room that isn’t gunning for the defendant is their lawyer.

With odds like that, it’s difficult to have much faith in a guilty verdict, especially when a great deal of the forensic “evidence” submitted against the defendant isn’t any more reliable than guesswork.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 30th, 2016 at 11:00 am

Reminder: Private Quantitative Easing is Illegal

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A man in Idaho was recently sentences to a year in jail and three months of home imprisonment. His crime? Following the Federal Reserve’s plan to stimulate the economy through quantitative easing:

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho — A northern Idaho man who created counterfeit $50 bills using a computer printer has been sentenced to a year in jail and three months home confinement.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says 51-year-old Daniel Keith Snyder of Hope also on Monday in federal court was ordered to pay $1,150 in restitution and have three years of supervised release.

Quantitative easing, more common referred to as counterfeiting, is, like kidnapping and assault, perfectly legal if performed by the State but illegal if performed by a private individual. So remember, just because the State does it doesn’t mean you, a lowly peasant, can do it.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 30th, 2016 at 10:00 am