Saturday, October 22, 2016

A Week and a Half

That's how long it is until election day. I already voted for Johnson. I fully expect several of my family members to give me grief about that choice, but when it comes down to it, even if my vote is the tiebreaker that gives Hillary the nomination, I'll  have no regrets.

Donald Trump is, at best, a populist with no real values of his own, changing to match the winds of popular opinion. At worst, he's a democrat in republican's clothing, seeking to undermine the opposition from within. Either way, he's a shitty choice for president, made semi-palatable only by the fact that the other major option is Hillary Clinton, and the possibility that he's actually changed his colors.

Honestly, If you don't want tyranny, don't vote for either of them. Hillary definitely WILL increase the oppressive scope and power of the federal government. Trump is a gamble, a bet that he's actually become semi-conservative and won't be Hillary with better taste in clothing, or a populist president who introduces us to "Tyranny of the Majority".

While I disagree heavily with some of Johnson's views, he's not a tinpot dictator waiting to happen, nor is he a populist demagogue who'll fuck us over with the "tyranny of the majority". He has a record and established values. They're not perfect, nor are they even optimal, but he's not someone I'm worried about. The other two? I don't gamble, nor am I willing to just give over my freedom.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Incompetent or Dishonest- Pick One

Well, this is an infuriating gem.

Money Quote:
In one note from the documents, the FBI writes that Clinton said she did not know what the marking (C) — used to denote classified information deemed "confidential" — meant. When presented with an email chain using the (C) mark, Clinton "speculated it was referencing paragraphs marked in alphabetical order," according to the report.
Everyone who handles classified information - that would be most of the military and a fair percentage of the Federal workforce - receives training on how to recognize classified material. The lowliest Seaman/Private/Airman is expected to know how this as part of their job. For Clinton, a woman who is a former First Lady, a former US Senator, and who was, at the time the Secretary of State, this is either inexcusable incompetence or blatantly dishonest. Dealing with classified information correctly is one of the BASIC job requirements of being SECSTATE, and something that she should have known how to do from her time as a Senator, and have gotten exposure to during her time as First Lady. This is roughly equivalent to your electrician not knowing that what DC and AC stand for.
Either she's too incompetent to be a good president, or too dishonest. Pick one, because there is no third option for her.

Friday, June 24, 2016

What do I have against the European Union?

Why do I think that Brexit is such a good thing? Here's why.
  1. The EU has a horrible policy concerning the Syrian refugee crisis, and they've shown no compunctions about trying to force that policy down the throats of their member nations.
  2. Many member nations of the EU have a tendency to rely upon the rest of the EU and their NATO allies for military protection. With the resurgent Russia, the rise of China as a world power, the continued activity of major Islamic terror groups, and the proof that the major republican and democratic world powers can't be depended upon past the next election, it is crucial that individual nations be tough enough to deter attack, or failing that, give any invader a bloody enough nose to retain most, if not all, of their territory and sovereignty. 
  3. The EU's laws, rules, and regulations don't come from it's elected parliament, but rather the European Commission, appointed officials who swear an oath to the European Court of Justice. And there are a metric shit ton of regulations
Those are just a few of the reasons why I'm not a big fan of the EU. There are more of course, but if I went in depth, I'd be here all day, and I've got better things to do.

Fuck Tranzis - My take on "Brexit"

Great Britain just voted to leave the EU. Good for them. They've stood up for their national sovereignty, and given the Tranzis in Europe a bloody nose. The EU may continue for a while, but with the precedent set by this, and the shenanigans that the EU and some of it's member nations engage in, it is unlikely to continue for much longer. Just as the League of Nations could not survive long without the US, so to is it unlikely that the EU will be able to continue for long without Great Britain.
Britain was the second largest economy in the EU (both nominal and PPP) and has a significantly larger defense budget than France or Germany, the now second and first largest economies in the EU. In fact, Britain is one of only four countries in NATO that come close to matching their defense spending pledges - the others being the US, Poland, and Estonia.
The loss of such a large economy and military has profound implications for the EU. British funds will no longer pay for EU boondoggles. British troops and nuclear deterrent are now allied assets, only willing to help if someone else starts the war.
Great Britain has freed themselves of a parasite.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Moderates

For all those talking about how horrible the NRA is, I want you to consider something:
The NRA are the squishy moderates of the Pro-Gun crowd.
The NRA has a past record of being willing to "compromise" or, if you go back far enough, straight up sponsor gun control (See the 1934 National Firearms Act). The NRA, in fact, has a very strong contingent of "Fudds"*, and WILL accept some gun control - although we're pretty close to the limits they'll tolerate, and it's quite rare for the politicians to propose the sort of gun control that the NRA would be willing to support.

Of the other major pro-gun groups, almost all of them are significantly more hard-line than the NRA - for example, Gun Owners of America (GOA) which emphasizes their "No Compromise" stance on gun control. Don't make the mistake of thinking that all those gun owners who aren't in the NRA are going to side with you. Oh, some of them will - there are plenty of Fudds who don't even care enough to be in the NRA - but many, perhaps even most of those gun owners view the NRA as being anything from "good, but not enough" to "barely better than quislings".

So the next time you complain about the NRA blocking a piece of gun control, you might want to consider something: Why are the Squishiest, most moderate of the gun owners  opposing this? If the moderates on the "pro-gun" side are so worked up about "common-sense gun legislation", how do more extreme groups feel? Are they actually serious about "from my cold dead hands"?

*Fudd, a hunter/recreational shooter of a single gun, who supports or fails to oppose most gun control for a variety of reasons including:
  1. They don't think that their gun will ever be banned
  2. They believe ownership of firearms should be limited to hunting weapons 
  3. They just don't care 
  4. Rank hypocrisy.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Gun Control and Orlando

I'm a bit late to this - as part of my job, I'm often without internet for days to weeks - but since the "debate" is still going on, I'm going to put my two cents in.

  1. If you say anything about a magazine limit, you're either stupid or ignorant. The man killed 49 people and wounded 53 more. Even if he only used one round per person, that means that he had to reload multiple times, during which times he was not shooting. Magazine limits just mean that he has to reload more often. Given that even inexperienced shooters can change a magazine in seconds, this doesn't really give a tactical advantage to anyone, except the shooter, because it reduces the ability of concealed carriers to carry ammunition covertly.
  2. The same thing goes for banning removable magazines. Before removable magazines became popular, stripper clips enabled easy reloading. There are disadvantages to stripper clips (which is why removable magazines replaced them), but don't think for a second that someone couldn't take an SKS (with a 10 round fixed magazine), and a bunch of stripper clips and produce similar levels of carnage.
  3. Assault Weapons Ban.  I've already covered, in detail, why an AWB is stupid and counterproductive. We're not going to get another one.
  4. If these assholes were smart (which, fortunately for us, they aren't) they'd stop trying to shoot places up, and instead use fertilizer bombs. The Oklahoma City Bombing had more than 3 times as many dead, and more than 12 times as many wounded. Shootings can (and have) been stopped by ordinary citizens with guns. A bombing doesn't take that chance.
  5. Stop using the word "Compromise". Compromise implies a give and take. Anti-Gun "compromises" so far have offered nothing in return to gun owners. If you offer me universal background checks, I'll tell you to go fuck yourself. If you offer me universal background checks, in return for which, you'll repeal the Firearm Owners Protection Act and the Gun Control Act of 1986, I might consider it.
  6. Stop acting like you can actually control guns. Outside of the US, criminal arsenals (i.e. gun factories) and individuals make guns, ranging from "You couldn't get me to shoot that for a million bucks" to "professional quality sub-machine guns". Inside of the US, hobbyists (and criminals) make guns with the same range of quality - although the hobbyists tend to avoid making sub-machine guns, if only to avoid a felony conviction.
If you're willing to agree on those points, we might have a constructive conversation and figure out something that actually has a chance of working - since it probably won't involve trying to keep track of well over 300 million guns. Otherwise, we'll get stuck in the loop, where people like me explain why gun control won't work, and anti-gunners try to sell us their load of bull.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Memorial Day

Words fail me. Today is the day when we honor the fallen, those who gave their lives that others might live - and live free.

Don't Start A War if You Can't Take a Joke

Nuclear weapons do not require a "Moral Revolution". The Tokyo firebombing killed more people than Fat Man or Little Boy. It doesn't matter whether it takes 1 plane or 100 to kill a city - the morality lies not in the how, but in the what and why.
It would have, in fact, been immoral to NOT nuke Imperial Japan. All the other options were far worse:
  1. Allied land invasion, with Soviet support. Millions of Allied soldiers and Japanese soldiers and civilians die, with many more injured. The Soviets (who were pretty evil themselves) probably would have tried to use the opportunity to grab as much land as possible.
  2. Allied land invasion, without Soviet support. Same results as above, only instead of taking chunks of Japan, the Soviets would have tried doing it in Manchuria, Mongolia, and Korea, and with a much lighter death toll for the Soviets.
  3. Starve them out. Blockade all Japanese ports, bomb food stockpiles and production. Would have resulted in millions of Japanese dead, serious national health issues. and an utterly devastated nation.
Not to mention that if anyone ever deserved to get nuked it was Imperial Japan. The Rape of Nanking, Unit 731, the Bataan Death March, the list goes on and on. We bombed some of the worst mass murderers in history, to save MILLIONS of lives. Moral Revolution my ass.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

WTF Marvel?

I mean, really, what the FUCK ARE YOU HIGH ON! My comments are in Italics.
In a shocking twist, Steve Rogers always has been and will continue to be a member of the evil group
Sure, he wears red white and blue on the outside, but on the inside? It turns out Steve Rogers, a.k.a. Captain America, supports the evil, former Nazi organization, Hydra.
Marvel comics introduced the shocking twist Wednesday morning when Captain America: Steve Rogers #1 went on sale — and it turns out there have been hints that this was coming for a long time. TIME spoke with Marvel executive editor Tom Brevoort about the decision, the clues and why Hydra’s rhetoric sounds an awful lot like that of a certain presidential candidate.
This is seriously a stupid idea. What the heck made you think that this was a good idea? Drunken sailors have better decision making skills than you do.
TIME: How did Marvel decide to make Steve Rogers a secret Hydra operative?
Tom Brevoort: Nick Spencer, who is the writer of the series, pitched us the story as part and parcel of restoring Steve to his youth and vigor. In the comics, he’s been old for awhile. The super soldier serum that was keeping him young had been broken down, so for the 75th anniversary, Nick had this notion that we were going to restore him. But then we went into this other story about Hydra, and this is only the tip of the iceberg.
Wait, that's your reason? You think that this is going to restore Captain America? You obviously don't live in the same world that I do, because this sounds more like destroying Captain America than anything else.
If readers go back and look at older comics, will this hold up?
It will. Issue 2 kind of winds the clock back a little bit and lays out exactly how and why things are the way they are. And it lays out a roadmap for where things are headed in the future. At this point, I don’t want to say too much definitively because I want people to read the comic books. But people will be able to connect the dots and follow the trail of breadcrumbs.
You've apparently been reading comics from another universe. Captain America is Hydra's GREATEST enemy. He has, over the course of his career as Captain America, singlehandedly prevented Hydra from achieving world domination multiple times, under several different leaders. That's some real dedication as a double agent there - keeping cover, even when it would be better for your side if you dropped it. Stop trying to justify yourselves, because there's no way that this will "Hold up", and if you actually believe that it will you're either stupid, on drugs, or delusional.
How long has this been in the works?
Almost since the beginning of when Nick started writing the Captain America titles, which would have been the end of 2014. So right around there the conversations first started about this. It’s been in the works for more than a year.
So that's how long it takes to come up with a plan to destroy a classic character.
What does this mean for the Marvel Universe?
It means on the most fundamental level that the most trusted hero in the Marvel universe is now secretly a deep-cover Hydra operative, a fact that’s really only known to the readers and to him. That makes every interaction he has with anyone take on a second layer, a second meaning.
I'd say it means that the Marvel Universe has officially jumped the shark. It also means that I'm very glad that Marvel Studios and Marvel Comics aren't the same thing anymore, because the Captain deserves better than this.
In the comic the Red Skull of Hydra talks about “criminal trespassers” who “make a mockery” of America’s borders and calls the refugees in Germany an “invading army” bringing “fanatical beliefs and crime” to Europe. Obviously, this hate speech is nothing new for the organization, but it sounds like rhetoric we’ve been hearing this election. Is that purposeful?
We try to write comics in 2016 that are about the world and the zeitgeist of 2016, particularly in Captain America. Nick Spencer, the writer, is very politically active. He’s a Capitol Hill head and following this election very closely. So we can talk about political issues in a metaphoric way. That’s what gives our stories weight and meat to them. Any parallels you have seen to situations real or imagined, living or dead, is probably intentional but metaphorically not literally.
While I'll grant that Donald Trump is an authoritarian asshat, anyone who considers the bullshit that he spouts "hate speech" needs to grow a pair. He's not Hitler 2.0 (despite his populism, nationalist rhetoric, and past support for gun control). He's not the next Mao, Pol Pot, Stalin, or Mussolini either. He IS rude, intentionally offensive, crude, authoritarian, eminent domain abusing, and overall something of a fraud. But he's not Hitler, and his rhetoric isn't hate speech. If you really want hate speech, I suggest you read what Al Jazeera has to say about Jews.
What are we supposed to think about the fact that someone literally named Captain America now supports these beliefs?
Again, I don’t want to say anything too definitively because we’re laying out the story. But we want to push that button. There should be a feeling of horror or unsettledness at the idea that somebody like this can secretly be part of this organization. There are perfectly normal people in the world who you would interact with on a professional level or personal level, and they seem like the salt of the earth but then it turns out they have some horrible secret — whether it’s that they don’t like a certain group of people or have bodies buried in their basement.
You should feel uneasy about the fact that everything you know and love about Steve Rogers can be upended.
We'll you've succeeded there. I'm horrified and uneasy that anyone would be willing to butcher a classic, much loved, well defined character like that.
To ask the blunt question, is this a gimmick?
Every single month whether it’s a run of the mill month for Captain America or an extraordinary month, our job is to put him in situations that place that character under some degree of pressure and see how he reacts to that. And hopefully our readers are surprised, shocked, elated, see something of themselves, learn something about themselves. To say it’s a gimmick implies that it’s done heedlessly just to shock. The proof is always going to be in the execution. So you’ll have to read the rest of the story to see.
But I certainly believe it’s not a gimmick. It’s a story that we spent a long time on, that’s compelling and captures the zeitgeist of the world. It will make readers wonder how the heck we’ll get out of this.
Yes. It's a fucking gimmick. 
Everyone involved in this, from the writer on up, needs to commit seppuku. Or at least check themselves into a mental institution so that the rest of us don't have to deal with their stupidity.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

California's obsession with Gun Control

There's no doubt about it. California is unhealthily obsessed with gun control.
11 new gun control bills have passed the state Senate. Should all or most of them get passed, it will effectively be impossible to be a gun owner in California.
My comments are in Bold, original article in Italics.
Here's a quick overview of proposed gun control measures approved Thursday by the state Senate.
  • Ammunition regulation: SB 1235 by Senate leader Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) requires background checks to buy ammunition. It also creates a license to sell ammunition, and creates a new system for collecting information about those sales.
Are they going to track reloading supplies? Gunpowder ingredients? Fulminate of Mercury and Potassium Chlorate? It's not like ammunition is particularly hard to produce. We are talking about a technology that dates from the mid 1800s, when black powder was in vogue. I'd like to know if California politicians are going to pass a bill banning charcoal and bat shit just to prevent people from making their own gunpowder. Not to mention the criminals will still be able to get ammunition on the black market.
  • Ban on large ammunition magazines: SB 1446 by Sen. Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley) bans the ownership of any ammunition clip that holds more than 10 rounds
First off, a clip is not a magazine. Second, most magazines are literally a box with a spring and a piece of plastic inside. Thirdly, what the hell makes you think that criminals will comply with this?
  • Bullet buttons: SB 880 by Sen. Isadore Hall (D-Compton) expands the legal definition of an "assualt weapon" to include a group of rifles with ammunition clips that can be quickly swapped out by using a bullet to push a small release button.
It's nice to know that you're working hard to ban almost all semi-auto rifles in your state. I expect compliance to be low.
  • SB 894 by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) requires reporting most lost or stolen guns within five days.
 Do you want people to not report stolen guns? Because this is how you get people to do that.
  • "Ghost guns": SB 1407 by De León requires a person to get a serial number from state officials before making or assembling a gun.
I, personally, would like to know just how they intend to enforce this one without violating the fourth amendment. And even then, I don't think they can do it.
  • Gun violence research: SB 1006 by Sen. Lois Wolk (D-Davis) creates a new University of California center for researching gun-related violence.
You make it sound like they'd do something besides waste the money.

All in all, it's a crock of shit. All that will happen is making legitimate firearms ownership incredibly inconvenient.