Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Ex-ATF Agent Doesn't Know Firearms

Color me surprised.
What’s missing from Heller is a comparison of guns at the time the Second Amendment was written and now. Had the Framers time-traveled to a contemporary gun store, they probably would have been astonished at just how lethal firearms would become. They might have even graced the Second Amendment with an additional clause that placed limits on the madness.
But they didn’t. Neither did the Heller justices, who completely ignored the stark contrast between then and now. One wishes that a law clerk looked up Section 921(a)(16) of the Gun Control Act of 1968, which exempts weapons with antique ignition systems or that do not use fixed ammunition – in other words, the guns of the Framer’s era – from the definition of “firearm.”
For someone who was supposed to enforce firearms law he doesn't seem to know firearms or their history all that well. After all, the Cookson repeater (a flint-lock lever action), the Belton Flintlock, and Girondoni Air rifle were all in existence at the time.
Also - using the Gun Control Act of 1968 to justify his interpretation of the constitution is pretty stupid, given that the GCA isn't a part of the Constitution and post dates it by over 150 years.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Inanities of Anti-Gunners

I came across an anti-gun blog post the other day. It was really quite inane. Consider this quote:
"Gun ownership isn’t some inalienable right granted by God. Remember, the Constitution was written by men coming out of a long and bloody war near the end of the 18th century. It was written for their time.
It also included the “right” to own a human being."
And she's not the only one who feels this way - some of the comments are just as ignorant and foolish:
"Indeed! And it’s already an amendment. So….it can be amended"
I of course, responded:
It did not actually include the right to own a human being. It did prevent any slave import bans before 1808 (And a ban on importation did take effect then For the purposes of representation, it did count “three fifths of all other persons” (Having previously mentioned “free Persons” and “Indians not taxed”).
There is no mention of a “right” to own slaves, and the only part of the Constitution that might be construed to grant that right is the 9th Amendment,
“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
And it doesn’t say anything about owning slaves. In fact, the 9th amendment works better as an argument against slavery (even without the 13th amendment) that it does as an argument for slavery.
A word to the wise among anti-gunners: Don't try to use the Constitution to justify your argument unless you've actually read the Constitution and can pull a direct quote to try justifying your argument. Otherwise you just look stupid.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Rolling Stone - or is that Rolling Dumbass?

Apparently, if the NRA hadn't opposed a renewal of the 1994 Assault Weapon's ban and "cowed" Congress into following suit this tragedy would have never happened. Of course, since this is coming from one of the great bastions of journalistic integrity and accountability, and definitely not a bunch of pinko commie terrorist sympathizers, we can just take their word on it and disown the NRA now... Or maybe not. The Rolling Stone is in italics, my responses are in bold.

There is much we don't know about the San Bernardino massacre.

An actual true statement. Wow.

But we have learned something about the arsenal deployed to kill at least 14 and injure more than 20 others.

Arsenal? You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means. Were the terrorists walking around carrying enough weapons to arm a platoon?

The San Bernardino authorities have revealed that the alleged assailants — Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27 — were killed in a police shootout in possession of two .223-caliber assault rifles, and nearly 1,400 rounds of ammunition. They also carried semiautomatic handguns.

Oh, two .223 caliber assault rifles, semi-auto pistols, and 1,400 rounds of ammo. That's not an arsenal. That's barely enough weapons to properly arm them, and not even enough ammo to last a month of practice. For reference, I go through at least 150 rounds a practice session - with a bolt action service rifle older than my grandfather, on a bad day. I know people who go through that much on Tuesday. I personally own twice as many firearms as were used in the attack (and I've only been collecting for a few years), including one that becomes an "Assault weapon" the instant I remove the mag-lock (in CA), and multiple "semi-auto handguns"... 

Seriously? The first successful semi-auto handgun is from 1893, and the 1911 has been used, with very little variation for over a century, and remains competitive with newer pistol designs. It's a little late to get excited about semi-auto pistols.
Also, if the weapons actually were assault rifles, those have been heavily regulated sin 1934, and de facto banned since 1986, since assault rifle is a very specific term that refers to select fire (i.e. full auto/burst capable) intermediate caliber rifles. What you probably meant was "assault weapon" which, in general seems to mean "It's black, and scary, and makes us go poo poo in our panties", and is generally defined by cosmetics and ergonomics, rather than actual capabilities. Let's examine three rifles, all currently for sale at Atlantic Firearms (I am not affiliated with Atlantic, but I have bought from them in the past)

This is a fairly standard civilian legal AK. Lots of features listed on both the 94 AWB and the current CA one. Pistol grip, detachable 30 round magazine, bayonet lug, etc. What it isn't though, is select-fire. It's semi-auto only, and (legal) full auto capability can't be bought for less than $10,000, and that's a steal, even if you get something that isn't safe to shoot. It is only legal in California (which has it's own Assault Weapons Ban) if you neuter it and install a magazine lock.

This is another AK variant, a Vepr hunting rifle. While it too takes detachable magazines, it lacks a pistol grip, bayonet lug, and pretty much any other feature that would have prevented if from being sold in the years that the AWB was active. It does have a thumb-hole stock, which means that under California's Assault Weapon Ban (Which is stricter than the Federal one was) it's still illegal in CA without a mag-lock. It functions identically to the AK with the pistol grip and bayonet lug, and may actually be deadlier, since it's chambered in a larger and more powerful cartridge (Intermediate calibers are generally not considered capable of reliably and humanely taking game).

This final AK is a Saiga rifle. It's chambered in the same caliber as the one with the pistol grip above, functions identically, and yet, is completely legal in California, and completely unregulated by the original AWB. Three weapons with the same functionality, but different cosmetics and ergonomics, and thus, three different legal situations. The AWB could not have stopped this shooting, because it was entirely ergonomic and cosmetic based, rather than functionality based. And even if was functionality based, making a rifle is easier than making meth, and our porous southern border, combined with in country stolen weapons, makes for a well stocked black market.

The assault weapons were purchased legally. But these tactical arms are only legal in the United States because of the efforts of the NRA — which cowed congress into watching the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban expire under president George W. Bush.

The NRA, their own memories of just what happened in the 94 elections, and the fact that the ban was, at best a null effect.

Military-bred weapons have since become commonplace.
Dumbasses. "Military-bred weapons" have been commonplace since before the American Revolution, when you could see militiamen armed with smooth-bore military muskets, field artillery, and (during the Revolution) even armed warships. This has been a theme throughout American history, as surplus military arms have made their way out to the American people. Almost every bolt action hunting rifle uses a Mauser action - originally developed for the German military. Many semi-auto hunting rifles are based off of the M1 Garand, the AR-10 or the AK. 1911s, an iconic military handgun, have been one of America's most popular handguns for over a century. 

DPMS Panther Arms, which, according to police, manufactured one of the assault weapons found in the assailants' rented SUV, has closed its store temporarily. It had been offering $200 cash back as part of a "Black Friday Bonus Savings" promotion.
Your point is what exactly? Offering discounts on firearms is super evil?

DPMS's parent company is the Freedom Group, which also owns Bushmaster, the brand of assault weapon wielded by Adam Lanza in the Newtown massacre. At the bottom of its online store, DPMS links to the websites of the NRA, the NRA-ILA (the group's lobbying arm) and the Friends of NRA.
The Smith & Wesson rifle police say they recovered in San Berardino is from the company's popular M&P line; M&P is short for "military and police." In 2012, Smith & Wesson was inaugurated into the NRA's Golden Ring of Freedom — "reserved for those who have given gifts of cash or assets to the NRA totaling one million dollars or more."

 Oh my! A firearms based company donates to a firearms based Non-profit! That's almost as shocking as Red Hat or OpenSUSE donating to the Linux foundation!

There is increasing speculation that the San Bernardino assailants could have been linked to international terrorists. But under U.S. gun laws, even ties to jihadists — sufficient to land an American on the FBI's terror watch list — do not prevent the purchase of guns, including military- and police- style assault rifles.
The Government Accountability Office has reported that "membership in a terrorist organization does not prohibit a person from possessing firearms or explosives under current federal law." 
From 2004 to 2014, according to the GAO, more than 2,000 suspects on the FBI's terrorism watch list successfully purchased guns — at a success rate of greater than 90 percent. The NRA has lobbied against legislation that would close this loophole by calling it "sponsored by gun control extremists."
Are we talking about the list which is almost halfway populated by people with no connection to terrorism, and which requires no conviction, has low (or no) minimum standards of evidence, and which the two apparently weren't on, since they had no trouble flying out of, and back into, our country? That terror watch list? Yeah, why don't you go screw yourselves. Forbidding felons and certain misdemeanor offenders from owning weapons is futile, stupid, and arguably unconstitutional enough, but people who haven't even been convicted of anything yet? As Captain America said, "I thought the punishment usually came after the crime." 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Crazy is as Crazy Does, Colorado Edition

This isn't the first mass shooting where the media has pointed a spotlight on the crazy's personal beliefs as if those beliefs are the reason why he went and shot as many people as he could.

Let's be honest. The issue here isn't abortion, just as the issue with the Charleston mass shooting wasn't racism and segregation. Their political beliefs are nothing more than an excuse, something to satisfy us when we ask "Why would anyone do this?" In reality the answer is much simpler, and remarkably consistent across mass killers of the lone gunman persuasion. They want media attention. They want 15 minutes of fame and their name to become, for a short period at least, a household name. These monsters have found that, by killing a few people, they can become the most powerful person in the world. The President of the United States will talk about them and at the very least pretend to do something. While the Federal Government might not do anything, you've got a fairly iron-clad guarantee that the individual states will do something. Any controversial political ideas held by the killer can change the ways that multi-national mega corporations do business.

In short, it's a chance for a disaffected, mentally unstable loner to change the way that America, and possibly the world, does business. Individual congressmen have less effect upon the course of events than a single successful mass shooter. Every time a successful mass killing happens, the other monsters take notes. They see that gun free zones are easy targets. They see that they're practically guaranteed to to get an anti-gun reaction that often leads to a lasting legacy built upon legislation. They see that a manifesto with controversial opinions can lead to a backlash against those opinions. They become a household name, more famous than some A-list celebrities. In short, we give them everything they want.

It's time we stopped enabling the pathetic scum who engage in mass killings. Rather than spread their name far and wide for the world to know, make them an unperson and never refer to them by name. Rather than dropping everything to deal with it, the POTUS should treat it just like he treats the daily murder rates for high crime cities like Detroit and Chicago (i.e. ignore it). Rather than making sweeping policy changes after a mass shooting we should leave things as they are. If we must do something, loosen restrictions on gun control so that the next time, there's a higher probability that they'll get stopped by someone with a gun. Stop doing what the crazies want and start treating them like any other murderer. No recognition. No fame. No power. You can't stop these attacks from happening, but you can minimize them by refusing to give them their prize.

Freedom over Security

With the expiration of NSA phone monitoring, we've taken an (unfortunately small) step towards placing freedom over security.
It's only one small, incremental step in rolling back abuse of the 4th amendment. It's best to remember that, no matter the issue, when security trumps freedom, neither is going to last long.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The 11th Hour, of the 11th Day, of the 11th Month...

Happy Armistice Day. Happy Veteran's Day.

Let us not forget those lost their lives and still sail the eternal patrol, nor those that came home broken in mind or body, nor those who came home hearty and hale. They all sacrificed something.

"Any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile... can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction, I served in the United States Navy.”
-- President J. F. Kennedy, August 1, 1963 to the US Naval Academy graduating class.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

"Putting Weapons Back On the Street"

From CNN:
New laws force police to put guns back on the street
Well that's one heck of a charged headline. The implications of blood in the streets and dead police officers are par for the course as far as the anti-gun agenda goes. There are a few other real gems in the article, such as:
"My job is to keep my officers safe," said Fred Fletcher, the police chief of Chattanooga, where there have been more than 100 shootings this year. "To send them out to face the same guns they risked their lives to get off the street is a big concern."
While some law enforcement officials support the sale of confiscated guns, a number of police chiefs like Fletcher are speaking out against the practice -- arguing that the risk of selling a gun back to a criminal far outweighs the amount of money they could make.
 Do they not run background checks? You know, the same background checks that every FFL has to run when they sell someone a weapon?
... For those police departments that sell the guns, some only sell to federally-licensed gun dealers, which include everything from online gun emporiums to brick-and-mortar firearm stores. Other law enforcement agencies sell the guns directly to the public through auctions, often at a steep discount compared to what the gun would cost new from a gun store. Safeguards, such as background checks, are required. But that's not always enough.
 Oh, so they do use background checks. Just like FFLs. I'm still waiting to see how this is different from the business that a gun store does - in which used guns are sold for a significantly lower price than new.

... This kind of transaction, known as a straw purchase, is illegal. Garant, who pleaded guilty to making the straw purchases, was sentenced to a year in prison. Meanwhile, the Duluth Police Department told CNNMoney that it has suspended the sale of firearms "until our department develops sound strategies in keeping firearms from individuals who are ineligible to lawfully possess them."
"A gun that should have been destroyed instead was sold back to the public," said Hennepin County Sheriff Richard Stanek, who oversaw the investigation of the shooting. "This is the worst nightmare that could have happened."
You know, a straw purchaser would have been able to do the exact same thing to an FFL. They are literally complaining something that their policies concerning selling guns off or destroying them will have no effect on.

...As a result, a number of Arizona law enforcement agencies have started selling seized guns. And major departments like Phoenix have discontinued buyback programs altogether -- which had previously resulted in the destruction of thousands of guns.
 Buyback programs are about as useful as tits on a boar hog anyway. There are three types of people who sell guns to buyback programs: People who don't want guns anyway, but ended up with one for one reason or another, Criminals trying to get rid of evidence/broken guns, and Gun Owners scamming the system by selling low quality improvised guns/broken guns to make a profit. Most of the guns destroyed by buybacks are pieces of shit that nobody cares about.

..."What's really concerning is the political power of some of these groups that at end of the day are more focused on getting guns on the streets than getting them in the right hands," said Austin, Texas Police Chief Art Acevedo.
 The right hands? It's impossible to keep criminals from getting guns. They steal them from legitimate gun owners. They conduct straw purchases. They make their own. They buy them on the black market. No department's policy on sale or destruction of seized firearms is going to have an effect upon crime. Spare me the stupidity.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

No, You don't Need a Factory To make Firearms

I've said it before and I'll say it again: The original AR-15 design is 58 years old (it's precursor design, the AR-10 is 60), the original AK design is 68 years old. The 1911, one of the definitive semi-auto pistol designs, dates from, you guessed it, 1911, with precursor designs and prototypes from the late 1890s. Machine guns predate the 20th century, and rapid fire crank weapons predate the American Civil War. Sniper rifles with effective ranges in excess of 800 yards were used to great effect in the aforementioned American Civil War, and current top-line sniper rifles are generally bolt action, which predates smokeless powder and metallic cartridges. Since all of these inventions, manufacturing technology has done nothing but improve. Basic machine tools, available to everyone, can be used to produce professional quality firearms. New developments, such as desktop CNC mills and 3-d printers simply reduce the amount of space and skill required.

So it should come as now surprise when criminals circumvent the law with homemade firearms.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Happy Birthday to the US Navy!

On this day in 1775, the Continental Navy, precursor to the modern US Navy, was established. Let's celebrate 240 years of defending America!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Lion Fools

The whole deal with Cecil the Lion is just plain ridiculous. The amount of vitriol aimed at a dentist for killing a lion was just astounding. Serial killers don't get that sort of response. The extradition requests from Zimbabwe, one of the most corrupt nations on Earth, the protesters outside of his office, all because he shot a lion. Well, the extradition request is gone now, because the dentist's papers were all in order.

For anyone still freaking out over the whole thing, he shot a lion. Not a human, a lion. Your response might be justified if he'd shot, say, Mother Teresa or Mahatma Gandhi. It is not justified for a lion.

Columbus Day

I have only one problem with Columbus. He didn't do anything that hadn't been done before.

Discovering the Americas? The Vikings beat him to it by over 400 years. And they even colonized Newfoundland.

Proved that the Earth Was Round? Already been done. At the time, it was widely accepted that the Earth was round. In fact, Eratosthenes, a Greek mathematician of the 3rd and 4th centuries BC calculated the Earth's circumference about as accurately as possible (given the measurements and tools available to him), as compared to Columbus' calculations of circumference which were so off, that he only survived due to the blind luck of there being another continent in between him and Asia.

Conquered, oppressed, and wiped out the natives? Not only was this not exactly new to Columbus' culture, but this definitely wasn't new to the Americas. Conquest and oppression are, unfortunately, endemic to humanity, and occasionally one group or another gets wiped out in the process.

In other words, Columbus didn't do anything deserving of great accolades, nor did he do anything deserving of condemnation, given that you'd have to condemn almost every tribe and nation that has ever existed.

On this day in the Year 2000

The USS Cole was attacked, blowing a 40x60 foot hole in the hull. The ship was saved only because of the heroic damage control efforts on the part of the crew. It should be noted that this attack, paid for and directed by Al-Qaeda, preceded 9/11 by eleven months. Let us not forget the brave men and women who, in the finest of Naval tradition, kept the ship afloat despite having a hole in the side of the ship large enough to fit a school bus in - sideways.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

"Combat Vets" and "Gunslinger Fantasies"

Some people think that those of us who are in favor of defensive firearms usage want to be a real life John McClane, and bring in combat vets and LEOs to support their argument. To to start with, there are plenty of combat vets and LEOs out there who disagree with them (also, I'd like to hear a recording of their interviews with the combat vets).
Of course, the police don't really have a leg to stand on in this argument:
According to a 2008 RAND Corporation study evaluating the New York Police Department’s firearm training, between 1998 and 2006, the average hit rate during gunfights was just 18 percent. When suspects did not return fire, police officers hit their targets 30 percent of the time.
From Pennsylvania MPOETC:
The handgun course of fire for the police firearms course that all Waiver of training applicants must successfully complete with a minimum score of 75% and all police officers must successfully complete annually in order to satisfy mandatory in-service re-certification requirements will meet the following minimum standards:
A handgun course of fire must be considered a generally accepted police qualification course consisting of at least fifty (50) rounds of duty ammunition. A minimum of ten (10%) percent of the rounds must be fired at a distance of 25 yards or greater.
The course shall include stages to determine the applicant's or officer's overall proficiency; including, but not limited to marksmanship, safety, weapon operating procedures or tactical skills (i.e., use of cover, tactical reloading), with the weapon s/he will use in the performance of their duties. Requirements for distances of firing positions are: Stages no closer than one (1) yard and at least one stage of fire from the twenty-five (25) yard line or greater distance.
 Speaking from personal experience, it is entirely possible to meet the minimum requirements for qualification that are required for Pennsylvania LEOs the first time you pick up a gun. While standards are not completely uniform across the US, they tend to be similar. Some LEOs shoot once a year, and others only shoot to familiarize themselves with their weapons and for qualification.

They use SWAT members and infantrymen to make their point that "civilians" don't have the requisite training to successfully defend themselves (despite defensive gun use estimates ranging from 67,740 to 2 million and comparable justifiable homicide rates to cops) and ignore the fact that you can literally pick up a handgun for the first time and match LEO qualification requirements, and that non LEO civilians regularly stop mass shootings.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Communist Policies

In a previous post, I quoted a passage from the Communist Manifesto. Now, I'm going to be using that passage again. A lot of people would be surprised at how many Communist policies that our nation follows
The original words are bolded block quotes.

Karl Marx, one of the founders of Communist philosophy, wrote:
Of course, in the beginning, this cannot be effected except by means of despotic inroads on the rights of property, and on the conditions of bourgeois production; by means of measures, therefore, which appear economically insufficient and untenable, but which, in the course of the movement, outstrip themselves, necessitate further inroads upon the old social order, and are unavoidable as a means of entirely revolutionising the mode of production.
That is to say, in order to achieve Communism, you've got to engage in economically unfeasible policies. 
These measures will of course be different in different countries.

Nevertheless in the most advanced countries, the following will be pretty generally applicable.
This ones pretty self explanatory
1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
Communal/government ownership. We don't have this yet, but try telling that to someone who's suffered from eminent domain abuse. We're on the way there. When you take everyone's property away, it all goes to the government, which then manages it well and gives everyone a place to live. Just don't expect it to be livable.
2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
 16th amendment to the Constitution. We're already there. And some people want to make it worse. "Take from the rich give to the poor". The end goal here is equal pay for everyone. So that doctors who go to school for a minimum of 12 years and people with useful STEM education, get paid the same as useless Sociology drones and unskilled fast food workers. The end result is "as long as they pretend to pay us, we will pretend to work".
3. Abolition of all right of inheritance.
This is the end goal of the "inheritance" or "death" tax. We're lucky it keeps on getting neutered, otherwise people would start retiring before they got too rich.
4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
 If you don't like it we get your stuff. Not yet a problem, although, given how they're going after people who move their money offshore to avoid taxes, it might not be much longer for this one.
5. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.
If you control the money, you can control the people, at least to a degree. It's a lot harder to flee to a free country when people want real money to get you out and all you've got is useless fiat currency. Moreover, it gives some (illusory) control over the economy. Just look at China right now, and ourselves way back when the recession hit. People tried to use money to control the economy - and failed.
6. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.
Up until the fall of the Soviet Union we thought they were going strong. People thought that the Soviets were a permanent part of life. Then the Soviet Union fell, and we discovered that almost everything we knew about them was a lie. Because they controlled communication and transportation and could prevent the truth from getting out.
7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.

8. Equal liability of all to labour. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.

9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equable distribution of the population over the country.
These three really need to be dealt with together, because this is the basis of everything from Stalin's Five Year plans to Mao's Great Leap Forward, leading to shoddy products, ecological disaster, and millions of people starving to death. Fortunately, we're still no where close to these three. 
10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children's factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production.
 Public schools are the perfect place to indoctrinate children into the narrative, and as such, this is one of Marx's more important thoughts. Unfortunately for us, this is one of his more successful ideas, and one which is enforced here.

 We're not communists yet, but we can see the mass graves from here.

Progressive Taxation, Ben Carson, Donald Trump, and Karl Marx

So, Trump and Carson are in disagreement over whether or not a progressive income tax counts as Socialism.

Karl Marx, one of the founders of Communist philosophy, wrote:
Of course, in the beginning, this cannot be effected except by means of despotic inroads on the rights of property, and on the conditions of bourgeois production; by means of measures, therefore, which appear economically insufficient and untenable, but which, in the course of the movement, outstrip themselves, necessitate further inroads upon the old social order, and are unavoidable as a means of entirely revolutionising the mode of production.
These measures will of course be different in different countries.
Nevertheless in the most advanced countries, the following will be pretty generally applicable.
1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
3. Abolition of all right of inheritance.
4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
5. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.
6. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.
7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
8. Equal liability of all to labour. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equable distribution of the population over the country.
10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children's factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production.

These are the means by which Marx proposed to bring Communism to the poor deluded masses. Note number 2 - A heavy progressive or graduated income tax. 
If a progressive income tax is a requirement for Communism, then it's definitely tied closely to Socialism, which is, in effect, Communism Lite.

In other words, Carson was wrong, but only because he didn't go far enough.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

"Your Family Came from Someplace Else"

Mr. Obama made one of the most hopelessly inane statements that I've ever encountered, stating
 "If You're not Native American, your family came from someplace else." 
Obviously he did this in an attempt to trash "anti-immigrant" sentiment (I prefer "anti-illegal", since I'm very much for legal immigrants).

This is highly amusing, given that even the "Native Americans" aren't really native to this continent, unless you allow for people born here to be "native". If you're going to exclude people whose ancestors came from somewhere else, you'll find that there's really only one place in the world where anyone really counts as "native" - Africa, the birthplace of humanity.

"Native Americans", for the most part, came over the Bering land bridge to America from Asia. There were multiple groups of such migrants until the Bering land bridge became the Bering Strait - and even then, it wouldn't surprise me if a few people still got across by boat.

If you must include the "Native Americans" (more properly referred to as "American Aboriginals" using definition one) then you've got to include everyone else born here, unless you want to place an arbitrary date, past which no one counts as "native".
Mr. President, unless you are a native African (and since Africa's a pretty big place, sometimes not even then) your family came from somewhere else.

As for illegal immigration, it is a definite problem. Our porous border allows far more than just Jose who just wants a few bucks in. It allows the cartels, La Eme, and other criminal organizations in. It's only a matter of time before terrorists join the flow. And the illegal immigrants are problem enough. It costs significantly less to hire an illegal than to hire a citizen or legal visiting worker. Illegals don't give a shit about minimum wage - 4 bucks an hour is enough for them to live on and still be able to send enough money home for Grandma to live well, and without all the mandatory insurance, social security, taxes, etc. that add to the cost of an American citizen. Then you account for all the social services that they use - welfare, Medicare, food stamps, etc.- and you'll find that illegals are a significant burden upon society
The solution is easy, but not particularly nice. Require legal residency for any benefits (personally welfare should be completely defunded, but I'll settle for this). Deport illegals, lower the federal minimum wage, increase patrols on the southern border, bring the hammer down on large corporations that hire illegals, and make legal immigration somewhat easier.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Throw the F***ing book him

That's what they're doing to Bowe Bergdahl. And the little turdblossom deserves it.
They're bringing him up on desertion (Article 85 of the UCMJ) and misbehavior before the enemy (Article 99), both fairly serious charges, but the punishment is different. While both are technically punishable by death, Art. 85 is only punishable by death during time of war, whereas Art. 99 is always punishable by death.
Now, IANAL (Any experts on military law please feel free to correct me), but if Bergdahl had done like most other chuckleheads that desert, and done it in CONUS (CONtinental US) he wouldn't be facing the possibility of a death penalty because that only applies during a formal declaration of war (which hasn't happened since WWII). However, because he deserted in a combat zone, and other soldiers had to risk their lives searching for him, he can get charged with Art. 99, and as such, could get the death penalty. It's highly unlikely, and far more probable that he'll just get life - which, I might note, I'm just fine with, unless they find out that Bergdahl is an even bigger shitbucket than he already appears, in which case I'm all in favor of a short drop and a sudden stop.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Laser Beams, Drones, and the Laser's Place in Warfare

The military is planning on deploying lasers to counter drones.
As lasers grow smaller and more efficient, and as power sources become more powerful, I fully expect lasers to become a vital part of point defense and space warfare. However, in atmosphere, they will never supplant missiles and guns - although they might be able to render obsolete the really large missiles and guns.

The reason why they'll never supplant missiles and guns (especially not the smaller ones) is due to the inherent downsides of lasers. Fog, mist, rain, and snow all significantly degrade lasers, even extremely high powered ones. Lasers are limited to "line of sight" weapons, and as such, are useless to submarines, artillery, and other weapons systems that (hopefully) never see the enemy.
If lasers render missiles and guns obsolete, it will be in the same way that the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia (although not the first Ironclads, among the first to be used in anger) rendered naval smoothbore cannon obsolete. Not by being better at the job, but by preventing the job from being completed.

Drones and aircraft will be the first things to go. Drones, especially, are extremely vulnerable to lasers. They are slow moving, meaning that a lower powered laser will have an easier time staying on target long enough to destroy it. Yes, many (most) military drones have minimal radar returns, making it difficult to distinguish them from birds on radar. For this purpose, the MK1 Eyeball and other similar sensors may make a comeback. In fact, it may just be possible for someone to cobble together an anti-drone laser from publicly available parts. 2 Watt lasers already burn through plastics with ease, and given that drones are usually made from plastics and composites due to radar cross section and cost, it really doesn't take too powerful of a laser to pose a threat to drones. The sensitive electronics inside the drones are even more vulnerable than their plastic/composite exteriors, and in the end, some smart fellow is going to create a laser array to get the same effect out of a bunch of cheap little lasers that he would get out of one really expensive laser.

Aircraft, on the other hand, require more powerful lasers if you're going to take them down by damaging critical equipment. This assumes that you're not classifying a pilot's eyes as critical equipment, or that you're simply not quite enough of an asshole to be willing to burn someone's eyes out just to kill them. Unfortunately, there are plenty of assholes out there who are willing to burn someone's eyes out. Some of them aren't even doing to kill people, they just think it's funny. In the end, lasers used against manned aircraft will vary in power depending upon what kind of kill you want and what sort of resources you have. If you have to kill an aircraft and you don't have a multimillion dollar budget, you're either going to be improvising some sort of rocket, or you'll be shooting a powerful handheld laser at someone's eyes.

Point defense, that is, shooting missiles, rockets, and other assorted ordnance out of the sky, is another place where lasers will excel. With a response time limited only by the laser's ability to target and destroy, lasers will come to dominate close in point defense. The old CIWS won't go away - as per the downsides in paragraph 2, they'll need something that can handle adverse weather conditions as a backup - but it'll be relegated to the backseat. Unfortunately, for the warfighter on a tight budget, this is a realm mostly occupied by expensive systems. I'm sure that something could be cobbled together using a camera, a repurposed Arduino or similar, and a homemade laser array, but it would require technical expertise well outside of that of the average person. In fact, it would probably require a small team to create something of the sort.

Space warfare is the true domain of lasers. Without an atmosphere to limit ranges or produce fog, and aimed at fragile, yet important systems, it is only a matter of time before lasers become predominant in space.

Infantry wouldn't have much use for lasers as a primary weapon. Note disadvantages. However, as a support weapon, lasers have much to recommend them. Consider the previously mentioned 2 watt laser.  From a review (also, check out the referenced manual):
A 24-page User Manual is included. Six pages cover the hazards of a Class 4 laser. Most of this material was written by, so we are a bit biased, but we do think this is useful and comprehensive. Hazards discussed include:
  • direct, reflected and diffused beam eye damage
  • skin burns
  • flammable material burns
  • never aiming at aircraft or stars
  • blue light photochemical eye damage
The user is cautioned to wear safety glasses. The user is told that this is NOT to be used as a laser pointer (it is too bright), not to aim at vehicles or law enforcement officers, and not to harass or annoy others.
Hmm... Skin burns? Flammable Material Burns? Imagine sweeping a group of men across the chest with this laser. You'll either: A. burn them or B. set them on fire. Either result is going to end with them giving you plenty of time to shoot them dead.

Most other purposes are beyond the means or impractical even for the richest of Nations. Anti-tank lasers? Forget it. Artillery? Impossible, unless you think that lobbing really expensive lasers at an enemy is a good idea, or that nuclear bomb pumped lasers deserve a place outside of space warfare. And in neither case do you really have laser artillery. So, in the end, while lasers aren't the future of warfare, they're definitely part of the future of warfare.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

As if I needed another reason to avoid Chicaco...

They're going to apply a 9% tax to the internet ("Electronically delivered amusements" and "nonpossessory computer leases").
Money quote:
These intentionally broad new tax rules affect more than just Chicagoans who want to stream their favorite show on Netflix or play a new album on Spotify. The 9-percent hike also applies to businesses that use could[sic] services, such as realtors who access real-time listings and attorneys who rely on Internet court databases.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Korora 22 KDE

I recently upgraded from Korora 21 Darla to Korora 22 Selena.
My first impression is that KDE Plasma 5 looks a lot better than KDE Plasma 4. My second impression is that, besides looking better, everything still works - nothing is broken.
I switch back and forth between Linux and Windows - I'd probably spend more time on Linux, but only 13 of my Steam games will run on it. On my gaming PC, I run Windows almost exclusively, but on my laptop its the other way around. In fact, I only ever boot Windows on my laptop to perform updates.
And its all because of Korora.
Ease of use? Check.
Web browser, email client, and office suite? Check.
Korora is, in fact, easier to set up and use than Windows 7. A lot easier. I'm certain that it'll be easier than Windows 10.

The Texas Voter ID Law isn't Dead

Despite what you might thing after reading the headline, "Federal Court Strikes Down Tough Texas Voter ID Law", the law is far from dead. If only because this one is probably going all the way to the Supreme Court. 
The Wednesday decision was a victory for the president, who has directed the Justice Department to try to beat back a movement in several Republican-led state governments to implement ballot-box restrictions.
Ballot-box restrictions. I like that. Yeah, we want to implement ballot box restrictions that keep Mickey Mouse, dead people, and non-citizens from voting. When voter participation significantly exceeds the national average, and registered voters outnumber those eligible to vote, you've got a problem. Electoral fraud is a stain upon our country's rule of law and should be prosecuted with extreme prejudice, in addition to making it difficult to accomplish.
Texas was then free to enforce its law, which requires one of seven forms of approved identification, a list that included concealed carry licenses but not a college student's university ID. Proponents said would reduce ballot fraud.
Note that the article is acting like concealed carry licenses - a government issued photo ID - are inferior to a college's student ID - an unregulated, easily faked, non-governmental ID, that can be issued to anyone. It makes perfect sense to prevent student ID from being used to register to vote. Government issued IDs use various tactics - such as watermarks - to make the creation of fake IDs difficult (though not impossible) and include barcodes and magnetic strips. Student IDs are a piece of plastic with your name, the name of your school, and possibly the school's mascot, and have no legal standing.  There is no good reason to allow student IDs to be used for voter registration, and a lot of good reasons to prevent it.
"Today's ruling is a victory for every Texas voter. Once again, the rule of law agrees with Democrats. The Republican voter ID law is discriminatory," Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa said in a statement.
If he really felt that way about the rule of law he wouldn't be so happy. Election fraud is a blight upon the rule of law, rendering the polls untrustworthy. It effectively disenfranchises all the legitimate voters - even the ones who voted the same way that the fraud went - making it so that the only vote that matters is that of the man (or the group) behind the fraud. In time, it will destroy the rule of law and the system will end in violence. 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Of all the scams I've heard of...

This one takes the cake.
Stealing money from a radical, brutal, and well armed Muslim terrorist group, while living in an area known for Islamic terrorists, in a country with highly corrupt police just doesn't seem like a great idea. Especially since Russian control of Chechnya is notoriously bad, so there's even more incentive for the cops to look the other way while the terrorists break out the torture tools.


So, this happened:
"He shot it once, nothing happened," said Cruisito's friend Selena Aguila to CBS Denver. "He shot it twice, nothing happened. Then, he shot it the third time and we heard a big bang."
And you didn't think to stop him? Was your opinion of him so low, that you didn't mind the fact that he was pointing a loaded firearm at his head and pulling the trigger? Not everyone knows the four rules, but there are certain things that are obviously not kosher, such as playing Russian Roulette. I sincerely hope that anyone who would call themselves my friend (an admittedly sparse field) would at least do something to keep myself from earning a Darwin Award nomination (or, alternately, committing suicide) right in front of them!

Without more details, it's impossible to know how much time his "friend" had to stop him, but it certainly sounds like he had enough time to prevent a needless death.

A 17-year-old teen in Colorado was killed when he allegedly loaded a single bullet into a cylinder revolver and started playing a one-man game of Russian roulette, reports CBS Denver.
Revolvers have cylinders. Who knew?
Anyone want to take bets on how this 17 year old got his hands on a revolver (21 to buy handguns, 18 to buy pistols), and killed himself being childish with it (despite being at an age when he really should have known better)? I'd give it a 3:1 chance that the revolver wasn't acquired legally, because there's no way he bought that himself.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

"The Internet of Things" - One of the worst Ideas possible

In the wake of a couple of hackers taking down a Jeep Cherokee, we should really reconsider the whole "internet of things" idea. This isn't to say that it's ever not been a bad idea, just that more and more evidence piles up against the idea of networking everything.

In order for the "internet of things" to not be a major security risk, security holes need to be minimal and quickly patched. Instead, security is often an afterthought, or not even a consideration, and, in combination with the interconnection of important "things" with much less important (but considerably more networked) "things" allows for "hackers" to perform significantly malicious acts, and reduces privacy to a pittance.

Steering, braking, transmission, fridges, house lighting/electricity, etc. So many things that have no good reason for being connected to the internet are networked to kingdom come. The only way to guarantee that no one can hack an important system/equipment is to have an "air gap". That is to say, there is no direct connection between the important equipment and any form of transmitter/receiver. The transmission on the aforementioned Jeep Cherokee would be a lot harder to hack if it wasn't connected to the vehicle's built in wifi.

If it isn't a computer, and it doesn't need to be connected to the internet, disconnect it, if at all possible.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Korora Linux

I'm not a Linux fanboy. In fact, I'm pretty much OS indifferent - so long as the operating system isn't full of security holes (for one reason or another) and isn't a mobile device OS ported to real computers, especially if the OS wants you to use an app store. I like to play computer games, but I can live without computer games. I actually kind of like MS Office, but I'm just fine with LibreOffice.
The problem comes for the people who aren't all that great with computers. In general, most alternatives to Windows and OS X require at least a small amount of computer knowledge to really use.
Of the exceptions, the most common is Ubuntu. I'm really not a fan of Ubuntu (this has not always been the case), although I'll take it over Windows 8 any day. As far as I'm concerned, Ubuntu skims dangerously close to adware, and that seriously reduces its attractiveness. I'm also not terribly fond of its interface (that is, however, a matter of taste). There are other options out there such as ReactOS, which isn't past alpha, and thus not a good choice for "not computer people" and Linux Mint, based off of Ubuntu, which I have no opinion of, having never used it. Then there's Korora Linux. It's based off of Fedora, and unlike Fedora, comes with a lot of packages already installed to make things easy for "not computer people" and the lazy. I personally prefer the KDE desktop, but, for those who prefer a different desktop environment, its also available in GNOME, XFCE, Cinnamon, and Mate. If you're not certain what you want, you can (as with other Linux distros) create a "live cd" or "live USB drive" that lets you "test drive" the OS (and Desktop environment) before installing it.
I highly recommend Korora for the lazy and "not computer people" who are tired of Microsoft.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Gun Control

Apparently various gun control proponents feel that the time is ripe to push for gun control - albeit for different reasons.

First up is Ms. Clinton. She is apparently encouraged by the recent church massacre. She's going to be pushing it as part of her campaign - along with the idea that she could break the usual gridlock that sets in (with good reason) whenever gun control comes up in Congress.
It is important to note that, even after Newtown, the passage of gun control laws at the Federal level stalled out, and at the state level, outside of gun control bastions like New York and California, new gun control laws were not only bitterly opposed, but resulted in recall elections and other assorted backlash. It is unlikely that a new tragedy will result in the  implementation of greater infringement.

One group thinks that, with the victory of gay marriage, they can apply the same tactics used to win the middle ground in the gay marriage argument. Of the two groups, they are the more dangerous. They believe that, with the right wording they can beget the spread of universal background checks. After all, Initiative 594 managed to succeed in Washington. Never mind that such measures are useless, unenforceable, and fail at keeping guns out of the hands of criminals.
The old paradigm, says Gross, who has a background in advertising, was “keeping certain guns away from all people.” (Assault rifles, for example.) The new one, which focuses on background checks, is about “keeping all guns away from certain people.” (People with criminal records, domestic abusers, the mentally ill.) Every American, no matter how they feel about the Second Amendment, can get behind that. “It’s that notion of common values, common goals: We all want to be safer."
Its a nice sentiment. Too bad that convicted felons still manage to get a hold of guns. Too bad that it gets easier and easier to just go ahead and build your own guns with every advance in personal manufacturing.
Universal background checks are not the answer. They are a null effect upon crime and criminals. Straw purchases are already illegal. Making it illegal for private citizens to transfer arms between one another without getting a background check isn't going to prevent them. Moreover, with our porous southern border, do you really think that drugs are the only thing coming across?
Universal background checks, whether intentionally or not (I'm willing to accept that most gun control advocates are well intentioned fools, rather than malicious statists), are the precursor to gun registration, which is itself (again, whether intentionally or not) the precursor to gun confiscation.
There is no such thing as desirable gun control. No such thing as "common sense" gun laws. All gun laws limit freedom.
They might be able to sway the independents enough to see their laws enacted. They might even be able to create a gun control utopia in the US, if firearms ownership has really declined as they think is has (me, I'm pretty doubtful - when a complete stranger calls you on the phone and asks if you have something valuable in your house, do you answer honestly? This is called "reporting bias"). Just remember. Gun owners may be a minority, but we're a significant one. And you can only restrict someone's rights so far before they snap.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Independence Day

On this day in 1776 the Continental Congress published the Declaration of Independence for all the world to see.
Go out and enjoy your life and liberty, and pursue that happiness. Have fun at the barbeque. Blow stuff up. Enjoy fireworks. Today is the most important non-religious holiday in the US.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Someone's not a Fan of the NRA

The gentleman who wrote this article isn't a fan of the NRA. However, his credibility is tied up in one paragraph:
If I hate the NRA so much, why did I buy a gun at 37? As a meat eater with no particular desire to become a vegetarian, I wanted to confront the fact of killing animals for food. Once I took up hunting, I discovered that I relished the time I spent off the grid. Some might scratch this itch with a weekend camping trip. I chose to trudge into the woods before dawn, often in freezing temperatures, to keep a silent vigil in the trees as the morning light begins to filter through the branches. I rarely see a deer. Such a contemplative, frequently fruitless endeavor isn’t for everyone, but it suits me.
That's right. His opinion is worth listening to because he's a hunter. That's the only piece of credibility that he brings to the table. Well, that and the fact of the NRA's admittedly annoying robocalls.

One of his main points is that the NRA, with only 5 million members, doesn't represent the majority of gun owners. He's technically right about that, but he draws the wrong conclusion. While there are a number of Fudds like the article's author running around with only hunting rifles and not caring about any of that pesky gun control, large numbers of people who hold views somewhat in line with the NRA don't donate for whatever reason, and there's also a significant number of gun owners who hold views far beyond those of the NRA. Those gun owners (such as myself) will, if they have the spare cash, be members of other gun rights organizations. I'm personally a member of Gun Owners of America and the National Association for Gun Rights, both of which are considerably more hardline than the NRA. Now, I'm also a member of the NRA, but, in light of past performance, the NRA has proven willing to either accept limitations upon the right to keep and bear arms (in fact, the NRA supported the National Firearms Act of 34), I donate to the GOA and NAGR to keep the NRA honest.

He uses the usual guilt trip tactics - providing examples of gun use by criminal or deranged individuals, even going so far as to call handgun supporters "handgun apologists".
Last Feb. 10 in Chapel Hill, N.C., 15 miles from my home in Durham, three young Americans of Middle Eastern descent were murdered by a home invader. The killer was their neighbor, notorious and feared around the apartment complex for flashing his perfectly legal concealed handgun. Without his weapon, he would have been an angry but perhaps harmless, crank. With it, he snuffed out three lives in a matter of seconds. The deaths affected our community profoundly — everyone seemed to know someone who knew the victims.
Handgun apologists see nothing wrong with this killer possessing both a gun and a carry permit, because he had no prior record. In the moral reasoning that NRA has honed to soundbite perfection, it was his choice to commit a crime. The gun didn’t shoot itself.
There's a lot of things wrong with this excerpt. Let's start with the idea that "without his weapon, he would have been an angry but perhaps harmless, crank". Has he ever heard of mass stabbings? The killer wouldn't have needed a gun. For three men, all you really need is a big knife and the element of surprise (and depending upon the victims, not even that). Next, the idea that those of us who support gun rights are "handgun apologists". That seems to imply that handguns are the cause of the crime, rather than the tool used to commit it. Are we to regulate just what sort of cars people can drive because of drunk drivers?

While we North Carolinians reel from the killing of Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, our legislators continue to chip away at gun laws, an anti-business, anti-faith agenda that has forced shopkeepers, restaurateurs, barkeeps, schoolmasters and clergy to post “no-gun” signs on their doors.
I'm not sure how it's anti-business or anti-faith to make someone post a "no-guns" sign on their door if they don't want guns in their establishment. The only problem I have with it is that, with such a sign, you're announcing to the world that your shop is a safe place to rob/hold a mass shooting in. Or has it slipped your notice that every single successful mass shooting happened in a no gun zone or another place where the shooter could be reasonably confident that no one had a gun?

I agree with the NRA on one point: Tightening controls on gun ownership will not eliminate gun violence. And it may not do much to address the psychopathology of young men who commit mass murder. Timothy McVeigh and the Tsarnaev brothers committed their crimes with bombs, while Adam Lanza, with no criminal record, inexplicably stole his mother’s guns, murdered her, and headed off to Sandy Hook Elementary School.
 At least he's honest enough to admit that gun control won't stop gun crime. Too bad he isn't honest enough to admit that more gun control doesn't mean less crime, and in fact, often results in more violent crime.
There are some signs that this could occur. Thanks to the decline in hunting and in violent crime, the percentage of homes with guns has been waning steadily since the 1970s. In 2014, the figure was reported to be 31 percent. Although there are believed to be about 300 million guns in the United States, they seem to be concentrated in fewer, undoubtedly more fervent hands: aging hands, perhaps. Millennials and guns? Not so much.
I don't know about you, but when someone calls me and asks me if I have guns, I tell them no as a matter of principle. How am I to know that the caller is legitimate and not a criminal checking to see if I own anything of value? While there are certainly a few demographic reasons for the decline in homes with guns, I'm certain that at least part of the reason for the "decline" in gun ownership is reporting bias.

Gun control is a gimmick. A skilled individual can create a professional quality modern firearm with a few commonly available tools. Less skilled individuals can create anything from serviceable (but ugly) firearms to plastic deathtraps. It is literally harder to make meth than it is to make a gun. Moreover, guns aren't even the problem. Criminals - predators in human flesh - are the problem. If you were to somehow remove guns from the situation, all you'd be doing is removing the one chance that physically weaker individuals have against stronger attackers, because criminals don't care if they kill you with a gun or a lead pipe - and in a society where the primary weapon is a lead pipe, a 200 lb male is going to wipe the floor with a 120 lb female, unless the lady has some serious martial arts skill, and possibly not even then.

God made man. Samuel Colt made him equal. Gun control proponents want to remove that equality.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

When in Doubt, blame the US

Putin is currently accusing the US of helping the Chechen terrorists. I think he's just sore because no matter how hard he tries to disarm the Chechens, the black market and shadetree gunsmiths conspire to keep them armed.
He also claims that "The west is only friendly with Russia when it is on its knees." If true, it might have something to do with such places as Crimea and Georgia, which showed that a Russia that isn't on it's knees makes a really bad neighbor.
Putin defended the annexation of Crimea as a response to the will of the people, which restored "historic justice."
If Putin gets to defend the annexation of Crimea as "historic justice", then we should just resurrect Manifest Destiny and reconquer Mexico. I mean, if that's all the justification that you need to forcibly annex large chunks of land, then we need to get back into the conquering business and really build an American Empire.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Any weapon is better than no weapon at all.

While swords aren't exactly my home defense weapon of choice, they can be very effective in a pinch. I'd rather have a gun, but there's no denying that the distances in homes are rather short, allowing you, or the home invaders to get close - at which point a sword, or even a large knife (especially one designed with fighting in mind) can put a serious hurt on anyone, no matter age or size.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Eternal Patrol

During WWII a great deal of submarines left on the eternal patrol, never to return to port. Most of these submarines were lost with all hands. After the war, submarine losses ended, at least until 10 April 1963, when the USS Thresher went down and never came up. To this day, the Thresher is the last US submarine to have sunk - while major mishaps have happened on other submarines, resulting in decommissioning (notably the USS Bonefish), none of them sank. Let us all lift one in honor of all submarines that never came back to port, those brave souls on the eternal patrol.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

The First Amendment and the Anarchist Cookbook

This is a good one. Senator Feinstein has decided that bomb making manuals such as the Anarchist Cookbook and Al Qaeda's Inspire magazine do not deserve to be protected under the First Amendment.
There are a number of issues with her stance, starting with the First Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances
It doesn't say anything in there about getting to choose what counts as protected speech. Otherwise politicians would be banning all sorts of dangerous speech, such as pretty much everything that Dr. Martin Luther King said. That isn't a can of worms that anyone in their right mind wants to open.

The next problem is the technical issues with removing it from the internet. The Anarchist Cookbook (and it's cousin the Anarchist's Cookbook) are both available from hundreds of sources on the internet, ranging from Amazon to The Pirate Bay and its contemporaries. There are a lot of downloaded copies of the book, and Senator Feinstein doesn't seem to realize just how hard it is to prevent people from sharing their copies with other people. Heck, if two parties are using steganography, the Feds might not even realize that someone's sharing the file.