Quote of the Day – 2013-09-12

From Vladimir Putin, of all people:

It is alarming that military intervention in internal conflicts in foreign countries has become commonplace for the United States.

And on the 12th anniversary of the day terrorists murdered almost 3000 innocents, our government openly acknowledges that it is arming that same terrorist organization in a bid to put them in charge of a nation known to possess chemical weapons.

I am certainly alarmed.

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[Source: Yahoo! News article, retrieved 9/12/13]

A Second Amendment Epiphany

Linoge linked to a couple of articles last week, and one of them – once I finally got around to reading it – tripped one of those switches in my brain that said “Oh! Now I get it!” regarding the deceptively clumsy phrasing of the Second Amendment.

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. – U.S. Constitution, Amendment II

The relationship between the two clauses, and how or even if they cause the Right to relate to militias, has been debated for at least a century. A popular argument among those who favour gun control – whether outright bans on all guns, or bans of “assault weapons” – is that the 2nd Amendment is preconditioned on membership in a militia, and that the National Guard and/or the advent of professional police forces has superseded the founder’s model of local militias. As a result, they argue, the 2nd Amendment does not apply to ordinary citizens, only to police and National Guard members.

While this argument certainly ignores the fact that the unorganized militia is still embodied in US law, it is flawed on a much more basic level – the 2nd Amendment clearly and specifically assigns that right to the people, not to the militia or members of a militia. This is the classic dependent/independent clause argument – that the reference to a “well regulated militia” explains the necessity of protecting the right of the people to keep and bear arms, but does not limit that right to membership in a militia.

But there was a point in reading that article where something else clicked for me, though I can’t point to any one sentence or paragraph and say “this is where I understood”. It’s a surprisingly simple concept.

The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, so that they may quickly and easily form a militia should the need arise.

When the Right for each and every citizen to own, possess, and carry arms is restricted, a militia cannot be formed without those people first going out and obtaining arms. If the government is allowed to restrict how, when, and if a citizen can purchase firearms – yes, even military weapons – then the government can restrict or prevent the formation of any militias.

But why, you ask, in our modern society, would anyone need to form a militia so quickly that they couldn’t wait for the government to approve it if it truly was needed?

Leaving aside the assumption that the government a) would approve it in the first place, and b) would do so quickly enough to do any good, it also ignores the speed in which bad situations can develop. A perfect modern day example of this is the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles in 1992, and the events that took place in Koreatown during those riots.

With the police overwhelmed (and, by all accounts, not terribly motivated to intervene in that neighborhood anyway), it fell to the citizens there to defend their homes, livelihoods, and their lives themselves. They banded together in small groups for their own defense – the very definition of an unorganized militia. Once the riots started, they didn’t have time to go to a store and buy a gun. They didn’t have time to sit through a background check. They were dependent on the guns they had at the time.

Without the protections afforded by the Second Amendment, Koreatown would have been destroyed by the rampaging mobs.

What would have been more effective in Boston last month – unarmed citizens cowering in their homes with the police and National Guard imposing martial law (lite! with only half the jackboots!) while searching house to house, or armed citizens standing watch over their own neighborhoods while directing the police towards any suspicious activity?

I’ll say it again. The Second Amendment Right to keep and bear arms does not depend on membership in a militia, it is what allows us to form militias where and when they are needed.

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More questions about the death of Ambassador Stevens

Reading this really pisses me off. I hope it’s not really true, but unfortunately I find it believable.

[Lt.Col.] WOOD [commander of the security team]: We knew that was coming through the cables and the draft cables that were going back and forth. The requests were being modified to say ‘don’t even request for D.O.D. support’.

ATTKISSON: So State Dept. was telling the folks on the ground in Libya ‘don’t continue to ask for this help’?

WOOD: Correct.

I really hope there’s some important context being left out, but I doubt it. I think it really is just another symptom of our current inept “leadership”.

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(h/t Firehand)

Quote of the Day – 2012-09-18

From the reigning mistress of snark, Tam.

Actually, “Islamophobia” may not be an accurate term at all, since “-phobia” describes fear that is irrational or out of proportion, when it has been shown over and over that a fear of Muslims losing their collective $#!+ in an orgy of burning, looting, and killing in response to “insults” that might not even be sufficient do draw more than a “Yeah? So’s your mom!” in response on any civilized elementary school playground is grounded in, not just historic example, but a clear-headed grasp of current events.

Not much I can add to that.

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A hint for our chief executive

Warning shots – like those being fired by the security forces at our embassy in Yemen – only work if the people being warned believe that there’s a chance you’ll actually shoot them if they don’t stop. So far, we have not given them any reason to believe this.

These “protests” are invasions of sovereign American soil, and are acts of war. Treat them as such, and shoot the bastards.

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Hacker humor!

I LOL’d.

According to a report on security site F-Secure, Iran’s nuclear energy group — called the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, or AEOI for short — is reaching out for help to rid its system of a malicious program that not only threatens the facility’s daily operations, but also plays a 90s rock anthem on the infected computers.

[...]

The rather vague wording of the email leaves a few unanswered questions as to just what parts of the AEOI are in danger, but one piece of information was very clear: The insidious software prompted several of the group’s computers to begin playing the song “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC in the middle of the night, and at full volume. [Emphasis mine - Jake]

Hilarious!

I’m using the term “hacker” here rather than “cracker” because I strongly suspect that this was either an official (but classified) .gov operation, or that there is tacit-but-unacknowledged .gov approval – especially since the US has supposedly hacked Iran’s nuclear program before. In other words, it’s probably (arguably) legitimate cyber-warfare between national governments, instead of criminal mischief. This is also why I’m not condemning the vandalism aspect. The music, since it’s pretty much harmless, could be a great joke in other circumstances – for example, I would (if I were capable of doing something like this) include instructions to remove the virus that required closing the security hole first, as sort of a “secure your system” wake up call – but system damage that threatened normal operations would just not be kosher normally.*

* That’s my honor code. Small details may vary from person to person (e.g., some may think even the music would be going too far), but “do no harm” is pretty much an absolute. If I’d gone into computing instead of EMS, I’m the kind of person that might have ended up a samurai or a sort of benign black hat.

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[Source: Y! Tech article, retrieved 7/24/12]

An alternative to the TSA

I have an idea. Rather than molesting and taking naked photos of airline passengers, let’s do this instead:

  1. Abolish the TSA. They’re worse than useless.
  2. Issue every adult passenger on the airliner a Taser, specially made with no “repeat shock” or “drive stun” functions (to prevent emotionally driven abuse if it needs to be used – any needed redundancy will come from other passengers with Tasers).

Sure, if there’s a terrorist on board you’ve just given him a weapon. But he gets to disable just one person with it, on a plane full of passengers (over 400, on a 747, depending on the configuration) who also have Tasers, and who remember what the terrorists did on 9-11. I wish him luck with that.

What’s that you say? With the TSA gone he got a gun onto the plane, so now he’s better armed than the passengers? Well, he still has to get past a couple hundred scared and angry passengers, all armed with Tasers, many of whom are or will eventually be behind him. Again, good luck with that.

What about bombs? Well, it’s not like the TSA has actually stopped any of those so far, is it? It’s only blind luck that the ones that got through were duds. We won’t be losing any security, there, and passengers with Tasers will have a better chance at stopping the triggerman than if they have to wrestle the detonator away from him.

Why not guns with frangible ammunition? Because using Tasers in this way actually has some advantages over firearms. 1) Bad guys using it only get one shot, vs. hundreds of similarly armed passengers, 2) Misses and “friendly” fire in the confined space of an aircraft are very unlikely to kill anyone, and 3) Someone acting oddly due to a medical issue or intoxication is far less likely to be killed by a twitchy passenger (I believe a couple of instances of “dogpile on the crazy guy” have resulted from medical issues), allowing more reasoned authorities to sort things out on the ground.

As a final, redundant measure, give the pilots guns, just in case somebody actually manages to breach the cockpit. If you can’t trust the pilots with guns, then why the heck are you letting them fly the plane?

Simple and effective. This would do more to enhance aviation security than any kind of passenger screening and searches that we could possibly do.

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(Note: This post is a repeat of a comment I posted at Joe Huffman’s blog, The View From North Central Idaho. Since the original post was a few days old by the time I commented, and I like the idea, I thought I’d repost it here.)

Your Security Theatre at work

High quality “security”.

Travelers in Sacramento, Calif., got a surprise when they approached airport security and no one was at the metal detector. Five passengers went on through without any screening. Finally, officials noticed the unattended metal detector and shut down the terminal until the passengers were found and screened.

[NPR summary quoted in full because it is so short that any omissions would lose critical information. Full audio of the story is available here.]

TSA is a sham. They have yet to actually catch a single terrorist, while constantly violating people’s Fourth Amendment Rights against unreasonable searches (even at border checkpoints, agents must have reasonable suspicion to conduct a body search), and while performing actions that would be considered sexual assault if done by anyone else.

Disband TSA yesterday.

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[Source: NPR Morning Edition story, retrieved 2/27/12]

Cop or Soldier?

You decide.

How did I do?

I’m going to put in a break here so I don’t give away any spoilers, but I do have a couple of comments.

(more…)

Ignore Fast & Furious

because Mike Vanderboegh ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem, etc.

So says Mother Jones.

Good grief.

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(h/t SayUncle)

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