Standing up to the Feds
Mar 30th, 2007 by Ken Hagler

Red’s Trading Post Videos. They’ve posted two new video ads defending themselves against BATFU harassment.

Ryan Horsley’s got guts and he’s articulate. He’s defending a way of life and a fixture in his community from destructive invading parasites, and he shouldn’t have to stand alone.

We gun owners are quick to pass judgment on dealers who don’t stand up to intimidation, like those who caved in to Bloomberg’s lawsuits. We need to be equally as quick to support those who refuse to roll over. This guy goes one step further and swings back defiantly.

will definitely keep an eye on further developments.

[Via chareltonhest] [The War on Guns]

Still missing the obvious solution
Mar 21st, 2007 by Ken Hagler

Who Could Have Foreseen the FBI’s Failure in Overseeing Itself?.

Members of Congress, including Republicans as well as Democrats, are dismayed that the FBI has failed to adequately supervise itself to prevent misuse of "national security letters" demanding phone, email, and financial records. A recent report from Justice Department Inspector General Glenn Fine revealed, among other abuses, that the FBI was keeping incomplete records of NSLs and asserting "exigent circumstances" that did not exist. The legislators who voted to give the FBI the authority to unilaterally grab whatever records it thinks might be useful for investigating terrorism are amazed at the lack of proper oversight:

"I just want to convey to you how upset many of us are who have defended this program and have believed it is necessary to the protection of our country," Representative Dan Lungren, Republican of California, told Valerie E. Caproni, the bureau's general counsel….

Representative Darrell Issa, also a California Republican, said he was "shocked" by the bureau's transgressions and suggested that they might have broken the law.

"If what was done was done by a private-sector individual, wouldn't the F.B.I. be arresting them?" Mr. Issa asked. "Wouldn't the U.S. attorneys be prosecuting people who played fast and loose with these rules?"

How to prevent such abuses? I'm just thinking out loud here, but what if someone outside the FBI, maybe even in a different branch of government, reviewed these record demands before businesses were required to comply with them?

Kerry Howley considered the NSL scandal earlier this week.

[Hit and Run]

There’s an even better way to prevent abuses by the FBI: if there is no FBI, it can’t be abusive. This would have the added benefit of bringing the FBI into compliance with the Constitution, which makes the FBI’s very existence illegal.

Digital unreliability
Mar 20th, 2007 by Ken Hagler

Most digital content not stable: archivists. Archivists say the domestic digital formats available to the average consumer, such as standard CDs and DVDs, are not stable and were never intended to be used for long-term storage.


Farrell says a digital black hole is looming over the information age, because most of the material the provincial archives receives comes from the public. He says if we’re not looking after our digital records properly, there won’t be anything for the archives to save.


Noel is convinced that a safe and foolproof way to save digital material is right around the corner, but until then, it’s up to everyone to do what they can to preserve their digital documents. He says if you want to preserve your visual and audio memories, make copies of copies on digital, but always keep the analog originals. [CBC News]

The poor longevity of digital storage is something I’ve been warning about for a while. If your original source is digital, it’s best to make an analog copy if at all possible. For example, pro photo labs can make a slide from a digital photo for around $5.

Truth is eleven times stranger than fiction
Mar 16th, 2007 by Ken Hagler

Escape from UK-run prison in Iraq. Eleven detainees escape from a UK military prison in Basra, most of them by “swapping” with visitors, the army says. [BBC News]

Apparently British soldiers don’t read Dickens.

Don’t count your ballots before they’re cast
Mar 12th, 2007 by Ken Hagler

Ron Paul in the Polls. With virtually only internet attention, Ron is already at 2% in the latest CNN presidential poll, tied with Hagel, Gilmore, and Brownback, and ahead of Huckabee, Tancredo, and Thompson. My prediction: a steady increase in his poll standing. (Thanks to… [ Blog]

That would be nice, but I’m not holding my breath. The margin for error in that poll is 4.9%, making Ron Paul’s 2% pretty meaningless. Also, socialist warmongers Rudy Giuliani and John McCain have (surprise, surprise) an enormous lead.

D.C. gun ban gone
Mar 10th, 2007 by Ken Hagler

Washington, D.C. Discovers Constitution. Friday's big news, which broke a bit late for H&R:

A federal appeals court overturned the District of Columbia's long-standing handgun ban Friday, rejecting the city's argument that the Second Amendment right to bear arms applied only to militias.

In a 2-1 decision, the judges held that the activities protected by the Second Amendment "are not limited to militia service, nor is an individual's enjoyment of the right contingent" on enrollment in a militia.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the city cannot prevent people from keeping handguns in their homes. The ruling also struck down a requirement that owners of registered firearms keep them unloaded and disassembled. The court did not address provisions that prohibit people from carrying unregistered guns outside the home.

The decision marks the first time a federal appeals court has struck down a portion of a gun law on Second Amendment grounds.

That's huge. And one angle you probably won't hear: This is the direction DC public opinion has been moving toward for some time. Only one month ago Marion Barry, DC's statesman/punchline who now holds a city council seat, proposed a halt to the gun ban.

[Hit and Run]

I’m actually surprised that the government ruled against itself this way–that’s a very rare thing. I’m not surprised that the people who actually live there have been moving away from the gun ban, though. After all, they’re the ones who have had to live with its consequences.

Also unsurprising is the NRA’s opposition to the suit. Despite its media-created reputation as “pro-gun extremists,” the NRA is actually the largest and most influential gun control organization in the country. They don’t want the Second Amendment to be upheld, because if gun control laws go away they’ll no longer have an issue with which to con millions of suckers into sending them money.

No freedom of speech in France
Mar 6th, 2007 by Ken Hagler

Macworld: News: France bans citizen journalists from reporting violence.

The French Constitutional Council has approved a law that
criminalizes the filming or broadcasting of acts of violence by people
other than professional journalists. The law could lead to the
imprisonment of eyewitnesses who film acts of police violence, or
operators of Web sites publishing the images, one French civil
liberties group warned on Tuesday.

The council chose an unfortunate anniversary to publish its decision
approving the law, which came exactly 16 years after Los Angeles police
officers beating Rodney King were filmed by amateur videographer George
Holliday on the night of March 3, 1991. The officers’ acquittal at the
end on April 29, 1992 sparked riots in Los Angeles.

If Holliday were to film a similar scene of violence in France
today, he could end up in prison as a result of the new law, said
Pascal Cohet, a spokesman for French online civil liberties group
Odebi. And anyone publishing such images could face up to five years in
prison and a fine of €75,000 (US$98,537), potentially a harsher
sentence than that for committing the violent act.

[Privacy Digest: Privacy News (Civil Rights, Encryption, Free Speech, Cryptography)]

The timing with the anniversary of the Rodney King beating is actually quite appropriate, as I have no doubt that the increasing ubiquity of miniature still and video cameras played a major role in the French government’s decision. I’m sure the last thing they want is for the general public to know what their own thugs are up to.

Officials don’t care if you live as long as you die following orders
Mar 6th, 2007 by Ken Hagler

Death by Emergency Plan. A strange culture of emergency has taken over this country, and the slightest provocation triggers it. It could be an expected terrorist or just an old-fashioned weather warning. The officials are quick to swing into action, and tell you what to do.

The problem is that these demands are often based on nothing other than government plans that are not in your best interest. It behooves all of us to think carefully about genuine preparedness, which might often involve bucking the system and telling the emergency nazis to mind their own business.


The best approach to an emergency is simply to let people make their own judgments about how to stay safe. Instead, we have developed a system whereby a central plan goes into effect that applies to everyone. This is why evacuations tend to be mandatory these days, and why you are not allowed to rescue your own children from danger.

This brings us to the final presupposition of emergency management in this country: officials assume that you are their property. You have no rights, no freedom of choice, and no volition of your own that should be respected. Your one job is to obey them, and at least if you are killed, they can have bragging rights that they got everyone to go along.

At some point in the coming years, you will probably face this problem. There will be some emergency in which you will be told to put your life or that of your children in the hands of experts, who pretend as if they know what is best for you. Chances are that they don’t, and this emergency will be the time when you need to think seriously about fundamental values. Is obedience to authority more important than life itself? []

Missing the point of the Republic
Mar 5th, 2007 by Ken Hagler

Urban Horrors and the Legions.

Subject: Urban soldiers 


Here is a fascinating short piece on urban vs. rural
recruits who join our military. It says something about education. I suspect
it also says something about the collective g of rural vs urban populations,
but I will leave that to the reader.


Why is anyone astonished? Rural schools are a bit closer to the citizens.
But it’s another data point. The Republic is slowly succumbing to the
liberal view of the world. Unions, bureaucrats, regulations, anything but
freedom and responsibility. And the beat goes on…

[Chaos Manor Musings]

Here’s an amusing example of a “conservative” (right-wing socialist) completely missing what the American Republic was supposed to be all about. The founders of the Republic didn’t have nearly as much to say about unions (which they would certainly have approved of, so long as they were voluntary), bureaucrats, and regulations as they did about the standing army that these recruits are joining.

The Founding Father repeatedly, loudly, and often warned that the existence of a standing army was inherently destructive to a republic–a warning which, having been ignored, has been proven completely correct. Ironically, one of the historical examples that they learned from and tried to avoid repeating the mistakes of was the Roman Republic–source of the “legions” whom Jerry Pournelle writes so approvingly.

Amateur Radio licence updated
Mar 5th, 2007 by Ken Hagler

The paperwork upgrading my Amateur Radio license from Technician to General class finally went through. Over the weekend I had set up a portable antenna and radio on the roof of my apartment building and was able to hear people broadcasting from locations as far away as Japan and the Eastern Caribbean, but none of them could hear me.

Unfortunately the stuff I had to learn to pass the test leaned towards stuff that I’m very unlikely to ever care about (for example, how a transformer is constructed) and glossed over such details as how to transmit so that people can actually hear you.

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