David Fry is the Worrisome One

Published at 07:54 on 31 January 2016

I don’t have time to research all the links to back this up (so you’ll have to do that yourself), but he was very close to LaVoy Finicum, the other militant that was shot and killed. Like Finicum, he has many times used extreme rhetoric about preferring to be killed rather then being incarcerated. He’s the loose cannon who has blogged in support of Nazis and ISIS and advocated nuking Israel. In interviews, his father (who has been worried about him for some time and who tried to talk him out of going to Oregon) has openly worried about him choosing to commit “suicide by cop.”

In other words, he’s just about the last person you’d want to be amongst the final few holdouts. And that’s precisely where he is now.

We may not have seen the last of the bloodshed during this thing.

The Bundy “Militia” is a Joke

Published at 09:20 on 30 January 2016

Nothing proves this more than a recent quote from Ammon Bundy himself:

“This was never meant to be an armed standoff. Please do not make it about something it wasn’t supposed to be. Go home to your families.”

Oh, really now? Then why were people allowed — encouraged, even — to show up with firearms? Yes, yes — I know: You’re a big fan of the right to keep and bear arms. Well, guess what? Just because it’s your right to do something does not automatically make it a wise decision.

And it was not your right to occupy the Malheur NWR and:

  • Prevent Federal employees from doing their jobs,
  • Interfere with the freedom of other citizens to visit their public lands,
  • Vandalize government property,
  • Use government computer and Internet resources without permission, and
  • Steal government vehicles.

All of these things are quite illegal, in fact criminal, acts. You may not personally like the fact that the Federal government owns so much land, but the fact is that it does and that current law (upheld by court after court) allows it to.

All of this means that in choosing to engage in an illegal action, you chose to expose yourself to criminal charges. As such, it was your job to:

  • Research what those charges were likely to be,
  • Research what the consequences (punishments) would likely be,
  • Decide if you were willing to accept those consequences, and
  • Modify or call off the action if you were not.

This is all very basic stuff. Left-wing groups I’ve been involved with do this whenever they plan actions. (And committing a crime armed is a great way to enhance the charges and punishments you face for it.)

If you let people participate whose beliefs and goals did not mesh with your own, that is your fault. It was your responsibility to clearly state your goals and methods, and to screen those directly supporting you to ensure they agreed to those standards.

This is an instance of a general failure to communicate and plan which the comments of other participants that I’ve seen in the media makes most evident. (For example, many were surprised by your decision to depart for that forum in John Day, and didn’t even realize you had planned to until the moment your convoy left the refuge.)

That you failed in all of the above indicates just what a joke your “militia” is. You clowns couldn’t even properly organize a takeover of a bird refuge while it was closed during the winter holidays, yet you act as if you’re some sort of a military force? It is to laugh.


So the Occupation is Winding Down… Finally

Published at 07:22 on 28 January 2016

After sitting around and basically doing nothing for most of a month and watching the occupiers get increasingly destructive in recent days (bulldozing new roads through sensitive areas), action was finally taken by law enforcement.

It’s a pity that it’s lead to someone’s death, but the individual who died is on record as being one of the most militant in his rhetoric, going so far as to say that he’d die before he’d let anyone arrest him. Moreover, two of his fellow occupiers say that the way he got shot is by fleeing a traffic stop, encountering a roadblock soon afterwards, and confronting a law enforcement officer there.

This guy apparently got shot while armed and charging a cop. Trying to equate that to getting shot while unarmed and fleeing a cop is false equivalence, to say the least.

And there is not much equivalence to movements like Occupy Wall Street, either. That movement was unarmed and occupied public parks. It did not take over whole facilities while armed and prevent their operation.

Frosty Nights

Published at 22:01 on 2 January 2016

We’re having a spell of clear, dry weather and in the winter that often means cold weather, as the clear skies and long nights let temperatures drop. This time is no exception to the rule. Afternoons are still in the forties, but anywhere the sun doesn’t reach doesn’t thaw.


SDR: The Executive Summary

Published at 09:20 on 2 January 2016

One of the RTL2832 dongles I ordered from Ebay finally arrived. The other I have chalked up as a no-show. I’ll try to get my money back, but even if it turns out to be a loss the total cost for both was under $20. That’s very cheap for a software defined radio.

The executive summary: using a general-purpose computer instead of a traditional radio interface generally sucks from a user-interface point of view, but it has its one very intriguing and useful aspect. That latter is how an SDR captures a whole swath of spectrum and typically has a waterfall display to visually plot what it receives.

It’s a most useful feature when searching for non-broadcast signals; one doesn’t have to rely on chance for the particular frequency one is listening to to become active. Instead, you can see activity as it appears on any nearby frequency in the range being displayed, and immediately point and click to tune to it.

I’d suspect the sucky parts of the user interface aren’t nearly so bad with some other SDR programs. Right now I’m using gqrx, because I have only Macs in my house and gqrx is basically the only SDR software that runs on a Mac. I’m going to be getting a dedicated Windows machine soon (there’s enough software I want to run that only runs on Windows that it’s become worthwhile to do so), and once I have that I’ll be giving some other software a try.

Hardware wise, an RTL2832 isn’t exactly the greatest receiver. It’s sensitivity isn’t that great and it’s full of birdies (I suspect a better antenna, further from my computer, would help with some of that). Even my 25-year-old Bearcat scanner runs circles around it. But what can one expect from a consumer-grade device that didn’t even cost $10? It is what I purchased it to be: a low-cost way to experiment with SDR.