Technology Archive

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So I Am Not A “Journalist” Says Sen Feinstein

Per tw-unt bag Feinstein’s definition of “journalist”, your friendly neighborhood bloggers (the likes of me and many others) trying to spread truth don’t count and won’t be provided the “protections” granted by the guv-thugs to so-called real “journalists.” 

feinstein is evil mr burns

This is funny (tragic funny, not so much ‘ha-ha’ funny) for many reasons:

1. Because the 1st Amendment says:

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 doesnt’ say anything about being a “licensed” journalist or drawing a salary.

2. The protection needed for whistleblowers, journalists and truth-tellers is from the very cocksuckers trying to get this law passed.  It can’t get any more ironic!!!

I don’t consider myself a journalist but that is irrelevant; I am simply doing my part to help spread the truth about the evils of the state and it’s acts of corruption and agression; it is supposed to protect my right of free speech, not be the largest suppressor of it.  The truth is the guv-thugs want to be able to intimidate, threaten, violate, assault imprison and murder anyone that defies their decrees.  One way to do it is to only protect the rights of certain club members while only dispensing clubhouse keys to those who’ll play ball.

Here are some real journalists:

fux and friends morning smoe

Maybe I need to start an LLC called The Strangest Brew, create a board of directors (me, Locke and Less Grossman) that pays each of us $0.01 per year salary.  Does that satisfy the statists?

Hey Feinstein:

bitch kill yourself

 Do it for the good of the world.

Sen. Feinstein During ‘Shield’ Law Debate: ‘Real’ Journalists Draw Salaries

from the protection-based-on-exclusivity…-what-a-wonderful-idea dept

Legislators are still trying to put together a national “shield” law for journalists (this is the third such effort at a national level) and, as usual, are bogged down in a semantic debate about who should qualify for these protections. Despite “freedom of the press” being hardwired into the system and the fact that a government effort to protect journalists from its own actions (seeking to identify whistleblowers and sources in order to punish them or shut them up) lies somewhere between “ironic” and “disingenuous,” the pursuit of a credible “shield” law continues. The bill’s definition of “journalist” seems straightforward enough.

The bill defines a journalist as a person who has a “primary intent to investigate events and procure material” in order to inform the public by regularly gathering information through interviews and observations.

It also adds this stipulation, which is a bit more troublesome.

The person also must intend to report on the news at the start of obtaining any protected information and must plan to publish that news.

I can see this stipulation working against whoever the government feels is worthy of the title “journalist.” News develops. It seldom has a distinct starting point. Of course, if someone is a journalist, it stands to reason that they’re always “planning” to publish their findings. But that might be a lot harder to prove when the government starts slinging subpoenas. If someone sends a tip to a journalist, it may not be immediately evident that it is newsworthy. It might be some time before it’s determined to be important, newsworthy and its source in need of protection. It’s a strange stipulation and one that seems to poke some compromising holes in the “shield.” But onto the “who’s really a journalist” argument. Some elected officials feel the language in the bill isn’t specific enough. One in particular, Dianne Feinstein, repeated the stupid but inevitable phrase that always accompanies discussions related to shield laws:

Feinstein suggested that the definition comprise only journalists who make salaries, saying it should be applied just to “real reporters.”

This is nothing new for Feinstein, who’s (along with Sen. Dick Durbin) previously made the argument that acts of journalism can only be performed by major news agencies, cutting everyone else out of the protective loop. This is a protective move based partially on ignorance and partially on the reality that major news networks are easier to control, seeing as most aren’t willing to give up access to the Beltway by pissing off its residents. Sadly, this sort of reactionary ignorance isn’t limited solely to government representatives. This same sort of statement has been made by published authors to demean the self-published and by old school journalists to demean bloggers, serial Tweeters and pretty much everyone not associated with a sinking masthead. Whenever someone assumes they’re capable of determining who is or isn’t a real whatever, they’re usually speaking from a position of privilege, one that can only be maintained as long as the status remains quo. The same goes for government officials arguing over the definition of “journalist.” It’s someone who performs the act of journalism. It’s as simple as that. But if you accept this definition, then you put the government at a greater “risk” of not being able to pursue and punish those who expose its wrongdoing. Feinstein makes this governmental fear explicit in another comment.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., wondered whether it could be used to provide protections to employees of WikiLeaks, an organization that allows anonymous sources to leak information to the public. “I’m concerned this would provide special privilege to those who are not reporters at all,” she said.

Two things to note: One, the government would hate to see people like Snowden or Manning go unpunished because someone at Wikileaks was able to deflect subpoenas and court orders with these protections. Second, this isn’t just a government push — the news industry itself has expressed a willingness to sacrifice Wikileaks in order to expedite passage of a shield law. It seems rather unlikely the government would extend this protection to entities like Wikileaks (especially not with major news agencies on board with selling out Wikileaks, etc.), but at least Sen. Schumer pointed out that Feinstein’s belief that “real” equals “drawing a salary” was a very ignorant take on the current reality.

“The world has changed. We’re very careful in this bill to distinguish journalists from those who shouldn’t be protected, WikiLeaks and all those, and we’ve ensured that,” Schumer said. “But there are people who write and do real journalism, in different ways than we’re used to. They should not be excluded from this bill.”

If this bill is ever going to provide real protection for journalists, it will first have to recognize that journalism isn’t defined by the journalist’s employer, paycheck or association with a large media company. It’s an act and it can be performed by nearly anyone. More importantly, the bill should be equally as concerned with building in strong consequences for government actions that undermine this protection. Without these, entities like the DOJ will hardly be dissuaded from using “unofficial channels” to seize phone records or trace email conversations in order to hunt down protected sources.

Original HERE.

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Atleast It Won’t Kill You, Probably…

This is the type of “advancement” government loves, the ability to inflict fear and perpetrate violence again its subjects.  They are non-lethal unless of course you are a 95 yo WW2 vet (story HERE).

taser

The Technological Evolution of Nonlethal Weaponry

By Doug Hornig, Senior Editor

The rise of humans from fearful creatures huddled around cave fires to the dominant species on the planet largely parallels the evolution of weaponry. Different subgroups rose and fell, spreading their culture or declining in influence as they either came up with the new best thing with which to slaughter their neighbors or fell behind in the innovation game.

Club, axe, spear, atlatl, sword, longbow, crossbow, catapult, gun, bomb, artillery, really big bomb—all have had their day.

We even delineate historical epochs by naming them after the dominant weapon technology of the time: Stone, Bronze, Iron, and the modern era, which might accurately be termed the Gunpowder Age.

Over time, the one constant has been to invent a technology that conferred an advantage on the user in battle—or else served as protection against what the other guy had. And the reason for wielding any given weapon has always been to maim or, preferably, kill one’s adversary. Before one got one’s own self killed, of course.

And Then, Someone Had a Whole New Idea

The concept of a weapon that is designed merely to temporarily incapacitate, with little or no lasting injury, is relatively new.

In a way, the development of nonlethal weaponry (NLW) can be seen as an inevitable byproduct of the rise of democracy in the world. In nations ruled by autocracies of one kind or another, the citizenry must be kept in line with ruthless efficiency. Not even the smallest challenges to the established authority structure can be ignored. Critics are hunted down, jailed, tortured, murdered, dumped into mass graves.

Where power is (at least theoretically) vested in the people, on the other hand, dissent is generally tolerated, even encouraged. Killing one’s countrymen, even if they are political opponents, is considered really bad form. There are laws against it. And elected officials hesitate to raise too heavy a hand, lest they alienate constituents, get voted out, and be stripped of their power and all those nice perks of office.

But this doesn’t mean that there is no demand for crowd control. It remains just as much a necessity. Groups of citizens may be allowed to gather and raise their collective voice in protest, but they are not allowed to stage assaults on the people’s representatives.

At the same time, policing has undergone significant change. Hanging alleged wrongdoers on the spot is no longer sanctioned. “Wanted Dead or Alive” posters have disappeared. Cops carry guns that are supposed to be used for defensive purposes only. In general, law enforcement officers are expected to arrest suspects and convey them to a holding cell while causing minimum physical damage.

Mobs, however, can become unruly and refuse orders to disperse. A hardened criminal confronted by police may not be inclined to go quietly. The state and its appointed protectors need ways of dealing with such problems: ways that try to avoid death or serious injury to citizens who, malefactors though they may be, still retain certain basic rights.

There are warfare applications as well. As Wikipedia puts it, nonlethal weaponry may be used “in combat situations to limit the escalation of conflict where employment of lethal force is prohibited or undesirable, where rules of engagement require minimum casualties, or where policy restricts the use of conventional force.” One might also add “the need to conserve resources” and “the desire to spare the environment” to that list.

With a wide-ranging potential market up for grabs, technology specialists were bound to invent devices to fill every conceivable niche. Thus the advent of nonlethal weapons was a given.

First on the Scene: Gas

Originally developed as killing agents in World War I, deadly gases evolved into nonlethal versions, such as tear gas, a generic term applied to about 15 different aerosols, but primarily either CN or CS, with the latter being the most popular nowadays. The effects of tear gas range from mild tearing of the eyes to more serious reactions.

CN is somewhat more toxic than CS, but it was the first to market. The US Army’s Chemical Warfare Service promoted it for civilian use after World War I, and by the mid-1920s it was a common weapon in police arsenals. CN endures to the present in personal canisters as Mace, a trade name turned generic, although it has largely been replaced in pockets and purses by the more-popular pepper sprays containing capsaicin, ultimately derived from chilis.

While CS, CN, and pepper spray are all considered NLWs, there is no question that they can cause serious injury and, under certain circumstances, death. CN can damage the cornea and has been implicated in deaths from pulmonary damage and/or asphyxia. CS can also cause pulmonary problems and, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association, can significantly damage the heart and liver. Pepper spray, widely considered the most “humane” alternative can, according to a report from the North Carolina Department of Health, cause responses including “burning of the throat, wheezing, dry cough, shortness of breath, gagging, gasping, inability to breathe or speak (due to laryngospasm or laryngeal paralysis), and, rarely, cyanosis, apnea, and respiratory arrest.”

Enter the EMIs

Next on the scene came the electromuscular incapacitation devices, or EMIs, of which the most well-known is the TASER®.

The modern Taser arrived with a patent filed by inventor John Cover in 1974. Although most people probably think the term is a scientific acronym, along the lines of “laser,” it isn’t. Cover playfully named his new device after one of his fictional childhood heroes: the Thomas A Swift Electrical Rifle, and in his patent application described it thusly:

“A weapon for subduing and restraining includes a harmless projectile that is connected by means of a relatively fine, conductive wire to a launcher which contains an electrical power supply. The projectile is intended to contact a living target without serious trauma and to deliver an electric charge thereto sufficient to immobilize.”

We can accept that Cover was well intentioned, but as with other NLWs, the Taser’s capacity for inflicting “serious trauma” (and possibly death) on the recipient can no longer be questioned.

At the same time as the first Taser was rolled out, R&D was under way on a wide variety of pocket stun guns, stun flashlights, and stun batons that were put to police use by the late 1980s and eventually came to be marketed to the public for personal self-defense in close-quarters situations.

Today, a small unit like the one below can easily be purchased online. This particular model features a handy pin at the base that pulls out and renders the gun useless should your opponent wrestle it away from you.

Handheld devices operate on the same principle as the Taser, i.e., they deliver a high-voltage, low-amperage shock to the system that causes disruption of muscular control. Stun guns are offered with up to 5 million volts of power and, though that may sound like enough to wipe out an entire gang of bad guys, it’s the amperage that really matters. Just 0.06 of an amp (i.e., 60 milliamps) is sufficient to cause death in many cases, so these devices are typically calibrated to single-digit milliamperages, which should incapacitate without killing.

A stun gun’s effectiveness in an actual life-and-death situation is at least questionable. Unlike the Taser, it doesn’t operate at a safe distance from the threat. In addition, the longer the arc between the electrical contact points, the greater the effect. That gives Tasers another advantage, in that their projectiles spread out before hitting the target and will typically drop the assailant to the ground since the current is moving over a larger muscle area. Because of stun guns’ smaller arcs, they can require several seconds of contact before the effects kick in, and that might be too long. Manufacturers, however, tout their products by saying that the pain of the initial contact, or merely flashing that electric arc, will cause an attacker to back away from you (um, well, maybe it will—but that isn’t likely if he has a firearm).

Since the Taser acronym contains the word “rifle,” it was only a matter of time before a weapon would be developed that truly fit the name. That time has come. Taser International has introduced its XREP model, which allows for delivery of the shock device at long distance.

Despite the easy availability of EMIs, their legal status must always be considered. They are banned for private use in many countries, and either banned or restricted in nine US states and a half-dozen cities and counties. Be aware of your local regs.

And no NLW has come under as much criticism as EMIs, mainly because they are not always nonlethal. In one case that received national attention, a Vermont state trooper used a Taser to kill an unarmed, 39-year-old epileptic man in June of 2012.

With death always a possibility, one would think that Tasers would not be employed lightly. But because they are regarded as usually harmless, that has hardly proven to be the case.

Coherent Light: Tech Moves Beyond Gas and Shock

As electrical incapacitation devices were being produced, there was no lack of research in other areas. The Early History of “Non-Lethal” Weapons, a 2006 paper from the University of Bradford, UK, notes that by the late 1970s, most varieties of the NLWs we know today had already been conceived. Many were in use, being tested, or under development, including:

  • Kinetic NLWs: Water cannons and projectiles (in use); nets (available, not in use)
  • Electrical: Stun guns and TASERS (in use); wireless electric weapons (proposed)
  • Chemical: Tear gases and smokes (in use); lubricants and aqueous foams (available, not in use); sticky foams and malodorants (in R&D)
  • Biological: Incapacitating bacteria, viruses, and toxins (available but banned by the 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention)
  • Optical: Flash-bang grenades and high-intensity lights (in limited use); stroboscopic lights (in R&D)
  • Acoustic: Audible sound generators (in limited use); ultrasound/infrasound generators (in R&D)
  • Directed energy: Laser and microwave devices (in R&D); vortex generators (proposed).

Although there have been a number of innovations since then, most of what’s been accomplished has to do with refining the product.

Laser weapons, for example, are well out of the R&D stage, despite the fact that their use was banned on the battlefield by the 1995 Vienna Conventional Weapons Convention. The US was a signatory to that protocol.

Nevertheless, we now have various “dazzlers” that operate in either the red or—primarily because it works better in daylight—the green areas of the spectrum. Their purpose, according to the Department of Defense’s Non-Lethal Weapons Reference Book: “Force protection, entry control points, checkpoints, and maritime ports and security zones to warn, deny, move, and suppress (e.g., distract, disorient, and degrade) individuals on foot and those operating vehicles/vessels.”

Dazzlers are designed to emit coherent light beams that are less tight than with conventional lasers, in order not to cause permanent eye damage. There are a large number of models; one is the PHaSR or Personnel Halting and Stimulation Response rifle, which was developed in-house by the US Department of Defense.

Another, the Glare Mout, is a green laser that spreads to a larger spot at the intended target, making aiming the device at long distances or at multiple subjects much easier. The Glare Mout’s effective range is 150 meters to 2 kilometers. Of course, you don’t want to use it at close range, i.e., within the NOHD (that’s bureaucratese for the “nominal ocular hazard distance”). That would cause permanent blindness, and the Glare Mout’s range finder thus has a precautionary, automatic shutoff at 65 meters.

The StunRay is an optical incapacitation effector developed by Genesis Illumination that uses collimated (slightly less than laser) broad-spectrum visible and near-infrared light from a short-arc lamp to safely and temporarily impair vision, disorient, and incapacitate aggressors for 5 seconds to 3 minutes without causing physical harm.

The Saber 203 dazzler uses a 250 mW red laser diode, mounted in a hard plastic capsule in the shape of a standard 40 mm grenade, suitable for being loaded into an M203 grenade launcher. It has an effective range of 300 meters.

But that’s nothing compared with the long-range ocular interruption (LROI) weapon presently under development by the Navy. That one is projected to be effective up to 3,000 meters, or nearly two miles.

And so on. There are lots of these things. While dazzlers per se are prohibited for personal use, green lasers are sold as adjuncts to pistols and rifles. For aiming purposes only, but…

Optical NLWs are not limited to laser devices, either. There is, for example, also a weapon called the Dazzler, a very bright, stroboscopic LED flashlight that causes nausea, dizziness, headache, flash blindness, eye pain, and sometimes vomiting. The Dazzler was developed for the Department of Homeland Security, but is expected to be made available to local law enforcement in the near future. In the meantime, plans for a DIY version can be found on the Internet.

Can You HEAR Me Now?

Acoustic weapons have also taken giant strides forward since the ’70s, with the most well known probably being the long-range acoustic device (LRAD), or “sound cannon.” The LRAD broadcasts focused, very loud sound over longer distances than is possible with normal loudspeaker systems. It can be used to send messages and warnings, but also to cause extreme pain.

For comparison purposes, normal conversation takes place at about 60 decibels (dB). Depending on the person, the pain threshold for an individual is about 130 dB. The LRAD’s maximum continuous level is 162 dB.

LRADs were originally developed for the military to create safe zones around naval vessels, but they have become features of many police departments and some private enterprises, as well. Among the latter is the cruise ship Seabourn Spirit, which was carrying one when attacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia in November of 2005. The pirates had machine guns and RPGs, but the ship was able to repel the assault by turning the LRAD on them.

An LRAD was used for the first time domestically to disperse those protesting at the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh in September of 2009.

One of the problems with the LRAD is that its effects can be permanent. A woman who was watching the Pittsburgh demonstration suffered “permanent hearing loss, nausea, pain, and disorientation” from her exposure to the machine, according to a lawsuit she filed against the city and its police department. In addition, there’s some evidence the LRAD can cause fatal aneurysms. On the practical side, critics also question the value of an expensive NLW whose effectiveness can be defeated with earplugs.

A new entry into the acoustic NLW arena is the Inferno Sound Barrier. It doesn’t make people run from it because of loudness—although at 120 dB, it’s pretty darn loud. It repels because the sound it emits combines four frequencies spread out over 2-5 kHz. Those frequencies mixed together have a deeply disturbing effect on people, causing them to flee within seconds.

The Inferno, a Swedish import, was originally designed to protect public buildings, retailers, and boats, but the manufacturer intends to market it to commercial vehicles like taxis, and to law enforcement for riot control. It’s almost sure to eventually find its way into private residences, as well.

Then, in the “best of both worlds” category, we have the flashbang or stun grenade, which combines optical and auditory incapacitating qualities in a nice, compact package. The device was first developed by the British Army’s elite SAS division in the 1960s. Basically, it’s a grenade without the fragmentation, designed to remain intact after detonation, while releasing all the light and sound of the explosion through holes in its casing.

The flash part momentarily activates all photoreceptor cells in the eye, making vision impossible for about five seconds, until the eye resets itself. The bang part causes temporary loss of hearing and also disturbs the fluid in the ear, leading to loss of balance.

Flashbang grenades have migrated to police use and have been effective in hostage situations. Unfortunately, the heat produced by the blast can ignite combustible materials in the vicinity and lead to deaths, as was the case with an elderly couple in Minneapolis in 1989, when they were mistakenly targeted as drug dealers and died in a SWAT assault that caused a grenade-started fire. The shock from a flashbang has also induced at least one fatal heart attack.

Flashbangs are normally thrown by hand, but there are other delivery systems. VENOM (Vehicle Non-Lethal/Tube Launched Munition System) is a 40mm, multi-shot, electrically actuated grenade launcher mounted to the Marine Corps Transparent Armored Gun Shield turret. The system consists of three banks of ten launch tubes, each at fixed angles of 10, 20, and 30 degrees from horizontal, achieving 360-degree coverage, with a range of 400 feet. Flashbangs can also be rigged to be delivered as an airburst weapon with an increased applicability zone.

Also combining optical and acoustic deterrence is the large, vehicle- or ground-mounted distributed sound and light array (DLSA) system, currently being prototyped by the military.

Other Exotica

Another class of NLWs is shock wave generators, intended simply to knock folks down. The big daddy of these devices—which essentially direct the shock waves from controlled explosions—is the Thunder Generator, originally devised by Israeli farmers to scare away birds. But the Israeli government has an interest in using it for crowd dispersal, since it can upend people at a distance of up to 100 meters. Problem is, if someone strays to within 10 meters, he’s apt to wind up dead.

A related weapon is the Vortex Ring Gun, which creates high-energy gas vortices that can be directed at a target to knock it over. The rings can also be made to carry chemical payloads—such as tear gas, pepper spray, or nausea-inducing malodorants—that then adhere to the person struck by them.

Speaking of malodorants, there are many of them, such as Skunk, used for crowd control by Israeli Defense Forces since 2008. Skunk is dispersed as a mist fired from a water cannon. It leaves a terrible sewage odor on whatever it touches and does not wash off easily. A sudden change of wind direction could be a problem here.

The Mobility Denial System, also known as “instant banana peel,” is a weapon invented a few years back at the Southwest Research Institute. It disperses a thick, slippery gel onto asphalt, concrete, wood, and even grass, making movement impossible without falling down. Vehicles slip and slide as well. The downside of course is that you can’t operate in the treated area any more than the opposition can.

The Pulsed Energy Projectile is currently under development by the military. It involves a weapon emitting an invisible laser pulse that, upon contact with the target, ablates the surface material and creates a bit of exploding plasma on the skin. This produces a pressure wave that stuns the target, knocking him down, as well as electromagnetic radiation that irritates nerve cells, causing pain.

The military’s Active Denial System (ADS), also known as the pain ray, has gotten a lot of media attention. This truck-mounted machine, perfected in 2007, beams electromagnetic radiation—similar to that produced by a microwave oven—at the target and causes an intense burning sensation. Proponents swear that the ray only causes the “impression” of burning, because it barely penetrates the skin—just enough to make your nerve endings think you’re on fire. Demonstrations have been conducted on volunteers, and the principle has been validated, although field tests remain to be carried out.

The ADS was deployed in Afghanistan, but it was recalled without having been used. Potential problems that have been suggested include: ineffectiveness in bad weather; lack of penetration of thick clothing; and inability to selectively target individuals in a crowd. But research continues. The Air Force would like to have an airborne ADS (think drones), but the obstacles are formidable, and that one is just in the conceptual stage. Smaller, man-portable units may be closer to reality.

Sticky Foam guns fire a goo that consists of nontoxic but extremely tacky and/or tenacious materials that solidify when they hit the target, entangling an individual and impairing movement. The downside is the possibility of suffocation if the person is hit in the face. Sticky foam was reportedly used by the Marines as part of an operation in Somalia.

The Netgun looks like an oversized flashlight; it fires a net which entangles the target. A larger version, suitable for use in crowd control, is under development.

Upon detonation, the Stingball Grenade propels a cache of 100 tiny rubber balls in a circular pattern. The Modular Crowd Control Munition (MCCM) is the Stingball’s tightly directed big brother. It’s constructed like a Claymore mine but with 600 rubber balls inside that are sprayed out in a 45-degree arc.

Nor have swimmers been forgotten. Future scuba divers bent on attaching mines to ships will meet resistance in the form of an underwater pulsed sound wave that is sure to drive them off if they get within 150 meters. It’s under development by the Navy.

Just over the horizon: Sierra Nevada Corp., working under a US Navy contract, is reportedly ready to build a microwave ray gun called the MEDUSA (Mob Excess Deterrent Using Silent Audio). The device fires short microwave pulses that penetrate the head and rapidly heat tissue, resulting in a shockwave inside the skull.

Finally, we shouldn’t leave this subject without a quick mention of one of the more whimsical of recent NLW inventions, the speech jammer gun developed by some Japanese tinkerers. This device is not intended to incapacitate anyone, just to shut them up. Effective at up to a hundred feet, you simply aim it at someone who won’t stop talking, and it broadcasts the speaker’s own words back at him with a 0.2-second delay, causing him to become completely tongue-tied and unable to go on. Poetic justice indeed. Hmmm… We can think of a whole lot of Washingtonians (DC denizens, not the Pacific Northwest state citizens) we’d love to try this thing out on.

NLWs: An Ongoing Experiment

As noted at the outset, NLWs are a recent arrival on the human scene, and we’re still experimenting with the proper ways in which to use them. As a means of responding to threats from our fellow humans without having to kill them, these weapons are surely an improvement over brute force. However, there are some issues involved, and the need to deal with them is extremely important.

[Ed. Note: At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that technology is completely neutral. It will evolve with no regard to how it is used. To stay abreast of this evolution and to capitalize on many of the exciting opportunities to come, we shamelessly recommend taking Casey Extraordinary Technology for one of our famous risk-free test drives.]

Original HERE.

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I, Pencil

I heard about this during a Tom Woods Speech and it intrigued me so I looked it up.  The pencil seems quite hubristic at first, how is a pencil anything but common

Once government has had a monopoly of a creative activity such, for instance, as  the delivery of the mails, most individuals will believe that the mails could  not be efficiently delivered by men acting freely. And here is the reason: Each  one acknowledges that he himself doesn’t know how to do all the things incident  to mail delivery. He also recognizes that no other individual could do it. These  assumptions are correct. No individual possesses enough know-how to perform a  nation’s mail delivery any more than any individual possesses enough know-how to  make a pencil. Now, in the absence of faith in free people—in the unawareness  that millions of tiny know-hows would naturally and miraculously form and  cooperate to satisfy this necessity—the individual cannot help but reach the  erroneous conclusion that mail can be delivered only by governmental “masterminding.”

i pencil

Here is the youtube video of the essay being read (well worth the 16 mins) and the text is below if you prefer to read (with a forward by the author and afterward by Milton Friedman).

Introduction

By Lawrence W. Reed

Eloquent. Extraordinary. Timeless. Paradigm-shifting. Classic. Half a century  after it first appeared, Leonard Read’s “I, Pencil” still evokes such adjectives  of praise. Rightfully so, for this little essay opens eyes and minds among  people of all ages. Many first-time readers never see the world quite the same  again.

Ideas are most powerful when they’re wrapped in a compelling story. Leonard’s  main point—economies can hardly be “planned” when not one soul possesses all the  know-how and skills to produce a simple pencil—unfolds in the enchanting words  of a pencil itself. Leonard could have written “I, Car” or “I, Airplane,” but  choosing those more complex items would have muted the message. No one  person—repeat, no one, no matter how smartor how many degrees follow his  name—could create from scratch a small, everyday pencil, let alone a car or an  airplane.

This is a message that humbles the high and mighty. It pricks the inflated egos  of those who think they know how to mind everybody else’s business. It explains  in plain language why central planning is an exercise in arrogance and futility,  or what Nobel laureate and Austrian economist
F. A. Hayek aptly termed “the pretence of knowledge.”

Indeed,  a major influence on Read’s thinking in this regard was Hayek’s famous 1945  article, “The Use of Knowledge in Society.” In demolishing the spurious claims  of the socialists of the day, Hayek wrote,“This is not a dispute about whether  planning is to be done or not. It is a dispute as to whether planning is to be  done centrally, by one authority for the whole economic system, or is to be  divided among many individuals.”

Maximilien  Robespierre is said to have blessed the horrific French Revolution with this  chilling declaration: “On ne saurait pas faire une omelette sans casser des  oeufs.” Translation: “One can’t expect to make an omelet without breaking eggs.” A consummate statist who worked tirelessly to plan the lives of others, he would  become the architect of the Revolution’s bloodiest phase—the Reign of Terror of  1793–94.

Robespierre and his guillotine broke eggs by the thousands in a vain effort to  impose a utopian society with government planners at the top and everybody else  at the bottom. That French experience is but one example in a disturbingly  familiar pattern. Call them what you will—socialists, interventionists,  collectivists, statists—history is littered with their presumptuous plans for  rearranging society to fit their vision of the common good, plans that always  fail as they kill or impoverish other people in the process. If socialism ever  earns a final epitaph, it will be this: Here lies a contrivance engineered by  know-it-alls who broke eggs with abandon but never, ever created an omelet.

None of the Robespierres of the world knew how to make a pencil, yet they  wanted to remake entire societies. How utterly preposterous, and mournfully  tragic! But we will miss a large implication of Leonard Read’s message if we  assume it aims only at the tyrants whose names we all know. The lesson of “I,  Pencil” is not that error begins when the planners plan big. It begins the  moment one tosses humility aside, assumes he knows the unknowable, and employs  the force of the State against peaceful individuals. That’s not just a national  disease. It can be very local indeed.

In our midst are people who think that if only they had government power on  their side, they could pick tomorrow’s winners and losers in the marketplace,  set prices or rents where they ought to be, decide which forms of energy should  power our homes and cars, and choose which industries should survive and which  should die. They should stop for a few moments and learn a little humility from  a lowly writing implement.

While “I, Pencil” shoots down the baseless expectations for central planning,  it provides a supremely uplifting perspective of the individual. Guided by Adam  Smith’s “invisible hand” of prices, property, profits, and incentives, free  people accomplish economic miracles of which socialist theoreticians can only  dream. As the interests of countless individuals from around the world converge  to produce pencils without a single “master mind,” so do they also come together  in free markets to feed, clothe, house, educate, and entertain hundreds of  millions of people at ever higher levels. With great pride, FEE publishes this  new edition of “I, Pencil” to mark the essay’s 50th anniversary. Someday there  will be a centennial edition, maybe even a millennial one. This essay is truly  one for the ages.

—Lawrence  W. Reed, President
Foundation for  Economic Education

***

I, Pencil

By Leonard E. Read

I am a lead pencil—the ordinary wooden pencil familiar to all boys and girls  and adults who can read and write.

Writing is both my vocation and my avocation; that’s all I do.

You may wonder why I should write a genealogy. Well, to begin with, my story is  interesting. And, next, I am a mystery —more so than a tree or a sunset or even  a flash of lightning. But, sadly, I am taken for granted by those who use me, as  if I were a mere incident and without background. This supercilious attitude  relegates me to the level of the commonplace. This is a species of the grievous  error in which mankind cannot too long persist without peril. For, the wise G.  K. Chesterton observed, “We are perishing for want of wonder, not for want of  wonders.”

I,  Pencil, simple though I appear to be, merit your wonder and awe, a claim I shall  attempt to prove. In fact, if you can understand me—no, that’s too much to ask  of anyone—if you can become aware of the miraculousness which I symbolize, you  can help save the freedom mankind is so unhappily losing. I have a profound  lesson to teach. And I can teach this lesson better than can an automobile or an  airplane or a mechanical dishwasher because—well, because I am seemingly so  simple.

Simple? Yet, not a single person on the face of this earth knows how to make  me. This sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? Especially when it is realized that there  are about one and one-half billion of my kind produced in the U.S.A. each  year.

Pick me up and look me over. What do you see? Not much meets the eye—there’s  some wood, lacquer, the printed labeling, graphite lead, a bit of metal, and an  eraser.

Innumerable Antecedents

Just as you cannot trace your family tree back very far, so is it impossible  for me to name and explain all my antecedents. But I would like to suggest  enough of them to impress upon you the richness and complexity of my  background.

My family tree begins with what in fact is a tree, a cedar of straight grain  that grows in Northern California and Oregon. Now contemplate all the saws and  trucks and rope and the countless other gear used in harvesting and carting the  cedar logs to the railroad siding. Think of all the persons and the numberless  skills that went into their fabrication: the mining of ore, the making of steel  and its refinement into saws, axes, motors; the growing of hemp and bringing it  through all the stages to heavy and strong rope; the logging camps with their  beds and mess halls, the cookery and the raising of all the foods. Why, untold  thousands of persons had a hand in every cup of coffee the loggers drink!

The logs are shipped to a mill in San Leandro, California. Can you imagine the  individuals who make flat cars and rails and railroad engines and who construct  and install the communication systems incidental thereto? These legions are  among my antecedents.

Consider the millwork in San Leandro. The cedar logs are cut into small,  pencil-length slats less than one-fourth of an inch in thickness. These are kiln  dried and then tinted for the same reason women put rouge on their faces. People  prefer that I look pretty, not a pallid white. The slats are waxed and kiln  dried again. How many skills went into the making of the tint and the kilns,  into supplying the heat, the light and power, the belts, motors, and all the  other things a mill requires? Sweepers in the mill among my ancestors? Yes, and  included are the men who poured the concrete for the dam of a Pacific Gas &  Electric Company hydroplant which supplies the mill’s power!

Don’t overlook the ancestors present and distant who have a hand in  transporting sixty carloads of slats across the nation.

Once in the pencil factory—$4,000,000 in machinery and building, all capital  accumulated by thrifty and saving parents of mine—each slat is given eight  grooves by a complex machine, after which another machine lays leads in every  other slat, applies glue, and places another slat atop—a lead sandwich, so to  speak. Seven brothers and I are mechanically carved from this “wood-clinched” sandwich.

My “lead” itself—it contains no lead at all—is complex. The graphite is mined  in Ceylon [Sri Lanka]. Consider these miners and those who make their many tools  and the makers of the paper sacks in which the graphite is shipped and those who  make the string that ties the sacks and those who put them aboard ships and  those who make the ships. Even the lighthouse keepers along the way assisted in  my birth—and the harbor pilots.

The graphite is mixed with clay from Mississippi in which ammonium hydroxide is  used in the refining process. Then wetting agents are added such as sulfonated  tallow—animal fats chemically reacted with sulfuric acid. After passing through  numerous machines, the mixture finally appears as endless extrusions—as from a  sausage grinder—cut to size, dried, and baked for several hours at 1,850 degrees  Fahrenheit. To increase their strength and smoothness the leads are then treated  with a hot mixture which includes candelilla wax from Mexico, paraffin wax, and  hydrogenated natural fats.

My cedar receives six coats of lacquer. Do you know all the ingredients of  lacquer? Who would think that the growers of castor beans and the refiners of  castor oil are a part of it? They are. Why, even the processes by which the  lacquer is made a beautiful yellow involve the skills of more persons than one  can enumerate!

Observe the labeling. That’s a film formed by applying heat to carbon black  mixed with resins. How do you make resins and what, pray, is carbon black?

My bit of metal—the ferrule—is brass. Think of all the persons who mine zinc  and copper and those who have the skills to make shiny sheet brass from these  products of nature. Those black rings on my ferrule are black nickel. What is  black nickel and how is it applied? The complete story of why the center of my  ferrule has no black nickel on it would take pages to explain.

Then there’s my crowning glory, inelegantly referred to in the trade as “the  plug,” the part man uses to erase the errors he makes with me. An ingredient  called “factice” is what does the erasing. It is a rubber-like product made by  reacting rapeseed oil from the Dutch East Indies [Indonesia] with sulfur  chloride. Rubber, contrary to the common notion, is only for binding purposes.  Then, too, there are numerous vulcanizing and accelerating agents. The pumice  comes from Italy; and the pigment which gives “the plug” its color is cadmium  sulfide.

No One Knows

Does anyone wish to challenge my earlier assertion that no single person on the  face of this earth knows how to make me?

Actually, millions of human beings have had a hand in my creation, no one of  whom even knows more than a very few of the others. Now, you may say that I go  too far in relating the picker of a coffee berry in far-off Brazil and food  growers elsewhere to my creation; that this is an extreme position. I shall  stand by my claim. There isn’t a single person in all these millions, including  the president of the pencil company, who contributes more than a tiny,  infinitesimal bit of know-how. From the standpoint of know-how the only  difference between the miner of graphite in Ceylon and the logger in Oregon is  in the type of know-how. Neither the miner nor the logger can be dispensed with,  any more than can the chemist at the factory or the worker in the oil  field—paraffin being a by-product of petroleum.

Here is an astounding fact: Neither the worker in the oil field nor the chemist  nor the digger of graphite or clay nor any who mans or makes the ships or trains  or trucks nor the one who runs the machine that does the knurling on my bit of  metal nor the president of the company performs his singular task because he  wants me. Each one wants me less, perhaps, than does a child in the first grade.  Indeed, there are some among this vast multitude who never saw a pencil nor  would they know how to use one. Their motivation is other than me. Perhaps it is  something like this: Each of these millions sees that he can thus exchange his  tiny know-how for the goods and services he needs or wants. I may or may not be  among these items.

No Master Mind

There is a fact still more astounding: The absence of a master mind, of anyone  dictating or forcibly directing these countless actions which bring me into  being. No trace of such a person can be found. Instead, we find the Invisible  Hand at work. This is the mystery to which I earlier referred.

It has been said that “only God can make a tree.” Why do we agree with this?  Isn’t it because we realize that we ourselves could not make one? Indeed, can we  even describe a tree? We cannot, except in superficial terms. We can say, for  instance, that a certain molecular configuration manifests itself as a tree. But  what mind is there among men that could even record, let alone direct, the  constant changes in molecules that transpire in the life span of a tree? Such a  feat is utterly unthinkable!

I, Pencil, am a complex combination of miracles: a tree, zinc, copper,  graphite, and so on. But to these miracles which manifest themselves in Nature  an even more extraordinary miracle has been added: the configuration of creative  human energies—millions of tiny know-hows configurating naturally and  spontaneously in response to human necessity and desire and in the absence of  any human masterminding! Since only God can make a tree, I insist that only God  could make me. Man can no more direct these millions of know-hows to bring me  into being than he can put molecules together to create a tree.

The above is what I meant when writing, “If you can become aware of the  miraculousness which I symbolize, you can help save the freedom mankind is so  unhappily losing.” For, if one is aware that these know-hows will naturally,  yes, automatically, arrange themselves into creative and productive patterns in  response to human necessity and demand— that is, in the absence of governmental  or any other coercive master-minding—then one will possess an absolutely  essential ingredient for freedom: a faith in free people. Freedom is impossible  without this faith.

Once government has had a monopoly of a creative activity such, for instance,  as the delivery of the mails, most individuals will believe that the mails could  not be efficiently delivered by men acting freely. And here is the reason: Each  one acknowledges that he himself doesn’t know how to do all the things incident  to mail delivery. He also recognizes that no other individual could do it. These  assumptions are correct. No individual possesses enough know-how to perform a  nation’s mail delivery any more than any individual possesses enough know-how to  make a pencil. Now, in the absence of faith in free people—in the unawareness  that millions of tiny know-hows would naturally and miraculously form and  cooperate to satisfy this necessity—the individual cannot help but reach the  erroneous conclusion that mail can be delivered only by governmental “masterminding.”

Testimony  Galore

If I, Pencil, were the only item that could offer testimony on what men and  women can accomplish when free to try, then those with little faith would have a  fair case. However, there is testimony galore; it’s all about us and on every  hand. Mail delivery is exceedingly simple when compared, for instance, to the  making of an automobile or a calculating machine or a grain combine or a milling  machine or to tens of thousands of other things. Delivery? Why, in this area  where men have been left free to try, they deliver the human voice around the  world in less than one second; they deliver an event visually and in motion to  any person’s home when it is happening; they deliver 150 passengers from Seattle  to Baltimore in less than four hours; they deliver gas from Texas to one’s range  or furnace in New York at unbelievably low rates and without subsidy; they  deliver each four pounds of oil from the Persian Gulf to our Eastern  Seaboard—halfway around the world—for less money than the government charges for  delivering a one-ounce letter across the street!

The lesson I have to teach is this: Leave all creative energies uninhibited.  Merely organize society to act in harmony with this lesson. Let society’s legal  apparatus remove all obstacles the best it can. Permit these creative know-hows  freely to flow. Have faith that free men and women will respond to the Invisible  Hand. This faith will be confirmed. I, Pencil, seemingly simple though I am,  offer the miracle of my creation as testimony that this is a practical faith, as  practical as the sun, the rain, a cedar tree, the good earth.

***

Afterword

By Milton Friedman, Nobel Laureate, 1976

Leonard Read’s delightful story, “I, Pencil,” has become a classic, and  deservedly so. I know of no other piece of literature that so succinctly,  persuasively, and effectively illustrates the meaning of both Adam Smith’s  invisible hand—the possibility of cooperation without coercion—and Friedrich  Hayek’s emphasis on the importance of dispersed knowledge and the role of the  price system in communicating information that “will make the individuals do the  desirable things without anyone having to tell them what to do.”

We  used Leonard’s story in our television show, “Free to Choose,” and in the  accompanying book of the same title to illustrate “the power of the market” (the  title of both the first segment of the TV show and of chapter one of the book).  We summarized the story and then went on to say:

“None  of the thousands of persons involved in producing the pencil performed his task  because he wanted a pencil. Some among them never saw a pencil and would not  know what it is for. Each saw his work as a way to get the goods and services he  wanted—goods and services we produced in order to get the pencil we wanted.  Every time we go to the store and buy a pencil, we are exchanging a little bit  of our services for the infinitesimal amount of services that each of the  thousands contributed toward producing the pencil.

“It  is even more astounding that the pencil was ever produced. No one sitting in a  central office gave orders to these thousands of people. No military police  enforced the orders that were not given. These people live in many lands, speak  different languages, practice different religions, may even hate one another—yet  none of these differences prevented them from cooperating to produce a pencil.  How did it happen? Adam Smith gave us the answer two hundred years ago.”

“I, Pencil” is a typical Leonard Read product: imaginative, simple yet subtle,  breathing the love of freedom that imbued everything Leonard wrote or did. As in  the rest of his work, he was not trying to tell people what to do or how to  conduct themselves. He was simply trying to enhance individuals’ understanding  of themselves and of the system they live in.

That was his basic credo and one that he stuck to consistently during his long  period of service to the public—not public service in the sense of government  service. Whatever the pressure, he stuck to his guns, refusing to compromise his  principles. That was why he was so effective in keeping alive, in the early  days, and then spreading the basic idea that human freedom required private  property, free competition, and severely limited government.

text found HERE.

0

Try Hacking This

h/t to JQ from TBP for this video.  I am sure the government isn’t capable of things like this, just ask Michael Hastings, oh wait…

This makes me want to drive something like this:

model t

Good luck hacking that you muthafudga’s.

kid in shades giving the finger

2

Tesla

Do you like having modern electricity?  Well you have Nikola Tesla to thank for that.  He was born on this day 157 years ago.  I have great deal of respect for him, I learned about him in college, read multiple biographies about him and was delighted to see David Bowie portray him in The Prestige.  I particularly like a scene where Michael Caine’s character explains that the machine Tesla made wasn’t “magic” (meaning fake) but really worked because it was built by a “Wizard” (Tesla).  Tesla wasn’t a mad scientist, he is the mad scientist.

bowie as tesla

man out of time

I think Man Out Of Time is the best book about him.  I didn’t think I could dislike Edison and JP Morgan any more than I already did but reading about what they did to Tesla proved I could hate them more.  He truly was eccentric and odd compared to the common man, but that’s because Tesla wasn’t common, he was extraordinary.  For instance he said things like this in the early 1900′s

“…With these developments we have every reason to anticipate that in a time not very distant most telegraphic messages across the oceans will be transmitted without cables. For short distances we need a ‘wireless’ telephone, which requires no expert operators…”

and

“When wireless is perfectly applied the whole earth will be converted into a huge brain, which in fact it is, all things being particles of a real and rhythmic whole. We shall be able to communicate with one another instantly, irrespective of distance. Not only this, but through television and telephony we shall see and hear one another as perfectly as though we were face to face, despite intervening distances of thousands of miles; and the instruments through which we shall be able to do his will be amazingly simple compared with our present telephone. A man will be able to carry one in his vest pocket.”

Sure sounds like cell phones, wifi and the the internet doesn’t it?  Oh wait, Al Gore invented the last one, right? (sic)  Most people can barely see things as they are, some sees things as they could be in the short to medium term.  Tesla could see the trajectory of technology beyond most anyone else alive, he could see centuries ahead.  This along with his amazing intellect allowed him to jump ahead of so many people.  He was literally a person way ahead of his time.  This is what made him great but it is almost certainly contributed to his isolation.  I have to think that a person of his intellect and ability born a few hundred years earlier would have been labeled a witch and burned at the stake.  Rarely are a people ready for major leaps, the mob is only capable of baby steps.

Tesla and Mark Twain were very good friends, they were both great at what they did and had great respect for each other’s work.  If I was able to travel back in time I would love to be in Tesla’s lab during an experiment while Twain was there and they were “geeking out.”

tesla

Everyone alive today is affected by the work Tesla did and people like me (engineers) even more so.  Eventhough I admit it is fitting, I don’t like that an electric car company uses his name, but atleast it causes people to wonder where that name came from and do some reading.  Whether or not people know it they are currently bombarded with Tesla-like qualities in pop-culture.  Many of the characters in Big Bang Theory exhibit similarities to the famous engineer/scientist.  And if you are/were a fan of the show Fringe, it is pretty hard to argue that much of Walter Bishop’s mannerisms and scientific breakthroughs were not deeply influenced by Tesla.  And for anyone who has read Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged should recognize the similarities between Tesla and John Galt.  People like Tesla make Science Fiction into Science Fact.

The greatest tragedy in my mind is that if Tesla wouldn’t of had to give-up his royalty rights to AC motors he likely would have been richer than Bill Gates is today.  All he wanted was to further develop his ideas and spend time in the lab.  If he had what was essentially unilimited funding I think technology would be light years ahead of where it is today; personal flying cars and teleportation would be commonplace by now and super efficient inexpensive electrcity would likely be available.

jetson car

Click HERE for more information via Wikipedia.

tesla coil

0

NSA Caught On Camera Spying

nsa caught spying

Now we have proof you mutha…

0

Being Called A Traitor By Cheney Is The Highest Honor For An American

The more I hear from Edward Snowden the more I like the guy.

Here is James Quinn most recent article and it is a doozy.  People with critical thinking skills know who the traitors are and who the patriots are.  I have no doubts where the likes of Adams, Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, Henry, Revere and the other Founders would weigh in on this.

Quinn has a way with words and this quote sums it up here (my emphasis added):

“Edward Snowden is a patriot of the highest order. His act of heroism, knowing he would be despised, attacked and hunted down by the American Thugocracy, is on par with the actions of our Founding Fathers who knew they would be hung if their Revolution failed. A true patriot must be ready to defend his country against a tyrannical government. Edward Snowden just dumped the tea into the Boston Harbor.”

 

WHO ARE THE REAL TRAITORS?

Posted on 18th June 2013 by Administrator  in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

“I’m neither traitor nor hero. I’m an American.”Edward Snowden

“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”  – Samuel Adams

There are weeks that change the course of human history. There are weeks when people must choose sides. There are weeks that expose the real American traitors. There is no middle ground in this debate. You are either on the side of freedom, liberty, truth, transparency and the U.S. Constitution or you are on the side of mindless obedience, oppression, deception, corruption and tyranny. A courageous young Millennial named Edward Snowden has risked his life and his future to expose the illegal, surreptitious surveillance programs being conducted by the United States government in clear violation of the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The NSA, with the full knowledge of Barack Obama and Congress, has been covertly collecting phone and internet records on millions of Americans with the full cooperation of Verizon and other mega media/data corporations. Our owners have been using the U.S. Constitution to wipe their asses. The 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is so unambiguous that any intelligent politician, bright journalist or fifth grader in Miss Sabatini’s history class could interpret its meaning and intention. Our founding fathers believed in truth, clarity and simplicity. The traitorous sociopaths in control of our government today believe in obfuscation, ambiguity and complexity.

File:Upstream slide of the PRISM presentation.jpg

Living Constitution?

Do you believe the mass collection of metadata information from millions of Americans with no probable cause is an unreasonable search as defined by the 4th Amendment? Do you believe the complete lockdown of one of the biggest metropolitan areas in the country and the door to door search by heavily armed government security thugs for one wounded teenager, without warrants or probable cause, was a violation of the 4th Amendment? Do you believe secretive governmental agencies have the right to partner with the biggest internet/communications/mass media corporations in the world to record your phone calls, read your emails, and monitor your internet communications under the bogus justification of the War on Terror (you are more likely to be struck by lightning twice than to be killed by a terrorist)?  Do you believe that government agencies tasked with revenue collection can be used to create an enemies list based upon whether you donated to the Ron Paul campaign, believe in liberty, or belong to a Tea Party organization? Do you believe allowing minimum wage government drones to molest little old ladies, paraplegics and three year old children, while conducting full body scans on all airline passengers really makes you safer from phantom terrorists? Do you believe having 30,000 high tech surveillance drones that can see you picking your nose in your driveway from 25,000 feet are not a violation of your privacy rights?

Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

If you answered in the affirmative to any or all of the questions above you are either a government apparatchik, someone dependent upon the surveillance state for your paycheck, a victim of decades of mind control through corporate mass media propaganda, or one of the willfully ignorant masses. Of course the ignorant masses will not be reading these questions as they are focused on the inbred royal family saga, Kim Kardashian’s bastard child pregnancy, and the upcoming episodes of Honey Boo Boo, Teen Mom, I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant, Duck Dynasty, Real Housewives of Idiocracy or paying $200 on their plastic debt accumulator to watch multi-millionaire freaks of nature play children’s games. Those who argue the U.S. Constitution is a living document open to interpretation by the interchangeable corporate fascist parties that control the reins of power at Versailles on the Potomac are nothing but apologists for the corrupt status quo. The American people are provided the illusion of choice by their owners, but the major policies are kept intact – never ending war, never ending currency debasement, and never ending screwing of the middle class.

The revelations by Millennial martyr, Edward Snowden, about the PRISM program and the fact that the NSA harvests data directly from the servers of Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Apple, Yahoo and other corporate co-conspirators came just days after disclosure that our Orwellian trained keepers had been shredding the 1st Amendment. The Obama administration has continuously flaunted the Bill of Rights when they interfere with their mission to create a centrally planned welfare/warfare state. Republicans don’t resist Obama’s efforts on Constitutional grounds, as they have no love for its constraints either. The seizure of AP reporter phone records in an effort to uncover leaks and to intimidate the free press, monitoring of reporter James Rosen using false information to obtain a warrant, and the computer hacking of lead Benghazi CBS reporter Cheryl Attkisson are clearly violations of the 1st Amendment.

There has been faux outrage among those in the establishment. It’s nothing but a game to entertain their rabid disciples. There is virtually no difference between the pretend parties who alternately operate as figurehead leadership in Washington D.C. Both parties cooperated to crush the peaceable assembly of young people exercising their right to petition the government about the blatant criminality of Wall Street bankers. The supposed Soros inspired OWS movement was subdued by Democratic mayors using their local military police hooligans, supported by the Federal surveillance state, in cooperation with the very same criminal Wall Street banks who had destroyed the worldwide financial system in their ransacking of the nation’s wealth through a well planned and executed control fraud.

The cheerleading of this disgusting display of fascist tactics by Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News and the likes of CNN, MSNBC, and Bloomberg News told me everything I needed to know. Those within the status quo will circle the wagons whenever there is a threat to their wealth, power and control. If you make it onto the establishment’s enemies list, the Constitution will not protect you. The only true free speech is being exercised on the internet, for now. The plutocracy of wealthy corporate elite and their captured puppet politicians are attempting to crush dissent and free speech by restricting access to anti-establishment websites, introducing legislation to control the internet and as we now know hacking into sites considered enemies of the state. The guarantee of 1st Amendment protection has increasingly becoming a quaint old fashion notion in this fascist state.

First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:

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.

The Constitution has been increasingly treated as an optional instructional manual by what passes for leadership in this country. An all-out assault has been waged on the 2nd Amendment by the control freaks who want to create a national gun registry so they know where to send their military assault teams when the time comes. Every assault on our liberties, rights and freedoms is done on behalf of the children. Sinclair Lewis once declared:

“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”

He was wrong. Fascism has come to America, wrapped in fiat currency, carrying a child as a prop, in the name of the War on Terrorism. Presidents have been flaunting their disdain for Article One, Section Eight of the Constitution since World War II. The Imperial American Empire has been militarily enforcing its hegemony over the world since the 1950’s without Congress ever declaring war, as required by the Constitution. Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and now Syria are just the latest victims of our hypocritical interventionist state. Our predator drones roam the skies above foreign countries murdering suspected bad guys at the whim of PS3 trained gutless techno geeks sipping a decaf on their 9 to 5 shift.  The corrupt spineless swine in Congress expose themselves as nothing more than bought off acolytes of the military industrial complex warned about by Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1961:

“This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

The citizens of this country have failed to heed his warning. We have not been alert and to describe the narcissistic, delusional, math challenged, willfully ignorant sheep, bleating for their safety and security as knowledgeable is beyond laughable. Security and liberty have not prospered together. The arms dealers formed an unholy alliance with the Too Big To Trust Wall Street banks, their sugar daddy Federal Reserve, easily bought off feckless political class, and sociopathic government bureaucrats to create this corporate fascist welfare/warfare state that has subverted our liberty while obscenely enriching the .1% who have used their unwarranted influence in a traitorous manner. The disastrous consequences for the world continue to build like the dome of a volcano before it detonates and destroys everything in a fiery swath of lava.

New Boss Same As The Old Boss

“If people can’t trust not only the executive branch, but also don’t trust Congress and don’t trust federal judges to make sure that we’re abiding by the Constitution, due process and rule of law, then we’re going to have some problems here.” – Barack Obama

The nattering classes who dominate the boob tube spin the storylines of their corporate clients on a daily basis, but the uncovering of the deceitful activities of the ruling establishment by Edward Snowden have exposed the truth about who runs this country. Republicans, Democrats, neo-cons, ultra-liberals, Fox News, MSNBC, the New York Times, Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal, military generals, and the government drones who monitor our phone calls, texts, emails and internet postings have all shown their true colors in the last week. They don’t care about truth, justice, or the American people. James Clapper lied during sworn testimony before Congress about spying on millions of Americans because he didn’t think he’d be caught. He was caught red handed. And no one is calling for his apprehension and imprisonment.

We are lied to, misled, misinformed, and inundated with falsehoods and propaganda on a daily basis by our leaders. The proof that we live in a plutocracy dominated by two corrupt political parties (with 250 millionaires in Congress), six Wall Street banks (JP Morgan, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs), six mass media companies (Comcast, Google, Walt Disney, News Corp., Time Warner, Viacom), seven arm dealers (Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrup Grumman, General Dynamics, Raytheon, L-3 Communications, United Technologies), a few politically connected mega-corporations (Exxon, General Electric, Verizon, Microsoft, Wal-Mart, General Motors, Apple, Berkshire Hathaway, IBM), and a few hundred shadowy billionaires is how they have unequivocally declared that Edward Snowden is a filthy high school dropout traitor. He has revealed secrets about how the lords of the manor keep the serfs and peasants under surveillance. Here is a smattering of the vitriol spewed about this American patriot:

“America is now a less safe place. The world is a less safe place because of what Mr. Snowden unilaterally did. He deserves to be prosecuted. I hope they find him in the hole that he’s hiding in in Hong Kong and bring him home and try him.” – Karl Rove

“I hope we follow Mr. Snowden to the ends of the earth to bring him to justice.” – Lindsey Graham

“For this, some, including my colleague John Cassidy, are hailing him as a hero and a whistle-blower. He is neither. He is, rather, a grandiose narcissist who deserves to be in prison.”Jeffrey Toobin – The New Yorker

“What he did was an act of treason.”Diane Feinstein

“He’s a traitor.” – John Boehner

“I think he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I consider him right now to be a defector.” – Peter King

“There is an obligation both moral, but also legal, I believe, against a reporter disclosing something which would so severely compromise national security.” – Peter King

“I can assure you, this is not about spying on the American people.” – Al Franken

“For me it is literally, not figuratively, literally, gut-wrenching to see this happen, because of the huge, grave damage it does to our intelligence capabilities.”James Clapper (Perjurer)

“We do not see a tradeoff between security and liberty.” – Keith Alexander – NSA Director

“The national security of the United States has been damaged as a result those leaks. The safety of the American people and the safety of people who reside in allied nations have been put at risk as a result of these leaks.” – Eric Holder

“I think he’s a traitor. I’m suspicious because he went to China. That’s not a place where you would ordinarily want to go if you are interested in freedom, liberty and so forth. It raises questions whether or not he had that kind of connection before he did this.” Dick Cheney – The Dark Lord

“And I hope that he is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.” – Mitch McConnell

“Now you’ve got this 29-year-old high school dropout whistleblower making foreign policy for our country, our security policy. It’s sad, Brian. We’ve made treason cool. Betraying your country is kind of a fashion statement. He wants to be the national security Kim Kardashian. He cites Bradley Manning as a hero. I mean, we need to get very, very serious about treason. And oh by the way, for treason — as in the case of Bradley Manning or Edwards Snowden — you bring back the death penalty.”Fox and Friends

“Can intelligence operate effectively if every starry-eyed analyst feels entitled to be a self-appointed whistle-blower?” – Gary RosenThe Wall Street Journal

“Edward Snowden should go to jail, as quickly and for as long as possible.” – John Yoo – The National Review.

“I think on three scores—that is leaking the Patriot Act section 215, FISA 702, and the president’s classified cyber operations’ directive—on the strength of leaking that, yes, that would be a prosecutable offense. I think that he should be prosecuted.” – Nancy Pelosi

“Who is a journalist is a question we need to ask ourselves. Is any blogger out there saying anything – do they deserve First Amendment protection? These are the issues of our times.” – Lindsey Graham

“This lens makes you more likely to share the distinct strands of libertarianism that are blossoming in this fragmenting age: the deep suspicion of authority, the strong belief that hierarchies and organizations are suspect, the fervent devotion to transparency, the assumption that individual preference should be supreme. You’re more likely to donate to the Ron Paul for president campaign, as Snowden did. But Big Brother is not the only danger facing the country. Another is the rising tide of distrust, the corrosive spread of cynicism, the fraying of the social fabric and the rise of people who are so individualistic in their outlook that they have no real understanding of how to knit others together and look after the common good.” – David Brooks

It seems the ruling oligarchs, their mouthpieces in the mainstream media (both conservative & liberal), Machiavellian politicians on both sides of the aisle, unscrupulous military commanders and deceitful government bureaucrats have all rallied to shield their existing perverted surveillance state. These people actually believe that what is best for their own personal interests is best for the citizens of this country. There is only one Party – the Establishment Party. The smear campaign against Edward Snowden began immediately. The vitriolic accusations, venomous scorn, malicious ridicule and pathetic attempts to discredit Edward Snowden for sacrificing everything on behalf of the country he loves has revealed more truth about how the real world operates than the thousands of articles written by supposed “conspiracy theorists” over the last decade. Anyone with their eyes open and mind not controlled by the regime know the real criminals in this tragedy. Leon Trotsky, who also participated in a brutal fascist surveillance state, put it best:

“The real criminals hide under the cloak of the accusers.”

In a country where those in power encourage and participate in the plundering of people’s bank accounts by billionaires, the largest financial control fraud in world history by the biggest Wall Street banks, treating every citizen as a suspect until proven otherwise under the auspices of the ironically named Patriot Act, creating an Orwellian surveillance state of cameras, drones and snitches, torturing suspected enemies, conducting military exercises in the skies above our cities, seizing reporters’ personal records, using government agencies to harass political opponents, listening to our phone calls with warrantless wiretaps, reading our emails and texts, brutally crushing peaceful protests, attempting to disarm us, locking down an entire city and kicking doors down while searching for a hapless wounded teenager, appropriating our DNA, detaining us without charges, assassinating suspected dissidents, regulating what we can eat, drink or smoke, passing 2,500 page corporate lobbyist written bills that no one has read, using laws to enhance the wealth of the .1%, creating a tax code designed to minimize the burden on the .1%, the feeding of economic information by the Fed and Federal government to connected crony banks minutes before the public so they can pre-program their HFT computers to profit at the expense of the muppets, conducting cyber-attacks on sovereign countries and then feigning outrage when the favor is returned, and militarily intervening around the world under the false guise of strategic interests, we are supposed to trust the establishment? As we descend further into tyranny, I don’t know which is sadder – the pure evil of these men or the apathy and complacent acquiescence of the willfully ignorant masses to the methods employed by their owners. The numerous laws passed by those in power are just more proof of how corrupt our society has become.

The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.” – Tacitus

The threat of tyranny was still raw in 1975, after the Watergate cover-up, when Senator Frank Church warned about the National Security Agency:

“I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.”

Again, we failed to heed his warning. We’ve crossed over the abyss and the vision of our future will be the boot of a DHS thug stomping on the face of an American citizen – forever.

True Ruling Power of Our Country

“When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.” – Thomas Jefferson

Whenever I would use the term oligarchs, ruling elite, powers that be, owners, .1%, or ruling class, it always sounded too conspiratorial. But after years of reading the writings of Edward Bernays, Aldous Huxley, George Orwell, Ron Paul, George Carlin and a number of other “crazy” bloggers, while witnessing with my own two eyes what is happening in this country, I’ve come to the conclusion that our country is run by an invisible government consisting of a small cadre of rich powerful men who manipulate, obfuscate, eliminate and fabricate in their insatiable greed for glory, riches, power and control. They thought they had perfected the art of propaganda:

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. …In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons…who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.” – Edward Bernays

The disclosure of the unholy alliance of corporations and the government to secretly spy on millions of Americans, while attempting to intimidate journalists and crush dissent from political opponents, is throwing the master plan of the ruling elite into disarray. The conspiracy of silence and denial is fraying at the edges as the truth continues to leak out:

“The contents of a phone call could be accessed simply based on an analyst deciding that. If the NSA wants to listen to the phone, an analyst’s decision is sufficient, without any other legal authorization required.” – Democratic Rep Jerrold Nadler

There have been a few lone voices in the wilderness warning about the rise of this corporate fascist surveillance one party state, but they have been scorned, ridiculed, marginalized and ignored. It seems the libertarian minded men and women of this country have been right all along.

“We’ve slipped away from a true republic. Now we’re slipping into a fascist system where it’s a combination of government, big business and authoritarian rule, and the suppression of the individual rights of each and every American citizen. When it comes to any significant differences on foreign policy, economic intervention, the Federal Reserve, a strong executive branch, a welfarism mixed with corporatism, both parties are very much alike.  The major arguments in hotly contested presidential races are mostly for public consumption to convince the people they actually have a choice.” – Ron Paul

True liberty minded Americans and those who value freedom and the Constitution have rallied to the defense of a true patriot. “We the People” must reclaim this country from the unelected .1% who has conducted a silent coup while we were pre-occupied with our techno-narcissism and consumed by the urge to consume. We have an omnipotent outlaw government with concentrated overwhelming power. The out of control bureaucracy devouring treasure, the blood of our young, civil rights, and the Constitution will not yield of its own volition. When the government tyrants classify all of us as enemies of the state, it is time to dismantle the state and water the tree of liberty with some blood, if that is what is required.

“Perfect safety is not the purpose of government. What we want from government is to enforce the law to protect our liberties. The government does not need to know more about what we are doing. We need to know more about what the government is doing. We need to turn the cameras on the police and on the government, not the other way around. We should be thankful for writers like Glenn Greenwald, who broke last week’s story, for taking risks to let us know what the government is doing. There are calls for the persecution of Greenwald and the other whistle-blowers and reporters. They should be defended, as their work defends our freedom.” Ron Paul

The country is being run like a mafia crime family. The Don and his lieutenants operate in secrecy, eliminating their opponents, buying off the press, bribing the police for protection, running the rackets, and collecting their tribute from those that want to do business with them. They go to war against the other families whenever they want to expand their turf. The country has been captured by an organized crime syndicate and it will require an Elliot Ness type character with many strident Constitutionalists to rid the land of these evil, lawless, egocentric men. One of those evil men slithered out of his lair onto the neo-con network – Fox News – to declare Edward Snowden a traitor and spy. Mr. Snowden responded to chicken-hawk Dick “Deferment” Cheney during another freedom of the press in a foreign country event:

“Further, it’s important to bear in mind I’m being called a traitor by men like former Vice President Dick Cheney. This is a man who gave us the warrantless wiretapping scheme as a kind of atrocity warm-up on the way to deceitfully engineering a conflict that has killed over 4,400 and maimed nearly 32,000 Americans, as well as leaving over 100,000 Iraqis dead. Being called a traitor by Dick Cheney is the highest honor you can give an American, and the more panicked talk we hear from people like him, Feinstein, and King, the better off we all are. If they had taught a class on how to be the kind of citizen Dick Cheney worries about, I would have finished high school.

Who has done more to shred the Constitution and strip us of rights, liberties and freedoms in the last thirteen years – Cheney or Snowden?

This brings us to the question of our times. Who are the patriots and who are the traitors? Those in power have been using the Bernaysian propaganda technique of conscious and intelligent manipulation of the public mind by using the corporate media to convince the distracted ignorant masses that Edward Snowden has committed treason against his country and should be punished for his crime. Interestingly enough, treason is addressed in Article III Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution:

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court. 

At the same time it would make sense to define the term patriot:

A person who vigorously supports their country and is prepared to defend it against enemies or detractors.

Does Edward Snowden fit the definition of a traitor as described in the Constitution? The shallow vacuous pundits in the corporate mainstream media complex blather on about treason while focusing their in-depth journalism on pictures of Snowden’s girlfriend from her Facebook page. This is what passes for journalism in America today. A man uncovers the largest spying conspiracy in human history and highly paid mouthpieces for the establishment focus on pole dancing. The last time I checked, Congress hadn’t declared war on anyone, so Snowden isn’t a traitor under that clause. He must be providing aid and comfort to our enemies. Who are the enemies today? They seem to change on a daily basis. I guess since we are considered potential enemies of the state, his revelations were giving the citizens of the United States aid and comfort.

On the other hand, a patriot is someone who vigorously supports their country and is prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice on its behalf against those who would damage or hurt that country. The government of the United States (President, Congress, Judiciary), in conjunction with their corporate, banking and media co-conspirators have knowingly and willingly subverted the Constitution of the United States and have therefore committed treasonous acts that have endangered the rights, freedoms and liberties of the people. A corrupt regime will use their thousands of laws to ensnare anyone in some violation of those laws. But at the end of the day a critical thinking individual knows right from wrong without being told by a government bureaucrat. Edward Snowden is a patriot of the highest order. His act of heroism, knowing he would be despised, attacked and hunted down by the American Thugocracy, is on par with the actions of our Founding Fathers who knew they would be hung if their Revolution failed. A true patriot must be ready to defend his country against a tyrannical government. Edward Snowden just dumped the tea into the Boston Harbor.

Edward Snowden is standing up to the autocratic powers that have seized control of our Constitutional Republic. Other patriots (Thomas Drake, William Binney, J. Kirk Wiebe, Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, Aaron Swartz, Daniel Ellsberg) have sacrificed their careers and lives to reveal the truth about government corruption and malfeasance.  Ben Franklin pondered whether we could keep the Republic they had given us. He understood human nature and the likelihood that we as a people would become corrupted, vote for people who promised us the most, and would willingly sacrifice our independence, freedom, liberty and rights for the presumed safety and security of a despotic government:

“In these sentiments, sir, I agree to this Constitution with all its faults; if they are such; because I think a general government necessary for us, and there is no form of government but what may be a blessing to the people if well administered; and I believe, further, that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic government, being incapable of any other.”

Words of a Traitor?

“…I can’t in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building.”Edward Snowden

The key terms are “good conscience” and “secretly”. Doing what is right does not mean doing what the authorities declare to be the law. Edward Snowden has a conscience. Barack Obama, Dick Cheney, James Clapper, John McCain, Diane Feinstein, Ben Bernanke, Jon Corzine, Jamie Dimon and the rest of the sociopathic criminal governing class have no conscience. Their souls are blackened with their crimes and misdeeds. In our Bizarro world, Nobel Peace Prize winners slaughter Muslim children indiscriminately with their squadrons of killer drones. Those in power are allowed to operate in the shadows, hiding anything that might incriminate them and secretly spying on millions of citizens without probable cause, while we the people have no right to privacy or freedom from surveillance in this plutocracy. We are all suspects in the eyes of the state and can be terminated at the whim of a government apparatchik:

“Because even if you’re not doing anything wrong you’re being watched and recorded. And the storage capability of these systems increases every year consistently by orders of magnitude … to where it’s getting to the point where you don’t have to have done anything wrong. You simply have to eventually fall under suspicion from somebody – even by a wrong call. And then they can use this system to go back in time and scrutinize every decision you’ve ever made, every friend you’ve ever discussed something with. And attack you on that basis to sort to derive suspicion from an innocent life and paint anyone in the context of a wrongdoer.” – Edward Snowden

Our greatest fear at this point in history is the continued apathy, ignorance, slothfulness, and delusional thinking of our narcissistic populace regarding the most important issue of our time – freedom or tyranny? Will enough people stand and fight the encroaching surveillance state and the evil men pulling the levers? Change will not happen through the ballots box, as the system is rigged and the democratic process has been subverted. It will require patriots taking to the streets and more people like Edward Snowden stepping forward to lead us back out of the abyss into which we have fallen. Time is growing short. Will we rise to the occasion or will we cower and wait until the satanic Eye of Sauron turns in our direction?

“The great fear that I have regarding the outcome for America of these disclosures is that nothing will change. [People] won’t be willing to take the risks necessary to stand up and fight to change things… And in the months ahead, the years ahead, it’s only going to get worse. [The NSA will] say that… because of the crisis, the dangers that we face in the world, some new and unpredicted threat, we need more authority, we need more power, and there will be nothing the people can do at that point to oppose it. And it will be turnkey tyranny.” Edward Snowden

“I do not expect to see home again.” Edward Snowden

Over the course of decades we have allowed ourselves to be corrupted by the love of material possessions, the lure of a debt based faux wealth, the money for nothing entitlement promises of dishonorable politicians, the evil of currency debasement, the effectiveness of mass media propaganda, and the belief that we could sacrifice freedom and liberty for promises of safety and security made by a cabal of powerful rich men. Power has been concentrated into the hands of the few, who operate in secrecy and despise the people. They don’t want transparency or open debate. Freedom of speech is nothing but a thorn in their side. They believe they are smarter than the serfs and have no morality when it comes to committing illegal acts and disregarding the Constitution. They are not acting in the public interest. Their abuse of power and looting of the national wealth have put us on a path towards a bloody revolution. This is not a time for conformity, obedience or submission. It’s time to stand up and expose the evil doers. It’s time to rally around those who care about this country. Who are the real traitors? You know the answer. What are you going to do about it?

“The issue boils down to this: do we care about freedom? Do we care about responsibility and accountability? Do we care that our government and media have been bought and paid for? Do we care that average Americans are being looted in order to subsidize the fattest of cats on Wall Street and in government? Do we care? When the chips are down, will we stand up and fight, even if it means standing up against every stripe of fashionable opinion in politics and the media? Times like these have a way of telling us what kind of a people we are, and what kind of country we shall be.” – Ron Paul

WARNING: The National Security Agency is likely recording and storing this communication as part of its unlawful spying programs on all Americans … and people worldwide. The people who created the NSA spying program say that this communication – and any responses – can and will be used against the American people at any time in the future should folks in government decide to go after us for political reasons. And private information in digital communications may be given to big companies by the government.

Original HERE.

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And The Plot Thickens…

the plot thickens

See what we have here is a cooperation of corporate and government.  They are all working together against us and to manipulate and spy on us.  That can best be described as corporatism or fascism

The “conspiracy theorists” don’t sound like “theorists” anymore, do they?

You should be happy to know that McAfee works with the government, this is to ensure that they always have a backdoor into the computers of potential terrorists.  And by potential terrorists I mean the 300+ million Americans who might question the intentions and power of their oppressive government.

The rabbit hole keeps getting deeper and deeper; but we are supposed to beleive that Ed Snowden and Glenn Greenwald are the bad guys.

down the rabbit hole

 

Thousands Of Firms Trade Confidential Data With The US Government In Exchange For Classified Intelligence

Tyler Durden's picture
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 06/14/2013 00:29 -0400

The rabbit hole just got deeper. A whole lot deeper.

On Sunday we predicated that “there’s one reason why the administration, James Clapper and the NSA should just keep their mouths shut as the PRISM-gate fallout escalates: with every incremental attempt to refute some previously unknown facet of the US Big Brother state, a new piece of previously unleaked information from the same intelligence organization now scrambling for damage control, emerges and exposes the brand new narrative as yet another lie, forcing even more lies, more retribution against sources, more journalist persecution and so on.”

And like a hole that just gets deeper the more you dug and exposes ever more dirt, tonight’s installment revealing one more facet of the conversion of a once great republic into a great fascist, “big brother” state, comes from Bloomberg which reports that “thousands of technology, finance and manufacturing companies are working closely with U.S. national security agencies, providing sensitive information and in return receiving benefits that include access to classified intelligence, four people familiar with the process said.”

The companies extend far wider than the legacy telcos, such as Verizon, that launched the entire NSA-spying scandal a week ago: “Makers of hardware and software, banks, Internet security providers, satellite telecommunications companies and many other companies also participate in the government programs. In some cases, the information gathered may be used not just to defend the nation but to help infiltrate computers of its adversaries.”

Many of these same Internet and telecommunications companies voluntarily provide U.S. intelligence organizations with additional data, such as equipment specifications, that don’t involve private communications of their customers, the four people said.

And since what goes on behind the scenes is confidential, literally anything goes: “Along with the NSA, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and branches of the U.S. military have agreements with such companies to gather data that might seem innocuous but could be highly useful in the hands of U.S. intelligence or cyber warfare units, according to the people, who have either worked for the government or are in companies that have these accords.”

Some of the back and forth is innocuous, such as Microsoft revealing ahead of time the nature of its exposed bugs (ostensibly providing the government with a back door into any system using a Microsoft OS, but since it’s don’t ask, dont’ tell, nobody really knows). However the bulk of the interaction is steeped in secrecy: “Most of the arrangements are so sensitive that only a handful of people in a company know of them, and they are sometimes brokered directly between chief executive officers and the heads of the U.S.’s major spy agencies, the people familiar with those programs said.”

More on this “company within a company”:

Typically, a key executive at a company and a small number of technical people cooperate with different agencies and sometimes multiple units within an agency, according to the four people who described the arrangements.

If necessary, a company executive, known as a “committing officer,” is given documents that guarantee immunity from civil actions resulting from the transfer of data. The companies are provided with regular updates, which may include the broad parameters of how that information is used.

Remember how they say conspiracies are impossible because too many people know about them, and the information always eventually leaks? Well not if you contain it to a handful of people in any organization, and force them to sign a bloody NDA, pledging one’s first born in the case of secrecy breach.

An example of a company that is happy to “communicate” with tht the government is Intel’s McAfee internet security unit, which in addition to everything is one giant backdoor entrance for the government. If need be of course:

Intel Corp. (INTC)’s McAfee unit, which makes Internet security software, regularly cooperates with the NSA, FBI and the CIA, for example, and is a valuable partner because of its broad view of malicious Internet traffic, including espionage operations by foreign powers, according to one of the four people, who is familiar with the arrangement.

Such a relationship would start with an approach to McAfee’s chief executive, who would then clear specific individuals to work with investigators or provide the requested data, the person said. The public would be surprised at how much help the government seeks, the person said.

McAfee firewalls collect information on hackers who use legitimate servers to do their work, and the company data can be used to pinpoint where attacks begin. The company also has knowledge of the architecture of information networks worldwide, which may be useful to spy agencies who tap into them, the person said.

Google, another participant in PRISM, already lied about its participation in the covert-op:

Following an attack on his company by Chinese hackers in 2010, Sergey Brin, Google’s co-founder, was provided with highly sensitive government intelligence linking the attack to a specific unit of the People’s Liberation Army, China’s military, according to one of the people, who is familiar with the government’s investigation. Brin was given a temporary classified clearance to sit in on the briefing, the person said.

According to information provided by Snowden, Google, owner of the world’s most popular search engine, had at that point been a Prism participant for more than a year.

Google CEO Larry Page said in a blog posting June 7 that he hadn’t heard of a program called Prism until after Snowden’s disclosures and that the Mountain View, California-based company didn’t allow the U.S. government direct access to its servers or some back-door to its data centers. He said Google provides user data to governments “only in accordance with the law.”

Ah yes, the law that no mere mortal can observe in action, and which has zero popular checks and balances. So what specifically does Google provide to the government? “Highly offensive information” it appears.

That metadata includes which version of the operating system, browser and Java software are being used on millions of devices around the world, information that U.S. spy agencies could use to infiltrate those computers or phones and spy on their users.

“It’s highly offensive information,” said Glenn Chisholm, the former chief information officer for Telstra Corp (TLS)., one of Australia’s largest telecommunications companies, contrasting it to defensive information used to protect computers rather than infiltrate them.

Going back to Obama’s promise on live TV that nobody was listening in to any conversations, one wonders: why did the major telecom companies “ask for guarantees that they wouldn’t be held liable under U.S. wiretap laws.” Because if the companies demanded a waiver, they obviously were wiretapping, i.e., eavesdropping, and doing so on US citizens, or those protected by US laws. And that’s why Obama should have just kept his mouth shut, instead of having to explain what he meant and that he never said what he said.

Before they agreed to install the system on their networks, some of the five major Internet companies — AT&T Inc. (T), Verizon Communications Inc (VZ)., Sprint Nextel Corp. (S), Level 3 Communications Inc (LVLT). and CenturyLink Inc (CTL). — asked for guarantees that they wouldn’t be held liable under U.S. wiretap laws. Those companies that asked received a letter signed by the U.S. attorney general indicating such exposure didn’t meet the legal definition of a wiretap and granting them immunity from civil lawsuits, the person said.

Ah, the US Attorney General – because what is another Obama scandal that doesn’t involve his primary henchman Eric Holder…

Mark Siegel, a spokesman for Dallas-based AT&T, the nation’s biggest phone carrier, declined to comment. Edward McFadden, a spokesman for New York-based Verizon, the second-largest phone company, declined to comment. Scott Sloat, a spokesman for Overland Park, Kansas-based Sprint, and Monica Martinez, a spokeswoman for Broomfield, Colorado-based Level 3, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

No need to comment – it’s quite clear.

The last question remains: what do companies get out of this proactive betrayal of their clients? Well, in some cases, such as those of IBM and Amazon as we described yesterday, they get lucrative government (CIA) contracts for billions of dollars. But that’s just taxpayer cash. Where it gets worse is when the kickbacks are yet more secrets.

In exchange, leaders of companies are showered with attention and information by the agencies to help maintain the relationship, the person said. In other cases, companies are given quick warnings about threats that could affect their bottom line, including serious Internet attacks and who is behind them.

In other words, what is going on behind the scenes is nothing more than one vast, very selective, extremely secretive, symbiotic and perfectly “legal” giant information exchange network, which allows corporations to profit off classified government information either in kind or in cash, and which allows the government to have all the information at its disposal, collected using public and private venues, in order to protect itself, to take out those it designates as targets, or simply said – to get ever bigger.

The loser in all of this?

You.

Original HERE.

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Edward Snowden Is A Patriot

…with a set of brass cojones.  Glenn Greenwald also deserves praise.

This is a Litmus Test:

If you watch this and think he is a traitor or committed treason, then I think you should examine yourself and what it means to be an “American.”  If you think being an “American” means being a good and obedient milk-cow until it is decided it is your turn to become beef-cow then you have my pity because you were given a brain and free-will only to have wasted it.

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“The Police” State

The government goons are scared of the people they were tasked with protecting.  The rights and freedom of the people no longer matter and in reality haven’t been paramount for a very long time.  Anyone who thinks otherwise is invested in the system of control or one of the many flakes.

police state is here

With facial recognition, website monitoring, free speech zones, warrantless wiretapping, compulsory taxation (theft) and a police force armed to the teeth while we beg to be allowed to have semi-auto AR-15′s we are a few steps away from complete slavery.  We have no one to blame but ourselves.  All the scandals come from the fact that “we” (mainly flakes, clovers, sheeple) demanded the government “do something” whenever we felt unsafe, angry, sad, guilty, jealous or simply didn’t approve of what was going on while declaring our moral code so superior it needed to be forced upon others.  The government was more than willing to accept our pleas for slavery.

All that is needed is a “black swan” event to push everything forward that last bit. 

This should be the anthem of our owners.

 

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