Saturday, June 27, 2015

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, 06/27/15

This week's podcast is brought to you by Darryl W. Perry:

In this episode:

  • Family health update (good news!);
  • Thanks For Asking! (the SCOTUS raisin case, Butler Shaffer and Jack Hunter);
  • Rundown of some SCOTUS decisions this week.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Grinds My Gears ...

Either ask me to do / not do something or demand that I do / not do that thing. Don't start by pretending you're asking, then tell me no, you're actually demanding:

The property owners (of the shopping center where this sign is plastered all over the place) have the right to set any rules they want to set for what goes on in their parking lot and on the concrete apron/sidewalk in front of the stores. But the doubletalk annoys me.

As a side note, the coffee shop at one end of this shopping center always seems to have at least one, often more, bicycles chained up out front while their owners are having a cuppajoe. I doubt those bikes teleported in. So in addition to pretending to ask when actually demanding, it's pretty clear they don't enforce the rule, either. So what's the point?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

SCOTUS Saves the GOP's Bacon

Yes, really.

The Republicans don't have a very good shot at the White House in 2016, and a ruling against ObamaCare's subsidies in states that don't have their own exchanges would have made it a longer shot yet. It would also have likely cost the GOP its Senate majority, and possibly even the House.

Let me explain:

  • The Republicans make their political hay by complaining about ObamaCare, not by actually doing anything about it. They've controlled the US House of Representatives since 2011. That means not one thin dime has been spent on ObamaCare, or anything else, without Republican support. ObamaCare is still in place because they want it to remain in place. Which shouldn't be that surprising since its key element, the "individual mandate," was first proposed by a Republican president (Richard Nixon), later offered as an alternative to "HillaryCare" by a future Republican House Speaker (Newt Gingrich) and a Republican think tank (the Heritage Foundation), and implemented at the state level by a Republican governor (Mitt Romney).
  • The way the law was written clear but clever: Residents of states that implemented their own exchanges (in other words, Democratic states) would get subsidies. Residents of states that didn't implement their own exchanges (in other words, Republican states) wouldn't get subsidies. Which firmed up the Democrat vote in blue states and only cost them in states they didn't control anyway.
  • The piece de resistance: Instead of actually implementing that "spoils to our states, middle finger salute to your states" language, the executive branch went ahead and delivered the subsidies in red states as well, counting on the Republicans to be the ones to complain about it. Which they did.
If SCOTUS had ruled against the subsidies, it would have constituted a message to every low-income voter in a red state: "The Republicans just bent you over and had at you without lube. Vote Democrat."

Obama himself won either way -- he either got a ruling that affirmed his own stated policy, or he got a ruling that would erode the Republican vote in Republican states. But the GOP dodged a bullet.

Update, 06/26/15: Matt Dixon of Politico agrees.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A Question for Catholics

I'm not a Catholic, so it's entirely possible that I'm just misunderstanding the nature and import of Laudato si'. Can someone help me out here?

My understanding:

While papal encyclicals are not automatically and necessarily ex cathedra, they can be. As Pope Pius XII put it in Humani generis, "[I]f the Supreme Pontiffs in their acts, after due consideration, express an opinion on a hitherto controversial matter, it is clear to all that this matter, according to the mind and will of the same Pontiffs, cannot any longer be considered a question of free discussion among theologians."

In Laudito si', Pope Francis doesn't just throw around some opinions along the lines of what kind of pizza he prefers. He goes on for 45,000 words, he anchors his opinions on various issues in the teachings of the Church and of previous popes, and he very specifically states that the encyclical is "added to the body of the Church's social teaching." That sounds pretty dispositive to me.

Now, a lot of non-Catholics are criticizing the encyclical's content on scientific and economic grounds, and I can understand that. But I also see a number of Catholics doing so as well.

Given the doctrines related to the infallibility of the Church and the pope's similar infallibility when speaking to/for the Church in an authoritative way, why the dissent? Doesn't the choice for Catholics come down to "accept the Church's doctrines or leave the Church?" If not, what am I missing?

Thanks For Asking! -- 06/24/15

This week's Thanks For Asking thread, and the podcast to follow, are brought to you by Darryl W. Perry:

Ask (anything!) and it shall be answered.

Ask in the comments thread.

I'll answer in the comments thread, or on the podcast, or both.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A False Flag Hypothesis

Hypothesis, not theory: I don't have any way to make it testable or falsifiable. And I'm not even saying I personally believe it. But it does occur to me, and it does seem plausible. CNN reports:

The personal data of an estimated 18 million current, former and prospective federal employees were affected by a cyber breach at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) -- more than four times the 4.2 million the agency has publicly acknowledged. The number is expected to grow, according to U.S. officials briefed on the investigation.

Now, I'm not the sort of person who yells "false flag!" every time something messed up happens. I like to see evidence, not just speculate. But the phenomenon is not unknown (see, for example, the Gulf of Tonkin Incident), and this is a perfect candidate for evaluation as a likely false flag precisely because it's not really possible -- absent, perhaps, the appearance of a whistleblower with verifiable logs or something -- for there to be evidence.

The only "evidence" we have that this ever even happened, or that if it did happen the Chinese government is to blame for it (as the US government keeps half-saying) is that some US government officials say so. And we know that US government officials lie like rugs at every opportunity, and have already done so on this very matter.

So really we are left reasoning from cui bono? ("who benefits?") grounds, which are pretty shaky but still worth thinking about.

If there was in fact no foreign, government-sponsored cyber attack on the US Office of Personnel Management, who benefits from telling us there was such an attack? The government itself.

  1. The attack allegedly compromised the personal information of 18 million people, and that information could in turn be used to hack their computers and Internet accounts, compromising even more personnel info of several times as many others. Suppose I work for the NSA and I want to hack you. What better cover, if my actions are detected, than "oh,  those evil Chinese spies must have got your info?"
  2. The US government has been pushing various Internet power grabs for several years now in the name of "cyber security." This alleged cyber attack makes great propaganda for seizing yet more control over what we do online.
Can I prove it? Nope.

Do I believe it? Well, I believe it might be true. In fact, I believe the hypothesis to be more compelling than the government's claims. After all, as I've already pointed out, those guys lie, all the time, flagrantly, for any reason or no reason at all.

Monday, June 22, 2015

"No Evidence" -- In What Universe?

The Washington Post reports that Earl Holt III, president of the Council of Conservative Citizens, has made thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to the presidential campaigns and/or PACs of Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum and Rand Paul.

Why does the Post find that interesting this week? Well, because Dylann Roof, the man accused of last week's massacre at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, name-checks CCC in his "manifesto" as a source of inspiration for his racist views.

What I find interesting is this, from the Post piece:

There is no evidence that the campaigns, including those of Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Rick Santorum, were aware of the group's background ...

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, WRONG.

CCC influence in Republican politics is nothing new or secret. It's been publicly noticed and complained about since at least as far back as 1998, when US Representative Bob Barr (R-GA) gave the keynote speech at CCC's national convention. US Senator Trent Lott (R-MS) also spoke at a number of CCC events. Both got publicly chewed on for it; both disclaimed knowledge of the group's racist platform/program. In the aftermath of those mini-scandals, the chairman of the Republican National Committee asked party members to dissociate themselves from the group and there followed a congressional resolution (it didn't pass) "condemning the racism and bigotry espoused by the Council of Conservative Citizens."

The idea that Rand Paul in particular was not "aware of the group's background" is just dumb. His father, Ron Paul, spoke at CCC events, appeared on CCC's podcast, received contributions from prominent CCC members, and was publicly pilloried in his 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns for all three of those things.

You would think, at this point, that all presidential campaigns would have "blacklists" of organizations and individuals whose money isn't worth the cost of accepting, and that CCC itself and prominent members of CCC would make those blacklists. The only question here is whether they haven't taken minimal reputational security measures of that kind (in which case they're idiots), or whether they think they don't have to and that nobody will notice (in which case they're idiots).

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, 06/21/15

This week's podcast is brought to you by Darryl W. Perry:

In this episode:

  • Thanks for your support (brief family medical update)!;
  • Thanks For Asking! (Donald Trump, Dylann Roof and Gainesville's excellent medica services);
  • Please tell ICANN no on proposed new anti-privacy rule.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Behind Door #4 ...

Reason magazine has finally put out its own take on the "Preet Bharara wants to know who's saying mean things" subpoena story (if you're not familiar with it, check out the archives for the last couple of weeks here at KN@PPSTER, or search for "Reason" and "subpoena" at Google News -- you'll find stories with links). The first thing that jumps out at me in Reason's account is this part ...

We had three options: We could 1) abide quietly with the subpoena, 2) attempt to quash it, and/or 3) alert the commenters named in the subpoena.

... and then, at the end, this:

Reason's guiding principle over 47 years has been to expand the legal and cultural space for free expression, as the bedrock value behind human flourishing. As libertarians who believe in "Free Minds and Free Markets," Reason takes seriously an obligation to our audience and to our critics not simply to hold on to what we've got but to increase the rights of everyone to speak openly and without figurative or literal prior restraint.

It seems to me that there is an Option #4 missing from that first list that would answer to the principles laid out in the paragraph on principles. To wit:

4) instruct our attorney to show up at court in response to the subpoena and inform Preet Bharara that Reason (perhaps in the person of its editor or some other selected spokesperson) says he can go fuck himself.

No, I'm not saying that was the only justifiable option to choose. There's nothing wrong with choosing not to go to jail for your principles. But that is a choice.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Yeah, Yeah, I Know ...

Christopher Burg rightly chastised us libertarians who talk the crypto talk but don't walk the crypto walk the other day. Thanks for the kick in the ass.

Since I still haven't got away from Google yet, I have to assume a number of vulnerabilities that make even strong crypto less than reliable (not because of a problem with the crypto, but vulnerabilities of plaintext before encryption and after decryption). So, caveat emptor. But if you need to write me more confidentially than regular email allows, the address to use is and the public key is:

Version: OpenPGP.js v.1.20131017


I'm still working a plan to get un-Googled in the not-too-distant future.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Why Can't it be Both?

I get lots of email, including mail from sketchy/shifty groups that I either want to keep an eye on or that, at one time another, supported some worthy cause or action and by doing so got me on their list.

IIRC, "Demand Progress" falls into that last category. I think they opposed CISPA. But these days they evince a design to reduce us under absolute despotism and cheerlead for the FCC's fascist Internet coup d'etat support "net neutrality."

So today I get an email from David Segal of Demand Progress, which opens as follows:

A key committee in Congress voted yesterday to attach a provision blocking Net Neutrality to a must-pass spending bill that funds the federal government.

Their implicit threat: Give in on Net Neutrality or we'll shut down the government.

He writes as if either of those outcomes would be bad. And of course he asks me for $5 to "make sure we have the resources to win."

My only problem with either of those outcomes is that I'd rather block "net neutrality" AND get a government shutdown. Who can I send $5 to for that?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Thanks For Asking! -- 06/17/15

This week's Thanks For Asking! Thread (and the weekend podcast to follow) are brought to you by Darryl W. Perry:

Putting this up just a little early -- I have to be at the hospital at 6:15am tomorrow for Tamara's surgery, so I'm fitting things in when I have time.

The usual rules apply: Ask me anything you'd like to ask me, in the comments on this post. I'll answer in comments, on the podcast, or both.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, 06/13/15

This week's episode is brought to you by Darryl W. Perry:

In this episode:

  • Thanks For Asking! segues into disjointed rant on Ross Ulbricht, Reason subpoenas, the fact that the state is at war on us and we must therefore be at war with the state, etc.;
  • Family medical update and shameless appeal for support.
Show notes:

To be blunt, I'm not happy with how this episode came out. I'm somewhat preoccupied this week and didn't do even my minimal amount of usual show prep (cutting and pasting a few "marker notes," etc. to keep things flowing). As the episode description says, my rant felt more disjointed than usual, but I hope that it's coherent. A couple of links mentioned in the show:

  • "Social Preferencing," by Paul and Kitty Antonik Wakfer at the Self-Sovereign Individual Project, is a much more carefully thought out essay on the subject than my references to it in the show.
  • Dox and Shun is a social preferencing project I came up with some time ago and am just now populating with people to do both of those things to.

I meant to reference two other podcasts in this show, and forgot due to the aforementioned lack of show prep. So I'm going to link to them here:

Friday, June 12, 2015

Dox & Shun Notice #2

Katherine B. Forrest

Abductee processor and receiver of stolen property for “US Government” gang, New York chapter

Forrest’s role is to give “color of law” to the gang’s numerous and diverse criminal schemes, including but not limited to abductions and specialized (e.g. non-tax) thefts. Primary operator in the abduction of, persecution of and stated intent to hold for life, political prisoner Ross Ulbricht and the theft of millions of US dollars’ worth of Bitcoin digital currency from the Silk Road marketplace.

Consider armed and dangerous. Do not approach. Ostracize, shun, refuse association or service. Research and submit information on subject to:

Downloadable flyer for public posting and dissemination (right-click and “save as”):

Thursday, June 11, 2015

First They Came for Reason ...

... as referenced here.

I work hard not to get paranoid. I also try to maintain a realistic view of my own prominence/importance both in the freedom movement and in the general scheme of things. I'm small fry, and I know it.

Nonetheless, as outlined in that link above, I do think it's reasonable to take protective measures for both my readers and myself.

And while I disagree with dL (in comments on this week's Thanks For Asking! thread) that Reason itself necessarily needs to be making use of its own "bully pulpit" with reference to this matter, I do generally agree that "bully pulpits," however limited their bulliness, should be very specifically used to work in the opposite direction of "chilling effects," for both moral and practical reasons.

The moral rationale: In attempting to identify anonymous/pseudonymous commenters at Reason, using compulsory legal process, the US Department of Justice is clearly hoping to make its critics shut up. That's wrong and evil.

The practical rationale: The only way to effectively fight the DoJ's attempt at producing said chilling effect is to just get louder.

So I just did a sort of mini-inventory of stuff I've said or done recently that might put me on the same radar screen. I came up with two public things and two private things. And it seems to me I should put those two private things on the public record alongside the already public things. That way if I get carried away with a hood over my head or whatever, you'll know why.

The two public things:

  1. I suggested that "[t]he time has come for the Revolutionary Agorist Cadre to form and to act," and made some suggestions as to what it might look like and what it might do.
  2. I published the first Dox & Shun notice, urging people to aggressively negatively socially preference US Attorney Preet Bharara. The second Dox & Shun notice, btw, should be ready soon, and it happens to be for the very government official involved in the Reason subpoena, US District Court judge Katherine Forrest. That was the plan before the Reason subpoena.

The two private things:

  1. In a nominally private email discussion on the subject of whether or not Ross Ulbricht contracted for killings and if so whether or not that could possibly have been justified, I wrote the following: "I do not call for the killing of US Attorney Preet Bharara or Judge Katherine Forrest. But since they have openly conspired to abduct, cage, and possibly kill people in the past, since they are openly engaged in conspiring to abduct, cage and possibly kill innocent people right now, and since they openly admit to planning to conspire to abduct, cage, and possibly kill people in the future, should someone happen to walk up to one of them and unload a pistol in his or her face, I will dig into my pocket as deeply as possible for contributions to legal defense or illegal escape funds."
  2. In the blog post on the RAC referenced and linked above, I mention "The Squad" as a possible model for some of its operations. Privately, I have ordered, and am awaiting the arrival of, a copy of The Squad and the Intelligence Operations of Michael Collins. Not by way of planning a similar campaign, mind you. I just had the subject on my mind and I'm a 20th century Irish history buff (I just finished Tim Pat Coogan's biography of Eamon de Valera; I've also read his bio of Michael Collins and his history of the IRA).

Thinking about those four elements, it occurs to me that if I was a no-good, rat-bastard sonofabitch like Assistant US Attorney Niketh Velamoor, whose job appears to be to identify some people with incorrect opinions to make examples of, I might, on a slow day anyway, pick my file out of a stack of files concerning such people and such opinions.

While I have a perfect legal defense -- I have been very careful to avoid making "true threats" and it is quite obvious that I neither have, nor have expressed, any intent to personally harm, or hire anyone to personally harm, the evil-doers in the Ross Ulbricht affair -- Voldemort ... er, Velamoor ... could probably make my life fairly difficult were he so inclined.

It seems to me that the best preemptive measure against such an outcome is to get everything out there in advance, so that he knows increasing my difficulties incrementally would increase his own difficulties exponentially.

Nothing against anonymity or pseudonymity, but it's my opinion that at this point being very open with and very clear about one's identity and one's opinions presents the hardest target for these bad actors.


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Thanks For Asking! -- 06/10/15

This week's AMA thread (and the podcast to follow) is brought to you by Darryl W. Perry:

Just ask me anything (yes, anything) in the comment thread to this post, and I'll answer -- maybe in the comment thread, maybe on this weekend's podcast, maybe both.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Working in the Coal Mine -- Some Notes on Site Privacy, Etc.

First they came for Reason ... [h/t Wendy McElroy; details at Popehat, Wired and the Garrison Center].

First things first: There's not much I can do to protect your privacy or anonymity if you read, or comment at, KN@PPSTER. The blog runs on a Google server and commenting is provided by a third party service (Disqus).

That said, I'll do what I can.

If shiny badge holders demand to know whatever I happen know about (to take a random pseudonymous commenter) "dL," my immediate response will be "go f--k yourselves." They might beat whatever I know (which probably isn't much) out of me. But they'll have to beat it out of me. Or at least make dire threats that I know they can deliver on.

I've installed a "warrant canary." If shiny badge holders start asking questions and demand that I not tell you they're asking questions, I may or may not comply with that demand, but either way I won't update that canary, so there will be a way to tell (FYI, if I'm a day or three late updating it, don't panic -- hit the contact form and remind me, as I may have just forgotten).

There are warrant canaries at RRND and the Garrison Center now, too.

But let's be realistic. Like I said, KN@PPSTER runs on a Google server and uses Disqus for commenting. RRND and the Garrison Center run on HostGator's "shared hosting" and also use Disqus. There's no doubt in my mind that if the government wants to know who you are, etc., its agents can get what they want through one of those third parties, via subpoena or via hack. I'll be looking into plugins and other stuff to see what I can do to leave you less exposed, but my ability to do that is limited.

In an ideal world, all of my sites would run on servers under my physical control in the cave I lived in in Iceland. Those servers would be hardened against hacking, all the sites would be custom-coded to maximize privacy, and some kind of dead-man switch would be set up to erase everything and nuke Washington DC if I didn't punch a code in every 24 hours or so.

This is not an ideal world. Take care.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, 06/07/15

This week's episode of The KN@PP Stir Podcast is brought to you by Darryl W. Perry:

In this episode:

  • Thanks for Asking! (Jeff Deist on Ross Ulbricht and Cato on TPP);
  • Quick updates on the Garrison Center's media penetration and my family medical situation.
Some links to material mentioned on the show:

Friday, June 05, 2015

Dox & Shun Notice #1

Preetinder Sing Bharara
aka "Preet" Bharara

Shot-caller for "US Government" gang, New York chapter

Bharara has publicly admitted -- even bragged of -- his involvement in numerous criminal schemes, including but not limited to the abduction of, persecution of and stated intent to hold for life, political prisoner Ross Ulbricht and the theft of millions of US dollars' worth of Bitcoin digital currency from the Silk Road marketplace.

Consider armed and dangerous. Do not approach. Ostracize, shun, refuse association or service. Research and submit information on subject at the Dox & Shun site.

Downloadable flyer for public posting and dissemination (right-click and "save as"):

Yeah, I See What They Did There

Thursday morning: New Edward Snowden disclosure -- The NSA's illegal, unconstitutional, warrantless web spying on American has, at some point in the past, been secretly expanded to include collecting intelligence on cyber attacks.

Thursday evening: The Obama administration announces a cyber attack on its Office of Personnel Management.

The cyber attack took place in April.

If it took place at all, that is. So far as I know, nobody's caught Snowden lying about anything yet. The US government's default approach to public relations, on the other hand, seems to boil down to "why should we ever tell the truth when a lie will usually do just as well?"

I will not be at all surprised if we eventually learn  that the second story was sewn together from whole cloth in an emergency meeting yesterday afternoon.

It's clear to anyone who's paying attention that the sole and entire purpose of floating the second story last evening was to eclipse, and justify the implications of, the first story yesterday morning.

Election 2016: Clinton Goes on the Offensive

I'm already on record as definitely not a Hillary Clinton fan for various reasons -- near-complete ideological incompatibility and her flagrant corruption/criminality among them. That second one is the part that's been on display during the first five months of 2015, what with the email scandal, the Clinton Foundation "pay for diplomatic play" scandal, etc.

It's easy to forget that she has a well-honed political sense and that when she gets out on the hustings, she's one hell of a campaigner. Yesterday, in Texas, she hit the GOP in general, and several of its presidential primary candidates in particular, pretty hard. It will leave a bruise.

The subject: Voting.

In a speech at Texas Southern University -- on the very day that Rick Perry formally announced his candidacy and Jeb Bush announced his plan to announce -- Clinton slammed the GOP strategy of trying to suppress the vote (in particular the votes of those with darker skins, the votes of people who may not speak English as a first language, etc.). And she didn't just play Negative Nellie. She put up two real, meaty policy proposals.

First, she called for at least 20 days of "early voting" access nationwide.

Secondly, she called for automatic voter registration nationwide.

Disclaimer: I don't necessarily support those proposals. I'm skeptical of voting and elections in the first place, but if we're going to have them I don't think we necessarily should go out of our way to make it as easy as falling off a log to exercise the franchise.

With Motor Voter, registering to vote these days is pretty much a matter of saying "yes" when you're asked while getting a driver's license or interacting with government in a bunch of other ways. It's not like you have to walk six miles in the snow, uphill both ways, to get registered. Heck, in Florida all I had to do was download, print, sign and mail a form (since I didn't happen to be at the DMV or whatever). Took me maybe five minutes.

If someone's too un-interested or lazy to do that, they're probably too lazy to inform themselves concerning candidates and issues too, so I'm not personally motivated to horsewhip them into registering and voting.

That said, Clinton's making a great political move here, for two reasons:

  1. She's positioning herself as the friend of, and the Republicans as the enemies of, democracy and voting rights. You may or may not like those two things, but most people do. Which means that most people who notice this will be more likely to vote for her than for one of them.
  2. The demographics also just generally favor her. The Republicans already have their "low-information voters" in harness. They got them there with talk radio and Fox News. All they had to do was repeat "if you don't vote -- or if you don't vote for us when you do vote! -- Osama bin Laden will come to your house and blow it up, after marrying your son and forcing your daughter to get an abortion" often and loudly for 20 years or so. Of the people out there who aren't registered and/or don't make the effort to vote, probably 70% will vote Democrat if they can be convinced to vote at all (and probably another 5-10% will vote third party).
So: More voters and higher turnout help the Democrats. And so does an all-out brawl with the Republicans about more voters and higher turnout.

And she's trotting this stuff out early, while the GOP candidates are just now getting started versus each other. Yes, they'll all slam her by the numbers (to no effect other than advertising her campaign), but they'll spend most of the time campaigning against each other to GOP primary voters, while she gets to campaign to the general electorate as her party's nominee-apparent (unless Lincoln Chafee, Martin O'Malley, Bernie Sanders or maybe Jim Webb find a way to get their teeth into her hide).

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Watch the Birdie

I've created a new page for the blog, which you'll see in the links up top: The Warrant Canary.

No, I don't expect to be served with any warrants or "National Security Letters" demanding that I refrain from mention of being so served. My impression is that those mostly go to organizations with large user populations and control of the databases of information regarding those users' doings, and KN@PPSTER is just a blog.

But it took just a few minutes to set up, it will take a minute or so every 90 days to update, and it seems like the kind of thing that all and sundry, even us little guys, should be doing by way of making it impossible for the state's clever little NSL/gag order scheme to ever be workable.

It works like this: On the first of each month, I'll update the Canary page to reflect that I have NOT been served with any kind of gag-order-accompanied government paperwork. If I don't update it (and/or if I don't say "oops, sorry, I forgot, I'll get that done right now" when some alert reader asks me why I haven't updated it), it means that I HAVE been so served.

For more information on the idea, visit Canary Watch.

Thanks For Asking! -- 06/03/15

This "ask me anything" thread -- and the podcast to follow this weekend -- are brought to you by Darryl W. Perry:

For anyone new around here, here's how it works:

  • Ask me a question -- any question, but the more interesting the better -- in the comment thread attached to this post; and
  • I'll answer your question! I might answer it in the comment thread, I might answer it on the podcast, or I might do both.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

What Is To Be Done?

Another show trial. Another conviction achieved by the very direct means of the judge giving the state leave to not prove its case, forbidding the defense to defend the defendant, and tampering with the jury. A life sentence for running a web site without the state's permission.

Just like Chelsea Manning. Just like Barrett Brown. Just like Jim Bell. Just as the case would be with Julian Assange and Edward Snowden had the state been successful in abducting them. Numerous others have been so treated, or would be so treated if apprehended.

I periodically change the teaser quote at the top of this blog. This morning I changed it to the following:

"If the road of peaceful progress and evolution be barred, then the road of revolution will beckon and will be taken."

The quote is more apropos to the current situation than it was to the context in which Eamon de Valera first uttered it (during his post-civil-war campaign to bring his followers back into the "Irish Free State" parliament).

Silk Road was the epitome of "peaceful progress and evolution." The paradigm of commerce which it proposed and implemented made the state extraneous, vestigial and of no practical use; therefore the state moved to preserve its own prerogatives by barring the Road (pun intended).

Peaceful progress and evolution having been barred, revolution is the only remaining option. The time has come for the Revolutionary Agorist Cadre to form and to act.

My own thoughts as to what the RAC should look like are different from J. Neil Schulman's original vision, of course -- not because that vision was faulty, but because the on-the-ground situational specifics (e.g. the available technology and the organizational flexibility it offers) have changed since Alongside Night was first published. [N.B. I do not claim Schulman's endorsement of what I'm writing here, but I suspect he'd agree with this particular claim.]

Precepts of the RAC, as I see them:

  • It should be a decentralized movement of individuals and cells, not a centralized organization. For more on that, read up on "leaderless resistance."
  • Some individuals and cells should concentrate on informational and intelligence activities such as publishing propaganda and doxing enemy personnel.
  • Other individuals and cells should be "action cells" of various types -- ranging from hackers who seize the assets of enemy personnel to propagandists of the deed who take more direct, public and physical action.
  • Above and beyond specific remedial, retaliatory or punitive actions, the primary objective of the RAC's action cells should be similar to that of the IRA's "Squad" during the Irish War of Independence. That is, where possible, their actions should be specifically directed at degrading and dismantling the state's intelligence, investigative, prosecutorial and penal apparatus.

Am I recommending physical violence? No. In my opinion, that should be refrained from until and unless it can't be avoided (immediate self-defense is always justified, of course).

Let me be specific to the situation:

A number of individuals -- including but not limited to US Attorney Preet Bharara, Assistant US Attorneys Serrin Turner and and Timothy T. Howard, and US District Court Judge Katherine B. Forrest -- did openly and publicly conspire to deprive Ross Ulbricht of his liberty; to steal tens of millions of dollars' worth of Bitcoin which they believed belonged to him; and, ultimately, to steal his life by caging him for the duration of said life. Don't tell me they were just doing their jobs. So was Reinhard Heydrich. Since they didn't even bother to hide their crimes,  and in fact openly and publicly brag of said crimes, there's no presumption of innocence. They have tried themselves, and they have convicted themselves.

Therefore, their own lives and fortunes are rightfully forfeit.

They should be thoroughly and publicly doxed.

They should be shunned and ostracized by all individuals of good character. They shouldn't be seated or served at restaurants. They shouldn't receive communion at churches. They shouldn't be able to get up a golf foursome, but that shouldn't matter because no country club should tolerate them as members anyway.

Anyone who is capable of doing so and willing to do so should, at any opportunity, seize or destroy any and all assets which they own or dispose of, preferably in ways which will serve as partial restitution to their victims.

Since caging them for the duration of their lives is not, at present, practical, they should be induced to cage themselves in personally constructed hells of crippling fear and shame for the duration of said lives.

And all of this should be done as publicly as possible (consistent with the people who do it avoiding abduction, "trial" and caging themselves, of course), so that other would-be evildoers will pause and recoil at the idea of pulling this kind of shit in the future.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Election 2016: What's Up With Lindsey Graham?

English: Official portrait of Senator LIndsey ...
US Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
He formally threw his hat into the presidential ring today.

He will not be the next president of the United States, nor will he be the Republican Party's 2016 presidential nominee.

He knows this. You know this. I know this. There's nobody on the face of Planet Earth who doesn't know this.

He's only popular with two voter demographics: South Carolinians and the So Completely Batshit Insane on "National Security" That We Consider Dr. Strangelove a Commie Pinko Pacifist voter bloc.

He's not popular enough with South Carolinians to carry his own state in the presidential primary -- in fact, he came in behind his self-designated nemesis, Rand Paul, in an April poll of the state's presidential preferences.

Nor is the SCBIoNSTWCDSaCPP bloc large enough to put him over the top anywhere else.

So what's up with the presidential campaign? Here's my take:

He can't win South Carolina in the presidential primary, but in anything remotely resembling a horserace he can decide who wins South Carolina in the presidential primary. His endorsement can move at least high-single-digit, and probably double-digit, vote percentages into a candidate's column.

In states with a significant SCBIoNSTWCDSaCPP presence as things tighten up, his endorsement could conceivably move 5% of the "undecided as to which candidate is batshit insane enough for me" vote to the candidate who has that endorsement.

South Carolina is the third state in the presidential preference parade -- its primary follows the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary.

So on the night of the New Hampshire primary, we can expect Lindsey Graham to go have a talk with one of the guys who looks set to maybe go the distance and offer to get that candidate on a roll with South Carolina in exchange for ...

Maybe he wants to be Secretary of Defense. Or possibly Secretary of Energy. Even if you didn't already have these two picked out as likely, you would after looking at his historical campaign contribution base.

But you probably already had that first one in mind, and I consider it most likely. Maybe veep, but I don't think so. As crazy as he is, he's not stupid, and he knows he would hurt the ticket in the second slot.

He's looking for a cabinet post, and running for president puts him in a better position to deal for one than just being the senior US Senator from South Carolina does.

So know you know what that's all about.