Category Archives: Privacy

A Limited-Government Republic versus a National-Security State, by Jacob G. Hornberger

What we have now is the exact opposite of what the founders had in mind. From Jacob G. Hornberger at fff.org:

The worst mistake that the American people have made in the entire history of the United States was to permit the conversion of the federal government to a national-security state. That conversion has played a major role in the destruction of our liberty, privacy, and economic well-being.

What is a national-security state? It is a totalitarian-like governmental structure that consists of an enormous military-intelligence establishment with extraordinary powers, such as indefinite detention, torture, secret surveillance, and even assassination of both citizens and foreigners.

To put the matter into a larger context, North Korea is a national-security state. So are Egypt, China, Cuba, and Russia. And the United States. All of the regimes in those countries wield totalitarian-like powers.

It wasn’t always that way in the United States. Our nation was founded as a limited-government republic and remained that way for nearly 150 years. No Pentagon, no CIA, and no NSA. There was an army but it was relatively small — big enough to win battles against Indian tribes or a neighboring weak and impoverished country such as Mexico, but nowhere big enough to engage in wars around the world.

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Will the Twenties Roar? by Karen Kwiatkowski

Payback is hell, as they say, and it looks like the Twenties are going to be a decade of payback. From Karen Kwiatkowski at lewrockwell.com:

In terms of ignoring reality, FOMO -YOLO’ing and flimflamming our collective way into the future, I think not.  Those times have passed. Certainly they have for the US government and its extensive population of dependents.

This may be cause to celebrate for the 10% of the population who won’t notice, and will likely celebrate, the end of government jobs, government pensions or social security, deprivation of a government-subsidized health care service, lack of a government-income supplements, collapsed government contractors, or the elimination of a regulatory and counterfeiting state that has created whole industries out of nothing, industries that currently support millions of American families.

The leftward momentum of the entire cadre of Democrat candidates seeking the US Presidency this year doesn’t reflect a mass desire to make the US a socialist country.  The US is already a socialist country.  Friendly fascism is the name of the game, if we can believe Bertram Gross, Sinclair Lewis, or our own eyes. The 2020 candidates, announced and unannounced, aim primarily to hold these socialist gains in the face of what promises to be a very frightening decade for the 90 Percenters.

Donald Trump, in 2016 and presumably in 2020, speaks to the same sentiments the anti-Trump field emotes today, sentiments of maintaining life and economics largely as they are. Rather than politicians reaching for the stars, asking that the ship of state be guided into a brighter future, we see a display of white knuckles angrily gripping the present, with a few bones thrown to restoring some of the better memories of the past. There is no imaginable future for the US that does not contain short-term tragedy for the majority of the population, and all the candidates all know this.

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Against Silicon Valley. by Ian Miles Cheong

Silicon Valley has become a bastion of left-wing politics and politically correct ideology. From Ian Miles Cheong at humanevents.com:

Big Tech amplified the culture war: now it is putting its thumb on the scale.

The early days of the internet were rife with optimism about the future of the technological society. Techno-utopians naively hoped that a society running on the so-called “Information SuperHighway” would be armed with facts, and civic life would evolve past the tired dialectic of partisan politics.

Of course what they predicted, and what ended up happening, are two very different things. Far from enlightenment, we’re confronting a world of conspiracy theories and alternative narratives produced within echo chambers and widely disseminated through social media—some of which are downright dangerous.

Before we can understand why things are the way they are, it is necessary to recall what happened in the first two decades of the 21st century. That’s likely what motivated Joe Bernstein’s recent retrospective on BuzzFeed. For all the utopianism and hope that defined the end of the 20th century, we still haven’t ended starvation and inequality, accomplished world peace, or established a colony on Mars. Instead, we have the culture war and a myriad of trivialities that threaten to ensconce the human race in low-stakes concerns like preferred pronouns and microaggressions.

Bernstein, who’s very much a “normie,” laments the ways in which the new age of enlightenment, driven by technological progress, failed to deliver. But the utopia he grieves for is very much a product of Big Tech’s monocultural hegemony. Big Tech, which has engineered the current state of political discourse, has been subsumed by leftist beliefs—both from within and without.

Mark Zuckerberg.

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Alarming NYT Op-Ed Reveals “Disturbing” Secretive Surveillance State Powered By Your Phone’s Location Services, by Tyler Durden

Your smart phone data is not anonymous, and you are being tracked. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Millions of Americans are walking around with phones that have, unknowingly, created one of the most disturbing and unintentional “surveillance states” to ever exist. 

A explosive new opinion piece in the NY Times aims to demonstrate that detailed smartphone tracking is far more ubiquitous than many think, despite the ongoing claims by companies that people’s data is “anonymous”.

Paul Ohm, a law professor and privacy researcher at the Georgetown University Law Center, said that describing location data as anonymous is “a completely false claim that has been debunked in multiple studies.”

He added: “Really precise, longitudinal geolocation information is absolutely impossible to anonymize. D.N.A. is probably the only thing that’s harder to anonymize than precise geolocation information.”

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He helped expand the surveillance state. Now he’s its victim. by Simon Black

There is some cosmic justice after all. From Simon Black at sovereignman.com:

Frankly, I couldn’t care less about the whole impeachment thing.

I’m a resident of Puerto Rico, so I couldn’t vote in the Presidential election if I wanted to. Which I don’t. I haven’t voted in years because I have a hard time believing that my vote really matters.

Plus, as the animated comedy South Park so eloquently puts it, an election decision usually comes down to a choice between a giant douche and a turd sandwich.

But from time to time the political circus does display some noteworthy acts, and one of those is taking place right now.

We all know that the US has become a giant surveillance state. Anyone who thinks otherwise is either deliberately ignorant or is named Dick Cheney.

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The Silicon Valley Gulag, by Jason Morgan

Silicon Valley’s oligarchs are bent on imposing their brand of Marxism. From Jason Morgan at mises.org:

[Review of Michael Rectenwald, Google Archipelago: The Digital Gulag and the Simulation of Freedom (Nashville, TN, and London: New English Review Press, 2019).]

The near-homogeneity of Silicon Valley political beliefs has gone from wry punchline to national crisis in the United States. The monoculture of virtue signaling and high- and heavy-handed woke corporate leftism at places like Google, Twitter, and Facebook was once a source of chagrin for those who found themselves shut out of various internet sites for deviating from the orthodoxies of the Palo Alto elites. After the 2016 presidential election, however, it became obvious that the digitalistas were doing a lot more than just making examples of a few handpicked “extremists.” From the shadow banning of non-leftist sites and views to full-complement political propagandizing, Bay Area leftists have been so aggressive in bending the national psyche to their will that there is talk in the papers and on the cable “news” channels of “existential threats to our democracy.”

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Sin Taxes & Other Orwellian Methods of Compliance That Feed the Government’s Greed, by John Whitehead

We live in a kleptocratic, increasingly totalitarian state. From John Whitehead at rutherford.org:

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victim may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”—C.S. Lewis

“Taxman,” the only song written by George Harrison to open one of the Beatles’ albums (it featured on the band’s 1966 Revolver album), is a snarling, biting, angry commentary on government greed and how little control “we the taxpayers” have over our lives and our money.

If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street,

If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat.

If you get too cold I’ll tax the heat,

If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet.

Don’t ask me what I want it for

If you don’t want to pay some more

‘Cause I’m the taxman, yeah, I’m the taxman.

When the Beatles finally started earning enough money from their music to place them in the top tax bracket, they found the British government only-too-eager to levy a supertax on them of more than 90%.

Here in America, things aren’t much better.

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