Over 65 tech companies, open Internet advocates and other organizations released two open letters to negotiators of the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on Wednesday, expressing their concern that the trade deal’s approval will force websites to censor content and block Internet users.
Spearheaded by the United States, the TPP––dubbed a “free trade” deal––includes twelve of the world’s most economically-prosperous countries that cumulatively account for 40 percent of the global economy. With the possibility of wide-reaching effects on everything from Internet freedom to the prices of medicine in developing countries, critics have slammed it as a “corporate coup d’etat” and “NAFTA on steroids.” Although the text of the deal has not been seen in its entirety by anyone outside of the negotiations, a draft version of the intellectual property rights section of the deal was released last November by WikiLeaks, and Internet rights groups have voiced their opposition ever since. Continue reading “Digital Rights Groups Warn TPP Will Force ‘Policing’ Of Internet Users”
Once upon a time, if a character on TV or in a movie tortured someone, it was a sure sign that he was a bad guy. Now, the torturers are the all-American heroes. From 24 to Zero Dark Thirty, it’s been the good guys who wielded the pliers and the waterboards. We’re not only living in a post-9/11 world, we’re stuck with Jack Bauer in the 25th hour.
In 2002, Cofer Black, the former Director of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, told a Senate committee, “All I want to say is that there was ‘before’ 9/11 and ‘after’ 9/11. After 9/11 the gloves come off.” He wanted them to understand that Americans now live in a changed world, where, from the point of view of the national security state, anything goes. It was, as he and various top officials in the Bush administration saw it, a dangerous place in which terrorists might be lurking in any airport security line and who knew where else. Continue reading “The 25th Hour – Still Living With Jack Bauer in a Terrified New American World”
The classical argument in favor of free immigration runs as follows: Other things being equal, businesses go to low-wage areas, and labor moves to high-wage areas, thus affecting a tendency toward the equalization of wage rates (for the same kind of labor) as well as the optimal localization of capital. An influx of migrants into a given-sized high-wage area will lower nominal wage rates. However, it will not lower real wage rates if the population is below its optimum size. To the contrary, if this is the case, the produced output will increase over-proportionally, and real incomes will actually rise. Thus, restrictions on immigration will harm the protected domestic workers qua consumers more than they gain qua producers. Moreover, immigration restrictions will increase the “flight” of capital abroad (the export of capital which otherwise might have stayed), still causing an equalization of wage rates (although somewhat more slowly), but leading to a less than optimal allocation of capital, thereby harming world living standards all-around. Continue reading “On Free Immigration and Forced Integration”
Just days before its international debut at an airshow in the United Kingdom, the entire fleet of the Pentagon’s next generation fighter plane — known as the F-35 II Lightning, or the Joint Strike Fighter — has been grounded, highlighting just what a boondoggle the project has been. With the vast amounts spent so far on the aircraft, the United States could have worked wonders, including providing every homeless person in the U.S. a $600,000 home. Continue reading “Americans Have Spent Enough Money On A Broken Plane To Buy Every Homeless Person A Mansion”
Economist William Easterly has made famous the term “Tyranny of Experts” in his recent book in which he looks as how western “experts” have destroyed economies abroad and have destroyed economic opportunities for poor people throughout the Third World. Indeed, the “experts” have created havoc abroad (in the name of saving the poor, of course), but the relationship between so-called experts and tyrannical government hardly stops at our borders.
It is safer to say that in the case of experts, tyranny begins at home. Be they bureaucrats at the Environmental Protection Agency or military planners, we know that rule by bureaucrats carrying out the vision of a politician are not going to like it when people’s actions are limited by the Law of Scarcity and various laws of science. Thus, the “expert” bureaucrat resorts to tyranny. Continue reading “Regulation and the Misrule of Experts”
Governments from around the world admit they carry out false flag terror:
- A major with the Nazi SS admitted at the Nuremberg trials that – under orders from the chief of the Gestapo – he and some other Nazi operatives faked attacks on their own people and resources which they blamed on the Poles, to justify the invasion of Poland. Nazi general Franz Halder also testified at the Nuremberg trials that Nazi leader Hermann Goering admitted to setting fire to the German parliament building, and then falsely blaming the communists for the arson
Growing up, I heard lots of complaints from parents and teachers about children being conceited, proud, and arrogant. Looking back, it seems to me that most of these complaints were related to a failure to obey. We did have one or two kids who were arrogant jerks, but the rest of us received the same comments they did.
But whatever motivated the adults of my youth, they were mostly wrong – it’s not our overvaluation of ourselves that is the real problem; it’s our undervaluation. Continue reading “We have Undervalued Ourselves”
As everyone knows, the U.S. government is operating under strict austerity budgeting, pinching every penny and slashing every expense. Despite this reality, the White House still found some money to renovate its bowling alley.
Thank goodness. Now White House visitors will be spared from the horror of “chipped lanes and worn-out shoes.” (Is this some Third World hellhole, or is this America?) According to Time: Continue reading “This Is Austerity: The White House Will Install a Snazzier Bowling Alley”
At the end of the First World War, iconoclastic American journalist Randolph Bourne famously warned, “War is the health of the state.” He had witnessed the unprecedented expansion of national power in the heat of war mobilization. Twenty years ago, political scientist Bruce D. Porter likewise argued, “States make war, but war also makes states.” For the losers, of course, unsuccessful war destroys states, but the hundred years since the outbreak of the Great War in 1914 ought to make the symbiosis between warfare and Leviathan obvious. Continue reading “Was World War I the Last Crusade?”
There are a lot of false dichotomies out there — left brain vs. right brain,nature vs. nurture, etc. But one really persistent myth, that is literally costing human lives, is the distinction between “alpha” and “beta” males.
As the story typically goes, there are two types of men.
“Alpha” males are those at the top of the social status hierarchy. They have greater access to power, money, and mates, which they gain through physical prowess, intimidation, and domination. Alphas are typically described as the “real men.” In contrast are the “Beta” males: the weak, submissive, subordinate guys who are low status, and only get access to mates once women decide to settle down and go searching for a “nice guy.” Continue reading “The Myth of the Alpha Male”
In recent years, national governments, especially in developed countries, have aggressively intensified their war on cash. I have written a number of articles and blog posts (here, here, here, and here) charting the progress of this war and demonstrating that it is in fact a despotic attack by the ruling elites on the personal privacy and liberties of their citizens. Now, international organizations, tax-exempt billion-dollar foundations, and crony capitalist businesses and banks have banded together in an unholy alliance with national governments and their central banks in the drive toward a “cashless society.” Initiated and funded by the left-leaning Ford Foundation in 2012, the alliance calls itself “The Better Than Cash Alliance.” Even more ludicrous and misleading than its name is the statement of purpose that appears on itswebsite according to which it “ provides expertise in the transition to digital payments to achieve the goals of empowering people and growing emerging economies.” Continue reading ““The Better Than Cash Alliance”: Escalating the War on Cash”
A top United States general in charge of protecting the southern border says he’s been unable to combat the steady flow of illegal drugs, weapons and people from Central America, and is looking to Congress for urgent help.
Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly, commander of U.S. Southern Command, has asked Congress this year for more money, drones and ships for his mission – a request unlikely to be met. Since October, an influx of nearly 100,000 migrants has made the dangerous journey north from Latin America to the United States border. Most are children, and three-quarters of the unaccompanied minors have traveled thousands of miles from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Continue reading “Top General Says Mexico Border Security Now ‘Existential’ Threat to U.S.”
French President François Hollande should have been ecstatic when US Federal and New York State authorities slammed French megabank BNP Paribas with a slew of charges related to the bank’s dealings with Iran in violation of US sanctions. Under intense pressure, BNP agreed to pay a $8.9 billion penalty and plead guilty. It was the largest penalty for a European bank ever. Some heads rolled at the bank. But Hollande was not amused.
Yet it should have been the sweetest moment of his dreary Presidency. He should have relished that attack on the French monster bank, and he should have turned motorcade victory laps around rush-hour Paris. Continue reading “No Politician Is Allowed to Oppose Banks For Long, Not Even the French President”
A few days ago, we asked a simple rhetorical question: “Are you targeted by the NSA?“
The answer, sadly for those reading this, is very likely yes, as it was revealed that as part of the NSA’s XKeyscore program “a computer network exploitation system, as described in an NSA presentation, devoted to gathering nearly everything a user does on the internet” all it takes for a user to be flagged by America’s superspooks is to go to a website the NSA finds less than “patriotic” and that user becomes a fixture for the NSA’s tracking algos. Continue reading “What Your “Startlingly Intimate, Voyeristic” NSA File Looks Like”
At the nation’s first official Independence Day celebration, there were no fireworks, no sparklers, and no rowdy parties. The parade was solemn, with reverent music and the call-and-response singing of two choirs. Songs were sung in German.
Those marking the nation’s hard-won independence at that first celebration had not participated in the long and bloody war, and they were not celebrating the newly free nation’s victory over the British oppressors at Yorktown. They were thanking God for peace. Continue reading “The First Americans to Observe the 4th Were Moravian Pacifists”
While numerous massively indebted administrations around the world hope to divert the attention of what’s left of their struggling middle class away from its daily impoverished existence and distract it with flashing lights and glitzy animations showing another all time market high on a daily basis, a significantly more important shift taking place behind the scenes is appreciated by very few: the ongoing de-dollarization of the world. For the latest example of how increasingly more countries are setting the stage for the final currency war, we go again to Russia where VOR’s Valentin Mândr??escu explains that slowly but surely the BRICS – that proud Goldman acronym which was conceived to perpetuate the great American way of life by releasing trillions in US-denominated debt in heretofore untapped markets – are morphing into an anti-dollar alliance. Continue reading “The BRICs Are Morphing Into An Anti-Dollar Alliance”
BEIJING — Students and civil servants in China’s Muslim northwest, where Beijing is enforcing a security crackdown following deadly unrest, have been ordered to avoid taking part in traditional fasting during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
Statements posted Wednesday on websites of schools, government agencies and local party organizations in the Xinjiang region said the ban was aimed at protecting students’ wellbeing and preventing use of schools and government offices to promote religion. Statements on the websites of local party organizations said members of the officially atheist ruling party also should avoid fasting. Continue reading “China bans Ramadan fast in Muslim northwest”