Tags: Liberty

Nothing Better to Do – The NSA Goes After Parody T-Shirts

Throughout history, one of the ways in which the human spirit has overcome or dealt with the brutish forces of authoritarian regimes has been through the use of humor. As such, it is no surprise that clever Americans from sea to shining sea have figured out ways to mock the NSA while also making a dollar or two. One of these folks is Dan McCall, founder of politically themed T-shirt company Liberty Maniacs. Several days after the spy scandal erupted, Dan created a shirt that read NSA: The only part of the government that actually listens. See below:

NSA-Listens-Shirtmock

Pretty hilarious right? Well, the NSA didn’t find it particularly funny and, in fact, according to the Daily Dot this is what happened:

“Within an hour or two,” as McCall told the Daily Dot, Zazzle emailed him to say the shirt had been removed from the Zazzle site. (Zazzle didn’t respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comment, nor did the NSA.

Zazzle’s first email, which McCall forwarded to the Daily Dot, said in part:

Unfortunately, it appears that your product, The NSA, contains content that is in conflict with one or more of our acceptable content guidelines.

We will be removing this product from the Zazzle Marketplace shortly. …

Result: Not Approved

Policy Notes: Design contains an image or text that may infringe on intellectual property rights. We have been contacted by the intellectual property right holder and we will be removing your product from Zazzle’s Marketplace due to infringement claims.

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The Declaration of Independence

In case it’s been a while…

The Unanimous Declaration of the
Thirteen United States of America

In Congress, July 4, 1776

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and, when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them, and formidable to tyrants only.

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Debut Interview with The Nomad Capitalist

I’m very pleased to make available my debut interview with Andrew Henderson of the Nomad Capitalist.  The range of topics discussed here is extensive.  From the IRS scandal, to Bitcoin and gold, to whether or not it makes sense to stick around in the good old USA to fight for liberty.  It’s always enjoyable to meet and engage with new people in the Liberty Movement and then have the opportunity to make the interviews available to my readers.  You’re going to really enjoy this one!

Listen below:

Obama’s Graduation Speech: Reject Voices Warning of “Tyranny”

It is incredible to me that Obama felt the need to address this subject during a graduation speech at Ohio State University.  It is without question proof that the Obama administration is well aware of the growing dissent across the land, and is attempting to sway these impressionable youngsters toward obedience to the state using soaring oratory and catch phrases, as all demagogues and dishonest politicians have in the past.  What I find so hilarious is that he wants these kids to assume that the growing ant-establishment sentiment is this country just emerged out of thin air like trillions of Bernanke bucks. As if the latest poll from Pew Research that shows the favorable opinion of the Federal government at a record low of 28% is due to fear mongering rather than legitimate grievances.  How dumb does he think these kids are?

This is just another event that reminds me of the famous Gandhi quote:

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you , then you win.

The resistance has now penetrated a large enough percentage of the populace with non-violent ideas of liberty and freedom that the establishment is forced to address it in the public arena, something they’d rather not do as it admits all is not well beneath the surface.

They are now fighting us.  Next up is victory.

Paul Krugman Goes on the Attack: Calls Bitcoin “Antisocial”

Anyone on the fence with regard to Bitcoin should consider coming to the side of supporting it after reading Paul Krugman’s ridiculous and riddled with errors hit-piece in the New York Times this weekend.  The key tipoff as to where he is coming from in this absurd editorial is in the title itself in which he calls Bitcoin an “antisocial network.”  Anti-social is one of the most favored collectivist/fascist terms and concepts of all time.  A term meant to demonize those in a particular society that think for themselves rather than conform to whatever the oligarchs or dictators in charge of the state deem appropriate or “social.”  Jews would have been seen as “antisocial” in Nazi Germany, just as anyone with glasses would have been deemed “antisocial” in Pol Pot’s Cambodia.  This is a very dangerous term and one that is intended to guilt people into the acceptance of a stale, authoritarian and conformist society.

Now let’s get to some of the more ridiculous passages from his editorial.  From the New York Times:

The economic significance of this roller coaster was basically nil. But the furor over bitcoin was a useful lesson in the ways people misunderstand money — and in particular how they are misled by the desire to divorce the value of money from the society it serves.

The similarity to goldbug rhetoric isn’t a coincidence, since goldbugs and bitcoin enthusiasts — bitbugs? — tend to share both libertarian politics and the belief that governments are vastly abusing their power to print money. At the same time, it’s very peculiar, since bitcoins are in a sense the ultimate fiat currency, with a value conjured out of thin air.  Gold’s value comes in part because it has nonmonetary uses, such as filling teeth and making jewelry; paper currencies have value because they’re backed by the power of the state, which defines them as legal tender and accepts them as payment for taxes. Bitcoins, however, derive their value, if any, purely from self-fulfilling prophecy, the belief that other people will accept them as payment.

This paragraph is so riddled with blatant errors it is almost difficult to know where to start.  First, either Krugman is extremely lazy and intellectually dishonest by misdefining “fiat,” or he is purposefully misleading his readers with full knowledge that they have zero understanding of money and will simply take his word for it.  As I have mentioned many times before, fiat is defined as:  1. A formal authorization or proposition; a decree and 2. An arbitrary order.  Synonyms include: decree, diktat, directive, edict, rescript, ruling.  So Bitcoin is actually the exact opposite of fiat money.

Second, he implies that the value of gold comes from its uses in jewelry and dentistry.  Really Paul?  I guess Vladimir Putin must have some really rotten teeth and I suppose that Fort Knox still holds billions of gold bricks in anticipation of a massive dental epidemic sure to hit the United States in the near future.  Absolutely ridiculous.

The practical misconception here — and it’s a big one — is the notion that we live in an era of wildly irresponsible money printing, with runaway inflation just around the corner. It’s true that the Federal Reserve and other central banks have greatly expanded their balance sheets — but they’ve done that explicitly as a temporary measure in response to economic crisis. I know, government officials are not to be trusted and all that, but the truth is that Ben Bernanke’s promises that his actions wouldn’t be inflationary have been vindicated year after year, while goldbugs’ dire warnings of inflation keep not coming true.

Temporary?  So I suppose four and a half years of rampant money printing and bank bailouts is “transitory” in Krugman’s mind.   I’d love to ask Krugman when this becomes “un-temporary” in his mind.  Ten years?  Twenty?  I’d love to know.  For some background, I wrote a lengthy piece called It’s Transitory back in June, 2011.

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MSNBC: Your Kids Don’t Belong to You

This is such an incredibly creepy video it’s actually hard for me to believe it’s real. Professor of political science at Tulane University and MSNBC host, Melissa Harris-Perry states the following:

We have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families and recognize that kids belong to whole communities.  Once it’s everyone’s responsibility, and not just the household’s, then we start making better investments.

This clip is very important because it really demonstrates the mentality of a statist. They want to run your lives in every way you can possibly imagine, including the upbringing of your children.  Outrageous.

ACLU: Gun Control Bill Threatens Privacy Rights and Civil Liberties

I have to admit, I have a really hard time understanding the perspective of liberty minded folks that lean toward the “progressive” or “liberal” side of the traditional political spectrum when it comes to gun control.  Here is why.

I can understand where their visceral dislike of guns comes from.  Many of them are urbanities and cannot possible conceive the reason anyone would need or want a gun, let alone an “assault rifle.”  I grew up in Manhattan, believe me I get the mentality.  It is very much a cultural phenomenon more than anything else.   That said, many of these people fully understand how criminal our corporate government has become and how these oligarchs are systematically attempting to remove the civil rights of the citizenry.  While this may not be a “right” you agree with, it is a right nonetheless.  I think at a time when we are dealing with such fascist tendencies at the top, we should not advocate for the removal of any rights whatsoever from the citizenry.  This has been my position all along and continues to be.

Yet there is more.  As we see from the ACLU, Harry Reid’s gun control bill is about far more than gun control.  It is about government databases, as well as various other blatant threats to privacy and civil liberties.  From the Daily Caller:

As Senate Democrats struggle to build support for new gun control legislation, the American Civil Liberties Union now says it’s among those who have “serious concerns” about the bill.

In an exclusive interview with The Daily Caller, a top lobbyist for the ACLU announced that the group thinks Reid’s current gun bill could threaten both privacy rights and civil liberties.

The inclusion of universal background checks — the poll-tested lynchpin of most Democratic proposals — “raises two significant concerns,” the ACLU’s Chris Calabrese told TheDC Wednesday.

Calabrese — a privacy lobbyist — was first careful to note that the ACLU doesn’t strictly oppose universal background checks for gun purchases. “If you’re going to require a background check, we think it should be effective,” Calabrese explained.

Calabrese wouldn’t characterize the current legislation’s record-keeping provision as a “national gun registry” — which the White House has denied pursuing — but he did say that such a registry could be “a second step.”

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It’s Time to Repeal the AUMF

Even a mainstream media dinosaur like the New York Times will publish something decent and in the public interest from time to time.  In case you aren’t familiar with the AUMF (Authorization for Use of Military Force), it was the law enacted three days after 9/11 to provide the President of the United States with the flexibility to fight the now never-ending “war on terror.”  It is very important that we deal with the AUMF and get rid of it once and for all, since it is the key law used by the Obama Administration to justify the NDAA, and very soon may be used to kill “associates of associates” (basically anyone they want) of Al Qaeda without charges or a trial.  This editorial published l over the weekend calls for a repeal of the AUMF and I completely agree.  We can’t trust our current or future leaders to not abuse this authority.  From the New York Times:

Three days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Congress approved the Authorization for Use of Military Force. It was enacted with good intentions — to give President George W. Bush the authority to invade Afghanistan and go after Al Qaeda and the Taliban rulers who sheltered and aided the terrorists who had attacked the United States.

Mr. Bush used the authorization law as an excuse to kidnap hundreds of people — guilty and blameless people alike — and throw them into secret prisons where many were tortured. He used it as a pretext to open the Guantánamo Bay camp and to eavesdrop on Americans without bothering to obtain a warrant. He claimed it as justification for the invasion of Iraq, twisting intelligence to fabricate a connection between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 attacks.

Unlike Mr. Bush, Mr. Obama does not go as far as to claim that the Constitution gives him the inherent power to do all those things. But he has relied on the 2001 authorization to use drones to kill terrorists far from the Afghan battlefield, and to claim an unconstitutional power to kill American citizens in other countries based only on suspicion that they are or might become terrorist threats, without judicial review.

The concern that many, including this page, expressed about the authorization is coming true: that it could become the basis for a perpetual, ever-expanding war that undermined the traditional constraints on government power. The result is an unintelligible policy without express limits or protective walls.

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Google Finally Sheds Some Light on National Security Letters (NSLs)

For those that aren’t aware, National Security Letters (NSLs) are these shady Orwellian instruments used by the FBI to spy on citizens without a warrant.  The really creepy part about them is that you aren’t permitted to know if there is one out on you.  It’s all one giant secret, you know, to get those terrorists.  Well, Google has finally come out and given us some color on NSLs.  The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) gives us the scoop: 

Of all the dangerous government surveillance powers that were expanded by the USA PATRIOT Act, the National Security Letter (NSL) power provided by five statutory provisions is one of the most frightening and invasive. These letters–the type served on communications service providers such as phone companies and ISPs and are authorized by 18 U.S.C. 2709–allow the FBI to secretly demand data about ordinary American citizens’ private communications and Internet activity without any prior judicial review. To make matters worse, recipients of NSLs are subject to gag orders that forbid them from ever revealing the letters’ existence to anyone.

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The Really, Really Creepy Thing About “Google Glass”

Google glass.  Just the latest breakthrough technology that everyone seems to be talking about.  I’m not a tech savvy guy and for much of my life I’ve been a pretty late adopter of new technologies, but the big brother concerns associated with the Google Glass seem worth highlighting.  From Mark Hurst:

Google Glass might change your life, but not in the way you think. There’s something else Google Glass makes possible that no one – no one – has talked about yet, and so today I’m writing this blog post to describe it.

The key experiential question of Google Glass isn’t what it’s like to wear them, it’s what it’s like to be around someone else who’s wearing them. I’ll give an easy example. Your one-on-one conversation with someone wearing Google Glass is likely to be annoying, because you’ll suspect that you don’t have their undivided attention. And you can’t comfortably ask them to take the glasses off (especially when, inevitably, the device is integrated into prescription lenses). Finally – here’s where the problems really start – you don’t know if they’re taking a video of you.

Now pretend you don’t know a single person who wears Google Glass… and take a walk outside. Anywhere you go in public – any store, any sidewalk, any bus or subway – you’re liable to be recorded: audio and video. Fifty people on the bus might be Glassless, but if a single person wearing Glass gets on, you – and all 49 other passengers – could be recorded. Not just for a temporary throwaway video buffer, like a security camera, but recorded, stored permanently, and shared to the world.

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