Silk Road Prediction Coming True

A while back I wrote a post offering some thoughts on why the government gave Ross Ulbricht, the creator of Silk Road the harshest sentence possible. In that post I basically pointed out that the government was terrified that it was so easy to set up such a network. It didn’t require a huge criminal enterprise, lots of cash or vast resources. It basically required a guy with some programming skills and a laptop.

I pointed out that if this catches on even the government won’t have the resources to track down and punish all the people out there. Imagine dot com boom of the 1990s, but instead of creating new businesses for NASDAQ they will be creating new and better versions of the original Silk Road. I argued that is what truly terrified the government and encouraged the judge to impose the harshest sentence possible. Tyrants throughout time have been using this tactic. Catch the perpetrator and impose a horrific punishment for all to see. The idea being that anyone else even thinking of doing the same thing will get this punishment and scare them away. It rarely works and it won’t work this time.

In fact, it is already failing. 2 years after Silk Road was shut down new and quickly improving versions of the same thing are popping up. Again, as predicted before some will get caught and not all of the individuals are as smart as others. This is the nature of a free market. Some fail and some succeed, but each successive effort becomes a little better than the last. We see it again with this endeavor.

The government’s one card they had to play was striking mortal fear of punishment into the hearts of would be upstarts has failed as I knew it would. New markets are forming and flourishing. Some will be caught and the group following them will get even better. I would not be surprised if programmers from around the globe start creating specialized software to help fuel these endeavors. It is like a tsunami and it won’t be stopped. The tighter the government squeezes the more people will slip through their fingers, seems I have heard that before…

Ross Ulbricht: Victim of Senseless Drug War

Ross Ulbricht was sentenced to life in prison on Friday. Another individual that can be added to the long rabble of victims of the U.S. Government’s senseless war on drugs. He was the creator of the Silk Road web site, which ran on the TOR network and took payment in Bitcoin, thus making the trading of what the government calls “illicit” goods easier and more private.

You can read in plenty of other places how the web site worked and the details of the case. What I wish to focus on specifically is why Mr. Ulbricht was sentenced to life? This was the harshest sentence that could be given and even worse than the prosecution itself was asking for.

The minimum was 20 years. Mr. Ulbricht is 31 years of age so a 20 year stint would have freed him when he was 51 and still left him some semblance of life left to live. However the judge literally threw the book at him and gave him what really amounts to a death sentence. He will now spend the rest of his natural life behind bars and never again know freedom in this life. So why give such a brutal sentence?

The first main reason is the government, like most crime syndicates, doesn’t tolerate competition well. The government needs the “War on Drugs” to finance and finish building the huge police state apparatus it has been quietly building for decades. The so called “Patriot” Act, is simply the latest law that was sold to us to stop terrorism, but is really used to stop competition in the drug war (As of midnight Sunday this has been updated to the USA “Freedom” Act).

In addition, the government needs a large slush fund that isn’t transparent to the public to finance off the books military and spy operations around the globe. If these activities were paid for through traditional channels it would require disclosure in the budget (public information) and be subject to FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests. Would a good police state allow its subjects to see that kind of stuff?

The drug trade is a very profitable enterprise for the U.S. government and to the extent Silk Road was cutting in on that monopoly was completely unacceptable to the thugocracy running our government. Mr. Ulbricht had to be completely crushed to send a message. The jack booted thugs in the government needed to send a clear message to other young upstarts. You mess with our drug business we will end you and use our kangaroo courts to make it look all nice and legal.

The second reason is far more interesting in my opinion. The technology used to build the Silk Road is readily available all over the Internet. The skills used to harness this technology are available to any web developer worth his/her salt. In other words to set up this enterprise didn’t require vast resources, money, manpower or a large enterprise. It required a web developer with some decent programming skills and a laptop.

Think about that for a moment, some guy in his basement with a laptop can create another Silk Road web site, utilize Bitcoin, TOR, and readily available encryption and create a lucrative marketplace that would literally end the government’s monopoly on the drug trade if it catches on and lots of people do it. In addition, it isn’t just about drugs, in fact, I would argue that is actually a small part of the future.

The real power will come when totally free, anonymous, unregulated, and tax free networks and lassie fare capitalism can truly be practiced without interference from the Federalies. People will be able to buy anything they want without the nanny state blocking it, taxing it, or regulating it.

As new people start to do this they will learn from the mistakes of others. They will learn at the speed of light how to hide more effectively from the growing police state, move money around more quietly and easier, facilitate better more frictionless capitalism and they can do it from anyplace in the world. They will get harder to track and harder to stop.

Such a site can be set up in about month with a little elbow grease. In fact, others have already been set up. Many of them have been shut down, but new ones are coming. Think technology boom, but in this case being used to run circles around the behemoth and slow moving Federalies. The innovations that created our modern Internet can and will be applied to ending the Federalies alternative income schemes and totalitarian control over our lives to exercise truly free markets.

The real reason Mr. Ulbricht was given such a harsh sentence is because he dared open Pandora’s Box, he showed how ANYONE can do this. The government is feeling stark terror right now. They see their precious drug business being usurped by a dude with a laptop. They fully understand that if more and more of these sites pop up that the resources needed to track them all down all over the world and arrest everyone involved will quickly outstrip even their resources and manpower. They are terrified.

Like any jack booted tyrant or animal that is terrified it is lashing out viciously in an attempt to stop the inevitable from occurring. They won’t be successful. More will follow and some will be busted and receive similar treatment, but eventually the market will become unstoppable. They know this. So, in an attempt to strike fear into anyone else thinking of doing this they gave Mr. Ulbricht a life sentence. Not because they care about society, but because he dared to cut into their business and usurp their authority.

Many feel that in this case the punishment didn’t fit crime and is truly an injustice. Sadly it has been this way throughout history. The first pioneers into any endeavor often get the arrows in the back. They die trying to push boundaries and advance into areas unexplored. However his sacrifice will only inspire others.

Others will follow and soon the technology, processes, skills, and brave individuals willing to poke a finger in the eye of the jack booted thugs running the U.S. government’s crime syndicate will grow. Soon they will be unstoppable. The government is terrified.

Philadelphia Extorts Bloggers

It would seem the City of Philadelphia, the site of our once Continental Congress, has decided to use its enforcers to shake down bloggers for cash. Of course they wrap it all up in a pretty package called a Business “Privilege” License and make it sound all official, but at the end of the day it is a shake down akin to a visit from the local Mafia thug.

It seems that if you operate a business, which now includes blogs, you need a license from government! They have gone so far as to refer to it as a “privilege” license! Please show me anywhere in our Constitution where it says any level of government can grant businesses a “privilege” license for the sum of $300 to start a business. Anyone? I thought not.

This goes against the very core of freedom and the First Amendment. Now I would never, ever, ever tell anyone to break the laws of our great nation so what I write next is only theoretical mind you. If you are a handy web developer you may want to consider (theoretically) doing the following if you find yourself at the receiving end of something like this…

1. Set up your site on a server in another country.
2. Use a VPN to access your site.
3. Encrypt all of your files on your existing hard drive.
4. Use email encryption when conducting business.
5. Never admit to anything.
6. Conduct financial transactions using Bitcoin.

Of course this is just a theoretical idea for the sake of conversation for intellectually curious Libertarians 🙂

Gun Control in U.S. because of Terrorists in France

As soon as I saw the news that terrorist had used guns to attack unarmed citizens in France I said to a friend, “just watch the anti 2nd Amendment crowd will find a way to call for gun control in the U.S. even though this happened across the ocean in France!” Sadly, but predictably, I was 100% accurate. It wasn’t even a day later that calls for yet more civil liberties infringements should be applied to U.S. citizens because of what happened in France! I repeat France!

Liam Neeson, despite making millions of dollars glorifying guns on the silver screen is one of the key people calling for more gun control in the U.S. because of this. I am not really even sure what to do with that information. The bottom line is you simply can’t fix stupid. You can’t negotiate with crazy.

First, like most western European countries France has some of the strictest ownership laws regarding firearms of anywhere in the world! Yes, the entire world. Even a bulk of their police don’t carry guns! Yet despite that terrorist were able to use the criminal networks and black market to smuggle guns into the country. Of course predictably they met almost no resistance as they proceeded to walk along killing unarmed and defenseless people.

Yes, to you idiots calling for more gun control this is what happens. You take away guns from all the people who follow the laws and then wonder why you have massive body counts when criminals steal or smuggle guns and kill all the unarmed people.

Mr. Neeson seems to think that because there are so many guns in the U.S. that attack would have been worse here than there with all of their gun control. That is so stupid it actually defies all rational thought and any semblance of logic!

How would 4 terrorist shoot any more guns than the ones they possessed in France? I have been a shooter for a long time and I have yet to figure out how to shoot multiple guns at the same exact time. Plus as pointed out before they used the black market to get these guns so if they wanted more they could have had them. Period.

What would have happened in most places in the U.S. is a CCW holder would have pulled out a gun and fired back! They may have even killed these guys before they murdered a dozen people! That is what happens in a country that has more guns and doesn’t disarm all of their subjects “citizens”. They shoot back. They are not soft targets.

I have come to the conclusion these people are simply too stupid to debate any longer. They can’t even use rational logic in forming an opinion. Their positions make zero sense. I suppose we must continue to answer them when they spout this garbage because we have equally stupid individuals in the media that actually think this drivel is newsworthy and that these flat earthers of the gun debate should be given serious consideration.

How do you intelligently debate someone that can’t even put together logical and debatable points? I imagine this is how early intelligent people felt when confronting morons who still believed the earth was flat. You made logical, fact based, statistically proven and well reasoned points and they would respond with “You are wrong, the world, she is flat!”. Like I said before you simply can’t fix stupid.

Chris Christie Rails Against Freedom

Recently Chris Christie of NJ demonstrated his disdain for freedom (again) by railing against the recreational cannabis laws of Colorado. As usual Christie like many others comes down on the side of less freedom for the people and more laws, regulations, and less freedom for the people. This is only one of many issues where this is his position. We are still waiting to see how he decides on magazine bans in NJ. I can tell you how the smart money plans on betting for that one 🙂

He argues in this piece about this legalization becoming a “slippery slope”. What he really means is he, like other statists are afraid that the people will get a taste of a little too much freedom and start demanding more of it on all types of things and less government. Nothing scares big government statists and tyrants worse than having the people figure out there actually is a better way to live.

What I find amazing about this moron is that he is scared that a little more freedom will cause a “slippery slope” towards freedom, but when politicians like him pass “common sense” and “reasonable” “gun safety” laws and gun owners say we are beginning a slippery slope toward gun bans and tyranny we are called paranoid, right wing and gun nuts with a lose grip on reality.

Again just another case of big nanny state government knowing what’s best and the people just not knowing “what is good for them” as we go towards this supposedly dangerous “slippery slope” of freedom. I prefer Thomas Jefferson’s stance on it instead…

“I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude.”

The really sad thing is this clown or that other stalwart of freedom Jeb Bush [full sarcasm intended] will end up being the nominee for the Republican Party for President in 2016. And they wonder why 75% of the American population doesn’t even bother to vote any longer.

We see almost zero difference between the two major parties. Both hate freedom. Both are scared to death of people getting even a taste of freedom. Both want bigger and more intrusive government on just about everything. No wonder the Founding Fathers had such disdain for “parties” they saw this coming over 200 years ago!

Alternative Currencies Putting Government Out of Business

Below is a fascinating TED talk Paul Kemp-Robertson about the rise of alternative currencies and the possibility they may one day replace government currency. He discusses Bitcoin during the talk, which is a clearly rising star in the alternative currency world. In fact, many, including myself believe many of the Central Banks around the globe conspired to drive up and then crash the price of Bitcoin a little while back. Gangsters really hate competition.

While I am not sure alternative currencies will suddenly be all the rage in the immediate future, I do believe they will continue to grow and dominate as time rolls on. It is almost inevitable when you consider the governments who are deficit spending for wars, which by the way Paul addresses in his talk as why there was an end to alternative currencies in the U.S. around 1860, and paying for ever growing entitlement programs. Quite simply continued spending and raising the debt limit is unsustainable. No matter if the purse strings are pulled closed by a bank or by the public at large a point is reached where currencies that are destroyed of value via a deficit spending government must end.

As people begin to see the deteriorating value, endless tracking and control being applied to currencies it seems inevitable that alternative currencies will start dominating. Watch the video and judge for yourself.

Depreciating Currency in India Leads to Spike in Gold Demand

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal the currency in India (rupee) is depreciating and that is leading to an increased demand for gold as a hedge against the loss in purchasing power.

For the people to buy gold they need to sell off their rupee and buy dollars so they can buy gold.  Of course this is leading to a further falling in value of the rupee, which is vexing the progressive government in India.

Like most progressive regimes they are deficit spending and want to continue to do so.  The problem is with a falling currency value that gets harder and harder to do as borrowing costs go up and purchasing power decreases.  Bad news if you are deficit spending progressive.

What is a progressive deficit spending regime supposed to do?  Well, they have come up with a really original, never thought of before solution.  They added a tax to all imports of gold effectively raising the cost of gold to their citizens.

The farmers out in rural areas who like gold as a vehicle for saving and wealth preservation as well as many others have come up with an equally creative solution, buy gold on the black market created by smugglers sneaking gold into the country that isn’t taxed.

Progressives, not to get with their pants down have started wasting untold resources to catch the smugglers…

Does this sound like a familiar tale?  It should it has been going on forever.  The countries differ.  The product being smuggled may differ, but the cause is always the same.  The government trying to stop free commerce by applying taxes or otherwise interfering with a free market for a highly sought after, i.e. in high demand good.

This will not work.  It never does.  If their is a demand for a product, regardless of what it is all the taxes, bans, and police in the world will not stop a black market from being created for the product.  Just ask the DEA in the U.S. how well that “war on drugs is doing”.

In this case this is particularly rotten because the people are simply trying to protect themselves from their own government’s stupidity of depreciating the currency out from under them.  When you depreciate a currency through deficit spending and lower people’s purchasing power over time you are effectively levying another tax on them.

The farmers work out in the fields busting hump and keep getting poorer year after year.  They of course see this and try to stop it by moving to a hard currency only to get taxed for that on top of the depreciating currency tax.

This will not work of course.  The gold will keep flowing the black market will keep growing and the currency will keep depreciating.  The government will keep wasting resources trying to stop the smuggling, when all they really need to do is stop spending money they don’t have and taxing people for simply trying to protect themselves.

So simple even a liberal progressive deficit spending government can figure it out… or not.