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…

Wesley Clark Calls for Internment Camps for “Radical” Americans

In the below video former General Wesley Clark calls for the creation of internment camps to segregate “radicalized” Americans from the rest of the population as we did in World War 2 with Japanese Americans. This is an interesting position from a man who had no shortage of criticisms for George W. Bush’s violations of civil liberties. Apparently protecting civil liberties is not really the mission here. Violating civil liberties is fine so long as it is your team doing the violating. Watch the video for yourself…

There are a few issues with his “ideas” of how to protect Americans. First, exactly who gets to decide who is “radical?” Today we might say it is radical Islamic terrorists, but as we have seen before people that believe in strong 2nd Amendment rights have been labeled “terrorists” on more than one occasion. Does that group get put into one of these camps? How about people that believe in any of the other Bill of Rights and is willing to fight for them. Are those individuals now “radicalized” and need to be put into a camp?

We actually have people out there that instead of having freedom of speech guaranteed by the 1st Amendment that we should create categories of “hate” speech that is illegal and should be a crime. Wow. Who gets to decide what “hate” speech is? Is that just speech you disagree with?

So if someone says they don’t believe in LGBT lifestyle is that now hate speech and said person needs to be put into a camp for being “radicalized”. When we start deciding what speech is protected and what isn’t and are constantly pointing fingers at each other and saying this person or what they said is offending me and they are a “hate” speech person or “radical” for their idea we are in VERY dangerous waters. Add to that the idea that we should start shoving these people into camps and you have the all the makings of another holocaust.

Maybe those people that believe in a strong 4th Amendment and believe that having a warrant before being able to indiscriminately search someone’s house, computer, library records, phone, business records, car is a good idea. Are those people now “wrong thinking” people that are “radicalized?” Maybe they are hiding something, if they didn’t have something to hide they would just agree to the search, right? They must be a radical, maybe we should lock them up in a camp?

The issue is who gets to decide who is radicalized and a threat and needs to go into one of these camps? What is the process for deciding they have to go? Is it just their position on an issue? Will they have to show they are a danger to society? If so, how exactly does this new Minority Report commission convict someone of a crime they haven’t actually done yet, but may in the future?

If we decide to start shoving people into these camps do they have a trial? appeals? Is there a sentencing system or are they simply put in there until they are no longer “radicalized?” Who gets to decide when that has been achieved? What happens to them in this camp? Do they get re-educated or tortured until they have seen the light? What happens to their property they owned before they got shoved in this camp, doe we just divvy it up among the “non-radicalized” people living outside these camps?

See you start getting a lot of sticky questions when you decide it is a good idea to start labeling various people you disagree with as “radicalized” and “terrorist” and decide to start stripping them of civil liberties and locking them up for crimes they *might* do someday, but haven’t done today and quite frankly may never do.

Depending on exactly what “radicalized” group we are discussing here doing a crime isn’t what is happening so much as standing up for freedom. If their only crime is being “radicalized” according to some person’s definition of the word is then some star chamber of people somewhere get to determine that and shove them in a camp until this group starts thinking the right way? Wow. Just Wow, what else can you say about something like this.

The really scary thing is this clown is actually brought on to discuss this on news shows as it should actually be considered a real policy idea. This maniac should not be given a platform anywhere where his ideas are actually elevated to the level of serious discussion.

In addition, this moron was and may be again a presidential candidate. Finally, at one time he was actually a general in the military, you know, one of only two groups, police being the other one, that should have all the guns according to liberals. Now that should scare every single person.

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 🙂

Simply Disobey the State – Civil Disobedience

There is an interesting article today on Lew Rockwell about Anarcho Calisthenics. The premise of the article is rather than hold an outright revolution, which usually results in a worse regime than the one that was removed coming to power, instead simply stop following the dictates of the state. He further goes on to say these don’t have to be big acts of defiance, they could be small ones, but exercised by thousands or even millions will reek havoc on state machinery.

Here in the U.S. we have a fine tradition of simply disobeying the state when they have crossed the line. From the Revolutionary War to Henry David Thoreau to modern times we have been a defiant people. It is happening right now in Connecticut with the latest unconstitutional anti gun laws by potentially thousands of people. You see the dirty secret is we the people outnumber the politicians and their thugs by considerable numbers, but people forget that. They need you to just go along and follow their laws for the power to exist.

The reality is despite the number of police, prisons, and laws that exist they simply don’t have enough of them to force every citizen to comply with every law, every minute, of every day. Instead if you don’t voluntarily do it they simply can’t stop everyone. Yes, they can stop some and they do. Unfortunately for those they do stop they usually try and destroy them completely so as to set an example for the rest of the defiant people, but in the end they will still not be able to do that to everyone.

In Connecticut right now the politicians are besides themselves over this latest gun law. They fully expected everyone to simply fall into line and march over the cliff like good little lemmings when this law was passed. It simply never occurred to them that a huge majority of people would simply hold up their collective middle fingers and ignore the laws. These people called their bluff.

Now there are thousands of people who are felons according to the law. Some of them will get caught and the state will crush them with a zeal unlike we have seen before. They will do this for two reasons, one out of sheer anger that so many others have defied them and hopefully to set an example and bring the rest of the herd back into compliance with the state.

This will not work. The harder the state tries to crush them the more evasive and careful people will be to not get caught. Some still will and that is the nature of any war, there are always casualties. The truth is nobody wants to be that casualty, but some will be. However all will live under tyranny or some will fight and some will lose, but in the end the state and their tyranny loving politicians are the real losers. Here is a quote from the Hartford Courant that proves the point…

“I honestly thought from my own standpoint that the vast majority would register,” said Sen. Tony Guglielmo, R-Stafford, the ranking GOP senator on the legislature’s public safety committee. “If you pass laws that people have no respect for and they don’t follow them, then you have a real problem.”

This guy simply doesn’t know what to do now that so many people have simply withdrawn their consent to be tyrannized by an out of control state. However this is not enough. People need to be defiant on a range of things every single day across the entire nation.

Here are some things to consider before embarking on this…

  • Make sure you are willing to “do the time” for whatever rule you are breaking if you are that person who is caught and made an example of. In other words are you William Wallace?

  • Don’t wave flags, banners, or god forbid place your civil disobedience on social media for the world to see. Don’t be stupid. If you tell the state you have withdrawn your consent you will be visited by door kicking thugs in the middle of the night.

  • Be quiet, smart, and careful. Think Walter White from Breaking Bad. He hid in plain sight and didn’t let the world know what he was doing.

  • Don’t post things on social media or tell the world you disagree with the state, at least, not loudly. Such people end up becoming part of a small group of people to “watch” by the state. Rather think needle in the haystack.

  • Make it as hard as possible for the state to see you as anything other than another compliant little lemming co towing to their infinite power, but in reality you are not anything of the sort.

Understand, I am not suggesting you go out and start a career of crime here, although in reality most people commit an average of 3 felonies everyday right now and don’t know it.

I am suggesting you simply withdraw your consent to allow yourself to be placed under the tyranny of the state for every little stupid regulation and law they can dream up, but in the end don’t actually have the power to enforce against everyone. Exercise this freedom regularly. It actually feels good.