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…

Pending Obamacare Legal Decision Summed Up

The Supreme Court is ready to rule on the question of subsidies for Obamacare anytime this month. Chances are they have already voted on it and the decision is being written up as I write this and will be announced soon.

This will go one of two ways, kind of like a simple decision tree. Either in an effort to again re-write what the law actually says one or more of the Justices will “find” something in there that justifies it and rule in favor of Obama and the subsidies, thus protecting Obamacare yet again from complete destruction, which is where it should have went years ago. Personally, this is what I believe will happen. I don’t trust that traitor John Roberts to rule on what the law actually says. He will go through legal gymnastics as he did the first time and rule in favor of Obama.

However in the very small chance that I am wrong and the Justices rule against Obama the subsidies will be found illegal and the law will quickly begin to cave in, which brings an interesting problem to bear. The Republicans want changes to the law. Obama doesn’t want anything changed. He [Obama] will dig in and throw a temper tantrum and vow to veto any changes to his precious socialized healthcare program.

The Republicans will be able to pass a reform bill, but Obama will refuse to sign it. The only bill he will sign will be one that makes the subsidies legal without any other changes whatsoever. Meanwhile in approximately 37 states the cost of health insurance will streak into the stratosphere for many people that are receiving subsidies. The policies will become completely unaffordable and they will lose them and possibly be fined for not having insurance they simply cannot afford. These people will begin screaming for blood.

Meanwhile the spineless Republicans will become terrified that the Mongol hordes screaming for their government gravy in the form of subsidies are calling for their heads. They will buckle under the pressure as they always do and give Obama exactly what he wants to pacify both Obama and the Mongol hordes.

Amazingly the same thing happened 2,000 years ago in Rome when the barbarians showed up at the gates of Rome and sacked the city. Only this time the barbarians are already in the city gates and the only thing that will pacify them is for the spineless Republicans to throw more government gravy pacify and shut them up for now, but they will be back. They always come back and they want more and more.

This will not stop until we have another party willing to make the tough decisions (Libertarians) or the system collapses as it is doing right now in Greece. Isn’t it amazing how history just keeps repeating itself over and over again and politicians are dumb enough to believe it will somehow come out differently THIS time.

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.

Obama Denies Troops 401(k) Plans

In a completely predictable decision, Obama came out and denied troops access to military set up 401(k) plans. These plans, if created, would have allowed military members to contribute to 401(k) plans with matching from the military and would give military members that don’t serve a full 20 years some retirement benefits. So now our troops will continue to be stuck with the “all or nothing” plan they have now. Serve 20 and get a pension or get nothing.

However the real reason Obama doesn’t support these is simple. Our Communist in Chief hates the idea of private property that is under the control of people and not the government. As a dedicated Communist he believes government should own everything, be in control of everything, and give (or take away) everything. This is a guy that was raised from birth worshiping the state in all of its forms as god and all that it does. In his warped and demented worldview the state should be all powerful and never does wrong. The idea of giving our military members private property is not something he can or will swallow. Truth be told if he could nationalize all private plans (401(k), 403(b), IRA, etc) tomorrow he would do it in a heartbeat.

This is the sign of a power mad dictator, but then we already knew that about him. Some of us knew that back in 2004 when we heard this clown speak for the first time. His actions have simply confirmed what we already knew.

Note to our dedicated military members you can still open up Roth IRAs when you join and contribute money to the fund. The bad news is you won’t get a match and you won’t get a tax break, BUT you will own this piece of private property forever and when you remove the money at retirement it will be tax free. Private property and tax free. I say do it, just doing this on any kind of mass scale is bound to give Obama heartburn and that should bring a smile to everyone’s face.

Obama believes ALL money belongs to government

The House recently passed a bill to abolish the estate tax, which while I completely agree with is still only a micro step in the right direction. Let me be more clear, taxes are morally wrong and ALL of them should be abolished!

Predictably the Communist in Chief, Obama, believes all money belongs to the government and he is not giving any extra back to you. In fact, you should probably just shut up and sit in the back of the bus and be happy with the scraps he generously allows you to keep now. After all, every penny, you keep is “costing” the poor old government!

According to his blog he thinks this is a “giveaway to the rich” at the “expense of the middle class” and it would “cost” too much. Just examine that use of words and language that he has chosen.

It frames the debate in that ALL money belongs to the government and like a person that earns a paycheck by trading value for value and then spends money by making choices. Families or individuals that consider some things too expensive will decide not to spend the money on them because of cost. So when you hear Obama say things like this it sounds like language you or your family would use and therefore is normal. Only it isn’t.

Make no mistake in an effort to manipulate the weak minded unthinking drones he calls supporters he has carefully chosen the exact wording and phrases. He has carefully poll tested and chosen these specific words to sound like you should when making an economic decision so that it sounds reasonable and normal to you when he uses language like this. However there are huge differences as you might imagine.

1.  ALL money does NOT belong to the government! They stole it from you and now when people talk about giving it back to you it becomes a “cost” like they somehow earned it and are making one of those economic decisions. They are are not.

2.  It is NOT a “giveaway” to the “rich” it belonged to them in the first place! They paid taxes on it once already when they earned it! The government STOLE it from them at the point of a gun by threatening violence!

3. The government did NOT provide value for value before stealing this money. I certainly would not pay the taxes I owe for the “services” that the government “provides” unless I had a gun pointed at my head as well.

4. It can’t “cost” the government to simply not steal additional money from you. It was yours to start with.

The childlike arguments made by Obama have no rational basis in logical thinking. This would be like saying that if the government comes along and breaks your leg, but then uses a government program to get you a cast they “healed” you and you should be grateful to them for being so generous.

As usual the Putz in Chief, Obama, is off on his communist rant and couldn’t produce clear rational thought if his life depended on it. Sadly he has droves of equally moronic supporters who are equally incapable of logical and rational thought, which is why our country is in such trouble today.

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 🙂

Should Restaurants be able to Ban Firearms

There is an interesting post and poll on the Personal Liberty blog asking the question if restaurants should be able to ban or restrict firearms on their premises.

I encourage everyone to go cast their own vote, but I thought I would share with you my perspective on the issue. The short answer is absolutely they should be able to ban firearms if they so choose. They should be able to post a sign and regardless of what state law says or what the 2nd Amendment says they should be able to ban firearms 100% at their establishments.

Those of you that have read my posts in the past know my own position on firearms. Therefore, I will wait the obligatory few minutes while you pick your collective jaws up off the floor if you are totally shocked about my position. Waiting… Waiting…

OK, everyone have their dental work back in place again? Good, let me elaborate. In a true libertarian society the right of private property must be sacrosanct. No negotiation on this point. However the rights of the individual need to be 100% respected as well. It would seem on this particular issue there is an impasse.

I disagree. As the property owner whose rights are sacrosanct they have the right to decide if someone is allowed in that facility with a firearm. However you as the individual whose rights must be respected also have a right to NOT go to that establishment and NOT spend your money there.

They are under no obligation to allow you entry with your firearm and you are under no obligation to come in. You as the individual are also allowed to boycott and make your displeasure known to whomever you would like. They as the property owners are also allowed to make their position known and defend it if they so choose.

In my state it is legal for any business to post no guns and as a CCW holder I am obligated to obey. If I choose to do business with one of these companies I do so according to their rules. However I also have the right to not do business with them and in my personal day to day life I do. I will not, on principle, go into any business that denies me my right to go in armed. Period. This is MY rule and MY right, which I choose to exercise.

Many times I will let the business know that I have or will take my business elsewhere if they choose to maintain this position. I am generally cordial and will ask them some questions as to why or how they came to the conclusion that this was a good idea. In some cases they don’t know why. In other cases they simply did not really think the issue through or have the facts to accurately assess the situation, i.e. that criminals don’t care if the stupid sign is up and only law abiding gun owners will obey those signs. Therefore, it doesn’t “protect” them from crime. If anything it keeps someone who could defend them from being present when a criminal does come in and ignores the sign.

However if at the end of the day they have an ideological position against guns and no matter what facts you present choose to ban guns on their property; in a libertarian society they should be allowed to. I also have the right to make certain choices, which I do.

Now for you people that are screaming you have a right to go here or there AND be armed I offer this. There are certain places in every city where the criminals rule. It is unsafe to go there under just about any circumstances, even if you are armed. You are of course free to go and be armed, but do you really want to? The point is being able to go absolutely anywhere you choose armed while it may be your individual right is it one you ALWAYS choose to exercise under ANY and ALL situations? I would offer no, there are some places that you CHOOSE to not go even if you can go armed.

This situation is not really that different. You are choosing to NOT go to a place because if you must go unarmed the place is fundamentally unsafe. If you were armed you might feel differently, but just like our crime ridden part of town you might not feel safe even if you were armed. The issue isn’t one of being armed or not armed it is about feeling safe under the circumstances. In a place that chooses to ban firearms I don’t feel safe because I know the facts about criminals. I choose to not go and feel unsafe. I am voting with my wallet and I am choosing to tell others about my position (boycotting) and letting them make their own decision.

Remember in a libertarian society your rights only extend to the point at which they infringe on another person’s rights. A private property owner has rights to. You may disagree with their position, but you can’t trample their rights to exercise yours. Simple as that.

Obama to Rule Internet by Fiat!

Here we go again, Obama taking the HUGE hammer of government and crushing the last bastion of freedom left in the U.S., the Internet. The Internet has remained free for the most part until now. Because of this freedom, just like everywhere else it is tried, entrepreneurship and innovation has created an unprecedented level of wealth, services, and efficiencies. As usual anything that is working well is something Obama wishes to get his little paws into and screw up and so here we go again with “Net Neutrality”.

Like most big government based “solutions” looking for a problem to solve it sounds all nice and fair. We are told those evil big corporations should “not be picking winners and losers” in terms of determining who gets a bigger pipeline to content.

Sadly this didn’t seem to apply when Obama was padding his cronies in the green energy sector and picking winners and losers there. Where a “winner” was a “business” that would get a big donation from you the tax payer via Obama’s big government giveaway program and then turn around and give a big donation of some of that same money to Obama’s campaign. After all this the company usually went out of business because it was a stupid idea and poorly managed to start. Anyone remember Solyndra? Talk about money laundering!

However in reality this regulation has so much more than “fairness” built into it. Like Obamacare, you remember, if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor. How about that promise of more affordable healthcare? How is that working for you?

This law will regulate far more than just who gets broadband access. If you let the grubby little tyrants in they will eventually be levying taxes, regulating commerce that goes over the web, limiting free speech, controlling cryptography on “its” Internet. It will regulate prices and so much more.

This has got to stop. This little dictator has to go! As a small business I have been involved in the Internet for over 20 years and yes, you little thug, I did build it! I want you to stay away from the Internet. You have already regulated and strangled so much of our freedom in just about every other area of life you need to leave this alone.

Here is a semi-related article from the architect of Obamacare about how they had to mislead and fool the American people and depend on “voter stupidity” into accepting Obamacare and now they plan to do the same thing with this piece of crap law.

It truly will be Obamacare for the Internet! Here are just some of the great things currently available that I can see being outlawed once the little thin skinned dictator gets his hands on regulating the Internet…

  • Ending or highly regulating Bitcoin because transactions occur over the Internet.

  • Levying taxes on all eCommerce

  • Eliminating the use of cryptography for email and other file transfers or at the very least building in government only back doors, you know, just for totally legitimate law enforcement, not to spy or anything bad like that.

  • Controlling wages and prices for services that occur over the Internet.

  • Controlling or deciding what is “acceptable” free speech over the Internet and being able to ban “hate speech” which of course they get to decide what the definition of “hate” is, i.e. read political opinions they don’t agree with.

Plus don’t forget the giant expansion of government workers, massive budgets that grow every single year and brand new previously non-existent departments to manage all of this regulation! Remember like any other government monstrosity once that crap is created it NEVER goes away!

The American people need to stand up and fight this little tyrant and tell the thin skinned dictator to leave the Internet alone! Free was how it was started. Free is how it should remain.

Only freedom and minimal regulation will allow the next 20 plus years to create the same level of wealth, innovation and efficiency as the last 20 years. Get lost you little tyrant! Find some rock to crawl under until 2016 when we can finally be rid of your stupid ideas and piss poor “leadership”!

Operation Choke Point Confirmed

Operation Choke Point, where banks are choking out businesses that Obama and Holder don’t like is in fact real. According to the Washington Post this is in fact a real policy that has been used to strangle out firearms retailers and ammunition makers because Obama and Holder don’t like them. Despite the fact that these industries have been thriving and growing in Obama’s awful economy and despite the fact these are in fact legal products that are legal to sell.

According to Department of “Justice”, which is clearly an oxymoron, internal memos they were using their regulatory power over banks to force banks to terminate their relationships with “high risk” companies, which they made sure included firearms retailers and ammunition makers. They don’t like freedom, liberty, guns or gun rights and they can’t ban them through Congress so they figure they will just choke out the businesses that sell them by forcing banks to drop them as businesses.

This is morally repugnant, but it is simply what Americans have come to expect from this corrupt dictator and his vicious criminal henchman like Holder.

Unfortunately many of these “high risk” businesses are actually small family run companies who are simply trying to survive and put food on the table and keep a roof over the heads of their family. They are by definition the “little guy” out there just trying to make it in the worst economy since the Great Depression. Sadly they have Obama using brutality and government power to try and finish them off.

As usual this is another brutal abuse of Power by Obama and Holder who continue to tag team the American people and destroy anything they disagree with through anything but legitimate legislation or rule of law, which they don’t have on their side. This is quite simply the very definition of a tyrant. Anytime a dictator like Obama uses the power of government to choke out a legitimate business simply because he doesn’t like them is flat out wrong.

On a semi-related note, the economy contracted at 1% for the first quarter of 2014. One more quarter like that and it will be in an official recession, not that Obama ever did anything real about the first Depression he “inherited” from Bush. So you have businesses that are thriving [Firearms and Ammunition makers] in spite of Obama’s best attempts to finish off the U.S. economy and what does he do… use brutal government power to try and kill those very businesses… the only ones actually doing well. Great plan Barry!

The American people deserve so much better than Obama. He is the worst President in U.S. history bar none.

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.