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.

American Highway Robbery Under the Color of Law

Here is yet another case of “legal” highway robbery performed by police. These incidents are way too common. Asset forfeiture is one of the most abused “laws” in the U.S. and is used daily by cops everywhere that want to rob motorists.

Sadly these incidents are not only legal, based on crooked and abused laws, but the cops often times are shown in photos with the stolen loot, smiling, like they just won a lottery. I guess they did. The media supports them and the entire force of the U.S. government protects them. Highway robbers in the 1700s should have had it so good.

Originally these laws were created to stop drug lords and other criminal cartels from being able to keep mansions, yachts, sports cars, and millions in cash after getting busted for whatever criminal activity they were charged with. Unfortunately as the law of unintended consequences collided squarely with the greed of government what we have today is nothing short of state sanctioned highway robbery.

The various departments that conduct these robberies get to keep just about everything they steal so they are highly motivated to stop motorists and rob them blind under the pretense of law on a daily basis.

Here is the way this scenario typically plays out. A private citizen is driving along doing nothing wrong, but happens to be traveling with a large amount of cash. (sidebar – THERE IS NO LAW AGAINST TRAVELING WITH ANY AMOUNT OF CASH IN THE U.S.!) and they are pulled over for a minor, typically made up, traffic violation that “justifies” the stop.

Then the highway robber, err, I mean cop, prolongs the stop and verbally works over the citizen until they get consent to search the vehicle. If they don’t get consent they call in a drug dog who miraculously ALWAYS finds some indication of drugs, even when none are present, to give “probable cause” to search the entire vehicle without a warrant… We wonder why most people don’t believe we have a 4th Amendment any longer!

Upon searching they find the valuables and go on to say it is suspicious, related to drugs or some other illegal activity, etc. then promptly steal it! They do NOT need to charge the citizen with ANY crime to do this. The assets are considered a separate entity from the citizen and can be “guilty” of being from a criminal source without knowledge or involvement from their owner, or so goes the legal theory.

Sometimes these highway robbers will run the person into their criminal boss, err, I mean “prosecutor” so they can threaten the citizen with all kinds of trumped up charges, jail time, etc. unless the citizen signs a paper giving “permission” to the robbers to take their property.

Many times these poor people are minorities, don’t always have a solid grasp of their rights and like most people are intimidated by the brute force of government being applied to them. They don’t have the resources or connections to fight back so they simply lose their assets. Even if they choose to fight they often rack up thousands of dollars in legal bills, wait months or even years to get their OWN property back.

Like most legal entanglements, even if you “win” you still lose because of the money lost to legal fees, stress, time wasted, etc. Even if the state loses, so what, they have an entire police force out that is robbing the next private citizen(s) driving along with “too much” cash or assets ready to be plundered on a daily basis. The odds of coming out ahead are clearly in the governments favor. In the U.S. today, we call this “justice”.

I call it state sponsored highway robbery and the declare the cops, prosecutors, politicians and other individuals that perform it no better than criminals with a bigger gang to enforce their will on weaker people. This detestable and corrupt practice has NO place in a free society among a free people.

Modern Day American Statsi Incident

Well, here is yet another of the many police state violations against people who just want to be left alone.  The warrants state that the cops were looking for the old bad guy marijuana again.  That single drug has probably been used for more Constitutional violations than all the others put together.

Of course they didn’t find any as seems to be the case a lot.  This particular raid seems to be based on some “anonymous” source.  Don’t you love all that secrecy these guys get to operate under?

However these people are damn lucky the Stasi didn’t just plant some drugs at the scene and then “find” them for evidence.  Planting evidence is standard operating procedure for most modern day Stasi operations.

See the problem here is that the Stasi come in with their militarized, trigger happy, poorly trained SWAT teams and throw all the residents to the ground, shove guns in their face, handcuff them and once they have “secured” the scene, which is code for making sure none of the intended victims can see them plant err.., I mean, “find” evidence as they search the premises.

They didn’t seem to find any on these premises, which usually means some thug higher up the chain of command didn’t want these people bad enough to stoop to the old planting/tampering with evidence trick.

The Stasi did take a ton of stuff from the group and I doubt they will ever get any of it back, which is another thing the Stasi love doing… civil asset forfeiture, which is where they seize money, guns, computers, and other stuff of value and just keep it.  They don’t have to charge you with any crimes or anything.  They can just say they suspect you of doing something and keep your stuff.  Good luck fighting them to get it back.

The Stasi have of course not apologized and probably never will.  See they can just do these types of Constitutional violations in the name of “The War on Drugs” or “The War of Terror” or some other “war” of some type and violate every Constitutional protection under the sun.  They then cower behind their massive and unyielding bureaucracies and staff lawyers to make it impossible for freedom loving people to fight back.

I know I feel much safer knowing these guys are out there defending me… NOT!

Welcome to life in modern day Amerika.