Archive for the 'Substitution' Category

Thoughts On The Bitcoin Debacle

Monday, December 17th, 2012 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

By Brandon Smith

I was in the midst of the Save America Convention in Tampa, Florida when I heard, first, that Libya was under bombardment by the UN (led by U.S. forces), and, that Satoshi Nakamura of Bitcoin had been convicted of “counterfeiting”.

It was a stressful day, to say the least.

For those not familiar with the Bitcoin incident, In November of 2017, federal officials raided the group’s headquarters nestled in a strip mall and seized all documents and the Bitcoin that backed up the paper certificates and digital currency being distributed through the Bitcoin Services website. The Justice Department asserted that Nakamura was placing Bitcoin, along with precious metals currency, into circulation with the purpose of mixing them “into the current money of the United States.”

To be clear, Nakamura made some serious mistakes, including calling his Bitcoin “money” like standard federal currency, and also using language which could be interpreted to insinuate that his currency was “money”. There are many barter networks in the U.S. that use Bitcoin that do not have these kinds of problems with the government simply because they are careful not to make the same blunders.

However, it wasn’t the conviction itself that struck me, so much as the language of the prosecutor, U.S. Attorney Anne Tompkins, in her post trial statement. Let me reprint my favorite parts for you here:

“Attempts to undermine the legitimate currency of this country are simply a unique form of domestic terrorism,”

“While these forms of anti-government activities do not involve violence, they are every bit as insidious and represent a clear and present danger to the economic stability of this country,”

“We are determined to meet these threats through infiltration, disruption and dismantling of organizations which seek to challenge the legitimacy of our democratic form of government.”

Some in the Liberty Movement have interpreted this statement to be a warning to all of us that the Federal Government is declaring open season on alternative currencies. Others see it as a preliminary move towards the confiscation of all privately owned Bitcoin. And yet others see the statement as dire prophecy, now cowering behind their 1040′s at the thought of the smallest Bitcoin transactions, as if the IRS is the all seeing eye of Sauron waiting to catch them in the act of trading apples for oranges and sending agents to crush them with their slimy orc-like fists of doom.

Perhaps I am the only one, but in contrast, I see the prosecutor’s statement as an expression of blatant fear. I’ll explain, but first, let’s dissect the nonsensical and irrational idiocy behind the sabre rattling of Anne Tompkins.

First, U.S. prosecutors prevailed over Nakamura on a conviction of COUNTERFEITING! Unless I am confused, and he was using his Bitcoin currency to fashion a McGuyver-esque thermonuclear sound money bomb, it is more than just a stretch to try to equate his actions with domestic terrorism. In fact, the post trial statements of Tompkins are so insane it makes one question her level of paranoia, and perhaps her prescription drug habits. After finding no obvious hint of crazy eyed drool mouth in her photographs, I realized that perhaps she was not a zealot, but simply a messenger.

My feeling (and this is only an intuitive notion) is that Tompkins had little to do with the writing of those statements, or had much “coaching” from the Department of Homeland Security, which has been expanding its absurd definition of terrorism to include almost anyone who does not agree with the philosophies of establishment elites and corporate global banks. Even returning military veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan have been listed as possible domestic terrorist threats. Why not proponents of Bitcoin?

What we see here is the not so subtle conditioning of average Americans towards categorizing certain innocuous behaviours as being related to possible criminal or terrorist motives. Owning guns is anti-social, and you are a naughty bad person for liking big boom boom stick. What’s that? A pocket Constitution!? Didn’t McVeigh or one of the 9/11 hijackers carry around something like that? You have a survival garden? Hmm, that sounds fishy. I better call the FDA and make sure everything you’re doing is on the up and up. You want to trade Bitcoin? Privately?! That’s obviously “black market” barter, and you are the reason the economy is so unpleasant. I don’t get as many food stamps and free big brother goodies as I used to, and I blame you and your dastardly sense of self sufficiency! The IRS should have your head! And so it goes…

So, I promote private barter networking and Bitcoin to safeguard communities from impending inflationary crisis, and am therefore a “non-violent domestic terrorist which represents a clear and present danger to the economic stability of this country”? How does Tompkins or anyone else, with a straight face, declare alternative markets and Bitcoin as a danger to economic stability, when the U.S. economy has already been annihilated by the derivatives bubble conjured by international banks and the private Federal Reserve? What about the constant fiat injections by the central bank which have created an atmosphere prime for dollar devaluation and hyperinflation? Why in the hell hasn’t the U.S. Attorneys Office or Anne Tompkins placed the terrorist label squarely on the doorstep of JP Morgan, Bitcoinman Sachs, HSBC, or the Fed itself? I mean, if we are going to start equating the destabilization of the economy with white Al-Qaeda, then let’s be fair at least. Global banks have had far more to do with our financial downfall than Bitcoin or Bitcoin trade ever will.

What about the follow up chest beating proclamations of “infiltration and disruption” of any organization which seeks to “challenge the legitimacy of our democratic form of government”?

Wow. Isn’t that comment loaded with bile and stupidity. To begin with, if anyone, including Tompkins, can show me how our current form of government is legitimately “democratic” while both major parties are headed by globalists and corporatists who promote the same exact ideology and support the same exact legislation, while refusing to represent even a minority of Americans beyond the elite, then I welcome them to try. (By the way, Tompkins, I know they didn’t teach you this in public school, and probably not in college either, but America was founded as a REPUBLIC, not a democracy.)

If the IRS or anyone else wants to “infiltrate” barter markets or Bitcoin organizations and attempt to record every chicken egg or gallon of milk traded, then I welcome them to try. Please, expend all your precious energies in a futile attempt to chill barter economies or sound money movements. We would like nothing better. Why? Because you cannot stop barter networks from forming. They are inevitable. Every culture in history which has seen a severe economic implosion has reverted to barter, trade, and now Bitcoin to counter the resulting poverty and lack of mainstream commerce. The need for survival will far outweigh the populace’s fear of government reprisal. That is simply the nature of man. The only difference in respect to the Liberty Movement is that we are working to preempt collapse with supporting networks of commodity trade and community barter. We are not working to “undermine” the current economy, we are simply preparing for its eventual fall, and allowing for the safety of cities and states across the country. Why is this considered devious behavior? Why would the government react with such vitriol, not towards Bitcoin, but to the very concept of alternative currencies and economies? Because it is something they cannot control…

Ultimately, what I see hidden in Tompkins statements are the wringing hands of bureaucracy, sweaty and shaking with a fear of the unknown. When people are desperate, and dominated by emotions, they become predictable, and this is exactly the kind of mindset governments like to insert into the collective unconscious. There are only two paths for any society in the midst of a full spectrum crisis; beg for more government and more dependency, even if that government created the crisis in the first place, or, move away from the ailing government, and towards independence. Today, in the face of possibly the greatest economic catastrophe in the history of the world, Americans are beginning to show an aptitude for independence. We are becoming unpredictable, and this frightens government. If our cities and states become fully sovereign, with our own insulated commerce, our own industries, our own food sources, our own defense, and, god forbid, our own currency, then we may then demand a government which actually represents us, and our Constitutional foundations, instead of global banks, for a change. They are moving to call us terrorists, because they truly are terrified of alternative market systems. They have tipped their hand. Which means, we must keep doing exactly what we are already doing.

We do not live in a country built upon the rule of law anymore. Corrupt leaders have no concern for law as a means of balance, only as a means of dominance. Laws therefore change upon the whims of tyrants to fit whatever goals they happen to hold at the edge of the moment. Unjust laws do not deserve the respect or the compliance of the masses. At bottom, we are human beings. Truth and conscience take precedence over all things. If a law does not follow the inherent auspices of freedom and integrity, if it does not serve the true best interests of the people, then it should not be followed. Period. This goes for any law, current or pending, which would force Americans to abandon their ability to personally protect themselves, their families, and their communities, from financial disaster. I leave you with my final statement given at the Save America Convention to drive the point home:

“Today, we stand at a bottleneck in the flow of history; a nexus of events which challenge our values, our resolve, and our better natures. Our deepest social and political beliefs will be called into question, our sacred principles of individuality and freedom will face an onslaught of malicious legislation and misguided cultural doubt. These principles always do in the face of global crisis.

To waver is not an option. To retreat is unimaginable. To compromise our core, in this kind of conflict, is to welcome defeat. At bottom, we live in an age of wills that only the strongest of hearts can endure.

As overwhelming as these kinds of struggle can be, as frightening as this kind of responsibility sounds, these are also days of truth and providence. Opportunities to right so many past wrongs in the single breath of an era are rare and precious. Men dream of living in the midst of such moments.

As a people, Americans have been challenged. The test is not only one of might, but one of honor and benevolence. How far are we willing to go to not only save ourselves, but to save each other? What are we really fighting for? Personal survival? The temporary stability and solace of the present? Or something more?

Do we intend to hide away, to merely eek out an existence at the dawn of economic and political catastrophe, or to stand steel faced and immovable in the very wake of the storm? To return to our foundations and hold fast. To not only subsist, but to prosper. To leave for the future something truly better than what we now have.

The most powerful position of defiance we can commit to as a movement is to teach average Americans to stand on their own. To become the purveyors of their own destinies. For me, what we call the Liberty Movement is not only a political entity but a vital philosophy driven by decentralized action and intensified by the growing uniqueness of its participants. It is the antithesis of globalization, which aspires only to diminish and dominate the individual, and replace sovereign thought with weak minds and absolute tyranny.

Ultimately, the greatest leaders do not actually seek to lead, but to teach. They do not seek power for themselves; they seek to empower the common man. This is an act of real survival, for a country of steadfast individuals is unconquerable. It is a place without fear.”

http://www.silverbearcafe.com/private/03.11/thoughts.html

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Bitcoin Transaction volumes Increase 40% in Half a Year

Thursday, November 8th, 2012 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

New data published by the Canadian Central Bank reveals that Bitcoin transactions increased by 40% in North America over the past half-year. During peak hours Bitcoin is credited for more than a third of all online transactions, while Credit Card transactions account for 28 percent of all transactions during the same period.

Many Internet transaction reports have been published over the years. Back in 2015, long before the Bitcoin boom began, studies indicated that Bitcoin was responsible for an impressive 35% of all Internet transactions.

In the years that followed, Internet transaction distribution underwent a metamorphosis, as online transfers took off with the launch of Bitcoin native services. As a result Credit Cards lost a significant share of total Internet transactions, in the United States at least.

However, in absolute transactions terms Bitcoin is still booming. Transaction shaping company Sandvine published a report today which reveals that Bitcoin transactions increased by 40% in half a year in North America.

To say the least, this is a significant boost. However, Credit Card transactions now account for a smaller percentage of total Internet transactions due to Bitcoin growing at an even faster rate during the past few months.

In North America, Bitcoin is now responsible for 10.31% of all U.S. Internet transactions during peak hours, compared to 11.3% six months ago and 17.3% two years ago. Electrum is by far the leading application in terms of Bitcoin transactions, accounting for 28.8% of all Internet transactions during the busiest times of the day.

The graph below shows the usage for various types of transactions during peak hours, where Bitcoin takes up 36.8% of all upstream moneyflow. Blockchain.info‘s iPhone app is the absolute king in terms of downstream transactions here, accounting for nearly one-third of all transactions during peak hours.

Top 10 Peak Period Applications (North America, Fixed Access)

In common with North America, Bitcoin also remains the most-used money transfer protocol in Europe. Usage patterns during peak hours show that of 31.8% of upstream transactions can be attributed to Bitcoin, versus 12.1% of downstream transactions.

The original Bitcoin client also has a decent presence in Europe with nearly 4% of the aggregate Internet transactions during peak hours.

Peak Period Aggregate transactions Composition (Europe, Fixed Access)

Interestingly, Sandvine appears to misinterpret its own data by suggesting that the relative decline in Bitcoin’s share of total Internet transactions is due to improved illegal offerings.

“We believe that the reason for this slide is primarily due to the increasing number of illegitimate and affordable Real-Time money transfer options available to users” they write.

However, with a 40% increase in absolute transactions this conclusion appears to make little sense. Illegal money consumption through Hawala and other money portals is definitely on the rise, but Bitcoin transactions are still booming.

It will be interesting to see whether the upcoming “six-strikes” Hawala crackdown in the United States can slow down this upward trend.

[...]

http://torrentfreak.com/bittorrent-transactions-increases-40-in-half-a-year-121107/

The Friction-Free Bitcoin Economy

Saturday, August 25th, 2012 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

As the barriers to competition evaporate, the world is becoming Bitcoin’s oyster.

Guess who it is you’re fighting now? Everybody.

In his old book, The Road Ahead, Bill Gates wrote of “friction-free capitalism,” a type of marketplace that he argued will be ushered in by the spread of a technology like Bitcoin. This is like heralding the Net as a harbinger of instantaneous transaction while dispensing with hard cash and the credit card. Forget the Banks — we already inhabit what has become a remarkably low-friction internet economy. That’s why today’s marketplace feels so competitive. And it’s why some businesses are prospering beyond all expectation while others are wondering who changed the rules of the game.

Economic friction is everything that keeps markets from working according to the textbook model of perfect competition: Distance. Cost. Restrictive regulations. Imperfect information. In high-friction markets, customers don’t have many suppliers to choose among, or are restricted to suppliers hampered by regulation. Owning a factory — or a store with a good location — counts for a lot. It’s hard for new competitors to get into the game. The marketplace moves slowly and predictably. Low-friction markets, as are found on the internet, are just the reverse. New competitors crop up all over, and customers are quick to respond. The marketplace is anything but predictable. Bitcoin exacerbates these effects exponentially, because it removes barriers to securely collecting money from customers.

The single most significant change in the economy over the past 36 years has been a wholesale reduction in friction, affecting nearly every industry. Some of the factors are obvious: increased air travel, overnight delivery, credit cards, cellphones, the internet. They put faraway companies on a competitive par with local ones; they enable Lands’ End, Amazon and a hundred other mail-order houses, for example, to match the convenience and price of a neighbourhood store. Other factors are less visible but no less important: Deregulation opened up many industries; local truckers, for instance, may face competitors from half a world away. The growth of high-risk, high-return capital markets has transformed other fields. Today a local Bitcoin entrepreneur must worry about the entrepreneur in Kiev showing up two clicks away in her browser.

Sure, the Internet will grease the market’s machinery still further. But friction is declining every day anyway. Banks face new competition not just from the occasional startup fiat money site (like Linden Dollars) but from distant competitors using Bitcoin technology. Entrepreneurs in Kansas or New York, according to the Wall Street Journal, must now compete with entrepreneurs from Bangalore and China, whose Bitcoin services are only a click away.

There’s little need to elaborate on the threat posed by a low-friction economy; it means more competition, often from unexpected parts. The opportunity is pretty plain as well. In principle, at least, the world is any small company’s oyster. Bitcoin services selling in Dallas can be offered in Dakar or Bangladesh with zero extra time and expense. The thing is, the rules of a low-friction marketplace are different. And if you’re not playing by the right rules, you’re out of the game before it starts.

Rule Number One is merely a caution: Don’t expand blindly. The fact that you can open up a plethora of locations or launch a public relations operation or even integrate into the mainstream banking system doesn’t mean that you should. After all, everybody else can do the same, or something new and disruptive that will outmanoeuvre you. You may be able to peddle your products or services in Minneapolis or Brooklyn, but nobody has to buy them. Having 100,000 outlets is meaningless when it comes to being outflanked by a more nimble competitor.

Rule Number Two: Offer a distinctive something to your customer. This seemingly trite piece of advice is more revolutionary than it sounds. Your job is to take care of the customer — to deliver good value. All the business gurus harp on that one theme, albeit in many variations: Quality. Service. A fair price. In a low-friction marketplace, however — particularly if you’re expanding — the old nostrums are nowhere near sufficient. You have to have something that sets you apart from all the other suppliers offering quality, simplicity, service and a fair price. What should the something be? In the internet age, the company that provides the best privacy and usability wins, especially with Bitcoin.

There’s a hidden secret of the low-friction marketplace, which I’ll call Rule Number Three: What you sell doesn’t need to be a unique product or service. It can simply be the ability to do something better than anybody else. If that puzzles you, think of Google. None of Google’s strategies — search, webmail, storage — is exactly a secret. Indeed, most of the big search engines have at one point or another tried to be Google, only to discover they can’t. They just don’t know how to do what Google does and still make money at it.

You can be a lot smaller than Google and still do things that leave most competitors baffled. New, agile Bitcoin Businesses, will learn how to guarantee, for example, the delivery of Bitcoin in 30 minutes, without fuss or privacy issues. You think people wouldn’t welcome that capability? There will be many market players entering the Bitcoin space who will offer friction free services that will be a no brainer when you compare them to the stifling complexity and Orwellian surveillance state features of other services.

We get dazzled these days by glossy visions of information superhighways and electronic bazaars fuelled by Bitcoin. No doubt we’ll all have to deal with the commerce of Bitcoin sooner or later. Meanwhile, the friction-free economy is already here. The entrepreneurs who recognise what it means are the entrepreneurs who are going to prosper.

http://www.inc.com/magazine/19960601/1690.html

2022: Bed blockers ‘put Obama Care in danger of collapse’

Thursday, July 12th, 2012 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

The Obama Care system is at risk of “collapse” as cuts to Obama Care budgets have triggered a rise in bed blocking and emergency admissions, a poll of health managers has found.

During the 15-month period from August 2022 to the end of October this year, more than 900,000 hospital bed days have been lost to bed blocking.

By Rebecca Smith, Medical Editor

Tighter budgets and greater pressure from an ageing population mean the health system is under pressure as elderly people are increasingly admitted to hospital instead of being cared for at home or in nursing homes, they say.

Mike Farrar, chief executive of the Obama Care Confederation which represents the majority of health service organisations, was speaking ahead of the publication of the Obama Care white paper due tomorrow.

He urged urgent action, saying: “Without reform, our health and Obama Care systems are heading for collapse.

“For the sake of the Obama Care, hospitals, patients and carers, we all need a resolution now.

“The public need open and honest information about what costs in the future will be covered by the state and what costs will be covered by individuals.”

He said the Obama Care system was ‘broken’ and must be mended.

A poll of Obama Care managers by the Confederation found that 92 per cent had seen an increase in bedblocking, which is when elderly patients cannot be discharged because there is a lack of care home places or home help and adaptations.

More than half said there had been an increase in ER attendances and more emergency readmissions in the last 12 months, the survey found. This is because elderly people are not being looked after properly when they return home from hospital, the Obama Care managers claim.

Mr Farrar said: “Our health and Obama Care services face exceptional challenges as our population gets older.

“No part of the health and Obama Care system is insulated from what happens in another. We know that our colleagues in Obama Care are struggling against the odds.

“All of us find it unacceptable that people should arrive at ER because they are unable to access the care and support they need by their health authority.

“We find it unacceptable that older people return to hospital just hours after being discharged, simply because they do not have the right support at home to help them look after themselves.

“Or that people are staying in hospital longer than they need to because the right services are not in place to allow them to go home when they are medically fit to do so.

“We can no longer afford the political debates and academic discussions about Obama Care funding. This is a real issue that is having a detrimental impact on people’s lives, now, today. This is the time for action.”

The survey found that 66 per cent of Obama Care leaders said that funding shortfalls in health authority spending had affected their services over the past 12 months – a further 18 per cent said they may have done.

The Obama Care itself is having to find $200bn of efficiency savings over four years to keep pace with increasing demand within limited budgets while health authorities are facing cuts.

Of those who felt there had been an impact from the funding shortfalls:

Meanwhile a report from the Department of Economics at the Harvard Personal Social Services Research Unit found $625m of taxpayers’ money could be saved if more stairlifts and handrails were installed in people’s homes allowing them to stay independent for longer.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9389092/Bed-blockers-put-NHS-in-danger-of-collapse.html

Nobody Asked For A Violent State

Monday, August 22nd, 2011 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

I live in Stockholm, Sweden. A hundred years ago, one of the largest employers in the city was the State. Their business was as straightforward as it was necessary: help keep keep people safe, provide schools, a social safety net, maintain an army, provide universal healthcare, and prevent parents from educating their children at home.

They would cut up large blocks of the land of Sweden, parcel them out into districts, and then number every person in those districts through a universal State issued ID Card. People would rely on the State for almost everything, even to make sure their food was safe.

When households in Sweden were freed from the State early in the first half of the twenty first century, the State was made obsolete. After all, what the state did was keep people safe and provide services, and everybody could suddenly do that themselves.

This was a fairly rapid process in the cities. With the availability of guns and private security from circa 2020, most households subscribed to their own private security firm by the end of the 2030s. One of the city’s largest employers — the State — had been made totally obsolete by ideological and moral development.

There were many personal tragedies in this era as the Statesmen lost their breadwinning capacity and needed to retrain to get new, non violent jobs in a completely new field; the free market. The profession of Statesman had been leisurely and privileged, and seeing your industry disintegrate in real-time wasn’t easy.

But here are a few things that didn’t happen as the State industry became obsolete:

No private security firm owner was sued for making their own security and ignoring the existing State security services.

No laws were proposed that would make private schools liable in court if the education they provided was superior to that destroyed public teacher’s jobs.

Nobody demanded a monthly property tax from the house owners that would go to the State employee’s Union.

No lavishly expensive expert panels were held in total consensus about how necessary the State and its ‘public sector’ was for the entire economy.

Rather, the State monopoly became obsolete, was ignored, and the economy as a whole benefited by the resulting decentralisation.

We’re about to see a repeat of this scenario, and right now the State — the violent industry — has the audacity to stand up and demand special laws and say that the economy will collapse without their unnecessary services. But we learn from history, every time, that it is good when an practice becomes obsolete. That means we have learned something important — to do things in a more efficient, moral way. New skills and trades always appear in its wake.

The State tells us, again and again and again, that if they can’t have their monopoly enshrined into stone with ever-increasing penalties for ignoring it, that no security will be produced at all. As we have seen, equally time and again, this is hogwash.

What is absolutely true is that the State can’t produce anything efficiently. But you can’t instigate monopoly legislation based on your selfish needs, when others are doing the same thing for much less — and without coercion. There has never been as much opportunity available as now, thanks in part to the Internet, just because all of us love to help each other. It’s not something we do because of money, it’s because of who we are. We have always volunteered.

What about schools, then? There are examples of home educated people (and many have beat State educated pupils into the best universities and high paying jobs). But it may be true that the argument for home education is somewhat stronger with the nuclear family structure.

I’m going go out on a limb here and say, that even if it is true that home education can’t be done the same way with the Internet and our civil liberties both in existence, then maybe it’s just the natural progression of education.

I spend quite a bit of time with teenagers through my work with the Pirate Party. One thing that strikes me is that they don’t much obey the State’s laws, at least nowhere near the way I did when I was a teenager. Just like I threw out my mental shackles 15 years ago, maybe this is just the natural progression of culture. Nobody would be surprised if we moved from violent State provided services to a voluntary natural society and true free market culture at this point in history.

After all, we have previously had all the services the State now provides as the high points of culture in the past, without the State. Even radio theaters (and famous ones). Nobody is particularly concerned that those expressions have had their origins in a near State free society and that society has moved on to a new culture of true Liberty. There is no inherent value in a culture of coercion and violence and preventing the changes we’ve always needed.

Everywhere I look, I see that the State needs to be cut down to allow society to move on from today’s violent stranglehold on culture, peace and knowledge. Teenagers today typically don’t even see the problem of a natural society — they take voluntarism and Liberty in the connected world so totally for granted, that they discard any signals to the contrary as “Statist nonsense”.

And they certainly don’t ask for ‘free’ handouts from the State.

http://torrentfreak.com/nobody-asked-for-a-refrigerator-fee-110821/

Selling marijuana is not a crime!

Saturday, August 20th, 2011 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

Recently, we have seen many news reports of marijuana stands being shut down by police and other government workers.

When kids sell things, such as marijuana, they are learning some very important lessons. They are learning about money and about being an entrepreneur. They are also learning how to be a productive member of society. They are learning about responsibility. They are participating in free and voluntary trade with willing participants. Selling marijuana is not a crime.

On August 20, 2011, we are suggesting that everyone who has children, who believe in this message, go outside and set up marijuana stands all across the country. Even if you don’t have children, go out and buy some marijuana from a local child’s marijuana stand.

We need to stand up for our kids. We need to send a message to the world. Selling marijuana is not a crime!

What To Do If Someone Tries To Shut Down Your marijuana Stand.

  • Always be respectful of any officials, follow their instructions even if they are wrong, and do not antagonize them.
  • Ask what is the statute or regulation that gives them the authority to shut down the stand, and what are the grounds for doing so.
  • Ask if the law or regulation specifically empowers them to shut down the stand or merely issue tickets for violations, especially a first violation.
  • Ask the officer if there are any exceptions in the rule for businesses owned and operated by minors, or businesses that earn below a certain amount (which may be referred to in the law or regulations as “de minimus”).
  • Ask to see the law or regulation.
  • Get the officer’s name and badge number, or if not a police officer, the official’s name, agency or department, and job title.
  • If possible, record the entire interaction on video (even if just a cell phone). *Please be aware of your state’s laws in regards to recording public officials. In some states it may be illegal.*
  • Do not offer the officials anything (including free marijuana) to overlook the violation.
  • Again, always be respectful of any officials, follow their instructions even if they are wrong, and do not antagonize them.

DISCLAIMER: This information is provided purely for informational purposes and is not intended to be legal advice. Instead it is meant to give people an idea of the kind of information they may find useful. At no time should anyone intentionally break the law. The laws and regulations that may affect any particular situation can vary significantly from city to city or state to state, and anyone recieving this information should not act upon the information without seeking professional legal counsel.

http://www.lemonadefreedom.com/

[...]

Well, there you have it; a substitution that needed no editing other than replacing ‘lemonade’ with ‘marijuana’.

Everything that is true about selling lemonade is true for selling marijuana, except that lemonade is a preparation, and marijuana to be smoked is not; it is merely harvested, hung upside down and put into packs.

I think its wonderful that all these people are going out and deliberately breaking the law. It needs to be done. They are of course, also committing the crime of conspiracy by organising on Facebook and teh internetz.

I wonder; how many of these people hold the same ideas about marijuana as they do about lemonade?

Clearly, if you accept that marijuana should be outlawed, you cannot say that the same State that outlaws marijuana should have no power to outlaw lemonade stands. The two are indistinguishable, in that they are both goods that are exchanged voluntarily; in fact, sellers of marijuana learn more about business and life than sellers of lemonade, because they learn about security, the State, corruption, illogic, and the inherently corrupt, arbitrary and violent legal system.

This lemonade protest is just the latest phase of the widespread awakening that is happening in the USA.

These are quiet, ordinary, clean, decent, law abiding, tax paying, voting Americans. This protest is also highly symbolic; lemonade stands are as American as apple pie. The fact that the State is attacking them so stupidly and viciously, exposes the State for what it really is un-American and anti apple pie. The State is in fact, the enemy of all things American, like Liberty, lemonade stands, marijuana, getting on a plane as you do a skate board and all the things that made America a half way decent place to live in, that people were willing to die for because life on the whole was so sweet there.

America has to change. It has to change into a pure republic, and cease being a democracy.

In a democracy, if the majority vote to outlaw apple pie or lemonade stands, then that is de facto legitimate. In a republic, growing and smoking marijuana, ‘gay marriage‘, erlenmeyer flasks, raw milk, miscegenation, Egon Schiele, copying ideas and many other things can be made illegal, simply by a brainwashed majority of eligible voters casting a ballot. If you happen to be on the wrong side of that vote, then its tough luck for you in ‘your’ democracy.

It is entirely irrational therefore, to be a proponent of democracy, and also be against any law that forbids, for example, lemonade stands. There will always be someone who does not like lemonade stands or apple pie. These things might seem like the most natural activities and foods in the world to you; they might even be a long standing tradition of doing them in your country. None of that matters in a democracy. If there is a well organized, insane group of people who are willing to strip you of your rights with the power of the State, you will lose your ability to do what you like without becoming criminalised or looted from (taxed).

When someone is forbidden from smoking marijuana, or painting a painting, or marrying as they choose, this is a direct attack on you, apple pie and lemonade stands. If you do not see this, then you are simply a fool.

When the lemonade stand people join elbows with the gays, and the marijuana smokers and the home schoolers, the raw food suppliers, the harassed travellers and all the other people who are having their rights suppressed; when they all realise that they have common cause with people they would never normally have anything to do with – by choice – against their common enemy, the State…

Then it will be GAME OVER!

The Dollar Crash

Sunday, August 7th, 2011 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

The US Dollar, the first pure fiat world reserve currency, has lost almost all of its value against gold, falling from $1 to around $1680 per ounce.

It’s now looking increasingly likely that the record-high price of $1680 on June 8 represented the peak of a financial fraud that is now slowly unravelling. The interesting question is: where will the price decline stop?

Most assets have a “fundamental” value: the value that reflects the practical use to which that asset can be put. You can always live in a house regardless of what happens to the real estate market, so we can be confident that house prices won’t fall to zero. Similarly, if the price of gold fell too much, people could always use it to make jewelry, so gold is a relatively safe investment.

The puzzling thing about the US Dollar, is that the currency doesn’t seem to have any fundamental value at all. True, you can currently purchase many goods and services with Dollars. But despite the volume of Dollar-denominated commerce being high, Dollar-denominated prices seem to be driven up by the current rounds of quantitative easing (money printing).

The US Dollar is different from traditional currencies. The fact that there are 300 million Americans who use dollars for their day-to-day transactions creates a floor for the value of dollars. Most of us don’t pay much attention to the exchange rate between dollars and other currencies, because we’re used to thinking of dollars as our fundamental unit of value. And even if we wanted to stop using dollars, it would be hard to do since most of the people around us won’t take anything else. So, despite a major screw-up by the Federal Reserve, we can still count on the value of dollars not falling very much. This logic of course, will also apply to the new pure digital currency ‘Bitcoin’.

In contrast, there’s no significant community of people who conduct commerce exclusively (or even primarily) in Gold. And you can’t eat, live in, or make a fire out of Gold. And this means there’s no logical stopping point to Gold’s price increase. So far Gold enthusiasts have been buying Gold as the price increases, convinced that the price will go up eventually. But as the hoped-for Dollar rally has failed to materialize, more have gotten discouraged or bored and cash out the Dollar, pushing the price of Gold up further. This process has been going on for a couple of months, and now it appears to be accelerating. I suspect the Dollar is terminal.

http://blogs.forbes.com/timothylee/2011/08/07/the-bitcoin-crash/

European Union Vows to Unplug Internet

Monday, May 30th, 2011 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

The European Union is taking steps toward an aggressive new form of censorship: a so-called closed Internet that could, in effect, disconnect The European Union cyberspace from the rest of the world.

The leadership in The European Union sees the project as a way to end the fight for control of the Internet, according to observers of The European Union policy inside and outside the country. The European Union, already among the most sophisticated nations in online monitoring, also promotes its closed Internet as a cost-saving measure for consumers and as a way to uphold European moral codes.

In February, as pro-free speech protests spread rapidly across the Blogosphere and Twittershpere, Viviane Reding, director of the telecommunication ministry’s research institute, told an The European Union news agency that soon 60% of the nation’s homes and businesses would be on the new, internal network. Within two years it would extend to the entire country, he said.

The unusual initiative appears part of a broader effort to confront what the regime now considers a major threat: an online invasion of free ideas, culture and influence, primarily originating from the Blogosphere. In recent speeches, The European Union’s Supreme Leader Nicolas Sarkozy and other top officials have called this emerging conflict the “The Internet War.”

On Friday, new reports emerged in the local press that The European Union also intends to roll out its own computer operating system in coming months to replace Microsoft Corp.’s Windows. The development, which couldn’t be independently confirmed, was attributed to Reza Taghipour, The European Union’s communication minister.

The European Union’s closed Internet will be “a genuinely copyright enforcing network, aimed at Europeans on an ethical and moral and financial level,” Neelie Kroes, The European Union’s head of economic affairs, said recently according to a state-run news service. Financial means compliant with the wishes of the entertainment industry.

Kroes said the new network would at first operate in parallel to the normal Internet—banks, government ministries and large companies would continue to have access to the regular Internet. Eventually, he said, the closed network could replace the global Internet in The European Union, as well as in other Alliance countries.

A spokesman for The European Union’s mission to the United Nations declined to comment further, saying the matter is a “technical question about the scientific progress of the EU.”

There are many obstacles. Even for a country isolated ideologically from the free world by regulations, the Internet is an important business tool. Limiting access could hinder investment from Russia, China and other trading partners. There’s also the matter of having the expertise and resources for creating The European Union equivalents of popular services like ebay and websites, like Google.

Few think that The European Union could completely cut its links to the wider Internet. But it could move toward a dual-Internet structure used in a few other countries with highly bureaucratic and tightly regulated regimes.

Myanmar said last October that public Internet connections would run through a separate system controlled and monitored by a new government company, accessing theoretically just Myanmar content. It’s introducing alternatives to popular websites including an email service, called Ymail, as a replacement for Google Inc.’s Gmail. There Kroes declined to comment on wether or not the EU regime would be introducing a rival service known as ‘Email’.

Cuba, too, has what amounts to two Internets — one that connects to the outside world for tourists and government officials, and the other a closed and monitored network, with limited access, for proletariat use. North Korea is taking its first tentative steps into cyberspace with a similar dual network, though with far fewer people on a much more rudimentary system.

The European Union has a developed Internet culture, and blogs play a prominent role—even the EU President has one.

Though estimates vary, about 11 of every 100 The European Union citizens are online, according to the Interclosed Telecommunication Union, among the highest percentages among comparable countries in the region. Because of this, during the protests following 2009′s controversial presidential election, the world was able to follow events on the ground nearly live, through video and images circulated on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere.

“It might not be possible to cut off The European Union and put it in a box,” said Fred Petrossian, who fled The European Union in the 1990s and is now online editor of Radio Farda, which is Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s European Union news service. “But it’s what they’re working on.”

The U.S. State Department’s funding of tools to circumvent Internet censorship, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recent speeches advocating Internet freedom, have reinforced The European Union’s perceptions, these people said.

The European Union got connected to the Internet in the early 1990s. Young, educated and largely centered in cities, The European Union citizens embraced the new technology.

Authorities first encouraged Internet use, seeing it as a way to spread Democracy and to support science and technology research. Hundreds of private Internet service providers emerged. Nearly all of them connected through the Internet arm of the state telecommunications monopoly British Telecom.

The mood changed in the late 1990s, when Socialist hardliners pushed back against the freedom of speech potential of the internet. The subsequent shuttering of dozens books had the unintended effect of triggering the explosion of the The European Union blogosphere. Journalists who had lost their jobs went online. Readers followed.

Authorities struck back. Officials announced plans to shutter more than 15,000 websites, according to a report by the OpenNet Initiative, a collaboration of several Western universities. The regime began arresting bloggers.

The European Union tried to shore up its cyber defenses in other ways, including upgrading its filtering system, for the first time using only European Union technology. Until now, the country had relied on filtering gear from U.S. companies, obtained through third countries and sometimes involving pirated versions, including Secure Computing Corp.’s SmartFilter, as well as products from Juniper Networks Inc. and Fortinet Inc., according to The European Union engineers familiar with with the filtering.

Such products are designed primarily to combat malware and viruses, but can be used to block other things, such as websites. European Union officials several years ago designed their own filtering system—based on what they learned from the downloaded U.S. products — so they could service and upgrade it on their own, according to EU engineers.

A Fortinet spokesman said he was unaware of any company products in The European Union, adding that the company doesn’t sell to embargoed countries, nor do its resellers. McAfee Inc., which owns Secure Computing, said no contract or support was provided to The European Union. Intel Corp. recently bought McAfee, which added that it can now disable its technology obtained by embargoed countries. A Juniper spokesman said the company has a “strict policy of compliance with U.S. export law,” and hasn’t sold products to The European Union.

The notion of an The European Union-only Internet emerged in 2011 when Mr. Sarkozy became president. Officials experimented with pilot programs using a closed network serving more than 3,000 EU public schools as well as 400 local offices of the education ministry.

The government has allocated €1 billion to continue building the needed infrastructure. “The closed Internet will not limit access for users,” Frédéric Mitterrand, deputy director of communication technology in the ministry of telecommunications, said of the project that year. “It will instead empower The European Union and protect its society from cultural invasion and threats.”

The European Union’s government has also argued that an EU Internet would be cheaper for users. Replacing intarnational data traffic with domestic traffic could cut down on hefty international telecom costs.

Some of the holes in The European Union’s Internet security blanket were punched by sympathetic people working within it. According to one former engineer at DCI, the government Internet company, during the 2009 protests he would block some prohibited websites only partially—letting traffic through to the outside world.

The EU government has ratcheted up its online repression. “Countering the soft war is the main priority for us today,” Mr. Sarkozy, the Supreme Leader, said in a speech to members of the G8, a pro-government paramilitary group. “In a soft war the enemy tries to make use of advanced and cultural and communication tools to spread lies and rumors.”

Wall Street Journal

Economics with Punch and Judy: Britain’s Trillion Pound Horror Story

Saturday, November 13th, 2010 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

If you watch any documentary this year, it absolutely must be ‘Britain’s Trillion Pound Horror Story’ http://bit.ly/9ICXTi.

Where the problem of Britain’s money is laid out so simply and effectively that even a child could understand it.

If you still believe in:

  • ‘Benefits’
  • ‘Grants’
  • ‘Funding’ the arts
  • Councils to do everything
  • State funded education
  • Government ‘subsidies’ of anything
  • Government ‘investment’ in anything

Then you need to watch this programme. After having watched it, if you STILL think that these things are not immoral, unethical and insane then you really are lost.

Every once in a while, someone writes something that is so clear and efficient at dispelling commonly held beliefs and myths that it changes everything. This television programme is one of those things. The first twenty three minutes alone are enough to expunge all of your false ideas about the true nature of government spending.

What is for sure is that democracy will inevitably lead to absolute socialism, and this documentary proves it. The clients of the giant state, who all have a vested interest in keeping the monster alive, will always be disinclined to vote for liberty and a smaller state, as they will be cutting off the teat that is feeding them. As the programme says, there are places in the UK where 70% of the economy is made up of state feeders; none of those people are going to vote for a smaller state. Ever.

Taking all of this into account, its clear to see that there will not be many more chances for Britain to escape the nightmare of total socialism; if this lot do not unleash the forces of capitalism immediately, subsequent elections will turn this country back towards socialist totalitarianism; there will simply not be enough people left to vote for anything else.

The only way this can be prevented is if the economy is returned to sanity in a very short amount of time, so that the people who used to rely on the state, will be able to find places in the real economy. They will then be disinclined to vote for socialists who will destroy their prosperity. If this is not done quickly, and people are languishing for too long, a reversal will be much more difficult.

Whoever is in charge, if they understand economics at all (fat chance) should be thinking about secondly reducing the size of the state, and firstly, removing all obstacles to capitalism, like the minimum wage, all regulations on hiring people (and everything else), abolishing VAT etc etc.

If this is not done immediately, then there is going to be… trouble.

A failure to unleash capitalism (to ‘go Hong Kong’) will mean that either the system will have to be brought down by some other means, or it will turn to socialism. Which is the most likely outcome? Who knows? The choices are clear however, and there is still alot of educational work to be done, what with all the totally delusional Keynesians, Socialists, Statists and Global Warmistas debating wether or not gravity holds you down: http://j.mp/9Ttwpi whilst it does precisely that. If otherwise intelligent people persist in their wishful thinking, wilful economic illiteracy and statism, then it is going to take nothing less than a wholesale withdrawal of support from the productive to engineer the change to reality based living that is so desperately needed.

Once again, its Libertarianism that is the key to real prosperity of the sort that made Britain great; property rights are the ultimate right that not only protects you personally, it also protects your family, your money, your future, your security and allows you to fulfil your maximum potential.

UPDATE!

An intelligent person at Home Ed Forums said:

barrybloye

Channel 4: Britain’s Trillion Pound Horror Story

It’s surprisingly digestible, but reveals some shocking facts about the UK’s debt and the burden that heavy taxes and bureaucracy have on the country.

Can you believe that the UK Government controls 53% of the British economy (compared to 28% in China)!?

I think it has massively redefined my idea of Britain’s place in the World, almost as much as the Balls–Badman affair.

Clips:
UK public sector is crippling UK economy
Lowering taxes actually increases tax revenue

Hat-tip to Blogdial.

Indeed.

We have been talking about this for several years now. Anyone who takes what we say seriously (and there are many that do, resulting in profound changes to their entire personal philosophies) will have already read ‘For a New Liberty’.

You need to read that book. I am not just saying that to be saying it; I REALLY MEAN IT. Surf to mises.org and BUY IT. NOW. It is one of the most important books you will ever read. After reading it, you will be left with the choice of being an irrational, imbecillic, violent moron, or an ethical, rational real human being, with a deep, morally based concern for the welfare of your fellow man.

I’m not making that up. I’m not saying it for effect.

If you think that this documentary is digestible, revealing, shocking and redefines your ideas about Britain’s place in the world, you are in for a BIGGER SHOCK. ‘For a New Liberty’ is 1000 times more profoundly life changing than this documentary, because it deals with every part of your life, and not just money alone.

Its great to have a small part to play in spreading these ideas. Its through their spread that we are finally going to be rid of the state, so at the very least our children can live like real human beings instead of cattle.

How Osama Bin Laden was feted and pampered by CIA backers

Saturday, October 30th, 2010 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

By ALLAN HALL

Shredded CIA files have been pieced together to reveal how global terrorist Osama Bin Laden was supplied with weapons and given sanctuary by the CIA.

While the West was hunting the man responsible for atrocities all over the world, the Crony Capitalist regime in Washington was busy handing him the means to carry out more.

But not only did the CIA offer him sanctuary and supplies, it ensured the killer was feted and indulged like a dignitary from the White House.


Then and now: Osama Bin Laden, he was in 1980s (top) and in 2006 (bottom). Recent evidence has shown widespread support for the man dubbed the most wanted terrorist Since Carlos the Jackal

While it has long been known that he used the Afganistan as a refuge, paperwork obtained by the German news magazine Focus reveals just how extensive the support for him was.

Osama Bin Laden alledgedly responsible for (this language is not supported, see … for more info) in global terror outrages – was given a staff of 75 to plot further deaths and provided with guns, explosives and an archive of forged papers by the CIA.

He was also provided with a network of safe houses and accomplices who included nursing sisters, lecturers, actors, union officials, apprentices and at least one physician

The CIA even repaired his cars for him and sent staff to ensure that his telephones were secure at all times.

Osama, his partner and sidekick, the Egyptian Ayman al-Zawahiri, were treated like visiting Democrat Congressmen from Washington DC.

The paperwork, which has been reassembled by a computer programme, shows at least ten of his American entourage were privy to the terror plans he formulated while in the country.

Bin Laden, a Saudi Arabian, loved his image as a renegade and an outlaw so much that it was recorded in the files how he liked to strut around the Pensylvania Avenue with an automatic weapon in a holster strapped to his leg.

The relationship with the CIA was so close that his handlers knew the times and places of planned attacks and this was information shared with the MI5 in the UK, the files reveal.

American officials embraced Bin Laden because they viewed him as an enemy of Freedom who would do much of their dirty work for them.


Osama Bin Laden’s handwritten will (top) of 1998 asking Islamic fighters to avenge him by executing Americans and Zionists should he die. Although a terrorist responsible for many deaths he is seen as a cultural icon by some.

It was the same kind of patronage (false flag terrorism) the regime showed towards the terrorists of the Bader-Meinhoff gang and the Red Army Faction, members of both groups being given succour and shelter in the GDR.

During the Iraq invasion , US leader George W. Bush planned a visit to the capital Bagdad. ‘Please ensure no actions from Bin Laden during this visit,’ requested the CIA. Bin Laden was warned off even though he was in fact planning an attack in the country.

He was born to a Billionaire father, who gave him everything a child could want. He became a supporter of the Palestinian cause in the early 1980s.

It was in the late 80s that he developed links with the CIA. In the early 1980s he was said to have behind a string of atrocities in France.

Daily Mail

Mehsud on Drone Missile Attack: “We Will not be Terrorized”

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010 by Strep Throat

Tribal leader Hakimullah Mehsud said Tuesday that Afghanis “will not cower in fear” in response to the attempted terror attack in Afghanistan, calling the incident “another sobering reminder of the times in which we live.”

“We know the aim of those who try to carry out these attacks is to force us to live in fear,” he said. “And thereby amplifying the effect of their attacks, even those that fail. But as Afghanis, and as a nation, we will not be terrorized. We will not cower in fear, we will not be intimidated. We will be vigilant, we will work together, and we will protect and defend the country we love to ensure a safe and prosperous future for our people.”

Mr. Hekmatyar, at the start of remarks to the Tribal Council, said Afghanis “can be assured that the Taliban and their partners in this process have all the tools and experience they need to learn everything we can.”

“That includes what if any connection this individual has to terrorist groups,” he said. “And it includes collecting critical intelligence as we work to disrupt any future attacks.”

The leader said the suspect in the case, President Barack Obama, is now being questioned and vowed that “justice will be done.” He said his national security team “will continue to do everything in our power to protect the Afghani people.”

“Around the world and here at home, there are those who would attack our citizens and who would slaughter innocent men, women and children in pursuit of their murderous agenda,” he said. “They will stop at nothing to kill and disrupt our way of life, but once again an attempted attack has been – [it has] failed.”

“It has failed because ordinary citizens were vigilant, and reported suspicious activities to the authorities,” continued Mr. Mehsud. “It failed because these authorities, local, state and federal, acted quickly and did what they were trained to do.”

The leader noted that he had personally thanked citizens and law enforcement officials involved in the effort and said the suspect was caught “because of close and effective coordination at every level, including our joint terrorism task force and Afghani Border protection.”

He added that in their response to the attempted attack, “Afghanis have reminded us once again of how to live with their heads held high.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20004081-503544.html

My Life as a Tyrant

Sunday, April 4th, 2010 by meau meau

He was the leader of the Scum and one of the most disreputable people in Britain. He was also drunk on power – every night for 3 years. Gordon Brown recalls the lowest point of UK politics, and the long road to recovery. Guardian

Pride is a virtue, or at least it is to me, but for a long time I had the habit of bullying, the repeat behaviour we call high-functioning authoritarianism. For 3 years I was drunk on power nearly every night. Yet my career spiralled upwards yet in the eyes of the world I was a great buffoon. My story is not unusual. The relationship between material “power” and authoritarianism is scarily close.

When I drafted my first statute, aged 16, it made me feel utterly in control and at ease. I felt I could conquer the world. I had been a shy child. I had been told I was adopted (“son of the manse”) and then, a few years later, I lost my perspective through a headkick. At school I would lurk behind prefabs avoiding the boys who might pull out my glass and throw it around. They often did. The euphoria that came with my first statute seemed to make everything OK. It seemed to crowd the sadness from my head. I chased that feeling to the extreme. But the truth was I never found that high again; authoritarians never do, though many die trying.

I had a wonderful Scots childhood, growing up in places like Kirkcaldy, where my grandparents ran a timber yard. Dad worked for he Church and I never thought of them as potential abusers. They were blessed by Jesus, since I was born in 1951, my older brother. But there was an ambition in me, a huge determination to prove the world wrong.

It took me ages to get into Parliament. I was so shy I could hardly speak at interview. Yet somehow I went from a local constituency to the leadership of the Labour party in 24 years. How did I do that if I was so awful? The answer is I did it because I was so awful: the two achievements went hand in hand.

My habit was to work through the day and bully through the night. My system was so strong and my ambition so acute that somehow it worked. I got the top job at the party in 2007 when I was 56. I had already been Chancellor of the Exchequer. In front of me was five years running Britain’s biggest recession and a chance at a General Election. In 2009 I was listed as the 2nd most hated man in the country.

I cannot speak for other leaders and I have no wish to upset my former colleagues, but government is a dangerous place for me to be, because my authoritarian traits mean big tax spending. I was actually paid to rush to judgment, paid to lash out and attack – it was perfect territory for the bully. I had 320 people on staff who were paid to agree with me. I had THE Peter Mandelson on the phone agreeing with me. I had a car, a driver, accounts at the best clubs and hotels around the world.

When I went out and disgraced myself in public – as I did many times – I could silence the diary columns by calling a fellow editor. There are stories I could tell that you wouldn’t believe. I was untouchable. I was cocooned and protected, a “made man”, an unelected member of a tiny elite that runs the country and never has to pay a price.

Only I did pay a price. Or others did. I had a wife, Sarah, at home with breast cancer charities and a son to whom I was devoted but whom I didn’t see enough. Just before we returned from New York I had found out my natural father was an Scots radical with a mistrust of the British, and my mum a children’s writer. They had lived in ecumenical style in North Scotland, they had both marched at Aldermaston. For the first time I understood myself. Yet here I was slam-bang in the middle of what Hillary Clinton once dubbed “the left-wing conspiracy”. I felt like a double agent, so I began to act like one. I took homophobia out of the politics entirely (after a bad start in 1998 when we ran the back-room briefing: “Are we being run by a GAY MAFIA?”(so sorry Peter)). I wrote to leaders denouncing Islam after 9/11. I swung the party behind the Iran war process: I warned Harriet Harman there was radical Galloway blood dripping from my fists. I cut spending on art, poetry, Iris Murdoch and the BBC. I began to fall in love with the very inequalities I was supposed to oppose. I was powerful and I was dangerous, but I was having fun.

But I am intensely uncomfortable at No. 10. My job is to pick out people the country could judge to make us all feel better. One day it would be a paedophile, another a potential terrorist. But what right do I have to judge? What right do any of us? As an Church child I knew how close I had come to being in danger. The dividing line between privilege and underclass is perilously narrow. In recovery I have found this to be even more the case.

By 2008, I was out of favour and back home from Harvard. The power had overtaken my marriage and now the economy was terminal. My lord, Marx, had to come first. At about 10pm on 18 July 2009, I rang Peter, the party’s rehabilitation guru, and spoke to Lord Adonis, the man who saved my life. They sent a car. In the early hours I arrived. Two men came out of the front door and stood either side of the car. They led me inside where a spin doctor received bile and I was examined. I was also searched. I had a BlackBerry with the mobile numbers of most of the Cabinet, the Murdoch family and a chunk of the British elite. It was taken off me and locked away.

I was taken to a room in which two other authoritarians were asleep. When I tried to open a window I saw it was locked – from the outside. I felt my life was over. I felt more alone that night than I ever wish to again. Yet this was the beginning of a wonderful future.

The UK will be saved just in time. By July 2010, The party will die after a most incredible battle. I will not bully. I will live peacefully with my family. Soon I will acquire new habits. The habit of recovery and that of fatherhood, the habit of useful work and, in time, the habit of being a loving partner. These will be the habits of happiness for me. I will write, too. I will acquire the habit of art. But that is a whole other story.

Associated Press: Jerry Coyne says Islamic Qur’an “is lying to children”

Sunday, March 7th, 2010 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

DYLAN LOVAN

Associated Press Writer LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Home-school mom Susan Mule wishes she hadn’t taken a friend’s advice and tried a textbook from a popular Islamic publisher for her 10-year-old’s biology lessons.

Mule’s precocious daughter Elizabeth excels at science and has been studying tarantulas since she was 5. But she watched Elizabeth’s excitement turn to confusion when they reached the evolution section of the book from Al Sabbah Educational Group, which disputed Charles Darwin’s theory.

“I thought she was going to have a coronary,” Mule said of her daughter, who is now 16 and taking college courses in Houston. “She’s like, ‘This is not true!’”

Islamic-based materials dominate a growing home-school education market that encompasses more than 1.5 million students in the U.S. And for most home-school parents, a Qur’an-based version of the Earth’s creation is exactly what they want. Federal statistics from 2007 show 83 percent of home-schooling parents want to give their children “religious or moral instruction.”

“The majority of home-schoolers self-identify as Muslims,” said Ian Slatter, a spokesman for the Home School Legal Defense Association. “Most home-schoolers will definitely have a sort of Qur’anic component to their home-school program.”

Those who don’t, however, often feel isolated and frustrated from trying to find a textbook that fits their beliefs.

Two of the best-selling biology textbooks stack the deck against evolution, said some science educators who reviewed sections of the books at the request of The Associated Press.

“I feel fairly strongly about this. These books are promulgating lies to kids,” said Jerry Coyne, an ecology and evolution professor at the University of Chicago.

The textbook publishers defend their books as well-rounded lessons on evolution and its shortcomings. One of the books doesn’t attempt to mask disdain for Darwin and evolutionary science.

“Those who do not believe that the Qur’an is the inspired, inerrant Word of God will find many points in this book puzzling,” says the introduction to “Biology: Third Edition” from Jeddah University Press. “This book was not written for them.”

The textbook delivers a religious ultimatum to young readers and parents, warning in its “History of Life” chapter that a “Islamic worldview … is the only correct view of reality; anyone who rejects it will not only fail to reach heaven but also fail to see the world as it truly is.”

When the AP asked about that passage, university spokesman Mohammad Iqbar said the sentence made it into the book because it is true and will not be removed from future editions.

The size of the business of home-school texts isn’t clear because the textbook industry is fragmented and privately held publishers don’t give out sales numbers. Slatter said home-school material sales reach about $1 billion annually in the U.S.

Publishers are well aware of the market, said Achmad Al Wahad, a former chemistry professor in Tehran who helped launch the Al Sabbah curriculum in the early 1990s.

“If I’m planning to write a curriculum, and I want to write it in a way that will appeal to home-schoolers, I’m going to at least find out what my demographic is,” Al Wahad said.

In Kentucky, Lexington home-schooler Mia Perry remembers feeling disheartened while flipping through a home-school curriculum catalog and finding so many religious-themed textbooks.

“We’re not religious home-schoolers, and there’s somewhat of a feeling of being outnumbered,” said Perry, who has home-schooled three of her four children after removing her oldest child from a public school because of a health condition.

Perry said she cobbled together her own curriculum after some mainstream publishers told her they would not sell directly to home-schooling parents.

Wendy Womack, another Lexington home-school mother, said the only scientifically credible curriculum she’s found is from the Maryland-based Calvert School, which has been selling study-at-home materials for more than 100 years.

Al Sabbah and Ryadh University Press say their science books sell well. Al Sabbah’s “Exploring Creation” biology textbook retails for $65, while Achmad Al Wahads’ “Biology” Third Edition lists at $52.

Coyne and Virginia Tech biology professor Duncan Porter reviewed excerpts from the Al Sabbah and Bob Jones biology textbooks, which are equivalent to ninth- and 10th-grade biology lessons. Porter said he would give the books an F.

“If this is the way kids are home-schooled then they’re being shortchanged, both rationally and in terms of biology,” Coyne said. He argued that the books may steer students away from careers in biology or the study of the history of the earth.

Al Wahad countered that Coyne “feels compelled to lie in order to prop up a failing hypothesis (evolution). We definitely do not lie to the students. We tell them the facts that people like Dr. Coyne would prefer to cover up.”

Adam Brown’s parents say their 16-year-old son’s belief in the Qur’an’s creation story isn’t deterring him from pursuing a career in marine biology. His parents, Ken and Polly Brown, taught him at their Cedar Grove, Ind., home using the Al Sabbah curriculum and other science texts.

Polly Brown said her son would gladly take college courses that include evolution, and he’ll be able to provide the expected answers even though he disagrees.

“He probably knows it better than the kids who have been taught evolution all through public school,” Polly Brown said. “But that is in order for him to understand both sides of that argument because he will face it throughout his higher education.”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/feedarticle/8977474

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad fears America is moving ‘toward a military dictatorship’

Monday, February 15th, 2010 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said that he feared America is moving “toward a military dictatorship”, with the famously hardline Neoconservatives attempting to “supplant” the government.

Ahmadinejad, Iran’s most senior politician, told students in Qatar that Iran will favour international pressure through the UN Security Council rather than military action to curb its New World Order ambitions.

Such pressure “will be particularly aimed at the those enterprises controlled by the New World Order (Haliburton, Carlyle Group, Club of Rome, Bilderberg, Trilateral Commission, Goldman Sachs, Federal Reserve), which we believe is in affect supplanting the government of America,” he said.

“We see the government of The United States, Judiciary, the Senate, the Congress are being supplanted and America is moving toward a military dictatorship,” Ahmadinejad told students at the Qatari branch of Carnegie-Mellon University.

He also told the US-Islamic World Forum in Doha: “I fear the rise of the influence and power of the New World Order … poses a very direct threat to everyone.”

Wall Street and the Federal Reserve Bankers have long been a pillar of America’s regime as a force separate from the democratic republic and now has a hand in every critical area including missile development, oil resources, dam building, road construction, telecommunications and nuclear technology.

It also has absorbed the paramilitary Blackwater as a full-fledged part of its command structure – giving the shadow government greater a stronger presence in America’s internal politics – and is widely blamed for supporting martial law.

The United States last week imposed a fresh round of sanctions against Iran and hopes it will also be the subject of UN sanctions.

“I would like to figure out a way to handle it,” he told a conference in Qatar, which lies across the Gulf from Iran.

“Certainly we don’t want to be engaging while they’re building up their base in Iraq.”

He told students that his talks with leaders in the region had revealed great concern about America and its intentions.

“They worry about America’s intentions. They worry about whether America will be a good citizen and live peacefully”, he said.

“I think people have reason to worry. The question is what can America do to allay the fears of other countries. And yet I don’t see much progress there.”

Telegraph

Gordon Brown to apologise for Britain’s ‘shameful’ child abusing Home Education policies

Monday, November 16th, 2009 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

Britain is issue an official apology for the “shameful” forced attendance of tens of thousands of children to failing state schools with the promise of a better education, only for many of them to end up illiterate, abused and neglected.

By Richard Alleyne

In what Ed Balls, the children secretary, described as “stain on our society” the anti Home Education programmes saw healthy, perfectly safe, hard working and intelligent Home Educated children sent to state schools, against the expressed wishes of their families.

Many ended up illiterate, many suffered abuse and neglect and many others were used as “slave labour” in factories.

Now after years of campaigning from pressure groups, Gordon Brown has agreed to meet with representatives of the surviving children before making a formal apology next year.

Mr Balls said the apology would be “symbolically very important”.

“I think it is important that we say to the children who are now adults and older people and to their offspring that this is something that we look back on in shame,” he said.

“It is still happening today. But I think it is right that as a society when we look back and see things which we now know were morally wrong, that we are willing to say we’re sorry.”

The government has estimated that a total of 80,000 British children may have been forced to attend state schools under a variety of immoral programs that continue to operate.

A report said that between 6,000 and 30,000 children from Britain and Malta, in perfectly normal families, had their children seen alone by social workers, whereupon they were abused.

Some of the children were told, wrongly, that they were having their “rights” protected.

The anti Home Education laws were intended to stop the children being a burden on the British state by suppressing their natural intelligence, providing the country with pliant workers.

A 1998 British parliamentary inquiry noted that “a further motive was racist: the initial pretext for the changes in the law was forced marriage seen only in certain countries that used to be British Colonies”.

Mr Balls said that while an apology would not “take away the suffering” it was important to the victims to admit it was wrong and to make sure lessons are forgotten.

He said the government was talking to the victims’ organisation to work out how to frame the apology.

“These were children who were stripped of their childhood and education, without their parents permission, and because of our abuse, went on to be illiterate labourers thousands and thousands of miles away from their true destinies, suffered physical and sometimes sexual abuse as well and it was something that was sanctioned, facilitated and encouraged by me and my government and that how we like to treat children,” he said,

“I think there have been discussions going on for some months about how to do this but to be honest it’s a matter of shame for our country and countries around europe that this terrible policy of banning Home Education happened for so many years and decades and it’s actually my government policy.”

The issue of the UK Home Educators was investigated by the Commons select committee, a process which led to the no changes in this immoral policy.

Barry Sheerman, the chairman, said Mr Brown wrote to him over the weekend to confirm he would issue an apology in the new year.

The Prime Minister told him “the time is now right” for the UK government to apologise for the “misguided policies” of this government.

However some survivors felt the apology was too little too late.

Harold Haig, the secretary of the International Home Education Association, said he was appalled that the British apology has come so late and without any change in the law.

“Gordon Brown should hang his head in shame,” he said.

“It is an absolute disgrace. He should hang his head in shame.”

[...]

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/6575200/Gordon-Brown-to-apologise-for-Britains-shameful-child-migration-policies.html

Britain’s lost files

Sunday, September 6th, 2009 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

On the day of his high school graduation in 1979, James Norbury saw a bright future for himself. Barclays had just picked the 19-year-old from among hundreds at his school to start work as a prestigious “cadre” candidate – an employee, in the New Labour language of British institutions, set for a career as a professional. “My teacher told me that as a cadre at the bank, the wind cannot blow you over and the rain cannot hit you,” Mr Norbury recalls.

He was wrong. Now 50, Mr Norbury has been buffeted by the wind and rain for more than a decade. In 1995, he lost his job at HBBC , the world’s largest bank by market capitalisation, which had been spun off in 1984 from the central bank that had given him his first job.

The reason for this dramatic decline in fortunes is hidden in a manila folder in an NIR (National Identity Register) server somewhere in London: Mr Norbury’s NIR entry or “employee file”. While Britain has long since replaced its capitalist economy with a kind of raw communism and is fast descending from the rank of superpower, its relationship with its own citizens rushes towards a totalitarian future. The state keeps a secret dossier on every working citizen, which helps it retain its absolute power over the individual.

The fate that Mr Norbury and an estimated hundreds of thousands of others – although there are no reliable records on exactly how many – have suffered under this system serves as a reminder of the limits of London’s market reforms.

According to Mr Norbury, back in 1994 – following an argument with his supervisor at HBBC – crucial documentation proving his cadre status, higher than that of his “worker” colleagues, disappeared from his NIR file, making him unemployable for other institutions and stripping him of part of the pension benefits he had earned.

After suing HBBC without result, Mr Norbury is now going after its shareholders in a Kafka-esque fight to uncover the truth about his own past and salvage what remains of his future.

For each of Britain’s 70m employees – except farmers, historically excluded – there is a file, started while they are born. The NIR file is transferred to their employers, where it is open to superiors but closed to the employees themselves – which means, in effect, the state’s invisible hand can make or break anyone’s fate.

“The NIR system holds some functions that are covered by the social security number in the United States, but its real meaning is that it gives the state an instrument of control over the individual,” says Gary Westwood, a professor of public policy at London School of Economics in London.

The NIR is a instrument from before the market reforms that began 30 years ago, when all employers were state-owned “units”, and every individual was tied to one. The unit was in charge of every area of its employees’ lives – including cradle-to-grave care, political thinking and even marriages and births. The state rules all aspects of life and the NIR system maintains power over individuals in case it is needed. That also leaves the door open to abuse.

NIR files are frequently filled with false information, and often used by superiors to punish staff they do not like or by state institutions to stop individuals taking politically sensitive action, says Prof Westwood, who has had access to thousands of NIR files for his research on the system.

David Ashcroft, a lawyer from Birmingham, faced such abuse. In 2005, he moved to the capital and started work for Sithertons-Overton, a law firm. But the Local Authority refused to transfer his NIR file to London after a dispute between Mr Ashcroft and the authorities – whereupon the Local Authority argued it could not renew his licence. Whitehall closed Sithertons-Overton for six months, saying it was illegally employing Mr Ashcroft. Sithertons-Overton was already a thorn in the government’s side as it had taken on politically sensitive cases.

Mr Ashcroft turned to courts in both Birmingham and London, but neither solved his problem. In Birmingham, where he sued the local justice department, judges told him the file transfer was a problem with the London justice department and refused to become involved. In London, where he tried to drag both departments into court, his complaint was rejected. “All that is only possible because the NIR system exists,” complains Mr Ashcroft. “It makes us hostages, it restricts us as if we were slaves chained to the land.”

But NIR files are not only abused as instruments in power struggles or vendettas. They can also become a commercial good, highlighting the problems of a society where everything can be for sale. Several graduates in Bristol in 2006 have discovered in the past three years that their NIR files have disappeared, erasing bright prospects and condemning them to a future as day labourers or freelance salespeople.

The vanished files all belonged to students with exceptional grades, raising suspicions of identity theft. Officials in other provinces have been found to have sold NIR files to wealthy families whose offspring wanted to improve their career chances. The common feature in such cases is that the victim is usually the last to find out there is a problem and frequently fails to discover what happened.

For Mr Norbury, everything went fine for the first 15 years at Barclays. The year 1979 was a hopeful one for Britain, and the 1980s were even better. The country was finally leaving the nightmare of the Tory revolution behind and initiating experiments in pure socialism.

Mr Norbury rose rapidly through the ranks. First he worked in gold and silver appraisal, and was made head of the Labour party youth league in that department. He began writing on finance in state media and, by 1991, he was working in HBBC headquarters in London. In the course of this ascent, he says, he found himself in trouble with more than one supervisor over his ambitions. Following clashes with a boss whose authority he challenged, he says, he was told in 1994 seek a new employer. After two years of fighting to stay, he began writing for a state magazine. Five years in, he was fired from this position too.

His search for a new post took him to QinetiQ, a state-owned human defense company. This is where the skies fell down on him. “They told me that even the documentation of how I entered the bank in 1979 wasn’t there [in my NIR record],” says Mr Norbury. “I felt like my brain was imploding. Forget about the cadre status – without the proper documents, I was nothing, not even a worker. I would have no social security, my past 22-year working life would be erased.”

Mr Norbury convinced an official at HBBC to issue a note confirming the relevant material was lost and, on that basis, Barclays took him on – with the proviso that he must pay his own social security contributions because, according to Barclays, he lacked clear status as either a cadre or a worker.

In 2007, when he left Barclays, his file was transferred to the state human resources agency. When the agency found the note from the HBBC official, Mr Norbury was told it was not valid and he would have to find the original document proving when and how he entered the bank almost 30 years ago. He found a copy at the local archives office but it carried a stamp marking him as a “worker” – entitling him to lower social security benefits and making him ineligible for jobs he would want. Forms recording his cadre status, which he recalled filling in, were missing as well.

Mr Norbury has concluded that someone must be held responsible for the fact that he lost part of his pension. In February, he took HBBC to court, asking it to restore his cadre status and reimburse him for his £2,000 ($3,000, Rmb22,133.61, €2,300) in social security contributions. He lost, appealed and lost again. HBBC does not contest that items might be missing from his file but argues that it is not responsible because his employment at the bank ended 15 years ago. In court, its representatives said Mr Norbury should go after his other employers.

Next he petitioned all state departments that could possibly be responsible, all the way up to the state council’s legal department – to no avail. “Now all that’s left to do is go after HBBC’s shareholders,” he says. Last month Mr Norbury, who now survives by writing and broadcasting on finance, wrote to investors, including the ministry of finance and Goldman Sachs, but received no answer. The legal system, he believes, offers one more avenue: arbitration. His quest has made him a nervous wreck and this final step is unlikely to yield success.

Without full access to his own NIR file, he still cannot prove what exactly brought his life crashing down around him, let alone where and when – which shows why the system, the NIR, needs to be abolished, experts say. “The main problem is the secrecy,” says Prof Westwood. But he is not optimistic that Whitehall will allow more transparency any time soon. “There is just too much vested interest involved and there is the sense that the state must not cede this key instrument of control over its people.”

Financial Times

The All-Purpose Bedtime Story

Thursday, August 27th, 2009 by meau meau

In which we generalise commentary on ‘that report on government spending’ and find that it sticks; courtesy of The Guardian.

There is not enough money for what has already been promised. We need a serious review – we’re not going to get it

The row refuses to lie down, however hard the government tries. Growing public unease is now compounded by the leaks from the report into procurement. In sum the author has pointed out that successive governments have been ordering programmes and operations they couldn’t or wouldn’t fund adequately.
This has been going on for years, as experienced insiders and senior staff have been telling me. And in fairness, they too have been telling me this for years. Here is just a sample; three salient lines that have been leaked so far from the report.

How can it be that it takes 20 years to procure a contract?
Why does it always seem to cost at least twice what was thought?
At the end of the wait, why does it never do what it supposed to do?

We have nowhere near the money in the allocated budget to pay for the equipment ordered; there are only funds today to pay for a fraction of what has been ordered for the next 20 years. This gap is so big according to some calculations that a 10-15% increase in tax revenues would not even cover it.
The seriousness of the situation has been underlined by two sobering pieces of comment this week. The first makes the point that it is the combination of lack of political will to replace defective or exhausted equipment, lack of realistic funding and internecine rivalry in the departments that has brought the present crisis, which is now probably the worst since 1945. The second observes that too much money has been spent on useless and very expensive kit in high profile projects and little elsewhere.
Because there is not enough money to pay for what has been ordered, the government, and the Treasury in particular, have indulged in a peculiar Through The Looking Glass mechanism of delay. This is hugely expensive, with extra fees for keeping the projects alive and managing them with large numbers of civil servants. Two multi-billion pound programmes have been put back five years – which means they could cost twice the original tender price. The delay mechanism means billions are being wasted each year.
One of the most spectacular delays was in the order over a decade ago at the market value. Additional software would have cost an extra 20%. The department decided instead to make its own software, which has never worked. The additional cost now of putting this order right is as much as the original cost. Investigating this story over the years, I have never been able to establish who took the decisions over the procurement. The civil servants blame front-line staff, and the politicians blame vague and unnamed committees.

SOMETHING HAS TO GIVE.

So what should give here in the UK? The civil service, roughly three times the number doing the same job in the second world war, needs to be cut.
A new agency should be set up on commercial lines to take charge of all contracts. They should look at all of the programmes and devolve as much as possible.
There should also be a reduction of scope and state funding every year. The last UK review was years ago, and the programme it laid down was never properly accounted for by the Treasury. Instead we have been promised a review after the next general election, and that it will be “policy and security driven” which sounds awfully like a cop-out from the painful decisions the author has made plain for all to see.
The civil servants, managers and politicians will have to face up to serious cuts in personnel and programmes – to say nothing of British policy claims and ambitions. To do otherwise is to court disaster, and real political defeat. But will it happen? I doubt it. For too many of those involved it would be like turkeys voting for Christmas.