Archive for June, 2011

Bitcoins backed by gold launched

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

There is another interesting article over at Lew Rockwell about Bitcoin, which is a transcript of a conversation with Doug Casey, who we have blogged about before. This man is a truly great speaker and thinker, and as proof of this, I direct you to watch Mr. Casey in action.

In the interview, Doug Casey says something truly astonishing, because if it is true, it means that the next iteration of Bitcoin is already here and is sure to fulfil the promise of a decentralised, unregulated, freedom and pure value centred money. Here is the line that I am talking about:

So, way before the dollar value of Bitcoins stepped off a cliff last weekend, I was telling people who asked me that I didn’t use them and didn’t plan to use them.

Frankly, I can’t see why anyone would, when there’s already an electronic digital currency like Bitcoin but backed with gold: GoldMoney. I should disclose that I’m a small investor in the company.

http://lewrockwell.com/casey/casey89.1.html

My emphasis… What?!

An electronic digital currency like Bitcoin, backed with gold?!

I had to find out more about this!

GoldMoney has a good looking website:

http://www.goldmoney.com/

It says its ‘simple and secure’ and that you have ‘Complete ownership of the metal you buy’.

Better and better!

But where is the ‘download’ link? I want to start using it right now!

When you click on ‘Find out more about how to get started with GoldMoney’

Ooookkkkkk.

OnMouseDown we are not presented with a link to some software but instead we are displayed the following:

At GoldMoney we make it very easy for you to conveniently buy, own and store precious metals. The first step is to sign up for free to open a Holding, which is a personal record of your activity in GoldMoney and the metal you own. After a short verification process, you can transfer money to fund your Holding and start buying metals to preserve your purchasing power.

You have to sign up for a ‘holding’, complete ‘identity verification’ and then transfer funds.

Personal Record?
Verification process?

This doesn’t sound like Bitcoin at all!

It gets worse.

They then ask you for your country of residence. What on earth has that to do with MY MONEY?

And then it gets even WORSE:

Country of Residence

Depending on the country you live in, you can sign up for different types of Holdings. GoldMoney accepts customers from 93 countries. If your country of residence is not one of the countries listed above, unfortunately we are currently unable to accommodate your application. If you are temporarily living in a country not listed above but your primary country of residence is on the list, please contact us to discuss your situation. For example, if you are an international aid worker temporarily assigned to a non-listed country but your primary residence is in the UK, we will most likely be able to accept you as a customer.

If you move to another country after you open a Holding, please take into consideration that this could affect the type of Holding you are able to have.

Netherlands & Netherlands Antilles

Due to a review on the rules applicable to the sale and storage of precious metals, we are currently unable to accept applications from Dutch residents.

Sucks to be Dutch then. I guess that the Dutch don’t have any property rights. I guess that if I am Dutch, I can’t spend money on the internet, with this ‘Bitcoin like’ money. What?

And then it gets unimaginably worse:

We claim that we are from Italy, and then say submit. You then get this:

Enter your name and contact details during the sign-up process

Upload a scanned image of a bank statement or bank cheque before the initial funds are sent from your bank account

Upload a scanned image of your photo ID (passport, national ID card or driver’s license)
Send a certified copy of your photo ID and an original bank statement or utility bill along with a completed CAP Form (letter or A4-size) to us by post

Additional verification of your identity and the source of your funds may be required depending on your circumstances and the Holding value

Unbelievable.

And this, given the interview, is the most surprising thing of all:

Security and integrity

As a company regulated by the Jersey Financial Services Commission, GoldMoney complies with anti-money laundering legislation, which requires GoldMoney to know the identity and residential address of each of its customers. We make use of a Customer Acceptance Policy (CAP), to ensure the security and integrity of the GoldMoney system. More information about the CAP and how to sign up for your GoldMoney Holding can be found in our CAP FAQ.

But in the interview, Casey says:

That’s why the U.S. government and its media lapdogs have been so antagonistic to Bitcoin, claiming it’s primarily of interest to drug lords who want to use it as soap for their money laundering. They always mention it in conjunction with Silk Road, which claims to allow purchase of any drug through mail order, using Bitcoin as its payment system. I have no problem with that, but it’s a totally impractical idea in today’s world. It’s just an idea intended to scare witless Americans. Frankly, I’m disgusted at the fact money laundering is even accepted as a crime; thoughtless people believe whatever they’re told. It’s not a crime, by any rational definition. But that’s another subject for another day.

Well, I certainly agree with that sentiment; there is no such thing as ‘money laundering’… but I digress.

This service is as far from Bitcoin as you could possibly be. There is no software to download, you cannot buy and sell it from anywhere without restriction, you have to integrate with the state at a very intimate level, indeed, they cannot even offer this service to everyone, even Europeans like the Dutch, thanks to the State.

What if the State says that all gold in private hands is to be confiscated, as they did in 1933, and as they appear to be heading for right now. Is this company, for ‘Security and Integrity’ going to simply go along with the State and steal your money?

Who knows. Who cares.

I would never put my money into a service like this where the State is alerted of all your details and ‘holdings’. They offer no utility whatsoever in comparison with Bitcoin. You cannot spend your GoldMoney at retailers directly, you can only redeem your stored gold for cash, which you then have to either take in person or spend through another intermediary if you want to buy something from Bangalore. And of course, there are the myriad fees and taxes you have to pay each time you move YOUR MONEY around between these entities.

This is the reason why Bitcoins are valuable. There is no service like it anywhere.

You can get started with them instantly.
You do not have to identify yourself.
You can use them from any location.
You can send them to any location.
You can fund them with any currency.
You can spend them immediately.
Your transactions are private.
There are no taxes on transactions.
Transaction fees are so small as to be irrelevant, and if you are a miner, you get the fees back from other users.

All of these features and more make Bitcoin a tool with a very high level of utility. Bitcoins are scarce, and you need them if you want to make purchases without the onerous and illegitimate predations of the State.

If the ideas of Liberty are spreading, and they are, Bitcoin will have a very large and primed population of users who recoil at something like GoldMoney.

The utility of Bitcoin, which is a function of the number of users who want it, will entrench it, or at the very least, the idea of it.

We will never go back to government run money, just as we are not going back to music pressed on vinyl. The quality of sound has been sacrificed for Digital Convenience, and more music than ever before is in everyone’s hands, accompanied by a new economy where the middle man is being killed off. Digital music is here to stay, and so is Bitcoin. The middle men are going out of business, and everyone is going to benefit.

The frictionless utility of Bitcoin, like the experience of finding music, books, films and software and then downloading them immediately is something that once you taste it, changes your perception forever.

No one who uses Bitcoin is going to accept GoldMoney as ‘digital currency like Bitcoin’. Its like saying buying DRM’d iTunes files for 99¢ is like sharing FLACs on IRC / Dropbox with your friends (sorry, I slipped into ‘tecchie speak’ as the illiterates call it. What I mean is the experience of downloading and sharing unencumbered music files that you can play anywhere, freely, between friends and colleagues for nothing, is not at all like paying money for files from Apple, where what you get are files that you cannot share or use on all of your music devices. Apple is a cumbersome, restrictive and invasive intermediary vendor that spoils your music experience. Is that better? I can only dumb it down so much… sorry!).

The genie is out of the bottle, just as it is with file sharing. Eventually no one will pay for entertainment files. It will be culturally unacceptable and commercially impossible. Similarly in the near future, no one will accept that you cannot spend your own money whenever you want, however you want, without anyone other than you and the recipient having a say in it.

Bitcoin, or its immediate decedents will provide the secure infrastructure for this, and most certainly not GoldMoney or services like it.

This does not, obviously, invalidate the immutable, irrefutable idea that the best money is gold. All it means is that on the internet, if you want to spend money, the best way to do it is Bitcoin. It is the easiest, the most Libertarian styled, the most secure (yes, the most secure, all the recent problems with Bitcoin users have not been due to a problem with Bitcoin, but with the people who are running it and the incorrectly managed computers that they control) and transparent way of spending money.

Finally, it seems like the Ghandi rule is sweeping through the Libertarians who at first, instinctively and irrationally railed against the idea of Bitcoin.

The people on the wrong side of history appear to be very quickly moving from the laughing stage, and are already past the fighting stage it seems.

Bitcoin has already won.

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

UPDATE!

Jon Matonis hit the nail on the head about this company back in 2009. His article is just the sort of thing that journalists cannot produce, and that the best Bloggers are good at; concise, rational even handed, insightful and purely fact based writing that spells it out just as it is. Read it!

And check out this informative, in depth interview with Mr. Matonis: 

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The clear divisions on Bitcoin

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

It is now clear where the lines dividing freedom minded people on the issue of Bitcoin are drawn.

On the one side, you have mostly older computer illiterates who are out of their comfort zone, and on the other, you have younger computer literate people who are comfortable with both free market ideas, sound economics and computers.

The former camp, the computer illiterates, all use the same form of argumentation and fallacious reasoning to attack Bitcoin, including straw men. Here is a good example:

Approximately 2,000 years ago, Aristotle said good money must be:

  • Durable
  • Portable
  • Divisible and consistent
  • Have intrinsic value

The astute reader will immediately realize that Bitcoin does not possess any of those characteristics and was subject to trouble from the getgo — not to mention the security issues that immediately arise with anything computer– and Internet related. A computer generated currency is not durable, as the recent hack demonstrates. And it’s certainly not portable. Can you imagine bringing your computer to the door to pay for your next Chinese food delivery? You get the idea for the remaining characteristics.

[…]

http://howestreet.com/2011/06/grim-decade-employment/

The straw man here is the line about Chinese food delivery. There is no reason of course, why you could not pay for your Chinese food in advance by Bitcoin. Its like saying, “imagine ordering books by computer from a company, lets call it ‘Amazon’. Imagine the delivery man having to keep change for all the sales! Its a security nightmare. IT WILL NEVER CATCH ON!”

The astute reader recognises faulty reasoning when he sees it, and is not persuaded by straw men.

As for the Aristotelian qualities that money must have, lets go through them for Bitcoin.

Bitcoin is durable. In fact, because it is not a physical good but is instead, an idea fixed in media, it can last for an indefinite time as long as it is copied to another medium. You can keep backups of it, which of course, you cannot do with physical money. Once again, the fact that you can have two copies of your money and cannot spend it twice is the breakthrough of Bitcoin.

Anyone who says Bitcoin is not portable, is not thinking clearly. Bitcoin is the most portable ‘money’ ever created. It can be sent anywhere in the world in an instant. There is no other money like it in the world in this respect.

Bitcoin is divisible. Each coin can be divided into one million equal parts. Bitcoin is consistent in value, if we accept that the value of a commodity is related to its supply.

The only test Bitcoin fails, some would argue, is that it has no intrinsic value. Lets go to the dictionaries to be absolutely sure:

What Does Intrinsic Value Mean?
1. The actual value of a company or an asset based on an underlying perception of its true value including all aspects of the business, in terms of both tangible and intangible factors. This value may or may not be the same as the current market value. Value investors use a variety of analytical techniques in order to estimate the intrinsic value of securities in hopes of finding investments where the true value of the investment exceeds its current market value.

[…]

http://www.investopedia.com/terms/i/intrinsicvalue.asp#ixzz1PzdrOzEy

In finance, intrinsic value refers to the value of a security which is intrinsic to or contained in the security itself. It is also frequently called fundamental value. It is ordinarily calculated by summing the future income generated by the asset, and discounting it to the present value. Simply put, it is the actual value of a security as opposed to the market or book value.

[…]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intrinsic_value_(finance)

An intrinsic property is an essential or inherent property of a system or of a material itself or within. It is independent of how much of the material is present and is independent of the form the material, e.g., one large piece or a collection of smaller pieces.

[…]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intrinsic

I think the last one puts the nail in the coffin of the argument that Bitcoin has no intrinsic value.

Bitcoin has intrinsic value, by definition, because the system has value to the people who use it. It also has intrinsic value, by definition, because the amount of material in a thing is not relevant to wether or not a thing has intrinsic value; Bitcoins are immaterial, and they are part of a system that has value.

The fact that a single exchange, MTGox was hacked does not demonstrate that ‘A computer generated currency is not durable'; this is another instance of fallacious thinking. For fun, can you pick the correct one?

Once again all of these fallacious arguments are being made on the internet, and the irony of this appears to be lost on the people making them.

Even if Bitcoin is only used by one one hundredth of the entire internet population regularly, the number of people using it will be enough. More than enough. “For what?” I hear you ask… anything we need.

The people who build the systems that change the world do not need luddites, computer illiterates and sticklers to urge them to do what they do. The internet was built by a small number of people, and it has spread everywhere. Bitcoin was devised by one person, and it has already changed everything.

While we are at it, there is another prediction that has gone out of the window, the lone wolf inventor was declared extinct a few years ago, the claim being that the research and development costs involved in creating new things meant that unshaven men in their garages would not be able to produce world changing technologies.

How wrong they were. Bitcoin and Bittorrent are only two examples.

This is true for Bitcoin and the systems that are going to come after it. You need only look at at a widely adopted system like Skype, which is a decedent of ideas behind Gnutella, which itself was a decedent of Napster.

This is another problem that afflicts the discussion of Bitcoin; not only do very few people have a knowledge of how software works in general, but even fewer know about the recent history of some of the amazing tools we now take for granted.

Take a look at Nautilus, the file browser. Did you know that a company raised 11 million dollars to develop it? The company was called Eazel, and now we all benefit from that massive investment whenever we use the file browser in our Linux desktops, since Nautilus is now free and open source. Before this company, file browsers on Linux were not so user friendly. The people who invested in Eazel might not have made a profit, but that is not the point. The point here is that a world class piece of software was released that made something that was hard much more easy. The same dynamic can happen with the Bitcoin client, and when it does, we are going to experience massive, permanent disruptive change.

When thinkers like Mark Shuttleworth or Justin Frankel or a consortium of developers with many millions of dollars in the bank decides to fork and polish Bitcoin, you are going to see the emergence of a new version of the Bitcoin client, which will be as usable as the Skype client, that will sit on top of the existing Bitcoin network. Adoption will then go exponential, and all the short sighted people who claimed that it will never catch on will be forced to eat their words.

This new Bitcoin client will not only address all of the problems of the present client, but it will introduce new features that will make the adoption of Bitcoin accelerate; like being able to print out your Bitcoins so you can spend them like paper money.

Thinking is hard. Reading and understanding technical specifications is not easy; you have to spend many hours cross referencing different documents, each of which is liable to cause you to have to read other difficult to digest documents.

If you are not willing to do this, its not a problem; the world will go on without you. Thats why all these people are able to send out email newsletters, publish websites and make Skype calls without knowing how it all works or the history of the tools they are using.

What you cannot do however, is claim that something, in this case Bitcoin, cannot work when you are not capable of understanding it or even worse, are unwilling to make the effort to research it properly, and then expect people to take you seriously.

Something as important, significant and world-changing deserves proper attention and analysis, not flippant twaddle masquerading as insight.

UK Census 2011 to be leaked by LulzSec?

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

WE TOLD YOU!

RC: irc.lulzco.org (channel #LulzSec | port 6697 for SSL)
BitCoin donations: 176LRX4WRWD5LWDMbhr94ptb2MW9varCZP
Twitter: @LulzSec
Contact us: 614-LULZSEC

. /$$                 /$$            /$$$$$$
.| $$                | $$           /$$__  $$
.| $$       /$$   /$$| $$ /$$$$$$$$| $$  \__/  /$$$$$$   /$$$$$$$
.| $$      | $$  | $$| $$|____ /$$/|  $$$$$$  /$$__  $$ /$$_____/
.| $$      | $$  | $$| $$   /$$$$/  \____  $$| $$$$$$$$| $$
.| $$      | $$  | $$| $$  /$$__/   /$$  \ $$| $$_____/| $$
.| $$$$$$$$|  $$$$$$/| $$ /$$$$$$$$|  $$$$$$/|  $$$$$$$|  $$$$$$.$
.|________/ \______/ |__/|________/ \______/  \_______/ \_______/
                          //Laughing at your security since 2011!

.--    .-""-.
.   ) (     )
.  (   )   (
.     /     )
.    (_    _)                     0_,-.__
.      (_  )_                     |_.-._/
.       (    )                    |lulz..\
.        (__)                     |__--_/
.     |''   ``\                   |
.     | [Lulz] \                  |      /b/
.     |         \  ,,,---===?A`\  |  ,==y'
.   ___,,,,,---==""\        |M] \ | ;|\ |>
.           _   _   \   ___,|H,,---==""""bno,
.    o  O  (_) (_)   \ /          _     AWAW/
.                     /         _(+)_  dMM/
.      \@_,,,,,,---=="   \      \\|//  MW/
.--''''"                         ===  d/
.                                    //   SET SAIL FOR FAIL!
.                                    ,'_________________________
.   \    \    \     \               ,/~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
.                         _____    ,'  ~~~   .-""-.~~~~~~  .-""-.
.      .-""-.           ///==---   /`-._ ..-'      -.__..-'
.            `-.__..-' =====\\\\\\ V/  .---\.
.                     ~~~~~~~~~~~~, _',--/_.\  .-""-.
.                            .-""-.___` --  \|         -.__..-

Greetings Internets,

We have blissfully obtained records of every single citizen
who gave their records to the security-illiterate
UK government for the 2011 census

We're keeping them under lock and key though...
so don't worry about your privacy
(...until we finish re-formatting them for release)

Myself and the rest of my Lulz shipmates will then embark upon
a trip to ThePirateBay with our beautiful records
for your viewing pleasure!

Ahoy! Bwahahaha... >:]

Cap'n Pierre "Lulz" Dubois

LINKS:

http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/6467131/Bethesda_internal_data

BONUS ROUND! SENATE.GOV!

http://lulzsecurity.com/releases/senate.gov.txt

+++++++++++++++++++++

http://pastebin.com/K1nerhk0

This is not a substitution, or an extraploated future scenario of the type we have used in the past to illustrate the dangers of centralized databases of your personal, private and sensitive data.

THIS IS REAL! >> UPDATE: OR MAYBE NOT!

LulzSec:
Not sure we claimed to hack the UK census or where that rumour started, but we assume it’s because people are stupider than you and I.

Anyone in the world can copy and paste The Lulz Boat ASCII art and general lighthearted theme. Smarten up, check the feed first.

But hey, if someone out there hacked the UK government in the name of #AntiSec, well done sirs!

It seems that LulzSec may NOT have access to the UK Census Data! Or maybe someone else does, and wants to post it under their name…. who knows? If something turns up on The Pirate Bay, then we will know that its true. Even if a single entry from the Census DB is leaked, with the table structure and everything, that would mean that the data is O.U.T. OUT!

LulzSec should start PGP signing their statements so that no one can forge them…

Even if this time, the data has not escaped, this doesn’t invalidate what we and all the people who understand this problem have been saying.

There is nothing in the world that can stop a determined person from copying the data from any database, and there is no way that the UK Census Data is secure in any database where it is stored. That is an incontrovertible and indisputable fact. There is no way of knowing wether or not this data has not already been copied by someone. The statement relased by the UK Census people in response to this fake Lulzsec announcement said only that they are ‘looking into it’ not, “we have your data safe, and no one has copied it”. See what I mean?

We warned you again and again and again and again about this.

Did not fill out the 2011 Census? You are safe.

Yet again, BLOGDIAL is vindicated.

for the 100th time…

Don’t enrol.
Don’t register.
Don’t hand over your data.
Don’t fill out their forms.
Say ‘no’ everywhere you can.

The true nature of the anti-Bitcoin animus

Monday, June 20th, 2011 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

MTGox, we discover, was the victim of an internal leak of their database. They were not hacked, and they are the victims of a criminal act of theft.

The facts in this matter do not concern the people who are gloating over this event. There are a group of people who are violent in nature, and who despise Bitcoin because they understand exactly what it represents; a direct threat to their sick and violent society which is based on coercion, the absence of freedom and the application of force.

Imagine a world where everyone had access to personal force fields via an artificially created gland that was made to grow into their abdomen by a nano machine / virus. These force fields could be activated either by the fear response or by the direction of your will, in the same way that you use your will to direct your arm to throw a ball.

Everyone would be able to protect themselves from any sort of physical attack, and all would be able to use similar technology to protect their houses.

It would then immediately become impossible for the State to send their agents to your house to rob you with bailiffs. They would no longer be able to force you to pay anything that you did not want to pay, and you would be able to protect yourself and your property from the other criminals and predators that are not sent out by the State.

In such a world, all flows of money would be voluntary by default. There could be no coercion of any kind, since violence against the person and her property would have been abolished by the advent of force fields.

The entire world would switch from one based on violence to one based on voluntary exchange.

This is exactly what Bitcoin is doing.

It is going to make it impossible for the state to stop people transacting at a distance, in any amount that they choose. It is going to remove the State from the equation as the unwanted third party in all transactions.

This is the true source of the animus against Bitcoin, and it explains why people like Tim Worstall and the other writers are dismissing Bitcoin so flippantly. Here is what I am talking about. These are quotes from an article by Tim Worstall that has just appeared:

The Bitcoin community faced another crisis on Sunday afternoon as the price of the currency on the most popular exchange, Mt.Gox, fell from $17 to pennies in a matter of minutes. Trading was quickly suspended and visitors to the home page were redirected to a statement blaming the crash on a compromised user account. Mt.Gox’s Mark Karpeles said that the exchange would be taken offline to give administrators time to roll back the suspect transactions.

Tim Worstall asserts that Bitcoin is finished because a single exchange has technical problems if this is the level of expertise operating at Forbes, you might be forgiven for taking everything that they publish with a big pinch of salt. There is no relation between the fictitious ‘Bitcoin community’ and MTGox, in fact, its a stretch to assert that there is a Bitcoin community at all. Is there an ‘internet community’ simply because people who peer on the network can send email to each other?

Not a good start!

For the record, Tim Worstall works as a consultant and dealer in scandium and other exotic metals. We can assume that he knows a little about how exchanges work, that there is normally more than one exchange for every commodity, and that you can get a feel for the price of a commodity not by looking only at one exchange, but by looking at them all at the same time.

He must also know that Bitcoin is in its infancy, and as other exchanges open, the problem of a single exchange running into difficulty will greatly suppress the triggers that initiate widespread panic. He should also know that a single technical fault in an exchange cannot be translated into a true loss of value in whatever it is the exchange deals in.

These fundamental facts and logic must be known to him, so why has he written this piece? What is the purpose of it?

The initial problem leading to the price collapse was that one user tried to sell more than the market could absorb. For of course the value of anything is determined by the balance of supply and demand for it. Thus the price crashed (and you can see a chart of how quickly it did here). However, it appears that this isn’t the only problem:

This demonstrates Mr. Worstall has at least a basic grasp of economics and how markets work. What he does not tell you, is that the sales were made not by one user, but by over 400 users simultaneously, who were all being controlled by a single attacker. Facts are stubborn things. Had this breach not taken place, the quoted price for Bitcoins on MTGox would not have dropped as it did. Worstall cannot distinguish between a wrongly quoted price and the true price of a commodity in a market.

Since I began writing this, it has emerged that details of more than 60,000 users have been stolen from the Mt Gox exchange. The compromised information includes hashed passwords.

No, the doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the Bitcoin experiment, but it’s a pretty good indication of it.

This is a baseless assertion, which other violent Statists will use in a faulty appeal to authority attack (“it came from Forbes, a trusted source”) against Bitcoin.

This event is not an indication of anything, other than that some of the user accounts at MTGox were exposed. If we apply this faulty logic to the other recent mass disclosures of usernames and passwords, we should expect Worstall to come up with similar nonsense lines:

The recent hack of SONY, where the credit card numbers, dates of birth and real names of TWENTY FIVE MILLION users were copied…
The recent hack of SEGA…
The loss from HM Revenue and Customs…

  • So, That’s the End of Credit Cards Then
  • So, That’s the End of SONY Then
  • So, That’s the end of SEGA Then
  • So, That’s the end of Her Majesty’s Government Then

Do you see what I did there?

Take a look at this if you want to gain some perspective on the matter of large scale data breaches, something that the Tim Worstall’s of this world seem to lack:

http://www.bitcoinmoney.com/post/6712283280/major-data-breaches.

The MTGox event doesn’t even appear on the radar.

While we are at it, in the case of Parliament, the breach of the government data really should have instantly spelled the end of ContactPoint and the ill conceived, ill fated ID Card, but of course, it did not. Also, the breach of 25 million credit cards should put pay to the Coalition’s absurd plan to use credit cards as ID Cards to access government gateways. We have written about this recently:

Credit card fraud is rampant, and using credit cards to interface with the state will allow everyone with a fraudulent or duplicated credit card to masquerade as someone else when identifying themselves to a government portal.

Look no further than the recent SONY breach where the credit card details, dates of birth, names and addresses of SEVENTY MILLION people were copied.

The population of Britain is 61,838,154 – 2009 That means that a number of people, larger than the population of Britain had their credit card details copied.

It means that if such a thing happened in the UK, every single person who identifies themselves to the state with their VISA could be impersonated with ease. This means more benefit fraud, GUARANTEED.

[…]

http://irdial.com/blogdial/?p=3031

but that is another story.

The fact of the matter is that writing irrational pieces like this cannot be an accident. This is not an opinion piece, though the hatred of Liberty oozes out of every vowel. I want to know who is directing these drones to write hit pieces against Bitcoin. I am not the only one (not that that means anything in and of itself) to suspect that the organised chorus of anti Bitcoin propaganda, and it is propaganda, is just too perfectly in tune to be the random warbling of computer illiterates. Or maybe they are all perfectly brainwashed to the same tune piped out by the Government schools and State mandated curricula? Who knows?

Here is another piece in the key of Fail; Fortune ran this piece recently which everyone can see is a, “…thrown together and completely fact-optional piece. Seriously, this reads like somebody who spent 2 hours reading other news coverage headlines and decided to fill in the rest with make-believe.”

Oh dear.

The mainstream media and its gatekeepers have a terrible problem on their hands. They cannot tell a story without directing people to the facts that will disprove their propaganda. They are only a click away from every hit piece they write.

Anyone with curiosity can Google Bitcoin for themselves, download it and then run it. They can start accepting Bitcoins. They can integrate it into their websites and start getting paid for anything that they do.

Once they get a first hand feel for it, the lies that are being propagated about Bitcoin are instantly washed away. As more people use it, and the client improves, it will become harder and harder to lie about Bitcoin, and then the MSM drones will have to capitulate and start accepting it themselves. Once this happens, it will be forbidden by the editors of these rags to write an anti-bitcoin piece, because they would be being paid in Bitcoins themselvs.

That will be the tipping point; just as the newspapers all decided they needed to have online editions of their lie machines on the internet, and when they adopt anything, like social networking and Twitter feeds, eventually they will all have to accept Bitcoin or its successor. This is absolutely inevitable. For those that are interested, all of the websites of the newspapers are running some sort of Open Source Software. They might not like the economics or the philosophy of ‘free’ but they are all using it to spread their lies.

Forbes.com is running Apache on Linux and so is fortune.cnn.com. Both of these organizations would have railed against Open Source software from every possible angle, with FUD, “its not as secure as proprietary software”, “the business model cannot work”, “its not ready for the desktop” etc etc, and yet, they have all capitulated, and no one even discusses it any more, save to note how far and wide the software is spreading.

This is how these people operate.

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

We are at the ‘ha ha’ stage now. It is only a matter of time before Tim Worstall or some other hack calls for Bitcoin to be banned or regulated. And for the record, you can replace Tim Worstall’s name with the name of any journalist that has written a piece like this. Even people who claim to be scientific in their thinking manage to write garbage about Bitcoin. They all share the same attributes (lies) and one is replaceable with any other, and the newspaper name or slant doesn’t matter either. I could cite dozens of shabby articles, but why bother, they are all pretty much identical in theme, deception, sneer and ignorance.

For there are certain things that we want from a currency. A medium of exchange, a store of value, we’d also like to it be liquid and security is important as well.

Once again, we have the ever present WE of the collectivists. What Worstall means by ‘security’ of course is the unfettered ability of the State to be able to interpose itself in all transactions so it can tax. Without it, his beloved collective dies, and Bitcoin is the first actual financial tool that could pull it off. This is why everyone who loves and lives by the State, its predations, its illegitimate regulations, its stolen loot, its bureaucracy and all the other vile stuff in its ecosystem where violence is the lubricant, hates Bitcoin with a passion.

With Bitcoin, people have the choice to opt out of their sick society. Bitcoin is the force field that protects the individual’s money from the State. Its mass adoption would collapse the income of the State, forcing it to completely re-assess its relationship with people everywhere. On a side note, we can expect the State to ramp up the violence to eleven on the dial, before they throw in the towel.

No currency can have all of these features (and humans have used some pretty odd things as currency over the centuries, from copper sheets to cowrie shells via butter, salt, gold, silver and even pieces of paper with Dead Presidents on them, surely the final lunacy?) to perfection but a currency which doesn’t have any of them in appreciable quantities isn’t going to last very long.

This is simply not true. There can be a currency that has all of these features; just because you cannot imagine it that does not make it so. Three years ago, anyone you asked would have told you that the double spending problem could not be solved, because digital files are infinitely copyable. Lo and behold, a single man with a vision has solved the problem and his solution has applications beyond currency. Computer illiterate collectivists cannot even begin to see the sort of world that would emerge out of the idea behind Bitcoin. No matter. The world will change wether they like it or not.

As for odd currencies lasting a long time, did you know that the longest running currency was the tally stick? A strip of wood with notches cut in it that was then split in half; one half being spent out and the other reserved by the issuer.

The tally stick system lasted seven hundred years as a form of money.

Bitcoin can be used to send stored value across the world, in the same way that tally sticks were used. It can last a long time, and bring many benefits to the people who use it. Bitcoin, and the ideas that drive it are in no way ‘over’.

Bitcoins aren’t secure, as both the recent theft and this password problem show.

This is simply false, and betrays a complete ignorance of what Bitcoin is and how it works. All of the problems that have been falsely attributed to Bitcoin have not been a problem with Bitcoin itself, but have instead, been directly related to the platforms in which it is being used.

MTGox had a problem with their physical security; nothing to do with Bitcoin itself. The man who lost 50,000 Bitcoins had them stolen from a laptop running Microsoft Windows, either by physical access or remotely by a Trojan; nothing to do with Bitcoin itself.

Even if someone finds a flaw in the Bitcoin client, the idea of it is sound and has changed everything forever.

More people today are thinking about what money is, and understand what Fiat Currency is and how it is evil and institutionalised theft. That is thanks to Bitcoin. More people today have a real grasp of how simple money transfer over the Internet could and should be, if only the State would get out of the way. That is thanks to Bitcoin.

PayPal and the Credit Card companies and their processors are shaking in their boots; you will never have your Bitcoin account frozen. You do not have to make any declaration of any kind, swear an oath, divulge personal information or suffer any State mandated humiliation to start receiving and spending Bitcoins worth millions of dollars. There are no artificial limits on how much Bitcoin you can receive and spend, and where you can spend it and what on. The only loser in all of this is the State and its army of cronies, clients, parasites and thugs.

The next Rebecca Black on YouTube will put her Bitcoin address in the description, and she will reap millions from her fans… even the ones who hate her.

Actually, thats an argument against Bitcoin, sorry.

They’re not liquid, nor a store of value, as the price collapse shows and if they’re none of those things then they’ll not be a great medium of exchange either as who would want to accept them?

This is, of course, nonsense. Lets take it one by one:

“They are not liquid”

What Does Liquid Asset Mean?
An asset that can be converted into cash quickly and with minimal impact to the price received. Liquid assets are generally regarded in the same light as cash because their prices are relatively stable when they are sold on the open market.
http://www.investopedia.com/terms/l/liquidasset.asp

Bitcoins, are becoming more and more liquid every day. You can trade them in the street, and there are services popping up that help you find people who want to sell or buy Bitcoins close to you, using geolocation.

“nor a store of value”
This is demonstrably false. If you can spend Bitcoins, they are a store of value by definition, just as the tally stick was, just as gold is and paper money is. This is nonsense on stilts, and we have addressed this before when we took apart Grant Babcock’ assertions.

“as the price collapse shows”
There was no price collapse, this is a falsehood. MTGox, a single exchange, suffered a technical problem not related to Bitcoin itself, and the price recovered immediately. The trades are going to be reversed where possible, and as you can see in this video:

the price at that broken exchange recovered. This is not reporting, or real journalism. It is utter rubbish.

“they’ll not be a great medium of exchange either as who would want to accept them?”
You can file this under the same nonsense like, “guitar bands are finished” (Beatles) or “no one wants internet access, because no one is on it yet”, or “the internet will amount to nothingClifford Stoll.

Note, attentive readers, that Clifford Stoll’s famous, “it will never catch on” piece appeared in Newsweek, a world class mainstream media lie machine, with a vested interest in killing anything that stops people from being free, reading the truth or from them selling dead trees. They have been dragged kicking and screaming into the future…. but you know this!

True, Bitcoin does still offer anonymity:

Not really, but why should we expect you to get this right?

but then so do copper sheets to cowrie shells via butter, salt, gold, silver and even pieces of paper with Dead Presidents on them.

There are moves afoot and plenty of evidence to prove you wrong Mr. Worstall. Just ask this gentleman who was stopped at an airport simply because he was carrying his own money. So much for the anonymity of cowrie shells and fraudulent pieces of paper with Dead Presidents on them.

It’s difficult to see what the currency has going for it.

http://blogs.forbes.com/timworstall/2011/06/20/so-thats-the-end-of-bitcoin-then/

Its only difficult to see what Bitcoin has going for it if you are an ignoramus in the literal sense of that word.

If you understand how cash works, then you should understand what Bitcoin offers its users and what it has ‘going for it’. But I think this article’s author knows full well what the potential of Bitcoin is, which is exactly why he has written this piece as he has.

No one born in 1963, who writes for ‘newspapers” and trades metals as a profession doesn’t know what the internet has done for man. People like that have experienced the internet revolution first hand, as it has transformed the way everyone works, plays, communicates, learns, spends money and thinks.

Bitcoin, its future iterations and its inevitable successors, are going to change the world again, in ways that are very difficult to predict, though we can have a crack at it for fun. It is a fact that Bitcoin already has changed the world.

One thing you simply cannot do in the face of something like this is intone, “it will never work” or “I can’t see the point in it”. These sorts of predictions, especially when they are related to technology are almost always wrong or short sighted, and in today’s day and age, with all of the experience of the last two decades under our belts, such an attitude is inexcusable stupidity.

A classic post on the origins and future of copyright

Friday, June 17th, 2011 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

I just came across this very wonderful post on copyright, excerpted here. Read the rest of it, its a classic, and do spread it.

A Crescendo of Copyright

Natural Finale and Reprise

Rejected by The Rethink Music Conference, April 2011, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard University

Abstract

  • A prologue – mankind’s culture and copyright in perspective

Copyright’s 18th Century Overture

  • 1709 Queen Anne’s privilege of copyright
  • 1787 the philosophy of Paine and the (natural) rights of man
  • 1790 the prestidigitation in which a privilege is inveigled as a natural right

Copyright’s Confrontation with Cultural Liberty reaches a crescendo

  • C19-20 the printing industry’s exploitation of its privilege
  • 1990s the propertisation of published intellectual works as an entrenchment
  • 2000s the piracy of published intellectual works as a natural liberty
  • 2010s the persecution of the people for their piracy (cultural liberty)

Copyright’s finale, and the reprise of natural rights

  • 20?? the prospectus for mankind’s future

Prologue

The extent of mankind’s primordial cultural activity stretches back at least half a million years, but thanks to repeated erasure by glaciation we start the notable cultural events calendar at 50,000BC.

51,709 years later a nascent empire and its pampered press have the impudence to decide that mankind’s cultural commonwealth would be so much better if a law was created to prohibit people from copying each other.

There are a few words for the precursory, unbridled cultural intercourse that still remain in the English language, though they are almost obsolete: ‘folksong’, ‘folkmusic’, ‘folktales’, and ‘folklore’. These primeval springs are still known to a few among us and can be found seeping through the pre-renaissance foundations upon which our modern culture stands.

Today we have the luxury of looking back over the last three centuries of ‘protection’ to see how much richer our culture has become, being effectively manacled and enclosed by corporations such as Disney. Permitted the liberty only to create purely original works, albeit with some tolerance for cultural cross contamination (if not too flagrant), we enjoy a far more creative and diverse culture. Or rather, this is what Queen Anne’s Stationers’ Guild and its descendant publishing corporations would persuade us is the consequence of her wise enactment of law to ‘protect’ published works from the grubby hands and mouths of the great unwashed.

Nothing to do with the printers’ monopolies then…

Let us see the historical accident of copyright in perspective:

65,000,000BC Primates
2,000,000BC Homo Erectus
500,000BC Division into Neanderthal & Homo Sapiens
200,000BC Homo Sapiens’ ancestral basis
140,000BC Glacial retreat after 40,000 year long glacial period
50,000BC Dawn of mankind’s culture: language, music, drawing, etc.
32,000BC Cave paintings
30,000BC Neanderthals extinct
20,000BC Glacial retreat after 50,000 year long glacial period
17,000BC Lascaux Cave Paintings
10,000BC Holocene – modern epoch
9,000BC Jericho
8,000BC Stonehenge site’s significance
3,100BC Stonehenge construction begins
2,611BC First Egyptian Pyramid
753BC Foundation of Rome
300BC Library of Alexandria
48BC Library of Alexandria accidentally destroyed by Julius Caesar
300 Book format outnumbers scroll format
1282 Water powered paper mill
1403 Corporation of London forms Stationers’ Guild
1440 Development and use of printing press begins
1492 Europeans discover New World
1536 Erasmus dies – 750,000 copies of his works sold
1557 Stationers’ Guild granted control over all printing
1572 Fall of Inca Empire
1695 Stationers’ Guild loses control upon expiry of the Licensing of the Press Act 1662
1703 Daniel Defoe endorses commercial piracy of his work – if true copies
1709 Queen Anne Establishes the Privilege of Copyright
1787 US Constitution
1790 Madison re-enacts Statute of Anne (tweaked for the US)
1791 Thomas Paine deprecates privileges
1814 Steam powered printing press
1837 Babbage designs Analytical Engine
1937 Relay computers
1943 Valve/Tube computers
1953 Transistor computers
1969 Internet begins with two nodes
1971 Microprocessor computers
1991 World Wide Web begins
2000 The people obtain the means of mass reproduction and communication
2010 The successors to the Stationers’ Guild seek possession of the Internet via ACTA
2011 Copyright recognised to be ineffective vs the people’s cultural liberty/piracy
2015?? Copyright is reformed to exempt individuals in the digital domain
2020?? Copyright is reformed to exempt individuals
2025?? Copyright is reformed to exempt the digital domain
2030?? Copyright is repealed
2031?? The author’s exclusive right to their writings is properly secured at last – ethically

Seen in a proper perspective, copyright is a legislative misadventure borne of political expediency and commercial self-interest. It is a hiccup in mankind’s history and, in the face of the diffusive nature of information, is coming to an abrupt and natural end.

[…]

read the rest of this epic, classic, brilliant, informative and insightful post here:

http://culturalliberty.org/blog/index.php?id=276

No wonder it was rejected, it is so true it jumps off the screen and knocks you off your chair!

Beauty of the beast

Friday, June 10th, 2011 by Strep Throat

Refuting the attacks on Bitcoin’s design

Friday, June 10th, 2011 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

Some people believe that the design of Bitcoin is flawed, and that it cannot work. David Kramer is one of them and has made an interesting post over at Lew Rockwell, about Bitcoin. Lets take a look.

I’m sure by now many of you have heard about Bitcoin. The fact that it’s called “virtual currency” gives you an idea about its actual value as a real medium of exchange.

This isn’t true; the only thing that gives you an idea about its value as a medium of exchange is what you can exchange it for. Right now you can trade a bitcoin for 26.141 Federal Reserve Notes. This is the truth about what the value of a Bitcoin is right now.

While many people who are touting it on Facebook are enamored with the fact that it was voluntarily created by the marketplace (i.e., is not forced down our throats by a private central bank), I’m afraid that those people are losing sight of how a real medium of exchange arises in a free market.

Bitcoin was developed as a way to exchange between people in a cash like fashion at a distance, without a central clearing authority. It was created because there is a need for this service, which has been recognised since the days of Dr. David Chaum’s E-Cash.

The people who work on this project were not directed to by anyone, and no one told the man who made the breakthrough that this is what he should be doing. This is yet another example of free people solving problems for themselves, and that is a good thing.

We should point out that Satoshi Nakamoto could have patented this idea but choose not to; instead, he released his idea and the software he wrote to implement it as Open Source, so that everyone everywhere can benefit from his concept. This is a noble act, and it is proper that we recognise this.

A medium of exchange arises from something that had a material use/value in the market prior to becoming a medium of exchange, i.e., it was also a good being bartered for other goods and services. Over the centuries, gold and silver won out as the two most preferred mediums of exchange—with gold holding the number one position due to it being more scarce than silver.

You could argue that the electricity and the CPU cycles that are used to generate bitcoins had a use in the market prior to their use to create a Bitcoin, but we will leave that for today.

Over the centuries, gold and silver have been settled upon as the best medium of exchange by the market, and this is still true today.

Now fast forward to the twentieth century, which is happening right now. How can I transmit gold (or any thing that I and another person want to trade) without double spending, anonymously, to a person that is half way around the world, without a central clearing authority? Before Bitcoin, this was not possible, and now it is.

Bitcoin, whilst not conforming strictly to the definition of what money is, is a very useful tool to exchange value. It takes some understanding and knowledge of mathematics to grasp exactly how it works and why it is so brilliant, but even without that knowledge, it can still be used by everyone eventually.

Mr. Kramer can use email to send and receive messages without understanding SMTP or POP syntax. He can write blog posts without understanding HTTP requests or MYSQL, and most certainly he will be able to use credit cards and buy books from Amazon whilst his transaction is protected by SSL. None of these things, these very complicated things, need to be understood fully before you can grasp their importance. SSL, upon which the entire commerce infrastructure is built, is nothing like putting a paper document in an envelope to be mailed by the government monopoly postal system and yet, it is used every day to secure documents in transit. PGP and Public Key Cryptography is used every day to sign documents in a way that means they cannot be forged; signing a document with Public Key Cryptography is not the same as putting your ‘John Hancock’ on a piece of paper, but it is a quantum leap in a different direction that has uses way beyond what signing a piece of paper can do for you.

This is what Bitcoin is all about; it is a breakthrough in sending and receiving acknowledgement of ownership.

Anyone who scoffs at this is simply not seeing the big picture.

What was Bitcoin’s prior material use/value? Zero. It is just bits in a computer.

This is a straw man argument. David Kramer’s post, and the two links in his update to Murray Rothbard’s books (one of which I have read; ‘What has Government done to our money?‘) are just ‘bits in a computer’ and yet, these bits can be used to transform the thinking of men. Bitcoins when they are stored on a device, are represented by bits, but it is what those bits represent and their relationship to other bits on other people’s computers that is important. This line of Kramer’s shows that he really does not understand what computers are, how they work and why Bitcoin is a breakthrough.

And what’s with the “fixed” amount of Bitcoins? Who determined the “proper” amount? A computer programmer?

And why not a computer programmer? This is exactly the same as Lacy Clay saying Thomas DiLorenzo cannot talk about economics ‘because he is an historian’. For what reason are computer programmers excluded from inventing something that has a potential use in economics? Or should this be left only to the high priests? This is not a serious argument against the design of Bitcoin. Clearly there needed to be an upper limit to the number of Bitcoins in circulation, otherwise it would not be useful as a way of transmitting ‘money’. The person who designed Bitcoin, a computer programmer, set the upper limit. If the market will not accept this limit, then the system will not be used. But I digress.

Data is infinitely copyable. There is no limit to the number of times data can be copied. This means that any token in a system of exchange can be copied at will by anyone with access to the system at any level. This is where the problem of double spending comes from, and part of the breakthrough in Bitcoin is the solution to this problem, which computer programmers have been searching for for decades.

When you have even a slight grasp of how data and computers work, and you understand that the double spending problem has been solved, your first reaction would be to gasp, as the enormity of what Bitcoin is dawns on you.

Only the free market can voluntarily determine how much of a real medium of exchange is needed in the marketplace over time.

This is true, but once again, this has nothing to do with Bitcoin. By releasing Bitcoins slowly over time, by the efforts of the people who use it, there can never be a flood of Bitcoins. Satoshi Nakamoto must have grasped on some level, if not entirely, that money is a commodity, which is why he designed Bitcoin to be mined in this way, instead of starting off with 21,000,000 coins in circulation all at once. All we know about his thinking is what we see in his software and in his original proposal. We have between now and 2142 to see what the market voluntarily determines how much of a real medium of exchange Bitcoin is, and if the number of bitcoins is too small or too big. Whatever the outcome, there is nothing stopping someone else with another system from supplanting or improving on Bitcoin, by whatever means they can come up with.

While the idea of attempting to get rid of the Bankster monopoly on creating money out of thin air is commendable, Bitcoin is also money created out of thin air. Bitcoin is just substituting one bogus medium of exchange for another.

http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/89471.html

Declaring Bitcoin to be ‘Just Another Bogus Medium of Exchange’ is not an argument and is clearly false. It is also not true that Bitcoins are created ‘out of thin air’. Bitcoin is new and unique, and that is a fact; even if you believe it to be bogus, you have to demonstrate why it is bogus.

If you want to refute Bitcoin (or anything for that matter) you have to address the facts about it. Here is an example of someone who has done precisely that.

Tav addresses how Bitcoin works, acknowledges its breakthrough, demonstrates an understanding of economics, identifies what he believes the specific flaws in Bitcoin are, and explains why he concludes it cannot work, clearly and with precision. Here is another critique and another by the same author.

If you want to contribute something meaningful and useful that is the way to do it. There are arguments swirling around the ‘hoarding problem'; it would be nice to read a good analysis of hoarding and how it applies to real money like gold and silver, and how those dynamics apply to Bitcoin. In any case, I don’t care much for people who refuse to think hard about subjects like Bitcoin; something that is voluntary, harmless, an exiting breakthrough and which has massive potential even if in this iteration, it fails.

We have seen the failure of other systems, like Chaumian E-Cash before. Each of these iterations causes analysis, innovation and new products to emerge. This is something to celebrate, to think hard about, to address with logic and facts and indeed, to even try out on your own computer so that you actually have a grasp of what is involved in it.

Finally, whatever happens with Bitcoin, the individual wins.

If Bitcoin becomes the de-facto way of spending money on the internet, displacing all other systems like Credit Cards and PayPal, the public wins, and the State loses. That is win.

If Bitcoin fails because the State outlaws it, hatred for the State increases. That is win.

If Bitcoin fails for economic reasons, it will not be tried again in this form and the lessons learned will be folded into the next iteration. That is win.

If Bitcoin fails for technical reasons, same again, the lessons learned will be used in the next iteration, which is win.

Whatever way you choose to look at it, Bitcoin is a good thing.

+++++++ UPDATE! +++++++

In a well considered article, which I linked to above, “BitCoins: All Buzz, No Substance” by Grant Babcock, the problems with Bitcoin as perceived by the author are addressed. In listing his objections to Bitcoin, he actually argues for it. Lets take a look.

A given good’s exchange value has a tendency to snowball.

This is happening with Bitcoin right now.

If I believe that a larger number of people are willing to trade for a good, I am more willing to trade for that good myself.

This is happening right now with Bitcoin.

Eventually, we expect a single good or a handful of goods to emerge as the predominant media of exchange; they are then called monies.

This may happen with Bitcoin on the internet. If enough people download the client and accept it, and websites use the simple tools needed to accept it, we can expect it to emerge as a form of money. Bitcoins, by Grant’s own reasoning, are no different to coconuts, feathers, tally sticks or cowrie shells.

Historically, goods such as cigarettes, precious metals, shells, and many others have emerged as monies.

And so why not digital certificates that cannot be forged or ‘printed’ (mined or generated) beyond a certain number (21,000,000)?

People’s willingness to treat an item as money is based on experience. They forecast that a good will be accepted in trade tomorrow because it was accepted in trade the day before and the day before that.

And so, if enough people accept Bitcoins, they will treat it as money de-facto by this definition.

If we follow this chain back in time, eventually we arrive at a point where the commodity is has not yet been used as a medium of exchange and is only wanted for its use value.

This is true of Bitcoins; digital certificates and signatures have been around for many years; they were never before thought of as money in and of themselves (though you can buy certificates for money; ask Mark Shuttleworth about how he became a billionaire by selling ‘just bits on a computer’).

The principle that the value of a currency can be traced back to a time when it was not yet a currency but just a commodity like any other is called the regression theorem, and interested parties can read more about it in Human Action Ch 17 § 4.

If you do not like tracing Bitcoins back to digital certificates, you could trace them back to the electricity used to make them. Or is electricity not a commodity because it is not physical? It is intangible, but is transmissible… hmmmm!

Typically once a commodity becomes a money, a variety of certification agencies will emerge.

Bitcoin has this, of course, in the form of its decentralized P2P clients. That is the breakthrough; no centralised certification agency.

Suppose for example that our money is gold — examples of certification might be an imprint on a gold coin stating its weight and where it was minted, or a piece of paper entitling the bearer to a certain amount of gold at a trusted repository.

A stamp on a bar of gold is meaningless, as we have seen with the tungsten centered fake gold bars. Bitcoin, in this respect, is superior to gold because each Bitcoin is absolutely certified.

This certification makes the commodity an even better money than it would have been without the certification. The certification is bundled with the commodity and traded, but is in principle distinct; the coin and the stamp in the coin are different “things.”

Indeed. As you can see, all the arguments presented here for gold as money, apply to Bitcoins as money.

Just as the computers and the internet changed the way letters and books are made and distributed and read, money is being changed in the same way.

This means that if you want to read a physical book, you still have to go out an buy one, or have it posted to you. If you want money in the real world, you should use gold and silver coins only.

If you want to read a book on your iPad, you get a PDF copy from somewhere on the internet, and then read it on your device. This does not mean that ‘PDFs are not books’ and no one with any sense says this. PDFs are for e-readers. That is their nature, its what they are for and the medium where they make sense is the computer.

If you want to send money to your cousin in Jodhpur, you take your gold coins to a shop in Manchester, turn them into Bitcoins and then send them. Your cousin can then turn them back into gold, or he can buy goods and services with them on the internet. Bitcoins are to money as PDFs are to books. Its not hard to understand, and the wow factor comes in when you understand that whilst PDFs can be copied ‘double spent’ ad infinitum, Bitcoins cannot, even though they are both digital.

That is simply incredible and its why everyone is so exited about them. Add to the mix the anonymity, the lack of central authority, the transparency in both the client software and the network, and you begin to see just what a revolution this is any why the word ‘revolution’ is appropriate.

Finally read this excellent analysis of gold vs Bitcoin by Anthony Freeman.

Chinese translation of this article.

Violent artists declare war on the 21st Century

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

Thanks to a lurder (yes, ‘lurder’) who knows just what buttons to push to cause a BLOGDIAL post to emerge, we have this amazing piece of violent assertion from http://www.theartistscharter.org/

Lets pull it to bits.

We the undersigned, writers, artists and musicians, along with our fans and those millions of people worldwide who work in or are otherwise supported by the creative industries say as follows:-

We have the right to earn a living from our work.

True.

We reiterate that basic human right to work enshrined in Article 23 (1) of the UN Declaration on Human Rights, and by virtue of Article 23(3) of that declaration to ‘just and favourable remuneration’ for our artistic endeavours.

False. Rights do not come from the UN. You have no ‘right’ to remuneration; you own your own body, and no one has the right to control you or force you to work under terms that are not agreeable to you. Those are the only rights you have with respect to your labor. There is no such thing as ‘just and favourable remuneration’; there is only what you will agree to work for and what you will not agree to work for. What that amount is for any particular task is up to you and the person who is hiring you to decide through negotiation.

We seek to make technology a friend and not an enemy of our creativity.

I doubt it.

We ask to be allowed to make a living, whether through performing, writing or recording music, derived from the power of our ideas and the commercial use of our talents.

You have a right to do what you want, on any stage or any medium. You already have this right, and should not ask to be ‘allowed’ to ply your trade.

We say it is a fact that the protection of our creative output depends substantially on copyright law, and we urgently call on all governments to assist us in the legal protection of our collective artistic output from piracy and other unauthorised infringement.

This is a lie.

It is absolutely not a fact that the protection of creative output depends substantially on copyright law. This is a myth, one that has been dispelled by by Michele Boldrin and David K. Levine in Against Intellectual Monopoly and others.

When these people ask for all governments to ‘assist’ them, they are actually saying that they want the state to violently put grandmothers in gaol (for example) for copying from objects that they own.

They are asking for the State to do violence for them. This is wrong in every way that something can be wrong.

There is no such thing as ‘collective artistic output’. You own the physical objects that you produce. Once you release them, and someone else buys them or obtains them legitimately, you have no right to tell them what they may or may not do with their property. That means that you have no right to tell someone that they cannot make a copy of a record for someone else, or that they may not re-sell a book they have bought, or that they may not make copies of their own wedding photos or do anything of any kind with something that they legitimately own.

In sum, you have no right to suppress the rights of others by violence because you want to make money.

It is self-evident that any commercial enterprise requires revenue flows to not only survive, but thrive, innovate and take calculated risks.

True.

We say that the internet service provider industry must accept its share of responsibility for the rampant abuse of copyright online. Easy unauthorised access to our material goes unchecked every day across the world and infringers do not seek our consent when sharing our works.

False. Internet Service Providers provide access to the internet. It is not their responsibility to police their users, any more than it is the business of the operators of telephone services to spy on their users on behalf of a malignant and violent group.

ISPs are not part of some imaginary Socialist collective, with responsibility to everyone everywhere. They are private businesses with responsibility to their shareholders only.

Our creative industries are facing unsustainable revenue losses due to weak or unenforced copyright laws. This means one thing and one thing only: millions of jobs lost and young talent ignored.

There are no ‘our creative industries’. The record companies are dying because the world has changed thanks to computers and networks. This is a good thing that will benefit everyone, including the people who make music, write books and do other creative things that can be digitized.

You sound just like the fear-mongers who said that the VCR would, “kill the film industry“, or the clowns who said that, “home taping was killing music“, or or that phonograph records would kill off sheet music sales or that sheet music would kill live performance. All of those were lies, and what you are saying now is also not true. There is a long history of artists and ‘music industry’ people getting it totally wrong when it comes to technology, and this rather ill informed declaration is just another example.

Creative people (the ones who are really creative, and not just lazy, ignorant, unintelligent, computer illiterate luddites) will find a way to adapt to the new reality and thrive off of it, just as previous generations did with the advent of recorded music, VCRs, home copying and every other innovation that helped people spread ideas and wealth.

You people just don’t get it.

While our industry has collapsed to annual revenues of less than US$20 billion, the ISP industry has more than doubled its revenues in the last five years to US$250 billion — due in large part to infringement of our artistic works.

This is a lie. The ISP industry has grown because more people need access to the internet, no matter what is on it. As for the collapse in revenues, even if it is true (which it often is not) the opportunity the internet presents to creative people is without precedent; all that is needed is for you to go out and harness it. You do not need anyone’s permission, all you need is some software and… creativity.

We demand our indisputable right to copyright protection be no longer ignored. ‘Free’ should not come at such a terrible cost.

Copyright is not indisputable, and it is not a right. Copyright it is very disputable, and is in fact, entirely illegitimate. No matter how loud you shout, your buggy whip business model is dead and dying. New people are supplanting you, and while you waste your time trying to prop up the zombie corpse of the old business model they are getting on with the task of inventing the new ways of making money from music, that you will inevitably have to accept.

Stand with us to ensure the creative industries survive.

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/artistscharter/

Standing with you means standing up for and supporting violence and immorality. No thanks!

Here it is, again, the book that you must read to understand the true nature of the State, its laws and the violent truth behind them. If you cannot read, there is always a nice video for you to digest.

All The Scandal And The Vice

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011 by meau meau

There's a starman

V is for Vindication part… SONY

Friday, June 3rd, 2011 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

As we have been saying for years, it is impossible to secure any database, and putting the entire population of a country on a database is completely insane. The only thing that is more insane than that is to create a database of all the children in a country, and then to make that database available to over 1,000,000 agents of the state.

We also told you that the information contained in the databases proposed by the State, if compromised, could fit into a device smaller than your hand.

Now you see that once again, we were right about everything.

Some people got into a SONY database, and using a well known exploit, managed to copy the sensitive private details of ONE MILLION PEOPLE. They then posted that information for anyone to download on The Pirate Bay.

. /$$                 /$$            /$$$$$$                     
.| $$                | $$           /$$__  $$                    
.| $$       /$$   /$$| $$ /$$$$$$$$| $$  \__/  /$$$$$$   /$$$$$$$
.| $$      | $$  | $$| $$|____ /$$/|  $$$$$$  /$$__  $$ /$$_____/
.| $$      | $$  | $$| $$   /$$$$/  \____  $$| $$$$$$$$| $$      
.| $$      | $$  | $$| $$  /$$__/   /$$  \ $$| $$_____/| $$      
.| $$$$$$$$|  $$$$$$/| $$ /$$$$$$$$|  $$$$$$/|  $$$$$$$|  $$$$$$.$
.|________/ \______/ |__/|________/ \______/  \_______/ \_______/ 
                          //Laughing at your security since 2011!

.--    .-""-.
.   ) (     )
.  (   )   (
.     /     )
.    (_    _)                     0_,-.__
.      (_  )_                     |_.-._/
.       (    )                    |lulz..\    
.        (__)                     |__--_/           
.     |''   ``\                   |
.     | [Lulz] \                  |      /b/
.     |         \  ,,,---===?A`\  |  ,==y'
.   ___,,,,,---==""\        |M] \ | ;|\ |>
.           _   _   \   ___,|H,,---==""""bno,
.    o  O  (_) (_)   \ /          _     AWAW/
.                     /         _(+)_  dMM/
.      \@_,,,,,,---=="   \      \\|//  MW/
.--''''"                         ===  d/
.                                    //   SET SAIL FOR FAIL!
.                                    ,'_________________________
.   \    \    \     \               ,/~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
.                         _____    ,'  ~~~   .-""-.~~~~~~  .-""-.
.      .-""-.           ///==---   /`-._ ..-'      -.__..-'
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.                     ~~~~~~~~~~~~, _',--/_.\  .-""-.
.                            .-""-.___` --  \|         -.__..-


Greetings folks. We're LulzSec, and welcome to Sownage. Enclosed you will
find various collections of data stolen from internal Sony networks and websites,
all of which we accessed easily and without the need for outside support or money.

We recently broke into SonyPictures.com and compromised over 1,000,000 users' 
personal information, including passwords, email addresses, home addresses, 
dates of birth, and all Sony opt-in data associated with their accounts. 
Among other things, we also compromised all admin details of Sony Pictures 
(including passwords) along with 75,000 "music codes" and 3.5 million "music coupons".

Due to a lack of resource on our part (The Lulz Boat needs additional funding!) 
we were unable to fully copy all of this information, however we have samples 
for you in our files to prove its authenticity. In theory we could have taken
every last bit of information, but it would have taken several more weeks.

Our goal here is not to come across as master hackers, hence what we're about 
to reveal: SonyPictures.com was owned by a very simple SQL injection, one of 
the most primitive and common vulnerabilities, as we should all know by now. 
From a single injection, we accessed EVERYTHING. Why do you put such faith in 
a company that allows itself to become open to these simple attacks?

What's worse is that every bit of data we took wasn't encrypted. Sony stored
over 1,000,000 passwords of its customers in plaintext, which means it's just
a matter of taking it. This is disgraceful and insecure: they were asking for it.

This is an embarrassment to Sony; the SQLi link is provided in our file contents, 
and we invite anyone with the balls to check for themselves that what we say
is true. You may even want to plunder those 3.5 million coupons while you can.

Included in our collection are databases from Sony BMG Belgium & Netherlands.
These also contain varied assortments of Sony user and staffer information.


This means that:

  • the dates of birth
  • addresses
  • emails addresses
  • full names
  • passwords
  • user IDs
  • phone numbers

of SONY’s users are now out in the open FOREVER.

The Coalition is trying to shift the burden of securing the massive databases they are eager to construct on to the credit card vendors, but this will not work to make anything secure, as we have told you before.

You do not need to collect this sort of data to run a government. Governments ran quite efficiently without needing computer databases, and in fact, the very earliest instances where one was used, it was used for a bad purpose.

ID Cards are a bad thing. There is nothing good about them, they are not needed to run anything, they enslave the people who are forced to use them and all plans to implement them should be abandoned permanently.

Databases of people’s private details are always a risky proposition. If you do not need to hold a person’s personal data to do your business, you should delete that data, or give the customer the power to delete her data from your system. When you do store that data, you should expect that it will be copied, and plan from the beginning to hold as little as is necessary, and when you do hold something, make sure that it is stored using best practice methods.

What this breach demonstrates is that databases are very dangerous things. Every time something like this happens, the propositon of creating databases of people becomes less attractive… and that is a very good thing.

At long last, it has dawned on them

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

Thanks to Old Holborn, we just read this breathtakingly wonderful piece. It says many of the things we have been going on about for years:

  • Demonstrations do not work
  • The State has no right to control you
  • The State has no power to control you unless you consent
  • StopWar and the like just don’t get it
  • Doing nothing is better than marching
  • If everyone simply stops cooperating, the State dies
  • Only a small percentage of the population needs to quit the system for massive beneficial change to take place

You read BLOGDIAL, so you know what I am talking about.

This piece comes from TPUC. We really are heading for a significant tipping point, where a confluence of factors is going to unleash everyone. This will be a good thing, because Britain is full of locked up potential that if released, would transform the entire world.

Here it is, in full:

A direct challenge to the authority of the State

by bogbeagle » Mon May 30, 2011 8:54 am

Hi chaps. Haven’t posted here for some time, but I’d like to introduce to you a new “strategy” which has potential … well, I think so.

It’s a pretty long post, but I’d ask you to persevere and tell me whether you think the logic of my argument is sound. And, is my proposal sound?

Let me precis … I propose that we can demand, of government, the answer to an “impossible” question. That, if asked publicly, this question is sufficient to undermine the “assumed authority” of government.

A refutal of Government’ authority

I’ve always been told that I am “governed and taxed by consent”.

And, when you think about it, this must be true.

It stems, of course, from the Christian’ idea that we are each born free and of equal worth. Now, if two people are equals, it follows that one may not direct the other, nor impose his will upon that other, except with the consent of both parties. When no such consent is present, it must be the case that one ‘man’ is imposing his will by force, or the threat of force. In effect, that would mean that one ‘man’ has enslaved the other to his bidding.

So, to avoid that accusation, Western governments have invented the idea of “consensual governance” … wherein each of the governed agrees to abide by the rules, sanctions and taxes which are laid down by “Government”.

There is little doubt that this relationship serves many people adequately. It’s also true that few people ever question its validity; that’s why we are known as “sheeple”, I guess.

Logically, if I am “governed and taxed by my consent”, there absolutely must be a mechanism by which that consent may be withdrawn. If no such mechanism exists, then the concept of “consensual governance” is clearly untrue; I would be governed without my consent and thus be a slave to the will of other men. There are parallels with the slave-owning society of the C18th, if you’ll just ponder awhile.

A strategy

My strategy has two prongs:

1 … A concerted and public demand that the “Government” inform me of the mechanism by which I may withdraw my consent to its governance. If no such mechanism exists, then said “Government” should state that I am, in fact, its slave. I would, in effect, be challeinging the Government’s “lawful authority” to govern.

2 … An attempt to unify the disparate campaigning and lobbying groups, each of which is hindered by the same, fundamental, deficit. That is, each group is suffering a deficit in Liberty. If the members of the “stop-the-war” group can be shown that their cause is the SAME as that of the “I-want-to-smoke-weed” group, then the number of those who would live as Free people, will swell; and at some point, their mass will become critical.

OK, the first prong involves a direct challenge to government itself. Traditionally, those who would be Freemen, have sent off their affidavits and been thoroughly ignored … am I right? Well, that’s the treatment that I received, anyway.

This time, we must act in concert and very publicly. But, this will not involve travel or mass demonstrations, or confrontation. No, I suggest that we use the Royal Mail and the Internet (our best friend).

I propose that, en masse, we flood the PM and our MPs with demands (recorded delivery) that they tell us how we withdraw our consent to governance. Of course, they cannot truthfully reply, since their reply must either tell us that we are enslaved OR furnish us with the freedom to opt out of the State. I’ve thought about this for quite some time now, and I’m confident that any and all answers, which they might construct, ultimately lead to the same truths … we are enslaved. The thing is, we have to force them to admit it or else retire embarrassed and blustering. The facts of this strategy should motivate thousands more people to question their status within the community. Now, I do expect that 90% of the public could not give a toss, but if just one percent sit up and take notice … well, that’s 650,000 people.

Running in tandem with this mass “interrogation”, would be our internet campaign to promote the concept. This will be largely via the alternative media (we all know the value of the MSM, by now). I’m thinking of numerous campaigning websites, Zerohedge, Max Keiser, Adam vs the Man, Freedomain Radio, Alex Jones … you get the idea. We have to put the PM and our MPs in a position such that a refusal to comply with our demands is simply untenable … they will then be forced to bullshit. They’ve no other option, because they DARE NOT speak the truth of the matter. We, of course, anticipating the bullshit answers, will have raised and dismissed them, publicly, before the politicians have even uttered them.

As to the unification of campaigning groups. Let me give you an exemplar. I’m sure that it’s obvious to you that a Free man of good conscience would not support an unjust war. But, that’s exactly what we are forced to do, via taxation. And, “forced” is the right word to use.

It serves the ends of the peace campaigner to withdraw his consent to taxation, when the money is being used for evil ends.

So, too, with the campaigner who wants to smoke his weed (or whatever). As a Free man, it is clear that the State has no business in defining what substances he may ingest. And yet, the State assumes de facto ownership over his body by compelling him to ingest only that which the State deems acceptable.

Each of these two campaigners is suffering from a common deficit .. a Liberty deficit.

I don’t know whether it’s possible to make that case to them. I don’t know whether their other concerns will over-ride my arguments. It could be that the peace campaigner also wants to have the State extort money from other people and give it to him in the form of benefits. If that’s the case, then it’s a clear example of “having your cake and eating it”, since it is impossible to have your own Liberty whilst denying it to others … except by the use of force. Well, that’s a moral dilemma for them to ponder. I’d suggest that you’ve no business in labelling yourself “peace campaigner” whilst encouraging the State to extort money from others, on your behalf. But that’s just me!

In passing, I feel that it’s important to avoid confrontation with the executive arm of the State. Our campaign should be one of ideas. The State is well prepared to fight a campaign of riots and bottles, but woefully unable to challenge logic. How can it challenge the Truth?

Now, I don’t know where this might lead. It could be another dead-end. But, I think that the logic is unassailable. What is your opinion?

——-

My opinion is that you rock, you are 10000% correct, and if this takes off, you will have pushed the button.

Ethics-Ra vs Moralzilla in the Sausage Factory

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011 by Strep Throat

We return to the subject of health and rights.

There exist many groups with well-intentioned wishes to provide assistance on a global basis to people they classify as ‘less fortunate’ or ‘undeveloped’.  These groups actively lobby for certain global health policies which fit with their own, morally-defined and often colonialist world-view..  The list of these groups is endless (start with WHO, UNICEF, UN-Women, DFID, WHA, UNDP, World Bank…. and go from there).

These groups are lobbying, with much success, for policies such as the global fortification of flour and iodination of salt.  They promote lifestyle interventions in developed and developing nations (often without any strategic input from representatives of these nations; hence the new colonialism), are demanding global regulation of the food industry (reducing salt, sugar, restricting advertising, banning trans fats and so on), banning alcohol adverts and demanding punitive taxes, and are pushing very hard to achieve a reduction to <5% of global population as smokers in the next 5-10 years through similarly aggressive measures against the tobacco industry.

These policies are listed here, albeit briefly, so that you may think of how one may go about trying to implement one of these policies globally.  First the policy process is developed in various agencies (over several years minimum), lobbied for through more agencies, pushed at sub-UN (e.g. WHO, WHA) and then at UN level meetings and finally adopted as a global UN Treaty and implemented on the ground by those countries who choose to ratify the UN declaration.  Implementation occurs even if this means changing local law, as has been done with tobacco use in public places (see the FCTC).  This entire process costs unimaginable sums of money… and the point here is to remember from where exactly that money comes.

There is now an enormous political push for global public health governance (you can see here that this idea reached UN level many years ago, with sponsored publications from 2002. Nota bene the direct links with trade/economics).  The prospect has spawned a whole research field, with institutes and conferences to boot!

This push will of course necessitate the setup of yet another organisation to coordinate research, implementation and monitoring of policy.  However, these global bodies are always skint, and member nations are failing to keep up their UN subscriptions.  But this little fact does not put off those interested (and self-interested) parties, oh no!  And why not?  Because they all know that there is a vast source of money out there which can be accessed if only they can persuade the other politicians (since at this level the interested parties are all represented by politicians, no matter their previous or current professional background) to squeeze it just a little harder.  That source is the taxpayer.  And in global policy, that means every taxpayer, everywhere.

It can be concluded, from directly witnessing these types of discussions, that the main reason why the implementation of global policy (and of global public healthcare policy in particular) is taken so incredibly seriously, is that the population is considered to exist for, and is amenable to, behavioural modification and exploitation as these global bodies see fit:  ALWAYS in regard to ECONOMIC GROWTH.  The only way a policy, medical or otherwise, will be approved at UN level is if it is sold to politicians as a driver of economic growth or in terms of improving human productivity and life-years at productive age.

The terms used at this level to describe ‘people’ are dehumanising, indicative of the single value of a plebian life only in terms of contribution to economic growth.  Its contribution to the economy is far more important in driving policy than any consideration of humanitarian or ethical concerns.  There are, of course, interest groups which deal in ethics, such as the Nuffield Council on BioEthics in the United Kingdom.  They advise political groups and others, with the aim of acting as an ‘honest broker’ of information.  As such they have, for example, developed a ‘ladder of intervention’.  One may describe the ladder as running from Libertarian at the bottom to Dictatorial (or UN Treaty) at the top.  These people, some of whom I know, deal in ethics, yet it is hard to be clear whether they act pragmatically rather than ethically, exhibiting an apparent requirement to demonstrate their own relevance to politics and policy-shaping.

Whatever, a mere digression.  Returning to a coordinated global health policy, implemented from on high, the major problem is that these things cost money.

Most existing and future local (national) tax has been promised to The Bankers to compensate them for all the losses they incurred in their private businesses while exploiting the public purse.  The children and grandchildren of two continents are already beholden to as-yet unborn Bankers, indentured slaves who will grow up knowing no other life, unless they find a red pill.

So the only way a new global public health policy will be implemented – and it will be implemented, and it will not be the only policy implemented in this way – is through new, global taxes.  Global Government developing and implementing Global Policy funded by Global Taxes extorted by the same Global Government.  Are you paying attention yet?

There will soon be a global ‘Tobin Tax’ on financial transactions, although this is likely to be inconsequential and serves as window-dressing to convince the workforce that The Rich Suffer Too.

Other revenue streams under serious consideration are a global tax on aeroplane tickets, and one on internet service providers (suggested by Sarkozy, who now also wants more internet regulation).  Of couse, a new global body will be needed to manage and monitor these taxes… you can see where this leads.  At least, you’d better see!

Finally, if we manage to hold down our rising bile, suspend our disbelief and assume that there is indeed a humanitarian drive behind many global policies, we may return briefly to Ethics and Morals.  Is it ethical to extort money, however morally correct the purpose to which that money is put?  Is it ethical to ‘eliminate choice’ or otherwise intervene and thereby punish by restricting the liberty of even one person in order to benefit your own moral judgement of what is good for the majority?  Is it ethical to impose, by force, your own moral judgement on others?  In the reality of global politics, the answer to all these questions is a resounding YES.

The reason is because these questions are all filtered through the screen of greed-based economics.  Thus we see the question as “Is it ethical to impose, by force, your own moral judgements on others, if that judgement leads to economic growth (and, by default, increased upward flow of wealth)?”  In the sausage factory there are no ethics, there are no morals, there is only money.

Right to rights!

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011 by Strep Throat

Rights, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made.

Apologies to John Godfrey Saxe

‘New’ rights are being shaped and squeezed, like sausages, from so much mechanically recovered political mincemeat.  The difference between a right and a good is not a difficult concept.  However, the sound ethical concepts underpinning the definition of true rights are sidelined in favour of political expediency and the generation of political power – with new rights generated and promoted, with horrendous irony, under the guise of more power for individuals.  In literal and ethical fact, the only real rights are those which apply to property in all its forms, and from which stem all personal liberties.  Yet, and particularly among the politically educated, this fact does not prevent the rapid expansion in what are, in reality, goods at best and often little more than nonsensical, illogical restrictions on liberty.

Recently I have heard many promotions of the Right to Health (rather than to healthcare, which while also an idiotic statement, is at least a clearly demonstrable good… and to which you obviously have no ‘right’).  Of course, we know what morally smug do-gooders mean when they invoke the Right to Health, but it is plainly as ridiculous a concept as the Right to A Pretty Face, or for that matter the Right to Food.  Even if, for arguments sake, we consider Health as a good, then it is personal property;  your Health (good or bad) belongs to you. Moreover, since you cannot sell your health, then it is an inalienable part of your Self, and encompassed under the first principle of the Right to Self-ownership (a true, valid, property right).  Even though you may sell or donate access to your body for scientific or other purposes your health, being an inalienable part of your self, cannot be extracted and sold as a seperate entity.

In the same set of discussions, at WHO / UN level meetings, other ‘rights’ mentioned included the “Right to the Best Start in Life” – seriously!  Which is what exactly?  $10 million in a trust fund, crib at the Ritz and Gucci nappies?  Who exactly judges what is ‘best’?  As is plain to see, any discussion of new ‘rights’ is nothing more than a hotbed of meddling, idealistic idiocy.

More timely at present due to men in wigs upholding an assinine ‘law’ made on the fly to appease men on the take, and also due to Twitter caving, are the ‘Right to Privacy’ and ‘Right to Know’.  Both of these rights pertain to knowledge, which is essentially and ultimately a good, not a right.  In the context of news stories about corporate whores, media whores and whoring whores and the abuse of law (superinjuctions) the two rights are tightly linked.

Consider a married-with-children man, lets call him Ryan Giggs, who decides to accept the oportunity (howsoever it arises) to fuck a media whore.  The Mhore then directly gains, through application of her talents (use of her labour), certain knowledge about Mr Giggs preferences about which he would not wish his family to become aware.  That knowledge has a value in our society, to newspapers and other media – these agencies believe the public has a ‘right to know’ how Mr Giggs likes his ladies to perform.   The knowledge also has value to Mr Giggs, who presumably believes the public has no right to know, but unfortunately for him blackmail is illegal here.  Were it not, our Mhore could approach Mr Giggs and offer to keep silent in exchange for money.  They would enter a contract agreeable to both, and both parties would be happy.  Mr Giggs is protected against further extortion as he has a contractual agreement on the value of the knowledge into which his Mhore has freely entered.  Should she break this and sell the knowledge to the media anyway, she could be rightly and justly punished for breach of contract (property law).  However, blackmail is illegal primarily to protect the rich, and prevents people from rightfully exploiting their property (knowledge) as they see fit.  In this clearly ridiculous situation, our Mhore is obliged to realise the value of her knowledge (it is property, she owns it) on the market with the consequence that lawyers get rich, laws are abused and everyone finds out about it anyway.

For a comprehensive explanation of the ethical basis for selling knowledge, and why blackmail is an infringement on your liberty, see Rothbard.  See Rothbard anyway.  See it all. And when you next come across a new ‘right’, you will see it being squeezed, turd-like, from the ludicrous, self-serving, logic-mincing arsehole/machine that is global politics.