I don’t have a lot of material for you today since I was busy prepping for tonight’s CryptoPartyMN meeting.
Tonight we’ll be discussing how cryptography can be used to defend against phishing scams. Everybody is welcome. We’re meeting at Rudolphs Bar-B-Que at 6:30 pm.
This week we’re listening to what should be the United States’ national anthem:
Germany has a dark and sordid history of tagging those it deems to be undesirable. In the past it relied on badges. The most famous badges, the yellow Star of David, was used to mark Jews. But the Nazis also had other symbols such as pink triangles for homosexuals.
In this day and age tagging people for their religious beliefs or sexual orientation is frowned upon through most of Europe and the United States. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t people deemed undesirable. In many European countries and the United States the governments have implemented a new list of undesirables. They usually refer to these lists as terrorist watch lists. The names that appear on these lists aren’t people who have been found guilty of anything, the governments that created and are maintaining these lists merely suspect that the people on them might do something… possibly… maybe. Or at least that’s what they claim. But even that much cannot be determined since the criteria for appearing on these lists is usually secret.
Now that Germany has a list of undesirables again it has decided to modernize its old trick. Instead of making people on the terrorist watch list wear badges they’ll be required to wear GPS anklets:
The German government will electronically tag all people on the country’s terror watchlist even if they have committed no crime, reflecting a tougher approach in the wake of December’s terror attack in Berlin.
The tagging proposal had been agreed by justice minister Heiko Maas and interior minister Thomas de Maizière last month as part of a package of measures to beef up security.
Mr de Maizière said tags were “no silver bullet” but were an “important instrument, to make it easier to monitor people”.
The tag is a GPS transmitter attached to the leg which emits a signal when a suspect approaches a prohibited zone.
The Nazis claimed those badges were an important instrument to make Germany safe as well. But this has nothing to do with safety. It’s about creating an enemy for Germans to fear. So long as the German people are afraid the State is able to grab more power for itself with little resistance.
I’ve seen quite a few friends flipping out over this news:
Now that Republicans have quietly drawn a path to give away much of Americans’ public land, US representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah has introduced what the Wilderness Society is calling “step two” in the GOP’s plan to offload federal property.
The new piece of legislation would direct the interior secretary to immediately sell off an area of public land the size of Connecticut. In a press release for House Bill 621, Chaffetz, a Tea Party Republican, claimed that the 3.3m acres of national land, maintained by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), served “no purpose for taxpayers”.
What amuses me isn’t the face that I have friends flipping out over this, it’s that they believe the government has any right to the land in the first place.
The State, being an illegitimate organization, cannot legitimately own anything. Yet it claims ownership over a great deal of land in the Western United States. Now it believes it has the right to sell that unowned land. And for some reason people are not only happy to play along with this charade but they’re upset that the State is planning to sell the land because they want it to remain in the State’s hands!
This is why I don’t give a shit about politics. Politics isn’t an act of legitimate parties trying to resolve disputes. It’s an act of two sides arguing over things neither of them have any right to involve themselves with in the first place. This issue is a prime example. Two sides are arguing over whether or not the State should sell a particular chunk of land. One side says it should sell the land and the other side says it should keep the land. But neither side has any right to decide what should be done with the land because they don’t own it.
In order to involve yourself in the political process you must first accept falsities. Why waste time arguing over falsities?
If nothing else, Trump’s election has taught a lot of people, albeit only temporarily, about the dangers of a power government. The responses to this newfound knowledge have been all over the board. On the minor end a lot of people have stated that Trump isn’t their president. I welcome them to the club of those of us who don’t have presidents. But the minor end of the scale is dull. On the more fun end of the scale a lot of people are talking about secession. Surprisingly enough, the state talking most loudly about secession is California:
A proposal for California to secede from the United States was submitted to the Secretary of State’s Office Thursday.
The proposed “Calexit” initiative – its name borrowed from the UK’s “Brexit” departure from the EU – would ask voters to repeal part of the state constitution that declares California an inseparable part of the U.S.
Secretary of State Alex Padilla said the group behind the proposal, Yes California Independence Campaign, was cleared to begin attempting to collect nearly 600,000 voter signatures needed to place the plan on the ballot.
“In our view, the United States of America represents so many things that conflict with Californian values, and our continued statehood means California will continue subsidizing the other states to our own detriment, and to the detriment of our children,” the Yes campaign’s website says.
Over a century and a half ago the states learned what happens when you try to secede from a powerful federal government. But what happened so long ago shouldn’t dissuade people from trying again today. Secession is something worth fighting for. It’s the beginning of something that could be beautiful. First states could secede from the United States. Then counties could secede from the states. Then townships could secede from the counties. And finally, individuals could secede from the townships. Going from one federal state with 50 vassal states, which is all the 50 states really are at this point, to 320 million separate states would be wonderful.
Although California is not a place I’d want to live, if it starts the chain reaction of secession I will forever give it its due credit.
The hits seem to keep coming. First Trump issued an executive order to build a multi-billion dollar wall that will serve no meaningful purpose. Then he issued an execute order banning people from
victims nations the United States is bombing from traveling to their tormentor’s realm. Now it appears that he’s planning to issue an executive order to boot out poor legal immigrants:
Now, with the huddled masses yearning to breathe free taken care of, the Trump administration is coming for your tired and your poor. Or so a draft executive order obtained by Vox and the Washington Post seems to suggest.
But the Trump administration’s draft order would change that, by instructing the Department of Homeland Security to bar immigrants from the U.S. if they are likely to receive any means-tested benefit at all.
More radically, the order would subject visa holders who are already in the U.S. to deportation, if they use public benefits above a certain threshold. And — just in case that isn’t enough to keep non-wealthy foreigners away from our shores — the order would require the friend or family member who sponsored the deported immigrant to reimburse the federal government for the cost of the benefits he or she used.
While opponents of Trump flip out about is executive orders anybody who is well read on history or has ready Nineteen Eighty-Four knows exactly what’s going on here. The health of the State is fear. Fear is what allows the State to continuously expand its power. Without an enemy there is no fear. What Trump and his administration are doing is the same thing previous administrations have done, they’re creating an enemy.
Before the collapse of the Soviet Union the enemy was always communists. Before the enemy was communists it was always the Jews. Before it was the Jews it was always the Chinese. United States history, and the history of almost every nation on Earth, is a constantly changing stage of boogeymen.
I doubt Trump or anybody in his administration has any real feelings about immigrants one way or another. All they know is that immigrants are outsiders and outsiders always make a good enemy.
The Obama administration had a hard-on for bombing people with drones. Its fetish was so strong that it even went so far as to assassinate an American citizen and his 16-year-old son with a drone. Although Hillary made it clear that she planned to continue Obama’s reign of terror, Trump didn’t make his position as well known. This caused some suckers to believe that he might curtail the war a bit. Not only has he continued bombing people, he’s trying to finish what Obama started:
In a hideous symbol of the bipartisan continuity of U.S. barbarism, Nasser al-Awlaki just lost another one of his young grandchildren to U.S. violence. On Sunday, the Navy’s SEAL Team 6, using armed Reaper drones for cover, carried out a commando raid on what it said was a compound harboring officials of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. A statement issued by President Trump lamented the death of an American service member and several others who were wounded, but made no mention of any civilian deaths. U.S. military officials initially denied any civilian deaths, and (therefore) the CNN report on the raid said nothing about any civilians being killed.
But reports from Yemen quickly surfaced that 30 people were killed, including 10 women and children. Among the dead: the 8-year-old granddaughter of Nasser al-Awlaki, Nawar, who was also the daughter of Anwar Awlaki.
Every despot knows that if you don’t take out you opponent’s entire family they’ll just grow up and seek revenge on you!
Nawar wasn’t even the first 8-year-old murdered by the United States and almost certainly won’t be the last. And that pisses me off. What pisses me off even more is that those hypocrites who call themselves the anti-war left didn’t give a shit about dead children until now. For four years the children of the Middle East can enjoy the fact that when they’re murdered some Americans will at least pretend to give a damn. After that, whether they’re remembered or not will depend on who wins the election because most people in this country don’t have principles.
Donald Trump has nominated Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court. I have no opinion about this nomination one way or another but Gorsuch sounds Russian. You can even transcribe his name, Горсуч, into Cyrillic perfectly.
Interesting, don’t you think, товарищ?