Whenever a story involving discrimination appears in the news statists are quick to demand more anti-discrimination laws. I believe that anti-discrimination laws are both ineffective and unnecessary. While I do believe one is free to believe whatever they want and associate with whoever they want I also know that markets have a history of treating those who discriminate very poorly. Case in point, some believers in religions that view homosexuality as a sin have chosen to discriminate against homosexuals. A recent clash between one of these individuals and a gay couple demonstrates the inevitable outcome:
A husband-and-wife bakery shop team in Oregon were forced to close their shop doors and move to cheaper digs — their home — after gay-rights activists hounded them and drove away contract business because they refused for Christian reasons to bake for a same-sex wedding.
The Kleins say they’re now closing up their doors and moving their operations to their home. Their business, they say, has suffered a serious revenue hit from the unexpected activism and backlash.
If you choose to discriminate then people who oppose discrimination are apt to cut off ties with you and encourage others to cut off ties with you. For a business such activism can be fatal. This story demonstrates why I prefer market-based solutions to statist solutions. Although the bakery owners did something many found disagreeable nobody brought force into the equation. The act, which many found disagreeable, lead to the end of the bakery, which should discourage other business owners from perusing the same path (although they are still free to do so if they choose).
EDIT: 2013-09-05: 09:44: Corrected a small typo that was pointed out to me via a Bitmessage (cool, huh).
Many prisoners in California have gone on a hunger strike to protest the deplorable conditions and despicable acts taking place in that state’s overcrowded prisons. Once again, proving that the state doesn’t believe you own yourself, a district court has ruled that the prisoners can be forcefully fed:
A district court judge in California has given state authorities permission to force-feed dozens of prisoners who have been on hunger strike for more than six weeks.
Judge Thelton Henderson said some of the prisoners who were near death could be fed, despite some signing requests not to be revived.
One may ask, why would the state want to forcefully feed prisoners? Wouldn’t it be cheaper to let them die, as they wish to do? Although I’m not privy to the state’s insider conversations I have an educated guess. The district court is probably concerned that starving prisoners are poor laborers for UNICOR and Corrections Corporation of America. What good is a slave laborer if they are so hungry they cannot work? In order to ensure the continued flow of goods from the prison-industrial complex to the state and general economy the district court felt it necessary to feed the protesting slaves. This day and age one cannot even die without receiving governmental permission.
Ladar Levison, the owner and operator of Lavabit, recently shutdown his service instead of complying with the surveillance state. Although he was legally barred from discussing the specifics of his situation it’s pretty clear he received a national security letter, which requires him to comply with federal demands and prohibits him from discussing anything related to the letter including the fact he received a letter. In all likelihood he was commanded to install a backdoor into his service so government snoops could spy on his customers, which convinced him that it was time to shutdown entirely. This story reeks of police state tactics but now that Lavabit is shutdown the story should be concluded, right? Wrong. As it turns out, Mr. Levison is being threatened with arrest even though he is no longer operating his service and, therefore, is unable to comply with any demands from federal snoops:
The owner of an encrypted email service used by ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden said he has been threatened with criminal charges for refusing to comply with a secret surveillance order to turn over information about his customers.
“I could be arrested for this action,” Ladar Levison told NBC News about his decision to shut down his company, Lavabit LLC, in protest over a secret court order he had received from a federal court that is overseeing the investigation into Snowden.
Levison said he has been “threatened with arrest multiple times over the past six weeks,” but that he was making a stand on principle: “I think it’s important to point out that what prompted me to shut down my service wasn’t access to one person’s data. It was about protecting the privacy of all my users.”
What is the term for somebody who is forced to work a job even if they have no desire to do so? A slave. If the federal government is threatening to arrest people who shutter their businesses, regardless of those people’s personal reasons for doing so, then it is declaring everybody slaves. Anybody who believes America is the land of the free is deluded.
Every time I talk to a statist about anti-statism they always end up falling back on the pathetic question, “Without government who will build the roads?” Seriously, there’s an organized crime ring going around the world bombing the shit out of brown people and the only thing these statists are worried about are the God damned roads. You know, the roads filled with craters that never get filled in because the Department of Transportation is too busy ripping up several perfectly good highways (if you live in Minnesota you know what I’m talking about)?
But here I am to tell all the statists out there that their precious roads will be just fine without the state. In fact the roads may be better because without the state to punish people who are filling in potholes we may actually have a qualify transportation infrastructure:
A man dubbed the “pothole Robin Hood” is under police investigation for taking asphalt from the city of Jackson, Miss., and filling in potholes on city streets.
Ron Chane admits that he takes the asphalt and repairs potholes, and then signs the filled-in holes with the message “citizen fixed,” he told ABC News.
“It’s sort of like Robin Hood. Once we saw that people were appreciating what we did, we went out again and made a goal of fixing 100 potholes. We’ve actually filled 101 potholes, so our mission has been completed,” Chane said.
Yup, somebody is actually working to maintain the infrastructure everybody relies on and the police are investigating him because he took asphalt, which his tax dollars paid for, from the crooks who weren’t using it. Statism: throwing logic out the door since inception.
This shit is getting ridiculous. A man in Hawthorne, California was walking his dog and video taping the police, both perfectly legal acts. The police, obviously having something to hide (their logic, not mine), kidnapped the videographer and shot his dog. Not only did they murder the man’s dog but they did it in a residential area, a place where needlessly discharging rounds is very dangerous. What follows is the video of this event, which contains graphic content (as most videos involving the police do):
Being a police state, I’m sure the officer will be receive several days of paid vacation while this incident is investigated by his friends. Upon finding no wrongdoing on behalf of the officer he will return to work and the fact that a psychopath continues to walk around with a gun will be entirely ignored.
Bureaucracies tend to be monstrous abominations that force us to fill out needless paperwork in triplicate just to gain the privilege of filling out more needless paperwork in triplicate. Joy can seldom be found through bureaucracies but when two of them collide they can be very entertaining. When Snowden fled to Hong Kong the United States attempted to extradite him. The Hong Kong government had little interest in sending Snowden back so it looked over the extradition paperwork to find an error that would allow Hong Kong to reject the request. As it turns out, a minor error existed and it may be the thing that allowed Snowden to flee:
According to multiple reports, it was in large part Beijing’s decision to let Snowden leave Hong Kong. But at the very least the US middle-name mix-up provides Hong Kong with a solid diplomatic excuse.
The red tap of bureaucracy has its advantages once in a while.
The Nazgûl have finally ruled on whether or not your decision to remain silent when confronted by the police can be used against you in a court of law. As you can guess they ruled that your silence can be used against you:
In a 5-4 decision the Supreme Court ruled today that a potential defendant’s silence can be used against him if he is being interviewed by police but is not arrested (and read his Miranda rights) and has not verbally invoked the protection of the Fifth Amendment.
In other words you only enjoy your Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination if you’ve specifically invoked it or are being arrested and have been read your Miranda rights. If, on the other hand, you simply remain silent your act of not talking can be used against you.
At this point the entirety of the so-called Bill of Rights, with the exception of the Third Amendment, have been turned into a Bill of State Granted Privileges. I’m sure that the only reason the Third Amendment remains unmolested is because the state hasn’t found a sufficient way to exploit it without a war breaking out here. Then again, with the way the current administration is continuously murdering people in foreign countries with remote controlled killing machines, a war in the United States isn’t entirely out of the question.
Peter King, a schmuck from New York who claims to represent some people, recently stated that he believes Glenn Greenwald should be arrested:
“Not only did [Greenwald] disclose this information, he said he has names of CIA agents and assets around the world and threatening to disclose that,” King said when asked by host Megyn Kelly why he wants to prosecute the reporter. “I think [prosecuting reporters] should be very targeted and very selective and a rare exception. In this case, when you have someone who discloses secrets like this and threatens to release more, yes, there has to be legal action taken against him.”
He then asserted: “This is a very unusual case with life-and-death implications for Americans.”
I believe there has to be legal action taken against Mr. King. When Mr. King took his position as a “representative” he, along with his cohorts, took the following oath:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States.
While I’m not particularly fond of the Constitution I have read it and know that the Fourth Amendment makes the actions of the National Security Agency (NSA) illegal:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Greenwald broke the story on the NSA’s widespread surveillance operation, which was a complete violation of the people’s right to be protected from unreasonable searches. Mr. King, by demanding the prosecution of Mr. Greenwalk, is aiding and abetting a criminal organization and that shit ain’t legal.
When the news of the National Security Agency’s (NSA) widespread surveillance operations broke many people were wondering who leaked the information. As it turns out the person who leaked the information decided to come forward (which means he’ll probably be dead soon):
The individual responsible for one of the most significant leaks in US political history is Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA and current employee of the defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. Snowden has been working at the National Security Agency for the last four years as an employee of various outside contractors, including Booz Allen and Dell.
The Guardian, after several days of interviews, is revealing his identity at his request. From the moment he decided to disclose numerous top-secret documents to the public, he was determined not to opt for the protection of anonymity. “I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong,” he said.
Some people will call for Mr. Snowden’s head while others, those who actually oppose government snooping, will see him as a hero. Sadly members of the United States government have already begun demanding Snowden be extradited from his hideout in Hong Kong to the United States so he can be disappeared, err, tried:
There was no immediate reaction from the White House but Peter King, the chairman of the House homeland security subcommittee, called for Snowden’s extradition from Hong Kong. Snowden flew there 10 days ago to disclose top-secret documents and to give interviews to the Guardian.
“If Edward Snowden did in fact leak the NSA data as he claims, the United States government must prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law and begin extradition proceedings at the earliest date,” King, a New York Republican, said in a written statement. “The United States must make it clear that no country should be granting this individual asylum. This is a matter of extraordinary consequence to American intelligence.”
You have to love the double standard Mr. King is espousing. The NSA was caught spying on American citizens, an act that Congress was briefed on and approved, and King is after Snowden’s head for committing a heinous act. Apparently Hong Kong has an extradition treaty with the United States but makes an exception for political targets, which means Snowden may be able to fight his extradition for some time.
Mr. Snowden should be treated as a hero for leaking details of the NSA’s spying operations. So long as the state refuses to recognized the people’s privacy the people should refuse to recognized the state’s privacy.
Yesterday was the opening day for, what is almost certainly, a show trial. This trial is a retaliatory strike in the state’s war on privacy. Most of you probably know that I’m referring to the trial of Bradley Manning, who stands accused of leaking classified information to WikiLeaks. There has been a great deal of debate amongst those paying attention to the trial regarding the validity of Manning’s actions. One side of the debate believes Manning’s actions qualify as treason while the other side believes Manning did the right thing. I’m in the latter camp. As an anarchist I don’t recognize borders, flags, or anything else related to a state as being valid and therefore I dismiss the charge of treason as a fictitious decree created by the state for the expressed purpose of punishing any dissenters. But even if that weren’t the case I would still support Manning. Why? Because the state initiated a war on privacy and, in so doing, lost its right to privacy.
The United States government has waged a war against our privacy since its inception. Every law it passes requires a violation of our privacy. Once something that was previously legal is declared illegal the power of warrants increase. Warrants are little more than a legal nicety that allows the state to violate the privacy of individuals. With a simple piece of paper in hand agents of the state can enter a home without legal contest and search for any material listed on said piece of paper.
After the prohibition on alcohol was passed warrants could be obtained simply because the state suspected an individual was in possession of or making alcohol. When cannabis was declared illegal the power of warrants increased again in order to empower law enforcement agents to search homes of people suspected of possessing or growing cannabis. Tax regulations grant the state the power to search through financial records looking for violations. Laws prohibiting people from sharing copyrighted works allow state agents to search people’s homes and electronic devices for infringing material. But things have gotten much worse since September 11, 2001.
The attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon were the justification used by the state to pass the PATRIOT Act. Amongst other things the PATRIOT Act authorized state agents to setup wiretaps without a warrant, spy on financial records under the claim of stopping the flow of funds to terrorist organizations, and issuing National Security Letters that require service providers to hand over customer data to the state while prohibiting those providers from informing their customers that their information has been demanded. By passing the PATRIOT Act the state effectively said that we the people no longer had the right to privacy. Since then the state has continued to renew expiring provisions of the PATRIOT Act and pushing the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) twice. When CISPA failed to pass the first time Mr. Obama issued a series of executive orders that emulated much of what CISPA purported to do.
Make no mistake, the state fired the first shot and, in so doing, forced the people to take defensive actions. I’m a firm believer in proportional responses to aggression. If somebody initiates force against you then you have the right to use proportional retaliatory force in response. When the state violates the people’s privacy I believe violating its privacy is a proportional response.
I don’t care what information is stolen from the state so long as the state wants to keep it secret. As long as it continues its war against our privacy we should respond by violating its privacy. Bradley Manning did the right thing in my opinion. He took the state’s right to privacy away after it took our right to privacy away. It’s unfortunate that he is now, for all intents and purposes, a prisoner of war but I hope his example sets a precedence that leads more state agents to leak classified information.