Who gives a rat’s patoot about hearings? They’re just political theater, signifying nothing.
But Operation Choke Point has rightly been called “the greatest government overreach that no one is talking about.” (OCP has been called that, in fact, by the guy heading up today’s hearings, Rep. Sean Duffy of Wisconsin.)
Why this matters: Because it shows how some obscure, unelected entity, ostensibly having zero to do with firearms, civil rights, business ethics or anything other than insuring bank deposits, can get a bright idea in its head (or have one politically implanted there) and become part of the endless effort to destroy gun rights. It also shows the dirty “how” of the dirty business: pressure, innuendo, and the general creepitude of mission creep.
Who needs, you know, actual laws (however bad)? Who needs stormtroopers in the streets to enforce outrageous diktats? That’s so very, very twentieth century! All you have to do these days is whisper the “right” message in the “right” ears to turn legal business people into pariahs and begin the process of gradually destroying an industry — and the human rights associated with it.
What every well-prepared … um, prepper should have: the world’s first portable, grab-n-go flame thrower. (I really can’t decide how far the tongue is in the cheek on this one.) (Tip o’ hat to MJR)
Bovard on the “food security” charade. That whole “food security” business has always grated with me (it’s so blatantly trumped up). But Bovard doesn’t just let it grate. He knows his stuff on this topic.
It’s from the wittily named “Committee on Responding to Section 5(d) of Presidential Policy Directive 28: The Feasibility of Software to Provide Alternatives to Bulk Signals Intelligence Collection; Computer Science and Telecommunications Board; Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences; National Research Council ” and its aim is apparently (not their words) to find better ways of targeting everybody rather than just randomly spying on everybody. (It’s a fine distinction, I know. But when you’re well-connected enough for the fedgov to let you serve on the august CORTS5(d)OPD28TFOSTPATBSICCSATBDOEAPSNRC such distinctions matter to you.)
The report is officially to be released on Friday. (And you know what a Friday release means; the fedgov wants it ignored.)
Behind the typically unreadable bureaucratic prose, there are some revealing bits. I warn you, it’s as boring as dirt, but if you want a copy of this report, just drop a comment using a functional email address in your login. I’ll email it to you.
But of course, receiving an email from me will mean that you fall under section 3.1 (“Contact chaining”): “Communications metadata, domestic and foreign, is used to develop contact chains by starting with a target and using metadata records to determine who has communicated directly with the target (1 hop), who has in turn communicated with those people (2 hop), and so on. [And hey, pretty soon, you’ve got Kevin Bacon in your terrorist network!]”
So maybe you’re better off just clicking the “Contents” link on the NAP site, ‘kay? It’s all there, anyhow.
The Agitator who sent the .pdf is — he knows for sure — one of the Target People. He’s had those red circles painted on him for many years and is quite used to it. He sent along some familiar, but always worthy, advice (I’ve massaged the words a bit to disguise his identity):
Think of it from this perspective: If your adversary has documented that they always chase down red balloons, well, give them a sea of red balloons to chase down.
I once established that the govt was beyond obviously reading emails between me and an attorney. These communications were considered privileged and off limits under all laws (didn’t stop the government).
“So they like reading do they?” I told the attorney.
Then I emailed multiple 10,000 page documents to the attorney in rapid succession. I gave them all the red balloons their little bureaucratic hearts could ever desire.
I’m not sure how well the attorney might have appreciated that. But you get the picture. :-)
I wake up every day around two or three in the afternoon, make a cup of coffee and turn on the news, just waiting for the day when it finally happens, the day that something finally snaps, and I am listening to Sheppard Smith breathlessly trying to describe shaky video of a mob of 500,000 or 800,000 pissed off taxpayers that has invaded Washington and are lining every street in D.C., armed to the teeth, and erecting scaffolding on the National Mall.
Actually, that’s not how I think it is going to go, but I promise you… what can not go on, will NOT go on.
While I disagree with the “everything is a sickness” approach to problems, the article is otherwise spot on.
In one experiment, participants were left alone in a room for up to 15 minutes. When asked whether they liked the alone time, over half reported disliking it.
In subsequent studies, participants were given an electric shock, and then asked if they would pay money to avoid being shocked again. Not surprisingly, most said they would trade money to avoid pain. However, when these same people were left alone in a room for 15 minutes, nearly half chose to self-administer an electric shock rather than sit alone with their thoughts.
You read that right.
(Which is so not punny.)
Think about what this means. Just being is so painful that we are willing to hurt ourselves to avoid it.
And this is perhaps the saddest truth of all. I am created in the image and likeness of God, yet somehow that isn’t good enough for me. So I fill my Facebook feed and my calendar with self-important busyness to avoid just being. In the process, I not only miss out on the peace and beauty that lies within myself, but I also miss seeing that same beauty in others, because my manufactured urgency has covered it up with anxiety and worry.
Ever call your credit card company’s customer service line? They might have secretly voice fingerprinted you. If it’s such a great idea to prevent fraud, why aren’t they being upfront about it?
Seems all that shrill weirdness coming from the hoplophobe ranks recently isn’t just a side-effect of “gun control.” Even some of the most major distracting drivel is apparently directly planned and paid for by Bloomberg. This is sophisticated psychological warfare in the guise of unsophisticated jibberish.
Hm. I knew it existed but I never knew there was an “official” science governing it. This is even cooler than the “science” governing stoned bunnies — although come to think of it, this probably also applies to stoned bunnies. Not to mention wily coyotes.
“Dark Leviathan.” A darkly cynical look at Ross Ulbricht, Silk Road, the Darknet, and what the author believes is the inevitable fate of libertarian ideals. Someone needs to give this article a great fisking.
F*c*b**k blocks a fundraiser to help a father reunite with his son. (Hint: the reason is G-U-N-S.)
Verizon makes a sadly hilarious response to the FCC’s “Throwback Thursday” decision to apply steam-engine-and-telegraph standards to the Internet. Get another laugh by clicking on the translation.
Prove your identity to Microsoft or they won’t “allow” you to use their products that you’ve paid for? (H/T cat) The author’s claims about U.S. tech losses thanks to snoopery are right on. Will now be interesting to see how U.S. residents and companies route around the new FCC regulations.
Nice infographics show what’s allowed and what’s not in the four places that have now legalized recreational cannabis.
Jim Bovard’s tribute to Mike McNulty includes full-length versions of Mike’s most important (and heartbreaking) videos. I know nothing so far about how Mike died, but Joseph Baltar, who worked with him, left this comment.
So if you haven’t heard by now (and there’s been surprisingly little coverage), the FCC is about to v*te to regulate the Internet. ‘Cause, you know, the ‘Net is just precisely like the telephone system in the 1930s and now there are all these terrible, terrible unfair things going on like people not being allowed to express their opinionsbig traditional media companies triumphing over blogs and social media … well, like something. Whatever it is, the fedgov MUST save us from it!
Not only that, but tomorrow’s big v*te will be on a 300+-page secret plan that you and I (e.g. the alleged beneficiaries of regulation) aren’t even allowed to see.
Despite three of the five FCC v*ters (ah, the magic of democracy!) being Dems, the plan may yet choke. One of the Dems is reportedly just a teensy bit restless about the whole matter. And even if the Big Five v*te themselves the authority, court challenges could drag out for years. But as usual We the Peasants have no say in the situation, one way or the other. (Did I mention ah, democracy!)
And (ah, justice!) they’re already regretting it, despite not quite understanding why. MtK, who sent me the link in that last paragraph noted that the Electronic Frontier Foundation has become the NRA of ‘Net freedom.
You ask for federal regulation? You support federal regulation? Then you’re shocked, simply shocked! when you get federal regulation — and it turns out it benefits the feds more than you? Oh, you pooo widdle baby! Such a surprise! Who could possibly have predicted that?
Oh wait … anybody who’s been standing on the outside watching could have predicted that. Heck, we could have predicted it even before there was such a thing as the Internet to regulate. Because that’s just the way it works.
How is it that only those who so desperately cherish their “seats at the table” during fed dealmaking (and incidentally, we’re talking to you, Mr. Gottlieb, with your notorious seat-at-the-table on Manchin-Toomey, as well as the formerly principled folks at the EFF) are somehow the only ones who can’t see the inevitable result of playing footsie under that table with the fedgov?
SIDENOTE: How is it, also, that the big gov faction always comes up with the good memes? I mean “net neutrality” and “open internet” — what kind of villain could possibly be opposed to those? Being against neutrality and openness would be like hating kittens. Never mind that “neutrality” and “openness” are just verbal Halloween costumes disguising government control. And this has been going on for a long time, clear back to when the noble slogan “one man, one v*te” was used to shift all political power from rural areas to urban centers. How come freedom never gets the good memes?
Gottlieb’s CCRKBA endorses Matt Shea’s bill to repeal I-594. And note the ringing anti-background check language! (She says, rolling her eyes.)
I’m not linking to this CNN op-ed because it’s brilliant. On the contrary, it’s an astonishingly logic-free defense of Obamacare. I’m linking to it because it may contain one of the single most bizarre justifications of tyranny oxymorons ever to occupy the mind of a human being. To wit: “The ACA does not allow government to interfere in our lives; it compels government to keep us as safe and healthy as possible.” Admit it, the ability to hold both those thoughts in the same brain is an admirable feat.
Speaking of admirable, scientists say they’ve figured out how to uncook an egg.
My apologies, all you people there on the upper east coast. I hear that the ghastly weather you’re having is our fault. Something to do with this monstrous ridge of high pressure plunging down on us; creates a monster low for you.
Believe me, I was thinking of you this afternoon while I contemplated whether or not I should wear the tee-shirt with a turtleneck or skip the turtleneck for a dog walk. I felt soooooo guilty.