Thanks For Asking! -- 06/03/15

This "ask me anything" thread -- and the podcast to follow this weekend -- are brought to you by Darryl W. Perry:

For anyone new around here, here's how it works:

  • Ask me a question -- any question, but the more interesting the better -- in the comment thread attached to this post; and
  • I'll answer your question! I might answer it in the comment thread, I might answer it on the podcast, or I might do both.

What Is To Be Done?

Another show trial. Another conviction achieved by the very direct means of the judge giving the state leave to not prove its case, forbidding the defense to defend the defendant, and tampering with the jury. A life sentence for running a web site without the state's permission.

Just like Chelsea Manning. Just like Barrett Brown. Just like Jim Bell. Just as the case would be with Julian Assange and Edward Snowden had the state been successful in abducting them. Numerous others have been so treated, or would be so treated if apprehended.

I periodically change the teaser quote at the top of this blog. This morning I changed it to the following:

"If the road of peaceful progress and evolution be barred, then the road of revolution will beckon and will be taken."

The quote is more apropos to the current situation than it was to the context in which Eamon de Valera first uttered it (during his post-civil-war campaign to bring his followers back into the "Irish Free State" parliament).

Silk Road was the epitome of "peaceful progress and evolution." The paradigm of commerce which it proposed and implemented made the state extraneous, vestigial and of no practical use; therefore the state moved to preserve its own prerogatives by barring the Road (pun intended).

Peaceful progress and evolution having been barred, revolution is the only remaining option. The time has come for the Revolutionary Agorist Cadre to form and to act.

My own thoughts as to what the RAC should look like are different from J. Neil Schulman's original vision, of course -- not because that vision was faulty, but because the on-the-ground situational specifics (e.g. the available technology and the organizational flexibility it offers) have changed since Alongside Night was first published. [N.B. I do not claim Schulman's endorsement of what I'm writing here, but I suspect he'd agree with this particular claim.]

Precepts of the RAC, as I see them:

  • It should be a decentralized movement of individuals and cells, not a centralized organization. For more on that, read up on "leaderless resistance."
  • Some individuals and cells should concentrate on informational and intelligence activities such as publishing propaganda and doxing enemy personnel.
  • Other individuals and cells should be "action cells" of various types -- ranging from hackers who seize the assets of enemy personnel to propagandists of the deed who take more direct, public and physical action.
  • Above and beyond specific remedial, retaliatory or punitive actions, the primary objective of the RAC's action cells should be similar to that of the IRA's "Squad" during the Irish War of Independence. That is, where possible, their actions should be specifically directed at degrading and dismantling the state's intelligence, investigative, prosecutorial and penal apparatus.

Am I recommending physical violence? No. In my opinion, that should be refrained from until and unless it can't be avoided (immediate self-defense is always justified, of course).

Let me be specific to the situation:

A number of individuals -- including but not limited to US Attorney Preet Bharara, Assistant US Attorneys Serrin Turner and and Timothy T. Howard, and US District Court Judge Katherine B. Forrest -- did openly and publicly conspire to deprive Ross Ulbricht of his liberty; to steal tens of millions of dollars' worth of Bitcoin which they believed belonged to him; and, ultimately, to steal his life by caging him for the duration of said life. Don't tell me they were just doing their jobs. So was Reinhard Heydrich. Since they didn't even bother to hide their crimes,  and in fact openly and publicly brag of said crimes, there's no presumption of innocence. They have tried themselves, and they have convicted themselves.

Therefore, their own lives and fortunes are rightfully forfeit.

They should be thoroughly and publicly doxed.

They should be shunned and ostracized by all individuals of good character. They shouldn't be seated or served at restaurants. They shouldn't receive communion at churches. They shouldn't be able to get up a golf foursome, but that shouldn't matter because no country club should tolerate them as members anyway.

Anyone who is capable of doing so and willing to do so should, at any opportunity, seize or destroy any and all assets which they own or dispose of, preferably in ways which will serve as partial restitution to their victims.

Since caging them for the duration of their lives is not, at present, practical, they should be induced to cage themselves in personally constructed hells of crippling fear and shame for the duration of said lives.

And all of this should be done as publicly as possible (consistent with the people who do it avoiding abduction, "trial" and caging themselves, of course), so that other would-be evildoers will pause and recoil at the idea of pulling this kind of shit in the future.

Election 2016: What's Up With Lindsey Graham?

English: Official portrait of Senator LIndsey ...
US Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
He formally threw his hat into the presidential ring today.

He will not be the next president of the United States, nor will he be the Republican Party's 2016 presidential nominee.

He knows this. You know this. I know this. There's nobody on the face of Planet Earth who doesn't know this.

He's only popular with two voter demographics: South Carolinians and the So Completely Batshit Insane on "National Security" That We Consider Dr. Strangelove a Commie Pinko Pacifist voter bloc.

He's not popular enough with South Carolinians to carry his own state in the presidential primary -- in fact, he came in behind his self-designated nemesis, Rand Paul, in an April poll of the state's presidential preferences.

Nor is the SCBIoNSTWCDSaCPP bloc large enough to put him over the top anywhere else.

So what's up with the presidential campaign? Here's my take:

He can't win South Carolina in the presidential primary, but in anything remotely resembling a horserace he can decide who wins South Carolina in the presidential primary. His endorsement can move at least high-single-digit, and probably double-digit, vote percentages into a candidate's column.

In states with a significant SCBIoNSTWCDSaCPP presence as things tighten up, his endorsement could conceivably move 5% of the "undecided as to which candidate is batshit insane enough for me" vote to the candidate who has that endorsement.

South Carolina is the third state in the presidential preference parade -- its primary follows the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary.

So on the night of the New Hampshire primary, we can expect Lindsey Graham to go have a talk with one of the guys who looks set to maybe go the distance and offer to get that candidate on a roll with South Carolina in exchange for ...

Maybe he wants to be Secretary of Defense. Or possibly Secretary of Energy. Even if you didn't already have these two picked out as likely, you would after looking at his historical campaign contribution base.

But you probably already had that first one in mind, and I consider it most likely. Maybe veep, but I don't think so. As crazy as he is, he's not stupid, and he knows he would hurt the ticket in the second slot.

He's looking for a cabinet post, and running for president puts him in a better position to deal for one than just being the senior US Senator from South Carolina does.

So know you know what that's all about.

Woke Up This Mornin' and I Got Myself a Conspiracy Theory ...

Item One: The US Senate is tangled up in the matter of renewing (or not renewing) Section 2015 of the USA PATRIOT Act, relating to the NSA's unconstitutional collection of phone data.

Item Two: Dennis Hastert, former Speaker of the US House of Representatives, was indicted last week on charges of withdrawing money from his bank accounts in such a way as to not trigger bank reporting requirements, and lying to federal agents about why he did so.

Are the two items related?

To wit, was the indictment thrown out there at the time it was for the specific purpose of threatening US Senators who might be considering voting against the renewal?

"Nice political career / post-political prospects ya got there ... be a shame if anything happened to them ... xoxo, your friends in the national security establishment."

Ross Ulbricht Sentenced to Life in Prison

Wired reports. In her lecture to the latest high-profile American political prisoner, Judge Katherine Forrest said "Silk Road's birth and presence asserted that its ... creator was better than the laws of this country." Well, yes, he and it were and are better than The Preet Bharara crime family, its rules, and her theatrics, if those three things are what she means by "this country."

A relevant voice from the grave:

I, John Brown, am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land can never be purged away but with blood. I had as I now think, vainly flattered myself that without very much bloodshed, it might be done.

That, with its atttendant pyramids of skulls, is what Bharara, Forrest and their co-conspirators are willing to risk in their bid to keep their authoritarian rackets going at the expense of every honest human being.

Yes, sooner or later they're going to lose. But it won't be pretty.

One of My Rare Defenses of a Republican

Former US Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert -- a Republican from Illinois -- has been indicted on two charges:

  • Withdrawing his own money from his own bank accounts in unapproved amounts; and
  • Lying to the FBI about why.

In anything resembling a free -- or even sane -- society, neither of those things would be crimes.

Rachel Maddow used the word "forever" last night to describe federal laws 1) requiring banks to report transactions in excess of $X and 2) making it illegal to conduct transactions of less than $X to avoid the reporting requirements. My recollection is that she has it completely wrong; such laws first went into place in the mid-to-late 1990s (e.g. "Know Your Customer") and got tweaked in the early 2000s (the "USA PATRIOT Act"). That, by the way, would have all been on Denny Hastert's watch.

In a free -- or even sane -- society, what you did with your money would be your business and nobody else's. Ditto lying about it to busybodies to/with whom you had no contractual obligation to speak truthfully or non-aggression obligation to not defraud.

The implication in the indictment is that Hastert was being blackmailed; that he was paying "hush money" to and an unidentified "Individual A" in order to keep that someone from going public with some kind of damaging information.

If that damaging information pertains only to Hastert and to the person being paid off -- that is, if what was being covered up was not itself aggression against/involving some third party -- I also don't see why anyone but Hastert and "Individual A" should have any say in the matter (see Walter Block on blackmail for why).

But if the state does have such an interest, it seems to me that according to the state's own disclosures, Hastert was the victim, not the perpetrator of blackmail/extortion. So why is it that he's been indicted, but "Individual A" has not?

An Explanation ...

English: Tamara Millay, Libertarian activist a...
English: Tamara Millay, Libertarian activist and U.S. House candidate. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Over the last few weeks, some of you may have noticed I'm not "around" blog-wise as much as I had been, and that I've made non-specific references to a "family medical situation." I was non-specific because I was waiting for someone else to be comfortable disclosing the details outside a very small circle of family and friends. Now that she has, I can tell you about it.

A couple of months ago, my wife (Tamara Millay) got her first mammogram. She was then called in for a second one to confirm the presence of something anomalous. Following that, a biopsy and a diagnosis of ductal carcinoma, aka DCIS or, in English, breast cancer. Since then, there's been an MRI, resulting in detection of something in the other breast, to be followed next week by yet another biopsy. Upcoming, of course, will be treatment -- surgery of some sort, radiation, etc.

So yeah, things have been less than fabulous around here lately. Fortunately, Tamara is a fighter and an optimist, and of course I'm doing all I can to be 1000% supportive, as are the kids, as we navigate through this. We all appreciate your positive thoughts and, if you are so inclined, prayers.

I'll continue to be as frequent/regular as I can with the blogging and podcasting and so forth, but obviously other things take precedence and priority right now.

Thanks For Asking! 05/28/15

This week's AMA thread (and subsequent podcast) is brought to you by Darryl W. Perry:

First, a note: Every week, I forget to put this thread up on Wednesday. And every week, while I'm putting it up late, I say to myself "you know, what I ought to do is create a Google Calendar reminder for myself so that I don't forget to put it up on Wednesday." And every week, I promptly forget to do that. So this week, it occurred to me BEFORE I put up this thread, and I went ahead and set it up. So hopefully you'll start seeing these threads on Wednesday like you're supposed to.

OK, so the rules revisited:

  • You ask (in comments on this thread). You can ask anything that strikes you as interesting.
  • I answer -- either in the comment thread, or on the weekend podcast, or both.

So ... hit it!

An Alternative Sentencing Submission

Preet Bharara (US Attorney for the Southern District of New York) has (via his accomplices, Assistant US Attorneys Serrin Turner and and Timothy T. Howard) submitted a request to Judge Katherine B. Forrest of the US District Court yesterday, asking that Ross Ulbricht be sentenced to more than the "mandatory minimum" 20 years for the "crime" of operating a web site without Preet Bharara's permission.

It seems to me that competition is a good thing and that Forrest should be given multiple sentencing options to consider in this matter. Since I enjoy being helpful:

  • Ulbricht should be released, receive an apology from the court, and be financially compensated for his lost time and other injuries, said compensation to be seized from the personal finances of Bharara, Turner and Howard;
  • As the ringleader of the "US Attorney for the Southern District of New York" gang, Forrest should assess Bharara for a possible death sentence on the basis of the number and severity of his gang's crimes against humanity; erring on the side of mercy, a life sentence without the possibility of parole might be more appropriate;
  • As co-conspirators of Bharara's in this case and others, Forrest should consider minimum sentences of 20 years each for Turner and Howard.
Hope this helps, Judge Forrest. No charge.