Political Victories Are Short Lived

Posted: 23rd December 2015 by AUDIOMIND
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moving-the-goal-post

Any political victory is only a temporary victory. At some future point the victory you achieved will be undone. The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) is just the latest example of this. If you go through the history of the bill you will see it was introduced and shutdown several times:

The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act was introduced on July 10, 2014 during the 113th Congress, and was able to pass the Senate Intelligence Committee by a vote of 12-3. The bill did not reach a full senate vote before the end of the congressional session.

The bill was reintroduced for the 114th Congress on March 12, 2015, and the bill passed the Senate Intelligence Committee by a vote of 14-1. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, (R-Ky) attempted to attach the bill as an amendment to the annual National Defense Authorization Act, but was blocked 56-40, not reaching the necessary 60 votes to include the amendment. Mitch McConnell hoped to bring the bill to senate-wide vote during the week of August 3–7, but was unable to take up the bill before the summer recess. The Senate tentatively agreed to limit debate to 21 particular amendments and a manager’s amendment, but did not set time limits on debate. In October 2015, the US Senate took the bill back up following legislation concerning sanctuary cities.

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. This time the politicians attached CISA to the budget, which as we all know is a must pass bill:

Congress on Friday adopted a $1.15 trillion spending package that included a controversial cybersecurity measure that only passed because it was slipped into the US government’s budget legislation.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Republican of Wisconsin, inserted the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) into the Omnibus Appropriations Bill—which includes some $620 billion in tax breaks for business and low-income wage earners. Ryan’s move was a bid to prevent lawmakers from putting a procedural hold on the CISA bill and block it from a vote. Because CISA was tucked into the government’s overall spending package on Wednesday, it had to pass or the government likely would have had to cease operating next week.

Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat of Oregon, said the CISA measure, which backers say is designed to help prevent cyber threats, got even worse after it was slipped into the 2,000-page budget deal(PDF, page 1,728). He voted against the spending plan.

All those hours invested in the political process to fight CISA were instantly rendered meaningless with the passage of this bill. However, the bill can be rendered toothless. CISA removes any potential liability from private companies that share customer data with federal agencies. So long as private companies don’t have actionable information to share the provisions outlined in CISA are inconsequential. As with most privacy related issues, effective cryptography is the biggest key. Tools like Off-the-Record (OTR) messaging, OTR’s successor Multi-End Message and Object Encryption (OMEMO), Pretty Good Privacy (PGP), Transport Layer Security (TLS), Tor, and other cryptographic tools designed to keep data private and/or anonymous can go a long ways towards preventing private companies from having any usable data to give to federal agencies.

In addition to effective cryptography it’s also important to encourage businesses not to cooperate with federal agencies. The best way to do this is to buy products and services from companies that have fought attempts by federal agencies to acquire customer information and utilize cryptographic tools that prevent themselves from viewing customer data. As consumers we must make it clear that quislings will not be rewarded while those who stand with us will be.

Effective cryptography, unlike politics, offers a permanent solution to the surveillance problem. It’s wiser, in my opinion, to invest the time you’d otherwise waste with politics in learning how to properly utilize tools that protect your privacy. While your political victories may be undone nobody can take your knowledge from you.

What cryptographic tools are you utilizing in your daily travels?

The Populist Revolt Against the Political Duopoly

Posted: 3rd September 2015 by AUDIOMIND
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populismthriving

How did a populist uprising create such enthusiasm and support for two polar opposite insurgent candidates — Donald Trump, the glitzy billionaire, and Bernie Sanders, the self-effacing Socialist Senator?

There’s a bipartisan revolt going on. The rank and file of both parties have said a resounding no to the dynastic dinosaurs, Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush — the quintessential Washington insiders who promote the status quo. The polls for Clinton and Bush are trending straight down because the voters are sick and tired of the insiders who play by their own rules and benefit from them.

Voters are desperate. Right now, only Trump and Sanders give them hope that this country can be turned around. There’s a consensus among activists in both parties that the unique and cherished character of America is rapidly changing and that the election of 2016 may be the last chance to rescue it.

While Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump would likely disagree about almost everything, they are each tapping into the same font of populist anger, swelling in both parties.

Underscoring their rapid gains is the massive popular discontent with the two dynastic choices that were in the process of being crowned for the 2016 election. The Houses of Clinton and Bush were locked, in the words of Time Magazine, in a “game of thrones.”

As America sank into misery with a seemingly endless economic malaise, huge deficits, major job loss, glaring and rising income inequality, and a federal government whose growth knows no bounds, the dynastic remedies fell short and we looked elsewhere.

Clinton’s email scandal and the growing consensus that she cannot be trusted erodes her Democratic support. Bush’s weaknesses, his failure to stand out in the field and his reliance on money and mechanics to win fails to inspire Republican voters.

Besides, Sanders and Trump have a lot in common. They each (mostly) tell the truth — a contrast with Clinton. And they each take strong positions on issues — a contrast with Bush.

Even as Sanders closes in on Clinton and Trump lengthens his lead over Bush, the professionals discount their gains. They wait for Trump to self-destruct and for Sanders to marginalize himself.

But Trump is as sure-footed in public as any political candidate has ever been. He’s a bit like Ronald Reagan, whose experience speaking for General Electric equipped him to advocate the unconventional and make it stick.

For his part, Sanders is more than the un-Clinton. He is creating a populist-liberalism constituency for his candidacy. Sanders will not go away because his constituency won’t. They are in the process now to stay.

Anyone who thinks Trump and Sanders are going away is in for a surprise.

Tyranny Appears To Be Better Organized than Freedom

Posted: 3rd June 2015 by AUDIOMIND
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tyranny of the majority

Tyranny is not a wholly definable condition. There are many forms of tyranny and many levels of control that exist in any one society at any given time. In fact, the most despicable forms of tyranny are often the most subtle; the kinds of tyranny in which the oppressed are deluded into thinking that because they have “choices”, that necessarily makes them “free”. Tyranny at its very core is not always the removal of choice, but the filtering of choice – the erasure of options leaving only choices most beneficial to the system and its controllers.

The choice may be between freedom and security, individual opinion and societal coherency, personal principle or collective indulgence, catastrophic war or disaster multiplied by complacency, terrorism or surveillance, economic manipulation or financial Armageddon. We are presented with these so called choices everyday and they are about to become even more of a bane in our regular lives. But these are often engineered options that do not represent reality. We are led to believe that only one path or the other can be taken; that there is no honorable way, only the lesser of two evils. I am done with false choices and the lesser of two evils. I prefer to create my own options.

Beyond method lies motivation; and tyranny begins where the best of intentions end. Every despotic action by government and collectivists today, from the NDAA, to the John Warner Defense Authorization Act, to mass electronic surveillance, to drones in our skies, to political correctness and social justice warrior tirades; all are given rationalization through “noble intentions”.  Most tyrants are not high level dictators, corrupt corporate CEOs, or politically obsessed wannabe-demigods with aspirations of empire. In fact, tyrants can be found all around you every day, in friends, family and millions of people you’ve never met or heard of in your life. While the elites at the top of the pyramid are the originators of most tyrannical shifts, it is the little minded mini-tyrants hovering around you like blood-gutted mosquitoes in the mall, at the bar, at home, and at the office that make the designs of statists a possible reality.

They do not always participate directly in the construction of the cage. They just have a habit of doing nothing while it is being built around us. Some of them love the cage and see it as a kind of affirmation of their own twisted ideals.

Tyranny is for the most part the forced imposition of contrary principles into the sacred space of the individual. That is to say, people create tyranny when they enact or support the invasion of their beliefs and desires onto those who only wish to be left alone. Tyranny is only minimally about physical control and far more about psychological control. Physical threats are merely keys to the doorway of the mind.  And within this resides the great trick.  Too many of the ignorant believe that tyranny requires jackboots, armbands and concentration camps in order to be real.  In fact, tyranny begins with a single voice self-silenced by fear of collective disapproval and/or social and legal retribution.

True tyranny is born in the putrid slithering hive of group-think, where the lazy and incompetent find refuge within the protective egg sack of intellectual idiocy.  Statists use the lie of abstract majority and the force of government to intrude upon the private ideals of those with opposing views.  In the end, it is not enough for them to extort your silence – eventually, they will demand your conversion to their faith, to their collective.  Basically, your rights end where their feelings begin.

Your thoughts and ideas are subject to approval. They are not your own in a collectivist system.  THIS is what real tyranny is.

Real slavery is not possible unless the slave is made to accept or even love his servitude. The conditions of structure and restriction and permission and “license” are often ingrained into the minds of participating serfs until they cannot comprehend the world without such arbitrary things. Acting outside the established box isn’t even considered. The rules are simply the rules, even though most people have forgotten why or how.  The more gullible proponents of social cohesion sometimes claim that the dichotomy between the individual and the collective is “false”.  This is utter nonsense.  If a collective is not VOLUNTARY, then it is by its very nature counter to the health and rights of the individual, which is why I always try to make the distinction between community and collectivism.  Collectivism is entirely destructive to the individual because collectivist systems cannot survive without removing individual thought and action.  The modus operandi of a collective is to erase independence so that the hive can function.  Anyone who states that individualism and collectivism are “complementary” is either a liar, or a simpleton of the highest degree.

Fantastical constructs of social organization are used to justify themselves as self evident. Statists love the argument of society for society’s sake. We are born into this system whether we like it or not, they say. We benefit from the system and therefore we owe the system, they claim. The system is mother and father. The system provides all because we all provide for the system. Without the system, we are nothing.

The clever trap of collectivism is that it makes participation of individuals a survival imperative for the group. A person is certainly not allowed to work against the advancement of the group, even if the group is morally reprehensible in their goals. However, totalitarian collectivism from socialism to fascism to communism does not even allow for people to refuse to participate. You are not allowed to walk away from the collective because if you do, you might hurt the overall performance of the collective. A gear in a machine cannot be allowed to simply up and leave that machine, or everything falls apart. See how that works…?

People fall into tyrannical behaviors through what Carl Jung referred to as the “personal shadow”; the uglier cravings of our unconscious that fester into morally relative philosophies. One fact of life that you can always count on is this: All people want things. The kinds of things and the level of the want determine their willingness to do wrong. I’m not just talking about money and wealth. Some people want unfettered or unrealistic security, some people want fame, some people want adoration, some people want subservience, some people want to avoid all responsibility, some people want perpetual childhood, some people are shameless glory hounds, and some people want their worldview imprinted on every other person until all is uniform, uncluttered, homogenized, safe.

People’s wants can be harnessed, manipulated and directed to disturbing ends, and the elites know very well how to do this.  The people who are harder to dominate are those who have discipline over their wants and thus control over their fears of not attaining those wants.  These are the men and women that frustrate the establishment.

In my life I have met many people who cannot set aside their immediate desires even if their behavior is translating into eventual misery for themselves and everyone else. People who cannot balance the pursuit of wealth with a healthy level of charity. People who cannot participate in an endeavor without trying to co-opt or control that endeavor. People who marginalize the talents of others when they could be nurturing those talents. People who sneer or superficially criticize the valid accomplishments of others rather than cheering for them. People who see others as competition rather than allies in a greater task. People who fabricate taboos in order to shame others into subservience rather than relying on rational arguments.  It is weaknesses like these that cause smaller forms of tyranny, and such microcosms of despotism often culminate in wider enslavement. It is through the personal shadow that we fall victim to the collective shadow, the place where devils reside.

Tyranny is an environment in which the very worst in us is fed caffeine and cocaine and allowed to run wild while pretending to be a model of principled efficiency.  It is a place where vile people are most likely to succeed.

Frankly, I’m a little tired of those who consider themselves to be social advocates so overtly concerned with what we individuals are thinking or feeling or doing. We don’t owe them any explanations and we certainly never agreed to be a part of their ridiculous covens of academia and the mainstream. I have no patience for people who have the audacity to think they can mold the rest of us into abiding by their intrusive ideology. Is your goal to force me to adopt your collectivist philosophy because you are too biased or too sociopathic to compose an argument that convinces me to join voluntarily? We have every right to be left alone, and they have no right to their aggressive statism, so we have every right to defend ourselves.

I am tired of oppressive social constructs that undermine our greater potential. I am tired of assumptions. Assumptions and lies fuel every aspect our world today, and this will only end in utter calamity. I am tired of tolerance for oppressive behaviors; tolerance for corruption and criminality leads only to more of the same. I am tired of compromise. I am tired of being told that a discriminating attitude is a bad thing, and that total acceptance is somehow “enlightened.” I am tired of people thinking pleasantries are a better method for combating stupidity than a good slap upside the head. In other words, it’s time to slap some people upside the head; be they friends, family, neighbors, whoever. The days of diplomacy are over. Our world is changing. And from this point on, there will be people who do tangible and voluntary good (the people who count), the passive spectators, and the people who stand in the way of people who do tangible and voluntary good.

My advice? Don’t be a part of the latter group. The doers, the thinkers, the producers, the builders, the self-made and self sufficient- all may be trying to undo the damages of tyranny, but that does not mean we will continue to be nice about it when totalitarian groupies try to stop us.