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Monthly Archives: June 2011
With bitcoin gaining mainstream attention the coming attack on its users is inevitable. In this short piece I will explain how it is likely to unfold and how you can survive it.
First, a little background:
In 1996 E-gold was one of the early entrants to the market with a private, global e-currency. They achieved stellar growth and widespread attention – much like bitcoin today. Accolades came from freedom-lovers everywhere. They were the “Great Gold Hope” that would free the people by freeing the money. Privacy-enthusiasts, libertarians, gold-bugs, autarchists, anarchists, voluntaryists, drug-dealers, and even unsavory types flocked to it with praise and adoration.
Of course, the monopolists of the monetary system didn’t take lightly to this threat to their very existence. They came after the independent exchangers and e-gold with their full force and fury – eventually succeeding in convicting the key players for “conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money-transmitting business” and “conspiracy to engage in money laundering”. E-gold was fairly easy to take down because their operations and data-center were centralized and readily accessible.
Many folks who are now currently acting as currency exchangers for bitcoin will be the first to come under attack. Many will get hurt and possibly even imprisoned but, because of its decentralized nature, bitcoin will survive where e-gold did not.
If any of the large exchangers like mtgox.com are operating out of the US then it won’t be long before they are raided and shut down. Individual exchangers will be targeted as well – just to make an example and to scare others out of the community. This will create a giant “wet blanket” on the current enthusiasm for bitcoin and I expect the currency to take a major drop in exchange value when this happens. Not to fear though. Bitcoin will survive due to its decentralized “peer to peer” nature and it will continue to operate as an “alter-cash” resuming its growth albeit at a slower rate during the immediate aftermath.
To protect yourself I recommend the following:
You probably have a little more time before the attacks come (maybe a couple of months?) to acquire bitcoin with cash – and there are profits in speculation to be made until then but, when the raids come, expect a sharp correction before exchange values move on to new highs over a longer period of time. What you do not want to do is be involved as an “exchange service” conducting exchanges in and out of national currencies and you definitely do not want to have your money sitting in the exchanger’s account when they are raided and shut down.
Remember, e-gold was shut down for “conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business”. Do not store any money in online accounts like mybitcoin.com in case they get taken down along with the exchangers. Keep all of your bitcoins on your computer with multiple, encrypted back-ups both on the cloud and on an external thumb drive.
The safest way to acquire bitcoin is to let people know that you will accept it as payment for your products and services. Do not ever exchange it for national currencies. The point that people miss here is that national currencies are the very problem that freedom-lovers are trying to get away from. Instead, use bitcoin to trade with merchants and individuals who accept it as payment. Offer it as payment to those who are unaware of it and explain the benefits to them. This will help develop the market and create a solid economy outside of national currencies. After the initial attack, bitcoin will likely be one of the most powerful and revolutionary tools to bring about more freedom and liberty to humankind.
By Gary D. Barnett
Last year I wrote an article titled “I’m Fed Up With Constitution Worship!” Since that time it seems, I hear more and more every day about “getting back to the constitution,” mainly from “conservatives” and those of the Tea Party persuasion. I always wonder not only have any of these people ever read and studied the constitution, but also do they even understand why it was secretly drafted in the first place? All indications show that they aren’t at all familiar with the enabling power of that document to create a strong central governing system that reduced severely the sovereignty of the states.
I have this contrarian view not because I am cynical or pessimistic, but because I have thoroughly studied this set of rules or “law of the land,” and found them to be antagonist to individual liberty and state’s rights, and sympathetic to big government. When one compares the constitution that was replaced, The Articles of Confederation, there is little doubt of this truth. Lysander Spooner said this:
“But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain – that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.”
In my opinion, there is no doubt that the constitution fully authorized the government that we had and still have today. It is also true that any set of rules is powerless to stop tyranny unless the people enforce and demand compliance on a constant basis. This has never been the case. Even if it had been followed to the letter, it is obvious that liberty would still have been compromised.
Before the current constitution was drafted, there was never any mention or acceptance of the notion that there was a (U)nited States, or that any single nation existed with power over the states. Quite the contrary was the case. It is very troubling that so many Americans have been fooled into believing that the constitution is the basis of our freedom. Nothing could be further from the truth, and nothing could be more misunderstood!
Recently, those like Tom Mullen and Bill Buppert have explained thoroughly why the constitution is not what it is made out to be, and many others have properly denounced this misleading document as well, but the general thinking is still very misguided. Most continue to laud and worship this very flawed piece of parchment, and continue to believe that it is the creator and savior of liberty. Liberty lies in the essence of man, not in documents secretly drafted in the dark of night by the few. The free spirit of the people must awaken before any real freedom becomes evident, and in that awakening they must realize the great importance of the individual and of individual responsibility.
My intent here is not to claim that our original constitution, The Articles of Confederation, were a perfect set of rules, or that any set of rules established by simple men could be perfect. My intent is to expose the lie that is our current constitution. If we as a people could see the truth of why our original constitution was completely scrapped in favor of our current one, maybe a more widespread anger would arise. Once it is accepted that the Hamiltonians in 1787 staged a coup to destroy states rights in favor of federal power, and to destroy individual liberty in favor of nationalism, then maybe more will begin to question their false idolization of the constitution. One could only hope for such an awakening.
Before this constitution, there was no power whatsoever for the federal government to tax. That was left entirely to the individual states. Now the Feds have an unlimited power to tax. In Article 1, Section 8, the taxing clause states, “Congress has the power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises for the common defense and general welfare of the United States.” I see no limits mentioned here whatsoever, and given the term “General Welfare” of the (U)nited States, there is no reason to believe that any restriction was intended. Many so-called constitutional scholars will argue this, saying that all spending must be “constitutional”, or within the confines of the taxing and spending clauses, but these arguments can easily be refuted given the broad and sweeping language in this section. This was in my opinion done explicitly by design. Article 1, Section 8 is nothing if it is not an all-encompassing, unrestricted, and explicit enabler of unlimited governmental power.
Anyone can check the definitions during that period by simply going to the dictionary of that time, Samuel Johnson’s A Dictionary of the English Language. It is immediately obvious that there was little difference in the meaning of general welfare at the time of the founding as there is today. But this is just one example of the obvious misunderstanding by so many in modern times.
Under the Articles of Confederation, there was no president. There was no supreme court. There was no federal taxation, and certainly no immoral income tax. This meant that there was no IRS. There was no federal control of interstate commerce. Congress could not raise an army or draft troops. What this meant, was that the states were sovereign, and no national government existed in any real sense. Because of this, freedom flourished, and tyranny was not evident. So how is it then that this very pro-central government, federal controlling, and powerful national governing system could be created by the same constitution that supposedly set us free? Why were the Articles scrapped entirely if freedom of the people and state’s rights were the objectives sought? I can tell you; at no time did those who supported the drafting and ratification of the U.S constitution in 1787 consider individual freedoms!
There are those who would offer that the Bill of Rights adopted several years later corrected the obvious problems that plagued the constitution, but that thinking is based on the false logic of gullible minds. While those amendments certainly were restrictions on government power, they did nothing to change the original intent, that being one of granting massive and in many cases unlimited power to a federal government.
The constitution allowed for the usurpation of power by the executive branch, it allowed federal courts to approve and sanction authoritarianism by the government over the people, it allowed for legalized forcible theft by the federal government in the form of taxation, and it allowed the federal government both the ability to collect taxes for war, and to also prosecute those wars. These egregious powers given by the constitution to the central government are completely antithetical to liberty, and should never have been considered by any men of character.
The people did not establish our constitution, nor was it inspired by divine intervention as so many suggest. It would be difficult for me to imagine that God would have a hand in the destruction of our inherent and natural rights. No, this flagrantly flawed document was designed and implemented by a few corrupt men led by Alexander Hamilton. Their agenda was guided not by any desire to achieve liberty for all, but by a grand lust for power and control. Had that not been the case, the Declaration of Independence would have been the guide for any new set of rules, and our original constitution would have been even more scrutinized instead of being replaced.
Instead, after 224 years, we now have exactly what the original ruling class desired, an all-powerful central government ruling over the lower classes. This is a rule by the few over the many. As Aristotle said: “rule by the few is aristocracy in its ideal form and oligarchy in its perverted form.” The elite class holds all the cards, while the rest of us now struggle under the thumb of tyranny!
June 4, 2011
Gary D. Barnett [send him mail] is president of Barnett Financial Services, Inc., in Lewistown, Montana.
Copyright © 2011 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.
In my previous post The Real Problem of Digital Currencies and Privacy I proposed that there were two, readily observable weak links and one primary problem outside of digital currencies. Namely:
Weak Link #1: The exchange services who convert common currencies into e-currency and vice versa.
Weak Link #2: The e-currency must be defensible and the asset which backs the e-currency must be verifiable (technically this is two more weak links bringing the total to 3; in my haste, I neglected to separate these so I make note of that here).
Primary Problem: The lack of understanding of property rights and individual liberty in a sufficient number of people to enable them to come to each other’s mutual defense.
In conducting further research on Bitcoin it is interesting and encouraging to see how it is addressing these issues. While I am no expert on Bitcoin I will do my best to touch on how it and its users are tackling the issues I describe above.
First let us discuss the qualities of an “ideal money” (see What is Money?):
- Scarcity – limited supply helps maintain value
- Durability – the ability to resist wear and decay
- Fungible – divisible into small amounts
- Portable – a sufficient concentration of value that allows efficient transportation
- Proven – a history of successful use
- Use Value – its usefulness
- Defensibility – the degree that it is capable of being defended
Let us now compare how Gold and Bitcoin stack up against each other in each of these areas:
The supply of gold is regulated by nature. The supply of Bitcoin is limited by its configuration.
Gold does not decay or rot. With proper back-up and storage, neither can Bitcoin.
Both gold and Bitcoin can be divided into very small quantities but Bitcoin is the clear winner here because its cost of division is close to zero.
Due to their concentrated value both gold and Bitcoin are highly portable but Bitcoin is the clear winner since wealth can be transferred across the globe with the click of a mouse.
Gold has a 6,000 year history as a proven form of money but it has also proven its weakness since it has been driven out of the monetary system through many periods of history including the present time. Bitcoin has been in existence only a short time and has yet to prove itself over long periods of time.
Gold has many uses in industry – over and above its usefulness as money. Bitcoin’s primary use value is as a medium of exchange. Time may prove that the degree of Bitcoin’s usefulness as a medium of exchange outweighs it’s lack of usefulness in other areas.
Gold, due to its physical nature, is expensive and difficult to store and defend. Bitcoin is easy and inexpensive to store. The degree to which Bitcoin can be defended will continually be tested but the outlook is hopeful. There is no such thing as 100% protection for any asset but one can take actions to minimize risks. The cost to benefit ratio must always be considered.
The assets created and known as Bitcoin have unique qualities in that:
- They are created electronically and exist in a distributed and decentralized fashion across multiple computers across the internet. With no central storage location they become much less susceptible to confiscation by invading armies. A powerful feature indeed.
- They are created or “mined” by complex computational problems which regulates the rate of their creation and limits the ultimate supply giving them an anti-inflationary nature which is one of the main characteristics of a desirable money.
Overcoming Weak Link #1: If there is a ready market of willing trading partners, there really is no need for Bitcoin to be exchanged for fiat currencies. Since fiat currencies primarily act as a medium of exchange (a means to trade what you have for what you want), Bitcoin can simply be traded directly for the goods and services of willing trading partners bypassing the need for currency conversion. A growing market of willing trading partners strengthens the value of Bitcoin and reduces the dependency on fiat currencies.
Overcoming Weak Links #2 and #3: There is no asset backing Bitcoin. Bitcoin is itself the asset. Its greatest value is as a medium of exchange. The fact that it is decentralized makes it extremely difficult to confiscate. Hence, it is highly defensible.
Bitcoin is a promising tool in the struggle for individual liberty. In order for life-protecting tools like Bitcoin to have continued success there must be a sufficient number of people who have a clear philosophy of what Liberty is and what it means (see My Philosophy of Liberty) and they must act consistently within this philosophy (see A Way To Be Free). They must respect the property rights of others. This is called Autarchy.
By Fernanda Echavarri Arizona Daily Star | Posted: Friday, June 3, 2011 12:00 am
The older brother of the man shot and killed during a SWAT raid last month was the primary focus of a long-term drug-trafficking investigation, records released Thursday show.
Jose Guerena and an assortment of relatives and acquaintances are mentioned in a report that chronicles a probe that stretched over two years of a suspected drug-trafficking ring in which several people appeared to have no source of income – except for monthly welfare checks several people named in the reports received – to account for their expensive cars and properties, the records released under a court order indicate.
Article from: http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/34/3497.asp
Louisiana: Cops Beat Up Old Man For Accelerating Slightly
Appeals court upholds $25,000 fine on Louisiana police officers who beat an elderly man during a minor traffic stop.
Police in Louisiana slammed a 67-year-old man into the ground, arresting him over a questionable traffic violation. The state court of appeals ruled May 11 that Calvin D. Miller’s injuries were only worth $25,000 in compensation. Miller had been driving his big rig logging truck home to Florien on US Highway 171 at 5:30pm on July 13, 2007. As he passed through the Village of Hornbeck, Officers Kenneth Hatchett, Jr., and Andy Mitchell, 19, pulled him over because he began speeding up “about 100 feet” before the limit changed from 45 to 55 MPH. Having driven the road for the past forty-seven years, Miller was quite familiar with the speed limit. He insisted he was not speeding.
“I can see right now you’re going to need an attitude adjustment,” Officer Hatchett said to the five foot, six inch tall elderly man.
Miller punched his own fist, then turned his back on the officers and began walking away. They threw him to the ground, deliberately slamming his head into the concrete so he could be handcuffed tightly. After Miller’s wife bailed him out, Miller went to Byrd Regional Hospital where physicians documented the gash on Miller’s forehead, the swelling and bruises and the injury to his wrist and arms. His missed two weeks of work after the incident.
“You don’t turn your back on a cop,” Officer Hatchett explained.
Both officers denied knowing how Miller’s head came into contact with the concrete road shoulder. Eleventh Judicial District Court Judge Stephen Bruce Beasley did not find their testimony credible.
“Officers Hatchett and Mitchell had the considerable advantage of youth, height, weight and weaponry over Miller,” Beasley ruled. “There was no testimony that Miller, at any time during the altercation, brandished or was perceived to possess a weapon. Although Miller was attempting to leave the scene, the stop did not require taking him into custody.”
Beasley found the officers entirely at fault for Miller’s injuries and awarded him $25,000 in damages. The officers appealed the ruling, insisting they had full immunity from prosecution. A three-judge appellate panel rejected the claim and upheld the judgment in full, declining to adjust the damages up or down.
“The totality of the circumstances support the trial court’s finding that the two young armed officers faced little or no risks from Miller for his crime of ‘speeding’ (assuming it to be true) shortly before he actually reached the fifty-five-mile-per-hour sign,” Judge Shannon J. Gremillion wrote for the appeals court. “There is no error in the finding that the force used was excessive and not motivated by officer safety, but to adjust Miller’s attitude.”
A copy of the decision is available in a 100k PDF file at the source link below.
Source: Miller v. Village of Hornbeck (Court of Appeals, State of Louisiana, 5/11/2011)