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The US Military has been blowing up Iraq since I was 5 years old. In spite of all the politicians promises that this blowing up of Iraqi stuff would lead to a new tomorrow, where peace and prosperity flood into the region, this brave new world has failed to arrive.

 

The previous 24 years of blowing up Iraq haven't achieved their stated aims, so we listen again to blather from elected officials that certainly, this time, the bombs will bring peace. Perhaps the previous explosions weren't powerful enough, or were too powerful. Certainly, they tell us, finding the right target, or blowing up the right mud brick building will change the hearts of ISIS, and turn the region around. The issue isn't one of approach, it is one of gathering intelligence, they say.

 

Terrorists, the popular press will tell you, are finite in number and if only they could all be apprehended, peace would ensue. Terrorists, by these same accounts, are "radicalized", as if anti-Westernism were an infectious disease over which its victim has no control. Never does it enter popular discussion that these people could be externally motivated by the events going on around them, or that otherwise peaceful individuals could be driven to violence by a combination of beliefs and events.

 

Worse still, is the logical fallacy that organizations like Al Qaeda and ISIS are hierarchical structures similar to ordinary governments or militaries, and that if the heads of the organization can be clipped, that the rest of the organization would wander off into retail jobs and farming. The reality, made apparent by the hydra-like behavior of these organizations, is that the members are self-motivated, and that Al Qaeda is more like a jihad fan club than a jihad corporation. For example, if the head of the Star Wars fan club were killed, it is unlikely that everyone in the club would cease to enjoy Star Wars. Likewise, if the head of ISIS is killed, or if the main players of a particular cell of Al Qaeda are killed, it is unlikely the rest of the group would pack up their stuff and go home.

 

Furthermore, decentralized organizations are the only organizations that can survive under the vigilance of US anti-terrorist operations. People don't seem to ask what it takes to set up a chapter of Al Qaeda. An ambitious fellow doesn't have to apply for a franchise and pay a fee to Al Qaeda LLC; all you need is a bunch of guys who decide to call themselves Al Qaeda.

 

To fight these loosely organized guys as if they were the Wehrmacht is an inappropriate tactic. If one part of the organization, even the most visible members, recant their positions and surrender, the rest of the organization will renounce them and carry on. Surrender is an impermanent, ephemeral goal, as no one man controls the motivations and opinions of the entire organization.

 

Further still, no one ever asks why these guys are fighting, or who these guys even are. In 2003, US bombs began to fall in Baghdad, during what was called "Shock and Awe" at the time. This decimated the paid Iraqi army, and began the unpaid insurgent resistance to the US Army that goes on to this day. 2003 was 11 years ago, and tens of thousands of Iraqis were orphaned during this period. What do you suppose the views of a 19 year old Iraqi fellow, orphaned in 2003, might be in regards to the US? What of a 30 year old, who has known hardly anything but American bombs, soldiers, no-fly-zones and tanks? Is it any surprise that there is no shortage of willing, murderous young men joining the Islamic State?

 

Foreign attack creates a sense of conservatism and nationalism. The 1979-1989 attacks on Afghanistan by the Soviet Union ended all traces of progressive thought in Afghanistan, as the psychotically traditional Taliban took over the country. Previously, Afghanistan had been looking to modernize the country. Afterwards, those thought to be too modern could be flogged or killed. The US occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq has apparently done little to endear the Western world to the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, as is made abundantly clear by a burgeoning Taliban presence in Afghanistan, and the appearance of the especially brutish and backward Islamic State taking over Iraq.

 

And so, more bombs fall, and the insistence by the would-be Caliphs that the West it out to get the Iraqi people sound more plausible to Iraqi ears. By fighting, by blowing up trucks and artillery, the US creates more enemies that will either destroy or be destroyed. Each ISIS fighter killed leaves dozens of surviving relatives, who will be more motivated to take up the sword. The war can absolutely be fought, as it has for nearly 25 years. But fighting will only lead to more fighting. Bombing will lead to more bombing. History has shown that new targets appear as old targets are destroyed.

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Ask yourself, how is TacoCoin better than AppleByte? The market says one AppleByte is nearly ten times as valuable as a TacoCoin. Why? What makes it better? How are they different?

An AppleCoin is one hundred times as valuable as an AppleByte, on the other hand.

How about NewYorkCoin, which has increased in value 2500% in the past 24 hours, or FlappyCoin, down 93%?

Then there is ByteCoin (BCN) and, yes, ByteCoin (BTE). One is the #16 cryptocurrency by market cap. The other's value isn't calculable since no one knows how many there are. How can you know the difference?

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With 103 currencies with more than $100,000 in market cap, how any anyone presume that any one currency will last, or maintain its value? How can Bitcoin remain top dog, with Bitcoin, Bitcoin Plus, Bitcoin Dark, Bitcoin Scrypt and Qubitcoin, if they are all exchangeable, fungible and tradeable? Why buy one Bitcoin when you can buy 90 Litecoins?

While Bitcoin accounts for over 90% of market cap, it only accounts for two-thirds of all trade. That is to say, for every three dollars worth of "coin" transactions, one of them is taking place in some cryptocurrency other than Bitcoin.

With such great incentive to create one's own currency, the assault on Bitcoin's market share will only continue, as there are now 433 cryptocurrencies tracked on coinmarketcap.com at the time of posting. The barrier to entry is lower every day as more merchants gear themselves to accept the many new cryptocurrencies.

Ultimately, a galaxy of cryptocurrencies will exist (far moreso than today), and the market cap will become increasingly stretched across the limitless sea of ones and zeroes. As time goes by, and the emotional tie to Bitcoin fades in the minds of people, its particular strings of 0's and 1's, no different than any other, will hold no more value than any other. This has yet to pass, but there is no theoretical reason for the market to remain out of equilibrium forever.

 

 

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With "net neutrality" laws looming in our near future, internet killswitch legislation brewing in California, and the ever-present monthly bills for Internet Service Providers, it may seem that the best days of the internet are behind us. Like the Wild West giving way to the Bureau of Land Management, it might appear that the exciting freshness of the Internet wearing off.

However, hope for a faster, tougher, freer internet is cropping up in places that most people don't immediately associate with the cutting edge of technology: Africa. But it's for a good reason. While most people in the West are perfectly capable of paying $40-$60 monthly for internet access, this is an absolute killer in Africa. So a new technology, the wireless mesh network, is gaining popularity. Rather than a set of users depending on a central server system and ISP, the user's wireless devices themselves make up the network. Traffic is peer to peer to peer, rather than peer to server to peer. This means two wonderful things; there's no one to pay, and there's nothing to build.

Internet access in the developed world operates on the model of telephone service dating back to the early 20th century. This was a natural, given the first internet technology we all loved to hate: dial-up. This top down, centralized model of data distribution has gradually improved connection speeds, but the structure of server farms and zillions of miles of cable never changed.

In glorious contrast, the mesh networks in Africa are decentralized, and as is the case with mesh networks, the more nodes (phones/computers) that are added, the faster the network gets.

Speed advantages aside, mesh networks allow for not just one internet, but many internets, operating simultaneously and independently of one another. With mesh networks, there is no longer just one internet that can be killed with the touch of a button (look how Turkey shut down Twitter in their country because people were saying things the government didn't like). A decentralized internet is a robust internet.

Ultimately, a smartphone user operating inside a mesh network could call anywhere and download as much of anything as he or she wanted free of charge. No phone bill. No ISP. And this is exactly what we are seeing grow up in Africa. Soon, apps will develop that will mesh directly from phone to phone in the US, and like Blockbuster, the ISP will disappear before they can react.

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 George Orwell had a fine concept of political speech and it's purpose. He's no less right today than he was 60 years ago when he said it, and today's phrases carefully crafted for maximum political effect are no different. Here are three such phrases used to advance the interests of the state at the expense of the people.

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1. National Security

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National security can occasionally refer to classified military information that could actually threaten the citizenry of the United States. For instance, the codes that activate the US nuclear arsenal should be kept secret for national security reasons. The reasons are clear.

Lately, however, national security has been used as an excuse to keep embarrassing information away from the eyes and ears of the public. Of late, national security has come to mean the political security of state officials. The details of the Benghazi attack, for instance, are being kept secret, but represent no real security issue.

 

2. Keynesian Economics

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Keynesian theory, as practiced these days, is the idea that government knows best and can reverse an economic downturn. In spite of being repeatedly shown to be totally wrong in every way, politicians find the concept of righting economic wrongs with printed money terribly tantalizing, and so Keynesian economics has been taught in state-controlled schools for decades.

The phrase "Keynesian economics" has come to mean "government employees are always right", and that complete control of the monetary system should be ceded to government employees, who in their great wisdom, will elevate us all from poverty. Predictably though, the newly printed money generally finds its way to friends of government, making the well-connected very rich. Not that anyone could have seen that coming.

To use a scientific-sounding term lends legitimacy to the theft writ large that Keynesian theory has come to represent. A more appropriate term would be possibly "state-controlled economics", or "centrally-planned economics", as this is a fairer representation of what is going on. Panels of bureaucrats deciding what the interest rate and money supply ought to be is a frankly Soviet tradition, and is no different from deciding the price of shoes or how much wheat ought to be farmed.

 

3. Public versus Private

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The Cliven Bundy case, where armed agents of the federal government forcibly stole a man's cattle for "trespassing" on so-called public land is an illustration of just how public those lands really are. In this case the Bureau of Land Management had laid claim to the land, and charged rent. People who didn't pay evidently got guns stuck in their faces. Oftentimes, "public" goods are treated as the personal property of the state employees that administer them, even though they are forcibly funded by the public at large.

A better term might be "state-controlled" and "citizen-controlled". For instance, "public housing" has a friendly sound to it; one would like to imagine that anyone could live there free of charge. Calling something "public" tends to hide the cost, as state-controlled entities use taxpayer money to avoid charging door fees.

"Public schools" have a welcoming sound, while "private schools" sound closed off and elitist.

The truth of the matter is that a public school, far from being a creation of a community for the benefit of its children, is a state-controlled entity with increasingly little input from parents. Just take a look at "Common Core", which would more correctly be called the "State-Controlled Curriculum".

To call a fellow a "public" official is often unrepresentative of the truth, as that person is paid by the state and won't generally go to bat for the public. He is a state official, and when push comes to shove, will generally cleave unto the state.

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As Confucius said, the beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name. So long as people continue to use the language crafted by the state for its own benefit, the institutions directly opposed to the interests of the people will be protected.

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Posted by on in Uncategorized

The US Dollar, as defined in the Coinage Act of 1792, is defined as about three-fourths of an ounce of silver.

These things that we are paid with today, and use to pay bills are not dollars per se, but rather a piece of scrip printed by the official sounding "Federal Reserve", which is actually a bunch of commercial banks that bribed Congress to let them counterfeit money and loan it to themselves. No, really. Look it up.

It isn't good business to change the name of a gourmet ice-cream when you sell out to Unilever, so likewise the banks  printing the new money didn't use a different name for their faux-money product.

To call one of today's greenbacks a dollar is like calling a mannequin a woman, and so it becomes necessary to call today's "dollars" by their proper name.

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Clownbux.

  • To call them Federal Reserve Notes lends credence to the banking fraud.
  • To call them Government Scrip makes them sound too official.
  • To call them Clownbux captures perfectly their kinship with Monopoly money, Chuck. E. Cheese tickets, and IOU's from passing vagrants.
  • To refer to the national debt as "17 Trillion Clownbux" cuts it down to its proper level of legitimacy.
  • To say the price is "42 Clownbux" helps everyone realize that maybe a sounder means of exchange is needed.
  • For a salary to be quoted as 70,000 Clownbux a year makes the jobseeker think to renegotiate terms and benefits.
  • It is easier to turn down Clownbux and ask for something else. "No, I don't want Clownbux. Got any ranch dressing?"

To continue to refer to debts and payments as dollars, as if that were a constant and real term, is to support the fraud. To use a different term devoid of sentimentality helps demonstrate how their value is constantly changing (for the worse), and that in time no one will take them seriously.

Furthermore, as nations around the world steal from their citizens by debauching their currencies, the term can be reused. EU Clownbux, Japanese Clownbux, and so on.

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