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Latest Posts

Surrendering Liberty: America’s Fatal Freedom Apathy
According to our civic folklore, Americans are more devoted to freedom than any other nationality on earth. But it is increasingly appears that this dogma is a relic of bygone times.

29 January 2015read on...

China Looks West: What Is at Stake in Beijing’s ‘New Silk Road’ Project
Not even two years into what will almost certainly be a ten-year tenure as China’s president, Xi Jinping has already had an impact on China’s foreign policy: standing up for what many Chinese see as their nation’s territorial sovereignty in maritime boundary disputes in the East China Sea and the South China Sea, proposing a “new model of great power relations” to guide relations with the United States, and presiding over the consolidation of what Xi himself calls a “comprehensive strategic partnership” with Russia. But the most consequential diplomatic initiative of Xi’s presidency may turn out to be his calls to create a “New Silk Road Economic Belt” and a “Maritime Silk Road of the 21st Century”: vast infrastructure and investment schemes aimed at expanding China’s economic connections to—and its political influence across—much of Eurasia.

28 January 2015read on...

'Two Percent Inflation' and The Fed's Current Mandate
Over the last 100 years the Fed has had many mandates and policy changes in its pursuit of becoming the chief central economic planner for the United States. Not only has it pursued this utopian dream of planning the US economy and financing every boondoggle conceivable in the welfare/warfare state, it has become the manipulator of the premier world reserve currency.

28 January 2015read on...

Beware the Two Percent!
Why is the Federal Reserve the best friend of the warfare state? Watch Ron Paul lay down the history of this destructive institution...

28 January 2015read on...

New Russia 'Spy' Scandal: US Foreign Policy Goes Retro
Progressives have saddled themselves with a theory of history that sees the "march of progress" as an ever upwardly-bound journey to political perfection: thus the appellation "progressive," as in "things are getting progressively better." Yet history – real history, that is – lacks any such teleological plan or direction. It is characterized, instead, by ups and downs, golden ages and dark ages: the golden age of Greece and Rome was followed by centuries of ignorance and retrogression that we call – not without reason – the Dark Ages.

28 January 2015read on...

After The 'Syriza Shock' - Now Comes The Hard Choice Of Escape Or Merely Re-setting The Terms of Greece’s EU Servitude
We can heartily praise Alexis Tsirpras for calling bull on the destructive puzzle palace economics thrust on his country by the hypocrites and liars who rule from Brussels. And his finance minister designate, economist Yanis Varoufakis, is surely on the right track when he targets the rent-seeking bankers, big businesses and media operators who have plundered the Greek state for decades.

26 January 2015read on...

Beware a New Cold War
The notion of a New Cold War with Russia first arrived in 2008 with the publication of Edward Lucas' book The New Cold War: The Future of Russia and the Threat to the West. It received some attention at the time, but the cold war construct in its title gained little traction until the 2014. Since the Ukraine has been in crisis the phrase "a New Cold War" has become fairly commonplace in the media. Part of the reason for this is that the emotional memory of the Cold War is still strong and 'cold war' remains an easy, ready and convenient trope for media commentators in need of dramatic content. However, we should be concerned with more than rhetorical overreach by writers of headlines, book titles and opinion pieces.

23 January 2015read on...

A Second Even More Unjustifiable Episode of Government Collection of Phone Records
In the rush to sensationalize the Paris terrorist attacks and minimize all other news (for example, even more horrendous terrorist attacks in Nigeria), the American media has conveniently overlooked one major ill effect of the public hysteria it is helping to foment.

23 January 2015read on...

Featured Articles

Surveillance State: We Are One Step Away from Glass Houses


I Am Being Watched

In Yevgeny Zamyatin's dystopian novel We, the people of One State live in transparent apartments with curtains required to be open nearly all the time so police and informants may view the residents' every action. Listening to George Washington University Law School Professor Jeffrey Rosen's interview last week on The Take Away, it becomes disturbingly clear that Americans are one step away from this level of government snooping on our activities.

Rosen details how police can use facial recognition software combined with abundant cameras to track and catalog our activities. As Rosen explains, the snooping is not limited to attempting to catch suspected criminals. Rather, police may use the technology to follow the daily activities of any person whose photo is contained in vast photo databases, such as anyone with a driver license.

The US government is working with states to expand quickly the use of facial recognition surveillance. Jennifer Lynch of the Electronic Frontier Foundation warned last year:

Recently-released documents show that the FBI has been working since late 2011 with four states—Michigan, Hawaii, Maryland, and possibly Oregon—to ramp up the Next Generation Identification (NGI) Facial Recognition Program. When the program is fully deployed in 2014, the FBI expects its facial recognition database will contain at least 12 million “searchable frontal photos.”

The database will quickly grow much larger. Lynch explains that agreements between the FBI and states in the pilot program allow the states to add just about anyone's photo to the database, including data dumps of driver license photos.

In addition to expanding the photo database, the US government is working on significantly improving the cameras and facial recognition software police use. For example, Gene Healy of the Cato Institute describes some efforts of the US Department of Homeland Security. First, DHS "has awarded a $5.2 million federal contract to the defense firm Electronic Warfare Associates to develop facial recognition technology allowing video cameras to pick 'watch-listed' suspects out of crowds at distances of up to 100 meters." Second, DHS is considering using, inside the US, Gorgon Stare "a drone-mounted camera array under development by the Air Force that can watch whole cities at a time." As we have seen again and again, military equipment and tactics developed in US wars abroad are later used domestically.

How can we evade the snooping? Maybe we can wear masks to regain some of our lost privacy from prying government eyes. But, the government will likely respond by outlawing wearing masks. In fact, last year the Canadian government made wearing a mask or otherwise concealing your identity at a "riot or unlawful assembly" a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

At least we can stay in our homes with the curtains closed—until the US government takes the next step toward One State.

Flickr/qwghlm

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