Masterminds!

The world is populated with people who are more concerned about what others are doing than what is going on in their own families.  They are known as a busybody, meddler, marplot, buttinsky, nosy parker, yenta, snoop etc., you get the point.  A certain class of these people will also imagine that they are smarter than everyone else; they will have some evidence which demonstrates they are smart in a particular context.  It could be because they have risen to a high level professionally, academically or financially. “I have PhD, I’m smart”, “I’m a vice-president of sales, I’m smart”, “I founded mega-company, I’m smart.”  And it could well be true that they are smart, but it is equally possible that they are smart only in their particular domain of expertise and once they cross outside they become blithering idiots because the assumptions that worked so well in their domain do not work outside it.  Nevertheless, they feel supremely confident of their opinions and having been successful in one endeavor they imagine they can do whatever they set their minds to whether or not the goal has ever been accomplished before.  You will hear, “the right people haven’t done it.”  The classic example is the idiot who still believes in socialism or communism owing to a persistent utopian stupor of their feeble mind.

These busybodies who imagine themselves your superior are drawn to both money and power as tools to rid the world of some perceived social ill, for example, the desire to drink alcohol, smoke, use drugs, eat junk food, live in poverty  or even entire categories like income inequality.  They love to proscribe.  They love to control the behaviour of people and tell them how to live.  They are expert mind readers sniffing out vestiges of racism, bigotry, misogyny, sub-text, motives and like, all the while maintaining the purest motives themselves.  They tend to feel guilty for their success and see the world as a single pot of limited resources which must be divided properly (by them and their allies of course.) In most cases they will exempt themselves from the planned depredation.  In order for the lumpen proletariat, the plebes, everyman, commoners, to drink deep of the cup of utopian goodness they must control us by seizing our property and our liberty, using laws and regulations as blunt instruments to harass us and consume our lives, providing thin justifications like, “it’s only fair.”  For more than 100 years in America the progressives (whose big ideas had been tried again and again throughout history and failed, i.e. Plato’s Republic, More’s Utopia) have pushed for socialized medicine. Finally, they passed step one with the farcically named bill the “The Affordable Care Act” whose sole purpose appears to be drive everyone into fully socialized medicine.  For the busybody the act is a dream come true.  The masterminds have prevailed. It won’t be long before they will start their home visiting program.  They must prioritize because policing 300M people is impossible.  So who are these high risk people they will visit investigate?  According the health and human services they are as follows:

  • Family in high needs communities as identified by the state
  • The poor
  • Families with tobacco in the home
  • Former members of the armed forces
  • Pregnant females under 21
  • People who have had interactions with child services or charge with child abuse/neglect
  • History of substance abuse or need substance abuse treatment
  • Have children with low student achievement
  • Have children with disabilities

It’s sufficiently general enough to target anyone they wish.  It’s okay because the masterminds are in charge and they have it all figured out. Unless you’re doing something wrong, like chewing tobacco, you have nothing to fear, right?

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Renunciation & Separation

As long as things continue in the US as they are, especially in light of the IRS, NSA scandals, the intrusive, massive surveillance programs, and increasing taxes more people will renounce their citizenship as noted here. People want to be free and remain free. Frankly, I don’t want the government to protect me against low odds at all costs. I am far more likely to be hurt by a large multi-national corporation’s defective product than killed by a terrorist, more likely to die in car wreck, from a bee sting or struck by lightning. And even with this massive program they were unable to prevent what happened to Boston. Your billions in taxes don’t buy you much.  However, a health amount of personal wealth can purchase you an exit plan.

It should be unquestioned at this point that the Federal Reserve Banking system is a massive failure, that Congress and the President are disconnected from reality.  I am betting on reality, though and of course, pain. Perhaps, I should be betting on Russia as the depressingly named “Economic Collapse Blog” notes.

Then there is this.

What’s Left of Financial Privacy?

A friend wanted to withdraw 10k from his bank account to keep the cash on hand because he is concerned about the financial stability of banks especially after what happened in Cyprus.  What he found out surprised him but it was something I already knew. The bank didn’t have 10k in the vault to give him and what is more due to the amount the bank office would need to file some federal forms.  Now my friend was a little miffed about the reporting requirement and the office told him if he withdrew 1k every so often it wouldn’t require any extra paperwork (like reporting the withdrawal or contacting the nearest Federal Reserve Bank to order the cash).

The vast majority of the loss in financial privacy is driven by the war on drugs and the war on terrorism.  Beyond banking there are also reporting requirements for those purchasing gold and silver as explained in this article. Under the current laws, metals dealers are required in some situations to file a 1099B and if they think you are trying to get around the reporting requirements such as my friend did withdrawing his cash 1k at a time, the dealer is supposed to file a suspicious activity report.

I suppose when it’s all said and done I am one of those people who would rather live with risk and rely on the help of my neighbors than see an all powerful state attempt to provide me with total security by stripping me of privacy.  And this post doesn’t even touch on the forfeiture laws which give law enforcement a perverse incentive to seize your property.

Google Mine

Google is testing a new service  Google Mine where you tell them everything you own and like so you can share it with advertisers and thieves your friends.  What could go wrong?  Next up is Google Panopticon where they record every element of your life from dawn to dusk, cradle to grave so advertisers can analyze your total behaviour to sell you stuff!  You need stuff right?  I know I do.

In other news EU regulators are threatening to fine Google for privacy violations.  Repeat after me “Don’t be evil.”

Faceblech

Facebook is like a drunk college student who shows up at a party uninvited and when caught rifling the medicine cabinet belches his contempt for you.  This article at ZDNet indicates that they have alienated many more users of their service but not quite their customers, (not to be confused with the users).  Facebook is walking public relations disaster because it it run by a crew of unscrupulous people.  The accidental merging of the data should be a wake up call for all those companies using hadoop, no sql and so called big table approaches.  While this kind of error is possible with SQL databases, it is not as likely to happen.

Blowback

Editorial in the Times of India blog.  This will impact the bottomline of Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft et. al.  Large organizations are by their very nature fragile and vulnerable to shocks.  It should come as no surprise to anyone that people will question why they are using the services of a company who so willingly cooperates with a state to spy on them.  Even if the whole thing is completely overblown, “the appearance of impropriety is sufficient” as the Victorians said.

These are the companies that gave the impression that they often put, or at least try to put, ethical and moral considerations above the absolute legal requirements they may have to follow. They have always maintained that they do the right thing.

It hurts to be naïve and idealistic.  This scandal will not stop the building of this and I expect it will only slow down their surveillance.