Libertarian Commentary on the News #13-22E: Tyranny+, Economics and Nanny State News

Tyranny – Verizon + “Scandal”
NSA Taps Into User Data on Internet Giants

(The Guardian, UK)  The National Security Agency has obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants, according to a top secret document obtained by the Guardian. The NSA access is part of a previously undisclosed program called PRISM, which allows officials to collect material including search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats, the document says. The Guardian has verified the authenticity of the document, a 41-slide PowerPoint presentation – classified as top secret with no distribution to foreign allies – which was apparently used to train intelligence operatives on the capabilities of the program. The document claims “collection directly from the servers” of major US service providers.

Nathan: This folks, is the icing on the cake; the final application of barbeque sauce to the well-done meat.  Not just metadata (who when where what) but the actual contents of the e-mails and chats and phone calls – Notice that Skype is included.  Yes, I know we can use PGP to hide the actual content, but who is gonna get picked up and charged with “grass too tall,” or “excessive litter” or “obscured license plates” or “missing license plate lamp” and hauled into a nice, well-soundproofed “interview room” to reveal the content of their messages?  Or will the mere USE of PGP or something else be “sufficient evidence” for their Star Chamber to pronounce indefinite detention?  Enemies of the state: those who think that Christmas carols can be sung in school programs?  Those who can quote one of the Bill of Rights?  Those who dare demand a warrant for searching a house or a car?  Those who buy “excessive” amounts of ammunition?  Or food?  Those who move out of a big city and settle in a rural or frontier area?  Or just those who have something that an informant wants and can get as a reward for turning them in?

Now, on to some miscellaneous news, again.

Europeans, comply or else…

(China Daily)  Following the European Commission decision to tax imports of Chinese solar panels, Beijing has decided to launch a probe on European wine imports. And if the 27 do not get the message, other retaliatory measures will follow, warns the Chinese official newspaper.

Nathan: World trade just got a LOT more complicated and potentially dangerous, at least to free trade or anything passing as such.  Once more, government’s stupid actions will punish their own people and businesses.  Remember the 1930’s disaster was made much MUCH worse by a series of trade wars and tariffs.

Theft by government  – Stupid people
Christmas Tree Tax: Round 2

(National Tax Union) In 2011, reports surfaced that the Obama administration was seeking to impose a 15-cent federal tax on Christmas trees. It turned out that the tax was actually sought by the Christmas tree industry through a regulatory process established by Republican lawmakers in the 104th Congress. Now this year, there are new headlines that House Republicans have revived the Christmas tree tax in a farm bill (some of the coverage is still attributing the tax to President Obama even though, as noted, it was being sought by the industry through a statutory process).

Nathan: As is too often the case, an industry is willing to encourage and support tyranny and theft by government for what they think is their own benefit.  Stupidity like this enables government to be even worse than it would be.  It is, in reality, aggression against some of the members of their own industry, who don’t want to “play” along.

Nanny State – Killing Their Own
Do No Harm: Doctors Killing Disabled People?

(Conservative Action Alerts) Ah, the beauty of our progressive society. It seems like only yesterday we were marveling at the UK politician who openly proclaims that disabled children should be killed “like deformed lambs… smashed against a wall.” This profile in postmodern courage is simply bringing back the oh-so noble idea of eugenics: a means of uplifting society by killing, er…culling out those lesser-evolved humanoids so the higher beings can flourish. Streamlining our species, really.

Nathan: Why not?  Clear out the land for the Muslims to inherit.  Get rid of all those old Brits, and keep them from having any children – or just get rid of the children if they aren’t perfect and don’t meet the standards of the new order.  That UK poliitician?  Read about him here.

Next?  They’ll have to speed it up: only 24 a week killed out of 50 million?  Hardly enough.

Tyranny – Verizon “Scandal”
Lindsey Graham ‘glad’ NSA tracking phones

(Conservative Action Alerts) “I’m a Verizon customer. I don’t mind Verizon turning over records to the government if the government is going to make sure that they try to match up a known terrorist phone with somebody in the United States. I don’t think you’re talking to the terrorists. I know you’re not. I know I’m not. So we don’t have anything to worry about.”

Nathan: There are clueless RINOs and then there are CLUELESS RRINOs (REALLY Republicans in Name Only) and then there are the people whom you wonder if they haven’t already had their brain extracted and pickled, like Graham.

Nanny government
Feds put brakes on self-driving cars

( National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was compelled [sic] last week to put its foot down and state that self-driving vehicles are not ready for use by the public.  NHTSA says it does not recommend that states authorize the operation of self-driving vehicles “for purposes other than testing at this time.” And Edmunds reports that it is discouraging states from even setting up rules governing self-driving cars. If a state does permit the “non-testing operation of self-driving vehicles,” the operator should have a special license. Such a separate license should have certain prerequisites, including passage of a test concerning the safe operation of a self-driving vehicle, NHTSA said.

Debby: Am I the only one who has problems with this self-contradicting “recommendation?”  I wonder who bought them off?  Taxi-drivers?

Nathan: The nanny state strikes again.  These are already legal in California and Nevada, but the NHTSA apparently believes that anyone who doesn’t work for the FedGov is too stupid to do this sort of thing. Maybe the unions in CA and NV don’t like the competition and compelled the NHTSA to do this?

Mama’s Note: Yes indeed, Debby… the operator of a self driving car… HUH?

I don’t EVER want anything to do with a “self driving” car. Far as I’m concerned, that’s too much like a “self shooting” gun!!! I don’t even like to drive, but this is just a bit too much for me. If, however, anyone else wants to take that risk, and accept responsibility for the consequences… well then, not my problem.

About TPOL Nathan

Follower of Christ Jesus (a christian), Pahasapan (resident of the Black Hills), Westerner, Lover of Liberty, Free-Market Anarchist, Engineer, Army Officer, Husband, Father, Historian, Writer, Evangelist. Successor to Lady Susan (Mama Liberty) at TPOL.
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