Libertarian Commentary #16-18B, By Nathan Barton
It has been a while since I commented on a whole raft of news items of interest to lovers of liberty. So here are a few, reminding us of government’s faults.
The Nazgul are getting bolder, and the worst is yet to come. In Las Angles, a Federal Judge has ordered woman to unlock iPhone with her fingerprint, according to Engadget. “It’s still not perfectly clear whether or not law enforcement can force you to unlock your phone with your fingerprint, but an LA court isn’t waiting to find out: for the first time in a federal case, a judge has ordered a person to unlock her smartphone using her digits. The FBI obtained a warrant requiring that identity theft suspect Paytsar Bkhchadzhyan unlock her iPhone through Touch ID just 45 minutes after her arrest. While it’s not certain what the FBI was looking for, Bkhchadzhyan eventually pleaded no contest to the charge.” Next up, will cops and courts OFFICIALLY allow torture or even mutiliation: cut the thumb off to use the fingerprint? Or generate an artificial fingerprint from that fingerprint machine when they arrest you? (Ink? Nope, not any more: digital in more and more places. Be prepared.)
Mama’s Note: Each new technology can be unlocked by the next… there is no such thing as 100% security. Locking a phone in hopes of privacy is not going to be effective. If you have things you want to remain private, put them on a thumb drive, encrypted. Then hide the little devices creatively. But there is still no 100% guarantee of anything.
How earth-like? As earth-like as to be polluted with the parasites of government? I pray not. But the Detroit Free Press reports that there are three Earth-like planets orbiting nearby star that could have life and water. “Our science fiction dreams of Martians may never come true, but three earth-like planets discovered orbiting a nearby star have potential life and water, astronomers announced Monday. The sizes and temperatures of these worlds are similar to those of Earth and Venus, and hold the best promise yet for the search for life outside the solar system. All three planets may have regions with temperatures that are within a range suitable for sustaining liquid water and life, according to the report published Monday in the British journal Nature.” Good news! Will we ever make it to any of these? I think so, but not as long as we have the dead albatross of government around our necks. Without that, I believe we’d already have tens of thousands of people in space in our own star system.
Mama’s Note: It will be interesting, if humans ever manage to get there. I can just see it now… big signs that say, “Trespassers will be shot. Survivors will be shot again.”
I’ve been writing a lot recently about how government attacks everything – at first taxing and regulating and controlling and then just taking it over. We can see that progress in Oregon, where “legalization” apparently means “governmentization.” That thug state has issued the first-ever legal cannabis farm permits. Smell the Truth with the San Francisco Chronicle reports: “Eight lucky Oregon pot farmers got a ticket to the green rush over the weekend when – The Oregon Liquor Control Commission handed them each one of the state’s first permits to grow legal cannabis. The growers are now licensed to plant anywhere from a large house to a huge warehouse’s-worth of cannabis, as a combination of indoor and outdoor growing. Oregon legalized cannabis in 2014, and collected $6.84 million in cannabis sales taxes between January and April 20 this year on $27 million in sales — money that would otherwise be in the state’s vast cannabis black market.” So Oregon’s thugocracy shows its greed for money and power: not just more and more taxes, but more and more control. Bet they have about three bureaucrats for every one of the eight “lucky” (and “legal”) farmers. But this also means that dozens if not hundreds MORE pot farmers will continue to operate in Oregon because they are restricting the industry so much. Greed is a sin, but greed without competition to help control it (as in the case of government) is much worse.
People keep coming up with new ways to sell products and services, especially using our information tech products. Here is one of the latest: Gas delivery apps are newest on-demand fad, reports USA Today “The latest target for disruption by the tech industry: gas stations. In San Francisco on Monday, smartphone app Filld began dispatching drivers with pickup trucks loaded with gasoline to fill people’s tanks who were low on fuel. The app’s users set the exact location of their car, choose a delivery window and release their gas flap. A driver arrives in a small truck, pops open the gas tank and fills it with regular or premium unleaded gas. Filld charges per-gallon rates comparable to nearby stations and tacks on a delivery fee. The app says it has thousands of customers in 180 square miles around the Bay Area and is most popular with minivan-driving parents.”
There have been services like this for decades, and related ones (“at your house/workplace” oil changes, tune-ups, and windshield repair, to name a few) but the use of the app is definitely faddish. However, I suspect that governments – local governments AND state governments – will soon move to ban or restrict or license this: they will claim protection of the environment, protecting children, protecting local business, and demand fees, taxes, licensing, and all the rest. They will use zoning laws and public safety laws to do this – just “interpret” them to include this service. Just as has been happening with AirBnB and Lyft and the other concierge/convenience services.
Sometimes, liberty wins, at least a tiny bit. This may have happened in Colorado where the state’s Supreme Nazgul have struck down local fracking bans in Longmont and Fort Collins, both in liberal Larimer County, long an enemy of business and natural resources extractors (as I know from personal experience). So says the BizAurora, “The Colorado Supreme Court has struck down attempts by two cities to ban or delay fracking.Monday’s ruling is a victory for the oil and gas industry and for state officials who say only state government can regulate energy, not cities or counties.” Not that state control via a corrupt and self-serving bureaucracy is much better, but at least the state doesn’t outright ban it. Banning fracking to get oil and gas is similar to telling miners that you can only use Bobcats or skidsters to load sand and gravel, instead of the efficient, big front-end loaders (and I know government agencies that seek to do just that).
Speaking of Colorado government: two agencies I have to deal with have expressed (again) their disdain for law and liberty. reports that Colorado’s Departments of Human Services and Public Health and Environment sent out letters to parents who refuse to have their children vaccinated demanding that they register their children with the state, providing private information, and update it every time the child moves or changes schools, stating this was a requirement of a law which DIED IN COMMITTEE in the General Assembly. The bureaucratic thugs don’t really care WHAT the legislature does (and the legislature continues to shirk its duty (again, according to my personal knowledge), as long as they have some excuse for their power hunger.
Hmm: payback. The Hindustan Times of India reports that Islamic State hackers have published a hit list of 75 US drone terrorists (military drone operators) (I prefer the term murderers, frankly) urging their followers to kill them. “ISIS hackers have published a ‘hitlist’ of over 70 US military personnel who have been involved in drone strikes against terror targets in Syria and asked their followers to ‘kill them wherever they are.’ According to ‘The Sunday Times,’ the hackers have links with Britain and call themselves ‘Islamic State Hacking Division’ and circulated online the names, home addresses and photographs of more than 70 US staff, including women and urged supporters: ‘Kill them wherever they are, knock on their doors and behead them, stab them, shoot them in the face or bomb them.'” That may explain heightened security measures even at National Guard Armories in recent days.
David Stockman discussed “Morning After In The Shale Patch — Oilfield Workers Getting Slammed” by Annamaria Andriotis at the Wall Street Journal The slump in crude prices is starting to show up as missed payments by consumers in the oil patch. In states from Oklahoma and Texas to North Dakota and Wyoming, rising unemployment in the energy sector is pushing up loan delinquencies and raising the risk of new losses for banks. Wells Fargo & Co. this month reported an increase in borrowers falling behind on payments in areas including Houston and parts of Alaska. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. said auto-loan delinquency rates picked up in some energy-related markets. Overall, energy-dependent states are posting delinquency rates that in many cases exceed the national average, according to data prepared for The Wall Street Journal by credit bureau TransUnion…” It is about time that someone noticed outside the communities impacted by this – but government is too busy passing new taxes (SD raised the state sales tax by 12.5% this year, “for the teachers”) and regulating everything to notice that the goose that lays the golden eggs is either sick or dying. But, that is government for you.