Posts Tagged ‘personal freedoms’

The essence of this blog

January 28, 2011

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1351037/Airport-bans-toy-soldiers-inch-rifle-plane–safety-threat.html

His three-inch, plastic toy gun was branded a ‘firearm’ and banned from a transatlantic flight.”

To be fair, although most reasonable people would find the above amusing, what this incident underscores is how far state propaganda has reached into the psyche of the common man.

Propaganda works best when the public perceives there to be a degree of truth in what government says is the reality of everyday life. In this regard, television shows like CSI, Bones, The Unit or Criminal Minds are an absolute bonanza for the state because they inculcate in the heads of the masses the idea that military and security spending along with the curtailment of personal freedoms are a real necessity to “preserve” our way of life.

Generally speaking, people cannot understand a problem if their livelihood depends on them not understanding it in the first place. A security agent’s job depends on there being a threat. Whether the threat is real or imagined is a matter of perception.

But give the masses enough tv shows highlighting potential threats and hire enough security personnel and in quick succession you have a paranoiac society begging to be protected even if that means the total invasion of one’s private life.

Christian and Islamic extremists must be high-fiving and patting each other backs seeing what our open societies have been reduced to.

 

 

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On transitioning towards a police state and a re-post

December 27, 2010

The open society steeped in economic and personal freedoms the West has been known for, is gradually succumbing to the inevitable ramifications of a short sighted, self serving and ultimately devastating monetary system. Though some can claim that evidence for this contention is still sporadic and anecdotal, the reality is that it is happening and the trend is ominous.

The exaltation and promotion of the security apparatus in Europe and in the USA is following a well known and, till society wakes up, inevitable pattern.

The first step is to affirm the immunity of the state as an entity above the law and above the constitution

The second step is to re-define and broaden the definition of whom and what poses a threat to the state

You then re-define certain violations from civil to criminal

You then expand and attribute extraordinary powers to the security apparatus

Finally you seek help from citizens to report “suspicious” activity.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Czoww2l1xdw

At this point, a bit of history is instructive. A big hat tip to Alex Jones of Prison Planet

Excerpt with emphasis added:

One common misconception about Nazi Germany was that the police state was solely a creation of the authorities and that the citizens were merely victims. On the contrary, Gestapo files show that 80% of all Gestapo investigations were started in response to information provided by denunciations by “ordinary” Germans.” […]

Gellately discovered that the people who informed on their neighbors were motivated primarily by banal factors – “greed, jealousy, and petty differences,” and not by a genuine concern about crime or insecurity. Indeed, history tells us that any Stasi-like society does nothing to increase genuine security and only turns the host population against each other while decaying the country from within.

Gellately “found cases of partners in business turning in associates to gain full ownership; jealous boyfriends informing on rival suitors; neighbors betraying entire families who chronically left shared bathrooms unclean or who occupied desirable apartments.”

“And then there were those who informed because for the first time in their lives someone in authority would listen to them and value what they said.”

Gellately emphasizes the fact that the Germans who sicked (sic!) the authorities on their neighbors knew very well what the consequences for the victims would be – families torn apart, torture and internment in concentration camps, and ultimately in many cases death – but they still did it with few qualms because the rewards of financial bounties and mere convenience were deemed more important to them.

Which brings me to Stanley Milgram (1933-1984) and his “Obedience Experiment“. And this is the part you should find terrifrying:

Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process. Moreover, even when the destructive effects of their work become patently clear, and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority.[3]” […] Later, Prof. Milgram and other psychologists performed variations of the experiment throughout the world, with similar results[4] although unlike the Yale experiment,[dubiousdiscuss] resistance to the experimenter was reported anecdotally elsewhere.[5] Milgram later investigated the effect of the experiment’s locale on obedience levels by holding an experiment in an unregistered, backstreet office in a bustling city, as opposed to at Yale, a respectable university. The level of obedience, “although somewhat reduced, was not significantly lower.” What made more of a difference was the proximity of the “learner” and the experimenter.

The Milgram experiment took place at the time of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichman’s trial in Jerusalem in 1961 and it makes for fascinating if terrifying reading. In fact, the experiment touched on such horrifyingly dark aspects of human behavior that it was never carried out again till the mid 90s when the results turned out to be exactly the same.

Just in case there may be any doubts, more recent research finds that most people will inflict pain on others if prodded: http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/pain/articles/2009/01/05/researcher-finds-most-will-inflict-pain-on-others.html – left to their own devices to interpret guidelines from the authorities, most people will act upon their hard feelings towards others. Hard feelings that may be nothing more than petty disagreements or perceived competition for jobs, girl/boyfriends, parking spaces or being annoyed at someone making noise at night.

And now, a re-post from January 2010; but first, the conclusion. If alleged terrorists ostensibly hate us because of our way of life, they have already won. Our societies are becoming ever more obscurantist and our governments oppressive just like in dinky countries in remote, tribal and primitive areas of the world where these presumed terrorists hail from.

https://guidoromero.wordpress.com/2010/01/16/fascisms-inexorable-advance/

Politics cannot be separated from economics or social science or the law. All are results of human choice and action and all are intimately related. Some choices come upstream of all others thus drawing a framework within which all others evolve; the choice that is upstream of all others is our monetary system.

The deliberate but arbitrary choice of a fiat monetary system must perforce lead the entity that maintains exclusive control of the monetary system to becoming the largest actor in the economy thus influencing the law thus politics thus the social sciences.

http://grandfather-economic-report.com/piechart.htm

Fascism and/or corporatism is the inescapabale and logical conclusion of a fiat monetary system. As the presumed beneficial role of the currency gradually wanes, government has a vested interest in at first tolerating but then progressively colluding-in and eventually sponsoring legislation that is contrary to stated moral or fiduciary values of yore.

The only question is when does society deem that enough is enough.

But the more important question is how society comes to deem that enough is enough and what legislation it may be capable of vetoing or enforcing in order to avoid the most undesirable, but logical, outcome of a fascist state. That is, when are we collectively going to take the steps required in order to bring order to our monetary system, our economies, our political systems and avoid a perpetual state of war that as of now is guaranteed to evolve into a world war.

I don’t have an answer to that question other than to say that the only true, peaceful and legal instrument that is still within reach of anyone that understands what is going on and that wishes to effect political change is to accumulate gold and silver bullion.

When all is said and done, as our governments, wittingly or not, are hell bent on destroying the currency in order to perpetuate a perceived desirable political system, bullion is the only thing that could alter the otherwise logical course a fiat monetary system dictates.

http://onlinejournal.com/artman/publish/article_5463.shtml

Excerpt (emphasis added):

On Jan. 5, a ruling by the Federal Appeals Court in the District of Columbia gave away the most essential protection of liberty by declaring that the U.S. government is not bound by law during war. The ruling absolves Washington from complying with America’s own laws and from complying with international laws, such as the Geneva Conventions. It makes a mockery of all war crime trials everywhere. By elevating the executive branch above the law, the court gave the government carte blanche.

The rationale offered by the court for refusing to uphold the law came from Judge Janice Rogers Brown, who said that America had been pushed by war past “the leading edge of a new and frightening paradigm, one that demands new rules be written. War is a challenge to law, and the law must adjust.” By “adjust” she means “be set aside” or “be thrown out.”

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to defend both the Constitution and the principle that government is not above the law. Last Dec.14, the Supreme Court refused to review a ruling by the Federal Appeals Court in the District of Columbia, which dismissed a torture case with the argument that “torture is a foreseeable consequence of the military’s detention of suspected enemy combatants.” In other words, neither U.S. nor international laws against torture can be enforced in U.S. courts. The opinion [PDF] was written by Judge Karen Lecraft Henderson.

The “war on terror,” which is enriching Halliburton, Blackwater (now operating under an alias), and the military/security complex, while denying Americans health care, is running up debt that is a threat to Americans’ purchasing power and living standards. The contrast between America’s sanctimonious rhetoric and the murder of civilians and torture of prisoners has destroyed America’s reputation and caused Europeans as well as Muslims to despise the United States.

The sacrifice of the Constitution and rule of law to a hyped “theorist threat” has destroyed the heart and soul of America herself.

As a poet wrote, “our world in stupor lies.

My final thought is this. We are ostensibly fighting “terrorists” because they threaten our way of life. Clearly, the terrorists have won.

Criminalizing everyone

December 23, 2010

An old press article that I had already posted at the time that shows how things progress. This ties in with just about anything you care to think of from the Patriot Act to Codex Alimentarius to travel restrictions to a general hardening of security law and the concomitant expansion of what is considered a crime and/or treason.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/oct/05/criminalizing-everyone/?page=1

Full text emphasis added:

“You don’t need to know. You can’t know.” That’s what Kathy Norris, a 60-year-old grandmother of eight, was told when she tried to ask court officials why, the day before, federal agents had subjected her home to a furious search.

The agents who spent half a day ransacking Mrs. Norris’ longtime home in Spring, Texas, answered no questions while they emptied file cabinets, pulled books off shelves, rifled through drawers and closets, and threw the contents on the floor.

The six agents, wearing SWAT gear and carrying weapons, were with – get this – the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Kathy and George Norris lived under the specter of a covert government investigation for almost six months before the government unsealed a secret indictment and revealed why the Fish and Wildlife Service had treated their family home as if it were a training base for suspected terrorists. Orchids.

That’s right. Orchids.

By March 2004, federal prosecutors were well on their way to turning 66-year-old retiree George Norris into an inmate in a federal penitentiary – based on his home-based business of cultivating, importing and selling orchids.

Mrs. Norris testified before the House Judiciary subcommittee on crime this summer. The hearing’s topic: the rapid and dangerous expansion of federal criminal law, an expansion that is often unprincipled and highly partisan.

Chairman Robert C. Scott, Virginia Democrat, and ranking member Louie Gohmert, Texas Republican, conducted a truly bipartisan hearing (a D.C. rarity this year).

These two leaders have begun giving voice to the increasing number of experts who worry about “overcriminalization.” Astronomical numbers of federal criminal laws lack specifics, can apply to almost anyone and fail to protect innocents by requiring substantial proof that an accused person acted with actual criminal intent.

Mr. Norris ended up spending almost two years in prison because he didn’t have the proper paperwork for some of the many orchids he imported. The orchids were all legal – but Mr. Norris and the overseas shippers who had packaged the flowers had failed to properly navigate the many, often irrational, paperwork requirements the U.S. imposed when it implemented an arcane international treaty’s new restrictions on trade in flowers and other flora.

The judge who sentenced Mr. Norris had some advice for him and his wife: “Life sometimes presents us with lemons.” Their job was, yes, to “turn lemons into lemonade.”

The judge apparently failed to appreciate how difficult it is to run a successful lemonade stand when you’re an elderly diabetic with coronary complications, arthritis and Parkinson’s disease serving time in a federal penitentiary. If only Mr. Norris had been a Libyan terrorist, maybe some European official at least would have weighed in on his behalf to secure a health-based mercy release.

Krister Evertson, another victim of overcriminalization, told Congress, “What I have experienced in these past years is something that should scare you and all Americans.” He’s right. Evertson, a small-time entrepreneur and inventor, faced two separate federal prosecutions stemming from his work trying to develop clean-energy fuel cells.

The feds prosecuted Mr. Evertson the first time for failing to put a federally mandated sticker on an otherwise lawful UPS package in which he shipped some of his supplies. A jury acquitted him, so the feds brought new charges. This time they claimed he technically had “abandoned” his fuel-cell materials – something he had no intention of doing – while defending himself against the first charges. Mr. Evertson, too, spent almost two years in federal prison.

As George Washington University law professor Stephen Saltzburg testified at the House hearing, cases like these “illustrate about as well as you can illustrate the overreach of federal criminal law.” The Cato Institute’s Timothy Lynch, an expert on overcriminalization, called for “a clean line between lawful conduct and unlawful conduct.” A person should not be deemed a criminal unless that person “crossed over that line knowing what he or she was doing.” Seems like common sense, but apparently it isn’t to some federal officials.

Former U.S. Attorney General Richard Thornburgh’s testimony captured the essence of the problems that worry so many criminal-law experts. “Those of us concerned about this subject,” he testified, “share a common goal – to have criminal statutes that punish actual criminal acts and [that] do not seek to criminalize conduct that is better dealt with by the seeking of regulatory and civil remedies.” Only when the conduct is sufficiently wrongful and severe, Mr. Thornburgh said, does it warrant the “stigma, public condemnation and potential deprivation of liberty that go along with [the criminal] sanction.”

The Norrises’ nightmare began with the search in October 2003. It didn’t end until Mr. Norris was released from federal supervision in December 2008. His wife testified, however, that even after he came home, the man she had married was still gone. He was by then 71 years old. Unsurprisingly, serving two years as a federal convict – in addition to the years it took to defend unsuccessfully against the charges – had taken a severe toll on him mentally, emotionally and physically.

These are repressive consequences for an elderly man who made mistakes in a small business. The feds should be ashamed, and Mr. Evertson is right that everyone else should be scared. Far too many federal laws are far too broad.

Mr. Scott and Mr. Gohmert have set the stage for more hearings on why this places far too many Americans at risk of unjust punishment. Members of both parties in Congress should follow their lead.

Brian W. Walsh is senior legal research fellow in the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at the Heritage Foundation.

End quote

Without wishing to be trite, it is absurd to commit this amount of material and human resources to investigating and criminally prosecuting what are obvious and clear cases that fall under civil law. These are as clear examples as can be made of the inevitable consequence of the end of a monetary system that is predicated on inflation that results inevitably in the expansion of government till government becomes the largest actor in the economy and, from that point onwards, must ensure its own survival and perpetuation – a beautiful argument for the sanctity of the raison d’etat.

When something good works against personal freedom

October 22, 2010

Some of you may know I recently married and that my wife Rula is expecting our first child. As we pre-plan our child’s early life, one of the things we came across was the possibility of saving and storing the baby’s umbilical cord so that he/she may have access to his/her own stem cells if and when needed in the future.

We live in Jordan, in the Middle East. When Rula first mentioned the possibility of saving and storing the baby’s cord, I thought that whatever company would do that would store the cord in the same country where the baby was born or, at any rate, in the country of nationality of the baby. The reason I thought that, is due to the controversy that surrounds all things DNA, stem cells and biological identity. As things turn out, the companies that operate in Jordan in fact store the tissue in the UK. In fact, there are a number of companies that are licensed to carry out this type of work globally and it seems that China is at the forefront  of storage and use of stem cells. However, China not being recognized neither by the FDA in the USA nor the European body (which name now escapes me) nor the UK’s Human Tissue Authority, their work is not included in worldwide statistics.

Interestingly, we are told that in the early stages of this activity in the UK, companies were being licensed by a body other than the Human Tissue Authority. But eventually, government questioned the relevance of this private body issuing licenses for the collection and storage of human tissue and set up the HTA as a government agency.

At the individual level, as parents, both Rula and myself are naturally naturally inclined to do something that improves the chances of survival of our child. If saving the kids’ cord may help him/her one day fight some lethal disease then what’s a few thousand Dollars for peace of mind and for our child’s survival?…

The long and the short of the story is that Rula and I will do this. We do it willingly because it is a good thing.

Nonetheless, I cannot but be torn by my awareness that I am willingly giving up a significant portion of my child’s freedom… without my child’s consent.

Readers of this blog know I maintain our economic/social model evolves according to a logic dictated by two overarching dynamics: the first is the choice of monetary system and the second the choice of political system. As you by now know, though symbiotic, these two dynamics do not affect our lives equally the monetary system being the ultimate driver whereas the political system is subordinate thus is the proximate driver of all human dynamics. Moreover, despite the fact that the monetary system is the ultimate driver, the choice of system is not subject to society for ratification. In other words; governments, particularly Western governments, ergo governments of open democratic societies, retain the exclusive and arbitrary right to impose the monetary system.

Throughout the Western world, all be it at different times, our respective governments have imposed a debt based fiat monetary system upon society. Though not necessarily destructive, the political process ensures that debt based money always and everywhere will end in a catastrophic collapse. The only variable is time.

The reason is that debt based fiat money is predicated on inflation and inflation is a dynamic that conforms to the laws of diminishing marginal utility. This means that you progressively need more inflation in order to obtain the same result. This is not opinion. It is a mathematical truism.

What is relevant here, is that as the debt based fiat monetary logic evolves and as inflation loses traction over time, the only way more inflation can be brought to bear is if government progressively becomes more involved in society and the economy.

Thus as the effect of inflation inevitably wanes, the end of a debt based fiat monetary system is characterized by big government. But big government is inherently and by necessity intrusive thus ever more statist thus ever less democratic.

This is nothing new. It has happened before so this should not be and is not a surprise to anyone that can grasp the very simple logic of debt based fiat money.

At a time when government is clearly, blatantly and overtly flouting the black letter of the law for the ostensible good of “the system”, how much more proof do you want to realize that we are now well into dictatorship territory? How about a candid admission of manipulation at the highest level?

http://www.cjr.org/the_audit/plot_thickens_cftc_judge.php

http://www.futuresmag.com/News/2010/10/Pages/CFTC-judge-claims-colleague-is-biased-.aspx

If you don’t find the above worrying at several levels, how about this then:

All this is a reminder that the most informative element of any spy agency’s website is its Kiddie Korner, where spycraft meets the schoolyard for an awkward, barely appropriate encounter.

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/10/nsa-cartoon-animals-lure-youth-into-the-surveillance-arts/

Recruiting children to spy on your neighbor. That’s what the champion of freedom and open society has come to.

So if you understand the dynamics brought about by debt based fiat money, then the fact that today we are effectively living under a developing dictatorship should not be a surprise. We may not have reached the acute stage yet but the mathematical character of the monetary system ensures an accelerating dynamic so that events will follow at a quickening pace.

Back to the point of this post: my child’s biological identity.

Today, “security” is everything and everywhere. Our lives have been turned upside-down and inside-out by threats real and perceived and often by threats that are contrived and carried out by a myriad anonymous “security” agencies that have no overall supervision from any institution civic, military or government it may be. Personal freedoms are being curtailed at an increasing rate, youth organizations are being militarized, teenagers are being encouraged to learn the craft of spying and identification data is being forcibly collected and stored about individuals before they are even suspected of doing anything suspicious.

This is what happened to innocent till proven guilty.

Today, we are all guilty till proven innocent.

The implications are profound.

Once upon a time the “old country” was a land where people could only do what was allowed by law so that America, the land where people could do anything provided it was not forbidden by the law, flourished. The difference in the two approaches ensured that in upholding the presumed inherent goodness of man, America allowed people to imagine and create things that did not exist whereas in the old country, government would give guidelines in what to imagine and what to create.

To be sure, both approaches created some degree of wealth and somehow advanced society and both approaches can be deemed to have succeeded depending on what the parameters for success are. Nonetheless, the personal freedom approach was much more prevalent in America than in Europe hence no doubt contributing in a significant manner in turning the USA in the global hegemon.

But I digress. I am now about to give up what could very well turn out to be a significant portion of my unborn child’s identity and place it in the hands of government. Sure the company that will collect the cord claims that nobody but the parents have access to the tissue but in light of Western governments increasing and proven inclination to hold themselves above the law, I know the genetic identity of my child will wind-up on a government database. From there, government through any of the myriad agencies under its presumed control will have significant latitude in using and misusing this information. Some of the possibilities have been illustrated by authors young and new. Some their work was deemed fiction or science fiction when it was first published. But today, we see the long dark hand of government stretching over society ostensibly to provide protection; protection that can only be offered by curtailing your personal freedoms to save you from yourself.

In recent years a minor movie I thought was deserving of attention, if not recognition, was Gattaca.

Though dramatized and no doubt “a bit out there” for the time it was shown, today government has come a long way to achieving just that objective. You no doubt heard about Echelon. Echelon has been running for a good many years and it has collected phenomenal amounts of information on all and sundry globally. Most of the information collected though, pertains to faceless or even nameless individuals. Now think about this. Since the events of 2001, large numbers of people worldwide have their finger prints taken at certain airports regardless of whether they are staying in that particular country or whether they are just transiting. Innocuous enough right? It is no different than handing over your passport right? Enter biological information. Within a few years, government will not only have full access to your name and know exactly what you are made of and what illness you may suffer from, but it will also have a comprehensive data-bank of whom you’ve spoken to, what documents you have ever requested and exchanged, with whom and why, where you’ve been, whom you’ve seen, at what time and where…

The Berlin wall only came down twenty years ago. That was the point at which “free” society thought it had overcome by wielding truth, justice and personal freedoms.

We are fully back to square one but this time it is global.

That is what is occupying my mind these days.

Terrorism as a tool of state

October 16, 2010

As I was wondering aloud some months ago, it appears the underwear bomber of last December was indeed a patsy…. but he was the patsy of some as yet unknown US “security” agency.

State Department Admits: Detroit Christmas Bomber Was Deliberately Allowed to Keep US Entry Visa, Board His Flight

http://www.zerohedge.com/article/state-department-admits-detroit-christmas-bomber-was-deliberately-allowed-keep-us-entry-visa

Not surprising considering that the USA today have become the most surveiled society in the West. I can’t believe I just wrote that. It is only ten years since the Berlin wall came down and look at us today. We indeed are living interesting times much to the delight of our Chinese friends.

https://guidoromero.wordpress.com/2010/07/29/on-various-and-more-absurdities-no-news-here/

“The Washington Post writes about the hundreds (that’s hundreds) various secret agencies that have cropped up since 2001. The problem here are not the agencies but the fact that nobody has overall responsibility for all of them. In turn, this creates two other very serious problems; the first is that with so many agencies operating independently not only is overlap guaranteed but members of these agencies, willingly or not, also obstacolate each other and very likely take each other out. The second problem is that if an agency is secret then its financing must be too. If you have hundreds of secret agencies, then where are the funds going to come from? And here you begin to see why opium production has more than tripled in Afghanistan since we invaded that country…”

The third problem of course, and the most insidious I might add, is that if an agency is secret, how can anyone make sure they actually operate for the good of the people from whom they hold the ostensible mandate to operate? I mean we know security agencies are supposed to operate to the detriment of our “enemies” thus they operate to bring ill upon other people than their employers. But if nobody has overall responsibility for oversight of all these entities, who ensures that they bring ill only upon our enemies? Moreover, without an overarching overseer, who picks the bad guys these agencies should operate against?

This is true dictatorship.

 

Social development, government legitimacy and the monetary system

October 5, 2010

I’ve been away for a few days traveling. During this time, I’ve also had the opportunity to drive through France from Bordeaux, to Paris and then on to Beaune. Everyone I came across laborer or entrepreneur they may have been, had a beef against the government; in some cases they had a serious beef.

I’ve come across two good posts in recent days. The first is an opinion piece in the New York Times which seems to be one more main stream publication that appears to be growing a pair. The second is a blog post that resonates deeply with me. Also, I’ve finally been able to get me a copy of Ellen Brown’s “Web of Debt” that I am reading presently.

Follow the dirty money –

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/13/opinion/13mazur.html?_r=2&ref=barclays_plc

Referring to “fines” imposed by regulators on blatant criminal behavior by the largest banks, the author comments:

“[…] The Barclays deal was just one in a long line of wrist slaps that big banks have recently received from the United States. Last May, when ABN Amro Bank (now largely part of the Royal Bank of Scotland) was caught funneling money for the benefit of Iran, Libya and Sudan, it was fined $500 million, and no one went to jail. Last December, Credit Suisse Group agreed to pay a $536 million fine for doing the same. In recent years, Union Bank of California, American Express Bank International, BankAtlantic and Wachovia have all been caught moving huge sums of drug money, but no one went to jail. The banks just admitted to criminal conduct and paid the government a cut of their profits. […]

This is all factual information of course. It is not opinion, speculation or conjecture but fact.

But despite the enormity not only of the sums involved but of the legal and moral implications of what is by now well documented criminal negligence by the governing elites, not many seem to be able to make the part of things.

Sure, people are angry. People are angry in the USA as they are mad in the UK, France, Spain, Greece, Latvia, Hungary and a host of other countries. But most are mad at what in fact are only the proximate causes of their misery. The usual refrain is that bankers are heartless thieves or that politicians are knavish duplicitous bastards or that government (or individual leaders).  All probably true and provable statements given a precise definition of the charge but, of course, nothing that hits home in the realm of the ultimate cause-to-effect dynamic.

Which leads us straight to:

Beyond the trust horizon by Stoneleigh

http://theautomaticearth.blogspot.com/2010/10/october-1-2010-stoneleigh-goes-on-sale.html

Excerpts with emphasis added:

Relationships of trust are the glue that holds societies together. Trust takes a long time to establish, and much less time to destroy, hence societies where trust is wide-spread, particularly for long periods of time, are relatively rare. In contrast, societies where trust does not extend beyond the family, or clan, level are very common in history.

The spread of trust is a characteristic of expansionary times, along with increasing inclusion, and a weakening of the ‘Us vs Them’ divide. Essentially, the trust horizon expands, both within and between societies. […] Within societies this leads to relatively stable and (at least temporarily) effective institutions, and bolsters the development of the rule of law. The rule of law means that law constrains the powerful (more than usual), and there is a reasonable degree of legal transparency and predictability, so that people are prepared to trust in the fairness and accessibility of justice. […] Within societies, trust also confers political legitimacy (ie a widespread buy-in as to the right of rulers to rule). Where there is legitimacy, there is relatively little need for surveillance and coercion. A high level of trust (all the way up to the level of national institutions) is thus a prerequisite for an open society. […] Between societies, an expansion of the trust horizon tends to lead to political accretion. Larger and more disparate groups feel comfortable with closer ties and greater inter-dependence, and are prepared to leave past conflicts behind. The European Union, where 25 countries with a very long history of conflicts have come together, is a prime example.

However, all expansions have a limited lifespan, as do the benefits they confer. They sow the seeds of their own destruction, especially when they morph into a final manic phase and begin to hollow out the substance of social structures. Institutions, whether public or private, retain the same outward form, but cease to operate as they once did. For a while it is possible to maintain the illusion of business as usual (or effectiveness and accountability as usual), but not indefinitely. Everything is subject to receding horizons eventually, and trust is no exception. […] Trust in existing organizational structures does not disappear overnight, but ebbs away as institutions decay or the extent of their corruption is revealed. The loss of trust from higher levels of organization undermines the fabric of a society now operating beyond the trust horizon. When trust contracts, socioeconomic contraction is just around the corner. […] Societies in this position lose a critical pillar of support – the collective acceptance of their people. Governing institutions lose legitimacy, at which point the cost of governance increases significantly, because where there is no trust, resource-intensive surveillance and coercion develop instead (Guido comments: note here the cost of the last G20/G8 meeting in Canada came to US$1Billion… Billion with a “B”… that’s twelve zeros of which, other than to feed lobster and caviar to our politicians, the largest chunk was devoted to security). […] On the way down, as on the way up, there are effects both within and between societies, as the ‘Us vs Them’ dynamic sharpens once again. ‘Us’ becomes ever more tightly defined, and ‘Them’ becomes an ever more pejorative term. The result is division between disparate groups of people within a society, for instance the unionized and non-unionized, the haves and the have-nots, or different religious or ethnic groups. When there is a paucity of trust, and not enough resources to go meet highly inflated expectations, the risk of conflict is very high. Previously formed political accretions are at a high risk of coming unglued as they will no be longer supported by trust. […] Between societies, where the existing range of divisive parameters is likely to be much larger, and where there may be a past history of conflict, the risk of conflict flaring up again rises significantly. This is especially likely if societies attempt to deflect blame for the situation they find themselves in towards other nationalities.

There is much more in the post that is well worth a read.

What remains for me to add is this. Organized society cannot but make use of a monetary system. Adopting a unit of measure and exchange is the one and first condition for the development of a society. Choices of systems are few and very well defined so that, at least in advanced open societies, debate of the choice should be a matter for civic institutions if not the public at large.

Yet, although the monetary system was hotly debated throughout the 1800s, today few understand the logic and ramifications of the choice of one system over another and this is true for professionals in the economic and finance industry too. In our life time, most “experts” and pundits of the dismal science evolve in intellectual environments that have been inculcated into their heads by an academic system that is evidently and deliberately geared to divide along dogmatic ideological  lines rather than relying on the empirical scientific method that has demonstrably served us well during the past four hundred years.

So it is that after a century during which some of the great figures of our modern history like Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln fought a pitched war on behalf of the free world, the awesome power of the financial elite, despite having lost several major battles, eventually prevailed on 23 December 1913 and debt based money once again become the monetary system of what was then the nascent global hegemon; the USA.

The rest is history.

The few who understand the system will either be so interested in its profits or so dependent upon its favors that there will be no opposition from that class while, on the other hand, the great body of people, mentally incapable of comprehending…. will bear its burdens without complaint.” – (Private communication from a Rothschild investment house in London to an associate banking firm in New York dated June 25, 1863 – E. Brown Web of Debt page 91)

Bits n’ pieces…

July 30, 2010

CIA and Google helping each other to data-mine the web…

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/07/exclusive-google-cia/

A bill that may yet pass and if it does, will make it easier for the US government to mandate service (including military) to the state.

http://www.examiner.com/x-57780-Hartford-Pop-Culture-Examiner~y2010m7d27-HR5741–Universal-National-Service-Act—This-bill-takes-away-your-freedom-

And just as a reminder…remember that brigade that was sent home from Iraq to train for civilian opeartions back in 2008? … Things that make you go “hmmm”!

https://guidoromero.wordpress.com/2010/04/22/unusual-troop-movements/

Equality? Proportionality? Fairness? – The state as oppressor

March 6, 2010

http://www.market-ticker.org/akcs-www?singlepost=2139064

Now compare this with this.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/mar/03/california-eight-years-stealing-cheese

The rule of law has been lost (Paul Craig Roberts)

January 22, 2010

http://www.vdare.com/roberts/100120_rule_of_law.htm

Excerpt:

In contrast, insouciant Americans are content for their government to behave illegally. A majority supports torture despite its illegality, and a McClatchy-Ipsos poll found that 51 percent of Americans agree that “it is necessary to give up some civil liberties in order to make the country safe from terrorism.”

As our Founding Fathers warned, fools who give up liberty for security will have neither.

We have met the enemy and it is us.

The terrorists have already won.

Fascism’s inexorable advance

January 16, 2010

Politics cannot be separated from economics or social science or the law. All are results of human choice and action and all are intimately related. Some choices come upstream of all others thus drawing a framework within which all others evolve; the choice that is upstream of all others is our monetary system.

The deliberate but arbitrary choice of a fiat monetary system must perforce lead the entity that maintains exclusive control of the monetary system to becoming the largest actor in the economy thus influencing the law thus politics thus the social sciences.

http://mwhodges.home.att.net/piechart.htm

Fascism and/or corporatism is the inescapabale and logical conclusion of a fiat monetary system. As the presumed beneficial role of the currency gradually wanes, government has a vested interest in at first tolerating but then progressively colluding-in and eventually sponsoring legislation that is contrary to stated moral or fiduciary values of yore.

The only question is when does society deem that enough is enough.

But the more important question is how society comes to deem that enough is enough and what legislation it may be capable of vetoing or enforcing in order to avoid the most undesirable, but logical, outcome of a fascist state. That is, when are we collectively going to take the steps required in order to bring order to our monetary system, our economies, our political systems and avoid a perpetual state of war that as of now is guaranteed to evolve into a world war.

I don’t have an answer to that question other than to say that the only true, peaceful and legal instrument that is still within reach of anyone that understands what is going on and that wishes to effect political change is to accumulate gold and silver bullion.

When all is said and done, as our governments, wittingly or not, are hell bent on destroying the currency in order to perpetuate a perceived desirable political system, bullion is the only thing that could alter the otherwise logical course a fiat monetary system dictates.

http://onlinejournal.com/artman/publish/article_5463.shtml

Excerpt (emphasis added):

On Jan. 5, a ruling by the Federal Appeals Court in the District of Columbia gave away the most essential protection of liberty by declaring that the U.S. government is not bound by law during war. The ruling absolves Washington from complying with America’s own laws and from complying with international laws, such as the Geneva Conventions. It makes a mockery of all war crime trials everywhere. By elevating the executive branch above the law, the court gave the government carte blanche.

The rationale offered by the court for refusing to uphold the law came from Judge Janice Rogers Brown, who said that America had been pushed by war past “the leading edge of a new and frightening paradigm, one that demands new rules be written. War is a challenge to law, and the law must adjust.” By “adjust” she means “be set aside” or “be thrown out.”

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to defend both the Constitution and the principle that government is not above the law. Last Dec.14, the Supreme Court refused to review a ruling by the Federal Appeals Court in the District of Columbia, which dismissed a torture case with the argument that “torture is a foreseeable consequence of the military’s detention of suspected enemy combatants.” In other words, neither U.S. nor international laws against torture can be enforced in U.S. courts. The opinion [PDF] was written by Judge Karen Lecraft Henderson.

The “war on terror,” which is enriching Halliburton, Blackwater (now operating under an alias), and the military/security complex, while denying Americans health care, is running up debt that is a threat to Americans’ purchasing power and living standards. The contrast between America’s sanctimonious rhetoric and the murder of civilians and torture of prisoners has destroyed America’s reputation and caused Europeans as well as Muslims to despise the United States.

The sacrifice of the Constitution and rule of law to a hyped “theorist threat” has destroyed the heart and soul of America herself.

As a poet wrote, “our world in stupor lies.

My final thought is this. We are ostensibly fighting “terrorists” because they threaten our way of life. Clearly, the terrorists have won.