Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: Technology

Austan Goolsbee’s Petulance

Official portrait of CEA member Austan Goolsbee.

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During Sunday’s interview on ABC’s “This Week” with the Obama administration’s chief economics advisor, Austan Goolsbee, he warned opponents not to treat the issue of raising the debt ceiling as a game or a toy.

This is not a game. If we hit the debt ceiling, that’s essentially defaulting on our obligations, which is totally unprecedented in American history.

The impact on the economy would be catastrophic. I mean, that would be a worse financial economic crisis that anything we saw in 2008. I don’t see why anybody’s talking about playing chicken with the debt ceiling.  [If the debt ceiling isn’t lifted], that would be the first default in history caused purely by insanity.

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FCC Ruling is Irrelevant

Internet Map. Ninian Smart predicts global com...

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There have been sighs of despair and much hand-wringing coming from observers of the latest attempt by the FCC to intervene in the operations of the Internet. The noisiest came from one of the two commissioners who voted against the ruling, Robert McDowell.

Despite a court ruling earlier this year which limited the FCC’s jurisdiction over the Internet, and Congressional pressure to leave well enough alone, McDowell warned that the FCC’s decision yesterday is “likely to have the perverse effect of inhibiting capital investment, deterring innovation, raising operating costs, and ultimately increasing consumer prices.” He concluded that this decision “may end up marking the beginning of a long winter’s night for Internet freedom.”

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Top Secret America: Expensive, Chaotic and Dangerous

Headquarters of the NSA at Fort Meade, Maryland.

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Last July the Washington Post published a three-part story on “the huge security buildup in the United States after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.” This week, the Post published “Monitoring America,” the fourth installment of its “Top Secret America” series, describing security efforts at the local level.

After two years of research, hundreds of interviews, and thousands of hours poring over documents, the Washington Post investigation was unable to determine anything for sure—except, of course, that the security system is massive:

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Counting the Costs of Unemployment Insurance

Bismarck ca. 1875.

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As part of the backroom deal to extend the Bush tax cuts for another two years, the GOP gave the progressives an extension of one of their favorite welfare-state building blocks: unemployment insurance—which will undoubtedly add to the long lines of suffering Americans in our country.

Otto von Bismarck, the “Iron Chancellor” of Germany in the 1880s, first introduced the concept of state-mandated unemployment insurance. It was then forcibly introduced in the United States during the Great Depression under the Roosevelt administration and has been expanded regularly ever since. In fact, the proposed extension would be the sixth such expansion since June of 2008.

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The Fed: Defending the Indefensible

Cover of "END THE FED"

Cover of END THE FED

In defending the Federal Reserve against what CNBC considered to be “an unprecedented level of attacks,” former Fed governor Frederic Mishkin said it was because of the Fed’s inability to “articulate a clear message regarding its trillion-dollar monetary policies”:

Monetary policy is never easy. You’re always the whipping boy. The question [now] is the degree. Now you’re getting whipped with a little bit harder lash than usual. But you’ve got to make the tough calls….

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World Bank’s Trial Balloon Pops

Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick

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Before the Internet, Robert Zoellick’s brief outline of suggested topics for the G20 meeting this week in Seoul, Korea, might have been considered just an interoffice memo. It appeared in London’s Financial Times, contained obscure references to arcane subjects that would be of interest only to international bankers determined to push their agenda for a world currency, and was written by a certified member of the internationalist “insider” cabal. But when Zoellick wrote that the “cooperative monetary system…should also consider employing gold as an international reference point…,” Internet bloggers picked up on it immediately, and the cover was blown.

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Removing “Technical” Obstacles to Surveillance

Navstar-2F satellite of the Global Positioning...

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Buried in an otherwise innocuous-appearing article in the New York Times about wiretapping was this chilling sentence: “The issue [of surveillance of individuals by law enforcement agencies] has added importance because [these technologies] developed by the United States to hunt for terrorists and drug traffickers can also be used by repressive regimes to hunt for political dissidents” [emphasis added].

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Wiretapping Your Emails

privacy

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As communications technology has raced ahead of government attempts to tame it, in the name of law enforcement, the Obama administration, the FBI, the Department of Justice, the National Security Agency and other government agencies have been meeting for months to come up with regulations that would allow broadening government powers to intercept, read, and analyze Internet messages, and then prosecute perceived violations of law. Arguments by proponents of further incursions into citizens’ privacy initially sound reasonable: new technology, and private citizens’ use of the Internet for private communications, have exceeded government’s ability to keep up, and consequently its ability to monitor, track and follow people is “going dark,” unless something is done.

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Railroads, Robber Barons, and Unbridled Capitalism

Steam locomotive O k (O d )

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When Matthew Josephson wrote The Robber Barons in 1934, he tipped his hand as to his personal prejudice against the capitalists of the late 19th century:

Besides the young men who marched to [the Battle of] Bull Run, there were other young men of 1861 whose instinctive sense of history proved to be unerring. Loving not the paths of glory they slunk away quickly, bent upon business of their own. They were warlike enough and pitiless yet never risked their skin: they fought without military rules or codes of honor or any tactics or weapons familiar to men: they were the strange, new mercenary soldiers of economic life.

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The Breakup of Ma Bell

Southwestern Bell logo, 1939–1964

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Ten years into the 20th century, the United States citizenry were still enjoying the afterglow of a remarkable generation of economic growth, innovation, and expansion.

Popular interests consisted of going to the movies, doing the Tango, and reading the Saturday Evening Post. A hands-off President, William Howard Taft, was in the White House, and people were enjoying clever inventions such as traffic lights, the refrigerator, and the telephone.

Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone on March 7, 1876, but initially it was considered no more than a passing novelty. In fact, Western Union passed up the opportunity to purchase the Bell patents for $100,000.

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$13 Trillion and Counting

Tax Day Debt Protest 2009

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When former Comptroller General Bill Walker, who headed the U.S. Government Accountability Office, said two years ago that the “official” debt of the United States “is only around $10 trillion,” he wryly suggested that since this number was produced by “government accounting, which…allows one to ignore Social Security, Medicare and the new prescription drug benefit [it was like] ignoring rent, food and utilities in your household budget [and] it will lead to a few bounced checks.” However, he added, “Our real debt is about ten times higher,” or about $100 trillion.

At the time this was a breath-taking number, but Walker was just repeating what Richard Fisher, President of the Dallas Federal Reserve, had said just a couple of months earlier.

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TSA and the Fourth Amendment: Take another Look

Transportation Security Administration officer...

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When Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that Major General Robert Harding was President Obama’s latest nominee for the Transportation Security Agency (TSA), she said, “Mr. Harding has the experience and perspective [emphasis added] to make a real difference in carrying out the mission of the agency. If there was ever a nominee that warranted expedited…consideration in the Senate, this is it.”

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U.S. Postal Service: Time to Free the Mail

WASHINGTON - AUGUST 06:  Postmaster General Jo...

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When U.S. Postmaster General John Potter recommended eliminating Saturday delivery service in order to save money, he was merely responding to the postal service’s continuing inability to make money, or even cover its costs, delivering the mail. In a microcosm, the postal service’s difficulty is reflective of the government’s attempt to operate anywhere outside the constraints of the Constitution.

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Cell Phones, Big Brother and the 4th Amendment

Cell Phone

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The Obama Justice Department is appealing a lower court decision that requires it to provide “probable cause” before it can track cellphone users. The DOJ wants instead to operate under a lower standard for tracking cellphone users, based on a reasonable belief that such information is “relevant to a…criminal investigation.”

Magistrate Judge Lisa Pupo Lenihan wrote: “Where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy, intrusion on that right by the Government for investigatory purposes requires that the Government obtain a warrant by demonstrating to the Court that it has probable cause, i.e., that it make a showing of a fair probability of evidence of criminal activity.”

Police have been tapping into the locations of cellphones thousands of times a year.

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.
Copyright © 2020 Bob Adelmann