It is the tendency of the state to compile as much information as possible about its subjects, but to persecute individuals who collect and divulge information about its agents and the way they operate. The state and its supporters want to keep tabs on you, but angrily (and violently) protest when you try to keep track of state actors. In the news today we saw two examples of this:
- WikiLeaks has fallen victim to a major distributed denial of service attack for which the regime apologists at Anti-Leaks have taken responsibility (though there is speculation about this being a state-sponsored action). The attack, now more than a week in duration, coincides with the whistle-blower site’s recent release of the lastest dump of documents gleaned from the Stratfor intelligence leak. Recently released documents detail a privately administered domestic intelligence-gathering operation called TrapWire. According to PC Magazine and Russia Today, the leaks reveal that the TrapWire program is designed to compile information on targets across the United States from a network of surveillance cameras, incorporating vehicle locations and behavioral data in order to detect patterns that may signal that someone is involved in undesirable activity. The companies behind TrapWire, Abraxas and Stratfor, are reportedly chock full of former U.S. intelligence officials still serving their former masters.
Federal prosecutors have alleged in their amended complaint against Full Tilt Poker that the gambling interest was a “Ponzi scheme,” apparently in part because of the company’s level of cash reserves.
FTP owed approximately $390 million to players around the world, with $150 million owed to U.S. players. FTP only had $60 million on deposit in its bank accounts, however, meaning over $300 million is owed to players worldwide.
This was the result of FTP’s payment processing channels becoming so disrupted that “the company faced increasing difficulty attempting to collect funds from players in the United States. Rather than disclose this fact, Full Tilt Poker simply credited players’ online gambling accounts with money that had never actually been collected from the players’ bank accounts. Full Tilt Poker allowed players to gamble with — and lose to other players — this phantom money that Full Tilt Poker never actually collected or possessed.”
$390 million in liabilities and only $60 million in the bank? That means that FTP had a little more than 15% in cash reserves. According to Wikipedia,
A depository institution’s reserve requirements vary by the dollar amount of net transaction accounts held at that institution. Effective December 30, 2010, institutions with net transactions accounts:
- Of less than $10.7 million have no minimum reserve requirement;
- Between $10.7 million and $58.8 million must have a liquidity ratio of 3%;
- Exceeding $58.8 million must have a liquidity ratio of 10%
So because FTP had 15% in cash reserves, the whole operation is a Ponzi scheme. If only the proprietors had started a bank of the same size, they would have only needed 10% reserves!
Forced eugenics programs where “sub-standard” humans are involuntarily sterilized are evil. You don’t have to be a libertarian to agree with that. But leaving aside the fundamental objection to the injustice of such programs, the most notable case upholding an involuntary negative eugenics policy in the United States reveals something else troubling about proponents of the command-and-control state.
In his Buck v. Bell decision, that titan of modern American “legal realism” Oliver Wendall Homes, Jr. famously justified his decision to allow the forced sterilization of Carrie Buck by stating “three generations of imbeciles is enough.” The 1927 ruling inspired a blossoming of eugenics laws across the United States targeting not only the mentally handicapped, but also petty criminals and social undesirables like the poor, women who were sexually promiscuous, and others who happened to be of a different ethnicity than the eugenicists.
But poor Carrie Buck wasn’t even really retarded. She was a troublemaker or a rape victim, depending on who you believe. Her daughter (the third generation to which Holmes referred) wasn’t an imbecile either. She was actually on her school’s honor roll the year before she died of measles. If Paul Lombardo’s version of the story is correct, that case is a terrible, terrible example of the trauma of a woman’s victimization in rape and subsequent pregnancy being compounded by central planners. Holmes the eugenicist was too concerned with aggrandizing the power of the state at the expense of the individual to be concerned with whether the woman to be sterilized in the case before him was even “unfit.”
[Note: For more on the Progressive historical context in which Buck v. Bell was decided, see Michael Giuliano's September 2008 article in The Freeman.]
A cop-turned-black-market-intelligence-entrepreneur was arrested in Watertown, Massachusetts after he heroically warned medium-scale commodities importers of his former colleagues’s conspiracy to rob, kidnap, and enslave them.
A fired Watertown police officer has been charged with giving information about an international drug investigation involving millions of dollars and several other Watertown men to the people being investigated, leading to them allegedly intimidating other law enforcement officers.
More than $2.7 million in drug proceeds in Newton and Bedford in October 2010 was seized during the course of the investigation, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. After searching Watertown and Waltham residences on May 24, officials reportedly seized more than $700,000 in U.S. currency,seven kilograms of gold bars, 80 pounds of marijuana, four weapons and several vehicles.
The police officer, Roberto Velasquez-Johnson was charged with conspiring to defraud the government by impeding a drug investigation. He faces up to five years in prison to be followed by 3 years of supervised release and a fine up to $250,000 if convicted.