When you type a website address into a browser, you might have noticed that the letters “http” appear at the front. “HTTP” stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. In typing a Web address, you are actually sending an HTTP command to transmit that website to you. Hypertext Transfer Protocol is the means by which information is […]
Picture the scene. It’s 2020. You’re at the checkout in a convenience store with a carton of milk. But you’ve got no cash and you’ve left your cards at home. No problem. You scan your right index finger; the green light flashes. Purchase approved and you leave. Easy.Is this a realistic vision of the future, […]
After a week of reckoning about the American oil and gas boom… I’ve got to get something off my chest.I can’t stand it when a coworker takes credit for something I did.Whether it’s a special report I wrote or just a little investing trick I found on my own — if someone takes it and […]
Franklin Delano Roosevelt famously used the term “forgotten man” in a 1932 speech to describe those at the bottom of the economic pyramid who, he felt, government should aid.But the originator of the phrase “forgotten man” had a whole different meaning in mind. He aimed to expose the seeming good intentions of government to reveal […]
I want to share some insight and give you a front-row seat to America’s next big shale play.Let’s get to it…Over the past 10 years, the U.S. has turned the ship around, quite literally.We’ve gone from a country that was expecting to import massive amounts of oil and gas — to a country that’s sitting […]
Whatever your views on the role of government, one thing is clear: There will be no way to pay for it if the economy doesn’t grow. And I’m not talking by a measly percentage point or two. If we can’t find our way back to 5% annual economic growth or above soon, America’s accumulated federal […]
What if I told you that the march of human progress could be traced in a direct line from the Epicureans of Ancient Greece… through the 18th Century’s cure for smallpox… to where Steve Jobs and Bill Gates found inspiration as scrappy teenagers… to the flying car of tomorrow?Stay with me and I’ll show you […]
Real progress happens through real people, ideas, and innovations. Not by legislation argued and debated in Congress. Right now, one of the most influential technologies is changing the way people do business. And reinventing the future in the process.
Innovation can change the world… if the world lets it. Unfortunately, society’s gatekeepers make it a point to constrain, regulate, and control these ideas. But their power is limited, and the power of innovation is too great. Unfortunately for regulators, there are some technologies they can’t control.
What’s the #1 reason a start-up fails?It runs out of money!And why would it run out of money?Because nobody wants the product it’s selling!For early-stage investors, this presents a bit of a conundrum:If a product doesn’t exist yet, how do you figure out if there’s demand for it?And how do you figure it out before […]
A cushy job in Hawaii that pays six figures. A beautiful girlfriend/boyfriend. Job security and professional experience that gives you plenty of future opportunities. Would you throw that all away to do what you think is right? Last year, one government contractor did just that. And now you see the world the government tried to hide from you.
Every time Bitcoin crashes, it winds up at a price greater than it’s previous high. Yet the experts still call it a currency fad that will fade away. But a little over a year since it really took up, the digital currency is still going strong, and is once again seeing its price rise. But is there another reason why people are buying Bitcoins.
According to some estimates, one man - whose name you're probably not familiar with - has saved over a billion lives. Who is he? And how has he influenced the current crop of innovators? Josh Grasmick explains...
Edward Snowden’s one year visa in Russia expires at the end of next month. With only a few weeks left before he finds himself without a safe country to live in, he sat down to give an exclusive interview. Here are the most important things he wants you to remember from his recent sacrifice.
Biotech breakthroughs and other transformative innovations are a few of the brightly shining spots in the U.S. economy. In fact, Paul Mampilly believes this is the golden age of biotech investing, and that you can earn massive returns while investing in companies with drugs that benefit all of humanity. Read on for his latest example...
Harold Hamm isn’t your typical entrepreneur. His life’s story shows you success in America doesn’t always depend on a fat checkbook
Obama recently claimed this was the “Decade of the Brain”. But it not the first time the government made that promise. The last time they did it, they wasted millions of your tax dollars. Now they’re back for round two. But this time, their failure could mean more than squandered money. It could mean making Alzheimer’s even worse for those who suffer from it.
Does owning a gun mean you’re guilty until proven innocent? Considering what happened to one man from Florida, that might be the case. But there’s more to this story than just a case of police overreach. Police departments across the nation could be implementing a new technology that puts the burden of innocence squarely on your shoulders.
American ingenuity. It’s the stuff of lore and legend, and it’s what drives the global economy. We literally bank on the next disruptive entrepreneur — and innovative new technology — to completely redefine or create new industries. It’s what America does really well, our goose that continues to lay golden eggs.And yet, maybe not.The truth […]
When Michael Lewis’ new book Flash Boys came out, the author caused a stir while making the media rounds to promote it. “The stock market is rigged,” he told 60 Minutes flatly. His comments set off a firestorm of debate as to whether sharp techies and their fast computers are screwing small investors.As titillating as […]
Last November, when the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) proposed moderating years of escalating mandates by reducing the amount of ethanol that must be mixed into gasoline, a top ethanol lobbyist seemed perplexed. “We’re all just sort of scratching our heads here today and wondering why this administration is telling us to burn less of a […]
Why Is U.S. Health Care So Much More Expensive?After years of research and many conversations with health policy experts, I see three key culprits of expensive health care in the U.S.In no particular order, they are the third-party payer system (i.e., employer-provided health care), malpractice suits, and administrative support costs/paperwork.The unintended consequence of institutionalized employer-provided […]
At the recently concluded Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russian security officials used state of the art facial recognition software to identify potential terrorists. Today, Byron King takes a closer look at this sophisticated new technology and what it means for the future of national security. Read on...
Back in the 1980s, John Nestor became infamous for single-handedly causing massive traffic jams on the Capital Beltway. But in his professional life, he created a completely different kind of traffic jam... one that may have contributed to the deaths of thousands of innocent people. Juan Enriquez has the full story. Read on...
Entrepreneurs innovate. Bureaucrats regulate. It’s the eternal struggle that exists in our modern economy/government. The people in power try to make the playing field as even and fair as possible. While innovators buck the rules and push the world toward a better tomorrow.
Technological progress moves the world forward. It finds ways to do things better, for less money, while using fewer resources. And if you ask any politician, they’ll tell you that’s the way to grow the economy and get America back on track. But if that progress threatens one of the government’s sacred programs, then that’s a different story. One that results in a crackdown on progress, and protection of the status quo.
No one loves democracy more than the politicians in power because of it. But just because you get to vote every year or so doesn’t mean the system works. In fact, the system could be responsible for its fair share of problems. But democracy’s become sacred in the U.S. And no one bothers to question it.
One of the most dangerous threats to liberty and privacy today is called the “Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act,” or CISPA. The activists slayed this monster last year. Or so it seemed. But of course, the beast didn’t die.
Some powerful members of Congress are pushing it again.
CISPA would allow government to force telecommunication providers to cough up your personal data on demand — no warrant, no notification, no chance for you to object. It is being pushed by two members of the House Intelligence Committee, with the support of large swaths of corporate America and the Chamber of Commerce (of course!).
The entire bill would serve as an amendment to the national security apparatus. No supporter of CISPA stands up and says, “My bill will wantonly violate the privacy of Americans in the service of Big Government snooping and thieving.” That would be telling the truth.
Instead, they say that such a bill is necessary for “our own security.” Unless we get behind this expansion of government power, we will likely become victims of “cyberterrorism” that only our own government can prevent.
Hmmmm. Actually, this whole push — and there are dozens of similar bills floating around — is an attempt by government to regain control of the communication system of which it lost control in the mid-1990s. Communication is one of the “commanding heights” that government must manage if it expects to retain its grip on the population.
CISPA is a huge effort toward that goal. It will never succeed in reversing the progress we’ve made, but it can do huge damage to the rights and liberties of people along the way.
To understand the government’s attempts to monitor and control the digital world, you have to take a step back in time.
There’s this weird 1947 law passed at the dawn of the Cold War called the National Security Act. It created the CIA, led to changing the name of the Department of War to the Department of Defense (George Orwell would be so proud!), and generally attempted to shore up the military in a time when people were pretty fed up with wartime sacrifices, suffering, and death.
It ended up sustaining vast military powers over the public just in time for the Cold War, which President Truman skillfully orchestrated, and defined American political parameters for the next 40 years.
The National Security Act was part of a larger attempt by government to survive and thrive in a new epoch.
There were other creations at the time, too. There was the Truman Doctrine, which attempted to contain Russian political influence in Europe. There was the Marshall Plan, which was essentially a gigantic corporate subsidy to American companies hoping to move in on war-torn Europe. And there was the Bretton Woods monetary agreement that made the dollar the world currency and paved the way for a paper-money world.
These were the gifts of this generation to postwar America, and we are still suffering under their awful weight. The catchphrase at the time: Retain control. Do not repeat the error of the past.
What was that supposed error? At the end of World War I, a fantastic thing happened on the home front. Censorship went away. The budget was cut. Price controls ended. Even the military budget was slashed. The planning apparatus that had imposed a socialist-style bureaucracy on the public for the duration of the war largely went away.
All that was left was the debt.
More interestingly, after World War I, there appeared to be a wave of national disgust at the past war itself. Who started this darn thing? Who thought it was a good idea for 37 million people to die in the name of making the world safe for democracy? Is war just a racket that enriches states and arms dealers at the expense of the public? The questions persisted, and the public developed a voracious desire for war revisionism.
After World War II, the elites who benefitted from the war did not want the same aftereffects. The censorship ended, as did the price controls. The budget was cut dramatically (which, incidentally, produced not economic harm, but, rather, set the stage for a 1950s economic expansion). But one thing that stayed in place was the national security apparatus over the lives of the American people.
And so it has been until very recently. The dawn of the digital age (I like to date this from 1995) created vast new sectors of communication and life itself that live and thrive outside the apparatus of compulsion and coercion. The power elites didn’t plan it this way.
Then a revolutionary entrepreneurship took hold that created technologies that have completely changed the world. Smartphones brought miracles to our palms. 3-D printing is upending production systems. Data networks have reformulated the world financial system. And this revolution is intensifying by the day. The way matters are headed, the old-fashioned national state system of controlling us will be a dinosaur in a matter of only a few years.
What good is “national security” for the ruling elites if it only controls a tiny aspect of our lives? If the human population is migrating ever more to the digital world, what control or influence will the government have? The founding document of the national security state — this 1947 law — has no reliable control over the digital world. Surely it must be updated and the newly emerged world must become part of what is controlled!
This is what CISPA is all about.
The lesson of all of this? There is no way to separate the fate of individual liberty from the government’s national security agenda. The target is not really foreign bad guys. The target is you.
Maybe there was a time when bills like this would sail through in the name of protecting us. There was a time when the American people feared nuclear bombs from Russia and were willing to surrender their rights and liberties in the hope that government would save us.
But these times are different. Suspicion of government is at an all-time high. When the government comes along to say, “We are here to protect you,” there are many active and sophisticated people who know that this is not what’s really going on.
CISPA itself represents one of many massive threats to human liberty. It will have to be defeated again and again, so long as government is around. That’s because it is in the nature of government to want to know all things about us. A free people cannot let that happen.
We’ve all observed over the last 15 years or so that the “anarchy” of cyberspace can manage itself without violating our rights. Indeed, this anarchy is the greatest protection we have against the biggest enemy out there, which is not the cyberterrorists, but those who claim they are here to protect us against them.