If you’ve ever wanted to expose some heinous crime against humanity, here’s your chance. In today’s Laissez Faire Today, Chris Campbell shows you how to make sure the world accesses to your leaks, even if something happens to you. Chris also shares why this is probably a terrible idea. Read on…
Over a century ago, a hidden energy war began. The bad guys won. For 100 years, man has been a slave to the energy monopolies. But now, miraculously, the good guys are throwing a punch -- and they’re inviting you to fight the good fight. Even promising riches if you do. Chris Campbell fills you in on the full story. Read on…
An ancient guide has been in hiding… until now. As it dusts itself off, some early adopters are calling it “the definitive text on self-discipline, personal ethics, humility, self-actualization and strength.” And, according to Chris Campbell, it could be the only thing you need to thrive in our day-to-day life of modern chaos. Embrace it, and become the hero of your own story. Ignore it, and risk living a whimper of a life on someone else’s terms. Read on…
“What… is… that?!”That’s what one colleague asked when she saw this on my desk…My face, according to 3-D printing“My face,” I said. “What does it look like?”“Uh…”OK, sure. It’s a rough depiction. Eh. It’s pretty choppy…And, as you can see, the glasses didn’t really take well… making for an eerie sunken eye look.Didn’t really turn […]
Bitcoin has been pretty quiet lately. But that doesn’t mean big things aren’t taking place behind-the-scenes for the digital currency. In today’s Laissez Faire Today, Chris Campbell pulls back the curtain and shows you how Bitcoin is quietly slipping into the mainstream. He also shows you why now could be the time to buy now, or forever hold your peace. Read on…
In an odd mix of fate, protesters and corporations are holding hands. They both have one common goal: save the Internet from the evil cable companies. We all have a common hate for them. But what if the cable companies aren’t as evil as once thought? What if there’s an even bigger evil lurking behind them? There is. Read on…
Want to get rich? Don’t listen to financial “gurus,” says Chris Campbell. In today’s Laissez Faire Today, Chris shares a Zen proverb and shows how understanding it is the only real way to get rich (and live a rich life). Read on…
Ben Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” In today’s Laissez Faire Today, you’ll learn about one FREE website that has the potential to not only keep your family safe – but also open your eyes to what’s happening in your own neighborhood. Chris Campbell has all the details. Read on…
All over the world, power is dying. The dictators and tyrants of the world are no longer able to wield it like they once used to. And they’re losing it to the “little guy.” Chris Campbell shows you how to be the king of your castle by taking advantage of this fact. Today, you’ll learn how to grab “power gaps” in the market and channel them into your product idea or project. Read on…
Chris Campbell got more than he bargained for during Sunday brunch. In a packed restaurant, he learned about a hidden sex boom that’s taking the world by storm. You won’t believe how much money ordinary Americans are making in this boom. It’s so much…you may even consider cashing in yourself.
Hundreds of pictures of nude celebrities were leaked onto the Internet last week. The mainstream is blaming twenty-something hackers, but according to Chris Campbell, everyone must’ve already forgotten what we learned about the NSA only a year ago. Read on…
The fireflies along the tidal rivers of Malaysia show "feats of synchrony that occur spontaneously, almost as if nature has an eerie yearning for order." Chris Campbell tells you where else this might occur in the world. Also, new technology may revolutionize the agriculture industry and what we think of as a farm.
Jeff Davis is running for Governor in Hawaii and has an interesting campaign strategy. Also, what motivates hackers is revealed and the findings might surprise you. Finally, Ferguson is discussed in a new light. Chris Campbell has more...
When the government pumps trillions of dollars into the economy, they’re not actually printing the money. It enters as digital entries in banks across the country. It’s made the system fast, responsive, and, unfortunately, vulnerable. Now our money is no longer something we hold in our hands, but something that exists on a very susceptible network.
When’s the best time to invest in something? When everyone else is trying to get their money out of it. It might go against conventional thinking, but following the crowd usually makes you miss the real opportunities. At one monetary metal conference recently, the smartest guys in the industry sat down to discuss where these real hidden gems lay.
Say goodbye to your boring morning commute. New technologies are changing the way people drive their cars. It’s making them safer, more fuel efficient, and could reshape the way America builds its roads and cities. The only thing that could stand in the way...
In a 2009 article, the Huffington Post went into considerable detail about the number of people with PhD degrees in economics employed by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. This is the government’s branch of the Federal Reserve. It is not one of the 12 regional Federal Reserve banks, all of which […]
When the NSA surveillance news broke last year it sent shockwaves through CERN, the particle physics laboratory in Switzerland. Andy Yen, a PhD student, took to the Young at CERN Facebook group with a simple message: “I am very concerned about the privacy issue, and I was wondering what I could do about it.”There was […]
Remember that correction we’ve been quietly talking about over the past couple of months?Well, it might be right around the corner. Stocks waited until the last day of the month to nose-dive. The S&P 500 posted its first 2% down day since April — and the Dow wasn’t far behind. Early this morning, futures continue […]
I was talking with one of my colleagues the other day, and he raised a very interesting question, one that deserves consideration by anyone worried about their digital privacy. He read an article that championed the idea that the more steps one took to protect their privacy by using anonymous Web-browsing tools like Tor, the […]
Health care costs in the U.S. have been rising so steadily for so long that containment barely seems possible. Even optimists don’t dream of cutting the price tag. As its official name — the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — suggests, Obamacare aims for affordability, not radical reduction.But at a time when we’re all […]
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 […]
We’ve pointed out in the past that President Obama’s views on the surveillance state shifted completely from when he was Senator to when he was President. As Senator, he supported a bunch of reforms that are very much like the ones his panel have suggested — and which he’s about to ignore. The NY Times has a long article talking about President Obama’s path from an NSA critic to a supporter, and this is the key line, delivered by a nameless “former aide:”
“…he trusts himself to use these powers more than he did the Bush administration.”
This is not the first time we’ve seen this attitude of “I’m trustworthy, so it’s okay” from President Obama. Remember, back during the last election, President Obama instructed his staff to come up with explicit rules concerning the use of killer drones — rules that the military under Obama did not have — because he was worried how a President like Romney might use the program. Of course, once it became clear that Obama would win re-election, those plans to create rules were put on the shelf.
This is the corruption of power. It’s a belief that we don’t need explicit rules and protections because “I’m trustworthy and I won’t abuse this stuff.” But just about everyone thinks of themselves as trustworthy — and then an extreme situation comes up… and they abuse that trust just a little bit, because they can, and, hey, they’re trustworthy. And then they abuse it some more. And some more. Or, the next guy abuses it. And the next guy abuses it some more, because there’s a precedent set.
If you’re really trustworthy on issues like this, then you would have an even stronger support for the rules, because you know you’ll never abuse them. It’s actually only if you’re in power and you’re not trustworthy that you fear such rules.
The Times coverage also suggests, as President Obama himself has, that the other big difference is that once he was in power, he “better understood the threats,” as well as how these programs protected us. But that position is undermined by much of the rest of the article, which suggests that the reality is that, once in power, President Obama just didn’t care any more:
“Feeling little pressure to curb the security agencies, Mr. Obama largely left them alone until Mr. Snowden began disclosing secret programs last year. Mr. Obama was angry at the revelations, privately excoriating Mr. Snowden as a self-important narcissist who had not thought through the consequences of his actions.
“He was surprised at the uproar that ensued, advisers said, particularly that so many Americans did not trust him, much less trust the oversight provided by the intelligence court and Congress. As more secrets spilled out, though, aides said even Mr. Obama was chagrined. They said he was exercised to learn that the mobile phone of Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany was being tapped.”
This fits with earlier claims we’ve heard about how President Obama keeps finding out about what the NSA is doing from the Snowden leaks, and then having to go ask the NSA what’s really going on. The idea that the President didn’t know that the NSA was tracking the phone of the leader of one of our largest allies suggests a complete disinterest and hands off approach to the surveillance state — which is another recipe for allowing widespread abuses.
Similarly, as we were among the first to point out, the FISC ruling that noted the NSA had abused section 215 of the PATRIOT Act for years, came just weeks after President Obama took power. He claims that as he studied the programs, he found that they were important and vital and weren’t being abused. Yet, just weeks after he became President the court in charge of oversight found exactly the opposite. You’d think that if he were actually concerned about the surveillance state, he would have taken an interest. But he didn’t:
“But when Mr. Obama was briefed, the case did not stir consternation. The president’s team instructed the Justice Department to fix the problem, but ‘this was not a central concern and he was very quick in knowing how to deal with it,’ said a former administration official.”
Because even if the program wasn’t in line, it’s okay, because, hey, the President is a “trustworthy guy.” And that’s exactly how you end up with an abused and overreaching surveillance state. I’m sure that the President believes he is a trustworthy guy. And there’s plenty of truth to that old line that “we judge ourselves by our intentions, and others by their actions.” He may have the best of intentions, but when you’re in charge of the most powerful government in the world, being a “trustworthy guy” doesn’t cut it.
The corruption of power is too clear and too easy. There needs to be real and significant controls, and not just because you think you won’t abuse the system — or because the guys before or after you might. There needs to be real and serious controls because the natural direction of a surveillance state is to abuse civil liberties, whether intended or not.
The president’s statements when he was a Senator may have just been political posturing. But now he’s President and all he’s done has shown that he doesn’t understand how a true leader handles such situations. Instead, he’s succumbed to the corruption of power.
— Mike Masnick
This article originally appeared here on Techdirt.com.