Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #799 Miscellaneous Articles and Updates

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash dri­ve that can be obtained here. (The flash dri­ve includes the anti-fas­cist books avail­able on this site.)

Lis­ten: MP3

Side 1  Side 2


NB: This descrip­tion con­tains mate­r­i­al that sur­faced since the orig­i­nal pro­gram was record­ed.

Intro­duc­tion: Begin­ning with the growth of Euro­fas­cism, the broad­cast high­lights the appoint­ment of Makis “The Ham­mer” Voridis, a long­time doc­tri­naire fas­cist to head Greece’s ail­ing health care sys­tem. It appears the “Clause­witz­ian eco­nom­ics may well be sup­ple­ment­ed by “Clause­witz­ian health­care.”

In Europe, the eco­nom­ic con­di­tions deriv­ing from the Euro-aus­ter­i­ty doc­trine man­dat­ed by Ger­many are bear­ing fruit sim­i­lar to the har­vest of the 1930’s  brought about by the Great Depres­sion. Neo-fas­cist par­ties scored huge gains in the recent Euro­pean Par­lia­men­tary elec­tions.

The bulk of the pro­gram illus­trates the abuse of the con­cept of “free­dom,” result­ing in dam­age to oth­ers and ben­e­fits to male­fac­tors.

Deriv­a­tive of the fas­cist doc­trine stem­ming from the Aus­tri­an school of eco­nom­ic the­o­ry, Bit­coin is inex­tri­ca­bly linked with the milieu of Edward Show­den and the lib­er­tar­i­an wing of the GOP.

In our ongo­ing cri­tique of Bit­coin, we’ve not­ed that it appears to be an “op,” exe­cut­ed by Siemens spin­off Lan­tiq, which was cap­i­tal­ized by Gold­en Gate Cap­i­tal (staffed by alum­ni of Bain Cap­i­tal, Mitt Rom­ney’s firm.)

In a reprise of a pre­vi­ous and appar­ent­ly ongo­ing vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty of Bit­coin, the pos­si­bil­i­ty of an “Armaged­don” in the Bit­coin world pro­duced by con­cen­tra­tion of own­er­ship looms.

Once again, the GHash.io min­ing pool is at the cen­ter of the plot. Because it had gar­nered con­trol of 51% of the Bit­coin mar­ket, it could “dou­ble-sell” coins and com­pro­mise the integri­ty of the entire net­work.

The con­cen­tra­tion of Bit­coin own­er­ship is also note­wor­thy because Bit­coins are now being accept­ed for polit­i­cal con­tri­bu­tions. The “free­dom” advo­cat­ed by Bit­coin’s sup­port­ers has result­ed in seri­ous crim­i­nal activ­i­ty, includ­ing hor­ri­fy­ing, vio­lent pornog­ra­phy, financed by Bit­coin’s user anonymi­ty.

Exem­pli­fy­ing how “free­dom” can become a catch­word for forms of fas­cism, recent cop shoot­ers in both Las Vegas and North­ern Cal­i­for­nia sub­scribed to the “sov­er­eign cit­i­zen” doc­trine, as well as sup­port for Ron Paul and Cliv­en Bundy.

The “don’t fence me in” atti­tude of the “Paulis­tin­ian Lib­er­tar­i­an Orga­ni­za­tion” and the sov­er­eign cit­i­zens have echoes in the GOP, who appear to be gear­ing up for anoth­er gov­ern­ment shut­down over Oba­ma’s cli­mate change pol­i­cy.

While the Snow­denistas have obsessed–wrongly in our opinion–on the NSA and GCHQ, the high-tech cor­po­ra­tions are forg­ing ahead with tech­no­log­i­cal devel­op­ments that hold some hor­ri­fy­ing pos­si­bil­i­ties for the con­cept of real per­son­al free­dom.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: Since the pro­gram was record­ed, Udo Voigt of Ger­many’s NPD (the Fed­er­al Repub­lic’s largest neo-Nazi par­ty) was appointed to the Euro­pean Par­lia­men­t’s Civ­il Rights Com­mit­teeCar­bon Coun­ty (Utah) and its dec­la­ra­tion of exemp­tion from fed­er­al land use law, in order to fur­ther min­ing inter­ests there; Face­book’s shar­ing of exten­sive data min­ing with oth­er cor­po­rate inter­ests; the prob­a­bil­i­ty that tech com­pa­nies inva­sive­ness will become the norm, due to the tremen­dous cap­i­tal invest­ed in those cor­po­ra­tions; Google’s use of mil­i­tary “ops” vet­er­ans to devel­op a fleet of high alti­tude bal­loons.

1. “The Ham­mer” is back. Makis “The Ham­mer” Voridis is Greece’s new Health Min­is­ter.

In FTR #788, we not­ed the joint progress of Ger­man/EU-imposed “aus­ter­i­ty” and fas­cism in Greece.

With the coun­try’s pover­ty-dri­ven health care approx­i­mat­ing a lethal, slow-motion eugen­ics pro­gram, Greece’s “Clause­witz­ian Eco­nom­ics” fig­ures to accel­er­ate with the appoint­ment of Makis Voridis, a doc­tri­naire Nazi, to admin­is­ter the Greek Health Min­istry.

As the Ger­man-dom­i­nat­ed EMU and EU “bring the ham­mer down” on the Euro­pean econ­o­my and cit­i­zen­ry, it is grim­ly fas­ci­nat­ing to watch this hands-on appli­ca­tion of Von Clause­witz’s the­o­ret­i­cal prin­ci­ples.

Gen­er­al­ly con­sid­ered in the con­text of mil­i­tary strat­e­gy and tac­tics, Von Clause­witz’s con­cept of Total War lends itself read­i­ly to eco­nom­ics and social pol­i­cy.

Hav­ing Voridis as Greece’s Health Min­is­ter reminds us of Josef Men­gele, select­ing those fit for work from those des­ig­nat­ed for imme­di­ate gassing at Auschwitz.

“Yacht Apps and Anti-Semit­ic Min­is­ters in the Birth­place of Democ­ra­cy” by Mark Ames; Pan­do Dai­ly; 6/15/2014.

Good and bad eco­nom­ics news out of the birth­place of democ­ra­cy.

The good news: Accord­ing to the Wall Street Jour­nal, Greece is see­ing a boom in tech star­tups. Of course, that boom starts from a very low num­ber, as the Jour­nal reports:

“there were 144 star­tups in Greece in 2013, up from just 16 in 2010. The mon­ey invest­ed in them has climbed to €42 mil­lion ($57 mil­lion), com­pared with just €500,000 three years ago.”

Most of the fund­ing is geared towards ser­vic­ing the sec­tor of Greece that hasn’t been ruined by the past few years of EU-imposed aus­ter­ity, which rules out a large per­cent­age of under-35s, the pre­sumed Inter­net gen­er­a­tion. The unem­ploy­ment rate for young Greeks aged 15–24 is 58.3%, while for 25–34 year old Greeks, the unem­ploy­ment rate is 35.5%. Excit­ing new Greek star­tups attract­ing out­side VC cap­i­tal, like incred­i­blue— an online yacht book­ing ser­vice — and Tax­ibeat, a mobile taxi­cab hail­ing app — aren’t going to be much use to them.

Still, Greece’s “boom­ing” tech sec­tor is the good news.

Now, the bad news: Greece’s pro-EU rul­ing con­ser­v­a­tive par­ty, the New Democ­rats, just named an actu­al neo-Nazi, Makis “The Ham­mer” Voridis, as Greece’s new Health Min­is­terJew­ish groups are out­raged over the news that Voridis—a long­time neo-fas­cist activist and anti-Semi­te who has pub­licly pro­moted the Pro­to­cols of the Elders of Zion as wor­thy of schol­ar­ship, and doubt­ed the authen­tic­ity of the Diary of Anne Frank—is serv­ing as a promi­nent min­is­ter in the rul­ing party’s cab­i­net, in charge of an impor­tant min­istry at a time when Greece has been gut­ting its health care bud­gets, caus­ing wide­spread mis­ery.

I wrote about Voridis in Novem­ber 2011, because I was shocked that a gov­ern­ment coali­tion essen­tially imposed on Greece by the EU and West­ern cred­i­tors would demand that the alleged­ly tech­no­cratic “aus­ter­ity coali­tion” includ­ed mem­bers of Greece’s anti-Semit­ic, neo-fas­cist LAOS par­tyInclud­ing Makis “The Ham­mer” Voridis, who served as min­is­ter of infra­struc­ture and trans­port.

I call him “The Ham­mer” because pho­tographs sur­faced show­ing Voridis as a Uni­ver­sity of Athens law stu­dent, car­ry­ing a makeshift stone ham­mer in hand which he used to bash sus­pected left­wing stu­dents with. That was in 1985, when Voridis was in a fas­cist group called “Stu­dent Alter­na­tive” which sup­ported Greece’s bloody mil­i­tary coup and mil­i­tary jun­ta that ruled from 1967–1974.

Voridis was expelled from law school for club­bing left­ist stu­dents, and went on to Big Things in the world of neo-fas­cist Greek pol­i­tics. In 1994, he found­ed the far-right Hel­lenic Front, which in 2004 formed a coali­tion with a self-described Nazi, Kon­stan­ti­nos Plevris, who open­ly advo­cated for the exter­mi­na­tion of Greece’s remain­ing Jews. In 2005, Voridis merged his par­ty into the LAOS par­ty, whose leader, Geor­gios Karatzaferis, pub­licly mocked Auschwitz and Dachau death camps as “myths,” blamed Jews for 9/11 dur­ing a speech in par­lia­ment, and said “the Jews have no legit­i­macy to speak in Greece.”

In late 2011, as Greece pol­i­tics col­lapsed under the weight of its debts and the harsh EU-imposed aus­ter­ity mea­sures, the EU imposed a new “aus­ter­ity” gov­ern­ment that includ­ed “The Ham­mer” Voridis and oth­er mem­bers of the neo-fas­cist LAOS par­ty. The aus­ter­ity gov­ern­ment ran Greece until new elec­tions were called in mid-2012. In those inter­im months, the aus­ter­ity coali­tion pushed through rad­i­cal aus­ter­ity mea­sures that caused LAOS’ fas­cist vot­ers to desert them for an even more vio­lent, more extreme neo-Nazi par­ty, the Gold­en Dawn Par­ty. One would’ve thought that’d be the end of Makis Voridis.

But Voridis is one of the sly­er fas­cists. He joined the aus­ter­ity cab­i­net and served from Novem­ber 2011 through June 2012. In the June 2012 elec­tions, after LAOS was oblit­er­ated for par­tic­i­pat­ing in the aus­ter­ity gov­ern­ment, Voridis aban­doned LAOS and joined the new rul­ing par­ty that won the elec­tions, the respectable right-wing New Democ­racy par­ty.

And now New Democ­racy is pay­ing back the favor to their favorite aus­ter­ity fas­cist.


2a. We’ve told you so–over and over and (present-par­tici­ple, exple­tive delet­ed) over again!

Fas­cism is descend­ing over much of the world, from the Hindu/nationalist fas­cist RSS/BJP milieu of Naren­dra Modi in India to the neo-fas­cist/Third Posi­tion­ists com­pris­ing the Snow­denista/Wik­ileaks pha­lanx.

Dark­ness is set­ting in.

In Europe, the eco­nom­ic con­di­tions deriv­ing from the Euro-aus­ter­i­ty doc­trine man­dat­ed by Ger­many are bear­ing fruit sim­i­lar to the har­vest of the 1930’s  brought about by the Great Depres­sion.

Not even as rel­a­tive­ly staid a source as The Dai­ly Beast can ignore the onrush of Euro-fas­cism.

“Fas­cism Is Fash­ion­able Again in Europe” by Thane Rosen­baum; The Dai­ly Beast; 6/8/2014.

Fas­cism is back in fash­ion near­ly all through­out Europe. Elec­tions for the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment, with bal­lots cast in 28 coun­tries, pro­duced a star­tling vic­to­ry for the sort of polit­i­cal par­ties that are nor­mal­ly not invit­ed to fash­ion­able par­ties.

In some coun­tries, like France, where fash­ion always mat­ter, the vot­ers gave the boor­ish Nation­al Front the largest share of votes. Sim­i­lar extreme right-wing sen­ti­ment fueled the elec­toral out­come in Eng­land, where the Unit­ed King­dom Inde­pen­dence Par­ty out­polled all oth­er par­ties. [The Unit­ed King­dom Inde­pen­dence Par­ty is not fas­cist in ide­ol­o­gy. Its advo­cates seem rel­a­tive­ly unaware of the Friedrich List-inspired nature of the Ger­man dom­i­naed EU, however.–D.E.] In both coun­tries, extrem­ists cap­tured more than a quar­ter of the vote.

Things were only slight­ly bet­ter in Aus­tria, Den­mark, and Swe­den. In Hun­gary, the demon­stra­bly anti-Semit­ic Job­bik par­ty fin­ished sec­ond. In Greece, the Gold­en Dawn par­ty, a neo-Nazi out­fit that dress­es in what looks like Nazi uni­forms, cap­tured seats for the first time. Even in Ger­many, where Nazi mem­o­ra­bil­ia and roman­ti­cism are out­lawed, a neo-fas­cist claimed a seat.

All across the Atlantic the fringe is look­ing more and more like the main­stream. These groups are gen­er­al­ly unit­ed in their thug­gery and xeno­pho­bia. Open­ly racist, anti-immi­grant, and anti-Semit­ic feel­ings seem to be the first plank atop each party’s plat­form. To be sure, eco­nom­ic reces­sion, the ongo­ing Euro­pean debt cri­sis, and high unem­ploy­ment con­tributed to this dash toward extrem­ism, but anti-for­eign­er rhetoric ulti­mate­ly dom­i­nat­ed the cam­paigns.

Hat­ing the oth­er has become a Euro­pean ral­ly­ing cry.

These par­lia­men­tary results, how­ev­er, were not that dif­fi­cult to pre­dict for any­one pay­ing atten­tion to the vul­gar events that have over­tak­en the con­ti­nent late­ly. This past Sep­tem­ber, in Greece, a man sym­pa­thet­ic to Gold­en Dawn’s stump speech­es mur­dered Pav­los Fys­sas, a left-wing rap­per bet­ter known by his hip-hop han­dle, Kil­lah P. Like the storm troop­ers of old, Gold­en Dawn—the fastest grow­ing par­ty in Greece—can’t seem to make an appear­ance with­out a riot break­ing out, open­ly invok­ing Nazism and Hitler as their pri­ma­ry polit­i­cal influ­ences. They even have a logo that resem­bles a swasti­ka.

A Bel­gian polit­i­cal par­ty, Stand Up Belges! has gained fol­low­ers. A day before the elec­tions, three peo­ple were mur­dered (and one crit­i­cal­ly wound­ed) at the Jew­ish Muse­um in Brus­sels. Less than a month ear­li­er, there was a planned “gath­er­ing of dis­si­dents” fea­tur­ing an assort­ment of Nazi-envy char­ac­ters. The protest was banned but not before the crowd per­formed the quenelle en masse, pop­u­lar­ized by French com­ic Dieudonne M’Bala M’Bala. The ges­ture has become a trendy sym­bol among those who would oth­er­wise fetishize Heil Hitler.

Speak­ing of Dieudonne, he has been con­vict­ed sev­en times in France for preach­ing anti-Semi­tism and boasts a per­son­al friend­ship with Jean-Marie Le Pen, the founder of the Nation­al Front. Dieudonne’s act has includ­ed dress­ing up as a rab­bi and giv­ing a Nazi salute. Recent­ly on stage he warned a French-Jew­ish radio host, “if winds change … I think to myself, well, the gas cham­bers … too bad.” On Feb­ru­ary 1, his sup­port­ers held a demon­stra­tion pur­port­ed­ly against the French pres­i­dent, but the protest descend­ed into an old-school pogrom when the crowd chant­ed: “Jew, France is not yours!”

Such are the polemics of Euro­pean hate, which no one takes seri­ous­ly until it’s time to take it seri­ous­ly.The eco­nom­ic con­di­tions and polit­i­cal land­scape through­out the con­ti­nent is start­ing to look a lot like the ’30s, which, despite what Win­ston Churchill said about his own coun­try at the time, was not Europe’s “finest hour.” A good thing Churchill didn’t live to see the Unit­ed King­dom Inde­pen­dence Par­ty. . . .

2b. Since the pro­gram was record­ed, Udo Voigt of Ger­many’s NPD (the Fed­er­al Repub­lic’s largest neo-Nazi par­ty) was appoint­ed to the Euro­pean Par­lia­men­t’s Civ­il Rights Com­mit­tee.

“Neo-Nazi Holo­caust Denier Joins EU Par­lia­ment Civ­il Rights Com­mit­tee” by Caitlin Mac­Neal; TPM Livewire; 7/8/2014.

 A neo-Nazi from Germany’s ultra-con­ser­v­a­tive Nation­al Demo­c­ra­tic Par­ty joined the Euro­pean Union’s par­lia­ment in May and on Mon­day took a seat on the body’s Civ­il Rights Com­mit­tee, accord­ing to Jew­ish World News.

Udo Voigt has praised Adolf Hitler as “a great Ger­man states­man” and once claimed that “no more than 340,000″ Jews died in the Holo­caust, as opposed to the 6 mil­lion fig­ure agreed on by his­to­ri­ans, accord­ing to the Guardian.

Voigt led the NDP from 1996 to 2011, and dur­ing that time he led the par­ty in an increas­ingly nation­al­ist direc­tion. In 2009, he was con­victed of glo­ri­fy­ing the Waf­fen SS. The Ger­man court unsuc­cess­fully attempt­ed to out­law the par­ty in 2006, and anoth­er attempt is cur­rently under­way.

Voigt in 2007 con­sid­ered nom­i­nat­ing Rudolf Hess, Hitler’s deputy, for a Nobel Peace Prize. The Guardian has an exten­sive account of his incred­i­bly con­tro­ver­sial actions and state­ments here.

Fol­low­ing out­rage over Voigt’s assign­ment to the Civ­il Rights Com­mit­tee, EU Pres­i­dent Mar­tin Schulz denounced Voigt’s beliefs.


A spokesman for the Euro­pean Jew­ish Con­gress called for mem­bers of the EU par­lia­ment to keep Voigt from gain­ing pub­lic­ity for his views.

“It does the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment no cred­it to have peo­ple sit­ting on its civ­il lib­er­ties com­mit­tee who have obvi­ously not only shown no com­mit­ment to civ­il lib­er­ties, but have sought to under­mine them and to pur­vey a racist and intol­er­ant agen­da through­out their polit­i­cal career,” a spokesman told EurAc­tiv.

3. In our ongo­ing cri­tique of Bit­coin, we’ve not­ed that it appears to be an “op,” exe­cut­ed by Siemens spin­off Lan­tiq, which was cap­i­tal­ized by Gold­en Gate Cap­i­tal (staffed by alum­ni of Bain Cap­i­tal, Mitt Rom­ney’s firm.)

New­er readers/listeners should note that Siemens func­tions as some­thing of a quar­ter­mas­ter for BND–German’s for­eign intel­li­gence ser­vice, evolved from the Gehlen “Org.”(We have done four pro­grams to date on Bit­coin: FTR #‘s 760764,770785.)

In a reprise of a pre­vi­ous and appar­ent­ly ongo­ing vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty of Bit­coin, the pos­si­bil­i­ty of an “Armaged­don” in the Bit­coin world pro­duced by con­cen­tra­tion of own­er­ship looms.

Once again, the GHash.io min­ing pool is at the cen­ter of the plot. Because it had gar­nered con­trol of 51% of the Bit­coin mar­ket, it could “dou­ble-sell” coins and com­pro­mise the integri­ty of the entire net­work.

It is par­tic­u­lar­ly inter­est­ing to note that just exact­ly who owns GHash.io is a mys­tery, as is the true iden­ti­ty of “Satoshi Nakamoto,”–the inven­tor of Bit­coin.  Again, we feel we nailed it in FTR# 760.

” . . . . Mak­ing mat­ters worse, no one knows who is behind GHash or CEX. The own­ers of the Nether­lands-based com­pany (which lists a Lon­don mail­ing address) are noto­ri­ously secre­tive, mean­ing that the bit­coin com­mu­nity – which at this point rep­re­sents sev­eral bil­lion dol­lars in wealth and untold future val­ue – are left trust­ing a shad­owy enti­ty not to behave bad­ly with its new­found pow­er. . . .

Hmm­m­mm! A “noto­ri­ous­ly secre­tive,” “Nether­lands-based company”–doesn’t sound good. We won­der if this is anoth­er prop­er­ty of the Bor­mann cap­i­tal net­work? Cer­tain­ly, the gen­er­al pro­file fits their front orga­ni­za­tions.

Front and cen­ter in the Bit­coin cheer­ing sec­tion are sup­port­ers of the Aus­tri­an School of economics–Ludwig von Mis­es, Friedrich von Hayek et al.Adamantly opposed to “guvmint in’fer­ence” in mar­kets, they advo­cate unreg­u­lat­ed finance. Bit­coin illus­trates in bru­tal­ly dra­mat­ic fash­ion why reg­u­la­tion is very much need­ed.

“Crypto-‘Armageddon:’ Researchers Claim Min­ing Con­cen­tra­tion Threat­ens to Destroy Bit­coin” by Michael Car­ney; Pan­do Dai­ly; 6/16/2014.

Here we go again. For the umteenth time in recent mem­ory, the sanc­tity of the bit­coin net­work is fac­ing an exis­ten­tial threat from a large and over­ly secre­tive orga­ni­za­tion. It’s not an exchange or wal­let ser­vice this time around that has the atten­tion of cryp­to-cur­ren­cy watch­ers, but rather a large min­ing pool, specif­i­cally GHash.io, the self-described world’s “#1 Cryp­to & Bit­coin Min­ing Pool.”

So why is the bit­coin world up in arms over GHash? On sev­eral occa­sions last week, one last­ing a full 12 hours, the group, which is owned by cloud-min­ing ser­vice CEX.io, con­trolled more than 50 per­cent of the glob­al com­pu­ta­tional pow­er direct­ed at min­ing bit­coin.

With such con­trol, GHash (or any group that finds itself in a sim­i­lar posi­tion) could manip­u­late the integri­ty of the bit­coin net­work by poten­tially dou­ble-spend­ing coins, block­ing or revers­ing trans­ac­tions by com­pet­ing min­ers, extort­ing increased trans­ac­tion pro­cess­ing fees from the net­work, or wag­ing a dis­trib­uted denial of ser­vice (DDoS) attack against the entire bit­coin net­work – col­lec­tively, a so-called “51 per­cent attack.” In oth­er words, it’s a major threat to bitcoin’s foun­da­tional dis­trib­uted, and there­fore trust­less, nature.

Cor­nell researchers Ittay Eyal and Emin Gün Sir­er were the first to rec­og­nize the 51 per­cent event, call­ing it “armaged­don” in a Fri­day blog post, and describ­ing GHash as a “de fac­to monop­oly.”The pair, who have long been thought lead­ers on the con­cepts of 51 per­cent attacks and “self­ish min­ing,” write:

GHash is in a posi­tion to exer­cise com­plete con­trol over which trans­ac­tions appear on the blockchain and which min­ers reap min­ing rewards. They could keep 100% of the min­ing prof­its to them­selves if they so chose. Bit­coin is cur­rently an expen­sive dis­trib­uted data­base under the con­trol of a sin­gle enti­ty, albeit one that requires con­stantly burn­ing ener­gy to main­tain — worst of all worlds.

It’s a his­tor­i­cal first for any enti­ty to cross the 50 per­cent thresh­old, although GHash has been close before, approach­ing 45 per­cent in Jan­u­aryof this year. At the time, GHash issued a press release, pub­licly com­mit­ting to nev­er reach­ing the feared 51 per­cent thresh­old (real­ly, any­thing greater than 50 per­cent). So much for that promise.

To be clear, GHash doesn’t own 50 per­cent of the glob­al min­ing pow­er, it sim­ply “con­trols” it. This dis­tinc­tion is impor­tant, but does not nec­es­sar­ily elim­i­nate the threat the group pos­es. GHash has in the past claimed to own only half the hard­ware pro­vid­ing the hash­ing pow­er that it con­trols, with the rest con­tributed by third-par­ty min­ers that allo­cate min­ing pow­er to its pool. Nonethe­less, the bit­coin net­work has rea­son to be fear­ful of this con­cen­tra­tion of pow­er.

Mak­ing mat­ters worse, no one knows who is behind GHash or CEX. The own­ers of the Nether­lands-based com­pany (which lists a Lon­don mail­ing address) are noto­ri­ously secre­tive, mean­ing that the bit­coin com­mu­nity – which at this point rep­re­sents sev­eral bil­lion dol­lars in wealth and untold future val­ue – are left trust­ing a shad­owy enti­ty not to behave bad­ly with its new­found pow­er.

To be clear, GHash has not abused its pow­er yet. But if history’s taught us any­thing it’s that pow­er cor­rupts. Mak­ing mat­ters worse, the com­pany was pre­vi­ously accused of using its enor­mous size advan­tage to bul­ly a gam­bling site via dou­ble-spend­ing attacks.

Eyal and Sir­er write:

No one knows the ulti­mate aims of GHash. The peo­ple who join the GHash pool do so because GHash has zero fees — these peo­ple are essen­tially opti­miz­ing for short term prof­its over the long term well-being of the cur­rency. All of these are pre­cisely the points we cau­tioned about. So this is when we get to say “We told you so.”

The pair go on to advo­cate a “hard fork” in the code­base under­ly­ing bit­coin, with the goal of accom­plish­ing three core fix­es: dis­in­cen­tiviz­ing min­ing pools, com­bat­ting self­ish min­ing, and mak­ing min­ing activ­ity more trans­par­ent. They con­clude, sar­cas­ti­cal­ly:

Or we can car­ry on as if noth­ing of impor­tance hap­pened. GHash will be on their best behav­ior for the next few weeks, and Bit­coin will limp along. What will bring the actu­al demise of Bit­coin is the sub­ject of a future blog post, but this is by no means the end. Peo­ple can still use Bit­coin to buy drugs, trin­kets from Overstock.com, and maybe even grilled cheese from a food truck. There is an after­world. And for every­thing else, there is dirty fiat and Mas­ter­card.

As Eyal and Sir­er point out, the poten­tial of 51 per­cent attacks has been known for some time. As a whole, the bit­coin com­mu­nity lead­ers have been quick to write off the risks of such a sce­nario, offer­ing two com­mon jus­ti­fi­ca­tions. First, we’re told that the invest­ment required to cre­ate a min­ing pool would dis­in­cen­tivize a pool’s par­tic­i­pants from ever con­duct­ing such an attack. But, as the Cor­nel report explains:

…[this] assumes a sta­tic world. Instead, the min­ing rigs have a fair­ly short use­ful life­time. If a min­er knows that they will be over­taken by the next gen­er­a­tion of hard­ware about to be unleashed by a com­pet­ing min­ing pool, it will have a def­i­nite time hori­zon for extract­ing every last bit of val­ue, and that plan may not have room in it for a voy­age to the moon.

Sec­ondly, naysay­ers are quick to argue that the min­ing com­mu­nity and bitcoin’s core devel­op­ers will eas­ily rec­og­nize such an attack and will there­fore pre­vent the bad actors from harm­ing the broad­er bit­coin net­work. At best, this seems like an ide­al­is­tic view of like­ly events. Even if such an attack were rec­og­nized and ulti­mately inter­rupted, the trust-erod­ing effects – both with­in the com­mu­nity, but more so with­in main­stream con­sumers and media – would be stag­ger­ing. Assum­ing that no harm will come of even a brief 51 per­cent attack couldn’t be fur­ther from the truth.


A GHash spokesper­son told Cryp­to­Coin­News:

…we would nev­er do any­thing to harm the Bit­coin econ­omy; we believe in it. We have invest­ed all our effort, time and mon­ey into the devel­op­ment of the Bit­coin econ­omy. We agree that min­ing should be decen­tral­ized, but you can­not blame GHash.IO for being the #1 min­ing pool.

Bit­coin was cre­ated specif­i­cally to avoid the need to trust any cen­tral­ized author­ity, be it a fed­eral gov­ern­ment, the Fed­eral Reserve, the World Bank, or oth­er­wise. The fact that the cryp­to-cur­ren­cy com­mu­nity is now con­fronting this sce­nario is a legit­i­mate threat to the entire exper­i­ment.

The broad­er mar­ket seems to agree with this con­cern, push­ing the price of bit­coin down more than 16 per­cent in a few days, from a near-term high of $655 on Tues­day, June 10 to a low of $553 on Sun­day the 15th– cur­rently, the Coin­desk Price Index sits at $589. This drop fol­lows a recent upswing in price fol­low­ing a pro­longed bear mar­ket that coin­cided with the col­lapse of Mt. Gox. As of this moment, GHash con­trols rough­ly 35 per­cent of glob­al hash­ing pow­er while the next largest known group, Dis­cus Fish, con­trols 16 per­cent.

GHash doesn’t need to con­duct a 51 per­cent attack for their hash­ing pow­er con­cen­tra­tion to be a major issue. The sim­ple fact that the bit­coin net­work must look over its shoul­der to won­der if (or when) such an attack will arrive is enough to desta­bi­lize the sys­tem.

4. If you thought that cam­paign finance had become a sticky wick­et in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Cit­i­zens Unit­ed and McCutcheon deci­sions, you might be bit­ter­ly amused by the lat­est devel­op­ment in the lubri­ca­tion of the wheels of democ­ra­cy.

The Fed­er­al Elec­tion Com­mis­sion has giv­en the nod to accept­ing Bit­coins as cam­paign con­tri­bu­tions.

The avail­able evi­dence sug­gests that Bit­coin is prob­a­bly an Under­ground Reich “op” with roots in the cyber-fascis­tic lib­er­tar­i­an milieu.

Fans of Cit­i­zens Unit­ed and McCutcheon will be thrilled to know that one mys­te­ri­ous com­pa­ny con­trol 51% of the total of the cur­ren­cy in exis­tence.

Long live the Repub­lic!

“Pol­i­tics Jumps on Bit­coin Wag­on” by Fre­dreka Schouten; USA Today; 5/9–11/2014.

The Fed­er­al Elec­tion Com­mis­sion (FEC) unan­i­mous­ly approved its use as a polit­i­cal dona­tion Thurs­day. Com­mis­sion­ers imposed sev­er­al con­di­tions. Among them: No anony­mous bit­coin con­tri­bu­tions will be allowed, and cam­paign trea­sur­ers must scru­ti­nize the dona­tions for “evi­dence of ille­gal­i­ty.”

Jim Harp­er of the industry’s Bit­coin Foun­da­tion, said the FEC’s move lends fur­ther legit­i­ma­cy to the­cur­ren­cy. “It’s anoth­er part of the grow­ing body of reg­u­la­tion that estab­lish­es bit­coin as a co-equal part of the finan­cial ser­vices sys­tem,” he said.

Rep. Jared Polis, a lib­er­al Demo­c­rat from Col­orado, imme­di­ate­ly announced his cam­paign would begin accept­ing the dig­i­tal mon­ey. He praised the FEC for its “for­ward-look­ing stance” to rec­og­nize “the rights of indi­vid­u­als seek­ing alter­na­tives to gov­ern­ment-backed cur­ren­cies to par­tic­i­pate in our demo­c­ra­t­ic polit­i­cal process.”

It’s not clear how quick­ly the cur­ren­cy will spread through the elec­tion land­scape. Offi­cials with the com­mit­tee work­ing to elect House Democ­rats said they had no imme­di­ate plans to accept bit­coins.

Even with­out the for­mal approval of reg­u­la­tors, the Lib­er­tar­i­an Par­ty began accept­ing Bit­coin about a year ago and has col­lect­ed the equiv­a­lent of about $10,000, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor Wes Bene­dict said.

5. Deriv­a­tive of the fas­cist doc­trine stem­ming from the Aus­tri­an school of eco­nom­ic the­o­ry, Bit­coin is inex­tri­ca­bly linked with the milieu of Edward Show­den and the lib­er­tar­i­an wing of the GOP.

A horrifying–though predictable–story from the Dai­ly Mail illus­trates the moral, prac­ti­cal and philo­soph­i­cal bank­rupt­cy of lib­er­tar­i­an phi­los­o­phy.

Kid­die porn freaks (with an appar­ent sadis­tic bent) have been using Bit­coin to finance online videos with the chil­dren being tor­tured with lit cig­a­rettes.

Aside from the poten­tial for such activ­i­ty to be uti­lized by orga­nized crime syn­di­cates and intel­li­gence ser­vices for a vari­ety of pur­pos­es, this will  cer­tain­ly obvi­ate the need for rig­or­ous sur­veil­lance of the inter­net.

We here a great deal about “free­dom” these days, par­tic­u­lar­ly in con­nec­tion with the inter­net.

Real free­dom, how­ev­er, can only exist when mar­ried to respon­si­bil­i­ty. The prop­a­ga­tion of activ­i­ties such as the one described in the sto­ry below under­scores the deprav­i­ty of many of those who argue for an unmon­i­tored inter­net, on which “any­thing goes.”

 “Dis­turb­ing New Inter­net Child Abuse Sees Tod­dlers Raped and Burned Live on Web­cam as Pae­dophiles use Bit­coin to Stop Being Traced, Warns Police Chief” by Kier­an Cor­co­ran; Dai­ly Mail; 4/21/2014.

One of Europe’s top police offi­cers has warned of a sick­en­ing online trade in child tor­ture porn.

Rob Wain­wright, the direc­tor of Europol, said offend­ers are using the untrace­able online cur­rency Bit­coin to pay for depraved ‘shows’, per­formed live on web­cams, which see young chil­dren raped and burned.

He said: ‘The lev­el of deprav­ity seems to be descend­ing year on year, frankly, includ­ing what seems to be in vogue now, which is live web­cam ‘shows’ of tod­dlers not just being raped but being burnt with cig­a­rettes.

Scroll down for video

Sick­en­ing: Mark Wain­wright warned that online preda­tors were pay­ing to watch chil­dren be raped and burned live on web­cam

‘Sor­ry, but it’s hap­pen­ing online and it’s extreme­ly dif­fi­cult for us to iden­ti­fy.’

Mr Wain­wright warned that Bit­coin — a ‘cryp­to-cur­ren­cy’ based on math­e­mat­i­cal for­mu­lae and inde­pen­dent of any gov­ern­ment or cen­tral bank — is prop­ping up a crim­i­nal black mar­ket.

He also warned that police and politi­cians were strug­gling to keep up with the pace of online crime, thanks to wide­spread anonymi­ty online, and easy access to encryp­tion tech­nol­ogy which can make crim­i­nals almost impos­si­ble to track down.

Mr Wain­wright warned that the prin­ci­ple that everyone’s online activ­ity should be anony­mous by default needs to be chal­lenged in order to police the inter­net effec­tive­ly.

(*fur­ther enhanc­ing the require­ment for a vir­tual panop­ti­con — par­ticipo)

He crit­i­cised the slug­gish response from the police, politi­cians and big busi­nesses, say­ing that equiv­a­lent lev­els of crime in the phys­i­cal world would be ‘front page news.’

Every­thing you need to know about bit­coin

Black mar­ket: The Bit­coin cryp­tocur­rency is being used for ille­gal activ­i­ties, Mr Wain­wright warned

–Black mar­ket: The Bit­coin cryp­tocur­rency is being used for ille­gal activ­i­ties, Mr Wain­wright warned
He told The Times: ‘It is frus­trat­ing that we are not get­ting the mes­sage out, at least not loud enough for leg­is­la­tors to hear it.’

The Inter­net Watch Foun­da­tion pres­sure group has recent­ly claimed to have found evi­dence of an email scam direct­ing peo­ple to under­ground web­sites where the sick ‘shows’ could be seen in exchange for Bit­coin.

6a. Once again, the “lead­er­less resis­tance” strat­e­gy has claimed vic­tims, with the Cliv­en Bundy Freiko­rps fig­ur­ing among the ide­o­log­i­cal assig­na­tions of the Las Vegas killers.

Par­tic­u­lar­ly note­wor­thy here is the fact that Jer­ad and Aman­da Miller were sup­port­ers of Ron Paul, Eddie the Friend­ly Spook Snow­den’s Pres­i­den­tial can­di­date of choice. Nazi fel­low-trav­el­er Glenn Green­wald, Snow­den’s jour­nal­is­tic leak­er of choice, ran legal inter­fer­ence for the “lead­er­less resis­tance” strat­e­gy as an attor­ney.

Green­wald’s pro-bono efforts on behalf of his mur­der­ous Nazi clients helped to insu­late advo­cates of the sort of thing the Millers did in Las Vegas against civ­il lit­i­ga­tion aris­ing from the actu­al­iza­tion of their prin­ci­ples.

Hatri­ot Pol­i­tics Cre­at­ed the Las Vegas Killers” by Jon Avlon; The Dai­ly Beast; 6/9/2014.

The obses­sive­ly anti-gov­ern­ment Hatri­ot move­ment moved from cul­ti­vat­ing con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries to real killing on Sun­day in Las Vegas.

The Wingnut Bon­nie and Clyde duo, Jer­ad and Aman­da Miller, stormed into CiCi’s Piz­za and shot two metro cops, Alyn Beck and Igor Sol­do, at close range while shout­ing “This is a rev­o­lu­tion!” They flung the Tea Party’s favorite coiled snake Gads­den flag and a swasti­ka on the still-warm corpses and then moved to a near­by Wal­mart to mur­der a shop­per before turn­ing the guns on them­selves.

But the crime scene chronol­o­gy only tells part of the story—because the Millers’ Mas­sacre had been brew­ing for a long time, vis­i­ble online. Their Face­book pages detail a descent into a mur­der­ous rage, rail­ing against a tyran­ni­cal gov­ern­ment and par­rot­ing talk­ing points from fright-wing radio hosts such as Alex Jones and mili­tia move­ment groups such as the Three Per­centers while “lik­ing” the pages of con­ser­v­a­tive activist groups rang­ing from the Her­itage Foun­da­tion to Free­dom­Works and the NRA. Miller’s pro­file pic­ture was a skull wear­ing an Amer­i­can flag ban­dana against a back­drop of crossed knives over the word “Patri­ot.” . . .

. . . . Police sources con­firm that the Millers con­spired to infil­trate an uniden­ti­fied court build­ing and exe­cute pub­lic offi­cials. The Las Vegas Review-Jour­nal report­ed Mon­day that Kel­ley Field­er, who called the Millers “best friends,” said they left her with a box of doc­u­ments that offi­cials report includ­ed a writ­ten plan to mur­der court offi­cials. The box was recov­ered Sun­day dur­ing a police search of Fielder’s apart­ment. The search also found three emp­ty rifle cas­es and an emp­ty box used for hand­cuffs.

Jer­ad Miller’s anti-gov­ern­ment fren­zy was whipped up by the extreme right wing echo cham­ber. Ear­li­er this year, Miller respond­ed to calls to stand with Cliv­en Bundy in and declared com­mon cause with the rene­gade ranch­er. “I will be sup­port­ing Clive Bundy and his fam­i­ly from Fed­er­al Gov­ern­ment slaugh­ter,” he wrote. “This is the next Waco! His ranch is under siege right now! The fed­er­al gov is steal­ing his cat­tle! Arrest­ing his fam­i­ly and beat­ing on them! We must do some­thing, I will be doing some­thing.” When Miller returned from Bundy’s ranch, he post­ed that “BLM [Bureau of Land Man­age­ment] snipers were all over the place.” . . .

. . . . Jer­ad Miller was a prod­uct of his envi­ron­ment, the unhinged right wing echo cham­ber and its con­stant drum­beat about gov­ern­ment tyran­ny being imposed on free­dom-lov­ing cit­i­zens. “Either you stand with free­dom, or you side with tyran­ny,” Miller wrote on his Face­book page in March. “There is no mid­dle ground. We have delud­ed our­selves into such a notion. There is no grey area.”

Miller was a vocal sup­port­er of lib­er­tar­i­an Ron Paul, post­ing dur­ing the fall of 2012: “Ron Paul is the only hope for Amer­i­ca and we have all failed him, our chil­dren and our grand­chil­dren by fail­ing to demand fair cov­er­age of all pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates. . . .

6b. There was anoth­er shootout  involv­ing law enforce­ment offi­cers and a ‘sov­er­eign cit­i­zen’:

“BLM Shoot­ing Sus­pect Is Anti-Gov­ern­ment Con­spir­acy The­o­rist With Pend­ing Gun Charge” by Dylan Scott; TPM Muck­raker; 6/17/2014.

The man accused of shoot­ing two law enforce­ment mem­bers in Cal­i­for­nia, includ­ing a Bureau of Land Man­age­ment ranger, has had at least one pre­vi­ous run-in with law enforce­ment and has described him­self as the tar­get of a mas­sive gov­ern­ment con­spir­a­cy.

Brent Dou­glas Cole, 60, was named by the Neva­da Coun­ty Sheriff’s Office on Mon­day as the sus­pect in Saturday’s shoot­ing that also left him wound­ed.

Anna Fer­gu­son, assis­tant dis­trict attor­ney for Neva­da Coun­ty, con­firmed to TPM that Cole was also fac­ing mis­de­meanor charges in Neva­da Coun­ty Supe­rior Court for alleged­ly car­ry­ing a loaded firearm. He was charged on Jan. 26.

On Tues­day, the Union news­pa­per in Neva­da City, Calif., pub­lished an arti­cle that quot­ed from court doc­u­ments in the case. The doc­u­ments showed Cole believed he was the tar­get of a mas­sive con­spir­a­cy:

Offi­cers act­ed with­out war­rant or any prob­a­ble cause to seize my per­son using a swat team style assault, and then start­ed look­ing for some­thing to charge me with. I was attacked and molest­ed, uncon­sti­tu­tion­ally arrest­ed, unlaw­fully incar­cer­ated, repeat­edly intim­i­dated and coerced to plead guilty to hav­ing com­mit­ted a crime, held in secret for five days, and my prop­erty and lib­erty tak­en from me since Jan­u­ary 26, 2014. I am being per­se­cuted for being a gun own­er, and for exer­cis­ing my inher­ent Right by unwit­ting or unknow­ing accom­plices of a sedi­tious con­spir­acy against rights insti­tuted by for­eign pow­ers inim­i­cal to the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca.

That’s in line with online pro­files, reviewed by TPM, that appear to belong to Cole and sug­gest some­one obsessed with mul­ti­ple con­spir­acy the­o­ries, includ­ing 9/11 trutherism, flu­o­ri­dated water and anti-semit­ic beliefs.

The South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter, in research shared with TPM on Tues­day after­noon, linked Cole to an online pro­file in which he described him­self as “a sov­er­eign Amer­i­can Cit­i­zen attempt­ing to thwart the obvi­ous con­spir­acy and sub­terfuges of pow­ers inim­i­cal to the Unit­ed States.”

“Sov­er­eigns believe that they — not judges, juries, law enforce­ment or elect­ed offi­cials — get to decide which laws to obey and which to ignore, and they don’t think they should have to pay tax­es,” the SPLC has writ­ten in its sum­mary of sov­er­eign cit­i­zen beliefs.

Some­one using the name Brent Dou­glas Cole uploaded Google doc­u­ments that were pur­port­edly filed in his defense for the Jan­u­ary arrest. Those doc­u­ments have not been inde­pen­dently ver­i­fied by TPM, but they car­ry the same case num­ber as the firearms case.

In the doc­u­ments, Cole described him­self as “a statu­tory Attor­ney Gen­eral of the Unit­ed States” and claimed the Cal­i­for­nia law under which he had been charged vio­lated the Sec­ond Amend­ment. He also spelled his name in a man­ner typ­i­cal of mem­bers of the sov­er­eign cit­i­zens move­ment, using low­er­case let­ters and unusu­al punc­tu­a­tion: “brent-dou­glas: cole.”

A Face­book pro­file attrib­uted to a Brent Cole, and which also linked to the alleged doc­u­ments in the firearms case, includ­ed this quote from June 5:

“The con­vic­tion of police that they are endowed with the author­ity and autho­riza­tion to to what­ever they wish to do to any­one, with­out any jus­ti­fi­ca­tion, and incur no lia­bil­ity or cul­pa­bil­ity for crim­i­nal acts com­mit­ted must end.”

Cole also post­ed a num­ber of news arti­cles on Face­book sym­pa­thetic to the Bundy Ranch mili­tia, includ­ing a April 16 post about “an Infowars expose con­nect­ing the land grab to Har­ry Reid and a Chi­nese-backed solar farm.”


Accord­ing to the Union news­pa­per, the BLM ranger had con­tacted the Cal­i­for­nia High­way Patrol for assis­tance in its inves­ti­ga­tion of vehi­cles at the Tahoe Nation­al For­est. It was dur­ing that inves­ti­ga­tion that the two offi­cers were con­fronted by Cole and exchanged gun­fire. The shoot­ing took place near the South Yuba Riv­er camp­ground, accord­ing to the sheriff’s office.

The two law enforce­ment agents suf­fered non-life-threat­en­ing injuries in the inci­dent. Cole suf­fered mul­ti­ple gun­shot wounds, accord­ing to the Union, and was hos­pi­tal­ized as of Mon­day.


 7. The polit­i­cal heirs and cohorts of Cliv­en Bundy con­tin­ue to make waves. An entire coun­ty in Utah appears to be embrac­ing the ‘sov­er­eign cit­i­zen’ theme and is try­ing to secede from the Bureau of Land Man­age­ment.

“Utah Coun­ty Declares BLM’s Author­ity ‘Is Not Rec­og­nized’ There” by Dylan Scott; TPM Livewire; 6/18/2014.

A Utah coun­ty passed a res­o­lu­tion this month assert­ing that the author­ity of fed­eral agents, specif­i­cally those of the Bureau of Land Man­age­ment, to enforce state or local laws — even on fed­eral land — would not be rec­og­nized with­in its bor­ders.

The Car­bon Coun­ty Com­mis­sion approved the res­o­lu­tion unan­i­mously on June 4.

“Any such attempt­ed exer­cise of law enforce­ment pow­ers by an offi­cial of a land man­age­ment agency IS NOT RECOGNIZED by Car­bon Coun­ty,” the res­o­lu­tion stat­ed (caps in orig­i­nal), “and shall be deemed AN IMMINENT THREAT TO THE HEALTH, SAFETY AND WELFARE OF THE CITIZENS OF CARBON COUNTY.”

In pref­ac­ing its case, the com­mis­sion con­cluded “that Car­bon Coun­ty does not rec­og­nize any attempt by a fed­eral offi­cial to try to enforce state or local crim­i­nal or civ­il laws on any lands in Car­bon Coun­ty, includ­ing any BLM or For­est Ser­vice lands.”

The res­o­lu­tion also demand­ed that any fed­eral agent intend­ing to take a law enforce­ment action “shall first declare his pres­ence and intend­ed action to the Sher­iff of Car­bon Coun­ty.”

The move fol­lows the stand­off in Neva­da ear­lier this year between the BLM and a mili­tia sup­port­ing ranch­er Cliv­en Bundy. The res­o­lu­tion, how­ever, did not men­tion Bundy or the stand­off.


8. This week­end the Koch broth­ers host­ed their big donor net­work event where they roll out their plans for big new ini­tia­tive focus­ing on oppo­si­tion to ener­gy reg­u­la­tions. And what do we find today? The GOP has just start­ed talk­ing about the kind of manuev­ers in the Sen­ate designed to gut ener­gy indus­try reg­u­la­tions that appear to be very close to same tech­niques used in the past to cre­ate a shut­down-show­down scene­rio this fall.

“Shut­down Wars Return? GOP Sen­a­tors Want To Block Obama’s Cli­mate Rules” by Sahil Kapur; Talk­ing Points Memo: DC; 6/18/2014.

If ear­ly Repub­li­can enthu­si­asm is any indi­ca­tion, the upcom­ing Sept. 30 dead­line to keep the fed­eral gov­ern­ment open could turn into an all-out war over Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s exec­u­tive actions to com­bat cli­mate change.

As TPM report­ed ear­lier this week, senior House Repub­li­cans are con­sid­er­ing using appro­pri­a­tions leg­is­la­tion to block the Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency’s new restric­tions on coal-fired pow­er plants, aimed at cut­ting cli­mate-warm­ing pol­lu­tion by 30 per­cent by 2030.

On Tues­day, numer­ous Sen­ate Repub­li­cans expressed strong sup­port for the idea.

“I think there’s going to be a lot of sup­port on our side for try­ing to block that. And I hope with some Democ­rats too,” Sen­ate Repub­li­can Con­fer­ence Chair John Thune (R‑SD) told TPM. “The pow­er of the purse is one pow­er Con­gress has, and if you want to send a clear mes­sage to the admin­is­tra­tion about a series of reg­u­la­tions that you think are very detri­men­tal, one way to do that would be through the appro­pri­a­tions process.”

Thune, the No. 3 GOP sen­a­tor, said his par­ty will sup­port “any­thing we can do to pre­vent the admin­is­tra­tion from going for­ward with what are real­ly poor­ly timed, very bur­den­some, very expen­sive ... reg­u­la­tions.”

Sen­ate Bud­get Com­mit­tee Rank­ing Mem­ber Jeff Ses­sions (R‑AL) said Repub­li­cans ought to con­sider revers­ing what he described as pres­i­den­tial over­reach by Oba­ma on envi­ron­men­tal reg­u­la­tions.

“I think Con­gress needs to give seri­ous thought to uti­liz­ing its con­sti­tu­tional pow­er — the pow­er to fund or not fund,” he told TPM. Asked about using the appro­pri­a­tions bill to undo the EPA rules, he said, “That’s one of the pow­ers that Con­gress clear­ly has.”

The Sen­ate Appro­pri­a­tions Com­mit­tee will con­sider gov­ern­ment fund­ing bills this week. If Repub­li­cans insist on pro­hibit­ing imple­men­ta­tion of the EPA rule in order to keep the gov­ern­ment run­ning past Sep­tem­ber, it could spark anoth­er shut­down stand­off. Democ­rats strong­ly sup­port Obama’s envi­ron­men­tal reg­u­la­tions and they intend to block attempts to undo them.

Retir­ing Sen. Sax­by Cham­b­liss (R‑GA) told TPM the idea is “some­thing that will be dis­cussed, I’m sure.”

“Obvi­ously there are a lot of us that are con­cerned about those reg­u­la­tions and it’s going to be a huge blow to the econ­omy,” he said. “And what­ever we can do to keep that from hap­pen­ing, we’re going to con­sider it.”

Sen. Ron John­son (R‑WI) told TPM he’d be “total­ly sup­port­ive” of using gov­ern­ment fund­ing leg­is­la­tion to block the EPA rules.


Sen. John Hoeven (R‑ND), a mem­ber of the Appro­pri­a­tions Com­mit­tee, said he’ll do every­thing in his pow­er to fight the EPA’s so-called “waters of the U.S.” rule — a reg­u­la­tion pro­posedin April aimed at pro­tect­ing the country’s streams and wet­lands from pol­lu­tion — which agribusi­nesses fear will harm them.

“I strong­ly oppose the pro­posed rule,” Hoeven said. Asked if he intends to attach an amend­ment to the appro­pri­a­tions bill block­ing the EPA rule, he said, “That’s my intent. ... Any­thing I can attach it to that makes it though — I’m gonna do it.”

The dis­pute that usu­ally sparks shut­downs is about how much the fed­eral gov­ern­ment should spend. That’s not a prob­lem this time because the two sides have agreed to spend $1.014 tril­lionin fis­cal year 2015. But the envi­ron­men­tal reg­u­la­tions have become a cause célèbre in Repub­li­can cir­cles, ignit­ing inter­est in find­ing ways to force the pres­i­dent to back down.

TPM asked Sen. John­son if he wor­ries the strat­egy could lead to anoth­er gov­ern­ment shut­down just one month before the con­gres­sional elec­tions.

“We should not, obvi­ously — the fed­eral gov­ern­ment does enough harm to our econ­omy. We need to bring a lit­tle more cer­tainty,” the sen­a­tor said. “So I’m not in favor of threat­en­ing gov­ern­ment shut­downs.”

It’s too ear­ly to know if Repub­li­cans will with­hold sup­port for fund­ing the gov­ern­ment unless Democ­rats agree to block the EPA rules. But if they pur­sue the course sev­eral of them have sug­gested and refuse to back down, this sum­mer could turn into a replay of last year’s stand­off — only over envi­ron­men­tal reg­u­la­tions rather than Oba­macare — where one side backs down or Con­gress shuts down parts of the fed­eral gov­ern­ment.

9. Face­book is man­i­fest­ing what one Sil­i­con Val­ley CEO sees as a trend in cor­po­rate data har­vest­ing.

“Here’s How to Defend Your­self from Facebook’s New Brows­er-Spy­ing Cam­paign” by Mark Sul­li­van; Ven­ture­Beat; 6/12/2014.

Face­book sent out a notice Thurs­day about its inten­tion to begin shar­ing the brows­ing data of its mem­bers with its adver­tis­ing part­ners.

It’s a move that most observers saw com­ing, but one that Face­book has always denied — with vig­or.

Face­book can’t cap­ture data about you vis­it­ing just any site, only those that have part­nered with it. Basi­cally, any site that has a “like” but­ton (such as this one) or that per­mits you to log in with your Face­book cre­den­tials will store data about your vis­it in your brows­er, which can lat­er be read by Face­book.

Here’s how Face­book describes it in its Terms of Ser­vice:

“We and our affil­i­ates, third par­ties, and oth­er part­ners (“part­ners”) use these tech­nolo­gies for secu­rity pur­poses and to deliv­er prod­ucts, ser­vices and adver­tise­ments, as well as to under­stand how these prod­ucts, ser­vices and adver­tise­ments are used. With these tech­nolo­gies, a web­site or appli­ca­tion can store infor­ma­tion on your brows­er or device and lat­er read that infor­ma­tion back.”

Face­book also released a video to adver­tis­ers and users Thurs­day morn­ing explain­ing the company’s tar­get­ing prac­tices. A com­mon mantra among web mar­keters is that they’re actu­ally doing con­sumers a favor by col­lect­ing the infor­ma­tion they need to serve more rel­e­vant ads.

What to do (and not both­er doing)

If you don’t want Face­book to col­lect and trans­mit your brows­ing data, you can take some steps to pre­vent it from doing so.

But first, here’s what not to do.

The adver­tis­ing indus­try has put up a site called Your Ad Choic­es, which offers con­sumers a way to “opt out.” But the site lets you opt out of receiv­ing ads that have been tar­geted at you based on your brows­ing data. But it will not let you “opt out” from com­pa­nies har­vest­ing your brows­ing data.

Nor can you expect to get any real relief by try­ing to tweak­ing your Face­book Pri­vacy set­tings. Face­book announced today that it would be rolling out “ad pref­er­ences,” a new tool acces­si­ble from every ad on Face­book that “explains why you’re see­ing a spe­cific ad and lets you add and remove inter­ests that we use to show you ads.” Of course, Face­book is not offer­ing you a way to stop them from col­lect­ing your brows­ing data in the first place.

Sev­eral brows­er plug-ins will block sites like Face­book from drop­ping lines of code into your brows­er allow­ing it to track you.

One of the good ones is Do Not Track Mefrom Abine.com. This is a Wash­ing­ton, D.C.-based firm that focus­es on build­ing brows­er tools to secure brows­ing data and oth­er per­sonal infor­ma­tion.

Oth­er sol­id rec­om­men­da­tions that will work on Chrome and Fire­fox browsers are Ghostery and Dis­con­nect.


Abine CEO Rob Shavell says he isn’t sur­prised by the news about Face­book.

“I think you’re going to see a lot more com­pa­nies doing this,” Shavell told Ven­ture­Beat. “Hav­ing worked at a ven­ture cap­i­tal firm in Sil­i­con Val­ley, I think there’s a data bub­ble going on. There’s been so much mon­ey invest­ed in ad tech com­pa­nies, includ­ing Face­book, and so much hype around them, they are going to have to col­lect more and more per­sonal data. There’s just too much pres­sure to make all that mon­ey back.”

Shavell says investors have put $6.5 bil­lion behind adver­tis­ing tech com­pa­nies in the past two years.

Face­book did not respond to a request for com­ment on this sto­ry.

10. Google is already devel­op­ing sophis­ti­cat­ed robots with mil­i­tary appli­ca­tions. Now it is devel­op­ing a “bal­loon air force to encir­cle the world with WiFi. For­mer mil­i­tary oper­a­tions per­son­nel are involved with the project, rais­ing ques­tions for which there aren’t answers at this point. Once the tech­nol­ogy is per­fected the bal­loon army can then cir­cle the globe pro­vided free WiFi to rur­al areas.

“Google Works with ‘For­mer Mil­i­tary Oper­a­tions Peo­ple’ to Devel­op its WiFi Drone Army” by Yasha Levine; Pan­do Dai­ly; 6/18/2014. 

A few days ago, Wired’s Steven Levy wrote wrote about the lat­est devel­op­ments from Google’s Project Loon — an auda­cious and fright­en­ing attempt to launch a bal­loon-drone army high up in the atmos­phere.

The plan is to cre­ate noth­ing less than a glob­al WiFi net­work, pow­ered by hun­dreds of bal­loons cir­cling the globe at an alti­tude of 60,000 ft. Google envi­sions Loon deliv­er­ing (and sur­veilling) Inter­net con­nec­tiv­ity to the poor, rur­al uncon­nected mass­es around the world, not to men­tion fill­ing in Internet/mobile dead spots in Sil­i­con Valley’s own back­yard. Who knows, it might even com­pete with exist­ing cel­lu­lar phone ser­vices one day.

Writes Levy:

With the advances made over the last year, Google has a clear­er idea of how it might even­tu­ally make mon­ey with Loon. In addi­tion to con­nect­ing the last few bil­lion (and often cash-poor) Inter­net users, the project might serve already-con­nect­ed peo­ple with fat wal­lets by part­ner­ing with exist­ing providers to deliv­er a super-roam­ing expe­ri­ence. “It’s not lim­ited to rur­al areas,” Teller says. “Even in the mid­dle of Sil­i­con Val­ley you can lose con­nec­tions while dri­ving; large build­ings and hills can block the sig­nals. Bal­loons can fill in dead spots.”

If hun­dreds of Google spy bal­loons con­stantly hov­er­ing over­head isn’t scary enough, Levy point­ed out that the com­pany is work­ing with “for­mer mil­i­tary oper­a­tions peo­ple” in order to track down and find every downed bal­loon in order to study their fail­ures and improve the reli­a­bil­ity of its so far sub-per­form­ing bal­loon tech­nol­o­gy.

I guess it’s not sur­pris­ing, giv­en Google’s his­tory of close col­lab­o­ra­tion with the mil­i­tary-indus­tri­al com­plex.

But I’m curi­ous exact­ly what kind of “for­mer mil­i­tary oper­a­tions peo­ple” is Google work­ing with? What coun­try? And what mil­i­tary? Or is it pri­vate secu­rity con­trac­tors like Blackwater/Academi? Or maybe the secre­tive CIA-con­nect­ed Black­bird Tech­nolo­gies, which spe­cial­izes in hi-tech track­ing and search & res­cue mis­sions and has part­nered with Google before?


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