Skype Me

Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Tue, 28 Oct 2003 13:00:00 GMT
From smith2004:
"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up the men to go to the forest to gather wood, saw it, and nail the planks together. Instead, teach them the desire for the sea." -- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Kevin Tuma - Medieval - cartoon commentary on the debate over partial-term abortion. Not funny.

Rick Biesada at The Federal Observer - Chained Freedom - comments on Rick Stanley's arrest in Denver.

Ron Paul's Texas Straight Talk - The Appropriations Process - it's once again the time of year when Congress decides how they will spend your stolen tax money. Dr. Paul explains the process.

This process gives members of the House Appropriations committee unwarranted power, because so many special interests depend on receiving a piece of the government pie. Members of Congress play along if they hope to bring home as much pork as possible to their districts, and this includes making deals with a variety of devils. Any member who hopes to solidify his reelection chances by delivering pork will find himself agreeing to vote for all kinds of unsavory bills in exchange.

Lobbyists also play a central role, acting as shadow legislators and pushing to ensure their clients get a healthy share of the federal largesse. Lobbyists wield power over legislators either by promising campaign funds, or threatening to support an opponent. Members of Congress understand this very clearly, and they work hard to avoid alienating any group represented by a powerful lobby.

The group least represented in the whole sordid affair is American taxpayers.


Of course politicians in Washington like to talk about the need for fiscal restraint, but they never vote for it. Talk is one thing; the true test of any politician is how he votes. The only real measure of any member of Congress who claims to want smaller government is whether he votes NO on every appropriations bill. If he votes yes, he's voting for bigger government. It's that simple. A true fiscal conservative votes for less spending, not more.

Lew Rockwell at - How States Fall and Liberty Triumphs - a long investigation of how we can resue ourselves from our enemy, the state. [lew]

Stopping any voluntary institution in society is comparatively easy. All enterprises in a market economy can be brought to their knees by the simple act of refraining from buying. Families too are broken up by the simple act of walking away. Churches collapse when people lose interest in faith. Private schools go belly-up when the students stop showing up.

But states always and everywhere extract their revenue by force. People have no choice but to comply, or rather, they face the choice of complying or being physically punished. Of course, states prefer to elicit compliance through other means -- by inspiring patriotic fervor or devotion to the prince.


The issue is directly relevant for our own times. We just witnessed the amazing spectacle of a recall election in California. The citizenry concluded that the regime in charge had failed to do what it said it would do. With the legitimacy of the regime lost, the California system, premised in some small measure on the idea that government should reflect the people's will, permits citizens to petition for throwing the bum out. They elected a new manager in his place.

Now, there are many obvious problems with this system. There is no real justice for the bum. He is not punished for his transgressions. He loses nothing out of his personal assets for his mismanagement. He only loses the right to rule. But the biggest problem is that Californians were only permitted to vote on who should manage the government apparatus, not on the legitimacy of the government apparatus itself.


Why is the US the world's only permanent government? Is it something written into the fabric of the natural law? We know the reason: it has the most guns, by far, and therefore no one is in a position to object.


Ron Paul has said for some years that the US may be in a similar position to that of the late years of the Soviet Union: an empire that everyone believes will last forever, but which is decayed at its very foundations -- financially and militarily overextended to the breaking point. I agree with him on this.


What is the effect of deficits? Because the federal government enjoys the legal power to counterfeit with impunity, deficits do little to restrain spending. But the financial effects are real indeed. Unless the debt is inflated away, the US puts itself in hock to foreigners and citizens willing to fund the deficit, the effect of which is to crowd out private investment, and, frankly, waste hundreds of billions funding big government rather than productive private enterprise.

Now, this system of finance can work so long as private investors regard government debt as a safer bet than private enterprise, which government can mostly guarantee, thanks again to the printing press. But it cannot last forever. If China's economy falls into recession and savings are depleted, they may stop holding US debt and then the US faces a very serious problem. In addition, interest rates could rise and dramatically raise the cost of funding the debt, creating ever more debt and putting pressure on the Fed to monetize it. The scenarios for financial collapse are actually unlimited.


The war party has never really understood what freedom means. They have believed it is something granted by government, or the military as a proxy for government. They believed that freedom is something that exists because of the people running the government or the laws that manage society. In fact, freedom means the absence of despotism of all sorts. It can never be granted by the state. It can only be taken away by the state. If a government manager desires freedom for a society, his only path is to get out of the way.


All states everywhere enjoy power only because people are willing to continue to obey and not challenge the powers that be. This means that power is ultimately based on that illusive notion called legitimacy. Legitimacy can vanish in an instant, exposed as a façade that covers up the massive looting machine that is government. It is the role of all of us to break the silence. It is the role of the Mises Institute to teach, so that young people can state the truth in a way that others find compelling. The emperor may continue his march, but he will never again do it with the confidence that he can fool all the people, all of the time. Let us work toward a time when he fools no one.

Charley Reese - Crime And Trivia - Mr. Reese extols us to think locally and act locally. [lew]

I haven't written about the Laci Peterson murder case or the rape case involving Kobe Bryant for two reasons.

One, the only things that should be legitimately reported about any criminal trial are the testimony of the witnesses under oath and the remarks of the judge and the attorneys inside the courtroom during the trial. Everything else is hearsay and gossip.

Two, an ordinary crime and subsequent criminal trial do not affect anyone except the victim, the perpetrator and their families. Therefore, it should be of no interest to anyone else. Unless you are family or friend, the outcomes of the two trials I mentioned will have no effect on you whatsoever.


Most of us have to work a third of our day to sustain our survival during the other two-thirds. When you subtract time consumed by traveling to and from work and by the necessary housekeeping duties, then there is not a heck of a lot of time left for saving the world. We might better spend our time giving attention to our own children -- attention that a child craves like oxygen.

Publicola - Bad Mouthing the NRA - why the NRA is a great sporting organization, but mostly the enemy on the politics of victim disarmament.

Joe Blow at Strike the Root - Skype: Sliced Bread or Snake Oil? - an opinion of Skype, the new Peer-to-peer internet telephony app. I installed it a while back, but haven't yet talked with anyone. My user ID is "billstclair". Skype me. I won't talk with you for long during working hours, but I'll be happy to discover how well it works. [root]

Skype offers at least two major advantages over other standard VoIP clients; it works with any firewall/NAT (Network Address Translation) setup, and it provides secure, encrypted communication using AES (Advanced Encryption Standard), also known as Rijndael. AES is strong, 256-bit, end-to-end, world-class encryption, making all of your voice and text messages totally secure. Although it is legal and brand new, the FBI is already concerned that Skype will soon limit its ability to conduct wiretaps. Doesn't that just break your little heart?

I have been testing and using various encryption programs for several years, but my efforts to convince my friends and relatives to also use strong encryption have failed miserably. Most people don't want to be bothered with passwords, configuring new software, and then learning how to use it. That's where Skype will make its mark. It doesn't require using passwords, there is no software configuration involved, and learning how to use it is a snap. If you can chat, you already know how to Skype. The interface is very compact and intuitive, right from the start. If Skype doesn't get people to start using strong encryption to communicate, nothing ever will.

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