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Evidently the United States federal government is now monitoring every American bank and financial transaction whatsoever, while tapping every phone call, and reading every email. Our state Overlords know our phone, electricity, t'v', and internet bills inside out, while also being aware of every book, record, or video we borrow or buy. And, courtesy of mobile phone location transmitters, the Surveillance State now knows practically every physical step we take, and records it all in a giant, privacy-shattering databank forever. You have to wonder: Does Big Brother now also know all our favorite radio and t'v' shows, plus movies and concerts, plus clubs and bars, plus porn videos and sex clubs?



Government spying on innocent American citizens currently seems to be almost without limit. It's also essentially without reason or oversight. Our personal sphere has been just about totally invaded and violated. And all of this unprecedented and fathomless evil is done to keep us "safe," and "help" us.



What's ineffably sad about all this is none of these governmental Constitution-destroyers, criminals, tyrants, and traitors is going to jail. And most Americans -- mentally beaten down and spiritually crushed -- actually favor this. Evidently the popularly accepted philosophy in the US is "Bend over and take it, slaveboys!"



If Jefferson or Madison were alive today they'd probably hate America. They'd do everything in their power to destroy her. They certainly wouldn't seek to somehow radically reform our wayward social system. Their goal would be to terminate it utterly -- and start over from scratch.



On the one hand, Muslims are our enemy. And they're everywhere -- abroad and at home. No-one can deny this.



Al Qaida, the Taliban, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood, etc. all seek to destroy the United States, and they have allies and supporters everywhere. This includes the vast majority of America's roughly six million Muslims.



These guys basically love jihad (holy war) and sharia (legal slavery). And they ruthlessly seek to bring these Islamic political goals to a naive and poorly self-defending America. These guys also love shahada (religious martyrdom) and taqiyya (lying about Islam). Such concepts and behaviors advance their jihadi and shariaist ideals.



America's Muslims give huge intellectual and moral support to the activists of their philosophy, while also donating billions of dollars a year to groups seeking to nuke America and commit genocide against us. All these foreign and domestic Islamics are true enemies of the American people, and they desperately need to be stopped. The federal government should try to prevent them from doing their Muslim thing.



But on the other hand, the freedom-hating, freedom-eviscerating Executive, NSA, DHS, CIA, and FBI are also America's enemies. They seek the termination of the American Constitution, and the institution of a fascist dictatorship, as soon as humanly possible.



So the question arises: How do we balance these two monsters -- the muzzies and the feds -- and keep them at each others' throats, but not at ours?



There are several good answers to this, but the most important one is this: We need to recognize each side's respective natures and powers.



The fact is the Muslims of today are overwhelmingly weak. They're a poor, ignorant, disorganized, and temporary menace, which mostly comes from outside. They have neither the money, nor the weaponry, nor the intellectual underpinnings, nor the moral stature to mount a credible assault. They're easily defeated thru countless simple techniques, such as philosophical refutation, moral condemnation, foreign propaganda, domestic profiling, mass deportation, retaking our Mideast oil, overthrowing the Mideast dictatorships, declaring war on the jihadi groups, etc. So the enemy Muslims aren't really a problem.



But today's United States government agents are very different. They're massively strong. The American federal government is a rich, highly-informed, well-organized, and permanent menace, of seeming philosophical and moral legitimacy, which comes from within.



Both groups are virulently anti-American and wildly immoral. Both hate our freedom -- what's left of it -- and work hard to savage it.



But only one group is an immense danger to our privacy, liberty, way of life, personal greatness, and ultimate happiness. Only one group constitutes an existential threat.

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Cops on the beat, cameras in high crime areas, drone cams, business cams to stop shoplifting, school and bus cams, are legitimate surveillance tools just as the NSA’s public surveillance of the public could be necessary and legitimate.

However, under President Obama the fable of 1984 and Nixon’s Watergate come to mind. If this phone record ‘sorting’ were done under a Rand Paul Presidency I would feel less threatened.

The other issue of Snowden’s whistling blowing is almost as troubling. Is he a “good guy” or guilty of espionage? His reported, possible lands of exile offer a clue: Communist China, the Russian Thug-ocracy, Communist Cuba and leftist Ecuador. And if he did inform Communist China of the nuts and bolts of our spying process that would definitely be espionage. Did he receive foreign money? Would that be treason?

If he wants to live in less free lands and is a patriotic American then he will always be regretful that he did not inform us and then seek asylum in the US Senate.

Peter Taylor

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If this phone record ‘sorting’ were done under a Rand Paul Presidency I would feel less threatened.

Why?

By the way, Happy Birthday and thanks for your service.

A...

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I wrote, If this phone record sorting were done under a Rand Paul Presidency I would feel less threatened. And Adam asked, Why?

I trust Senator Rand Paul to be ideologically consistent and rarely if ever pragmatic, when he resides behind his hypothetically closed Presidential door. His policies would be based on honorable morality, and on their constitutionality. I would hope that after two terms of a Rand Presidency, a decent amendment would be passed to place modern America squarely in line with the America of our first hundred years. Only better so Stand by Rand!

For instance I recently read an article about Thomas Jefferson and how he went beyond the Constitution in our minor war with the Barbary Pirates and with the Louisiana Purchase. I would trust Rand Paul before the honorable Mr. Jefferson.

Adam you profess to be a Rational Anarchist so, (once again) philosophically compare two political ideals: Limited, Objectivist Government, and Rational Anarchisms no government. Can a quest for both philosophical ideals have intermediate steps leading to the ideal? Could the intermediate steps be the same for both ideals? I think they can. And Rand Paul would be a step toward a Laissez-Faire United States Government.

George H. Smith has had the best solutions to this problem that I have seen. He once answered a question that Brant had with this answer:

As I have said before, if Dennis concedes that a Randian government will and must initiate force to maintain its monopoly, then this debate is over. The anarchists have won, because this has always been their key claim.

end quote

Yet Ghs did offer several concrete ideas to fix the Constitution. One was the clarification and expansion of the Ninth Amendment, and one dealt (I think) with the powers enumerated to the President, the states and to individuals. And The Repeal Amendment is a proposal for The US Constitution designed to restore the balance of power between the federal and state governments that our Founders originally envisioned. The amendment states that any law, rule, regulation, or tax passed by Congress can be repealed upon a vote of two-thirds of state legislatures. This does not give absolute power to the statesbut with repeal power, the states could check the current absolute power of the federal government and force Congress to take a second look at unwise legislation.

The author of the tongue in cheek title, Atheism, Ayn Rand and other Heresies, also wrote to the contrary that:

Ayn Rand defends a consent doctrine in several of her essays, but she never explains how this consent should manifest itself - whether, for example, it must be explicit or merely tacit (as Locke believed). Nor does she explain precisely which rights are delegated to government and how they are transferred. Therefore, although Rand appears to fall within the social contract tradition (at least in a general way), it is unclear where she would stand on the nature and method of political consent. I sincerely hope that some of her minarchist followers can shed some light on this problem.

end quote

And George continued at another time with:

I agree with these critics. If we accept the premise that individuals (and only individuals) possess equal and reciprocal rights, and if we insist that these individuals must consent to be ruled by a government, and if we condemn as illegitimate all governments that rule without consent - then all governments, past and present, have been illegitimate.

end quote

I would trust Rand Paul to LEAST use the Presidential powers and duties against those who disagree. He would not initiate force to enforce The Constitution. There is a rational, moral ground where the consent of the governed is tacit within the US Constitution and is not the initiation of force. I maintain the requirement of *Constant Consent* required for human action under Rational Anarchism is its monkey wrench and its, God in the Machine.

A Rand Paul Presidency and limited amendments to the Constitution are the solution.

Peter Taylor

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Sorry to be so long winded but I read Stuart Woods’ recent novels concluded in “Collateral Damage,” that deal with a nuclear device going off in America. I won’t divulge any spoilers but in the first of the two novels a plan to set off a nuke in Los Angeles is discussed.

This is from recent news: Pakistan and specifically one rogue Pakistani scientist, North Korea, Islamic Jihadists, and Iran are the four most likely sources for the potential bombing of The United States. New York and Washington DC are the primary targets. Millions of lives are at stake. A nuclear device detonated in NYC could kill five million people instantly. Extraordinary vigilance is required, Kyrel.

Peter Taylor

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Peter:

I would be no more comfortable with a Rand government recording and saving all the transmissions in the United States as this clown.

Acquisition of this data, without a warrant, is completely unacceptable to me as a Constitutional citizen of this limited Republic under any Executive of the Republic.

A...

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Adam wrote:

Acquisition of this data, without a warrant, is completely unacceptable to me as a Constitutional citizen of this limited Republic under any Executive of the Republic.

end quote

It is a sticky wicket. Consider the scenario where a diligent citizen or fireman (a member of your local government) notices a glow behind your house and then trespasses to make sure it is not just a night light. This is something I actually did. I was on my way to work and I thought I saw sparks coming out of an outside wire next to an old home. I later found out that the folks who lived there had two electric heaters going on one line and the wire was in the process of burning towards the side of the house. I banged on their door and then I banged on their windows. I was hostilely received, but their two teen age sons, in a panic once they believed me, put out the fire with a hose and pulled down the wire. One of them was shocked but was not knocked to the ground. I continued on to work and they sent their thank yous through a friend even though I was trespassing.

I have no doubt you would think well of an individual who stops a catastrophe but the sticky part is when we allow the government, even a local official to do the good deed. I cannot in good conscience allow the government to spy on me but I would still thank us if they stopped an atomic bomb from being detonated.

Are these extraordinary times because of how many people can be massacred by some truly evil people? I think so. Therefore I do not require MY constant consent to gather data but I would prefer someone who is not a statist and a Senate panel of men who are honorable to be the oversight committee. The current oversight committee and administration are suspect. I would still thank them for doing a good job, and I can still truthfully say, Give me liberty or give me death, without feeling like a hypocrite.

Peter

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You are comparing two different situations Peter. You first example is an individual intervening based on what could be an emergency. The intervention was justified every step of the way by reason. You suspected the fire because of an actual signs you perceived. You could justify that to a court.

I think the NSA, and the whole intelligence community, should have to justify their actions to a court based on a serious considerations of due process.

That information might be used to save lives, but it will mostly be used to reinforce establishment objectives and to punish uppity politicians.

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The other issue of Snowden’s whistling blowing is... Is he a “good guy” or guilty of espionage? His reported, possible lands of exile offer a clue: Communist China, the Russian Thug-ocracy, Communist Cuba and leftist Ecuador. And if he did inform Communist China of the nuts and bolts of our spying process that would definitely be espionage. Did he receive foreign money? Would that be treason?

If he wants to live in less free lands and is a patriotic American then he will always be regretful that he did not inform us and then seek asylum in the US Senate.

Peter -- I certainly imagine freedom-fighter Snowden would prefer exile in Canada, Britain, Barbados, Bermuda, etc. -- but how realistic is this? The big Western nations would probably be legally obligated to extradite him, while the small ones likely wouldn't dare stand up to the might of the US economy and military. So countries which are enemies of America seem like his only safe haven, ironically.

In thinking about this dude recently, I now wonder why he didn't stay anonymous, instead of seemingly trashing his whole existence. Is he a secret martyr or publicity seeker? Why didn't he send out tons of cool stuff to WikiLeaks (now his buddies, evidently), or to other media, and then wash his hands of it?

If I was him, I would have ultra-carefully sent out the damning info to a myriad of news and libertarian groups, and then defy them to confirm or deny it. Of course, if I was Snowden, I probably wouldn't have come within nine million miles of working for the NSA or any other similar fascist, tyrannical, treasonous group in the first place...

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The other issue of Snowden’s whistling blowing is almost as troubling. Is he a “good guy” or guilty of espionage? His reported, possible lands of exile offer a clue: Communist China, the Russian Thug-ocracy, Communist Cuba and leftist Ecuador. And if he did inform Communist China of the nuts and bolts of our spying process that would definitely be espionage. Did he receive foreign money? Would that be treason?

Treason is the one crime defined in the U.S. Constitution. It consists in making war against the United States and/or giving aid and comfort to those making war against the United States. Did Snowden do any of these? Any charges of treason would require that such a case be made.

Snowden clearly disseminated and disposed of classified information for which he had no right of disclosure or disposition. So he can be tried in breach of several official secrets laws.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Treason is the one crime defined in the U.S. Constitution. It consists in making war against the United States and/or giving aid and comfort to those making war against the United States. Did Snowden do any of these? Any charges of treason would require that such a case be made.

Snowden clearly disseminated and disposed of classified information for which he had no right of disclosure or disposition. So he can be tried in breach of several official secrets laws.

Yes. Carries the death penalty. Article IV Section 2 also requires two (2) witnesses to specific crime.

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BaalChatzaf, on 29 Jun 2013 - 5:46 PM, said:

Treason is the one crime defined in the U.S. Constitution. It consists in making war against the United States and/or giving aid and comfort to those making war against the United States. Did Snowden do any of these? Any charges of treason would require that such a case be made.

Snowden clearly disseminated and disposed of classified information for which he had no right of disclosure or disposition. So he can be tried in breach of several official secrets laws.

By any rational and just standard -- and under Natural Law, which governs the entire sentient universe -- Snowden isn't guilty ot treason. Bush and Obama are. So are the top officials in the NSA, DHA, CIA, FBI, etc. So are the top officers in all those telecom and media companies which cooperated with the Nazi US gov't. They should all be tried and executed.

I'm pretty sure that all these federal gov't guys swear an oath of office "to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, against all enemies, foreign and domestic."

So Snowden was legally obligated to be a whistle-blower. He's not the criminal or traitor here. That would be Barack Obama (Executive), Keith Alexander (NSA), John Brennan (CIA), Janet Napolitano (DHS), etc. They perfectly fit the definition of constitution-destroyer, domestic enemy, and traitor.

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official secrets laws.

By any rational and just standard -- and under Natural Law, which governs the entire sentient universe -- Snowden isn't guilty ot treason. Bush and Obama are. So are the top officials in the NSA, DHA, CIA, FBI, etc. So are the top officers in all those telecom and media companies which cooperated with the Nazi US gov't. They should all be tried and executed.

Societies are generally not governed by "natural law". The are governed by positive law (the kind of law passed by Congress) or they are governed by decree.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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George H. Smith has had the best solutions to this problem that I have seen. He once answered a question that Brant had with this answer:

As I have said before, if Dennis concedes that a Randian government will and must initiate force to maintain its monopoly, then this debate is over. The anarchists have won, because this has always been their key claim.

I'm not sure what is "over." Your anarchial governance will have initiated force all over the place instead of the practical Objectivist ideal. In regard to the latter, you can get there from here. For the former, no. I cannot imagine a government that doesn't initiate some amount of force, no matter how small.

--Brant

we have the "state"--that's the enemy--we need governance of the extremely delimited kind; getting it we should have a party, not a debate about its moral purity: we need some degree of evil so we know what to fight so we can fight when we need to fight or gravity will bring us crashing down from our presently imagined Utopia for we will have turned into Eloi, which pretty much describes the history of this country--look around; the Eloi are everywhere and they vote (and your food stamp neighbor is just a few houses down--or closer)

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Ba’al wrote:

Treason is the one crime defined in the U.S. Constitution. It consists in making war against the United States and/or giving aid and comfort to those making war against the United States. Did Snowden do any of these? Any charges of treason would require that such a case be made . . . . Snowden clearly disseminated and disposed of classified information for which he had no right of disclosure or disposition. So he can be tried in breach of several official secrets laws.

end quote

Exactly. So a call of “treason” is not warranted. And I agree that one of my examples did equate private, emergency trespass with government trespass. Mea culpa.

Kyrel wrote:

By any rational and just standard -- and under Natural Law, which governs the entire sentient universe -- Snowden isn't guilty of treason. Bush and Obama are. So are the top officials in the NSA, DHA, CIA, FBI, etc. So are the top officers in all those telecom and media companies which cooperated with the Nazi US gov't. They should all be tried and executed.

end quote

Kyrel, executions sound like the Inquisition, the dark ages and McCarthyism to me. Yet, we should require better oversight and a President should do his duty and live by the Constitution as he has sworn to do. I cringe at the idea of executing any government official. Ten years in Leavenworth should suffice but I would not include George W. Bush in my scheme : - )

On this thread I mentioned that Snowden should have sought asylum in the US Senate. I was just listening to two senators John McCain and Chuck You Schumer on a TV in the other room, and even Schumer thought Snowden was intent on repeatedly poking the eye of the United States. So ironically his protector in the Senate might be our beloved Rand Paul!

Brant wrote:

Your anarchical governance will have initiated force all over the place . . . . --look around; the Eloi are everywhere and they vote.

end quote

Good thinking. An Anarchist would need to declare war on the U.S. to establish a planned anarchy which could be construed as the initiation of force, not the defensive use of force. Any mob protesting unjust governance would be initiating force. Peaceful protest is the only legitimate protest unless you are willing to declare war and accept the consequences. As Ayn Rand believed, terrorism is the killing of Eloi (innocents) while a declaration of war, then fighting the military and even the police, is morally legitimate. She was very, very careful in setting the scene for Ragnar the pirate.

Peter

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In addition to my prior thought, I am watching True Blood and the Vampires have declared war but they are only fighting the State of Louisiana which is a smart move. And the show has been admitting that drinking a human dry of blood is morally murder. I hope these crude thoughts don't debase the discussion.

Peter

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Societies are generally not governed by "natural law". The are governed by positive law (the kind of law passed by Congress) or they are governed by decree.

Societies generally are governed by Natural Law, i.e. the rights of man, or "liberty and justice for all." Governments rise and fall, imperfect human laws get passed and repealed, but Natural Law remains and dominates. It doesn't really matter if you violate positive law or not. That doesn't make you an objective criminal or traitor. Only if you violate Natural Law can you be a true law-breaker or treasonist. That's what George Bush, Barack Obama, etc. are.

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Good thinking. An Anarchist would need to declare war on the U.S. to establish a planned anarchy which could be construed as the initiation of force, not the defensive use of force. Any mob protesting unjust governance would be initiating force. Peaceful protest is the only legitimate protest unless you are willing to declare war and accept the consequences. As Ayn Rand believed, terrorism is the killing of Eloi (innocents) while a declaration of war, then fighting the military and even the police, is morally legitimate. She was very, very careful in setting the scene for Ragnar the pirate.

Peter

Why do you think anything your saying is true?

"Anarchists" typically support non-violence and are against terrorism and warfare on moral principle and strategically.

Any why do you think that any mob protesting unjust government is initiating force? Whose rights are being violated in this situation you are imagining and how?

I don't agree with the libertarian movement, but you are spreading misinformation. To speculate wildly about what a rival movement may or may not do without evidence isn't cool.

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Government has a right to snoop on you. You don't have a right to snoop on government. If you have a problem with that, then you are an enemy of the state. Recently government has started to assert its rights more than usual. A few people complain. But eventually everybody will get used to government snooping. It will be just like the USSR with the secret police but enhanced with technology. It worked well in the USSR; why not also in the USA?

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Adam Bilbo wrote:

Why do you think anything you’re saying is true? . . . . "Anarchists" typically support non-violence and are against terrorism and warfare on moral principle and strategically.

end quote

No offense meant but your thinking is parochial. Of course those who profess a desire for rational anarchism are using reason and sometimes the writing of Ayn Rand to support not just limited government but no government. (Though Ayn Rand despised anarchists.) I have rarely heard any of our Anarchists here on Objectivist Living advocating bloody hell.

But if you do a web search of “anarchists” you will find that they are mostly monsters and murderers, down through history. The terrorists who take moral justice against the government, into their own hands, by bombing civilians are anarchists. Some like Timothy McVey targeted children to get back at the government.

You do realize that to demand your constant consent of the government to do its duties will lead to being what’s called a “Sovereign Citizen” which means open rebellion against the government? Unfortunately those bastard “Sovereign Citizens” are usually discovered when they murder some poor cop doing his duty. The most open, other advocates of Anarchism in American are street gangs and the Mafia.

I would be very, very careful about advocating open rebellion. The only moral thing for an anarchist to do would be to found their own “territory” outside the territory of a government or go to a lawless country like Somalia. Rand’s Atlantis is fiction but she was careful to describe conditions that warranted exile though it was still within the United States.

I recently posted an excerpt from a book about the fictional “Atolla” where several billionaires transformed a small island government into their own anarchic realm.

Peter

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