Silent Circle (co-founded by Phil Zimmermann, the creator of PGP) has shut down its encrypted email service, Silent Mail, over fears that the NSA will force them to turn over customer data. Read the full story here.

I don't know how to feel about this. On the one side, I'm happy that the companies speak plainly and honestly about the crimes of the US government, and refuse to be complicit with them. On the other hand, I would like to see them refuse to comply (and not shutdown), and take the government to court to defend the rights of all Americans. I guess it might be a bit too much to ask.

We really need a more viable solution for encrypted messaging, one that does not rely on a central company that can be subpoena'd, nor on the SMTP / POP3 protocols. Or at least, Silent Circle could just move out of the US, maybe to places like Iceland, where people's rights are protected.

What I'm not particularly fond of is the one side the US government is taking with topics like this. Take Snowden for instance, here's a guy that can never go home again because he leaked "sensitive" info that "embarassed" the US government. I say, tit-for-tat. If the governements want to watch us we should be able to watch them too. Oh but that doesn't work though because they should be aloud to keep secrets in the name of security. Pisses me off really how we let our governments get away with so much and then forget about things a week later. ^^Feels like ranting^^

They are in the process of setting up servers in Switzerland.

What I hate is the hypocrisy. Obama goes on Letterman saying how we need the whistleblowrers while he is doing everything he can to charge them with treason.

He's just saving face in order to look good and help people forget that whistleblowers are basically dead-people-walking.

Especially considering that his stance on things like assassination, , Gitmo, drones, domestic spying, civil rights, etc. are currently the exact opposite of when he was a senator rather than POTUS.

commented: you mean his stated stance, I don't think what he said during his election campaign was his actual intent... +0

Yeah, POTUS is essentially a slightly right of center politician but is played up by both sides as a far left activist (though the right seems to see/push him to the extreme left hence the 'socialist' label). He is just a politician who happens to fit a 'frame' for both the left and the right. Among other things, he is black and this reaches deep into the fears of the right and reaches deep into story that the left wants to believe of itself.

commented: totally agree! +0

Try to remember that the US government is perpetrating crimes against other countries too. Personally I'm pissed at US corporations such as Microsoft, Apple, Google .. who barder my secrets to spy agencies in an effort to save their own skin from prosecution from the US, It's all so freakin retarded.

The US government has to perpetuate crimes against other countries. Back in the 50s, Eisenhower warned about the military/industrial complex. There is far too much money to be made selling arms to the government. In order to justify spending obscene amounts of taxpayer dollars on weapons the government must ensure that it is perpetually at war against someone. If it isn't Iraq or Afghanistan then it must be someone else. There was talk a while back about Iran working on WMDs. When I heard that I thought "here we go again". Now we have the war on terror which, because there is no identifiable enemy, can be continued forever, especially since the war itself guarantees a never ending supply of terrorists. The US won't even identify who the enemy is.

Yeah, POTUS is essentially a slightly right of center politician but is played up by both sides as a far left activist

he is in fact the stereotypical far left radical. What he does, how he acts, is no different from how people like Brezhnev, Jaruselski, Mao, Mugabe, Chavez, and Castro would have acted if they'd had the means.

The US won't even identify who the enemy is.

oh, it's the NRA, small business owners, investors, basically anyone who's guilty of not sending enough campaign contributions to Obama favourites.

Lets not be too harsh on Obama, after all, he's not really in charge anyways. Big business and their lobbiests are really the ones in charge and that won't change with either the right or the left in political jargon. On one side you have banks while on the other you have big oil. It's all the same BS to me.

I've said enough now, they're watching me. Puts aluminum foil on my head

A mere 31,385 people – less than 0.01 percent of the nation’s population – contributed 28 percent of the country’s total political contributions. Contributions of that magnitude are not made altruistically. People who give that type of money expect to be repaid.

A few decades ago the major media outlets (TV, print) were in the hands of around 50 corporations or individuals. Now they are controlled by only 6. So the government has been bought and paid for by the wealthy, and a small group of the elite control what gets reported as news.

A flashback in history ...
First you read through people's mail, then you make them disappear in the middle of the night.

It's unfortunate for the rest of the world but the war on terrorism that americans are actively engaged in will be the world's last war, as it has no way of ever ending. Terrorism will evolve. Luckily, the US happens to be in the business of war so this final war is very good for the US economy (the hell with mankind in general).

CanadaFred: and that was part of the horror behind 1984 - the constant state of war which engendered the need for control of history and people.

Sorry JW - I should not have yanked your chain. - I knew you could not help yourself.

no need for gratuitous ad hominem attacks, Grimjack, though I know you can't help yourself.

I don't see how the business of war is good for the American economy. They spend a lot of $$ on the military complex but only a small percentage of US citizens will benefit. No, it's bad for the economy because it costs Billions (trillions?) per year that tax payers have to pay for. It's a hindrance on the US economy.

LoL, who's the downvoter here? Sneaky bugger. :)

A mere 31,385 people – less than 0.01 percent of the nation’s population – contributed 28 percent of the country’s total political contributions.

Is that in the US, or in Lesterland?

I don't see how the business of war is good for the American economy.

I didn't say it was good for the economy. What it does is provide yet another way to take money from the 99% and pass it on to the 1%. The government uses tax dollars to buy weapons from the arms manufacturers. It's like the concept of privately run prisons. There are contracts with the various states that guarantee that the prisons be kept at a minimum 95% capacity. Each prisoner is worth $30000 to $50000 per year to the corporation. These prisoners are then used for slave labour. As long as the government passes laws that guarantee a steady stream of non-violent prisoners (like drug possession) and provide for school to jail pathways then the private prisons will prosper.

What it does is provide yet another way to take money from the 99% and pass it on to the 1%.

I totally agree, the motto of current economics is: "Nationalize the costs and the risks; privatize the profits".

It's like those bridges built on public-private partnerships, i.e., the public covers the cost of building it and the risk associated to the investment, and the private "partner" collects the toll payments for the next 50 years.
The current banking system is based on the assumption that governments assume all the risks (by promising bail outs and such).
Wars are also the same, the government and the countries people pay the cost in money and lives, and the risk of more wars, while profits are funneled to the private sector under the guise of creating jobs (or some other BS rhetoric, as if the government could not employ the same people to do the same job).
So many sectors of the economy just exist as a middle-man between government spending and people doing the job. These are the lazy people receiving hand-outs, and constitute most of that 1%, and they get rewarded with tax cuts and more hand-outs (subsidies), again, under the guise of some BS rhetoric about "trickle-down" economics.

Republican comes from the latin phrase, res publica, loosely meaning "public affair". Considering that the Republicans want to see everything run privately (ie for profit) I suggest they change the name of the party to Reprivatans.

Back in the days of FDR, the Republicans believed that the market, left to itself, would eventually put the unemployed back to work. The Democrats believed that hiring the unemployed to build infrastructure would put disposable income back in the hands of the many. They, in turn, would use that money to buy goods and services, and that would kickstart the economy. We are trying the Republican's mantra in modern times and by comparing the two solutions it is obvious which approach is the correct one. With the infrastructure crumbling around us, now would be the perfect time to rebuild.

Yeah, I'm also a big fan of Keynesian economic theory, which I think is the only sound economic theory.

All those "trickle-down" economists have been doing in the last 50 years is try to make excuses for why their "theory" keeps failing and falling apart. In reality of course, their "theory" is based on nothing more than an obvious interest to funnel more money up top, and absolutely pathetic refutations of Keynesian theory.

Keynes has been utterly discredited decades ago. It's a nice fantasy of course to think that the government can "steer" the country to prosperity by punishing business, taxing it to destruction and then giving that money to other people who'll make use of it to generate wealth for all until they too get taxed to death.
But that's not how the world works.
That's in fact why the world is now in the near perpetual economic crises we have been in for years and isn't getting any better for the very reason that governments are clinging to their Keynesian dream and pumping money into "green jobs" and "quantitive easing" while taxing productive companies and citizens into poverty, preventing them from investing and generating jobs.

Why is it when anyone suggests taxing the wealthy and corporations fairly they are accused of "taxing to destruction"? Trickle down economics can be summarized as "give the rich all the money and if they drop any it's yours".

The study by Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff that claimed to prove that austerity was the only way to get out of the current collapse was thoroughly discredited by Thomas Herndon. He was able to obtain (from the original authors) the spreadsheet they used as a basis for their conclusions. He discovered

  1. selective exclusion of years of high debt and average growth
  2. a problematic method of weighing countries
  3. a coding error in the Excel spreadsheet that excludes high-debt and average-growth countries

They completely ignored the data from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, and Denmark from the analysis.

preventing them from investing and generating jobs.

The wealthy are holding on to a [greater proportion](( of their money than ever. Almost 37% goes unspent (triple what it was in 2007). In the mean time, the only ones benefiting from the recovery are the corporations and they are unwilling to share their good fortune with the rest of us. Corporate earnings have risen by more than 20 percent each year on average since then but disposable income for the rest of us has only risen by 1.4 percent on average.

Meanwhile US corporations are sitting on $1.7 trillion (estimated) waiting (they say) for the economy to turn around. One thousand of the largest companies in the U.S. are sitting on a growing pile of cash—some $981 billion as of last year. This, plus the snotload of money kept safely out of the country where it can not be taxed.

@RJ, I think I just threw up a little.

I don't get how sitting on roughly $2 trillion and waiting for the economy to turn around will help the economy?!

I don't know how Keynesian economics could ever work when the government has been bought and paid for, which imo can't be denied. The theory seems alright but because of money improbable. Unfortunately, people get too greedy over money and power and it really doesn't seem to matter who one is because once you get a taste for it you wanna keep eating it.

I saw a video where a guy tested the whole money, power, and entitlement by having two people (at a time) versing each other in a game of Monopoly. The game was rigged to have one person dominate the game and obviously to have the other lose. His studies showed (in a nutshell) that the rigged winners always felt entitled, saying stuff like "you can't touch me, that's my land" or "You've got nothing, it's all mine hahaha". This video isn't the one I saw but it recaps the experiment well. "Just world fallacy"!

One of the fallacies people fall into is in trying to equate government financing with personal financing. Going back to old FDR, putting people to work on thousands of infrastructure projects put disposable income into the hands of millions of people. This money was spent on goods and services. These goods had to be manufactured to fill the demand thus creating more jobs. Each time the money changes hands it is taxed. So the government can, by spending money and getting a return (taxes plus better infrastructure) kickstart the economy. Now if you tried this on a personal level you'd be pretty much screwed because you don't get back any of the money that you spent.

So the idea (and this has been successfully applied in Canada on many occasions) is that when the economy is bad, that is the time for the government to stimulate it by funding infrastructure projects. When the economy recovers the government can recoup the losses and repay the incurred debt from increased tax revenue. However, certain governments insist instead on cutting taxes for the wealthy and slashing social spending. This is exactly the wrong approach.

As for jwenting who believes that we are taxing corporations and the wealthy into oblivion, what would he consider an equitable tax system? What would he consider a "fair share"? And no fair claiming that corporations shouldn't pay taxes because in the US, a corporation has been declared to have the same legal status as a person. That legal status comes with responsibilities as well as rights.

What people don't get is that the rich do not spend much money at all. Your typical 1% guy will spend or invest on average 5 to 10 percent of his revenue, most of which is in the "risky" part of his investment portfolio. In other words, if you give 1 dollar to a 6-7-figures-salary person (through tax-cut, loop-hole, or subsidy), you are likely to find that about 90 to 95 cents of it will go into a safe investment (e.g., gold, bonds, stable currencies, safe company stocks, real estate, etc.), then most of the rest will go into slightly more risky investments (e.g., "promising" new company, venture capital, etc.), and then a remaining insignificant portion will go to spending (buying stuff). This is why giving money to the rich is considered a depressant for the economy because it takes money out of circulation in the economy and puts it into dormant deposits. It does not create jobs. That's an empirical and logical fact.

By contrast, the poorest people generally spend every dime they can get. This means that every dollar you give to the poor is automatically spent right back on buying stuff (e.g., food). And generally, the people making and selling those things are often fairly poor themselves, meaning their salary is also entirely spent again to buy other stuff, and so it goes. It is only when wealthy business owners take their cut that the money stops circulating (because of what I just explained). This is why some of the best investments that a government can make in order to stimulate the economy are those which give money to the poorest people, which include welfare benefits, infrastructure projects (i.e., employing construction workers), and other basic stuff like that.

The essence of Keynesian economics is quite simple, it's demand-side economics. It simply says, if people spend money, it drives demand, which will drive the supply (companies employing people to make stuff). The "if people spend money" is the critical part here. People who have way too much money do not spend any significant portion of it (there is a limit to how much food you can eat and how many shoes you can buy). And people who have too little money represent wasted potential for spending. In other words, any additional money distributed in the lower bracket of the economy will increase the spending per capita, while any money distributed to the upper bracket will decrease the spending per capita, and thus, the spending overall, thus, decreasing the demand, thus, driving the economy into the ground, as has happened repeatidly, including today.

This theory is really logical and backed by a lot of empirical evidence. And for me, with a background in Control Systems Engineering, it falls perfectly in line with all that I know about the dynamics of feedback systems.

As for supply-side economics (or "trickle-down" economics), the explanation is completely reversed, and in opposition to logic. They argue that if you give extra cash to the suppliers, they will decide to increase the supply (why?.. out of the goodness of their hearts), and by doing so, will employ more people who can then generate the demand that will meet that excess in supply, and if they can't meet the excess in supply, we'll just tell them (with ad campaigns) that they need to do so, and use their credit cards for it, until they've run themselves into the ground.... And then, hurray! Magic happens and everyone is happy and wealthy! Generally, people like Milton Friedman, don't go into that much detail (they got lazy over the years), now they just say "give money to the 'job creators', and everything will be great". It is just a load of horse doodoo, and with conflicts of interests so obvious they smack you right in the face.

commented: Excellent points +0

War profiteering sort of falls under 'the Broken Window' fallacy - whereas something like the government works projects not only get money to the people who spend it immediately for necessities but there is the long term result that can be seen to this day; dams, bridges, park trails, art, et cetera. Ninety per cent of this type of economic support is trickle up - families get fed, local businesses are supported, goods and services are transported to where they are needed on roads produced by the work of the people. Larger businesses are supported by the increased demand for trucks, resources, and so on.
On the other hand, giving the same amount of money (either in tax breaks or whatever) does not get down to the local, human level except as 'keeping a job you already have'. Notice that the current market forces are not producing more jobs, they are producing more effecient use of jobs already in existence. There are job ads that specifically request applicants already have a job; they are not for people who are unemployed.

commented: Good points! +0