NSA Uses Tricks to Spy on Americans

This is not new.  But I guess if we look at the details of the Snowden revelations the story becomes only a little more interesting.  The article opens by declaring that the government spies

on most Americans through our computers, phones, cars, buses, streetlights, at airports and on the street, via mobile scanners and drones, through our credit cards and smart meters, televisions, dolls, and many other ways.

Computers?  Of course.  Phones?  Oh, yeah.  And it’s not just the government.  What’s crazy is that the government grants use permits for the surveillance technology to other companies.  If you work for a company that requires a phone app to conduct business, you are handing over all of your personal data, your contacts, your location, your browsing history, everything you might use on a smart phone, you are handing over, not just to government warehouses where they store the information but to sociopathic employers who want to satisfy their envy.  Does the government have contractual agreements, coerced or willingly agreed to, to install surveillance software programmed into cars?  You betcha.  Buses?  Oh, hells yes.  Streetlights? Streetlights!  The better to see you with?  Almost.  Or the better to hear you with.  I’ve seen this.  The funds came from Obama’s 2009, American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, creating what he and his staff liked to call Shovel Ready jobs.  I recall how the shovel ready funds arrived in my town, which received nearly $4 million in funding.  The funds were dedicated to retro-fitting a freeway on-ramp.  The project of retrofitting lasted for years.  They had to get that retrofitting just right.  Then the second installment of funds arrived and a section of a main boulevard in my old town was repaved and streetlights went up.  Lots of them.  Redundant amounts.  I noticed, too, how the light coming from the lights was a muffled yellow light that didn’t really seem to light the street for drivers or pedestrians.  Odd.  Or was it?  Perhaps not.  So if the lights weren’t installed to illuminate the street, they were apparently put in to illuminate the conversations of residents within earshot east and west of the boulevard.  It took the city a total of four years to complete a one-mile stretch of the boulevard.  That was my suspicion then.  And then I read this from 2013, four years into the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (remember Clinton’s Community Reinvestment Act? It’s what led to the subprime mortgage crisis) and the tail end of the street construction:

RT notes:

Street lights that can spy installed in some American cities

America welcomes a new brand of smart street lightning systems: energy-efficient, long-lasting, complete with LED screens to show ads. They can also spy on citizens in a way George Orwell would not have imagined in his worst nightmare.

With a price tag of $3,000+ apiece, according to an ABC report, the street lights are now being rolled out in Detroit, Chicago and Pittsburgh, and may soon mushroom all across the country.

Part of the Intellistreets systems made by the company Illuminating Concepts, they have a number of “homeland security applications” attached.

Each has a microprocessor “essentially similar to an iPhone,” capable of wireless communication. Each can capture images and count people for the police through a digital camera, record conversations of passers-by and even give voice commands thanks to a built-in speaker.

Ron Harwood, president and founder of Illuminating Concepts, says he eyed the creation of such a system after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the Hurricane Katrina disaster. He is “working with Homeland Security” to deliver his dream of making people “more informed and safer.”

Not to be outdone by Obama’s extensive 2009 spying program affectionately known at the American Recovery [recovery from what?] and Reinvestment Act, Obama signed into law a second wave of shovel ready funds anointed by the very proletariat description of American Jobs Act.  You’ve got to love the titles of these tax-funded bamboozles. Remember this?

The following article is reprinted here from expressed written permission from Washtingon’s Blog.

NSA Uses Trick to Spy On Americans

Posted on June 23, 2017 by WashingtonsBlog

The government is spying on most Americans through our computers, phones, cars, buses, streetlights, at airports and on the street, via mobile scanners and drones, through our credit cards and smart meterstelevisionsdolls, and in many other ways.

Yesterday, ZDNet reported that the NSA uses a trick to get around the few flimsy American laws on spying … they shuttle internet traffic overseas so they can pretend they’re monitoring foreign communications:

A new analysis of documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden details a highly classified technique that allows the National Security Agency to “deliberately divert” US internet traffic, normally safeguarded by constitutional protections, overseas in order to conduct unrestrained data collection on Americans.

According to the new analysis, the NSA has clandestine means of “diverting portions of the river of internet traffic that travels on global communications cables,” which allows it to bypass protections put into place by Congress to prevent domestic surveillance on Americans.

. . .

One leaked top secret document from 2007 details a technique that allows the intelligence agency to exploit the global flow of internet data by tricking internet traffic into traveling through a set and specific route, such as undersea fiber cables [http://bit.ly/14VFDL2] that the agency actively monitors.

Yemen Connection to the World screen-shot-2017-06-21-at-11-27-00-pm

Leaked NSA document from 2007. (Image: source document)

The document’s example noted Yemen, a hotspot for terrorism and extremist activity. It is difficult to monitor because the NSA has almost no way to passively monitor internet traffic from the cables that run in and out of the country. By shaping the traffic, the agency can trick internet data to pass through undersea cables that are located on friendlier territory.

Goldberg’s research takes that logic and focuses it on US citizens, whose data and communications is out of bounds for the intelligence agencies without a valid warrant from the surveillance court.

The government only has to divert their internet data outside of the US to use the powers of the executive order to legally collect the data as though it was an overseas communication. Two Americans can send an email through Gmail, for example, but because their email is sent through or backed up in a foreign data center, the contents of that message can become “incidentally collected” under the executive order’s surveillance powers.

Thomas Drake – one of the top NSA executives, and Senior Change Leader within the NSA – blew the whistle on this deceptive practice more than a decade ago.

For his troubles, Drake was prosecuted under the Espionage Act and literally framed by the government.

Postscript:  Drake also notes that the government is storing for the long-term just about everythingthey’re collecting.

But don’t worry . . . the government would never think of doing anything mean with the information.

 

 

Support the Troops: Keep Them Out of Syria

F-18-Hornet-Demo-LS
“The US has confirmed that in an incident Sunday evening, an American F/A-18E Super Hornet shot down a Syrian government Su-22 bomber south of Tabqa, accusing the Syrian jet of having dropped bombs on Kurdish fighters in the town of Ja’Din.”  H/t Robert Wenzel for the photo.

The Syrian Civil War began in 2011, six years ago.

February 23, 2017:  Peace talks begin in Geneva.  Starting February 23, 2017 through to March 3, 2017, Syrian and its opposition forces held peace talks under the auspices of the UN.

The Geneva peace talks on Syria in 2017, also called the Geneva IV talks, were peace negotiations between the Syrian government and the Syrian opposition under the auspices of the United Nations. The talks took place between 23 February and 3 March 2017, trying to resolve the Syrian Civil War.[1]

The warring sides did not get to face-to-face negotiations, but for eight days no party walked away, while Russia talked with the parties separately.

Here is the real kicker.  Following peace talks where Assad sits down with the opposition forces, the U.S. comes out with a wildly exaggerated claim that Assad gases his own people.  Really?  So the leader of a sovereign nation, who spent weeks in talks toward resolution out of the blue gases his own people?

April 4, 2017:  U.S. claims Assad gassed his own people. Given the timing of the event, one month after the Geneva peace talks, does that really make sense?

April 7, 2017: The U.S., trying to make its lies stick, acts on its propaganda and launches 59 tomahawk missiles on Syria.  CNBC calls it a “proportional strike.”  Hmm.  59 missiles with most of them way off target.  Proportional, my green back.  It’s not just the Pentagon, the U.S. government, but then it’s also the media that is poised and ready to lie for the regime.

On April 7, 2017, U.S. President, Donald Trump, launched 59 missiles against Syria because he claimed to have evidence that Syria used chemical weapons–get this–against his own people.  How odd, particularly when the U.S. has all but assumed that all Americans are enemy combatants.  Yet we’re supposed to believe that some sovereign power in the middle east is doing exactly what the U.S. is doing to its own people?

Daniel McAdams questions fittlingly U.S.’s dubious claim

Would Syrian President Assad launch a chemical attack on civilians just as peace talks are about to be held and where government gains against ISIS and al-Qaeda rebels give him the upper hand? He would be literally committing suicide. Who benefits from the attack? Not Assad. But the rebels and the US neocons and the warmongers benefit a great deal. Are we about to be taken to war yet again based on lies? Tune in to today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:

May 26, 2017:  US is killing more civilians in its air war in Syria than Assad is.

June 8, 2017: Assad walks freely to a Syrian market sans any security detail .

June 9, 2017:  U.S. forces using white phosphorous in Syria.  They’re violating their own rules of war.  White phosphorous is a chemical weapon!  The Pentagon is murderous, hypocritical, and soulless.

June 18, 2017:  The U.S. shoots down Syrian fighter jet.

There was a deconfliction deal.  Had you heard of it?

The US did not use its hotline with Russia ahead of the downing of the Syrian government warplane, said the ministry, which accused the US of a “deliberate failure to make good on its commitments” under the deconfliction deal.

June 19, 2017:  Russia denounces attack on Syrian jet as aggressive and withdraws its participation with the U.S. in its deconfliction deal.

I assembled the brief timeline above just to give yesterday’s downing of the Syrian jet some context.  So what are the claims?

WHAT HAPPENED?

The U.S. shot down a Syrian jet.  That Syrian pilot ejected and has been rescued.

WHY?

The Pentagon argued that because they are allied with the Kurds they were free to attack the Syrian plane under the concept of “collective self-defense,” and added that they “will not hesitate” to take further military action to defend the Kurds, or other partnered forces, from future threats.

Had no idea that the U.S. was in Syria to protect the Kurds.  That makes no sense at all.  I thought they were there in a coalition effort to shrink ISIS.

The Assad government claims it was in an area of an ISIS stronghold where they were trying to push them back.

The Syrian Army said their operation was part of an ongoing push into ISIS-held territory, and that they view the US attack as a “flagrant” attempt to undermine their anti-ISIS operations. They added that the pilot of the destroyed plane is still missing after the US attack.

RUSSIA’S REPLY

The ministry emphasized that Russian warplanes were on a mission in Syrian airspace during the US-led coalition’s attack on the Syrian Su-22, while the coalition failed to use the communication line to prevent an incident.

“The command of the coalition forces did not use the existing communication channel between the air commands of Al Udeid Airbase (in Qatar) and the Khmeimim Airbase to prevent incidents in Syrian airspace.

The ministry considers the move “a conscious failure to comply with the obligations under the Memorandum on the Prevention of Incidents and Ensuring Air Safety in Syria,” and is thus halting cooperation with the US within the memorandum framework as of June 19, the statement concluded.

The Russian Ministry, in fact, declared that any American jet west of the Euphrates, meaning most of Syria, is a target, an enemy.

“All kinds of airborne vehicles, including aircraft and UAVs of the international coalition detected to the west of the Euphrates River will be tracked by the Russian SAM systems as air targets,” the Russian Defence Ministry said in a statement.

Find the Euphrates.

Euphrates River 4552-004-B82B4776

A LITTLE CONTEXT
2001-2014: U.S. War in Afghanistan
2003: U.S. Invasion of Iraq.
2007:  General Wesley Clark: Attack 7 Countries and destroy their governments in 5 Years

2011:  U.S. Intervention in Libya, removed and murdered Muammar Gaddafi.  On behalf of France supposedly.  Eric Margolis wrote

France led the military intervention. Khadaffi’s son, Seif, had claimed that his father had helped finance French president Nicholas Sarkozy’s election. The vindictive Sarkozy intended to shut up the Khadaffis.

Timeline of U.S. military operations since 2000.

Given the inconsistencies in the U.S.’s position on the war, can any claim by the U.S. be believed?  They’ve got their sights on Iran.

His 4-Hour Work Week was turned down by 26 out of 27 publishers.

Check out Evan Carmichael’s YouTube channel.

Tim Ferris has some good insights.  He recommends a few books too:

1. On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction, William Zinsser, 1976.
2. Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott, 1995.
3. Olgilvy on Advertising, David Olgilvy, 1985.
4. 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, Al Ries and Jack Trout, 1994.
5. 1000 True Fans: Use Kevin Kelly’s Simple Idea to Earn a Living Doing What You Love, Kevin Kelly, 2017.
6. Author 101 Bestselling Book Publicity: The Insider’s Guide to Promoting Your Book–and Yourself, Rick Frishman, 2006.

Study print ads where you have very little space.

Best entrepreneurs he’s ever met are all good communicators.  I like that.

He kept notes on what he bought and why he bought the item.  Amazing.  This way he learned what tipped him from “Meh” to “Gotta have this!”  He says sell to people like you. A lot easier than trying to guess.  I bought a couple of books this morning because I was disturbed by certain trends.  Perhaps from reading David McGowan’s book on Laurel Canyon.

And learn to tell the story.

Ideas don’t mean as much as execution.  Success is measured in the number of uncomfortable conversations you’re willing to have.

Look at your credit card.  Look at what you’re buying.  Then assess your age, gender, where you live,

Most important thing is to pick the right things to do in the first place.  Being effective is better than just being efficient.  Be effective by choosing the one or two things that are the highest priority.  It is seductive to get attracted to 20 things at once and multitask.  Even if you can, that’s only efficiency.  You want your choices and your actions to be effective.  Good entrepreneurs are very good at focusing at one or two things and eliminating the rest or delegating to others.  Out source not to other team members, but to 3rd parties.

Optimism has a place.  But for the first-timer entrepreneur, you need to be pragmatically pessimistic.  Define all of the worst case scenarios in terms of financial loss, time loss, etc. Look at what you will learn if that happens and accept and come to terms with that before you ever start.  If you don’t do that and you go straight into battling and trying to conquer the world with rose-colored glasses on, the first time you hit a major hiccup, you’re going to become demoralized and you will quit.

Have one or two numbers that you track on a weekly basis.  It could be conversion to sign-up to –

Use failure to help you.  His 4-Hour Work Week was turned down by 26 out of 27 publishers.

Opting out of Climate Accord helps the poor

ECONOMIC REASONS:

1. The Accord would force Americans more and more to use renewable or alternative energy sources.  These sources–wind and solar–are more expensive and less reliable.

study published last year found that “electricity from new wind and solar power is 2.5 to 5 times more expensive than electricity from existing coal and nuclear power.”

2.  Cost increases generally hurt the poor since their dollars are already committed to more essential needs besides air conditioning in Central Los Angeles or heating in North Dakota.

Rising energy prices disproportionately affect those who already have the hardest time affording energy.

Every additional dollar that lower-income families spend on lighting and heating their homes is a dollar that is now no longer available to pay for housing, food, clothes, and books. By raising energy prices, the Paris Agreement would make it harder for these families to afford the things they need.

3.  The Paris Climate Accord is a Trojan Horse for more energy regulation on producers:

The Paris Agreement saddles producers with burdensome regulations that increase the cost of doing business.   . . . costs are either passed to consumers or . . . absorbed by businesses, resulting in lower employment . . . .

. . . developed economies like the United States rely on affordable, accessible, and reliable energy. Machines on the assembly line and the trucks transporting goods alike require energy to produce and deliver products to consumers.

Most affected by onerous environmental regulations are energy, manufacturing, and shipping firms. Imagine the mom and pop machine shop that would have to pay tens of thousands of dollars to comply with increased regulations originating from the Paris accord. That’s tens of thousands of dollars that now cannot be used to raise wages for their workers, hire new employees, purchase more inventory, or invest in capital (think: technology and machines) to produce tomorrow’s goods.

In the long run, total production will decrease, employees will make less money in wages and benefits, and consumers will face higher prices at the market. There will be less wealth, less prosperity, and fewer opportunities, especially for those struggling to find jobs or climb the economic ladder.

4.  The Paris Climate Accord redistributes wealth from American taxpayers to international corporations and less developed nations.

The Paris Agreement also initiates a massive redistribution of wealth from developed countries to less developed countries. This will be orchestrated through the United Nations Green Climate Fund, which seeks to help developing countries purchase and construct alternative energy infrastructure.

The Green Climate Fund is the worst form of crony capitalism, guaranteed to benefit politically connected firms, especially those that stand to make millions of dollars in selling green energy technology. Like all government infrastructure programs, it will likely be highly inefficient and rife with corruption.

To make matters worse, the Paris Agreement assures that a significant portion of the multi-billion dollar budget for the Green Climate Fund will be financed by American taxpayers. Astoundingly, the agreement places American taxpayers on the hook for bankrolling pricey green energy technologies for other nations.

Where do supporters of the agreement think this money will come from? Have they forgotten that the United States is already $20 trillion in debt with unfunded liabilities (promises of future services) totaling over $200 trillion?

Remember that every dollar taxed by government is a dollar that American families and businesses cannot use to purchase the things they need. Taxes divert money and resources from the private sector, where it is spent more efficiently and according to the needs of consumers, to the public sector, where it is spent inefficiently on programs (like green energy) deemed “worthy” by central planners (in this case, the international community) without concern for the needs of the people in these different countries.

Trump may not be living up to all of his campaign promises, but he did Americans a good turn by rejecting the Climate Accord.

SCIENTIFIC REASONS CLIMATE CHANGE IS A SWINDLE

h/t San Gabriel Tutor @ scroll down to the 1992 reference of the Kyoto Protocol

MEDIA CREATES A “SKY IS FALLING” NARRATIVE TO IMPOVERISH THE POOR

But all the evidence in the world won’t persuade any Social Justice Warrior to question the propaganda, a term they so affectionately like to toss in the face of anyone with a an opposing opinion.

h/t Lew Rockwell

Freelancers: Medieval Knights Protecting Their Margins

Interesting comments on freelancing at the 15 through 16-minute mark.

Approach your craft like a tradesman. By that I mean like a freelancer. Instead of, “Okay, I need my job, and my job will be 30 years old, and it will come with benefits and it will be provided by . . . blah, blah, blah.” That’s not working any more. And I was never really enamored of it. I like the idea of the classic freelancer. I always have. You know where that word came from by the way? In the olden times, a freelancer was a knight who served no loyalty. He had his horse and he had his lance. And his lance wasn’t free; it was to the highest bidder. It was a very mercenary way to look at the world, but it’s a great way to step back and protect your margins, ah, in these times . . . in my opinion.

Being suspicious of anything that doesn’t hurt a little bit.

If you work for someone else, they will expect loyalty.  And if you serve any clients, they too will expect loyalty, so I don’t know about his loyalty comment.  Seems like it’s just good business to be loyal to your customer’s satisfaction.

“Get the job. Look around for opportunity.  Identify the opportunity. Exploit it.  Work it.  Get good at it.”

The message, which is not new, certainly is an important reminder to high school students.  First and foremost, get the skills. Then get the job.  Then look around for opportunity.  Identify the opportunity. Exploit the opportunity.  Work at the opportunity.  Then get good at the opportunity.  Then the figured out how to love it.

h/t Entrepreneur

Seek opportunity, not your passions.

A degree does not mean you’re going to find your dream job, Rowe explains.  “Dream jobs are usually just that–dreams. Their imaginary existence just might keep you from exploring careers that offer a legitimate chance to perform meaningful work and develop a genuine passion for the job you already have.  Your happiness on the job has very little to do with the work itself.”  With what, then?

Get a job.  Look around to see what other people are doing.  Get good at your work and prosper.  Get passionate about winning. Septic tank expert learned that he was passionate about other people’s crap.”  Meaning someone else is setting the mark or parameters for what’s valuable to you.  That’s something that you’ve got to find. English, history, math, and science teachers will tell you how important and valuable their subject is.  It is valuable.  To them!  And since you’re learning of its value from them while sitting captive inside a tax-funded classroom, they might be able to persuade a percentage of kids minimally by attrition.  They will wear you down, particularly if you’re in the system for 12 years.  So there’s that.

Polite society calls professional jobs “good careers.”  Maybe they are.  Try one on for size.  Try serving the public, every one of them.  Employers are struggling to fill 5.8 million jobs that no one is trained to do.

Skills gap: when people follow their passions, they miss out on kinds of opportunities they didn’t even know existed.  So they never take the time to learn the skill.  They only invest time in chasing down their passions.

Can still be a tradesman but only if you get yourself a different kind of toolbox.

“Staying the course” only makes sense if you’re headed in a sensible direction.   And while passion is way too important to be without, it is way too fickle to follow around.  Never follow your passion but always bring it with you.

In general, Rowe’s advice is quite good.  It is sobering.  It would be rare to hear this pragmatism from a tax-funded, high-school teacher.  But Wall Street Journal writer, Dr. Peter Cappelli, points out a few other reasons why kids are opting for those “good jobs.” He argues that “Some of the complaints about skill shortages boil down to the fact that employers can’t get candidates to accept jobs at the wages offered.”  Perhaps.  Employers should treat each hire as an investment with a measurable plan of increase wages and responsibility.  But they don’t.  They don’t want to talk about future responsibility or performance in an interview of positions currently held by tenured employees.

Here is a list of difficult-to-fill jobs for 2016.  How many of these are manual labor jobs? Not many.  Which makes Mike Rowe look like an oracle for the working man.

Essentially, it looks like healthcare, education, and technology is where job shortages are. Then fill them.  Want to be a writer?  Fine, just be a healthcare writer or tech writer and so forth.

A decent graphic on where the job shortages are.

“The law, then, is not a neutral body of rules to help keep order and govern society; it is merely an opinion with a gun.”

The Myth of the Rule of Law by Robert Taylor

Any state, no matter how powerful, cannot not rule solely through the use of brute force. There are too few rulers and too many of us for coercion alone to be an effective means of control. The political class must rely on ideology to achieve popular compliance, masking the iron fist in a velvet glove. Violence is always behind every state action, but the most efficient form of expropriation occurs when the public believes it is in their interest to be extorted.

Mythology is necessary to blunt the violent nature of state power in order to maximize the plunder of property — and, most importantly, provide an aura of legitimacy. The perception of legitimacy “is the only thing distinguishing a tax collector from an extortionist, a police officer from a vigilante, and a soldier from a mercenary. Legitimacy is an illusion in the mind without which the government does not even exist.”1

State authority, and public obedience to it, is manufactured through smokescreens of ideology and deception. These myths sustain the state and offer an illusion of legitimacy, where orders, no matter how immoral or horrific, are followed because they are seen as emanating from a just authority. The state cannot implement violence against everyone everywhere and overwhelm the host, so the battle is waged against the hearts and minds of the public. Fear is exploited, language is distorted, and propaganda is spread, while narratives and history are tightly controlled. The gulag of state power, first and foremost, always exists in the mind.

If the mythology of state power is smashed, then the state is exposed for what it is: institutionalized violence, expropriator of the peaceful and productive, and entirely illegitimate.

The Myth of the Rule of Law

In order for a society to have peace and order, there needs to be a set of largely uniform and neutral laws in which the vast majority of the public agree are fair and just. Throughout the history of Western law, a decentralized process of trial-and-error, competing courts, and private arbitration achieved these rules. A monopoly power was not necessary, nor desirable. Before the rise of the modern bureaucratic, democratic nation-state, the monarch was the symbol of monopolistic order, and his power consisted mostly in enforcing the private common-law tradition that had already developed over centuries.2

Eventually, the nation-state model we see today grew and absorbed this decentralized tradition into a monolithic, top-down coercive regime imposed by legislatures, state police, and bureaucracies. The “rule of law” became the propaganda term used to justify this radical departure from the Western tradition of common-law and private arbitration. The law was now political in nature, subject to the usual array of corruption and disincentives inherent in any political order. With the monopoly state now in charge of law, the idea that a coercively imposed system of justice — in which everyone is governed by neutral rules that are objectively applied by judges — became a powerful myth for states to exert control over society.

As a myth, however, the concept of the rule of law is both powerful and dangerous. Its power derives from its great emotive appeal. The rule of law suggests an absence of arbitrariness, an absence of the worst abuses of tyranny. The image presented by the slogan “America is a government of laws and not people” is one of fair and impartial rule rather than subjugation to human whim. This is an image that can command both the allegiance and affection of the citizenry. After all, who wouldn’t be in favor of the rule of law if the only alternative were arbitrary rule? But this image is also the source of the myth’s danger. For if citizens really believe that they are being governed by fair and impartial rules and that the only alternative is subjection to personal rule, they will be much more likely to support the state as it progressively curtails their freedom.

The rule of law, imposed by the state, is simply a myth. There is no such thing as “a government of laws and not people.” Legislative edicts are always subject to the biases and agendas of those who interpret them, and will be imposed in this manner by whoever currently wields the power of the monopoly state over society.

For example, despite the US Constitution’s very clear language in most of its passages (there are some dangerously vague sections, of course), the most trained and brilliant legal minds can come to completely opposite conclusions over the exact same clause. Whether it is a particular amendment in the Bill of Rights or the particular language of executive or legislative power, a liberal and conservative judge could use sound reasoning and cite historical precedent to make their case — and they would both be right. “[B]ecause the law consists of contradictory rules and principles,” argues John Hasnas, “sound legal arguments will be available for all legal conclusions, and hence, the normative predispositions of the decision makers, rather than the law itself, determine the outcome of cases.”

The law, then, is not a neutral body of rules to help keep order and govern society; it is merely an opinion with a gun. Whenever the state is in charge of anything, the outcomes, process, and administration are always political in nature. There can never be a system of definite, consistent rules that produce determinate results because these laws, no matter how they are written, will always be subjected to the biases, prejudices, and discrimination of those who interpret and enforce them.

The idea that the law is not neutral or determinant is not a revolutionary doctrine and should not be entirely shocking. Over a century ago, former Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes argued that certainty in law is an illusion; judicial decisions rely more on the language of logic than they do on objective enforcement. Since at least the 1970s, the Critical Legal Studies movement has recognized this, and even they are just reviving the legal realists who made these same insights decades before them. The idea of determinate law is actually an undesirable feature — even if we were to overcome the impossibility of making it so — as the strength of an effective legal system lies in its ability to have certain amounts of flexibility. This is why the decentralized, private law tradition was able to produce several codes of uniform laws — do not murder, steal, assault, or initiate aggression in general — while providing the room to adapt to social change and distinct cultures.

Keep reading . . .

Reprinted here with expressed written permission from the Mises Institute.