read: anatomy of the state

link to ebook


“The great German sociologist Franz Oppenheimer pointed out that there are two mutually exclusive ways of acquiring wealth; one, the above way of production and exchange, he called the “economic means.” The other way is simpler in that it does not require productivity; it is the way of seizure of another’s goods or services by the use of force and violence. This is the method of one-sided confiscation, of theft of the property of others. This is the method which Oppenheimer termed “the political means” to wealth…..”

“The State, in the words of Oppenheimer, is the “organization of the political means”; it is the systematization of the predatory process over a given territory…

…The State provides a legal, orderly, systematic channel for the predation of private property; it renders certain, secure, and relatively “peaceful” the lifeline of the parasitic caste in society.”

source: mises institute

read: 5 Eyes, 9 Eyes, 14 Eyes

What countries are in the 5 Eyes, 9 Eyes, and 14 Eyes agreements?

from protonVPN blog

The Snowden revelations revealed that the NSA is carrying out electronic surveillance on a global scale. But it also unveiled the shadowy networks of intelligence agencies that act as accomplices.

When people think of mass surveillance, they rightly think of the NSA, but nearly every country in the world has its own signals intelligence (SIGINT) agency. From the UK’s GCHQ to Germany’s BND, these organizations focus on intelligence gathering, counterintelligence operations, and law enforcement by intercepting communications and other electronic signals. SIGINT covers a wide range of activities, from tapping phones to accessing a user’s email database with XKEYSCORE. Typically, one of the few legal restrictions set upon these agencies is that they cannot spy on their own citizens. This creates a strong incentive for them to cooperate and trade information. The 5 Eyes, 9 Eyes, and 14 Eyes are the largest and most important agreements that create the legal framework for such coordinated activity.

All SIGINT agencies rely on the cooperation of telecommunication companies and internet service providers to gain access to individuals’ private data. By installing fiber-optic splitters at ISP junction points, the SIGINT agency is able to make an exact copy of the data being processed at that point. This data is then analyzed using deep packet inspection and stored at different data centers.

5 Eyes

5 Eyes is name of the multilateral intelligence-sharing alliance created by the UKUSA Agreement. The agreement was originally conceived of as a post-WWII pact between the UK and the US in 1946 as a way to spy on foreign governments, specifically the USSR. Over the years, the treaty grew in both members and scope. As the Internet and the amount of data available for intercept grew exponentially, the agreement began to focus more on domestic surveillance.

The “five” in the 5 Eyes refers to the five Anglophone countries that observe the treaty: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, and the US. The treaty has built upon its Cold War roots to become the basis for ECHELON, a series of electronic spy stations around the globe that can intercept data transmitted via telephones, faxes, and computers. Essentially, ECHELON stations can intercept data from transmissions to and from satellite relays.

The 5 Eyes alliance is the foundation of an extensive web of partnerships between SIGINT agencies in Western nations to share intelligence with each other. In nearly all respects, the NSA is the global leader in SIGINT, thus most SIGINT agreements, be they multilateral like 5 Eyes or bilateral, focus on who has access to NSA data and technology. Signatories to the UKUSA Agreement are known as “second parties,” and they have the greatest amount of access to NSA data and the closest ties to the agency. Other Western nations, such as members of NATO or South Korea, are “third parties.” These third party agreements are formal, bilateral arrangements between the NSA and the national SIGINT agency. Third parties can still trade raw data with the NSA, but they have less access to its database.

Technically, second parties’ citizens are generally exempt from being spied on without approval from the host country, but the Snowden revelations have shown that the NSA has created a framework that could bypass these blocks. There have been no official comments from any 5 Eyes members and it is unclear if unapproved surveillance has been carried out by 5 Eyes members in the past. And no such restriction exists for third parties.

It is important to note that the membership of these different groups is constantly changing in response to global and political developments. Furthermore, the knowledge we have of these groups has come primarily from leaks, leading to a fuzzy picture and pointing out how little oversight these intelligence agencies, who have access to near infinite amounts of personal data, are subject to.

14 Eyes

Fourteen Eyes refers to the intelligence group that consists of the 5 Eyes member countries plus Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and Sweden participating in SIGINT sharing as third parties. The official name of 14 Eyes is the SIGINT Seniors of Europe (SSEUR), and it has existed, in one form or another, since 1982. Similar to the UKUSA Agreement, its original mission was to uncover information about the USSR. A SIGINT Seniors Meeting is attended by the heads of the SIGINT agencies, (NSA, GCHQ, BND, the French DGSE, etc) and is where they can share intelligence and discuss issues. While this group has many of the same members as “9 Eyes” it is a different group. Also, according to leaked documents, this is not a formal treaty but more an agreement made between SIGINT agencies.

9 Eyes

Nine Eyes refers to a group of nations that share intelligence, comprised of the 5 Eyes member countries plus Denmark, France, the Netherlands, and Norway participating as third parties. This group seems to be a more exclusive club of SSEUR and is also not backed by any known treaty, it is simply an arrangement between SIGINT agencies.

Other partners

Israel, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea are all suspected to be third parties with the NSA as well. And just as there is a SIGINT Seniors of Europe, there is a SIGINT Seniors of the Pacific, which was formed in 2005. Its members include the 5 Eyes member countries as well as France, India, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand. There are also non-Western intelligence-sharing alliances, such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization between China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

What this means for you

The existence of international surveillance agreements like 14 Eyes allows member countries to take advantage of, as the Electronic Frontier Foundation puts it, “the lowest common privacy denominator.” Other members of the 5 Eyes get to benefit from the mass surveillance data the NSA’s XKEYSCORE project brings in. In time, they will also benefit from all the data that the UK’s Investigatory Powers Act collects as well. If a sweeping act that expands electronic surveillance passes in any one of these countries, it is as though the act has passed in every country. It also means that there is a good chance that your digital activity is being captured and shared with the NSA or other SIGINT agencies, no matter where in the world you are.

The best safeguard against this is using strong encryption. If you encrypt your data before it hits the network, it makes it much harder for you to be targeted by surveillance. For instance, if you use ProtonMail all your messages are stored with zero access encryption, making it very difficult for surveillance agencies to violate your privacy and read your messages. Using a VPN service like ProtonVPN also makes it much harder for surveillance agencies to record and track your internet activity. Similar encrypted apps such as Wire or Signal also exist for chat communications.

ProtonMail and ProtonVPN are based in Switzerland, which has some of the world’s strongest privacy laws and is not a signatory to any of these surveillance agreements. This provides an additional layer of legal protection on top of the encryption we utilize.

The scale of mass surveillance operations is truly breathtaking and a major threat to democratic society. Fortunately there are now tools for protecting your privacy and safeguarding your right to online freedom.

read: required life experiences

from intellectual takeout

  1. Not being invited to a birthday party
  2. Experiencing the death of a pet
  3. Breaking a valuable vase
  4. Working hard on a paper and still getting a poor grade
  5. Having a car break down away from home
  6. Seeing the tree he planted die
  7. Being told that a class or camp is full
  8. Getting detention
  9. Missing a show because she was helping Grandma
  10. Having a fender bender
  11. Being blamed for something he didn’t do
  12. Having an event canceled because someone else misbehaved
  13. Being fired from a job
  14. Not making the varsity team
  15. Coming in last at something
  16. Being hit by another kid
  17. Rejecting something he had been taught
  18. Deeply regretting saying something she can’t take back
  19. Not being invited when friends are going out
  20. Being picked last for neighborhood kickball


read: friends you disagree with?

intellectual takeout

spent the past weekend relaxing with old friends. While it was a busy weekend, we had plenty of time to catch up. Over the course of the weekend, we discovered how much we have changed in just a few years. We live very different lives and hold very different—I would even say opposing—views on religion, politics, and life in general.

But that didn’t stop us from having a great weekend. Nor should it have. Few friends agree on everything, but we can—and should—be willing to make friends with people who hold different beliefs and come from different backgrounds.

Maintaining these friendships is easier said than done, especially if we find the other person’s views disagreeable or offensive. But it is possible. The secret to staying friends with someone who disagrees with us lies in our attitudes towards each other. Here are three attitudes that are key to being able to maintain friendships with people you may disagree with:

(1) Intellectual Humility

We need intellectual humility—an awareness of our own intellectual limitations and fallibility and a willingness to consider new ideas—to have good friendships.

Every one of us has likely talked to someone who lacks intellectual humility. This sort of person is easy to sniff out. When confronted with an opposing view, they react in one of two ways: they bully their opponent into submission or retreat into a chilly, patronizing silence. Either way, a person lacking intellectual humility can’t handle anyone challenging their (often tenaciously held) beliefs.

The intellectually humble person, on the other hand, is a pleasure to be around. While they won’t compromise their beliefs to get along with other people, they will take other people’s beliefs seriously. They are passionate about finding the truth, and an intellectually humble person will readily change their mind if they can be proven wrong.

It’s easy to see why this virtue is necessary to a good friendship. Even the slightest disagreement will disrupt a friendship with someone lacking intellectual humility. And on the flip side, intellectually humble friends will listen to even the most eccentric theories and weigh them fairly, which allows friendship to thrive even among people with different beliefs.

(2) Respect for the Individual

If we would like to be friends with people that we disagree with, we must also recognize their individual character. It can be dreadfully easy to think we know all about a person just from knowing their race, political leanings, religion or orientation. But even if we know these details about a person, do we really know them?

Saying that we know a person just because we know a few demographic details is like saying that I know exactly what Argentina is like just because I can list off a few facts about the country. Obviously, I know nearly nothing about Argentina compared to someone who lives there.

But similarly, we can’t claim to know a person unless we spend time with them and get to know them. Even if we know their political leanings, do we know why they lean that way? And if they are from an ethnicity different than ours, do we know how growing up with that background has affected them?

Properly speaking, friendship is between two people. If we look at people as if they were just the sum of a few general details, we aren’t looking at them as people, and we will never be able to be friends with them. But by learning more about their thoughts, motivations, questions, and stories, we start to see them as they are. Getting to know a person in this way is the foundation of a good friendship.

(3) Brotherly Love

I use brotherly love to describe the general goodwill between friends, but it could also be referred to as humanity or benevolence. It consists in seeing and loving the good in another person.

Brotherly love plays a critical role in preserving a friendship between two people who disagree. For instance, if two people disagree about hot button issues, it’s frighteningly easy for one friend to get in a fit of anger, accuse the other of injustice, and storm off. But brotherly love prevents this sort of reaction among friends. Instead of getting angry, the friends give each other the benefit of the doubt because of their mutual goodwill. They strive to see the good in their friend’s beliefs. And even if they find their friend’s views wrong or offensive, they take the time to investigate why they hold these views.

While there are some things that friends may never agree on, the brotherly love they share, coupled with intellectual humility and care for the individual person allows them to remain friends despite profound differences. Could developing these attitudes help preserve our friendships with the people that we both love and disagree with most?

read: father of the modern pedalboard

posted from Reverb

I interviewed Pete Cornish in 1982 to find out about the man we might well consider the godfather of the pedalboard. He began making his now-famous boards in the early ‘70s, working with many well known British guitarists of the period. Pete would go on to make boards for Jimmy Page, Brian May, Andy Summers, James Honeyman-Scott, and many others. He built plenty of other custom gear, too—whatever bands couldn’t buy anywhere else—and he’s still going strong today.

Back in ’82, I braved a scruffy alley in Soho, central London, and sat down for a cup of tea and a chat. We decided to mark the 10th anniversary of Pete’s first pedalboard by taking a trawl through his record books, where he noted each one he’d made. But first: a little background.

Pete, I believe all this began when you started in the repair department at the Sound City shop in London in the early ‘70s. Is that right?

Well, before that, after leaving school in 1960, I did a three-year electronics course with the Air Ministry in Chislehurst [southeast London], where I mainly worked on radios. After that, I worked for a few electronics firms around Bromley, and then I got a job working for the Sound City factories, but I didn’t particularly like the environment.

Somebody who had worked at the Sound City shop told me there was a vacancy, and so the opportunity came up to work in the service department there. I got the job, and I was there from 1970 or ’71 until it closed in ’75 or so.

David Gilmours Cornish board


read: gail ann dorsey


Gail Ann Dorsey shared stages with Charlie Watts, Lenny Kravitz, Jane Siberry and Olivia Newton-John, but she was there for Bowie for nearly 20 years

Disillusioned early on by working with record labels as a solo artist, bassist/vocalist Gail Ann Dorsey channeled her love and talent for music into a career as an in-demand session and touring player. Dorsey is best known as bassist/vocalist in David Bowie’s band, a position she held for almost 20 years. Her first outing with David Bowie was the 1995 “Outside” tour, which saw the ‘hits’ excluded in favor of lesser-played catalog material. She continued with the live band until Bowie’s final live performance in 2006 and appeared on his secretly recorded 2013 album The Next Day.

Even during her tenure with Bowie, Dorsey found the time to work with such artists as Dar Williams and Jane Siberry. She has built a staggering resume, including work with Tears for Fears, Charlie Watts, Gang of Four, and Olivia Newton-John. Currently, Dorsey is part of Lenny Kravitz’s band.

Hailing from Philadelphia, Dorsey initially pursued music in New York City before heading to London. She released her debut solo album, The Corporate World, in 1988 and followed it up with Rude Blue in 1992. It was at that point that Dorsey decided to focus on session and touring work. She continued to work on solo material as well, but on her terms and without label interference. Her third solo album, I Used to Be came out in 2003 and she’s looking to have another album out this spring.


read: 10 habits of logical people

The 10 Habits of Logical People

The 10 Habits of Logical People

Becoming a logical person is not just a matter of memorizing and applying formulas, or learning how to tell the difference between a valid and an invalid syllogism. Rather, it involves cultivating intellectual habits and skills that, though they may seem simple and obvious, are only achieved after years of struggle and education.

In his book Being Logical: A Guide to Good Thinking [1], venerable philosophy professor D.Q. McInerny lays out the following 10 habits that people must cultivate if they are to think clearly and effectively:

1) They’re Attentive.

“Many mistakes in reasoning are explained by the fact that we are not paying sufficient attention to the situation in which we find ourselves,” writes McInerny. The logical person has thus trained himself to always pay attention to the details—even in situations that are familiar—lest he make a careless judgment.

2) They Get the Facts Straight.

“If a given fact is an actually existing thing to which we have access, then the surest way to establish its factualness is to put ourselves in its presence. We then have direct evidence of it. If we cannot establish factualness by direct evidence, we must rigorously test the authenticity and reliability of whatever indirect evidence we appeal to so that, on the basis of that evidence, we can confidently establish the factualness of the thing.”

3) They Ensure That Their Ideas Are Clear.

Our ideas are the means by which our minds understand the objective world. Clear ideas faithfully reflect that world, whereas unclear ideas give us a distorted view of the world. The logical person is constantly testing his ideas to make sure that they accurately depict their objects.

4) They’re Mindful of the Origins of Ideas.

The logical person knows which of his ideas are based on things that actually exist in the world. He knows, for instance, that his idea of “cat” corresponds to things in the objective world known as “cats”. As a counterexample, there are a lot of people who have an idea that there existed a female pope named Joan in the 9th century. But if they spent time looking into the source of that idea, they would find that it’s widely regarded by respectable historians to have originated in legend.

5) They Match Ideas to Facts.

Writes McInerny, “To prevent my idea from being a product of pure subjectivism, in which case it could not be communicated to others, I must continuously touch base with those many facts in the objective world from which the idea was born.” This is easy to do with ideas that have a simple correspondence to things in the world outside our minds (e.g. my idea of “cat” refers to an actual cat). It’s much harder to do, as we’ve all experienced, with more complex ideas such as capitalism and socialism, or conservatism and liberalism. For these ideas to remain sound, they must constantly be linked to, and supported by, facts that are accessible to all.

6) They Match Words to Ideas.

We can only communicate our ideas to others if we use words that accurately convey those ideas. But finding the right words can be difficult. When difficulty arises, we should go back to the sources:

“How do we ensure that our words are adequate to the ideas they seek to convey? The process is essentially the same as the one we follow when confirming the clarity and soundness of our ideas: We must go back to the sources of the ideas. Often we cannot come up with the right word for an idea because we don’t have a firm grasp on the idea itself. Usually, when we clarify the idea by checking it against its source in the objective world, the right word will come to us.”

7) They Communicate Effectively.

Logic is ultimately about determining whether statements are true or false. If others are to accurately determine a statement’s truth, it needs to be communicated to them in a clear manner.

McInerny offers the following guidelines for clear communication:

  • Don’t assume your audience understands your meaning if you don’t make it explicit.
  • Speak in complete sentences.
  • Don’t treat evaluative statements (e.g. “That work of art is ugly”) as if they were statements of objective fact.
  • Avoid double negatives.
  • Gear your language to your audience.

8) They Avoid Vague and Ambiguous Language.

“Vague” and “ambiguous” both come from Latin words that mean “wandering”. Vague and ambiguous language tends to wander about ideas rather than having a fixed, definite meaning. A logical person uses precise language so that his listener knows exactly what he is talking about, and can adequately evaluate the truth of his claims. If he refers to more complex terms such as “freedom” or “equality,” he makes sure to establish his particular understanding of those terms.

9) They Avoid Evasive Language.

“The problem with evasive language, language that does not state directly what a speaker or writer has in mind, is twofold. First, and obviously, it can deceive an audience. Second, and more subtly, it can have a deleterious effect on the people who use it, distorting their sense of reality. The user shapes language, but language shapes the user as well. If we consistently use language that serves to distort reality, we can eventually come to believe our own twisted rhetoric.”

10) They Seek to Arrive at the Truth of Things.

The purpose of logic, according to McInerny, is to arrive at the truth of things. He explains that there are two basic forms of truth: “ontological” truth—what actually exists and has real being; and “logical” truth—the truth of statements. Ultimately, he reminds us, “What determines the truth or falsity of a statement is what actually exists in the real world. Logical truth, in other words, is founded upon ontological truth.”

The authentically logical person, therefore, keeps his logic rooted in truth, and never lets it devolve into mere verbal trickery.

source: intellectual takeout