You’re being watched… And it’s not just happening when you’re online… In the mailbag: “I’m sick and tired of this hullabaloo over capitalism vs. socialism”…
A sinister Surveillance Society is taking root…
Today, we’re moving on from what Legacy Research cofounder Bill Bonner calls “win-win” and “win-lose” deals and what they tell us about the brewing trade war. (Catch up here.)
And we’re circling back to one of the other big themes on our radar – the growing threat to personal liberty from what we’ve been calling the Surveillance Society.
This is a new form of governance in which the feds have access to a vast trove of data on each and every citizen – including you, your friends, and your family members.
As a Daily Cut regular, you already know all about how you’re being spied on online…
As we’ve been warning you, Big Tech platforms such as Google and Facebook are really for-profit surveillance companies disguised as web service companies.
These platforms also regularly decide who gets to see what online through censorship and blacklisting. (At Legacy Research, we even got on the wrong side of Google’s censors.)
But as we hope to hammer home in today’s dispatch, as an American, you’re now under an increasing level of surveillance – even when you’re not online.
And it’s only getting worse.
Cops are already using mass surveillance systems in U.S. cities…
Police departments have hooked up networks of public CCTV cameras to facial-recognition technology to create vast digital dragnets.
For instance, last year, police in Orlando, Florida, piloted a face-recognition dragnet across the city. And they’re rolling out a second trial of this technology this year.
Then there are the face scanners that are replacing printed boarding passes at U.S. airports.
If you’re flying internationally out of the 17 top airports in the country, a machine at the boarding gate will now scan your mug… and match it to your ID using a federal database. (See the full list of airports at the end of last Monday’s Daily Cut.)
We’re not talking about targeted surveillance of legitimate suspects…
This isn’t about law enforcement agents asking a judge for permission to keep a suspect under surveillance for a limited time.
These are called “mass” surveillance systems for a reason. They target you no matter who you are. And nobody asks you if you’re okay with it.
Unless you start wearing a Burger King mask (as reader Jackson G. proposed in yesterday’s mailbag), your face will be captured… identified… and tracked.
Even a mask won’t help much. (Sorry, Jackson.) Certain machine-learning algorithms now do something called “gait analysis.” They can ID you by the way you walk.
Once hooked up to a CCTV camera network, these algorithms can pick you out of a crowd… even if you’ve got your back turned to the camera.
We’ve been urging you to take action by “going dark”…
As colleague Dan Denning has been urging our Bonner-Denning Letter readers, you can start the fight back against these snoops by limiting your digital footprint.
For instance, you can buy a “dumb” cellphone with no internet connection (an old Nokia model is perfect). You can delete your Facebook account. And you can switch from Google to a search engine, such as DuckDuckGo, that doesn’t spy on you. (For a refresher of all the steps Dan recommends, catch up here).
But despite our warnings about the coming Surveillance Society – and the threat it poses to your freedom – some folks aren’t too worried about the new surveillance tech being deployed against Americans.
For instance, after we showed you what was happening with airport face scanners in last Monday’s dispatch, reader Christopher S. sent in the following feedback…
I think this is a good thing for speeding up lines and letting the authorities know if any terrorists or wanted criminals are passing through. If you are not guilty of anything, you have nothing to worry about, if this is what helps keep you safe.
Wanting to nab terrorists and criminals is understandable. And these systems are being sold to the public on the basis that they make us safer.
But it depends on the definition of “guilty”…
You may believe you have nothing to hide… or that the feds will always see you as one of the good guys who never does anything wrong.
If you’ve read Three Felonies a Day – a book Legacy Research cofounder Doug Casey has been recommending – you’ll know how quaint an idea that is.
The book is by a U.S. civil-liberties lawyer called Harvey Silverglate. It’s about how there are so many federal laws you’ve never even heard of, the average American accidentally commits felonies all the time.
And it’s no wonder it’s hard to keep track…
The U.S. criminal code is scattered among at least 50 titles and 23,000 pages of federal law.
And going by one count by the U.S. Department of Justice, there are at least 3,000 federal laws. There are also hundreds of thousands more regulations that can lead to a criminal conviction.
Believe it or not, these range from getting lost in the woods on a snowmobile and unintentionally violating the Wilderness Act… to receiving an odd package… to phoning into work to take a fake sick day.
The upshot, as Doug puts it, is that you don’t know what crime you may or may not be committing. Your only hope is that the government is too busy… or too incompetent… to focus on you.
And the law – along with lawmakers – can change…
You may believe today’s crop of political leaders can be trusted with powerful surveillance tools. But the crop that follows may not be so much to your liking.
For instance, you may be happy with President Trump in the Oval Office. But are you comfortable with a President Sanders… or a Speaker of the House Ocasio-Cortez… wielding these powers?
Or what if a Deep State general takes over (maybe to oust a certain sitting president)?
This may sound far-fetched. But Doug says he doesn’t doubt the U.S. will be ruled by a general in the near future…
It’s also entirely possible that either a left-wing or a right-wing general could run for president in 2020. US three- and four-star generals are well-educated, quite presentable, well-spoken, and have all the elements to be popular.
The fact is that generals today are also political operatives. To rise that high in the military bureaucracy you have to be very good at backslapping and backstabbing. Generals are politicians as much as anything else in today’s world. But that’s always been true – look at Alexander, Caesar, Napoleon, and actually hundreds of others.
Would you be okay with an administration like that knowing so much about you?
Hold that thought for now…
In Monday’s dispatch, we’ll have something that may help you answer that question.
We’ll be looking at one of the most disturbing uses of surveillance tech in the world today.
It includes the use of face scanners… DNA data… and even machine-readable barcodes to track, monitor, and control a human population.
And it may change your mind about what an advanced Surveillance Society is all about.
Finally, in the mailbag: “I am sick and tired of all this hullabaloo over capitalism vs. socialism”…
The mailbag debate over socialism versus capitalism has been raging on for months. And one of your fellow readers has had enough of it…
I am sick and tired of all this hullabaloo over capitalism vs. socialism. All it would take to stop socialism in its tracks is for the elite to voluntarily reconnect worker productivity to salaries, return to the gold-standard dollar, and possibly restore honest, effective labor unions. Let me ’splain you this.
Since the beginning of time, almost all societies have followed the Golden Rule. That is, he who has the gold makes the rules. As long as the resulting elite manages things so that most folks can live a decent life (by that I mean they can have a job, afford decent shelter, food, clothing, transportation, health care, and a modest level of entertainment and respect – not necessarily fancy, but reasonable), hardly anyone cares how much the elite make or how extravagantly they live, as long as they are left alone.
When a society descends into hate, widespread poverty, and corruption, as America now has, the society rebels, gets out the guillotine, and restores common sense among the elite. Order is restored, a new elite rises, and society goes merrily on its way.
Socialism is a milder form of rebellion, but the guillotine is the final option, if even socialism doesn’t get the job done. What else does anyone expect? I have never seen the level of hate, disrespect, abuse, cheating, and contempt going both ways as it exists in America, today.
– Fred G.
Moving on… On Monday, we showed you why Bill believes the U.S.-China trade war is a win-lose deal. And it’s got some of your fellow readers thinking…
With reference to China-U.S. trade from the perspective of the past two decades, the term “trade war” is a misnomer. The better term is “trade enforcement.” When someone is stealing TVs and jewelry from your home in the middle of the night and leaving nothing but fortune cookies on your kitchen table in return, I wouldn’t call that fair trade, win-win, or capitalism. I would call it theft or win-lose trade, at best.
Trade secrets, military secrets, all forms of intellectual property are the TVs and jewels, while the fortune cookies are buying a few soybeans from us, not to mention the one-sided and heavily restricted barriers to us selling things there.
While it may have seemed altruistic in the past to “let the Chinese get away with this,” in the name of “enabling capitalism and free market economics to take hold” in a communist country, what has happened is we have allowed China to rob its way into being a global communist powerhouse, bent on taking over and destroying the free market and freedom in general.
Tariffs are just highway-stop strips being placed in front of a fleeing felon in this case.
– Dave M.
Bill is correct that trade wars are a win-lose (or even a lose-lose) situation, as are all wars. But trade wars are fought at multiple levels, and “not participating” in an ongoing trade war is a sure way to lose.
Tariffs are merely one weapon in such wars. As long as the tariffs are being used as the stick to counter other weapons (IP transfer requirements, excessive regulatory requirements on imports that are not imposed on domestic suppliers, government-supported industrial espionage, etc.), then they can result in an overall win-win situation, by reducing unfair trade restrictions.
As in all wars, if one side is fighting the war, and the other isn’t, the one fighting is going to win, and the other side is going to lose. Defending against an aggressor is usually better for the defenders than what the results would be without that defense. China has been waging a trade war against the U.S. for decades.
The status quo is definitely a win (for China)-loss (for the U.S.) situation. While China was a minor economy, the U.S. could accept this one-sided situation with minimal impact, but that is no longer the case.
– Thomas T.
Does America have no option but to keep the trade war with China going? Will it end well? Write us at [email protected].
May 9, 2019
P.S. Last year, at the first annual Legacy Investment Summit in Bermuda, I took to the stage with Legacy Research cofounders Bill Bonner and Doug Casey for a panel discussion. We discussed what we called the assault on ideas that’s going on in America right now… and the increasing level of censorship coming out of Silicon Valley.
During our talk, Bill explained why he doesn’t trust public information… and Doug told us why he believes America’s education system is a “cesspool.”
We just unlocked that conversation for Daily Cut readers. We’ll be taking it back offline soon. So don’t wait. Watch it right here.