Jul 312007
 

Whenever someone makes a blog post or the press has a report about the police violating someone’s rights the instant refrain is “if you’re not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about.” I’m so tired of hearing this! Do people really believe that the police only harass criminals? Whatever happened to “innocent until proven guilty”? Not that even that presumption is good enough in many cases.

For those who believe there are no innocent people in jail, here’s a list of more than 200! Not enough? Well, here’s a list of more than 100 people who were sentenced to the death penalty only to be later exonerated! These lists are only of those convicted of serious crimes who have had one (or more) organizations spend thousands of dollars and countless hours working to prove their innocence. Can you really look over these lists and still believe that only the guilty are even charged of crimes? There’s a reason that a Google search for criminal case overturned on appeal turns up more than a million results. Courts make mistakes all the time. So do the police. And that’s not even accounting for actual corruption. Though if you’re interested in the tip of the corruption iceberg, check out StopTheDrugWar.org’s archives of weekly police corruption stories.

This is all aside from the fact that no one over the age of 16 is actually “innocent” in the eyes of the American legal system. If you truly believe you’re not a criminal, then ask yourself if you’ve ever done any of the following-

  • Tasted alcohol before you were 18 (or 21)
  • Smoked before you were 18
  • Rolled through a stop sign or run a red light
  • Had sex (or even touched another persons genitalia) before you were “legal”
  • Exceeded the speed limit by even 1 mph
  • Played in a “football pool” or similar at work or school
  • Failed to report winning a church or school raffle on your tax return (prizes are considered income)
  • Crossed a street outside of a crosswalk
  • Given a false weather report

You may be thinking these aren’t “important” laws, and I’d agree with you, but they’re still laws. And if you’ve violated a single one of them, then you’re a criminal according to the police and the government. So, maybe it’s time you join those crazy people who want to follow the Constitution and start questioning laws and police activities that are immoral or unethical, despite their legal status.

Jul 302007
 

Various stories of gang members being in the armed forces seem to be popping up everywhere over the last week or so. Not just in the blogosphere, but in local and national media outlets as well. “The public” is expressing shock and dismay that such a thing could occur, according to many of these reports. As usual, “how could this happen?” seems to be the question of the day. My question is, how could this not happen? The Army is just a really big gang, after all.

Before highlighting the similarities between a street gang and a government authorized gang, let’s look at how our armed forces are responding to this sudden awakening:

CBSnews.com reports-

The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command reported 61 gang investigations and incidents last year, compared to just 9 in 2004.

Meanwhile, NBCSanDiego.com reports-

Army recruiting headquarters in Washington, D.C., dismiss the claims as urban myth. An Army spokesman said army background checks are extensive and weed out gang members.

You’ve just got to love that 🙄

It was only a generation or two ago that criminal prosecutors and judges would give young street thugs the option of “volunteering” for the military in order to avoid a prison sentence. Why did they do this? Because kids joining gangs were assumed to be looking for stability and a sense of belonging to something larger than themselves. They needed a way to channel their violent tendencies. These young men were attracted to the gang lifestyle because gangs provided these things. Judges sent them into the Army because it provides the same thing.

To see if there’s a difference between a gang and an army we really need to define our terms. According to the American Heritage Dictionary:

Gang

  1. A group of criminals or hoodlums who band together for mutual protection and profit.
  2. A group of adolescents who band together, especially a group of delinquents.

Army– A large body of people organized and trained for land warfare.

  1. A large body of people organized and trained for land warfare.
  2. A large group of people organized for a specific cause.

Aside from the characterization of the former as “crimnals or hoodlums” I’m not seeing much difference. And considering we know judges have a history of “sentencing” adolescnt hoodlums to serve in the army, I’d say the difference is non-existent.

What if we compare some of the more common descriptions of what a gang is and what gang members do-

  • Gang members where specific clothing to identify themselves as part of the gang. Does the military? Check
  • Gang members are mostly male. Military? Check
  • Gang members force others to bow to their will at the point of a gun. Military? Chcek
  • Gang members follow orders from their superiors without question or suffer severe consequences. Military? Check
  • Gang members define a territory as their own and violently repel anyone not showing allegiance to their organization. Military? Check
  • Gangs prefer to deal with members who “step out of line” internally, essentially having their own justice system and code of conduct. Military? Check

Hmmm…. Maybe I’m going at this backwards. Let’s try looking at what the military does and see if gangs follow suit-

  • Soldiers recruit young people, often visiting school campuses to get them to join even before the new recruit is of legal adult age. Gangs? Check
  • Soldiers travel to other regions en masse and establish bases in order to further the goals of their superior officers. Gangs? Check
  • Soldiers defend the people in their community against outside threats. Gangs? Check
  • Soldiers are trained in the use of weapons as well as hand-to-hand combat skills. Gangs? Check
  • Soldiers must undergo a grueling initiation and “prove their worth” before becoming a full member. Gangs? Check

What have I missed? I’m not seeing any differences here. The only thing to differentiate the two is that the majority of Americans believe that the their gang, the military, is working for them. Therefore it’s okay for them to go where they want, do what they want, and slaughter innocent people.

Jul 292007
 

I first started working GPT programs back in 2000. I spent about a year as a hardcore GPT user, doing it all: Paid To Surf, Paid To Read, Paid To Click, Manual Surf, AutoSurf, Traffic Exchanges even bubbles and HYIP. The few “profits” I made were basically dumped back in to advertising and membership upgrades. Profits needs to be in quotes because I was spending 70-80% of my online time working these programs. And that time wasn’t exactly trivial. Then, as now, I was online an average of 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. I learned a quite a few lessons in that year. Unfortunately, I never learned how to actually make any money.

I came back into the GPT world in June. This time my expectations are much lower and the community itself is a lot different. Very few of the programs I worked years ago are still around, which shouldn’t really be surprising. Many of the same scams are being run, though, which also isn’t surprising, though it’s just as sad. The biggest change is the near absence of Paid To Surf or PTS programs. Sure, traffic exchanges still exist, but they’re more about promotion then about revenue generation, which is how it should be. Pay per click/read/etc is also MUCH lower then it was then. Very few companies now offer even $0.01 per ad, where the standard price back then was closer to a nickel.

The largest change, though is in payout levels. Average payout back then was around $10.00. even at $0.05 per click that was a VERY long haul. These days, there are numerous programs without a minimum payout at all. Some pay weekly, others monthly, but finding legitimate programs with payout minimums under $2 isn’t difficult.

The other large change is in referral levels. When I was active in the past the move was towards more and more levels, with smaller percentages at each level. I clearly remember one program that offered referral earnings for 35 levels of downline. These days you’d be hard pressed to find a new program offering more than 3 referral levels, and most programs only pay at a single level. However, those programs are offering much higher percentages on those levels. ShadowPTR and Myster-E-Mail, who have paid me consistently, offers 25% of your referrals earnings and Fishing4Mails offers an astounding 50%. This means that if you are a good promoter, you no longer need to count on your downline being good promoters as well. And if you’re not a good promoter (as I am not) then you can still make significant profits from your downline.

Other things haven’t changed at all. The GPT world is still one of the most incestuous I’ve ver seen. 99% of the ads you’ll be paid to read are for other programs looking to pay you to read their ad. This has always been, and will continue to be, the GPT community’s Achilles heel. Real advertisers aren’t interested in incentivized views. They know that the viewers are more interested in getting paid then in spending money.

Given my negative past with Get Paid Programs, why am I stepping back in at this point? Well, that’s a question for another day.


Jul 252007
 

Hell’s Handmaiden recently posted on the topic of War As Altruism

The more I think about it, the less the idea makes sense. The machinery of war is the machinery of destruction. Soldiers are a body of individuals trained for destruction. The concept is one of violence. War is meant [to] force one group of people to bend to another group’s will. It seems difficult to justify the use of such a tool as ‘altruistic’.

Very well said. Unfortunately, while the article continues to argue that war can never truly be an altruistic act, the author also fails to reach the ultimate conclusion that war is always a negative thing. Instead, in his closing paragraph he falls prey to that final wall separating a truly peaceful man from one still on the journey to genuine freedom-

Before someone suggests otherwise, I am not opposed to taking sides. I wish we’d taken sides in Rwanda. I’m glad we took sides in WWII against Germany, but had we not taken sides when we did we’d have likely been forced to take sides later out of pure selfish self-defense.

I am not opposed to taking sides, either. But I am no longer limited by the traditional belief system that “choosing sides” must mean going to war. The military is a powerful destructive force, but it is still one of violent destruction, as pointed out so eloquently above. Instead of accepting the false reality that violence will ultimately be the final solution we must strive to use nonviolent means of coercion, be they social, economic, educational, or some as yet untried system.

Ultimately, war is the real enemy.

Jul 252007
 

Francois Tremblay, of Check Your Premises, recently presented a new symbol which can now be seen on the top of each page here at Philaahzophy. It’s called the Voluntary Victory symbol

Voluntary Victory symbol

The concept was developed by Niels van der Linden (of The Freedom Channel), and the final result was made by Shawn Huckabay (XOmniverse on YouTube).

Its meaning, I hope, is clear:

* The black and gold colours are taken from the Market Anarchist flag, and, respectively, represent Anarchy and the market.

* The outer and inner V stand for Victory (V for Victory) as well as Voluntaryism.

* The handshake at the top represents, as handshakes in general do, mutual trust, voluntary trade, and by extension society.

As a whole, it can also be said to represent two important facts: one, that our ultimate goal is to promote society against the State, and not any specific ideal, and two, that victory can only be achieved by voluntary means.

-from Check Your Premises