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Mind uploading – RationalWiki

 Mind Uploading  Comments Off on Mind uploading – RationalWiki
Jun 302016
 

Mind uploading is a science fictional trope and popular desired actualization among transhumanists. It’s also one of the hypothesised solutions to bringing people back from cryonics.

It is necessary to separate reasonable extrapolations and speculation about mind uploading from the magical thinking surrounding it. Several metaphysical questions are brought up by the prospect of mind uploading. Like many such questions, these may not be objectively answerable, and philosophers will no doubt continue to debate them long after uploading has become commonplace.

The first major question about the plausibility of mind uploading is more or less falsifiable: whether consciousness is artificially replicable in its entirety. In other words, assuming that consciousness is not magic, and that the brain is the seat of consciousness, does it depend on any special functions or quantum mechanical effects that cannot ever be replicated on another substrate? This question, of course, remains unanswered although, considering the current state of cognitive science, it is not unreasonable to think that consciousness will be found to be replicable in the future.

Assuming that consciousness is proven to be artificially replicable, the second question is whether the “strong AI hypothesis” is justified or not: if a machine accurately replicates consciousness, such that it passes a Turing Test or is otherwise indistinguishable from a natural human being, is the machine really conscious, or is it a soulless mechanism that merely imitates consciousness?

Third, assuming that a machine can actually be conscious (which is no great stretch of the imagination, considering that the human brain is essentially a biological machine), is a copy of your consciousness really you? Is it even possible to copy consciousness? Is mind uploading really a ticket to immortality, in that “you” or your identity can be “uploaded”?

Advocates of mind uploading take the functionalist/reductionist approach of defining human existence as the identity, which is based on memories and personalities rather than physical substrates or subjectivity.[1] They believe that the identity is essential; the copy of the mind holds just as much claim to being that person as the original, even if both were to exist simultaneously. When the physical body of a copied person dies, nothing that defines the person as an individual has been lost. In this context, all that matters is that the memories and personality of the individual are preserved. As the recently murdered protagonist states in Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, “I feel like me and no one else is making that claim. Who cares if I’ve been restored from a backup?”

Skeptics of mind uploading[2] question if it’s possible to transfer a consciousness from one substrate to another, and hold that this is critical to the life-extension application of mind uploading. The transfer of identity is similar to the process of transferring data from one computer hard drive to another. The new person would be a copy of the original; a new consciousness with the same identity. With this approach, mind uploading would simply create a “mind-clone”[3] an artificial person with an identity gleaned from another. The philosophical problem with uploading “yourself” to a computer is very similar to the “swamp man” thought experiment in which a clone is made of a man while the “original” is killed, or the very similar teleportation thought experiment.[4] This is one reason that has led critics to say it’s not at all clear that the concept mind uploading is even meaningful. For the skeptic, the thought of permanently losing subjective consciousness (death), while another consciousness that shares their identity lives on yields no comfort.

Consciousness is currently (poorly) understood to be an epiphenomenon of brain activity specifically of the cerebral cortex[5]. Identity and consciousness are distinct from one another though presumably the former could not exist without the latter. Unlike an identity, which is a composition of information stored within a brain it is reasonable to assume that a particular subjective consciousness is an intrinsic property of a particular physical brain. Thus, even a perfect physical copy of that brain would not share the subjective consciousness of that brain. This holds true of all ‘brains’ (consciousness-producing machines), biological or otherwise. When/if non-biological brains are ever developed/discovered it would be reasonable to assume that each would have its own intrinsic, non-transferable subjective consciousness, independent of its identity. It is likely that mind uploading would preserve an identity, if not the subjective consciousness that begot it. If identity rather than subjective consciousness is taken to be the essential, mind uploading succeeds in the opinion of mind-uploading-immortalist advocates.

Believing that there is some mystical “essence” to consciousness that isn’t preserved by copying is ultimately a form of dualism, however. Humans lose consciousness at least daily, yet still remain the same person in the morning. In the extreme, humans completely cease all activity, brain or otherwise, during deep hypothermic circulatory arrest, yet still remain the same person on resuscitation,[6] demonstrating that continuity of consciousness is not necessary for identity or personhood. Rather, the properties that make us identifiable as individuals are stored in the physical structure of the brain.

Ultimately, this is a subjective problem, not an objective one: If a copy is made of a book, is it still the same book? It depends if you subjectively consider “the book” to be the physical artifact or the information contained within. Is it the same book that was once held by Isaac Newton? No. Is it the same book that was once read by Isaac Newton? Yes.

See the rest here:

Mind uploading – RationalWiki

 Posted by at 3:35 am  Tagged with:

Scathing Dissent in Fourth Amendment Case

 Fourth Amendment  Comments Off on Scathing Dissent in Fourth Amendment Case
Jun 242016
 

In a so-far-sleepy Supreme Court term, Justice Sonia Sotomayor let loose a scorching dissent in a case involving the Fourth Amendment and police conduct on Monday. The majority opinion, Sotomayor wrote, “says that your body is subject to invasion while courts excuse the violation of your rights.”

Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the court’s opinion on behalf of five justices, including all of the other Republican appointees and Democratic appointee Justice Stephen Breyer. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg joined most of Sotomayor’s dissent, as well as a separate dissent by Justice Elena Kagan.

Sotomayor’s remarkably direct dissent went far beyond the specific question of the case, tapping directly into the zeitgeist of the Black Lives Matter movement and criminal justice reform. It cites the Department of Justice’s report from Ferguson, Missouri, on police misconduct and books like Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow,” Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “Between the World and Me” and James Baldwin’s 1963 classic “The Fire Next Time.”

Related: Supreme Court Won’t Consider Challenge to Assault Weapons Ban

Of people “routinely targeted by the police,” Sotomayor wrote, “Until their voices matter too, our justice system will continue to be anything but.”

The case concerns Edward Strieff, who was stopped while leaving a house a police officer was watching on suspicion of drug activity. When the officer discovered Strieff had an outstanding warrant for a minor traffic violation, he searched Strieff and found methamphetamine. The court had to decide whether the drugs found on Strieff could be used as evidence or whether such evidence was disqualified by the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on “unreasonable searches and seizures.”

Evidence in the Strieff case, Thomas wrote for the majority, was “admissible because the officer’s discovery of the arrest warrant attenuated the connection between the unlawful stop and the evidence seized incident to arrest.”

Sotomayor retorted, “The Court today holds that the discovery of a warrant for an unpaid parking ticket will forgive a police officer’s violation of your Fourth Amendment rights. Do not be soothed by the opinion’s technical language: This case allows the police to stop you on the street, demand your identification, and check it for outstanding traffic warrants even if you are doing nothing wrong.”

Early in her career, Sotomayor worked as a prosecutor in Manhattan not exactly the redoubt of the soft on crime. Still, she wrote, in the only portion of the dissenting opinion Ginsburg didn’t join, “Writing only for myself, and drawing on my professional experiences, I would add that unlawful ‘stops’ have severe consequences much greater than the inconvenience suggested by the name.”

She added that the fact that the officer did in fact find drugs on Strieff didn’t matter: “A basic principle lies at the heart of the Fourth Amendment: Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

She described at length all the encroachments a police officer can lawfully make on an individual, from invasive physical searches to handcuffing to a lasting arrest record.

Strieff is white, Sotomayor noted, but that doesn’t mean racial profiling isn’t at the heart of this case. “The white defendant in this case shows that anyone’s dignity can be violated in this manner But it is no secret that people of color are disproportionate victims of this type of scrutiny For generations, black and brown parents have given their children ‘the talk’ instructing them never to run down the street; always keep your hands where they can be seen; do not even think of talking back to a stranger all out of fear of how an officer with a gun will react to them.”

Validating “the talk” under color of law, Sotomayor concluded, “implies that you are not a citizen of a democracy but the subject of a carceral state, just waiting to be cataloged.”

See the article here:
Scathing Dissent in Fourth Amendment Case

Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick …

 Superintelligence  Comments Off on Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick …
Jun 212016
 

Is the surface of our planet — and maybe every planet we can get our hands on — going to be carpeted in paper clips (and paper clip factories) by a well-intentioned but misguided artificial intelligence (AI) that ultimately cannibalizes everything in sight, including us, in single-minded pursuit of a seemingly innocuous goal? Nick Bostrom, head of Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute, thinks that we can’t guarantee it _won’t_ happen, and it worries him. It doesn’t require Skynet and Terminators, it doesn’t require evil geniuses bent on destroying the world, it just requires a powerful AI with a moral system in which humanity’s welfare is irrelevant or defined very differently than most humans today would define it. If the AI has a single goal and is smart enough to outwit our attempts to disable or control it once it has gotten loose, Game Over, argues Professor Bostrom in his book _Superintelligence_.

This is perhaps the most important book I have read this decade, and it has kept me awake at night for weeks. I want to tell you why, and what I think, but a lot of this is difficult ground, so please bear with me. The short form is that I am fairly certain that we _will_ build a true AI, and I respect Vernor Vinge, but I have long been skeptical of the Kurzweilian notions of inevitability, doubly-exponential growth, and the Singularity. I’ve also been skeptical of the idea that AIs will destroy us, either on purpose or by accident. Bostrom’s book has made me think that perhaps I was naive. I still think that, on the whole, his worst-case scenarios are unlikely. However, he argues persuasively that we can’t yet rule out any number of bad outcomes of developing AI, and that we need to be investing much more in figuring out whether developing AI is a good idea. We may need to put a moratorium on research, as was done for a few years with recombinant DNA starting in 1975. We also need to be prepared for the possibility that such a moratorium doesn’t hold. Bostrom also brings up any number of mind-bending dystopias around what qualifies as human, which we’ll get to below.

(snips to my review, since Goodreads limits length)

In case it isn’t obvious by now, both Bostrom and I take it for granted that it’s not only possible but nearly inevitable that we will create a strong AI, in the sense of it being a general, adaptable intelligence. Bostrom skirts the issue of whether it will be conscious, or “have qualia”, as I think the philosophers of mind say.

Where Bostrom and I differ is in the level of plausibility we assign to the idea of a truly exponential explosion in intelligence by AIs, in a takeoff for which Vernor Vinge coined the term “the Singularity.” Vinge is rational, but Ray Kurzweil is the most famous proponent of the Singularity. I read one of Kurzweil’s books a number of years ago, and I found it imbued with a lot of near-mystic hype. He believes the Universe’s purpose is the creation of intelligence, and that that process is growing on a double exponential, starting from stars and rocks through slime molds and humans and on to digital beings.

I’m largely allergic to that kind of hooey. I really don’t see any evidence of the domain-to-domain acceleration that Kurzweil sees, and in particular the shift from biological to digital beings will result in a radical shift in the evolutionary pressures. I see no reason why any sort of “law” should dictate that digital beings will evolve at a rate that *must* be faster than the biological one. I also don’t see that Kurzweil really pays any attention to the physical limits of what will ultimately be possible for computing machines. Exponentials can’t continue forever, as Danny Hillis is fond of pointing out. http://www.kurzweilai.net/ask-ray-the…

So perhaps my opinion is somewhat biased by a dislike of Kurzweil’s circus barker approach, but I think there is more to it than that. Fundamentally, I would put it this way:

Being smart is hard.

And making yourself smarter is also hard. My inclination is that getting smarter is at least as hard as the advantages it brings, so that the difficulty of the problem and the resources that can be brought to bear on it roughly balance. This will result in a much slower takeoff than Kurzweil reckons, in my opinion. Bostrom presents a spectrum of takeoff speeds, from “too fast for us to notice” through “long enough for us to develop international agreements and monitoring institutions,” but he makes it fairly clear that he believes that the probability of a fast takeoff is far too large to ignore. There are parts of his argument I find convincing, and parts I find less so.

To give you a little more insight into why I am a little dubious that the Singularity will happen in what Bostrom would describe as a moderate to fast takeoff, let me talk about the kinds of problems we human beings solve, and that an AI would have to solve. Actually, rather than the kinds of questions, first let me talk about the kinds of answers we would like an AI (or a pet family genius) to generate when given a problem. Off the top of my head, I can think of six:

[Speed] Same quality of answer, just faster. [Ply] Look deeper in number of plies (moves, in chess or go). [Data] Use more, and more up-to-date, data. [Creativity] Something beautiful and new. [Insight] Something new and meaningful, such as a new theory; probably combines elements of all of the above categories. [Values] An answer about (human) values.

The first three are really about how the answers are generated; the last three about what we want to get out of them. I think this set is reasonably complete and somewhat orthogonal, despite those differences.

So what kinds of problems do we apply these styles of answers to? We ultimately want answers that are “better” in some qualitative sense.

Humans are already pretty good at projecting the trajectory of a baseball, but it’s certainly conceivable that a robot batter could be better, by calculating faster and using better data. Such a robot might make for a boring opponent for a human, but it would not be beyond human comprehension.

But if you accidentally knock a bucket of baseballs down a set of stairs, better data and faster computing are unlikely to help you predict the exact order in which the balls will reach the bottom and what happens to the bucket. Someone “smarter” might be able to make some interesting statistical predictions that wouldn’t occur to you or me, but not fill in every detail of every interaction between the balls and stairs. Chaos, in the sense of sensitive dependence on initial conditions, is just too strong.

In chess, go, or shogi, a 1000x improvement in the number of plies that can be investigated gains you maybe only the ability to look ahead two or three moves more than before. Less if your pruning (discarding unpromising paths) is poor, more if it’s good. Don’t get me wrong — that’s a huge deal, any player will tell you. But in this case, humans are already pretty good, when not time limited.

Go players like to talk about how close the top pros are to God, and the possibly apocryphal answer from a top pro was that he would want a three-stone (three-move) handicap, four if his life depended on it. Compared this to the fact that a top pro is still some ten stones stronger than me, a fair amateur, and could beat a rank beginner even if the beginner was given the first forty moves. Top pros could sit across the board from an almost infinitely strong AI and still hold their heads up.

In the most recent human-versus-computer shogi (Japanese chess) series, humans came out on top, though presumably this won’t last much longer.

In chess, as machines got faster, looked more plies ahead, carried around more knowledge, and got better at pruning the tree of possible moves, human opponents were heard to say that they felt the glimmerings of insight or personality from them.

So again we have some problems, at least, where plies will help, and will eventually guarantee a 100% win rate against the best (non-augmented) humans, but they will likely not move beyond what humans can comprehend.

Simply being able to hold more data in your head (or the AI’s head) while making a medical diagnosis using epidemiological data, or cross-correlating drug interactions, for example, will definitely improve our lives, and I can imagine an AI doing this. Again, however, the AI’s capabilities are unlikely to recede into the distance as something we can’t comprehend.

We know that increasing the amount of data you can handle by a factor of a thousand gains you 10x in each dimension for a 3-D model of the atmosphere or ocean, up until chaotic effects begin to take over, and then (as we currently understand it) you can only resort to repeated simulations and statistical measures. The actual calculations done by a climate model long ago reached the point where even a large team of humans couldn’t complete them in a lifetime. But they are not calculations we cannot comprehend, in fact, humans design and debug them.

So for problems with answers in the first three categories, I would argue that being smarter is helpful, but being a *lot* smarter is *hard*. The size of computation grows quickly in many problems, and for many problems we believe that sheer computation is fundamentally limited in how well it can correspond to the real world.

But those are just the warmup. Those are things we already ask computers to do for us, even though they are “dumber” than we are. What about the latter three categories?

I’m no expert in creativity, and I know researchers study it intensively, so I’m going to weasel through by saying it is the ability to generate completely new material, which involves some random process. You also need the ability either to generate that material such that it is aesthetically pleasing with high probability, or to prune those new ideas rapidly using some metric that achieves your goal.

For my purposes here, insight is the ability to be creative not just for esthetic purposes, but in a specific technical or social context, and to validate the ideas. (No implication that artists don’t have insight is intended, this is just a technical distinction between phases of the operation, for my purposes here.) Einstein’s insight for special relativity was that the speed of light is constant. Either he generated many, many hypotheses (possibly unconsciously) and pruned them very rapidly, or his hypothesis generator was capable of generating only a few good ones. In either case, he also had the mathematical chops to prove (or at least analyze effectively) his hypothesis; this analysis likewise involves generating possible paths of proofs through the thicket of possibilities and finding the right one.

So, will someone smarter be able to do this much better? Well, it’s really clear that Einstein (or Feynman or Hawking, if your choice of favorite scientist leans that way) produced and validated hypotheses that the rest of us never could have. It’s less clear to me exactly how *much* smarter than the rest of us he was; did he generate and prune ten times as many hypotheses? A hundred? A million? My guess is it’s closer to the latter than the former. Even generating a single hypothesis that could be said to attack the problem is difficult, and most humans would decline to even try if you asked them to.

Making better devices and systems of any kind requires all of the above capabilities. You must have insight to innovate, and you must be able to quantitatively and qualitatively analyze the new systems, requiring the heavy use of data. As systems get more complex, all of this gets harder. My own favorite example is airplane engines. The Wright Brothers built their own engines for their planes. Today, it takes a team of hundreds to create a jet turbine — thousands, if you reach back into the supporting materials, combustion and fluid flow research. We humans have been able to continue to innovate by building on the work of prior generations, and especially harnessing teams of people in new ways. Unlike Peter Thiel, I don’t believe that our rate of innovation is in any serious danger of some precipitous decline sometime soon, but I do agree that we begin with the low-lying fruit, so that harvesting fruit requires more effort — or new techniques — with each passing generation.

The Singularity argument depends on the notion that the AI would design its own successor, or even modify itself to become smarter. Will we watch AIs gradually pull even with us and then ahead, but not disappear into the distance in a Roadrunner-like flash of dust covering just a few frames of film in our dull-witted comprehension?

Ultimately, this is the question on which continued human existence may depend: If an AI is enough smarter than we are, will it find the process of improving itself to be easy, or will each increment of intelligence be a hard problem for the system of the day? This is what Bostrom calls the “recalcitrance” of the problem.

I believe that the range of possible systems grows rapidly as they get more complex, and that evaluating them gets harder; this is hard to quantify, but each step might involve a thousand times as many options, or evaluating each option might be a thousand times harder. Growth in computational power won’t dramatically overbalance that and give sustained, rapid and accelerating growth that moves AIs beyond our comprehension quickly. (Don’t take these numbers seriously, it’s just an example.)

Bostrom believes that recalcitrance will grow more slowly than the resources the AI can bring to bear on the problem, resulting in continuing, and rapid, exponential increases in intelligence — the arrival of the Singularity. As you can tell from the above, I suspect that the opposite is the case, or that they very roughly balance, but Bostrom argues convincingly. He is forcing me to reconsider.

What about “values”, my sixth type of answer, above? Ah, there’s where it all goes awry. Chapter eight is titled, “Is the default scenario doom?” and it will keep you awake.

What happens when we put an AI in charge of a paper clip factory, and instruct it to make as many paper clips as it can? With such a simple set of instructions, it will do its best to acquire more resources in order to make more paper clips, building new factories in the process. If it’s smart enough, it will even anticipate that we might not like this and attempt to disable it, but it will have the will and means to deflect our feeble strikes against it. Eventually, it will take over every factory on the planet, continuing to produce paper clips until we are buried in them. It may even go on to asteroids and other planets in a single-minded attempt to carpet the Universe in paper clips.

I suppose it goes without saying that Bostrom thinks this would be a bad outcome. Bostrom reasons that AIs ultimately may or may not be similar enough to us that they count as our progeny, but doesn’t hesitate to view them as adversaries, or at least rivals, in the pursuit of resources and even existence. Bostrom clearly roots for humanity here. Which means it’s incumbent on us to find a way to prevent this from happening.

Bostrom thinks that instilling values that are actually close enough to ours that an AI will “see things our way” is nigh impossible. There are just too many ways that the whole process can go wrong. If an AI is given the goal of “maximizing human happiness,” does it count when it decides that the best way to do that is to create the maximum number of digitally emulated human minds, even if that means sacrificing some of the physical humans we already have because the planet’s carrying capacity is higher for digital than organic beings?

As long as we’re talking about digital humans, what about the idea that a super-smart AI might choose to simulate human minds in enough detail that they are conscious, in the process of trying to figure out humanity? Do those recursively digital beings deserve any legal standing? Do they count as human? If their simulations are stopped and destroyed, have they been euthanized, or even murdered? Some of the mind-bending scenarios that come out of this recursion kept me awake nights as I was reading the book.

He uses a variety of names for different strategies for containing AIs, including “genies” and “oracles”. The most carefully circumscribed ones are only allowed to answer questions, maybe even “yes/no” questions, and have no other means of communicating with the outside world. Given that Bostrom attributes nearly infinite brainpower to an AI, it is hard to effectively rule out that an AI could still find some way to manipulate us into doing its will. If the AI’s ability to probe the state of the world is likewise limited, Bsotrom argues that it can still turn even single-bit probes of its environment into a coherent picture. It can then decide to get loose and take over the world, and identify security flaws in outside systems that would allow it to do so even with its very limited ability to act.

I think this unlikely. Imagine we set up a system to monitor the AI that alerts us immediately when the AI begins the equivalent of a port scan, for whatever its interaction mechanism is. How could it possibly know of the existence and avoid triggering the alert? Bostrom has gone off the deep end in allowing an intelligence to infer facts about the world even when its data is very limited. Sherlock Holmes always turns out to be right, but that’s fiction; in reality, many, many hypotheses would suit the extremely slim amount of data he has. The same will be true with carefully boxed AIs.

At this point, Bostrom has argued that containing a nearly infinitely powerful intelligence is nearly impossible. That seems to me to be effectively tautological.

If we can’t contain them, what options do we have? After arguing earlier that we can’t give AIs our own values (and presenting mind-bending scenarios for what those values might actually mean in a Universe with digital beings), he then turns around and invests a whole string of chapters in describing how we might actually go about building systems that have those values from the beginning.

At this point, Bostrom began to lose me. Beyond the systems for giving AIs values, I felt he went off the rails in describing human behavior in simplistic terms. We are incapable of balancing our desire to reproduce with a view of the tragedy of the commons, and are inevitably doomed to live out our lives in a rude, resource-constrained existence. There were some interesting bits in the taxonomies of options, but the last third of the book felt very speculative, even more so than the earlier parts.

Bostrom is rational and seems to have thought carefully about the mechanisms by which AIs may actually arise. Here, I largely agree with him. I think his faster scenarios of development, though, are unlikely: being smart, and getting smarter, is hard. He thinks a “singleton”, a single, most powerful AI, is the nearly inevitable outcome. I think populations of AIs are more likely, but if anything this appears to make some problems worse. I also think his scenarios for controlling AIs are handicapped in their realism by the nearly infinite powers he assigns them. In either case, Bostrom has convinced me that once an AI is developed, there are many ways it can go wrong, to the detriment and possibly extermination of humanity. Both he and I are opposed to this. I’m not ready to declare a moratorium on AI research, but there are many disturbing possibilities and many difficult moral questions that need to be answered.

The first step in answering them, of course, is to begin discussing them in a rational fashion, while there is still time. Read the first 8 chapters of this book!

Read more here:

Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick …

The Second Amendment Is About Revolution

 Second Amendment  Comments Off on The Second Amendment Is About Revolution
Jun 212016
 

Last week, Rolling Stone published an article by David S. Cohen, a law professor who thinks the Second Amendment should be repealed. The Second Amendment needs to be repealed because it is outdated, a threat to liberty and a suicide pact, writes Cohen. When the Second Amendment was adopted in 1791, there were no weapons remotely like the AR-15 assault rifle and many of the advances of modern weaponry were long from being invented or popularized.

In the wake of the Orlando massacre, Cohen reasons, now is the time to acknowledge a profound but obvious truththe Second Amendment is wrong for this country and needs to be jettisoned.

This isnt the first time liberals have mused out loud about whether the Second Amendment is really necessary, or whether it really means individuals have a right to own guns. But tragedies like Orlando seem to revive all the old arguments. Not that commentators are very knowledgeable about the weapons theyd like to ban. An AR-15, for example, cant fire 700 rounds per minute, nor can any guy whos taken a shop class modify a semi-automatic rifle into a fully automatic in five minutes, as Michael Moore seems to think.

But even if an AR-15 only fires once every time you squeeze the trigger, even if it cant be easily converted into an automatic, just taking the rifle for what it is, liberals want to know: who needs a gun like that? How many rounds do you need to be able to fire per minute to kill a deer, or ward off a burglar? Does anyone really need a 25-round magazine? Isnt the only reason for such firepower to make killing people as efficient as possible? Isnt this a weapon of war? Why would American civilians need to own weapons of war?

Turns out, thats precisely the right question to ask. The Second Amendment, after all, doesnt recognize our right to hunt deer or protect ourselves from criminals. Owning guns certainly makes doing those things easier, but its not why the Founders bothered to codify gun rights. They were getting at something elsethe right of revolution.

Simply put, the purpose of the Second Amendment is to give the people the means to overthrow the government in the event it becomes tyrannical.

Most gun control advocates scoff at this. Indeed, its an argument that even some conservatives are hesitant to make. How could the people, armed with rifles and pistols, overthrow the government? On its face, it seems absurd.

More on that in a minute. But first, consider that the Second Amendment is unique among the amendments enumerated in the Bill of Rights because it contains a kind of explanatory preamble: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Edward J. Erler, a political science professor at California State University, San Bernardino, and an expert on the Second Amendment, has argued that the right of revolution is asserted in the Declaration of Independence, which states that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governednot every power, only just powers, which the people delegate to a government that is by definition limited to the purposes for which it was established, the Safety and Happiness of the people. Furthermore, the Declaration states that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government. Erler says this is what has come to be known as the right of revolution,

an essential ingredient of the social compact and a right which is always reserved to the people. The people can never cede or delegate this ultimate expression of sovereign power. Thus, in a very important sense, the right of revolution (or even its threat) is the right that guarantees every other right. And if the people have this right as an indefeasible aspect of their sovereignty, then, by necessity, the people also have a right to the means to revolution. Only an armed people are a sovereign people, and only an armed people are a free peoplethe people are indeed a militia.

In recent years an argument has become popular on the American Left that the Second Amendment means only that a well regulated militia has the right to bear arms, not individuals. The idea is that, say, the State of Texas can form a militia and arm it accordingly, but individual Texans have no inherent right to the private ownership of firearms.

In 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court repudiated this idea in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller. The late Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the opinion for the majority and quoted Blackstones Commentaries on the Laws of England, which recognizes the natural right of resistance and self-preservation. Scalia insisted that the Second Amendment acknowledges rights that predate the Constitution, such as the right of revolution.

But Erler argues that Scalia was wrong to imply that Second Amendment rights were codified from the common lawthey were, in fact, natural rights, deriving their status from the Laws of Nature and of Natures God. Like the right to revolution, the right to self-defense or self-preservation can never be ceded to government.

So what does this mean in practice? Are we to conclude that the Founders imagined a day when civilians armed with AR-15s and Glocks might one day march on Washington DC if the government ever became tyrannical? If the Second Amendment guarantees our right to the means of revolution, does that mean civilians should also be allowed to own tanks and artillery?

Not quite. The Founders thought standing armies were a threat to liberty, which means they surely would have thought that standing private armies constituted the same threat. Self-preservation and self-defense might be natural right, but even in Heller the Supreme Court indicated that there could be reasonable limitations on gun ownership.

To answer the scoffers on the Left, though, imagine what an American revolutionthe exercise of first principlesmight look like in the twenty-firstcentury. The government, or a branch of it (most likely the executive) becomes destructive to the ends for which it was established. It tyrannizes the people, takes their property, deprives them of their rights, destroys their lives. A revolution, or an abolishment of that government, would likely not be a civilian undertaking but a military one. Working in conjunction with other branches of the federal government and perhaps some state governments, the military would effect a coup dtat.

It would likely be a kind of civil war, and civilians would likely be caught up in it at some point. Perhaps they would form local militias to defend their homes and businesses. Perhaps they would volunteer their services to military commanders or state police forces. Perhaps they would simply want to ensure the safety of their families.

To do any of that, they would need to be armed. Just as the Founders envisioned.

Read the rest here:
The Second Amendment Is About Revolution

 Posted by at 11:00 pm  Tagged with:

Atlas Shrugged

 Atlas Shrugged  Comments Off on Atlas Shrugged
Jun 192016
 

Published in 1957, Atlas Shrugged was Ayn Rand’s last and most ambitious novel. Rand set out to explain her personal philosophy in this book, which follows a group of pioneering industrialists who go on strike against a corrupt government and a judgmental society. After completing this novel Rand turned to nonfiction and published works on her philosophy for the rest of her career. Rand actually only published four novels in her entire career, and the novel that came out before Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead, was published in 1943. So there was a pretty long publishing gap there.

It might seem a bit odd to use a work of fiction to make a philosophical statement, but this actually reflects Rand’s view of art. Art, for her, was a way to present ideals and ideas. In other words, Rand herself admitted that her characters may not always be “believable.” They are “ideal” people who represent a range of philosophies. Rand used these characters to show how her philosophy could be lived, rather than just publishing an essay about it.

Rand’s personal philosophy, known as Objectivism (to read more about it, check out our Themes section) was, and remains, really controversial. Objectivism criticizes a lot of philosophies and views, ranging from Christianity to communism, and as a result it can be very polarizing. Rand herself was a devout atheist, held very open views about sex (which definitely raised some eyebrows in 1950s America), and was a staunch anti-communist.

Rand’s anti-communism stems from her personal history. She was born in Russia in 1905 and lived through the Bolshevik Revolution, which is when communists overthrew Russia’s monarchy and took over, establishing the Soviet Union. The Revolution was a bloody affair, and the new communist government was very oppressive; as a result Rand developed a lifelong hatred of communism and violence of any sort.

Rand fled the Soviet Union in 1926 and came to America, where she quickly became a fan of American freedom, American democracy, and American capitalism, all of which greatly contrasted to the experiences she’d had in the oppressive Soviet Union. Rand’s personal philosophy developed around these American ideas, in opposition to the type of life she saw in the Soviet Union.

Given that Atlas Shrugged is a statement of Rand’s personal philosophy, the book expresses many of her views on religion, sex, politics, etc. When it was published, it received a lot of negative reviews. Many conservatives hated the book for its atheist views and its upfront treatment of sex. Many liberals hated the book for its celebration of capitalism. The book also confused a lot of people. But the novel sold, and it has remained popular since; it’s actually never been out of print since it was first published over fifty years ago. Atlas Shrugged was kind of like one of those blockbuster movies that gets horrible reviews but still does really well at the box office. Something about this book intrigues people, whether it’s the characters, the ideas, or just the mystery plot itself.

In fact, Atlas Shrugged has even seen a renewed surge in popularity lately, coinciding with the recent financial crisis. (If you want to see some of the news coverage of this, check out our “Best of the Web” section.) The book does deal with industrialists and hard financial times, so this popularity boom is not too surprising. In recent years the news media has often classed the novel as ber-conservative, which is funny, since a lot of conservatives hated the book when it first came out. At any rate it’s still a very controversial book just check out the hundreds of varied reviews it has racked up on Amazon.

In an old episode of South Park, a character who reads Atlas Shrugged declares that the book ruined reading for him and that he would never read another book again. (If you want to watch this hilarious clip, head on over to the “Best of the Web” section.) There’s a reason this book is so often made the butt of jokes. It’s long. Crazy long. We’re talking Tolstoy levels of longness. It’s also a book that’s about politics, philosophy, 30-something business people, and more philosophy. Frankly, this book can seem downright off-putting. Even the title is confusing.

So why should you care? Well, for one thing, putting aside all the Deep Thoughts and Profound Ideas in this book, we have a bunch of characters who are challenging the establishment. Seriously. At its core, this book is about individuals who go against the crowd, individuals bold enough to speak their minds, do their own thing, and seek their own happiness. And in trying to do so, these bold individuals face a heck of a lot of peer pressure. In fact, pretty much everyone in the whole world disapproves of these people, who are trying to make better lives for themselves by embracing things like liberty and self-esteem.

It’s like high school times a billion. The world is filled with the snobby popular crowd and our intrepid band of misfit heroes is outnumbered, but never outsmarted. Turns out all that philosophy we mentioned earlier has a lot to do with all of this individualism and going against the crowd, too. Whether it’s a high school cafeteria or a high-powered business meeting, some things seem to stay pretty universal. This book shows that there are always people who want to march to the beat of their own drum and who are bold enough to risk mass disapproval in order to do it. Kind of cool and inspiring really, regardless of your opinion of their particular philosophy.

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Atlas Shrugged

 Posted by at 2:45 pm  Tagged with:

The Zeitgeist Movement – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Zeitgeist Movement  Comments Off on The Zeitgeist Movement – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jun 172016
 

The Zeitgeist Movement was established in 2008 by Peter Joseph and advocates a transformation of society and its economic system to a non monetary system based on resource allocation and environmentalism.

Originally, the ideas were based on a societal model by Jacque Fresco a social engineer with The Venus Project.[1][2] In the Venus project machines control government and industry and safeguard resources using artificially intelligent earthwide autonomic sensor system super-brain connected to all human knowledge.[3]

The Zeitgeist Movement was formed in 2008[4] by Peter Joseph shortly after the late 2008 release of Zeitgeist: Addendum, the second film in the ‘Zeitgeist’ film series.[5][1] In its first year the group described itself as “the activist arm of The Venus Project.[6] In April 2011, the two groups partnership ended in an apparent power struggle, with Joseph commenting, Without [The Zeitgeist Movement], [The Venus Project] doesnt exist it has nothing but ideas and has no viable method to bring it to light.”[1] Jacques Fresco in an interview said that although the Zeitgeist movement wanted to act as the ‘activist arm’ of Venus project, Peter Joseph never clarified what that would entail. In addition Fresco’s ideas of how to change society were not followed, leading to Fresco dropping participation in the Zeitgeist Movement.[7]

VC Reporter’s Shane Cohn summarized the movement’s charter as: “Our greatest social problems are the direct results of our economic system”.[5]

Samuel Gilonis describes the movements opinions as wanting to replace all private property with for what Joseph refers to as “strategic access” as well as replacing democracy with a form of technocracy whereby the ruling class would comprise technical experts in control of their relevant domains.[8]

The group is critical of market capitalism describing it as structurally corrupt and inefficient in the use of resources. According to The Daily Telegraph, the group dismisses historic religious concepts as misleading and embraces a version of sustainable ecological concepts and scientific administration of society.[9][10][11][12][13][14]

In January 2014, the group published a book, The Zeitgeist Movement Defined: Realizing A New Train Of Thought, composed of eighteen essays on psychology, economics, and scientific theory written by the ‘TZM Lecture Team’ and edited by Ben McLeish, Matt Berkowitz, and Peter Joseph.[15]

The group holds two annual events: Z-Day (or Zeitgeist Day), an “educational forum”[16] held in March and an artivist event called Zeitgeist Media Festival.[3] The second Z-Day took place in Manhattan in 2009 and included lectures by Peter Joseph and Jacque Fresco. The organisers said that local chapters also held sister events on the same day.[16] The Zeitgeist Media Festival was first held in 2011. Its 3rd annual event took place on August 4, 2013 at the Avalon Hollywood nightclub in Los Angeles, California.[17][3]

An article in the Journal of Contemporary Religion describes the movement as an example of a “conspirituality,” a synthesis of New Age spirituality and conspiracy theory.[18]

Michelle Goldberg of Tablet Magazine called the movement “the world’s first Internet-based apocalyptic cult, with members who parrot the party line with cheerful, rote fidelity.” In her opinion, the movement is “devoted to a kind of sci-fi planetary communism”, and the 2007 documentary that “sparked” the movement was “steeped in far-right, isolationist, and covertly anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.”[19]

Alan Feuer of The New York Times said the movement was like “a utopian presentation of a money-free and computer-driven vision of the future, a wholesale reimagination of civilization, as if Karl Marx and Carl Sagan had hired John Lennon from his Imagine days to do no less than redesign the underlying structures of planetary life.”[16]

In Socialist Unity magazine and also Tablet Magazine the films relationship to anti-Semitic texts is claimed and it is claimed that those theories are made to look left-wing or liberal. A relationship between the film and a book called The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, along with the films use of other anti-Semitic tropes is claimed.[20][21]

More:

The Zeitgeist Movement – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hawaiian libertarian

 Libertarian  Comments Off on Hawaiian libertarian
Jun 152016
 

We are in the midst of a multi-generational MindWar, and for most of us, our patterns of thoughts and behaviors are already conquered and occupied territory. So what exactly is this “MindWar?”

From MindWar: How Military PsyOps Plan to Control your Mind:

Furthermore, Vallely and Aquino’s MindWar scheme is remarkably similar to the Total Information Awareness (TIA) program launched by the Donald Rumsfeld Pentagon, under the direction of Irangate figure Adm. John Poindexter. Ostensibly, the Total Information Awareness global propaganda and mega-data-mining plan was scrapped after a series of negative news stories, but Pentagon sources have reported that the program was merely “taken into a black box.”

The following post is but one example of my own personal attempts at counterattacking this perpetual psychological warfare and it’s devious weapons of deceit and corruption. The MindWar is being waged on us all, and it’s up to each and every one of us who recognize that we really are under siege from a deliberate and purposeful enemy, to refuse and resist wherever and whenever possible.

I’ve known her since she was a little girl. My wife and I used to occasionally babysit her and her older sister when she was a toddler. I am an old friend of her family and I’ve watched her grow into a beautiful young woman who turned into a bride and now a young mother. Now she occasionally watches mine since she’s a stay at home mother.

She now has her own toddler, and she’s become quite the homemaker. I admire what she has become, for there was a time in her mid-teen years, that I thought she was going off the track and headed towards the usual Brave New World Order Jezebel script of sterile consumerist-credentialism chasing and bad-boy carousel riding.

Then she met her husband, who was a man with a plan, an entrepreneur, a hard worker and a natural born leader. She followed him, and supports him as a wife and stay-at-home mother, and she is now in my opinion, in a much better place, as she supports him in working towards his vision of self-employed freedom from the rat race of our modern Babylon system. He and I agree on much about our modern world. While I am not explicitly “red pill” in my conversations with him, we agree on much of the topics I write about regularly, here on this blog.

On occasion, I have reasons to drop by her place and will inevitably have some in-depth conversations with her. I am like an Uncle to her, and she trusts me totally, and she often asks me for advice. When it comes to her marriage and her husband, I long ago set boundaries on those conversations. I will not listen to complaints or criticism’s of him, that is not my kuleana. At this point, she already knows how I will react to such gossip and she generally refrains from it when I am around. That being said, there have been a few occasions where she laments her lot in life as a stay-at-home mom and homemaker.

I said she is a good woman, not perfect. She is just as susceptible to the whispers of discontent that our culture promulgates, like almost all other woman are in our present dystopian age. As I have some understanding about the female id, thanks to years of studying this thing we call “the red pill,” I know she is simply being tempted by the curse of Eve and can’t help but feel like she’s missing out on what our regularly scheduled programming tells her she’s giving up, by being a stay-at-home mom and dedicated wife to her husband. It is during conversations like these that I try my hand at “slipping the red pill into her drink,” and I get to expound on the topic of opportunity costs for career moms.

I play the devil’s advocate against this devilish society and it’s cursed whispers of temptations for women to fall prey to envy, greed, ingratitude and manufactured discontent in the pursuit of HAVING IT ALL. I point out all of the benefits of her life are creating things for which money cannot buy. Despite all of our current society’s zeitgeist being arrayed against her and her husband’s current arrangement, the benefits of persevering against the conventional wisdom that is inspiring her occasional bouts of discontent, will pay off in the end. There are far more important things she is building up and creating, rather than being just another human resource for the corporate borg and an All-American debt serf.

When she complains about having to cook and clean all the time, I point out how healthy she and her family are. How most other children of her peerage are ill behaved, overweight and/or sickly, while her well-fed family is thriving. I tell her their is no way around it. Somebody has got to cook, and since her husband is the breadwinner, nourishing him and feeding him before he heads out to face the world and earn the means of their sustenance is an irreplaceable part of the effort for her family to succeed.

I often remind her of how cooking for family is one of the strongest bonds parents and grand parents create with their relations. As I’ve sat at the dinner table of her grandparents when she was young and shared the meals her Grandmother used to cook from scratch, I can bring up her favorite meals she used to enjoy and how they give her fond memories of her Grandmother who passed away years ago. When I point out to her that all of her efforts at daily cooking is now giving her own child the same fond memories and experiences she had, she can’t help but smile and I can see the manufactured discontent that is the plague of our modern zeitgeist drain from her eyes.

When she is upset that she never has “time for herself” I tell her to look at her growing child and enjoy what she has, for all the other young mother’s that work a 9-5, don’t have time for themselves either. Their time is their bosses, their jobs and their corporate companies who dictate their life’s hectic schedules. These working mom’s miss out on their children’s first steps, and all the other “firsts” that are part and parcel to the joys of watching them as they grow. Money can’t buy the vicarious experiences of seeing the world through fresh, virgin eyes of your children’s experiences. It is some of the best parts of parenthood, and she’s there for every moment of it…while her friends are off at work and their children are stuck in daycare. When I say to her, “Why would you want to be anywhere else?” she concedes the point and brightens up a bit.

She often feels like she’s losing out on a chance for education to “become somebody,” I point out to her that most women her age, take on massive loans to attend college to attain credentials (a piece of paper!) that they will then have to pay for, for the rest of their working lives.

I point out that their children are being raised by minimum wage workers and they never really bond with their parents (at least not like how her own child is very close to her) because they spend most of their waking lives with people who are not family. Those women who dedicate themselves to education and career end up with disaffected and distant children, and result in families who are not close-knit and do the bare minimum to stay in touch once they reach adulthood and go out on their own.

I use a plethora of examples of people we know in common, who follow the typical Brave New World Order life scripts and now have broken homes, enstranged children and dysfunctional relationships. The glamor of credential-certified achievement and consumerist-driven careerism and all of the material amenities and technological luxuries and distractions that are a part of our present existence, are all false promises of illusory happiness. In the end, none of it matters if the pursuit of such things come at the cost of that which should be most precious to us – our families and close relationships with others.

My reminders to appreciate what she has and what she experiences different from all the other education and credential and career-driven peers her age, seems to lift her spirits and help her renew her appreciation for all that she does have. I point out that for the most part, what she feels like she’s missing out on, are nothing more than deliberate delusions created by our societies ubiquitous propaganda to serve the benefits of others and not herself or her family.

She’s smart enough to recognize the truth of my observations and commentary, and I literally got to see the pay off in real time recently, when I heard her in conversations with others in which she echoed my words, sentiments and observations.

I was in earshot of her and a group of her peers at a holiday event, and watched as her friends bragged about their careers and material acquisitions that their paychecks finance. When it was her turn to share her own perspective, it was with satisfaction and a bit of pride when I heard her relate many of the things I myself have pointed out to her in our past conversations, when she struggled with her momentary discontents. It is times like those for which I am eternally gratefully for all this time I’ve spent here on teh Interwebz. Not only has it made a difference in my own life, but also in the lives of those I care about.

This is but one example of how I seek to utilize the knowledge I gained in all these years out here on the fringes of the fever swamps. To not just survive, but thrive amongst the idiocracy of the sheeple herds created by our current dystopian era. To do so, one has to learn to recognize the lies and deceit designed to skew our lives and make us subconsciously follow the sheeple herding script of our mass media and institutionalized educational system.

Having the chance to take this knowledge and have a chance to pay it forward to benefit those people for whom I care about, and help to forge those symbiotic relationships that create true community, is how I get my profit from all this time spent online for the better part of the past decade.

The only way to gain ground and fight for victory in this 21st century MindWar, is by waging guerrilla operations of subversion and fight the manufactured narrative of our Brave New World Order, one mind at a time. Every chance I get to subvert the popular narrative and deliberately instilled discontent amongst the people I care about, is a chance to engage the enemy and wage this war of resistance. I shall never surrender.

Read more here:

Hawaiian libertarian

 Posted by at 3:29 pm  Tagged with:

Principality of Sealand – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Sealand  Comments Off on Principality of Sealand – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jun 132016
 

For more information about the structure claimed by Sealand see HM Fort Roughs

The Principality of Sealand is an unrecognised micronation that claims Roughs Tower, an offshore platform located in the North Sea approximately 12 kilometres (7.5mi) off the coast of Suffolk, England, as its territory. Roughs Tower is a disused Maunsell Sea Fort, originally called HM Fort Roughs, built as an anti-aircraft defensive gun platform by the British during World War II.[3][4]

Since 1967, the decommissioned HM Fort Roughs has been occupied by family and associates of Paddy Roy Bates, who claim that it is an independent sovereign state.[3] Bates seized it from a group of pirate radio broadcasters in 1967 with the intention of setting up his own station at the site.[5] He attempted to establish Sealand as a nation-state in 1975 with the writing of a national constitution and establishment of other national symbols.[3]

While it has been described as the world’s smallest country[6] or nation,[7] Sealand is not officially recognised by any established sovereign state in spite of Sealand’s government’s claim that it has been de facto recognised by the United Kingdom[3] and Germany.[8] The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in force since 1994 states “Artificial islands, installations and structures do not possess the status of islands. They have no territorial sea of their own, and their presence does not affect the delimitation of the territorial sea, the exclusive economic zone or the continental shelf”.[9] Sealand was not grandfathered, and sits in British waters.

Bates moved to the mainland when he became elderly, naming his son Michael regent. Bates died in October 2012 at the age of 91.[10] Michael lives in England.[11]

In 1943, during World War II, HM Fort Roughs (sometimes called Roughs Tower) was constructed by the United Kingdom as one of the Maunsell Forts,[12] primarily to defend the vital shipping lanes in nearby estuaries against German Navy mine-laying aircraft. It consisted of a floating pontoon base with a superstructure of two hollow towers joined by a deck upon which other structures could be added. The fort was towed to a position above the Rough Sands sandbar, where its base was deliberately flooded to sink it on its final resting place. This is approximately 7 nautical miles (13km) from the coast of Suffolk, outside the then 3nmi (6km) claim of the United Kingdom and, therefore, in international waters.[12] The facility was occupied by 150300 Royal Navy personnel throughout World War II; the last full-time personnel left in 1956.[12]

Roughs Tower was occupied in February and August 1965 by Jack Moore and his daughter Jane, squatting on behalf of the pirate station Wonderful Radio London.

On 2 September 1967, the fort was occupied by Major Paddy Roy Bates, a British subject and pirate radio broadcaster, who ejected a competing group of pirate broadcasters.[5] Bates intended to broadcast his pirate radio station called Radio Essex from the platform.[13] Despite having the necessary equipment, he never began broadcasting.[14] Bates declared the independence of Roughs Tower and deemed it the Principality of Sealand.[5]

In 1968, British workmen entered what Bates claimed to be his territorial waters in order to service a navigational buoy near the platform. Michael Bates (son of Paddy Roy Bates) tried to scare the workmen off by firing warning shots from the former fort. As Bates was a British subject at the time, he was summoned to court in England on firearms charges following the incident.[15] But as the court ruled that the platform (which Bates was now calling “Sealand”) was outside British territorial limits, being beyond the then 3-nautical-mile (6km) limit of the country’s waters, the case could not proceed.[16]

In 1975, Bates introduced a constitution for Sealand, followed by a national flag, a national anthem, a currency and passports.[3]

In August 1978, Alexander Achenbach, who describes himself as the Prime Minister of Sealand, hired several German and Dutch mercenaries to spearhead an attack on Sealand while Bates and his wife were in England.[8] They stormed the platform with speedboats, jet skis and helicopters, and took Bates’ son Michael hostage. Michael was able to retake Sealand and capture Achenbach and the mercenaries using weapons stashed on the platform. Achenbach, a German lawyer who held a Sealand passport, was charged with treason against Sealand[8] and was held unless he paid DM75,000 (more than US$35,000 or 23,000).[17] The governments of the Netherlands, Austria and Germany petitioned the British government for his release, but the United Kingdom disavowed his imprisonment, citing the 1968 court decision.[3] Germany then sent a diplomat from its London embassy to Sealand to negotiate for Achenbach’s release. Roy Bates relented after several weeks of negotiations and subsequently claimed that the diplomat’s visit constituted de facto recognition of Sealand by Germany.[8]

Following the former’s repatriation, Achenbach and Gernot Ptz established a government in exile, sometimes known as the Sealand Rebel Government or Sealandic Rebel Government, in Germany.[8] Achenbach’s appointed successor, Johannes Seiger, continues to claim via his website that he is Sealand’s legitimate ruling authority.[18]

The claim that Sealand is an independent sovereign state is based on an interpretation of a 1968 decision of an English court, in which it was held that Roughs Tower was in international waters and thus outside the jurisdiction of the domestic courts.[3]

In international law, the most common schools of thought for the creation of statehood are the constitutive and declaratory theories of state creation. The constitutive theory is the standard nineteenth-century model of statehood, and the declaratory theory was developed in the twentieth century to address shortcomings of the constitutive theory. In the constitutive theory, a state exists exclusively via recognition by other states. The theory splits on whether this recognition requires ‘diplomatic recognition’ or merely ‘recognition of existence’. No other state grants Sealand official recognition, but it has been argued by Bates that negotiations carried out by Germany following a brief hostage incident constituted ‘recognition of existence’ (and, since the German government reportedly sent an ambassador to the tower, diplomatic recognition). In the declaratory theory of statehood, an entity becomes a state as soon as it meets the minimal criteria for statehood. Therefore, recognition by other states is purely ‘declaratory’.[33]

In 1987, the UK extended its territorial waters from 3 to 12 nautical miles (6 to 22km). Sealand now sits inside British waters.[34] The United Kingdom is one of 165 parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (in force since 1994), which states in Part V, Article 60, that: ‘Artificial islands, installations and structures do not possess the status of islands. They have no territorial sea of their own, and their presence does not affect the delimitation of the territorial sea, the exclusive economic zone or the continental shelf’.[9] In the opinion of law academic John Gibson, there is little chance that Sealand would be recognised as a nation because it is a man-made structure.[34]

Irrespective of its legal status, Sealand is managed by the Bates family as if it were a recognised sovereign entity and they are its hereditary royal rulers. Roy Bates styled himself as ‘Prince Roy’ and his widow ‘Princess Joan’. Their son is known as ‘His Royal Highness Prince Michael’ and has been referred to as the ‘Prince Regent’ by the Bates family since 1999.[35] In this role, he apparently serves as Sealand’s acting ‘Head of State’ and also its ‘Head of Government’.[36] At a micronations conference hosted by the University of Sunderland in 2004, Sealand was represented by Michael Bates’ son James. The facility is now occupied by one or more caretakers representing Michael Bates, who himself resides in Essex, England.[35]

Sealand’s constitution was instituted in 1974. It consists of a preamble and seven articles.[37] The preamble asserts Sealand’s independence, while the articles variously deal with Sealand’s status as a constitutional monarchy, the empowerment of government bureaux, the role of an appointed, advisory senate, the functions of an appointed, advisory legal tribunal, a proscription against the bearing of arms except by members of a designated ‘Sealand Guard’, the exclusive right of the sovereign to formulate foreign policy and alter the constitution, and the hereditary patrilinear succession of the monarchy.[38] Sealand’s legal system is claimed to follow British common law, and statutes take the form of decrees enacted by the sovereign.[39] Sealand has issued “fantasy passports” (as termed by the Council of the European Union), which are not valid for international travel,[40] and holds the Guinness World Record for ‘the smallest area to lay claim to nation status’.[41] Sealand’s motto is E Mare Libertas (From the Sea, Freedom). It appears on Sealandic items such as stamps, passports and coins and is the title of the Sealandic anthem. The anthem was composed by Londoner Basil Simonenko;[42] being an instrumental anthem, it does not have lyrics. In 2005, the anthem was recorded by the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra and released on their CD National Anthems of the World, Vol. 7: Qatar Syria.

Sealand has been involved in several commercial operations, including the issuing of coins and postage stamps and the establishment of an offshore Internet hosting facility, or ‘data haven’.[43][44] Sealand also has an official website and publishes an online newspaper, Sealand News.[45] In addition, a number of amateur athletes ‘represent’ Sealand in sporting events, including unconventional events like the egg throwing world championship, which the Sealand team won in 2008.[46]

Several dozen different Sealand coins have been minted since 1972. In the early 1990s, Achenbach’s German group also produced a coin, featuring a likeness of ‘Prime Minister Seiger’.[47] Sealand’s coins and postage stamps are denominated in ‘Sealand dollars’, which it deems to be at parity with the U.S. dollar.[48] Sealand first issued postage stamps in 1969, and issues through 1977. No further stamps were produced until 2010. Sealand is not a member of the Universal Postal Union, therefore its inward address is a PO Box in the United Kingdom.[49] Once it is mailed to Sealand’s tourist and government office, it will then be brought to Sealand. Sealand only has one street address, The Row.[50]

A Sealand mailing address looks like this:[50]

Bureau of Internal Affairs 5, The Row SEALAND 1001 (c/o Sealand Post Bag, IP11 9SZ, UK)

Sealand also sells titles of individual nobility including Lord, Baron, Count and those titles’ distaff equivalents. Following Roy Bates’ 2012 death, Sealand also began publicly offering knighthoods.[51][52]

In 2000, worldwide publicity was created about Sealand following the establishment of a new entity called HavenCo, a data haven, which effectively took control of Roughs Tower itself; however, Ryan Lackey, HavenCo’s founder, later quit and claimed that Bates had lied to him by keeping the 19901991 court case[clarification needed] from him and that, as a result, he had lost the money he had invested in the venture.[53] In November 2008, operations of HavenCo ceased without explanation.[54]

Sealand is not recognized by any major international sporting body, and its population is insufficient to maintain a team composed entirely of Sealanders in any team sport. However, Sealand claims to have official national athletes, including non-Sealanders. These athletes take part in various sports, such as curling, mini-golf, football, fencing, ultimate frisbee, table football and athletics, although all its teams compete out of the country.[55] The Sealand National Football Association is an associate member of the Nouvelle Fdration-Board, a football sanctioning body for non-recognised states and states not members of FIFA. It administers the Sealand national football team. In 2004 the national team played its first international game against land Islands national football team, drawing 22.[56]

Sealand claims that its first official athlete was Darren Blackburn of Oakville, Ontario, Canada, who was appointed in 2003. Blackburn has represented Sealand at a number of local sporting events, including marathons and off-trail races.[57] In 2004, mountaineer Slader Oviatt carried the Sealandic flag to the top of Muztagh Ata.[58] Also in 2007, Michael Martelle represented the Principality of Sealand in the World Cup of Kung Fu, held in Quebec City, Canada; bearing the designation of Athleta Principalitas Bellatorius (Principal Martial Arts Athlete and Champion), Martelle won two silver medals, becoming the first-ever Sealand athlete to appear on a world championship podium.[59]

In 2008, Sealand hosted a skateboarding event with Church and East sponsored by Red Bull.[60][61][62] Sealand’s fencing team is located in the United States, affiliated with the University of California, Irvine.

In 2009, Sealand announced the revival of the Football Association and their intention to compete in a future Viva World Cup. Scottish author Neil Forsyth was appointed as President of the Sealand Football Association.[63] Sealand played the second game in their history against Chagos Islands on 5 May 2012, losing 31. The team included actor Ralf Little and former Bolton Wanderers defender Simon Charlton.[64]

In 2009 and 2010, Sealand sent teams to play in various ultimate frisbee club tournaments in the United Kingdom, Ireland and the Netherlands. They placed 11th at UK nationals in 2010.[65]

From early summer of 2012 Sealand has been represented in the flat track variant of roller derby, by a team principally composed of skaters from the South Wales area.[66]

Sealand played a friendly match in aid of charity against an “All Stars” team from Fulham F.C. on 18 May 2013, losing 57.[67][68]

On 22 May 2013, the mountaineer Kenton Cool placed a Sealand flag at the summit of Mount Everest.[69]

Coordinates: 515342.6N 12849.8E / 51.895167N 1.480500E / 51.895167; 1.480500

Read more from the original source:

Principality of Sealand – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Posted by at 12:55 pm  Tagged with:

Annotation 3 – Fourth Amendment – FindLaw

 Fourth Amendment  Comments Off on Annotation 3 – Fourth Amendment – FindLaw
Jun 012016
 

Valid Searches and Seizures Without Warrants

While the Supreme Court stresses the importance of warrants and has repeatedly referred to searches without warrants as ”exceptional,” 1 it appears that the greater number of searches, as well as the vast number of arrests, take place without warrants. The Reporters of the American Law Institute Project on a Model Code of Pre- Arraignment Procedure have noted ”their conviction that, as a practical matter, searches without warrant and incidental to arrest have been up to this time, and may remain, of greater practical importance” than searches pursuant to warrants. ”[T]he evidence on hand . . . compel[s] the conclusion that searches under warrants have played a comparatively minor part in law enforcement, except in connection with narcotics and gambling laws.” 2 Nevertheless, the Court frequently asserts that ”the most basic constitutional rule in this area is that ‘searches conducted outside the judicial process, without prior approval by judge or magistrate, are per se unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment–subject only to a few specially established and well-delineated exceptions.” 3 The exceptions are said to be ”jealously and carefully drawn,” 4 and there must be ”a showing by those who seek exemption . . . that the exigencies of the situation made that course imperative.” 5 While the record does indicate an effort to categorize the exceptions, the number and breadth of those exceptions have been growing.

Detention Short of Arrest: Stop-and-Frisk .–Arrests are subject to the requirements of the Fourth Amendment, but the courts have followed the common law in upholding the right of police officers to take a person into custody without a warrant if they have probable cause to believe that the person to be arrested has committed a felony or has committed a misdemeanor in their presence. 6 The probable cause is, of course, the same standard required to be met in the issuance of an arrest warrant, and must be satisfied by conditions existing prior to the policeman’s stop, what is discovered thereafter not sufficing to establish retroactively reasonable cause. 7 There are, however, instances when a policeman’s suspicions will have been aroused by someone’s conduct or manner, but probable cause for placing such a person under arrest will be lacking. 8 In Terry v. Ohio, 9 the Court almost unanimously approved an on-the-street investigation by a police officer which involved ”patting down” the subject of the investigation for weapons.

The case arose when a police officer observed three individuals engaging in conduct which appeared to him, on the basis of training and experience, to be the ”casing” of a store for a likely armed robbery; upon approaching the men, identifying himself, and not receiving prompt identification, the officer seized one of the men, patted the exterior of his clothes, and discovered a gun. Chief Justice Warren for the Court wrote that the Fourth Amendment was applicable to the situation, applicable ”whenever a police officer accosts an individual and restrains his freedom to walk away.” 10 Since the warrant clause is necessarily and practically of no application to the type of on-the-street encounter present in Terry, the Chief Justice continued, the question was whether the policeman’s actions were reasonable. The test of reasonableness in this sort of situation is whether the police officer can point to ”specific and articulable facts which, taken together with rational inferences from those facts,” would lead a neutral magistrate on review to conclude that a man of reasonable caution would be warranted in believing that possible criminal behavior was at hand and that both an investigative stop and a ”frisk” was required. 11 Inasmuch as the conduct witnessed by the policeman reasonably led him to believe that an armed robbery was in prospect, he was as reasonably led to believe that the men were armed and probably dangerous and that his safety required a ”frisk.” Because the object of the ”frisk” is the discovery of dangerous weapons, ”it must therefore be confined in scope to an intrusion reasonably designed to discover guns, knives, clubs, or other hidden instruments for the assault of the police officer.” 12 If, in the course of a weapons frisk, ”plain touch” reveals presence of an object that the officer has probable cause to believe is contraband, the officer may seize that object. Supp.3 The Court viewed the situation as analogous to that covered by the ”plain view” doctrine: obvious contraband may be seized, but a search may not be expanded to determine whether an object is contraband. Supp.4

Terry did not pass on a host of problems, including the grounds that could permissibly lead an officer to momentarily stop a person on the street or elsewhere in order to ask questions rather than frisk for weapons, the right of the stopped individual to refuse to cooperate, and the permissible response of the police to that refusal. Following that decision, the standard for stops for investigative purposes evolved into one of ”reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.” That test permits some stops and questioning without probable cause in order to allow police officers to explore the foun dations of their suspicions. 13 While not elaborating a set of rules governing the application of the tests, the Court was initially restrictive in recognizing permissible bases for reasonable suspicion. 14 Extensive instrusions on individual privacy, e.g., transportation to the stationhouse for interrogation and fingerprinting, were invalidated in the absence of probable cause. 15 More recently, however, the Court has taken less restrictive approaches. 16

It took the Court some time to settle on a test for when a ”seizure” has occurred, and the Court has recently modified its approach. The issue is of some importance, since it is at this point that Fourth Amendment protections take hold. The Terry Court recognized in dictum that ”not all personal intercourse between policemen and citizens involves ‘seizures’ of persons,” and suggested that ”[o]nly when the officer, by means of physical force or show of authority, has in some way restrained the liberty of a citizen may we conclude that a ‘seizure’ has occurred.” 17 Years later Justice Stewart proposed a similar standard, that a person has been seized ”only if, in view of all of the circumstances surrounding the incident, a reasonable person would have believed that he was not free to leave.” 18 This reasonable perception standard was subse quently endorsed by a majority of Justices, 19 and was applied in several cases in which admissibility of evidence turned on whether a seizure of the person not justified by probable cause or reasonable suspicion had occurred prior to the uncovering of the evidence. No seizure occurred, for example, when INS agents seeking to identify illegal aliens conducted work force surveys within a garment factory; while some agents were positioned at exits, others systematically moved through the factory and questioned employees. 20 This brief questioning, even with blocked exits, amounted to ”classic consensual encounters rather than Fourth Amendment seizures.” 21 The Court also ruled that no seizure had occurred when police in a squad car drove alongside a suspect who had turned and run down the sidewalk when he saw the squad car approach. Under the circumstances (no siren, flashing lights, display of a weapon, or blocking of the suspect’s path), the Court concluded, the police conduct ”would not have communicated to the reasonable person an attempt to capture or otherwise intrude upon [one’s] freedom of movement.” 22

Soon thereafter, however, the Court departed from the Mendenhall reasonable perception standard and adopted a more formalistic approach, holding that an actual chase with evident intent to capture did not amount to a ”seizure” because the suspect did not comply with the officer’s order to halt. Mendenhall, said the Court in California v. Hodari D., stated a ”necessary” but not a ”sufficient” condition for a seizure of the person through show of authority. 23 A Fourth Amendment ”seizure” of the person, the Court determined, is the same as a common law arrest; there must be either application of physical force (or the laying on of hands), or submission to the assertion of authority. 24 Indications are, however, that Hodari D. does not signal the end of the reasonable perception standard, but merely carves an exception applicable to chases and perhaps other encounters between suspects and police.

Later in the same term the Court ruled that the Mendenhall ”free-to-leave” inquiry was misplaced in the context of a police sweep of a bus, but that a modified reasonable perception approach still governed. 25 In conducting a bus sweep, aimed at detecting illegal drugs and their couriers, police officers typically board a bus during a stopover at a terminal and ask to inspect tickets, identification, and sometimes luggage of selected passengers. The Court did not focus on whether an ”arrest” had taken place, as adherence to the Hodari D. approach would have required, but instead suggested that the appropriate inquiry is ”whether a reasonable person would feel free to decline the officers’ requests or otherwise terminate the encounter.” 26 ”When the person is seated on a bus and has no desire to leave,” the Court explained, ”the degree to which a reasonable person would feel that he or she could leave is not an accurate measure of the coercive effect of the encounter.” 27

A Terry search need not be limited to a stop and frisk of the person, but may extend as well to a protective search of the passenger compartment of a car if an officer possesses ”a reasonable belief, based on specific and articulable facts . . . that the suspect is dangerous and . . . may gain immediate control of weapons.” 28 How lengthy a Terry detention may be varies with the circumstances. In approving a 20-minute detention of a driver made necessary by the driver’s own evasion of drug agents and a state police decision to hold the driver until the agents could arrive on the scene, the Court indicated that it is ”appropriate to examine whether the police diligently pursued a means of investigation that was likely to confirm or dispel their suspicions quickly, during which time it was necessary to detain the defendant.” 29

Similar principles govern detention of luggage at airports in order to detect the presence of drugs; Terry ”limitations applicable to investigative detentions of the person should define the permissible scope of an investigative detention of the person’s luggage on less than probable cause.” 30 The general rule is that ”when an officer’s observations lead him reasonably to believe that a traveler is carrying luggage that contains narcotics, the principles of Terry . . . would permit the officer to detain the luggage briefly to investigate the circumstances that aroused his suspicion, provided that the investigative detention is properly limited in scope.” 31 Seizure of luggage for an expeditious ”canine sniff” by a dog trained to detect narcotics can satisfy this test even though seizure of luggage is in effect detention of the traveler, since the procedure results in ”limited disclosure,” impinges only slightly on a traveler’s privacy interest in the contents of personal luggage, and does not constitute a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. 32 By contrast, taking a suspect to an interrogation room on grounds short of probable cause, retaining his air ticket, and retrieving his luggage without his permission taints consent given under such circumstances to open the luggage, since by then the detention had exceeded the bounds of a permissible Terry investigative stop and amounted to an invalid arrest. 33 But the same requirements for brevity of detention and limited scope of investigation are apparently inapplicable to border searches of international travelers, the Court having approved a 24-hour detention of a traveler suspected of smuggling drugs in her alimentary canal. 34

Search Incident to Arrest .–The common-law rule permitting searches of the person of an arrestee as an incident to the arrest has occasioned little controversy in the Court. 35 The dispute has centered around the scope of the search. Since it was the stated general rule that the scope of a warrantless search must be strictly tied to and justified by the circumstances which rendered its justification permissible, and since it was the rule that the justification of a search of the arrestee was to prevent destruction of evidence and to prevent access to a weapon, 36 it was argued to the court that a search of the person of the defendant arrested for a traffic offense, which discovered heroin in a crumpled cigarette package, was impermissible, inasmuch as there could have been no destructible evidence relating to the offense for which he was arrested and no weapon could have been concealed in the cigarette package. The Court rejected this argument, ruling that ”no additional justification” is required for a custodial arrest of a suspect based on probable cause. 37

However, the Justices have long found themselves embroiled in argument about the scope of the search incident to arrest as it extends beyond the person to the area in which the person is arrested, most commonly either his premises or his vehicle. Certain early cases went both ways on the basis of some fine distinctions, 38 but in Harris v. United States, 39 the Court approved a search of a four-room apartment pursuant to an arrest under warrant for one crime and in which the search turned up evidence of another crime. A year later, in Trupiano v. United States, 40 a raid on a distillery resulted in the arrest of a man found on the premises and a seizure of the equipment; the Court reversed the conviction because the officers had had time to obtain a search warrant and had not done so. ”A search or seizure without a warrant as an incident to a lawful arrest has always been considered to be a strictly limited right. It grows out of the inherent necessities of the situation at the time of the arrest. But there must be something more in the way of necessity than merely a lawful arrest.” 41 This decision was overruled in United States v. Rabinowitz, 42 in which officers arrested defendant in his one-room office pursuant to an arrest warrant and proceeded to search the room completely. The Court observed that the issue was not whether the officers had the time and opportunity to obtain a search warrant but whether the search incident to arrest was reasonable. Though Rabinowitz referred to searches of the area within the arrestee’s ”immediate control,” 43 it provided no standard by which this area was to be determined, and extensive searches were permitted under the rule. 44

In Chimel v. California, 45 however, a narrower view was asserted, the primacy of warrants was again emphasized, and a standard by which the scope of searches pursuant to arrest could be ascertained was set out. ”When an arrest is made, it is reasonable for the arresting officer to search the person arrested in order to remove any weapons that the latter might seek to use in order to resist arrest or effect his escape. Otherwise, the officer’s safety might well be endangered, and the arrest itself frustrated. In addition, it is entirely reasonable for the arresting officer to search for and seize any evidence on the arrestee’s person in order to prevent its concealment or destruction. And the area into which an arrestee might reach in order to grab a weapon or evidentiary items must, of course, be governed by a like rule. A gun on a table or in a drawer in front of one who is arrested can be as dangerous to the arresting officer as one concealed in the clothing of the person arrested. There is ample justification, therefore, for a search of the arrestee’s person and the area ‘within his immediate control’–construing that phrase to mean the area from within which he might gain possession of a weapon or destructible evidence.

”There is no comparable justification, however, for routinely searching any room other than that in which an arrest occurs–or, for that matter, for searching through all the desk drawers or other closed or concealed areas in that room itself. Such searches, in the absence of well-recognized exceptions, may be made only under the authority of a search warrant.” 46

Although the viability of Chimel had been in doubt for some time as the Court refined and applied its analysis of reasonable and justifiable expectations of privacy, 47 it has in some but not all contexts survived the changed rationale. Thus, in Mincey v. Arizona, 48 the Court rejected a state effort to create a ”homicide-scene” exception for a warrantless search of an entire apartment extending over four days. The occupant had been arrested and removed and it was true, the Court observed, that a person legally taken into custody has a lessened right of privacy in his person, but he does not have a lessened right of privacy in his entire house. And, in United States v. Chadwick, 49 emphasizing a person’s reasonable expectation of privacy in his luggage or other baggage, the Court held that, once police have arrested and immobilized a suspect, validly seized bags are not subject to search without a warrant. 50 Police may, however, in the course of jailing an arrested suspect conduct an inventory search of the individual’s personal effects, including the contents of a shoulder bag, since ”the scope of a station-house search may in some circumstances be even greater than those supporting a search immediately following arrest.” 51

Still purporting to reaffirm Chimel, the Court in New York v. Belton 52 held that police officers who had made a valid arrest of the occupant of a vehicle could make a contemporaneous search of the entire passenger compartment of the automobile, including containers found therein. Believing that a fairly simple rule understandable to authorities in the field was desirable, the Court ruled ”that articles inside the relatively narrow compass of the passenger compartment of an automobile are in fact generally, if not inevitably, within ‘the area into which an arrestee might reach in order to grab a weapon or evidentiary ite[m].”’ 53

Chimel has, however, been qualified by another consideration. Not only may officers search areas within the arrestee’s immediate control in order to alleviate any threat posed by the arrestee, but they may extend that search if there may be a threat posed by ”unseen third parties in the house.” A ”protective sweep” of the entire premises (including an arrestee’s home) may be undertaken on less than probable cause if officers have a ”reasonable belief,” based on ”articulable facts,” that the area to be swept may harbor an individual posing a danger to those on the arrest scene. 54

Vehicular Searches .–In the early days of the automobile the Court created an exception for searches of vehicles, holding in Carroll v. United States 55 that vehicles may be searched without warrants if the officer undertaking the search has probable cause to believe that the vehicle contains contraband. The Court explained that the mobility of vehicles would allow them to be quickly moved from the jurisdiction if time were taken to obtain a warrant. 56

Initially the Court limited Carroll’s reach, holding impermissible the warrantless seizure of a parked automobile merely because it is movable, and indicating that vehicles may be stopped only while moving or reasonably contemporaneously with movement. 57 Also, the Court ruled that the search must be reasonably contemporaneous with the stop, so that it was not permissible to remove the vehicle to the stationhouse for a warrantless search at the convenience of the police. 58

The Court next developed a reduced privacy rationale to supplement the mobility rationale, explaining that ”the configuration, use, and regulation of automobiles often may dilute the reasonable expectation of privacy that exists with respect to differently situated property.” 59 ”’One has a lesser expectation of privacy in a motor vehicle because its function is transportation and it seldom serves as one’s residence or as the repository of personal effects. . . . It travels public thoroughfares where both its occupants and its contents are in plain view.”’ 60 While motor homes do serve as residences and as repositories for personal effects, and while their contents are often shielded from public view, the Court extended the automobile exception to them as well, holding that there is a diminished expectation of privacy in a mobile home parked in a parking lot and licensed for vehicular travel, hence ”readily mobile.” 61

The reduced expectancy concept has broadened police powers to conduct automobile searches without warrants, but they still must have probable cause to search a vehicle 62 and they may not make random stops of vehicles on the roads, but instead must base stops of individual vehicles on probable cause or some ”articulable and reasonable suspicion” Supp.5 of traffic or safety violation orsome other criminal activity. Supp.6 By contrast, fixed-checkpoint stops in the absence of any individualized suspicion have been upheld. 64 Once police have validly stopped a vehicle, they may also, based on articulable facts warranting a reasonable belief that weapons may be present, conduct a Terry-type protective search of those portions of the passenger compartment in which a weapon could be placed or hidden. 65 And, in the absence of such reasonable suspicion as to weapons, police may seize contraband and suspicious items ”in plain view” inside the passenger compartment. 66

Once police have probable cause to believe there is contraband in a vehicle, they may remove it from the scene to the stationhouse in order to conduct a search, without thereby being required to obtain a warrant. ”[T]he justification to conduct such a warrantless search does not vanish once the car has been immobilized; nor does it depend upon a reviewing court’s assessment of the likelihood in each particular case that the car would have been driven away, or that its contents would have been tampered with, during the period required for the police to obtain a warrant.” 67 The Justices were evenly divided, however, on the propriety of warrantless seizure of an arrestee’s automobile from a public parking lot several hours after his arrest, its transportation to a police impoundment lot, and the taking of tire casts and exterior paint scrapings. 68 Because of the lessened expectation of privacy, inventory searches of impounded automobiles are justifiable in order to protect public safety and the owner’s property, and any evidence of criminal activity discovered in the course of the inventories is admissible in court. 69

It is not lawful for the police in undertaking a warrantless search of an automobile to extend the search to the passengers therein. 70 But because passengers in an automobile have no reasonable expectation of privacy in the interior area of the car, a warrantless search of the glove compartment and the spaces under the seats, which turned up evidence implicating the passengers, invaded no Fourth Amendment interest of the passengers. 71 Luggage and other closed containers found in automobiles may also be subjected to warrantless searches based on probable cause, the same rule now applying whether the police have probable cause to search only the containers 72 or whether they have probable cause to search the automobile for something capable of being held in the container. 73

Vessel Searches .–Not only is the warrant requirement inapplicable to brief stops of vessels, but also none of the safeguards applicable to stops of automobiles on less than probable cause are necessary predicates to stops of vessels. In United States v. Villamonte-Marquez, 74 the Court upheld a random stop and boarding of a vessel by customs agents, lacking any suspicion of wrongdoing, for purpose of inspecting documentation. The boarding was authorized by statute derived from an act of the First Congress, 75 and hence had ”an impressive historical pedigree” carrying with it a presumption of constitutionality. Moreover, ”important factual differences between vessels located in waters offering ready access to the open sea and automobiles on principal thoroughfares in the border area” justify application of a less restrictive rule for vessel searches. The reason why random stops of vehicles have been held impermissible under the Fourth Amendment, the Court explained, is that stops at fixed checkpoints or roadblocks are both feasible and less subject to abuse of discretion by authorities. ”But no reasonable claim can be made that permanent checkpoints would be practical on waters such as these where vessels can move in any direction at any time and need not follow established ‘avenues’ as automobiles must do.” 76 Because there is a ”substantial” governmental interest in enforcing documentation laws, ”especially in waters where the need to deter or apprehend smugglers is great,” the Court found the ”limited” but not ”minimal” intrusion occasioned by boarding for documentation inspection to be reasonable. 77 Dis senting Justice Brennan argued that the Court for the first time was approving ”a completely random seizure and detention of persons and an entry onto private, noncommercial premises by police officers, without any limitations whatever on the officers’ discretion or any safeguards against abuse.” 78

Footnotes

[Footnote 1] E.g., Johnson v. United States, 333 U.S. 10, 14 (1948); McDonald v. United States, 335 U.S. 451, 453 (1948); Camara v. Municipal Court, 387 U.S. 523, 528 -29 (1967); G.M. Leasing Corp. v. United States, 429 U.S. 338, 352 -53, 355 (1977).

[Footnote 2] American Law Institute, A Model Code of Pre-Arraignment Procedure, Tent. Draft No. 3 (Philadelphia: 1970), xix.

[Footnote 3] Coolidge v. New Hampshire, 403 U.S. 443, 454 -55 (1971) (quoting Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 357 (1967)); G.M. Leasing Corp. v. United States, 429 U.S. 338, 352 -53, 358 (1977).

[Footnote 4] Jones v. United States, 357 U.S. 493, 499 (1958).

[Footnote 5] McDonald v. United States, 335 U.S. 451, 456 (1948). In general, with regard to exceptions to the warrant clause, conduct must be tested by the reasonableness standard enunciated by the first clause of the Amendment, Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 20 (1968), and the Court’s development of its privacy expectation tests, supra, pp.1206-09, substantially changed the content of that standard.

[Footnote 6] United States v. Watson, 423 U.S. 411 (1976). See supra, p.1209.

[Footnote 7] Henry v. United States, 361 U.S. 98 (1959); Johnson v. United States, 333 U.S. 10, 16 -17 (1948); Sibron v. New York, 392 U.S. 40, 62 – 63 (1968).

[Footnote 8] ”The police may not arrest upon mere suspicion but only on ‘probable cause.”’ Mallory v. United States, 354 U.S. 449, 454 (1957).

[Footnote 9] 392 U.S. 1 (1968). Only Justice Douglas dissented. Id. at 35.

[Footnote 10] Id. at 16. See id. at 16-20.

[Footnote 11] Id. at 20, 21, 22.

[Footnote 12] Id. at 23-27, 29. See also Sibron v. New York, 392 U.S. 40 (1968) (after policeman observed defendant speak with several known narcotics addicts, he approached him and placed his hand in defendant’s pocket, thus discovering narcotics; impermissible, because he lacked reasonable basis for frisk and in any event his search exceeded permissible scope of weapons frisk); Adams v. Williams, 407 U.S. 143 (1972) (acting on tip that defendant was sitting in his car with narcotics and firearm, police approached, asked defendant to step out, and initiated frisk and discovered weapon when he merely rolled window down; justifiable); Pennsylvania v. Mimms, 434 U.S. 106 (1977) (after validly stopping car, officer required defendant to get out of car, observed bulge under his jacket, and frisked him and seized weapon; while officer did not suspect driver of crime or have an articulable basis for safety fears, safety considerations justified his requiring driver to leave car).

[Footnote 3 (1996 Supplement)] Minnesota v. Dickerson, 508 U.S. 366 (1993).

[Footnote 4 (1996 Supplement)] Id. at 2237, 2139. In Dickerson the Court held that seizure of a small plastic container that the officer felt in the suspect’s pocket was not justified; the officer should not have continued the search, manipulating the container with his fingers, after determining that no weapon was present.

[Footnote 13] In United States v. Cortez, 449 U.S. 411 (1981), a unanimous Court attempted to capture the ”elusive concept” of the basis for permitting a stop. Officers must have ”articulable reasons” or ”founded suspicions,” derived from the totality of the circumstances. ”Based upon that whole picture the detaining officer must have a particularized and objective basis for suspecting the particular person stopped of criminal activity.” Id. at 417-18. The inquiry is thus quite fact-specific. In the anonymous tip context, the same basic approach requiring some corroboration applies regardless of whether the standard is probable cause or reasonable suspicion; the difference is that less information, or less reliable information, can satisfy the lower standard. Alabama v. White, 496 U.S. 325 (1990).

[Footnote 14] E.g., Brown v. Texas, 443 U.S. 47 (1979) (individual’s presence in high crime area gave officer no articulable basis to suspect him of crime); Delaware v. Prouse, 440 U.S. 648 (1979) (reasonable suspicion of a license or registration violation is necessary to authorize automobile stop; random stops impermissible); United States v. Brignoni-Ponce, 422 U.S. 873 (1975) (officers could not justify random automobile stop solely on basis of Mexican appearance of occupants); Reid v. Georgia, 448 U.S. 438 (1980) (no reasonable suspicion for airport stop based on appearance that suspect and another passenger were trying to conceal the fact that they were travelling together). But cf. United States v. Martinez-Fuerte, 428 U.S. 543 (1976) (halting vehicles at fixed checkpoints to question occupants as to citizenship and immigration status permissible, even if officers should act on basis of appearance of occupants).

[Footnote 15] Davis v. Mississippi, 394 U.S. 721 (1969); Dunaway v. New York, 442 U.S. 200 (1979).

[Footnote 16] See, e.g., United States v. Hensley, 469 U.S. 221 (1985) (reasonable suspicion to stop a motorist may be based on a ”wanted flyer” as long as issuance of the flyer has been based on reasonable suspicion); United States v. Sokolow, 490 U.S. 1 , (1989) (airport stop based on drug courier profile may rely on a combination of factors that individually may be ”quite consistent with innocent travel”).

[Footnote 17] 392 U.S. at 19 , n.16.

[Footnote 18] United States v. Mendenhall, 446 U.S. 544, 554 (1980).

[Footnote 19] See, e.g., Florida v. Royer, 460 U.S. 491 (1983), in which there was no opinion of the Court, but in which the test was used by the plurality of four, id. at 502, and also endorsed by dissenting Justice Blackmun, id. at 514.

[Footnote 20] INS v. Delgado, 466 U.S. 210 (1984).

[Footnote 21] Id. at 221.

[Footnote 22] Michigan v. Chesternut, 486 U.S. 567, 575 (1988).

[Footnote 23] 499 U.S. 621, 628 (1991). As in Michigan v. Chesternut, supra n.22, the suspect dropped incriminating evidence while being chased.

[Footnote 24] Adherence to this approach would effectively nullify the Court’s earlier position that Fourth Amendment protections extend to ”seizures that involve only a brief detention short of traditional arrest.” United States v. Brignoni-Ponce, 422 U.S. 873, 878 (1975), quoted in INS v. Delgado, 466 U.S., 210, 215 (1984).

[Footnote 25] Florida v. Bostick, (1991).

[Footnote 26] Id. at 2387.

[Footnote 27] Id. The Court asserted that the case was ”analytically indistinguishable from Delgado. Like the workers in that case [subjected to the INS ”survey” at their workplace], Bostick’s freedom of movement was restricted by a factor independent of police conduct–i.e., by his being a passenger on a bus.” Id.

[Footnote 28] Michigan v. Long, 463 U.S. 1032 (1983) (suspect appeared to be under the influence of drugs, officer spied hunting knife exposed on floor of front seat and searched remainder of passenger compartment). Similar reasoning has been applied to uphold a ”protective sweep” of a home in which an arrest is made if arresting officers have a reasonable belief that the area swept may harbor another individual posing a danger to the officers or to others. Maryland v. Buie, 494 U.S. 325 (1990).

[Footnote 29] United States v. Sharpe, 470 U.S. 675, 686 (1985). A more relaxed standard has been applied to detention of travelers at the border, the Court testing the reasonableness in terms of ”the period of time necessary to either verify or dispel the suspicion.” United States v. Montoya de Hernandez, 473 U.S. 531, 544 (1985) (approving warrantless detention for more than 24 hours of traveler suspected of alimentary canal drug smuggling).

[Footnote 30] United States v. Place, 462 U.S. 696, 709 (1983).

[Footnote 31] Id. at 706.

[Footnote 32] 462 U.S. at 707 . However, the search in Place was not expeditious, and hence exceeded Fourth Amendment bounds, when agents took 90 minutes to transport luggage to another airport for administration of the canine sniff.

[Footnote 33] Florida v. Royer, 460 U.S. 491 (1983). On this much the plurality opinion of Justice White (id. at 503), joined by three other Justices, and the concurring opinion of Justice Brennan (id. at 509) were in agreement.

[Footnote 34] United States v. Montoya de Hernandez, 473 U.S. 531 (1985).

[Footnote 35] Weeks v. United States, 232 U.S. 383, 392 (1914); Carroll v. United States, 267 U.S. 132, 158 (1925); Agnello v. United States, 269 U.S. 20, 30 (1925).

[Footnote 36] Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 19 (1968); Chimel v. California, 395 U.S. 752, 762 , 763 (1969).

[Footnote 37] United States v. Robinson, 414 U.S. 218, 235 (1973). See also id. at 237-38 (Justice Powell concurring). The Court applied the same rule in Gustafson v. Florida, 414 U.S. 260 (1973), involving a search of a motorist’s person following his custodial arrest for an offense for which a citation would normally have issued. Unlike the situation in Robinson, police regulations did not require the Gustafson officer to take the suspect into custody, nor did a departmental policy guide the officer as to when to conduct a full search. The Court found these differences inconsequential, and left for another day the problem of pretextual arrests in order to obtain basis to search. Soon thereafter, the Court upheld conduct of a similar search at the place of detention, even after a time lapse between the arrest and search. United States v. Edwards, 415 U.S. 800 (1974).

[Footnote 38] Compare Marron v. United States, 275 U.S. 192 (1927), with Go-Bart Importing Co. v. United States, 282 U.S. 344 (1931), and United States v. Lefkowitz, 285 U.S. 452 (1932).

[Footnote 39] 331 U.S. 145 (1947).

[Footnote 40] 334 U.S. 699 (1948).

[Footnote 41] Id. at 708.

[Footnote 42] 339 U.S. 56 (1950).

[Footnote 43] Id. at 64.

[Footnote 44] Cf. Chimel v. California, 395 U.S. 752, 764 -65 & n.10 (1969). But in Kremen v. United States, 353 U.S. 346 (1957), the Court held that the seizure of the entire contents of a house and the removal to F.B.I. offices 200 miles away for examination, pursuant to an arrest under warrant of one of the persons found in the house, was unreasonable. In decisions contemporaneous to and subsequent to Chimel, applying pre-Chimel standards because that case was not retroactive, Williams v. United States, 401 U.S. 646 (1971), the Court has applied Rabinowitz somewhat restrictively. See Von Cleef v. New Jersey, 395 U.S. 814 (1969), which followed Kremen; Shipley v. California, 395 U.S. 818 (1969), and Vale v. Louisiana, 399 U.S. 30 (1970) (both involving arrests outside the house with subsequent searches of the house); Coolidge v. New Hampshire, 403 U.S. 443, 455 -57 (1971). Substantially extensive searches were, however, approved in Williams v. United States, 401 U.S. 646 (1971), and Hill v. California, 401 U.S. 797 (1971).

[Footnote 45] 395 U.S. 752 (1969).

[Footnote 46] Id. at 762-63.

[Footnote 47] Supra, pp.1206-09. See, e.g., Coolidge v. New Hampshire, 403 U.S. 443, 492 , 493, 510 (1971), in which the four dissenters advocated the reasonableness argument rejected in Chimel.

[Footnote 48] 437 U.S. 385 (1978). The expectancy distinction is at 391.

[Footnote 49] 433 U.S. 1 (1977). Defendant and his luggage, a footlocker, had been removed to the police station, where the search took place.

[Footnote 50] If, on the other hand, a sealed shipping container had already been opened and resealed during a valid customs inspection, and officers had maintained surveillance through a ”controlled delivery” to the suspect, there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in the contents of the container and officers may search it, upon the arrest of the suspect, without having obtained a warrant. Illinois v. Andreas, 463 U.S. 765 (1983).

[Footnote 51] Illinois v. LaFayette, 462 U.S. 640, 645 (1983) (inventory search) (following South Dakota v. Opperman, 428 U.S. 364 (1976)). Similarly, an inventory search of an impounded vehicle may include the contents of a closed container. Colorado v. Bertine, 479 U.S. 367 (1987). Inventory searches of closed containers must, however, be guided by a police policy containing standardized criteria for exercise of discretion. Florida v. Wells, 495 U.S. 1 (1990).

[Footnote 52] 453 U.S. 454 (1981).

[Footnote 53] Id. at 460 (quoting Chimel v. California, 395 U.S. 752, 763 (1969)). In this particular instance, Belton had been removed from the automobile and handcuffed, but the Court wished to create a general rule removed from the fact-specific nature of any one case. ”’Container’ here denotes any object capable of holding another object. It thus includes closed or open glove compartments, consoles, or other receptacles located anywhere within the passenger compartment, as well as luggage, boxes, bags, clothing, and the like. Our holding encompasses only the interior of the passenger compartment of an automobile and does not encompass the trunk.” Id. at 460-61 n.4.

[Footnote 54] Maryland v. Buie, 494 U.S. 325, 334 (1990). This ”sweep” is not to be a full-blown, ”top-to-bottom” search, but only ”a cursory inspection of those spaces where a person may be found.” Id. at 335-36.

[Footnote 55] 267 U.S. 132 (1925). Carroll was a Prohibition-era liquor case, whereas a great number of modern automobile cases involve drugs.

[Footnote 56] Id. at 153. See also Husty v. United States, 282 U.S. 694 (1931); Scher v. United States, 305 U.S. 251 (1938); Brinegar v. United States, 338 U.S. 160 (1949). All of these cases involved contraband, but in Chambers v. Maroney, 399 U.S. 42 (1970), the Court, without discussion, and over Justice Harlan’s dissent, id. at 55, 62, extended the rule to evidentiary searches.

[Footnote 57] Coolidge v. New Hampshire, 403 U.S. 443, 458 -64 (1971). This portion of the opinion had the adherence of a plurality only, Justice Harlan concurring on other grounds, and there being four dissenters. Id. at 493, 504, 510, 523.

[Footnote 58] Preston v. United States, 376 U.S. 364 (1964); Dyke v. Taylor Implement Mfg. Co., 391 U.S. 216 (1968).

[Footnote 59] Arkansas v. Sanders, 442 U.S. 753, 761 (1979).

[Footnote 60] Cardwell v. Lewis, 417 U.S. 583, 590 (1974) (plurality opinion), quoted in United States v. Chadwick, 433 U.S. 1, 12 (1977). See also United States v. Ortiz, 422 U.S. 891, 896 (1975); United States v. Martinez-Fuerte, 428 U.S. 543, 561 (1976); South Dakota v. Opperman, 428 U.S. 364, 367 -68 (1976); Robbins v. California, 453 U.S. 420, 424 -25 (1981); United States v. Ross, 456 U.S. 798, 807 n.9 (1982).

[Footnote 61] California v. Carney, 471 U.S. 386, 393 (1985) (leaving open the question of whether the automobile exception also applies to a ”mobile” home being used as a residence and not ”readily mobile”).

[Footnote 62] Almeida-Sanchez v. United States, 413 U.S. 266 (1973) (roving patrols); United States v. Ortiz, 422 U.S. 891 (1975). Cf. Colorado v. Bannister, 449 U.S. 1 (1980). An automobile’s ”ready mobility [is] an exigency sufficient to excuse failure to obtain a search warrant once probable cause is clear”; there is no need to find the presence of ”unforeseen circumstances” or other additional exigency. Pennsylvania v. Labron, 116 S. Ct. 2485, 2487 (1996).

[Footnote 5 (1996 Supplement)] Delaware v. Prouse, 440 U.S. 648, 663 (1979) (discretionary random stops of motorists to check driver’s license and registration papers and safety features of cars constitute Fourth Amendment violation); United States v. Brignoni-Ponce, 422 U.S. 873 (1975) (violation for rovingpatrols on lookout for illegal aliens to stop vehicles on highways near international borders when only ground for suspicion is that occupants appear to be of Mexican ancestry). In Prouse, the Court cautioned that it was not precluding the States from developing methods for spotchecks, such as questioning all traffic at roadblocks, that involve less intrusion or that do not involve unconstrained exercise of discretion. 440 U.S. at 663.

[Footnote 6 (1996 Supplement)] An officer who observes a traffic violation may stop a vehicle even if his real motivation is to investigate for evidence of other crime. Whren v. United States, 116 S. Ct. 1769 (1996). The existence of probable cause to believe that a traffic violation has occurred establishes the constitutional reasonableness of traffic stops regardless of the actual motivation of the officers involved, and regardless of whether it is customary police practice to stop motorists for the violation observed.

[Footnote 63] Deleted in 1996 Supplement.

[Footnote 64] Michigan Dep’t of State Police v. Sitz, 496 U.S. 444 (1990) (upholding a sobriety checkpoint at which all motorists are briefly stopped for preliminary questioning and observation for signs of intoxication). See also United States v. Martinez-Fuerte, 428 U.S. 543 (1976) (upholding border patrol checkpoint, over 60 miles from the border, for questioning designed to apprehend illegal aliens).

[Footnote 65] Michigan v. Long, 463 U.S. 1032, 1049 (1983) (holding that contraband found in the course of such a search is admissible).

[Footnote 66] Texas v. Brown, 460 U.S. 730 (1983). Similarly, since there is no reasonable privacy interest in the vehicle identification number, required by law to be placed on the dashboard so as to be visible through the windshield, police may reach into the passenger compartment to remove items obscuring the number and may seize items in plain view while doing so. New York v. Class, 475 U.S. 106 (1986).

[Footnote 67] Michigan v. Thomas, 458 U.S. 259, 261 (1982). See also Chambers v. Maroney, 399 U.S. 42 (1970); Texas v. White, 423 U.S. 67 (1975); United States v. Ross, 456 U.S. 798, 807 n.9 (1982).

[Footnote 68] Cardwell v. Lewis, 417 U.S. 583 (1974). Justice Powell concurred on other grounds.

[Footnote 69] Cady v. Dombrowski, 413 U.S. 433 (1973); South Dakota v. Opperman, 428 U.S. 364 (1976). See also Cooper v. California, 386 U.S. 58 (1967); United States v. Harris, 390 U.S. 234 (1968). Police, in conducting an inventory search of a vehicle, may open closed containers in order to inventory contents. Colorado v. Bertine, 479 U.S. 367 (1987).

[Footnote 70] United States v. Di Re, 332 U.S. 581 (1948). While Di Re is now an old case, it appears still to control. See Ybarra v. Illinois, 444 U.S. 85, 94 -96 (1979).

[Footnote 71] Rakas v. Illinois, 439 U.S. 128 (1978).

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Annotation 3 – Fourth Amendment – FindLaw

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Liberty, NC | A Great Place to Live.

 Liberty  Comments Off on Liberty, NC | A Great Place to Live.
Apr 302016
 

In ancient times, public toilets were just that, public, communal. Like a town square, large stone benches with holes in thelatrine satover running water that flowed beneath. Men and women sat side by side having conversations and taking care of business. These days it’s all a private affair, so much so that I cannot recall the last time (in this country)I’ve been in a toilet without partitioned stalls and locking doors. So I’m confused as to why the Governor McCrory felt the need to pass HB2 and more to the point, why Randolph County felt it necessary to publically support the measure? The only answer is hate and fear.

Even more interesting is the Courier Tribune ran a non-scientific public opinion poll of Randolph County citizens showing that the respondents were against HB2.This means that Randolph County Government literally voted to support a measure thatwas entirely superfluousand did so against the opinion of its constituents. This despite there has never been a single instance of a need for this law in Randolph County, and the absolute silliness of all this as it’s completely unenforceable and will be completely ignored.

If anything will come of this measure it’s hostility. Hostility not towardsLGBT people (though it definitely could)but hostility towards non-LGBT individuals,those who don’t conform to traditional gender stereotypes. How long before ambiguity leads to confrontation? How long before someone takes HB2 into their own hands and it leads to violence? Violence against these same women and men that HB2 purports to protect.

If this law was aimed at other minorities we would call it racism. If it was aimed at foreigners we would call it xenophobic and it’s important to remember that the words and expressions of local government who support HB2 is nothing short of hate speech. Unlike the U.S., hate speech is largely been criminalized in Europe thanks to a 2008 European Union decision. What’s that got to do with little Randolph County? Why are companies pulling out of North Carolina? Because almost every multi-national corporation currently operating in this great state of ours, which also operates within countries that fall under the European Union framework are at risk of being in violation the 2008 decision should they be forced to implement HB2. The higher legal standard applies.Even with regard to U.S. law, the possibility for a lawsuit due to violence or a hostile workplace is enough to send companies running.

In all honesty,they should. Run away from this placeuntil it’s inclusive to people of all gender, race and religious beliefs.This is totalitarianism at its worst. It’s hateful, wrong and morally repulsive.

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Liberty, NC | A Great Place to Live.

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Bitcoin News, Prices, Charts, Guides & Analysis – CoinDesk

 Bitcoin  Comments Off on Bitcoin News, Prices, Charts, Guides & Analysis – CoinDesk
Mar 282016
 

Feature

Mar 27, 2016 at 16:43 | Bailey Reutzel

As investment in FinTech continues to rise, investors are becoming more selective with startups, including those focused on bitcoin and blockchain.

Opinion

Mar 26, 2016 at 11:42 | Piers R

An Ethereum startup founder discusses challenges facing next-generation technology applications for autonomous blockchain-based companies.

Opinion

Mar 26, 2016 at 10:01 | John Biggs

TechCrunch editor and Freemit CEO John Biggs argues that the bitcoin community has become complacent in its quest for financial change.

News

Mar 25, 2016 at 20:50 | Michael del Castillo

Hyperledger today announced it successful created linked code from Digital Asset, IBM, and Blockstream. But that’s just the beginning.

Feature

Mar 25, 2016 at 18:02 | Michael del Castillo

A little-known blockchain company, Domus Tower, revealed plans to form a consortium to implement technology they say runs 1m transactions per second.

Feature

Mar 25, 2016 at 15:27 | Pete Rizzo

CoinDesk profiles the World Economic Foundation and its ongoing blockchain technology research.

News

Mar 24, 2016 at 21:11 | Stan Higgins

The Dutch central bank has committed to developing an internal blockchain prototype dubbed DNBCoin.

News

Mar 24, 2016 at 20:51 | Michael del Castillo

Federal Reserve analysts have published findings they say show bitcoin exchange fees discourage arbitrage and make bitcoin a worse store of value.

News

Mar 24, 2016 at 17:31 | Pete Rizzo

Ethereum investor Vitalik Buterin gave a presentation at the headquarters of San Francisco bitcoin startup Coinbase this week.

News

Mar 24, 2016 at 17:08 | Stan Higgins

Frances legislature, the National Assembly, is holding a blockchain symposium today.

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Bitcoin News, Prices, Charts, Guides & Analysis – CoinDesk

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Transhumanisten | Communicamus, – Ergo Sum..

 Transhuman  Comments Off on Transhumanisten | Communicamus, – Ergo Sum..
Mar 232016
 

Was reading this fascinating article about 8 crazy.. Mega-Engineering Projects We Could Use to Rework the Earth.. , and thought.. 1. This is a good opportunity to keep this blog alive.. 2. Should I miss this golden opportunity to provoke / annoy.. my leftist / green / down-wing friends.., hell no..

Dont get me wrong: I am (partly) a socalled down-winger myself, (although predominantly an up-winger), and youd be a fool if you think Im merely out to offend.. I wrote about the up-wing / down-wing political compass here , but lets recapitulate:

DownWingers, according to social epistemologist Steve Fuller :

Some additional points, credit to Fogbanking :

UpWingers, in contrast, according to Fuller:

Additional points by Fogbanking:

With this outline in mind, lets take a look at a couple of those crazy / fascinating, according to taste, Mega-Engineering Projects , but.. be warned, gutmenschen, conspiracy theorists, foot-dragging conservationists, climate-change religionists, cultural pessimists, etc., youre in for an extropian, post-Darwinian ride..

(1) Global Weather Control

According to nanotechnology expert J. Storrs Hall, the author of Nanofuture: Whats Next for Nanotechnology, we could start to build a weather machine later this century Read more..

(2) Terraforming the Worlds Largest Deserts

Approximately one-third of Earths land surface is a desert.. Imagine then, for instance,pumping desalinated seawater from the coast to the Sahara Desert and Australian Outback, creating, instead, lush forests and making vast regions of land fertile and habitable, besides, potentially ending global warming.. Read more..

(7) Eliminating Predation (!!)

Such is the dream of British futurist David Pearce, who so happens to be my favourite transhumanist philosopher, and who imagines a future in which animals are liberated from the never-ending cycle of Darwinian processes and its attendant pain and suffering.. Read more..

If youve never heard of this, in my opinion, great thinker, do check him out, and learn about Paradise Engineering..

Other projects: (3) Creating Artificial Islands ; (4) Creating a New Continent ; (5) Eliminating Vast Swaths of Land ; (6) Assisted Species Migration ; (8) Mass Carbon Capture.. FULL ARTICLE..

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Transhumanisten | Communicamus, – Ergo Sum..

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Ted Chu, Phd – Human Purpose and Transhuman Potential

 Transhuman  Comments Off on Ted Chu, Phd – Human Purpose and Transhuman Potential
Mar 062016
 

We are pleased to announce that Human Purpose and Transhuman Potential is the winner of the Montaigne Medal (Eric Hoffer Book Awards) for most thought-provoking book of 2015.

Ted Chu also won the prestigious Gold Award from IndieFAB, for Best Philosophy Book of 2014

Ted Chu brings an astonishing breadth of philosophical, religious, and technological reflection to bear on the most important questions we could ask.

Ted Chu is a pioneering visionary whose futurist concern deserves close attention.

In my opinion Teds book is absolutely profound in the way it draws upon a dazzling variety of philosophical and scientific resources in order to place humanity within a cosmic evolutionary perspective . . . it is a one-of-a-kind book within my transhumanist library. Nikola Danalyov, Singularity Weblog

Today we face the imminent possibility of transcending our biological form, of becomingor creatingentirely new lifeforms that will overcome our all-too-human limitations. In Human Purpose and Transhuman Potential, Chu makes the provocative claim that the human race is not only an end in itself, but may also be a means to a higher endand that our true purpose is to give rise to our evolutionary successors. Here are key tenets of Chus book.

In this wide-ranging philosophic work, Ted Chu re-examines the question of human purpose in light of the transhuman potentials that science and technology have now placed within our reach.

Dr. Chu argues that we need a deeper understanding of our place in the universe in order to navigate the daunting choices ahead of us that arise from advances in biotechnology, AI, robotics, and nanotechnology. Toward that end, he surveys human wisdom both East and West, traces humanitys long evolutionary trajectory, and breaks new ground in evolutionary theory.

Chu makes us fully aware of the many risks ahead, but offers an original cosmic vision that provides the courage and the perspective we will need to explore the potentials of our posthuman future.Ted Chus elegantly written and well-researched book has, for me at least, the same status as Ray Kurzweils The Singularity Is Near. Even critics of his Cosmic Vision will find Chus book required reading.

Formerly the chief economist at General Motors, Ted Chu was also chief economist for Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the worlds largest sovereign wealth funds. He is currently professor of economics at New York University at Abu Dhabi. During his 25 years as a business economist, Dr. Chu also held positions as macroeconomist for the World Bank and Arthur D. Little. For the last 15 years, his second career has been conducting independent research on the philosophical question of humanitys place in the universe, building on his lifelong interest in the frontiers of evolutionary progress. As part of these research efforts, he founded the nonprofit CoBe (Cosmic Being) Institute in Michigan and serves as a senior scholar at ChangCe, a Beijing-based independent think tank. Born and raised in China, Chu graduated from Fudan University in Shanghai, and earned his PhD in economics at Georgetown University.

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Ted Chu, Phd – Human Purpose and Transhuman Potential

Ethical egoism – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Ethical Egoism  Comments Off on Ethical egoism – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Feb 112016
 

Ethical egoism is the normative ethical position that moral agents ought to do what is in their own self-interest. It differs from psychological egoism, which claims that people can only act in their self-interest. Ethical egoism also differs from rational egoism, which holds that it is rational to act in one’s self-interest.[1] Ethical egoism holds that actions whose consequences will benefit the doer can be considered ethical.

Ethical egoism contrasts with ethical altruism, which holds that moral agents have an obligation to help others. Egoism and altruism both contrast with ethical utilitarianism, which holds that a moral agent should treat one’s self (also known as the subject) with no higher regard than one has for others (as egoism does, by elevating self-interests and “the self” to a status not granted to others). But it also holds that one should not (as altruism does) sacrifice one’s own interests to help others’ interests, so long as one’s own interests (i.e. one’s own desires or well-being) are substantially equivalent to the others’ interests and well-being. Egoism, utilitarianism, and altruism are all forms of consequentialism, but egoism and altruism contrast with utilitarianism, in that egoism and altruism are both agent-focused forms of consequentialism (i.e. subject-focused or subjective). However, utilitarianism is held to be agent-neutral (i.e. objective and impartial): it does not treat the subject’s (i.e. the self’s, i.e. the moral “agent’s”) own interests as being more or less important than the interests, desires, or well-being of others.

Ethical egoism does not, however, require moral agents to harm the interests and well-being of others when making moral deliberation; e.g. what is in an agent’s self-interest may be incidentally detrimental, beneficial, or neutral in its effect on others. Individualism allows for others’ interest and well-being to be disregarded or not, as long as what is chosen is efficacious in satisfying the self-interest of the agent. Nor does ethical egoism necessarily entail that, in pursuing self-interest, one ought always to do what one wants to do; e.g. in the long term, the fulfillment of short-term desires may prove detrimental to the self. Fleeting pleasure, then, takes a back seat to protracted eudaimonia. In the words of James Rachels, “Ethical egoism […] endorses selfishness, but it doesn’t endorse foolishness.”[2]

Ethical egoism is often used as the philosophical basis for support of right-libertarianism and individualist anarchism.[3] These are political positions based partly on a belief that individuals should not coercively prevent others from exercising freedom of action.

Ethical egoism can be broadly divided into three categories: individual, personal, and universal. An individual ethical egoist would hold that all people should do whatever benefits “my” (the individual) self-interest; a personal ethical egoist would hold that he or she should act in his or her self-interest, but would make no claims about what anyone else ought to do; a universal ethical egoist would argue that everyone should act in ways that are in their self-interest.[4][5]

Ethical egoism was introduced by the philosopher Henry Sidgwick in his book The Methods of Ethics, written in 1874. Sidgwick compared egoism to the philosophy of utilitarianism, writing that whereas utilitarianism sought to maximize overall pleasure, egoism focused only on maximizing individual pleasure.[6]

Philosophers before Sidgwick have also retroactively been identified as ethical egoists. One ancient example is the philosophy of Yang Zhu (4th century B.C.), Yangism, who views wei wo, or “everything for myself”, as the only virtue necessary for self-cultivation.[7] Ancient Greek philosophers like Plato, Aristotle and the Stoics were exponents of virtue ethics, and “did not accept the formal principle that whatever the good is, we should seek only our own good, or prefer it to the good of others.”[6] However, the beliefs of the Cyrenaics have been referred to as a “form of egoistic hedonism”,[8] and while some refer to Epicurus’ hedonism as a form of virtue ethics, others argue his ethics are more properly described as ethical egoism.[9]

Philosopher James Rachels, in an essay that takes as its title the theory’s name, outlines the three arguments most commonly touted in its favor:[10]

The term ethical egoism has been applied retroactively to philosophers such as Bernard de Mandeville and to many other materialists of his generation, although none of them declared themselves to be egoists. Note that materialism does not necessarily imply egoism, as indicated by Karl Marx, and the many other materialists who espoused forms of collectivism. It has been argued that ethical egoism can lend itself to individualist anarchism such as that of Benjamin Tucker, or the combined anarcho-communism and egoism of Emma Goldman, both of whom were proponents of many egoist ideas put forward by Max Stirner. In this context, egoism is another way of describing the sense that the common good should be enjoyed by all. However, most notable anarchists in history have been less radical, retaining altruism and a sense of the importance of the individual that is appreciable but does not go as far as egoism. Recent trends to greater appreciation of egoism within anarchism tend to come from less classical directions such as post-left anarchy or Situationism (e.g. Raoul Vaneigem). Egoism has also been referenced by anarcho-capitalists, such as Murray Rothbard.

Philosopher Max Stirner, in his book The Ego and Its Own, was the first philosopher to call himself an egoist, though his writing makes clear that he desired not a new idea of morality (ethical egoism), but rather a rejection of morality (amoralism), as a nonexistent and limiting spook; for this, Stirner has been described as the first individualist anarchist. Other philosophers, such as Thomas Hobbes and David Gauthier, have argued that the conflicts which arise when people each pursue their own ends can be resolved for the best of each individual only if they all voluntarily forgo some of their aims that is, one’s self-interest is often best pursued by allowing others to pursue their self-interest as well so that liberty is equal among individuals. Sacrificing one’s short-term self-interest to maximize one’s long-term self-interest is one form of “rational self-interest” which is the idea behind most philosophers’ advocacy of ethical egoism. Egoists have also argued that one’s actual interests are not immediately obvious, and that the pursuit of self-interest involves more than merely the acquisition of some good, but the maximizing of one’s chances of survival and/or happiness.

Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche suggested that egoistic or “life-affirming” behavior stimulates jealousy or “ressentiment” in others, and that this is the psychological motive for the altruism in Christianity. Sociologist Helmut Schoeck similarly considered envy the motive of collective efforts by society to reduce the disproportionate gains of successful individuals through moral or legal constraints, with altruism being primary among these.[16] In addition, Nietzsche (in Beyond Good and Evil) and Alasdair MacIntyre (in After Virtue) have pointed out that the ancient Greeks did not associate morality with altruism in the way that post-Christian Western civilization has done. Aristotle’s view is that we have duties to ourselves as well as to other people (e.g. friends) and to the polis as a whole. The same is true for Thomas Aquinas, Christian Wolff and Immanuel Kant, who claim that there are duties to ourselves as Aristotle did, although it has been argued that, for Aristotle, the duty to one’s self is primary.[17]

Ayn Rand argued that there is a positive harmony of interests among free, rational humans, such that no moral agent can rationally coerce another person consistently with his own long-term self-interest. Rand argued that other people are an enormous value to an individual’s well-being (through education, trade and affection), but also that this value could be fully realized only under conditions of political and economic freedom. According to Rand, voluntary trade alone can assure that human interaction is mutually beneficial.[18] Rand’s student, Leonard Peikoff has argued that the identification of one’s interests itself is impossible absent the use of principles, and that self-interest cannot be consistently pursued absent a consistent adherence to certain ethical principles.[19] Recently, Rand’s position has also been defended by such writers as Tara Smith, Tibor Machan, Allan Gotthelf, David Kelley, Douglas Rasmussen, Nathaniel Branden, Harry Binswanger, Andrew Bernstein, and Craig Biddle.

Philosopher David L. Norton identified himself an “ethical individualist,” and, like Rand, saw a harmony between an individual’s fidelity to his own self-actualization, or “personal destiny,” and the achievement of society’s well being.[20]

According to amoralism, there is nothing wrong with egoism, but there is also nothing ethical about it; one can adopt rational egoism and drop morality as a superfluous attribute of the egoism.

Ethical egoism has been alleged as the basis for immorality. Egoism has also been alleged as being outside the scope of moral philosophy. Thomas Jefferson writes in an 1814 letter to Thomas Law:

Self-interest, or rather self-love, or egoism, has been more plausibly substituted as the basis of morality. But I consider our relations with others as constituting the boundaries of morality. With ourselves, we stand on the ground of identity, not of relation, which last, requiring two subjects, excludes self-love confined to a single one. To ourselves, in strict language, we can owe no duties, obligation requiring also two parties. Self-love, therefore, is no part of morality. Indeed, it is exactly its counterpart.[21]

In contrast, Rand saw ethics as a necessity for human survival and well-being, and argued that the “social” implications of morality, including natural rights, were simply a subset of the wider field of ethics. Thus, for Rand, “virtue” included productiveness, honesty with oneself, and scrupulousness of thought. Although she greatly admired Jefferson, she also wrote:

[To those who say] that morality is social and that man would need no morality on a desert islandit is on a desert island that he would need it most. Let him try to claim, when there are no victims to pay for it, that a rock is a house, that sand is clothing, that food will drop into his mouth without cause or effort, that he will collect a harvest tomorrow by devouring his stock seed todayand reality will wipe him out, as he deserves; reality will show him that life is a value to be bought and that thinking is the only coin noble enough to buy it.[22]

In The Moral Point of View, Kurt Baier objects that ethical egoism provides no moral basis for the resolution of conflicts of interest, which, in his opinion, form the only vindication for a moral code. Were this an ideal world, one in which interests and purposes never jarred, its inhabitants would have no need of a specified set of ethics, according to Baier. This, however, is not an “ideal world.” Baier believes that ethical egoism fails to provide the moral guidance and arbitration that it necessitates. Far from resolving conflicts of interest, claimed Baier, ethical egoism all too often spawns them. To this, as Rachels has shown, the ethical egoist may object that he cannot admit a construct of morality whose aim is merely to forestall conflicts of interest. “On his view,” he writes, “the moralist is not like a courtroom judge, who resolves disputes. Instead, he is like the Commissioner of Boxing, who urges each fighter to do his best.”[23]

Baiers is also part of a team of philosophers who hold that ethical egoism is paradoxical, implying that to do what is in one’s best interests can be both wrong and right in ethical terms. Although a successful pursuit of self-interest may be viewed as a moral victory, it could also be dubbed immoral if it prevents another person from executing what is in his best interests. Again, however, the ethical egoists have responded by assuming the guise of the Commissioner of Boxing. His philosophy precludes empathy for the interests of others, so forestalling them is perfectly acceptable. “Regardless of whether we think this is a correct view,” adds Rachels, “it is, at the very least, a consistent view, and so this attempt to convict the egoist of self-contradiction fails.”[24]

Finally, it has been averred that ethical egoism is no better than bigotry in that, like racism, it divides people into two types themselves and others and discriminates against one type on the basis of some arbitrary disparity. This, to Rachels’s mind, is probably the best objection to ethical egoism, for it provides the soundest reason why the interests of others ought to concern the interests of the self. “What,” he asks, “is the difference between myself and others that justifies placing myself in this special category? Am I more intelligent? Do I enjoy my life more? Are my accomplishments greater? Do I have needs or abilities that are so different from the needs and abilities of others? What is it that makes me so special? Failing an answer, it turns out that Ethical Egoism is an arbitrary doctrine, in the same way that racism is arbitrary. […] We should care about the interests of other people for the very same reason we care about our own interests; for their needs and desires are comparable to our own.”[25]

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Ethical egoism – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Posted by at 4:46 am  Tagged with:

CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Rationalism – New Advent

 Rationalism  Comments Off on CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Rationalism – New Advent
Feb 022016
 

Help support New Advent and get the full contents of this website as an instant download. Includes the Catholic Encyclopedia, Church Fathers, Summa, Bible and more all for only $19.99…

(Latin, ratio reason , the faculty of the mind which forms the ground of calculation, i.e. discursive reason. See APOLOGETICS; ATHEISM; BIBLE; DEISM; EMPIRICISM; ETHICS; BIBLICAL EXEGESIS; FAITH; MATERIALISM; MIRACLE; REVELATION).

The term is used: (1) in an exact sense, to designate a particular moment in the development of Protestant thought in Germany; (2) in a broader, and more usual, sense to cover the view (in relation to which many schools may be classed as rationalistic) that the human reason, or understanding, is the sole source and final test of all truth. It has further: (3) occasionally been applied to the method of treating revealed truth theologically, by casting it into a reasoned form , and employing philosophical Categories in its elaboration. These three uses of the term will be discussed in the present article.

The German school of theological Rationalism formed a part of the more general movement of the eighteenth-century “Enlightenment”. It may be said to owe its immediate origin to the philosophical system of Christian Wolff (1679-1754), which was a modification, with Aristotelean features, of that of Leibniz, especially characterized by its spiritualism , determinism , and dogmatism. This philosophy and its method exerted a profound influence upon contemporaneous German religious thought, providing it with a rationalistic point of view in theology and exegesis. German philosophy in the eighteenth century was, as a whole, tributary to Leibniz, whose “Thodice” was written principally against the Rationalism of Bayle: it was marked by an infiltration of English Deism and French Materialism, to which the Rationalism at present considered had great affinity, and towards which it progressively developed: and it was vulgarized by its union with popular literature . Wolff himself was expelled from his chair at the University of Halle on account of the Rationalistic nature of his teaching, principally owing to the action of Lange (1670-1774; cf. “Causa Dei et reilgionis naturals adversus atheismum”, and “Modesta Disputatio”, Halle, 1723). Retiring to Marburg, he taught there until 1740, when he was recalled to Halle by Frederick II. Wolff’s attempt to demonstrate natural religion rationally was in no sense an attack upon revelation. As a “supranaturalist” he admitted truths above reason, and he attempted to support by reason the supernatural truths contained in Holy Scripture. But his attempt, while it incensed the pietistic school and was readily welcomed by the more liberal and moderate among the orthodox Lutherans, in reality turned out to be strongly in favour of the Naturalism that he wished to condemn. Natural religion, he asserted, is demonstrable; revealed religion is to be found in the Bible alone. But in his method of proof of the authority of Scripture recourse was had to reason , and thus the human mind became, logically, the ultimate arbiter in the case of both. Supranaturalism in theology, which it was Wolff’s intention to uphold, proved incompatible with such a philosophical position, and Rationalism took its place. This, however, is to be distinguished from pure Naturalism, to which it led, but with which it never became theoretically identified. Revelation was not denied by the Rationalists; though, as a matter of fact, if not of theory, it was quietly suppressed by the claim, with its ever-increasing application, that reason is the competent judge of all truth. Naturalists, on the other hand, denied the fact of revelation. As with Deism and Materialism, the German Rationalism invaded the department of Biblical exegesis. Here a destructive criticism , very similar to that of the Deists, was levelled against the miracles recorded in, and the authenticity of the Holy Scripture. Nevertheless, the distinction between Rationalism and Naturalism still obtained. The great Biblical critic Semler (1725-91), who is one of the principal representatives of the school, was a strong opponent of the latter; in company with Teller (1734-1804) and others he endeavoured to show that the records of the Bible have no more than a local and temporary character, thus attempting to safeguard the deeper revelation, while sacrificing to the critics its superficial vehicle. He makes the distinction between theology and religion (by which he signifies ethics ).

The distinction made between natural and revealed religion necessitated a closer definition of the latter. For Supernaturalists and Rationalists alike religion was held to be “a way of knowing and worshipping the Deity”, but consisting chiefly, for the Rationalists, in the observance of God’s law. This identification of religion with morals, which at the time was utilitarian in character (see UTILITARIANISM), led to further developments in the conceptions of the nature of religion, the meaning of revelation , and the value of the Bible as a collection of inspired writings. The earlier orthodox Protestant view of religion as a body of truths published and taught by God to man in revelation was in process of disintegration. In Semler’s distinction between religion (ethics) on the one hand and theology on the other, with Herder’s similar separation of religion from theological opinions and religious usages, the cause of the Christian religion, as they conceived it, seemed to be put beyond the reach of the shock of criticism, which, by destroying the foundations upon which it claimed to rest, had gone so far to discredit the older form of Lutheranism. Kant’s (1724-1804) criticism of the reason, however, formed a turning-point in the development of Rationalism. For a full understanding of his attitude, the reader must be acquainted with the nature of his pietistic upbringing and later scientific and philosophical formation in the Leibniz-Wolff school of thought (see PHILOSOPHY OF KANT). As far as concerns the point that occupies us at present, Kant was a Rationalist. For him religion was coextensive, with natural , though not utilitarian, morals. When he met with the criticisms of Hume and undertook his famous “Kritik”, his preoccupation was to safeguard his religious opinions, his rigorous morality , from the danger of criticism. This he did, not by means of the old Rationalism, but by throwing discredit upon metaphysics. The accepted proofs of the existence of God, immortality, and liberty were thus, in his opinion, overthrown, and the well-known set of postulates of the “categoric imperative ” put forward in their place. This, obviously, was the end of Rationalism in its earlier form, in which the fundamental truths of religion were set out as demonstrable by reason . But, despite the shifting of the burden of religion from the pure to the practical reason , Kant himself never seems to have reached the view –; to which all his work pointed –; that religion is not mere ethics , “conceiving moral laws as divine commands”, no matter how far removed from Utilitarianism –; not an affair of the mind , but of the heart and will ; and that revelation does not reach man by way of an exterior promulgation, but consists in a personal adaptation towards God. This conception was reached gradually with the advance of the theory that man possesses a religious sense, or faculty, distinct from the rational (Fries, 1773-1843; Jacobi, 1743-1819; Herder, 1744-1803; all opposed to the Intellectualism of Kant), and ultimately found expression with Schleiermacher (1768-1834), for whom religion is to be found neither in knowledge nor in action, but in a peculiar attitude of mind which consists in the consciousness of absolute dependence upon God. Here the older distinction between natural and revealed religion disappears. All that can be called religion the consciousness of dependence is at the same time revelational, and all religion is of the same character. There is no special revelation in the older Protestant (the Catholic) sense, but merely this attitude of dependence brought into being in the individual by the teaching of various great personalities who, from time to time, have manifested an extraordinary sense of the religious. Schleiermacher was a contemporary of Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel, whose philosophical speculations had influence, with his own, in ultimately subverting Rationalism as here dealt with. The movement may be said to have ended with him in the opinion of Teller “the greatest theologian that the Protestant Church has had since the period of the Reformation”. The majority of modern Protestant theologians accept his views, not, however, to the exclusion of knowledge as a basis of religion.

Parallel with the development of the philosophical and theological views as to the nature of religion and the worth of revelation , which provided it with its critical principles, took place an exegetical evolution. The first phase consisted in replacing the orthodox Protestant doctrine (i.e. that the Sacred Scriptures are the Word of God) by a distinction between the Word of God contained in the Bible and the Bible itself (Tllner, Herder), though the Rationalists still held that the purer source of revelation lies rather in the written than in the traditional word. This distinction led inevitably to the destruction, of the rigid view of inspiration , and prepared the ground for the second phase. The principle of accommodation was now employed to explain the difficulties raised by the Scripture records of miraculous events and demoniacal manifestations (Senf, Vogel), and arbitrary methods of exegesis were also used to the same end (Paulus, Eichhorn). In the third phase Rationalists had reached the point of allowing the possibility of mistakes having been made by Christ and the Apostles, at any rate with regard to non-essential parts of religion. All the devices of exegesis were employed vainly; and, in the end, Rationalists found themselves forced to admit that the authors of the New Testament must have written from a point of view different from that which a modern theologian would adopt (Henke, Wegseheider). This principle, which is sufficiently elastic to admit of usage by nearly every variety of opinion, was admitted by several of the Supernaturalists (Reinhard, Storr ), and is very generally accepted by modern Protestant divines, in the rejection of verbal inspiration . Herder is very clear on the distinction the truly inspired must be discerned from that which is not; and de Wette lays down as the canon of interpretation “the religious perception of the divine operation, or of the Holy Spirit, in the sacred writers as regards their belief and inspiration, but not respecting their faculty of forming ideas. . .” In an extreme form it may be seen employed in such works as Strauss’s “Leben Jesu”, where the hypothesis of the mythical nature of miracles is developed to a greater extent than by Schleiermacher or de Wette.

Rationalism, in the broader, popular meaning of the term, is used to designate any mode of thought in which human reason holds the place of supreme criterion of truth; in this sense, it is especially applied to such modes of thought as contrasted with faith. Thus Atheism, Materialism, Naturalism, Pantheism, Scepticism, etc., fall under the head of rationalistic systems. As such, the rationalistic tendency has always existed in philosophy, and has generally shown itself powerful in all the critical schools. As has been noted in the preceding paragraph, German Rationalism had strong affinities with English Deism and French Materialism, two historic forms in which the tendency has manifested itself. But with the vulgarization of the ideas contained in the various systems that composed these movements, Rationalism has degenerated. It has become connected in the popular mind with the shallow and misleading philosophy frequently put forward in the name of science, so that a double confusion has arisen, in which;

This Rationalism is now rather a spirit, or attitude, ready to seize upon any arguments, from any source and of any or no value, to urge against the doctrines and practices of faith. Beside this crude and popular form it has taken, for which the publication of cheap reprints and a vigorous propaganda are mainly responsible, there runs the deeper and more thoughtful current of critical-philosophical Rationalism, which either rejects religion and revelation altogether or treats them in much the same manner as did the Germans. Its various manifestations have little in common in method or content, save the general appeal to reason as supreme. No better description of the position can be given than the statements of the objects of the Rationalist Press Association. Among these are: “To stimulate the habits of reflection and inquiry and the free exercise of individual intellect . . . and generally to assert the supremacy of reason as the natural and necessary means to all such knowledge and wisdom as man can achieve”. A perusal of the publications of the same will show in what sense this representative body interprets the above statement. It may be said finally, that Rationalism is the direct and logical outcome of the principles of Protestantism; and that the intermediary form , in which assent is given to revealed truth as possessing the imprimatur of reason , is only a phase in the evolution of ideas towards general disbelief. Official condemnations of the various forms of Rationalism, absolute and mitigated, are to be found in the Syllabus of Pius IX.

The term Rationalism is perhaps not usually applied to the theological method of the Catholic Church. All forms of theological statement, however, and pre-eminently the dialectical form of Catholic theology, are rationalistic in the truest sense. Indeed, the claim of such Rationalism as is dealt with above is directly met by the counter claim of the Church: that it is at best but a mutilated and unreasonable Rationalism, not worthy of the name, while that of the Church is rationally complete, and integrated, moreover, with super-rational truth. In this sense Catholic theology presupposes the certain truths of natural reason as the preambula fidei, philosophy (the ancilla theologi) is employed in the defence of revealed truth (see APOLOGETICS), and the content of Divine revelation is treated and systematized in the categories of natural thought. This systematization is carried out both in dogmatic and moral theology. It is a process contemporaneous with the first attempt at a scientific statement of religious truth, comes to perfection of method in the works of such writers as St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Alphonsus, and is consistently employed and developed in the Schools.

HAGENBACH, Kirchengesch. des 18. Jahrhunderts in Vorlesungen ber Wesen u. Gesch. der Reformation in Deutschland etc., V-VI (Leipzig, 1834-43); IDEM (tr. BUCH), Compendium of the History of Doctrines (Edinburgh, 1846); HASE, Kirchengesch. (Leipzig, 1886); HENKE, Rationalismus u. Traditionalismus im 19. Jahrh. (Halle, 1864); HURST, History of Rationalism (New York, 1882); LERMINIER, De l’influence de la philosophie du XVIIIe sicle (Paris, 1833); SAINTES, Hist. critique du rationalisme en Allemagne (Paris, 1841); SCHLEIERMACHER, Der christl. Glaube nach der Grundstzen der evangelischen Kirche (Berlin, 1821-22): SEMLER, Von freier Untersuchung des Kanons (Halle, 1771-75); IDEM, Institutio ad doctrinam christianam liberaliter discendam (Halle, 1774); IDEM, Versuch einer freier theologischen Lehrart (Halle, 1777); STADLIN, Gesch. des Rationalismus u. Supranaturalismus (Gttingen, 1826); THOLUCK, Vorgesch. des Rationalismus (Halle, 1853-62); BENN, History of Rationalism in the Nineteenth Century (London, 1906).

APA citation. Aveling, F. (1911). Rationalism. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12652a.htm

MLA citation. Aveling, Francis. “Rationalism.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 12. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. .

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Douglas J. Potter. Dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. June 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

Contact information. The editor of New Advent is Kevin Knight. My email address is webmaster at newadvent.org. Regrettably, I can’t reply to every letter, but I greatly appreciate your feedback especially notifications about typographical errors and inappropriate ads.

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Talk:Colonization of Mars – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Feb 022016
 

Cost of a Manned Mission?[edit]

Is there any reliable information about the cost of a manned mission to mars? I think it would be useful to include in the article.

For anyone who digs this up, two ideas would be:

Q: How much will sending humans to Mars cost? A: Estimates of the cost of a human Mars exploration program over the years have been wildly disparate, leaving much confusion in their wake. On the high end of the scale was the Space Exploration Initiative proposed by President George H. W. Bush in 1989 at $450 billion; Mars Direct occupies the low end of the scale at roughly $30 billion. – http://www.marssociety.org/portal/c/faq

-Lexspoon 12:51, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

I know many are already aware that both “colonization” and “colonisation” are valid ways of spelling the word. Nevertheless, I thought it would be nice to make a note of it here since I noticed some people changing things to reflect one particular spelling. This may be done for the sake of consistency, but, in that case, it should be noted that the wikipedia article for the term is listed under Colonisation. –Xaliqen

Consideration ought to be given to retitling this entry “Settlement of Mars” rather than coloniz/sation, given the negative connotations the word “colonization” engenders in political discussion. Inevitably — amazingly — such diversionary concerns arise when discussing Martian settlement. Ericmachmer (talk) 21:48, 29 December 2009 (UTC)

The possibility of terraforming plays a great part all over the article. However, I’m in doubt about its feasibility. For one thing I believe it takes too long to wait for the results, and nobody is willing to invest a dollar into something that possibly (!) returns in some hundred or may be thousand years. For another, there is good reason Mars having such a thin atmosphere today. The long term stability of a terraformed environment is pretty unlikely. All this about the terraforming thing seems to be science fiction, while the colonization is not. So, how about reducing the idea of terraforming to a small paragraph with a link to the main article Terraforming of Mars? The whole article would be more believable if it concentrates strictly on technology that is in reach of men. — The Cascade (talk) 08:04, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

Yes, our presence will change the Martian environment, there is no doubt about it. I would not call this unintentional influence terraforming, because it surely does not aim to make Mars resemble Terra. Neither I would expect the unintentional changes to leed even into this direction. No, our presence will not terraform Mars. Probably, our presence will dirtyform it.

Still this is not what I meant. The article describes intentional terraforming. Sure, it is much easier to live on a terraformed Mars, but yet it is not possible with our current knowledge and technology. There are ideas, but nobody knows about the viability. It’s too premature. I find it nice to have that article Terraforming of Mars. It is a good article, and I definitely want to keep it, even grow it bigger, concentrate all available info in it. However, the article Colonization of Mars points to a more realistic scenario. It describes many ideas to colonize the planet without the need for terraforming, which is possible with known technology. I wouldn’t want to describe terraforming here as inevitable, which is not at all. I find terraforming too fantastic, and my impression is that it makes the article somehow fantastic, too. I’d rather want the article be realistic. — The Cascade (talk) 14:48, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

Sorry for being rude. And offensive for that matter… first of all the green house gases: Mars has a lots of it. atmosphere consists of >95% CO2. and there is frozen CO2 all over the planet… thats just not the reason why the atmosphere is so thin.

there are mainly two reasons:

1. mars is too small to keep a dense atmosphere. just not enough gravity to keep it.

2. no magnetic field. the charged particles from the sun (sun wind) just “blow” away the atmosphere.

We can think about a solution for (2), like building a superconductor coil around the equator. But because of (1) this wont help in the long run… terraforming mars is a nice dream. but as long as we dont invent a seriously new kind physics, it will be a dream..

Anyway i think it is good to mention the historical ideas about terraforming, just please also mention that it is just nowhere close to be imaginable for someone who studied physics.

135.196.213.146 (talk) 17:17, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

CAN MARS KEEP AN ATMOSPHERE?

Mars surface gravity is high enough to keep all gases except Hydrogen, Helium and Water. Further, water stays in the troposphere, (because of the cold trap), and is not normally lost to thermal escape. Mars HAS lost about 15 meters of water globally, but most of this was from UV light disassociating water into hydrogen and oxygen, with the hydrogen being quickly lost. If Mars was to have an oxygen atmosphere (and an ozone layer), it would keep its water for billions of years. In fact, even with out an oxygen atmosphere, Mars has kept its water for billions of years. Plenty of water is in its ice caps and as permafrost. It has not lost all of its water from thermal escape or any other method.

Scientists have shown that worlds with no magnetic field lose tiny amounts of air from solar wind erosion. This adds up over billions of years. However, it is not something that terraformers have to worry about over hundred of millions of year time scales. (100 million years is far longer than the lifetime of our species.)

Venus has no magnetic field and a solar flux more than 5 times what Mars has but it has not lost its atmosphere. Mercury has quite a strong magnetic field and basically has no atmosphere. The meme that no magnetic field = no atmosphere is far too simplistic. Venus is an obvious disproof of this idea.

Scientists think Mars had a 3 or 4 bar atmosphere early in its life and estimate that about 75% to 80% of this was lost to the solar wind. (The solar wind was ~100 times stronger at the start of the solar system and ~6 times stronger ~2.5 billion years ago.) Since it now has an atmosphere of 1/100th of a bar, where is its air?

In the soil. Lightning and UV radiation will form nitrates. On Earth these are recycled quickly by life. But in some regions like the Gobi desert, the nitrate beds are very deep. (Dozens of meters deep if I remember correctly, don’t quote me.) On Mars, most of the nitrogen was not lost, it has been deposited in the soil. Oxygen is too heavy for thermal escape, but will react with rocks or with salts to form perchlorates. Carbon dioxide will form carbonate rocks, be absorbed into CO2 clathrates, and be dissolved in ground water and form ice caps. Further, clays which are common on Mars will absorb carbon dioxide when they get cold, typically 4 to 6% by mass. Most of Mars’ atmosphere is in its soils and rocks.

If terraformers brought Mars atmosphere up to 1 bar pressure by dropping comets onto the planet, it would take 2 to 3 billion years of solar wind sputtering to reduce its air pressure to the point where humans still would NOT need a pressure suit. (Tho the pressure would be too low for humans to breath.) (This assumes that the Sun’s solar wind continues to decline or at least stays the same.) Claiming that we can’t live on a Terraformed Mars because the solar wind will erode the atmosphere in 2.5 billion years when the Earth’s biosphere won’t survive 800 million years (because the sun is warming) is silly. Let’s focus on the next two hundred to 200,000,000 years and let someone else worry about the time after that.

I’ll track down more references for these statements later. Out of time.

http://people.virginia.edu/~rej/papers03/Leblanc01.pdf

“Life and Death of Planet Earth, The: How The New Science Of Astrobiology Charts The Ultimate Fate” by Peter D Ward & Don Brownlee. // They show multicellar life likely won’t last 1/2 a billion years on Earth as the sun warms.

http://abyss.uoregon.edu/~js/ast121/lectures/lec14.html

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v272/n5656/pdf/272803a0.pdf

http://articles.adsabs.harvard.edu/full/1980LPSC…11.2479W

“Mars: A Warmer Wetter Planet” by Jeffrey S. Kargel // Discussed MEGAOUTFLO events in the past when the atmosphere in the soil out gases. Also talks about the 3 to 4 bar early Martian atmosphere & the martian water budget.

Warm regards, Rick. 65.110.28.47 (talk) 15:51, 27 May 2011 (UTC)

I think that the discussion of economics on this page pays too much attention to ways that Earth could economically supplement life on Mars, and not enough attention to how Mars could supplement Earth. It mentions trade between Earth and Mars without mentioning what exactly Mars would have to offer Earth. I think the entire feasibility of Mars colonization rests on Mars having something that Earth does not have, and at this point, I have a great deal of trouble seeing what that might be, except cheap land, which doesn’t seem to me to make up for the transportation and development costs that would go into it. Maybe a tourist industry, but I don’t think you could build anything bigger than a small city on the basis of the tourist industry. Preceding unsigned comment added by 66.57.230.223 (talk) 18:24, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

I agree with the above. The moon advocates have a myriad of ways to provide services/products to earth in a fiscal timetable, and value for value trades. However, this section on mars economics focuses mainly on earth providing economic benefits to mars and not an even exchange of value for value.Moonus111 (talk) 20:38, 1 October 2010 (UTC)

VIABILITY OF MARTIAN TRADE:

We know Mars has water enriched with deuterium (5 times more so than Earth). which is a viable export for cash. Strategic metals worth $10,000 / kg or more (gold and more expensive metals) can be shipped to Earth for a profit. Also, if there are asteroid bases, it is FAR cheaper to supply them from Mars than from Earth. Robert Zubrin suggested a triangle trade. High tech parts from Earth to Mars. Fuel, light industry supplies and food from Mars to the Asteroids. Asteroids send strategic metals back to Earth.

It is also easier for Mars to send stuff to Luna than it is to go from Earth to Luna. So if we get an industry collecting Helium 3 from the Moon, a similar triangle trade can be set up between the Earth, Mars and the Moon.

It won’t be profitable to go to Mars to get Platinum (for example). It would be cheaper to re-open marginal mines on Earth. But the platinum on Mars won’t have been picked over for hundreds of years – it will be right on the surface. If there are Martian colonists, they will be able to easily collect iridium, deuterium, rubidium, palladium, gallium, gold, etc, since there will be vulcanism and water created deposits right on the surface. These could be sold for a profit to get high tech, low mass supplies from Earth.

Mars has all of the elements needed for rocket fuel, plastics, industrial metals, computer chips and food. It also has a ~24 hour day night cycle which allows growing food economically. Coupled with Mars’ greatest resource (a shallow gravity well) it can supply needed materials to bases in the inner and outer solars system more cheaply than Earth can.

For example: On page 230 of “the case for Mars” Robert Zubrin shows that a mission to Ceres requires 50 times less mass to be launched from Mars rather than Earth. (If the mission requires 1,000 tonnes of supplies it can be done with two launches from Mars or 107 launches from Earth.) This assumes that no propellent has to be hauled to Ceres. If we have to bring return fuel as well, then the Earth based mission becomes even more hopeless. Even if space launches from Mars are 10 times more expensive than Earth, it would still be much more profitable to send supplies from Mars.

Luna has severe disadvantages for a self sustaining colony. It lacks 24 hour day night cycle which is a huge problem if you have to grow plants there. (Plants require a really tremendous amount of energy to grow with artificial light.) Its lack of atmosphere means that plants will die from solar flares unless you have thick glass walls which will crack from the day / night heat stress. It lacks ores since the moon is made up of junk rock (see page 220 ibid for why ores are rare on Luna but likely common on Mars). Elements like H, C, N, P, K & S are all rare or very rare on Luna and must be imported from else where. There is plenty of oxygen and silicon but they are tightly bound to the rock and require a huge amount of energy and hydrogen and carbon to extract.

For references to what I’ve said above (and far more details), see “The Case for Mars” and “Opening Space” by Robert Zubrin. 65.110.28.47 (talk) 14:40, 27 May 2011 (UTC)Warm regards, Rick.

WHY WAS COMMENTS ON ROCKET SLEDS / ROTATING SKY HOOKS DELETED? Space elevators are far more difficult to build than a rocket sled / sky ramp and or a rotating sky hook. If you are looking for cheap ways for a martian colony to make getting into space both methods are far more practical than a space elevator. Further, a sky ramp can put things into low Mars orbit, which a space elevator can’t do, unless you haul rocket fuel up and launch from part way up the the elevator. I suggest that a rocket sled or Mag Lev style sky ramp located on Pavonis Mons is so many more times more practical than a space elevator (especially for a small colony struggling for capital) that the space elevator reference should be considered to be removed as a remote fantasy. I did not site sources in this article, but provided links to Wiki pages where there ARE references. 65.110.28.47 (talk) 14:40, 27 May 2011 (UTC)Regards, Rick

While interesting, I’d not stress this too much until 1) the results are duplicated independently, and 2) a longer time period is tested. 34 days is hardly long enough to ensure the survival of earth-life in Martian conditions. Cumulative radiation affects, for example, could prove disastrous over the course of months/years. Additionally, one good solar flare would probably destroy any life exposed to it in the same environment that this lab used, which due to its lack of a magnetosphere, Mars would be greatly affected by (locally.) I don’t have a paper to cite, but discussions with some profs at the local university were not very positive on the long-term success of such tests. Note that hard questions were not asked/answered in the news articles cited, either. HammerFilmFan (talk) 12:20, 17 June 2012 (UTC)

On the 10th of November 2011 R.Schuster called for a citation for the statement: “It is not known if this is enough to prevent the health problems associated with Weightlessness.” However it is well known that no experiments were done in which human beings were subjected to fractional g accelerations for weeks or more at a time. The experimental evidence is from free fall in orbit. There does not need to be much documentation to show that we do not know something. So it seems we could just drop the citation needed template on the basis of common knowledge. We should do that or get rid of the statement. – Fartherred (talk) 02:18, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

In a number of edits on the 19th of July, Robertinventor among other things removed the sentences: “It’s impossible for any manned mission to Mars to keep to the requirements of the [[COSPAR]] (Committee on Space Research) guidelines for planetary protection. NASA currently follows COSPAR guidelines.” He replaced these with a second link to [[Manned_mission_to_Mars#Critiques]] and his comments about introducing Earth organisms to Mars affecting Mars’ biologically pristine condition. I have added the comment about NASA following COSPAR guidelines of planetary protection to the [[Manned_mission_to_Mars#Critiques]]. However, this is better addressed directly in the [[Colonization of Mars]] article because it is a direct concern of colonization. The time of a colonization mission cannot be until nations supporting launches to orbit consider that the research question of life developing independently on Mars or not has been sufficiently addressed. Technologies necessary to the colonization of Mars have not been sufficiently developed to have a one-way mission to Mars yet, so we are not waiting just for the COSPAR requirements to expire; but it is a definite road block. There are some advocates of colonization that want colonization started in their lifetimes, as do the backers of Mars One. So this is an item of interest to them. For a neutral point of view, we should not be promoting Mars colonization or minimizing or ignoring the problems. We should present significant facts that are published. – Fartherred (talk) 17:53, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

The article fails to point out how easy it is to colonize mars. It has wind, a steady stream of wind will blow on mars as a faint wistle effect. Mars is a dead planet. It can easily be colonized and solar power is not an issue. Ever here of electro-magentic generators? Its called free energy. They would be quite sufficient.–Asfd777 (talk) 14:49, 15 September 2012 (UTC)

People can get the idea of domes for Mars colonies by looking at many old science fiction magazine covers, but a transparent dome is impractical for Mars. Temperatures down to -143 degrees Celsius just overwhelm the limited heating available from a dome greenhouse. It is more practical for a greenhouse to be a buried cylinder with a portion of the curved roof made of glass and steel exposed to sunlight from mirrors that concentrate it as much as is needed to maintain operating temperature, and the skylight covered by insulation at night. I cannot give a reliable source for this but it is rather obvious to someone who knows a little physics. I would like to see a reliable source for the statement that domes are useful for trapping heat for greenhouses on Mars so that if it comes from a graduate student I can urge that they flunk out and if it comes from a professor I can urge that his research funds be cut back. – Fartherred (talk) 21:23, 14 September 2012 (UTC)

There has been the direct observation of many of the elements necessary for life and this could be supported by citation. However some of the elements necessary for life are necessary only in trace amounts and have not been directly measured yet. We have from the theory of the solar system forming from a cloud of gas and dust that Earth and Mars formed from planetesimals that formed from dust in neighboring regions of the cloud. Therefore the elemental composition of Earth and Mars should have been similar to start with and only limited differences in environment caused changes in composition over geological ages. That Mars is expected to have all of the elements necessary for life can be arrived at by synthesis from sources that I have found, but maybe someone can find the synthesis published. Then it could be included in the article. – Fartherred (talk) 10:14, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

The result of the proposal was no consensus. –BDD (talk) 17:51, 22 March 2013 (UTC) (non-admin closure)

Colonization of Mars Settlement of Mars Reflects modern terminology in the space advocate community without the distracting cultural baggage accompanying the term ‘colonization’ Relisted. BDD (talk) 16:33, 15 March 2013 (UTC) Ericmachmer (talk) 15:56, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

Comment I think consensus was quite clear, it was to not move. — 65.92.180.137 (talk) 01:55, 24 March 2013 (UTC)

Settlement of Mars , Mars settlement , Mars settlement should all redirect here. — 65.92.180.137 (talk) 02:08, 7 March 2013 (UTC)

Why is this useful? It seems to me that any worries about colonization should be addressed in the relevant sections up page. A lot of the info is literally duplicated from above. Also, it contains unsourced SYNTH from Robert Walker. Already have deleted some of the obvious duplication of info and unsourced opinions. The telerobotics paragraph is irrelevant so that was deleted as well. I have half a mind to delete the whole section. Warren Platts (talk) 17:14, 27 June 2013 (UTC)

This article now has an Advocacy section but no balancing Concerns section.

I kept a copy of the original Concerns section in my user space here: User:Robertinventor/Colonization_of_Mars_-_concerns

I expected this to happen as the author said he is nauseated by all the concerns sections on Project Mars and is on a cleanup mission, also to remove all content written by myself on contamination issues. I did not write this now deleted section, just contributed some material to it. Robert Walker (talk) 14:12, 14 July 2013 (UTC)

Please be aware that a Request for Arbitration has been submitted to address the long-standing user conduct issues that prevent the resolution of content disputes. The RFAR is at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case#Mars Robert McClenon (talk) 23:04, 14 July 2013 (UTC)

Can we include a more realistic-looking image (like CGI or something like that) as the lead one? The current one looks a little like it’s from a children’s magazine… –Againme (talk) 19:56, 16 October 2013 (UTC)

___________

Why not just stage something in Arizona, to convey the illusion that there are already people on Mars? It seems that this “childish” picture is sufficient to mislead the uninformed that Mars is already colonized. WikiEditor2563 (talk) 18:42, 5 November 2013 (UTC)

This is in response to a personal email I received from wikieditor Grayfell, who asked that I discuss this here. I need instruction from him or anyone so I can email him personally, I find communicating this way to be overly complicated and incoherent First, I’m writing the final pages of a non-fiction book, which includes several chapters on the colonization of Mars, exoplanets, etc, so I’m somewhat of an expert on the subject, regarding the real potential of a colony on Mars.

Now, the Colonization of Mars is a particularly unique subject, in particular regarding its inclusion in an encyclopedia, because there isnt actually a colony on Mars! And such a thing is certainly not inevitable. EVERYTHING about the colonization of Mars is opinion and highly speculative. The case can easily be made that nothing about this wiki page is encyclopedic! and that this web page is nothing but a bullhorn for the Mars advocates which certainly seems to be the case when some of the edits Ive made are undone before Ive even logged off! I mean, why would anyone be so vigilant about (of all things) the colonization of Mars?

Your sense of how things can be edited is too strict. Even your sense of what constitutes an encyclopedic tone is subjective and about which you dont have the last word. You and a few others are way too quick to simply undo others edits, and is arrogant.

First, why do you insist on using the word hospitable in describing Mars? That is entirely propagandistic. In no sense of the word, relatively or absolutely, is Mars hospitable. That might have been a matter of speculation to people in the stone ages, who gazed up in wonder but who couldnt have known any better; to Galileo; or even to early 20th century manbut NOW? given all that we know, in all its degrees of precision?

The sources that you are protecting belie the facts, and have no place in this wiki page. Anyone can write a science article these days and theres no reason their opinion is more relevant than mine. Even science articles are biased and often have a case to promote, and this is especially true for articles about Mars and the exploration of space. Furthermore, there are no sources that say that Mars has been colonized (regardless of unmanned research – which is truly amazing and gives me goose bumps), so maybe the entire Colonization of Mars page should be removed.

For the intro paragraph for this webpage, you need something for a general audience, not bogged down in misleading data. The fact is, a colony on Mars is science-fiction, and there are HUGE obstacles that prevent this from ever happening. this should be conveyed somewhere in the wiki page, preferably at the top, rather than cater to the dreamers and fantasists in some form of agenda.

For example, its FAR better to say that circumstances on Mars in fact would be deadly to all life as we know it (except for perhaps some extremophilic microorganisms) THAN deadly to most life because that implies that there are some forms of life on Mars, which is an OUTRAGEOUS implication, and propagandistic. Things that can be grown in simulated conditions on Earth do NOT change this simple fact! Mars is absolutely NOT hospitable to life and it is propagandistic to suggest that it does or might. Its not encyclopedic to suggest that there MIGHT be life on Mars when after the last 50 years of reconnaissance and actual soil and air analysisNO LIFE HAS BEEN FOUND ON MARS. Its very irrational at this point in the research – given all that we know, and we know a lot, and to a great deal of precision that there might be life on Mars. Thats a serious hang-up that is not supported by science, only by science-fiction fans and fantasists. Science doesnt HOPE or DREAM. Science simply collects facts.

The discovery of life on another planet would be the biggest breakthrough OF ALL TIME. That milestone has not been reached, so to imply that life may exist on Mars because of some dumb simulation here on Earth, or the unrestrained enthusiasm for such, does NOT belong in an encyclopedia. Maybe in Bizarre Fantasy Weekly, but not an encyclopedia.

This wiki page should not be used as a voice for dreamers, fantasists, or space tourism promoters. Now, I should be free to say THIS in the introductory paragraph maybe now you can appreciate how much restraint Ive been exercising.

The intro para to this wiki page should say, or convey, this specific point, because its realistic, not bogged down with misleading data, doesnt promote an agenda, and is entirely, as you say, encyclopedic:

It is absolutely true that This does not preclude the possibility that man might one day step foot on Mars and scout around, but whether or not we ever get to Mars seems less a matter of scientific progress, than the balance of power between sane and crazy which is properly referenced by National Geographic but which you reject because YOU HAVE AN AGENDA TO PROMOTE, which is in complete violation of the Wiki terms of service.

Its not scientific or encyclopedic to HOPE for something, just to state the facts or what can be reasonably surmised where scientific proof of something may be impossible, which seems to be the case, to a large degree, in this arena.

Given what we know, it makes more sense, at this point, to surmise that man will NOT colonize Mars, even though of course theres nothing to stop him from trying. This opinion should be conveyed, somehow, in the wiki page for this topic.

Bearing in mind that if someone wants to learn about Mars they are better served by the wiki page for Mars, because as a planet there is, of course, much to be said. WikiEditor2563 (talk) 20:03, 5 November 2013 (UTC)

As I indicated above, there are really no facts regarding a colonization of Mars, only opinions – much of which is wild speculation – so the idea of “reliable sources” regarding this is somewhat meaningless – since no one’s been to Mars! One could challenge anyone who claims to be an expert on this subject. For that reason I don’t understand why this webpage is so bulky! There seems to be nothing on the plus side for Mars! So where does the optimism come from?

Even for reliable sources, some things are still a matter of subjective opinion, or involve tremendous amounts of speculation, particularly about a colony on Mars. Such opinions are very biased, it’s nave to deny this. This occurs, for example, when a “specialist” says something will happen in 20 years – which gets them off the hook, and implies “let the next generation do it while we still collect a paycheck.” Engineers are not magicians, they can’t turn lead into gold. There’s an incentive to push things ahead 20 years and not a more realistic 50 – or 100. 20 years seems more within reach, so project funding is maintained. Imagine if they said 50 years – funding would stop! When a specialist at NASA says “something can be done” its because if he said “it can’t be done” he and the rest of his pals would lose their jobs! So this website CAN’T be a bullhorn for NASA or the Mars advocates. AND IN THIS ARENA, MANY THINGS MUST BE SURMISED, and this Wikipedia page includes a lot of surmising and speculating. Who do you think has their fingers crossed the hardest? NASA. When we read their articles we need to take everything they say with a few grains of salt, and be skeptical of their optimism, because the idea of a colony on Mars IS outrageous, for many reasons (and hence the book I’m writing). For starters, heavy payloads can’t land gently on Mars – but that’s just a distraction, that’s not even one of the REAL obstacles. Maybe these reasons are just more intuitive to me than you, based on years of reading and my own point of view, for which I have 2 science degrees to support, but you have a point of view too, it’s hard for ANYONE to be completely objective, we’re all rooting for one side or another.

Also, there are a lot of “opinions” on Wikipedia, everything isn’t sourced. Everything I’ve contributed to Wikipedia is objective, restrained, suitable for a general audience, and free of promotion. Even the part about “balance between sane and crazy” but I knew that would be deleted, even though some science articles are describing some things in this arena as just that. The content I’ve repeatedly posted to introduce this Wikipedia page is both historically correct, succinct, insightful, and captures the spirit of the concept without going overboard.

_____________________ I only

What’s interesting is that you haven’t substantiated any of your disagreements with me, just condescending threats and warnings.

As I just said to another editor,

So saying that something is “sourced” is, in the end, somewhat meaningless. Which is why I put a higher priority on relevance and readability than the source material. It goes without saying that ALL of my edits are informed through the research I’ve been doing the last 15 months – and which is ongoing.

And again, regarding the “warring,” it takes two to tango. WikiEditor2563 (talk) 19:37, 13 November 2013 (UTC) __________________________

WikiEditor2563, why are you removing sourced, relevant text and wikilinks? [2] –NeilN talk to me 18:30, 13 November 2013 (UTC) _______________________

Note: this editor has now been indefinitely blocked. andy (talk) 22:56, 13 November 2013 (UTC)

I have no particular expertise in the area but as an ever-curious reader here is what struck me about the article:

My two cents anyways. –NeilN talk to me 00:27, 14 November 2013 (UTC)

As far as I can see the article now has no mention of the requirements for planetary protection of Mars. Particularly, increasing evidence of possible habitable regions on present day Mars surface for microbes. This is a recent news story in Nature about the warm seasonal flows now found in equatorial regions: Water seems to flow freely on Mars – Any areas of water could be off-limits to all but the cleanest spacecraft.

Current guidelines for Planetary protection require us to keep Mars free of Earth life so that we can study it in its pristine state. This is an international requirement under the Outer Space Treaty which all space faring countries and countries with space ambitions except N. Korea have signed and nearly all other countries as well.

There is much published on planetary protection issues for rovers on Mars, as of course is an ongoing thing – there is not so much published on planetary protection for future human missions to Mars, although the issues are of course far greater for humans.

This is one article Human Missions to Mars a Challenge for Planetary Protection:Gernot Groemer

There are also general statements in some of the COSPAR documents but no detailed discussion or technical details.

I think the general assumption is that the humans would be sent to Mars only after the current exploration phase is already completed, at a point when requirements for protection can be relaxed somewhat, but there is no set criterion for the end of the exploration phase (which I personally think must surely last at least several more decades, probably longer, before we have a reasonable understanding of Mars by way of ground truth).

On the idea that perhaps it might be a major issue for human missions to address, there is this 2012 space.com article, with remarks from Cassie Conley planetary protection officer. Manned Mars Missions Could Threaten Red Planet Life – which of course is a bit out of date not mentioning the newer 2013 resuults.

Suggestion: to say that

Robert Walker (talk) 14:00, 5 January 2014 (UTC)

Hello everybody! I’m interested in reading about the feasability of a martian space elevator, such as mentionned by the end of the Tranportation section of this article. I already found an articles about the Space Elevators on Earth and the Moon. Now I need data about the martian one. Can anybody find them and add them to the article? Thanks. 80.82.235.62 (talk) 15:28, 4 April 2015 (UTC) A Martian lost on Earth;)

In the section, Economics, there is a link to Economics of extraterrestrial resource extraction which at first sounds pertinent to colonization of Mars, but when one follows the link it leads by redirect to the asteroid mining article which is only indirectly related to Mars colonization. This link is particularly distracting because although it is attached to the words “economic problem” it does not elaborate the economic problem of the Colonization of Mars. – Fartherred (talk) 04:48, 14 April 2015 (UTC)

Magnetosphere does nothing to UV or gamma rays, only to charged particles like beta and alpha rays. Now the sentence is misleading, but magnetosphere is good to mention in context of other radiation. I just don’t have clue what is the effect size..? 91.159.81.20 (talk) 01:58, 3 May 2015 (UTC)

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Talk:Colonization of Mars – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Free speech – OpenLearn – Open University

 Free Speech  Comments Off on Free speech – OpenLearn – Open University
Oct 192015
 

David Edmonds: This is Ethics Bites, with me David Edmonds.

Nigel Warburton: And me Nigel Warburton.

David: Ethics Bites is a series of interviews on applied ethics, produced in association with The Open University.

Nigel: For more information about Ethics Bites, and about the Open University, go to open2.net.

David: For John Stuart Mill the limit of freedom of speech in a civilized society was roughly the point where a speaker was inciting violence. But perhaps it isn’t as simple as that. For free speech, in the well-known example, doesnt entitle us to shout “Fire! in a crowded theatre. Where then should we draw the line, and why? Tim Scanlon, Professor in Harvard Universitys philosophy department, has spent much of his career reflecting about issues of toleration and free speech. His initial writings on the topic stressed that the value of free speech lay in autonomy in particular, the right of individuals to have access to information so as to be able to think for themselves. Now he has a more nuanced view which takes into account the interests of both speaker and listener, and empirical considerations about the danger of granting powers of regulation to the state.

Nigel: Tim Scanlon, welcome to Ethics Bites.

Tim Scanlon: Im glad to be here. Thank you very much.

Nigel: Now the topic were focusing on today is free speech. Presumably youre an advocate of free speech at some level, but lets start by getting clear what do we mean by free speech?

Tim: By free speech I mean the need for restrictions on the way in which governments can regulate speech. Whether speech is free in a further sense, that is whether people have opportunities, is a very important thing, but its not the issue of free speech.

Nigel: Thats really interesting, because you immediately began by talking about regulation and controlling what can be said.

Tim: Well certainly speaking is not without costs: what people can say can cause injury, can disclose private information, can disclose harmful public information. Its not a free zone where you can do anything because nothing matters. Speech matters. But because it matters its very important that governments who want to regulate speech, for example to prevent things that would be embarrassing to politicians, or otherwise upset the government, its important that that power should be restricted.

Nigel: The word speech seems to imply something spoken, but clearly speech stands for expression here, its not just speech is it?

Tim: No, its not just speech. In one respect, what defines our thinking about free speech is not the particular acts that constitute speech, but rather the reasons one has for wanting other people to notice for wanting to make some kind of communication with others. Speech is just one way of doing it. How you dress, how you act in public. All those things can signal to other people your values, what kind of life you favour, and the fact that the way you act, as well as the way you speak, can signal those things provide reasons for other people to want to prevent you from doing those things – because they dont want those signals to be out there in the public space. The question of free speech is the question of how that impulse to regulate what can be out there in the public space need itself be controlled.

Nigel: Ok, well lets think about the justifications for controlling free speech. Youve devoted quite a lot of your life to thinking philosophically about the limits of toleration. Whats the philosophical underpinning of your position?

Tim: Well one philosophical underpinning in driving any of this has to be understanding the reasons why people should care about having these opportunities that might be restricted. I began by talking about how free speech has to do with limitations on government power. But of course the value thats at stake is affected by things other than what the government does, its also affected by how corporations can control access to television and other important media. So here we have two sides. On the one hand, philosophically one of the first things you want to do in understanding free speech is to understand what are the values that are at stake, why should we care about it? Thats much broader than the question of government regulation. On the other hand, if you think mainly in terms of constitutional provisions, restrictions on the law, there were talking particularly about government.

Nigel: Often people talk about free speech as arising from individual autonomy. We should have a freedom to be who we are and to express ourselves in the way that we wish to. Its a basic right of humans to express themselves…

Tim: I dont know if I want to say its a basic right. I want to say that people have reasons, all kinds of reasons, to want to be able to express themselves. Although when were talking about the permissible limits on speech we need to focus not only on the interests that people have in wanting to get their own ideas out there, but also the interests that people have as potential audience members to have access to what other people want to say. Philosophical discussions of the topic divide, to some extent, as to whether they focus mainly on speaker values or audience values, and I think its important to take both into account.

Nigel: OK, well with speaker values the justification tends to be in terms of autonomy; but with audience values we start talking about the consequences for the audience. The classic case there is with John Stuart Mill talking about the limits of free speech being set at the point where you harm another individual.

Tim: Thats true although, in a way, autonomy based views on the whole tend to focus on audience values – because its the audience who wants to have access to information to make up their minds. In so far as autonomy refers to the interests we have in being able to form our own opinions about how to live, what to do, how to vote, an autonomy based view tends to focus on audience values. By and large we think of speakers as already knowing what they want and what they value, and wanting to express it. Thats a kind of freedom: but it may not be helpful to call it autonomy. In general, its a case of once burnt twice shy. That is, having originally in my first publication given a theory of free speech that focused on autonomy, Ive since come to think that its a word thats probably a good idea to avoid. Because it can mean so many different things. On the one hand it can mean freedom, that is the ability to do things, on the other hand it can be a particular value, or in Kants case a particular inner power. Its a misused word so I like to avoid it.

Nigel: Perhaps it would be easier to focus on a particular case to bring out the sort of considerations that are relevant here. If we take the case of people expressing contempt for a particular racial group – some people might argue that is a consequence of free speech that people should be allowed to say offensive things. How would you approach that case.

Tim: Well there seems to be a divide on this across different countries. That is, in the United States the law and much of academic opinion is much more in favour of the idea that free speech is incompatible with having laws that ban speech simply because theyre offensive – laws for incitement against racial hatred or expressing contempt for other groups are by and large held to be unconstitutional in the United States whereas in Britain, France, Canada, laws are quite different.

Now Im in this sense typical of my country. Im inclined to be rather suspicious of laws that restrict speech on the grounds that it gives offence to a particular group. Not that I favour speech that does that, I think its terrible; the question is whether you want to have a law that restricts it. And the natural question is why on earth shouldnt you? After all it does harm people. Immigrant groups, racial minorities, are in a vulnerable position vulnerable because they suffer from status harm. Widespread opinion that they are in some way inferior, ought not to be associated with, ineligible for various jobs, and so on.

So why shouldnt speech that supports and perpetuates those attitudes be restricted? The problem is that there are so many ways in which speech can be offensive to different people, that if we start allowing offence to be a ground for restriction its very easy to generalise it, and the restrictions on speech, particularly on political speech, become too tight in my opinion.

Now theres an empirical question here, and I think the jury is out. Canada has laws against speech that foments racial hatred, and Britain does, and so on. So against the free speech advocates of my sort you can say, well they have these laws, the sky hasnt fallen. Political speech continues. On the other hand race relations havent improved much either. So the jury is to some degree out. And with respect to the UK I think its fair to say that a somewhat greater tolerance for restrictions on expression hasnt served the political culture well. Theres also much more tolerance of restrictions on disclosures of official secrets and so on and I think these havent helped political discussion in the UK. So I think the US has benefited to some degree to what might seem to some people an overly rigorous protection of free speech.

Nigel: That strikes me as a slippery slope argument: the idea that you cant take one step down the slope without ending up at the bottom. So you cant take one step by restricting certain sorts of hateful speech because the consequence will be that all kinds of other sorts of speech will be restricted.

Tim: Well in the first instance its not a slippery slope argument. It is a question about what would be the effect of having that particular restriction. So I think the case turns on that. I then move to saying if you look more generally, the more permissive attitude towards restrictions on speech hasnt been a good thing. The view of free speech that Ive come to does give a heavy weight to calculations of that kind. The question is, is a particular regulatory power, the power to restrict speech on certain grounds, is that a power we can give to government without placing important speaker and audience interests unacceptably at risk? Thats the question. And the view that there is a right to speak in certain ways comes down to the claim that if the government were allowed to prevent speech of that kind that would be a dangerous power, that we shouldnt allow, because the values of being able to speak and the values of being able to have access wouldnt be adequately served; and thats an empirical question which powers are dangerous, but thats my view.

Nigel: And the danger that youre speaking of, is that the danger that effective government wont be possible because there wont be sufficient airing of different views?

Tim: Thats one value. That is preserving the kind of opportunity to speak and influence people, and the kind of opportunity on the part of voters to be informed that we need to have a functioning democracy. Thats certainly one value. But there are also more personal values. People have good reason outside of politics to want to be able to influence the development of their society culturally, to express their attitudes about sex about art about how to live. Audiences benefit from having access to these expressions. We want to hear a diversity of views.

On the other hand people want to protect what the dominant attitudes in society are. They dont want people to express permissive attitudes towards sex or attitudes about religion that they disagree with, because that may cause the culture to evolve in ways in which they would prefer it didnt evolve. We all have feelings of that kind; I dont think its just these awful intolerant people. I feel that my society places a greater emphasis on sex, sexual attractiveness and so on than would be desirable. I dont like living in a society thats saturated with these feelings; but thats the price of living in a free society.

I also think religion is growing in its influence and so the sense that one ought to be religious or pay deference to religion is growing in strength in the United States, from my point of view that doesnt make it a society more like the one I would like to live in. But thats the price of living in a free society. There are these ebbs and flows of cultural opinion and if you want to live on terms of freedom with other people you have to be willing to accept the society that results from everybody having access to a public space you just have to accept it.

Nigel: I can see how censoring somebodys political opinions might be dangerous to good government. But censoring somebodys freedom to print pornographic images for instance, how can that harm good government?

Tim: My point in my answer to your last question was that providing the conditions necessary for good government isnt the only thing thats at stake in free speech. People who have views about, say, particular sexual relations, want to be able to express this not only as a matter of self expression, but they want to be in contact with other people who have similar views. And when regulation of that kind of expression is allowed the first thing thats likely to happen is that the minority views of this are the most likely to get restricted, and I think thats a cost. I dont like living in a society where there’s lots of pornography and people very interested in that, but, youve got to live with it.

Nigel: Another area where its difficult to see where to draw the line is with factual information that could be used in terrorist activity. So for instance if somebody wants to publish the details of how to make a certain kind of bomb on the internet, is it appropriate to censor them?

Tim: I think it is. I dont think we dont have an interest in access to information about how to manufacture bombs which is parallel to our interest to wanting to have information about what the government is actually doing, or to be able to communicate with others about sexual, moral or religious matters. So I dont think theres a similar threat to our interests as potential speakers or to our interests as audiences who want to be able to form our opinion about things if technical information about armaments and explosives is restricted.

The main worry there seems to me to be at the margin; whether some kinds of information about technical questions about military armaments become important political things that we need to know about. Like we need to know whether a missile defence system would actually work! Now theres a fair amount of distance between having a recipe for making nerve gas at home and having some information about how well the governments attempt to build a missile defence system have actually worked. But in between, there might be a worry. But on the whole Im relatively comfortable with the idea that technical information about the production of armaments is something that its permissible to regulate.

Nigel: Weve talked quite a lot about the differences between the law in the States and the UK, Im intrigued to know whether you think that the kinds of principles that you come up with in your philosophy are universalizable across societies and countries, or whether they are restricted to the particular circumstances of particular countries at particular times?

Tim: On the whole I come down on the universal side. I once had an experience speaking to a seminar that involved people from 27 different countries, academics and non academics. And theyd asked for a presentation on free speech. So I said the question of free speech is the question of whether the power to regulate speech in a certain way is the power that its too dangerous for governments to have. And thats a question of whether, if they had that power, the interests of speakers or audiences would be unduly restricted. And those who believe in free speech also have to believe that we should forbid governments from having this power at acceptable cost. And in the discussion, people all objected; they said your discussion entirely focused on things in the United States. It maybe alright in the United States to prevent the government from restricting speech, but that wouldnt work in India, someone said. Because in India if you allowed people to say certain things, then some people would riot. And a Turkish man said, a man in our law school thinks that bourgeois rights are nonsense, and obviously he cant be allowed to say that kind of thing; but you dont have that problem in the United States. The effect of this discussion was to reinforce my universalist tendencies and to think that things arent that different all over. Because, of course, exactly those questions come up in almost any society.

Now of course societies vary; the risks may be greater in some societies than in others. But on the whole theres a lot of commonality there. As far as the question of riots is concerned, this is whats known in the United States legal arguments as the hecklers veto. If you allow the threat of a riot to be a reason to prevent somebody from speaking all a group has to do to stop somebody from speaking is to threaten to riot. So the first response of the State has to be to stop the riot or put the speech in a venue where it can be protected; those are things the state can do.

Places where people dont believe in free speech, I think they dont believe in free speech largely for the reasons Ive just mentioned, they may think, well in a stable society its ok, but for us the risks are too great. Its possible that sometimes theyre right about that, but on the whole I think its a matter of not having enough faith in your fellow citizens and being too worried about what the consequences will be. Of course its in the interests of governments to encourage these fears, because its in the interests of governments to be able to regulate speech. Not because theyre evil, but just because theyre people who have their objectives and they want to be able to pursue those objectives in what seems to be the most effective way. Governments everywhere have reason to want to restrict speech; so everywhere we need laws to prevent them from doing that.

Nigel: Free speech is one of those ideas that people are prepared to die for. How would you place free speech relative to other important rights or ideas that animate people in political situations?

Tim: Well free speech first has a particular instrumental value, because its very important as a way of preventing other kinds of rights violations. People can be imprisoned in secret and one of the best ways of trying to stop that kind of thing is to try to bring it into the public sphere where political opposition can be mobilised. So freedom of speech has an important instrumental role in protecting other rights. There are cases where freedom of speech can seem to conflict with other rights. For example the right to a fair trial. In order to have a fair trial we need to prevent people from being convicted in advance in the press, so the jury cant be convened that won’t already have made up its mind about guilt. That is a clash.

When there is a clash of values of that kind one has to try to work out a strategy to deal with it. I think on the whole, by sequestering juries, by allowing defence attorneys to examine juries in advance and to ask them about their prejudices, on the whole I think one can protect the right to a fair trial, without placing many restrictions on what can be said. I dont want to say there is never a conflict, there can be, but I think on the whole its possible to work them out.

Nigel: Tim Scanlon, thank you very much.

Tim: Thank you, its been a pleasure talking with you.

David: Ethics Bites was produced in association with The Open University. You can listen to more Ethics Bites on Open2.net, where youll also find supporting material, or you can visit http://www.philosophybites.com to hear more philosophy podcasts.

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Free speech – OpenLearn – Open University

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NSA warrantless surveillance (200107) – Wikipedia, the …

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Sep 192015
 

The NSA warrantless surveillance controversy (“warrantless wiretapping”) concerns surveillance of persons within the United States during the collection of allegedly foreign intelligence by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) as part of the touted war on terror. Under this program, referred to by the Bush administration as the terrorist surveillance program,[1] part of the broader President’s Surveillance Program, the NSA was authorized by executive order to monitor, without search warrants, the phone calls, Internet activity (Web, e-mail, etc.), text messaging, and other communication involving any party believed by the NSA to be outside the U.S., even if the other end of the communication lies within the U.S. However, it has been discovered that all U.S. communications have been digitally cloned by government agencies, in apparent violation of unreasonable search and seizure. The excuse given to avoid litigation[citation needed] was that no data hoarded would be reviewed until searching it would be legal. But no excuse has been offered the initial seizure of the data which is also illegal,[citation needed] according to the U.S. Constitution.[citation needed]

Critics, however, claimed that the program was in an effort to attempt to silence critics of the Bush Administration and its handling of several controversial issues during its tenure. Under public pressure, the Bush administration allegedly ceased the warrantless wiretapping program in January 2007 and returned review of surveillance to the FISA court.[2] Subsequently, in 2008 Congress passed the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which relaxed some of the original FISA court requirements.

During the Obama Administration, the NSA has allegedly continued operating under the new FISA guidelines despite campaign promises to end warrantless wiretapping.[3] However, in April 2009 officials at the United States Department of Justice acknowledged that the NSA had engaged in “overcollection” of domestic communications in excess of the FISA court’s authority, but claimed that the acts were unintentional and had since been rectified.[4]

All wiretapping of American citizens by the National Security Agency requires a warrant from a three-judge court set up under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. After the 9/11 attacks, Congress passed the Patriot Act, which granted the President broad powers to fight a war against terrorism. The George W. Bush administration used these powers to bypass the FISA court and directed the NSA to spy directly on al-Qaeda in a new NSA electronic surveillance program. Reports at the time indicate that an “apparently accidental” “glitch” resulted in the interception of communications that were purely domestic in nature.[5] This action was challenged by a number of groups, including Congress, as unconstitutional.

The exact scope of the program remains secret, but the NSA was provided total, unsupervised access to all fiber-optic communications going between some of the nation’s largest telecommunication companies’ major interconnected locations, including phone conversations, email, web browsing, and corporate private network traffic.[6] Critics said that such “domestic” intercepts required FISC authorization under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.[7] The Bush administration maintained that the authorized intercepts were not domestic but rather foreign intelligence integral to the conduct of war and that the warrant requirements of FISA were implicitly superseded by the subsequent passage of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists (AUMF).[8] FISA makes it illegal to intentionally engage in electronic surveillance under appearance of an official act or to disclose or use information obtained by electronic surveillance under appearance of an official act knowing that it was not authorized by statute; this is punishable with a fine of up to $10,000 or up to five years in prison, or both.[9] In addition, the Wiretap Act prohibits any person from illegally intercepting, disclosing, using or divulging phone calls or electronic communications; this is punishable with a fine or up to five years in prison, or both.[10]

After an article about the program, (which had been code-named Stellar Wind), was published in The New York Times on December 16, 2005, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales confirmed its existence.[11][12][13]The Times had posted the exclusive story on their website the night before, after learning that the Bush administration was considering seeking a Pentagon-Papers-style court injunction to block its publication.[14]Bill Keller, the newspaper’s former executive editor, had withheld the story from publication since before the 2004 Presidential Election, and the story that was ultimately published was essentially the same as reporters James Risen and Eric Lichtblau had submitted in 2004. The delay drew criticism from some in the press, arguing that an earlier publication could have changed the election’s outcome.[15] In a December 2008 interview with Newsweek, former Justice Department employee Thomas Tamm revealed himself to be the initial whistle-blower to The Times.[16] The FBI began investigating leaks about the program in 2005, with 25 agents and 5 prosecutors on the case.[17]

Gonzales said the program authorized warrantless intercepts where the government had “a reasonable basis to conclude that one party to the communication is a member of al Qaeda, affiliated with al Qaeda, or a member of an organization affiliated with al Qaeda, or working in support of al Qaeda” and that one party to the conversation was “outside of the United States.”[18] The revelation raised immediate concern among elected officials, civil right activists, legal scholars and the public at large about the legality and constitutionality of the program and the potential for abuse. Since then, the controversy has expanded to include the press’ role in exposing a classified program, the role and responsibility of the US Congress in its executive oversight function and the scope and extent of presidential powers under Article II of the Constitution.[19]

In mid-August 2007, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit heard arguments in two lawsuits challenging the surveillance program. The appeals were the first to reach the court after dozens of civil suits against the government and telecommunications companies over NSA surveillance were consolidated last year before the chief judge of the Northern District of California, Vaughn R. Walker. One of the cases is a class-action lawsuit against AT&T, focusing on allegations that the company provided the NSA with its customers’ phone and Internet communications for a vast data-mining operation. Plaintiffs in the second case are the al-Haramain Foundation Islamic charity and two of its lawyers.[20][21]

On November 16, 2007, the three judgesM. Margaret McKeown, Michael Daly Hawkins, and Harry Pregersonissued a 27-page ruling that the charity, the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, could not introduce a key piece of evidence in its case because it fell under the government’s claim of state secrets, although the judges said that “In light of extensive government disclosures, the government is hard-pressed to sustain its claim that the very subject matter of the litigation is a state secret.”[22][23]

In an August 14, 2007, question-and-answer session with the El Paso Times which was published on August 22, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell confirmed for the first time that the private sector helped the warrantless surveillance program. McConnell argued that the companies deserved immunity for their help: “Now if you play out the suits at the value they’re claimed, it would bankrupt these companies”.[24] Plaintiffs in the AT&T suit subsequently filed a motion with the court to have McConnell’s acknowledgement admitted as evidence in their case.[25]

The program may face an additional legal challenge in the appeal of two Albany, New York, men convicted of criminal charges in an FBI anti-terror sting operation. Their lawyers say they have evidence the men were the subjects of NSA electronic surveillance, which was used to obtain their convictions but not made public at trial or made available in response to discovery requests by defense counsel at that time.[26]

In an unusual related legal development, on October 13, 2007, The Washington Post reported that Joseph P. Nacchio, the former CEO of Qwest Communications, is appealing an April 2007 conviction on 19 counts of insider trading by alleging that the government withdrew opportunities for contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars after Qwest refused to participate in an unidentified National Security Agency program that the company thought might be illegal. According to court documents unsealed in Denver in early October as part of Nacchio’s appeal, the NSA approached Qwest about participating in a warrantless surveillance program more than six months before the Sep 11, 2001, attacks which have been cited by the government as the main impetus for its efforts. Nacchio is using the allegation to try to show why his stock sale should not have been considered improper.[27] According to a lawsuit filed against other telecommunications companies for violating customer privacy, AT&T began preparing facilities for the NSA to monitor “phone call information and Internet traffic” seven months before 9/11.[28]

On August 17, 2007, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court said it would consider a request filed by the American Civil Liberties Union which asked the intelligence court to make public its recent, classified rulings on the scope of the government’s wiretapping powers. Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, presiding judge of the FISC, signed an order calling the ACLU’s motion “an unprecedented request that warrants further briefing.”[29] The FISC ordered the government to respond on the issue by August 31, saying that anything involving classified material could be filed under court seal.[30][31] On the August 31 deadline, the National Security Division of the Justice Department filed a response in opposition to the ACLU’s motion with the court.[32]

In previous developments, the case ACLU v. NSA was dismissed on July 6, 2007 by the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.[33] The court did not rule on the spying program’s legality. Instead, its 65-page opinion declared that the American Civil Liberties Union and the others who brought the case including academics, lawyers and journalists did not have the legal standing to sue because they could not demonstrate that they had been direct targets of the clandestine surveillance.[34] Detroit District Court judge Anna Diggs Taylor had originally ruled on August 17, 2006 that the program is illegal under FISA as well as unconstitutional under the First and Fourth amendments of the United States Constitution.[35][36][37]Judicial Watch, a watchdog group, discovered that at the time of the ruling Taylor “serves as a secretary and trustee for a foundation that donated funds to the ACLU of Michigan, a plaintiff in the case.”[38] On February 19, 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court, without comment, turned down an appeal from the American Civil Liberties Union, letting stand the earlier decision dismissing the case.[39]

On September 28, 2006 the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Electronic Surveillance Modernization Act (H.R. 5825).[40] That bill now has been passed to the U.S. Senate, where three competing, mutually exclusive, billsthe Terrorist Surveillance Act of 2006 (S.2455) (the DeWine bill), the National Security Surveillance Act of 2006 (S.2455) (the Specter bill), and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Improvement and Enhancement Act of 2006 (S.3001) (the Specter-Feinstein bill) were themselves referred for debate to the full Senate by the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 13, 2006.[41] Each of these bills would in some form broaden the statutory authorization for electronic surveillance, while still subjecting it to some restrictions. The Specter-Feinstein bill would extend the peacetime period for obtaining retroactive warrants to seven days and implement other changes to facilitate eavesdropping while maintaining FISA court oversight. The DeWine bill, the Specter bill, and the Electronic Surveillance Modernization Act (passed by the House) would all authorize some limited forms or periods of warrantless electronic surveillance subject to additional programmatic oversight by either the FISC (Specter bill) or Congress (DeWine and Wilson bills).

On January 17, 2007, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales informed U.S. Senate leaders by letter that the program would not be reauthorized by the President.[2] “Any electronic surveillance that was occurring as part of the Terrorist Surveillance Program will now be conducted subject to the approval of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court,” according to his letter.[42]

On September 18, 2008, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), an Internet-privacy advocacy group, filed a new lawsuit against the NSA, President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Cheney’s chief of staff David Addington, former Attorney General and White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales and other government agencies and individuals who ordered or participated in the warrantless surveillance. They sued on behalf of AT&T customers to seek redress for what the EFF alleges to be an illegal, unconstitutional, and ongoing dragnet surveillance of their communications and communications records. An earlier, ongoing suit by the EFF may be bogged down by the recent changes to FISA provisions, but these are not expected to impact this new case.[43][44]

On January 23, 2009, the administration of President Barack Obama adopted the same position as his predecessor when it urged U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker to set aside a ruling in Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation et al. v. Obama, et al.[45] The Obama administration also sided with the former administration in its legal defense of July 2008 legislation that immunized the nation’s telecommunications companies from lawsuits accusing them of complicity in the eavesdropping program, according to testimony by Attorney General Eric Holder.[46]

On March 31, 2010, Judge Vaughn R. Walker, chief judge of the Federal District Court in San Francisco, ruled that the National Security Agency’s program of surveillance without warrants was illegal when it intercepted phone calls of Al Haramain. Declaring that the plaintiffs had been “subjected to unlawful surveillance”, the judge said the government was liable to pay them damages.[47]

In 2012, the Ninth Circuit vacated the judgment against the United States and affirmed the district court’s dismissal of the claim against Mueller.[48]

The Trailblazer Project, an NSA IT project that began in 2000, has also been linked to warrantless surveillance. It was chosen over ThinThread, which had included some privacy protections. Three ex-NSA staffers, William Binney, J. Kirke Wiebe, and Ed Loomis, all of whom had quit NSA over concerns about the legality of the agency’s activities, teamed with Diane Roark, a staffer on the House Intelligence Committee, to ask the Inspector General to investigate. A major source for the IG report was Thomas Andrews Drake, an ex-Air Force senior NSA official with an expertise in computers. Siobhan Gorman of The Baltimore Sun published a series of articles about Trailblazer in 20062007.

The FBI agents investigating the 2005 The New York Times story eventually made their way to The Baltimore Sun story, and then to Binney, Wiebe, Loomis, Roark, and Drake. In 2007 armed FBI agents raided the houses of Roark, Binney, and Wiebe. Binney claimed they pointed guns at his head. Wiebe said it reminded him of the Soviet Union. None were charged with crimes except for Drake. In 2010 he was indicted under the Espionage Act of 1917, as part of Obama’s unprecedented crackdown on leakers.[49][50] The charges against him were dropped in 2011 and he pled to a single misdemeanor.

The 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) regulates U.S. government agencies’ carrying out of physical searches, and electronic surveillance, wherein a significant purpose is the gathering of foreign intelligence information. “Foreign intelligence information” is defined in 50 U.S.C.1801 as information necessary to protect the U.S. or its allies against actual or potential attack from a foreign power, sabotage or international terrorism. FISA defines a “foreign power” as a foreign government or any faction(s) of a foreign government not substantially composed of US persons, or any entity directed or controlled by a foreign government. FISA provides for both criminal and civil liability for intentional electronic surveillance under color of law except as authorized by statute.

FISA provides two documents for the authorization of surveillance. First, FISA allows the Justice Department to obtain warrants from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) before or up to 72 hours after the beginning of the surveillance. FISA authorizes a FISC judge to issue a warrant for the electronic cameras if “there is probable cause to believe that the target of the electronic surveillance is a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power.” 50 U.S.C. 1805(a)(3). Second, FISA permits the President or his delegate to authorize warrantless surveillance for the collection of foreign intelligence if “there is no substantial likelihood that the surveillance will acquire the contents of any communication to which a United States person is a party”. 50 U.S.C. 1802(a)(1).[51]

Soon after the September 11, 2001 attacks U.S. President George W. Bush issued an executive order that authorized the National Security Agency (NSA) to conduct surveillance of certain telephone calls without obtaining a warrant from the FISC as stipulated by FISA (see 50 U.S.C.1802 50 U.S.C.1809 ). The complete details of the executive order are not known, but according to statements by the administration,[52] the authorization covers telephone calls originating overseas from or to a person suspected of having links to terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda or its affiliates even when the other party to the call is within the US. The legality of surveillance involving US persons and extent of this authorization is at the core of this controversy which has steadily grown to include:

About a week after the 9/11 attacks, Congress passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists (AUMF) which authorized the President to “use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.”

The administration has argued that the language used in the AUMF implicitly authorized the President to exercise those powers “incident to the waging of war”, including the collection of enemy intelligence, FISA provisions notwithstanding.[8]

On January 20, 2006, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee along with lone co-sponsor Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) introduced S. Res. 350, a resolution “expressing the sense of the Senate that Senate Joint Resolution 23 (107th Congress), as adopted by the Senate on September 14, 2001, and subsequently enacted as the Authorization for Use of Military Force does not authorize warrantless domestic surveillance of United States citizens.”[55][56] This non-binding resolution died in the Senate without being brought up for debate or being voted upon.[57]

Because of its highly classified status, little is publicly known about the actual implementation of the NSA domestic electronic surveillance program. Mark Klein, a retired AT&T communications technician, submitted an affidavit including limited technical details known to him personally in support of a class-action lawsuit filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation in federal district court in San Francisco in January 2006 on behalf of AT&T customers who alleged that they had been damaged by the telecommunications corporation’s cooperation with the NSA. The lawsuit is called Hepting v. AT&T.[60][61]

A January 16, 2004 statement by Mr. Klein includes additional technical details regarding the secret 2003 construction of an NSA-operated monitoring facility in Room 641A of 611 Folsom Street in San Francisco, the site of a large SBC phone building, three floors of which are occupied by AT&T.[62][63]

According to Klein’s affidavit, the NSA-equipped room uses equipment built by Narus Corporation to intercept and analyze communications traffic, as well as perform data-mining functions.[64]

In an article appearing in the January/February 2008 issue of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers journal of Security and Privacy, noted technology experts from academia and the computing industry analyzed potential security risks posed by the NSA program, based on information contained in Klein’s affidavits as well as those of expert witness J. Scott Marcus, a designer of large-scale IP-based data networks, former CTO at GTE Internetworking and at Genuity, and former senior advisor for Internet Technology at the US Federal Communications Commission.[65] They concluded that the likely architecture of the system created serious security risks, including the danger that such a surveillance system could be exploited by unauthorized users, criminally misused by trusted insiders, or abused by government agents.[66]

Journalist Barton Gellman reported in the Washington Post that David Addington who was at that time legal counsel to former Vice President Dick Cheney was the author of the controlling legal and technical documents for the NSA surveillance program, typing the documents on a TEMPEST-shielded computer across from his desk in room 268 of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building and storing them in a vault in his office.[67][68][69]

The NSA surveillance controversy involves legal issues that fall into two broad disciplines: statutory interpretation and Constitutional law. Statutory interpretation is the process of interpreting and applying legislation to the facts of a given case. Constitutional law is the body of law that governs the interpretation of the United States Constitution and covers areas of law such as the relationship between the federal government and state governments, the rights of individuals, and other fundamental aspects of the application of government authority in the United States.[70]

However, there are analogies between the NSA Spying Scandal (20012007) and Hewlett-Packard spying scandal (2006)[71] that may ease to predict the court outcomes. HP, in order to find the leak source of its board strategic minutes revealed to press, employed several contractors to investigate the leak issue but without engaging any external legal firm and supervisory stakeholder. Contractors, under supervision of the HP’s internal investigation team, confidentially used false pretense and social security numbers a spying technique namely Pretexting for obtaining phone records of suspicious board members and several journalists. Later on, the HP’s surveillance extended beyond the board of directors leaking issue and became a conspiracy for interest of the probe initiators; through which it was claimed that the informational privacy rights of even innocent employees and directors of the board, who had nothing to do with the board leaks, were violated.

In October 2006, HP’s chairwoman Patricia Dunn and HP’s former chief ethics officer Kevin Hunsaker and several private investigators were charged for criminal cases under California Penal Code such as

All of these charges were dismissed.[72]

18 U.S.C.2511(2)(f) provides in relevant part that “the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 shall be the exclusive means by which electronic surveillance, as defined in 50 U.S.C.1801(f) … and the intercept of domestic [communications] may be conducted.” The interpretation of this clause is central to the controversy because both sides agree that the NSA program operates outside of the procedural framework provided by FISA. The interpretive conflict arises because other provisions of FISA, including the criminal sanctions subpart 50 U.S.C.1809 include an “unless authorized by statute” provision, raising the issue of statutory ambiguity. The administration’s position is that the AUMF is an authorizing statute which satisfies the FISA criteria.

The U.S. Supreme Court faced a similar issue in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld where the government claimed that the AUMF authorized the President to detain U.S. citizens designated as an enemy combatant despite its lack of specific language to that intent and notwithstanding the provisions of 18 U.S.C.4001(a) which requires that the United States government cannot detain an American citizen except by an act of Congress. In that case, the Court ruled:

[B]ecause we conclude that the Government’s second assertion [“that 4001(a) is satisfied, because Hamdi is being detained “pursuant to an Act of Congress” [the AUMF] is correct, we do not address the first. In other words, for the reasons that follow, we conclude that the AUMF is explicit congressional authorization for the detention of individuals … and that the AUMF satisfied 4001(a)’s requirement that a detention be “pursuant to an Act of Congress”

In Hamdan v. Rumsfeld however, the court rejected the government’s argument that the AUMF implicitly authorized the President to establish military commissions in violation of the UCMJ. The opinion of the Court held:

Neither of these congressional Acts, [AUMF or ATC] however, expands the President’s authority to convene military commissions. First, while we assume that the AUMF activated the President’s war powers, see Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, 542 U.S. 507 (2004)) (plurality opinion), and that those powers include the authority to convene military commissions in appropriate circumstances, see id., at 518; Quirin, 317 U. S., at 2829; see also Yamashita, 327 U. S., at 11, there is nothing in the text or legislative history of the AUMF even hinting that Congress intended to expand or alter the authorization set forth in Article 21 of the UCMJ. Cf. Yerger, 8 Wall., at 105 (“Repeals by implication are not favored”)

Determining when explicit congressional authorization is and is not required appears by this decision to require a court to first determine whether an implicit authorization would amount to a “repeal by implication” of the governing Act.

The exclusivity clause also raises a separation of powers issue. (See Constitutional law issues below)

The arguments against the legality of the NSA fall into two broad categories, those who argue that FISA raises no Constitutional issues and therefore the NSA program is illegal on its face

Common to both of these views is the argument that the participation of “US persons” as defined in FISA 50 U.S.C.1801 renders the objectional intercepts “domestic” in nature.[73] Those advocating the “no constitutional issue” position, argue that Congress has the authority it needs to legislate in this area under Article I and the Fourth Amendment[74] while those who see a constitutional conflict[75] acknowledge that the existing delineation between Congressional and Executive authority in this area is not clear[76] but that Congress, in including the exclusivity clause in FISA, meant to carve out a legitimate role for itself in this arena.

The administration holds that an exception to the normal warrant requirements exists when the purpose of the surveillance is to prevent attack from a foreign threat. Such an exception has been upheld at the Circuit Court level when the target was a foreign agent residing abroad,[77][78] a foreign agent residing in the US,[79][80][81][82] and a US citizen abroad.[83] The warrantless exception was struck down when both the target and the threat was deemed domestic.[84] The legality of targeting US persons acting as agents of a foreign power and residing in this country has not been addressed by the US Supreme Court, but has occurred at least once, in the case of Aldrich Ames.[85]

The Administration’s position with regard to statutory interpretation, as outlined in the DOJ whitepaper, is to avoid what it has termed the “difficult Constitutional questions” by

This argument, as outlined in the DOJ whitepaper, is based on the language of the AUMF, specifically, the acknowledgment of the President’s Constitutional authority contained in the preamble; “Whereas, the President has authority under the Constitution to take action to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism against the United States”, and the language in the resolution itself;

[Be it resolved] [t]hat the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

The administration also adds that the program is legal under Title II of the USA PATRIOT Act entitled Enhanced Surveillance Procedures,[citation needed] although it is not relying upon the domestic law enforcement provisions of the PATRIOT Act for authorization of any of the NSA program activities.[citation needed] The President had said prior to this, that Americans’ civil liberties were being protected and that purely domestic wiretapping was being conducted pursuant to warrants under applicable law, including the Patriot Act.[87]

These arguments must be compared to the language of the FISA itself, which states:

Notwithstanding any other law, the President, through the Attorney General, may authorize electronic surveillance without a court order under this subchapter to acquire foreign intelligence information for a period not to exceed fifteen calendar days following a declaration of war by the Congress.[88]

Because the law only authorizes the President to bypass the FISA court during the first 15 days of a war declared by Congress (see “Declaration of war”), the administration’s argument rests on the assumption that the AUMF gave the President more power than was understood as absolutely implicit in any Congressional “declaration of war” at the time of the statute’s enactment. However, as a “declaration of war by the Congress” encompasses all military actions so declared, no matter how small, brief or otherwise constrained by Congress, the above citation could be seen as setting not a default or typical level of Presidential wartime authority, but instead a presumptive minimum, which might more often than not be extended (explicitly or implicitly) by Congress’s war declaration.

According to Peter J. Wallison, former White House Counsel to President Ronald Reagan: “It is true, of course, that a president’s failure to report to Congress when he is required to do so by law is a serious matter, but in reality the reporting requirement was a technicality that a President could not be expected to know about.”[89] In regard to this program, a Gang of Eight (eight key members of Congress, thirteen in this case between the 107th and 109th Congressional Sessions) have been kept informed to some degree:

Under the National Security Act of 1947, 501503, codified as 50 USC 413-413b,[90] the President is required to keep Congressional intelligence committees “fully and currently” informed of U.S. intelligence activities, “consistent with … protection from unauthorized disclosure of classified information relating to sensitive intelligence sources and methods or other exceptionally sensitive matters.” For covert actions, from which intelligence gathering activities are specifically excluded in 413b(e)(1), the President is specifically permitted to limit reporting to the so-called “Gang of Eight”.[91]

The administration contends that with regard to the NSA surveillance program, the administration fulfilled its notification obligations by briefing key members of Congress (thirteen individuals in this case between the 107th and 109th Congressional sessions) have been briefed on the NSA program more than a dozen times[citation needed] but they were forbidden from sharing information about the program with other members or staff.[citation needed]

On January 18, 2006 the Congressional Research Service released a report, “Statutory Procedures Under Which Congress Is To Be Informed of U.S. Intelligence Activities, Including Covert Actions”.[92][93] That report found that “[b]ased upon publicly reported descriptions of the program, the NSA surveillance program would appear to fall more closely under the definition of an intelligence collection program, rather than qualify as a covert action program as defined by statute”, and, therefore, concluded there was no specific statutory basis for limiting briefings on the terrorist surveillance program to the Gang of Eight.[94] However, the report goes on to note in its concluding paragraph that limited disclosure is also permitted under the statute “in order to protect intelligence sources and methods”.[95]

Thus, although the specific statutory “Gang of Eight” notification procedure for covert action would not seem to apply to the NSA program, it is not clear if a limited notification procedure intended to protect sources and methods is expressly prohibited. Additionally, should the sources and methods exception apply it will require a factual determination as to whether it should apply to disclosure of the program itself or only to specific sensitive aspects.

The constitutional debate surrounding executive authorization of warrantless surveillance is principally about separation of powers (“checks and balances”). If, as discussed above, no “fair reading” of FISA can be found in satisfaction of the canon of avoidance, these issues will have to be decided at the appellate level, by United States courts of appeals. It should be noted that in such a separation of powers dispute, the burden of proof is placed upon the Congress to establish its supremacy in the matter: the Executive branch enjoys the presumption of authority until an Appellate Court rules against it.[citation needed]

Article I vests Congress with the sole authority “To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces” and “To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.” The U.S. Supreme Court has used the “necessary and proper” clause of Article I to affirm broad Congressional authority to legislate as it sees fit in the domestic arena[citation needed] but has limited its application in the arena of foreign affairs. In the landmark Curtiss-Wright decision, Justice Sutherland writes in his opinion of the Court:

The [“powers of the federal government in respect of foreign or external affairs and those in respect of domestic or internal affairs”] are different, both in respect of their origin and their nature. The broad statement that the federal government can exercise no powers except those specifically enumerated in the Constitution, and such implied powers as are necessary and proper to carry into effect the enumerated powers, is categorically true only in respect of our internal affairs.

Article II vests the President with power as “Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States,” and requires that he “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed”.

The U.S. Supreme Court has historically used Article II to justify wide deference to the President in the arena of foreign affairs.[citation needed] Two historical and recent Supreme Court cases define the secret wiretapping by the NSA. Quoting again from the Curtiss-Wright decision:

It is important to bear in mind that we are here dealing not alone with an authority vested in the President by an exertion of legislative power, but with such an authority plus the very delicate, plenary and exclusive power of the President as the sole organ of the federal government in the field of international relationsa power which does not require as a basis for its exercise an act of Congress, but which, of course, like every other governmental power, must be exercised in subordination to the applicable provisions of the Constitution.

The extent of the President’s power as Commander-in-Chief has never been fully defined, but two U.S. Supreme Court cases are considered seminal in this area:[96][97]Youngstown Sheet and Tube Co. v. Sawyer and Curtiss-Wright.

In addition, two relatively new cases, Hamdi v. Rumsfeld and Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, have clarified, and in the case of Hamdan limited, the scope of executive power to detain and try suspected terrorists as enemy combatants.

In Hamdan, the Court’s opinion in footnote 23, rejected the notion that Congress is impotent to regulate the exercise of executive war powers:

Whether or not the President has independent power, absent congressional authorization, to convene military commissions, he may not disregard limitations that Congress has, in proper exercise of its own war powers, placed on his powers. See Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, 343 U. S. 579, 637 (1952) (Jackson, J., concurring). The Government does not argue otherwise.

Whether “proper exercise” of Congressional war powers includes authority to regulate the gathering of foreign intelligence, which in other rulings[citation needed] has been recognized as “fundamentally incident to the waging of war”, is a historical point of contention between the Executive and Legislative branches.[8][98]

As noted in “Presidential Authority to Conduct Warrantless Electronic Surveillance to Gather Foreign Intelligence Information”, published by The Congressional Research Service:

A review of the history of intelligence collection and its regulation by Congress suggests that the two political branches have never quite achieved a meeting of the minds regarding their respective powers. Presidents have long contended that the ability to conduct surveillance for intelligence purposes is a purely executive function, and have tended to make broad assertions of authority while resisting efforts on the part of Congress or the courts to impose restrictions. Congress has asserted itself with respect to domestic surveillance, but has largely left matters involving overseas surveillance to executive self-regulation, subject to congressional oversight and willingness to provide funds.

The same report makes clear the Congressional view that intelligence gathered within the U.S. and where “one party is a U.S. person” qualifies as domestic in nature and as such completely within their purview to regulate, and further that Congress may “tailor the President’s use of an inherent constitutional power”:

The passage of FISA and the inclusion of such exclusivity language reflects Congress’s view of its authority to cabin the President’s use of any inherent constitutional authority with respect to warrantless electronic surveillance to gather foreign intelligence.

The Senate Judiciary Committee articulated its view with respect to congressional power to tailor the President’s use of an inherent constitutional power:

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights and helps guard against “unreasonable” searches and seizures by agents of the government. It is solely a right of the people that neither the Executive nor Legislative branch can lawfully abrogate, not even if acting in concert: no statute can make an unreasonable search reasonable, nor a reasonable search unreasonable.

The term “unreasonable” is deliberately imprecise but connotes the sense that there is a rational basis for the search and that it is not an excessive imposition upon the individual given the motivation for and circumstances of the search, and is in accordance with customary societal norms. It is conceived that a judge will be sufficiently distanced from the authorities seeking a warrant that they can render an impartial decision unaffected by any prejudices or improper motivations they (or the legislators who enacted a law they are seeking to enforce) may harbor.

An individual who believes their Fourth Amendment rights have been violated by an unreasonable search or seizure may file a civil suit for monetary compensation and seek a court-ordered end to a pattern or practice of such unlawful activities by government authorities, although the plaintiff will need to have evidence that such a wiretap is taking place in order to show standing (Amnesty International v. Clapper). Such civil rights violations are sometimes punishable by state or federal law. Evidence obtained in an unlawful search or seizure is generally inadmissible in a criminal trial.

The law countenances searches without warrant as “reasonable” in numerous circumstances, among them (see below): the persons, property, and papers of individuals crossing the border of the United States and those of paroled felons; in prisons, public schools and government offices; and of international mail. Although these are undertaken as a result of statute or Executive order, they should not be seen as deriving their legitimacy from these, rather, the Fourth Amendment explicitly allows reasonable searches, and the government has instituted some of these as public policy.

The Supreme Court held in Katz v. United States (1967), that the monitoring and recording of private conversations within the United States constitutes a “search” for Fourth Amendment purposes, and therefore the government must generally obtain a warrant before undertaking such domestic recordings.

The Supreme Court has also held in Smith v Maryland (1979) that citizens have no Fourth Amendment expectation of privacy in the business records (sometimes termed metadata) of their communications. This means that the court can subpoena data such as the numbers that an individual has phoned, when and, to a limited degree, where (subject to Jones v. United States) the phone conversation occurred, although a full judicial warrant would be required for the government to acquire or admit audio content from the telephone call. Under Section 215 of the PATRIOT act, the FBI can subpoena some or all such records from a business record holder using a warrant applied for in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

The protection of “private conversations” has been held to apply only to conversations where the participants have not only manifested a desire but also a reasonable expectation that their conversation is indeed private and that no other party is listening in. In the absence of such a reasonable expectation, the Fourth Amendment does not apply, and surveillance without warrant does not violate it. Privacy is clearly not a reasonable expectation in communications to persons in the many countries whose governments openly intercept electronic communications, and is of dubious reasonability in countries against which the United States is waging war.

The law also recognizes a distinction between domestic surveillance taking place within U.S. borders and foreign surveillance of non-U.S. persons either in the U.S. or abroad.[99] In United States v. Verdugo-Urquidez, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the principle that the Constitution does not extend protection to non-U.S. persons located outside of the United States, so no warrant would be required to engage in even physical searches of non-U.S. citizens abroad.

The U.S. Supreme Court has never ruled on the constitutionality of warrantless searches targeting foreign powers or their agents within the US. There have been, however, a number of Circuit Court rulings upholding the constitutionality of such warrantless searches.[100] In United States v. Bin Laden, the Second Circuit noted that “no court, prior to FISA, that was faced with the choice, imposed a warrant requirement for foreign intelligence searches undertaken within the United States.”[101] Assistant Attorney General William Moschella in his written response to questions from the House Judiciary Committee explained that in the administration’s view, this unanimity of pre-FISA Circuit Court decisions vindicates their argument that warrantless foreign-intelligence surveillance authority existed prior to FISA and since, as these ruling indicate, that authority derives from the Executive’s inherent Article II powers, they may not be encroached by statute.[102] In 2002, the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review (Court of Review) met for the first time and issued an opinion (In re: Sealed Case No. 02-001) which seems to echo that view. They too noted all the Federal courts of appeal having looked at the issue had concluded that there was constitutional power for the president to conduct warrantless foreign intelligence surveillance. Furthermore, based on these rulings it “took for granted such power exits” and ruled that under this presumption, “FISA could not encroach on the president’s constitutional power.” Professor Orin Kerr argues in rebuttal that the part of In re: Sealed Case No. 02-001 that dealt with FISA (rather than the Fourth Amendment) was nonbinding obiter dicta and that the argument does not restrict Congress’s power to regulate the executive in general.[103]

Harold Koh, dean of Yale Law School, Suzanne Spaulding, former general counsel for the Intelligence Committees of the House and Senate, and former Counsel to the President John Dean, contend that FISA clearly makes the wiretapping illegal and subject to the criminal penalties of FISA,[104] (in seeming disagreement with the FISA Court of Review finding above) and that the president’s own admissions already constitute sufficient evidence of a violation of the Fourth Amendment, without requiring further factual evidence. Professor John C. Eastman, in his analysis, prepared at the behest of the House Judiciary Committee, comparing the CRS and DOJ reports, concluded instead that under the Constitution and ratified by both historical and Supreme Court precedent, “the President clearly has the authority to conduct surveillance of enemy communications in time of war and of the communications to and from those he reasonably believes are affiliated with our enemies. Moreover, it should go without saying that such activities are a fundamental incident of war.”[105]

Orin S. Kerr, associate professor of law at The George Washington University Law School[106] and a leading scholar in the subjects of computer crime law and internet surveillance,[107] points to an analogy between the NSA intercepts and searches allowed by the Fourth Amendment under the border search exception.

The border search exception permits searches at the border of the United States “or its functional equivalent.” (United States v. Montoya De Hernandez, 473 U.S. 531, 538 (1985)). The idea here is that the United States as a sovereign nation has a right to inspect stuff entering or exiting the country as a way of protecting its sovereign interests, and that the Fourth Amendment permits such searches. Courts have applied the border search exception in cases of PCs and computer hard drives; if you bring a computer into or out of the United States, the government can search your computer for contraband or other prohibited items at the airport or wherever you are entering or leaving the country. See, e.g., United States v. Ickes, 393 F.3d 501 (4th Cir. 2005) (Wilkinson, J.)…At the same time, I don’t know of a rationale in the case law for treating data differently than physical storage devices. The case law on the border search exception is phrased in pretty broad language, so it seems at least plausible that a border search exception could apply to monitoring at an ISP or telephone provider as the “functional equivalent of the border,” much like airports are the functional equivalent of the border in the case of international airline travel…the most persuasive case on point: United States v. Ramsey, [held] that the border search exception applies to all international postal mail, permitting all international postal mail to be searched.

Evidence gathered without warrant may raise significant Fourth Amendment issues which could preclude its use in a criminal trial. As a general rule of law, evidence obtained improperly without lawful authority, may not be used in a criminal prosecution.[citation needed] The U.S. Supreme Court has never addressed the constitutionality of warrantless searches (which has been broadly defined by the court to include surveillance) targeting foreign powers or their agents, the admissibility of such evidence in a criminal trial nor whether it is permissible to obtain or use evidence gathered without warrant against US persons acting as agents of a foreign power.[citation needed]

The National Security Act of 1947[108] requires Presidential findings for covert acts. SEC. 503. [50 U.S.C. 413b] (a) (5) of that act states: “A finding may not authorize any action that would violate the Constitution or any statute of the United States.”

On August 17, 2006, Judge Anna Diggs Taylor of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan ruled in ACLU v. NSA that the Terrorist Surveillance Program was unconstitutional under the Fourth and First Amendments and enjoined the NSA from using the program to conduct electronic surveillance “in contravention of [FISA or Title III]”.[36] In her ruling,[109] she wrote:

The President of the United States, a creature of the same Constitution which gave us these Amendments, has indisputably violated the Fourth in failing to procure judicial orders as required by FISA, and accordingly has violated the First Amendment Rights of these Plaintiffs as well.

Even some legal experts who agreed with the outcome have criticized the reasoning set forth in the opinion.[110] Others have argued that the perceived flaws in the opinion in fact reflect the Department of Justice’s refusal to argue the legal merits of the program (they chose to focus solely on arguments about standing and state secrets grounds).[111]

On October 4, 2006, a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit unanimously ruled that the government can continue the program while it appeals the lower court decision.[112][113]

On July 6, 2007 the Sixth Circuit dismissed the case, finding that the plaintiffs had no standing.

The Court found that:[114]

[T]he plaintiffs do not and because of the State Secrets Doctrine cannot produce any evidence that any of their own communications have ever been intercepted by the NSA, under the TSP, or without warrants. Instead, they assert a mere belief, which they contend is reasonable and which they label a well founded belief,…

Implicit in each of the plaintiffs’ alleged injuries is the underlying possibility which the plaintiffs label a “well founded belief” and seek to treat as a probability or even a certainty that the NSA is presently intercepting, or will eventually intercept, communications to or from one or more of these particular plaintiffs, and that such interception would be detrimental to the plaintiffs’ clients, sources, or overseas contacts. This is the premise upon which the plaintiffs’ entire theory is built.

But even though the plaintiffs’ beliefs based on their superior knowledge of their contacts’ activities may be reasonable, the alternative possibility remains that the NSA might not be intercepting, and might never actually intercept, any communication by any of the plaintiffs named in this lawsuit.

Corporate secrecy is also an issue. Wired reported: In a letter to the EFF, AT&T objected to the filing of the documents in any manner, saying that they contain sensitive trade secrets and could be “used to ‘hack’ into the AT&T network, compromising its integrity.”[115] However, Chief Judge Vaughn Walker stated, during the September 12, 2008 hearing in the class-action lawsuit filed by the EFF, that the Klein evidence could be presented in court, effectively ruling that AT&T’s trade secret and security claims were unfounded.

The majority of legal arguments supporting the NSA warrantless surveillance program have been based on the War Powers Resolution. There have not been any other noteworthy types of supporting legal arguments. The War Powers Resolution has been questioned as unconstitutional since its creation, and its adaptation to the NSA warrantless surveillance program has been questionable.

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Respected /r/Bitcoin Moderators Being Removed By Theymos

 Bitcoin  Comments Off on Respected /r/Bitcoin Moderators Being Removed By Theymos
Sep 112015
 

Bitcoin and free speech should go hand in hand, but not all internet-based platforms are planning to let just anything slip by without repercussions. While there is a certain need to tone down user comments and discussions at times, publicly censoring Bitcoin discussions because moderators can, is taking things a few steps too far. By the look of things, the Bitcoin subReddit is undergoing some moderator changes for the umpteenth time.

Also read: In Depth Interview With Lyn Ulbricht: Family, Activism, and Justice

It is a public secret that the level of free speech over at the Bitcoin subReddit is only extending to a select few posters, whereas everyone else will regularly see posts downvoted or deleted without obvious reason. These shenanigans have been going on for quite some time, and despite public outrage from the Reddit community, things are getting progressively worse.

Users are being shadowbanned left, right, and center on the Bitcoin subReddit, simply because their opinions do not match those of the moderators in charge. Furthermore, the recent heated debate on Bitcoin Core and Bitcoin XT development caused more shadowbans in a week compared to the total amount of bans issued for as long as the subReddit exists.

While there is a clear need for moderation on the Bitcoin subReddit at certain times, restricting free speech altogether is not the right course of action. Several moderators, who are often labeled as Theymos lackies or even Theymos cronies are always at the forefront of controversial bans, post removals and downvoted comments.

There was a sliver of light at the end of this long and dark tunnel, as some of the older moderators started being more active on the Bitcoin subReddit. Unfortunately, not all of them are being kept around for too long, depending on how well they behave in terms of siding with other moderators. Some people like to kiss ass, whereas others do not, this is simply the way the world works today.

Should an /r/Bitcoin moderator find himself in the latter category, chances are very real to see moderator status being taken away by Theymos himself. A recent post on Reddit, started by user hardleft121, details how his moderator privileges were taken away by Theymos. Admittedly, hardleft121 also indicates this wasnt exactly what he had expected, as he felt he did not pull his weight. But what is most important: hardleft121 clearly states being a moderator on this subReddit is far from fun.

In a clear show of disrespect, Theymos decided to remove moderator privileges from a loyal Reddit contributor who even donated Bitcoins to clean up this mess in the first place. This is not the first time Bitcoin funds is being poorly managed by Theymos and his group of thugs, as he is sitting on a lot of Bitcoins originally contributed to the Bitcointalk forums for upgrades and expansion. Neither of those has happened in an effective manner, despite minor tweaks over the years.

A large part of the Bitcoin Reddit community recognizes hardleft121 as one of the true spirits of what this subReddit should have been. However, the reality is a far cry away from what /r/Bitcoin should be all about, as moderators enforce people to push the agenda of Theymos, rather than creating an open platform where free speech reigns supreme.

The worst part about this whole ordeal is how moderators are removed without prior warning. One day, a /r/Bitcoin moderator wakes up, logs into Reddit, and sees a message saying they have been removed from the team. No warnings, no further explanation, nothing at all. Being kicked to the curb is a saying that comes to mind rather quickly.

This is not the first time the Bitcoin subReddit is under scrutiny by the Bitcoin community. Just a few weeks ago, censorship started rearing its ugly head once again, as Theymos and consorts started removing any posts related to Bitcoin XT. While the /r/Bitcoin moderators are entitled to their opinion, they should by no means enforce it upon the entire Reddit community.

What are your thoughts on the old guard of /r/Bitcoin moderators being removed from power? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: Reddit

Images courtesy of Reddit, Shutterstock, Theplanetd

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Respected /r/Bitcoin Moderators Being Removed By Theymos

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Liberty House – 207 Photos – American (New) – Jersey City …

 Liberty  Comments Off on Liberty House – 207 Photos – American (New) – Jersey City …
Aug 082015
 

I was here last night for dinner, with 3 girlfriends. We made a reservation weeks prior, simply due to the fact that it’s the holiday season and we figured it would be busy!

Once we walked in, we were greeted by the hostess, she showed us to our table and gave us the drink menu. Within 5 minutes we were introduced to our waiter, he took our drink order, told us the specials and left us with menus.

Being that this was all of our first times here we order a little bit of everything. For starters, drinks, obviously the most important, 3 cosmos and an extra dirty martini, all super yummy, yet a tiny bit to strong. For appetizer we ordered the sushi special, which was average, I’ve had better sushi at a take out place. The sausage risotto, which had wayyyyyy to much blue cheese on it, the organic salad, just your plain old salad, and the calamari, which was actually perfectly cooked. For dinner, we ordered the hanger steak, short ribs and the cod special. Presentation was very nice portion size was decent, but in my opinion a little small considering the large price tag. Everything was fresh though! For dessert we ordered the apple strudel, which was alright, not the best I’ve had. All that for 4 people came to $238, my opinion, just a tad pricey!!!

The view is great, but, during the winter you can’t really sit outside and enjoy the view, and to be honest, I’m not paying for the view, I’m paying for the food!

Service was great! Our server was clearly knowledgeable of the food he was serving which is great!

All in all, I would come back! Maybe during the summer so I can enjoy the view!

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Pierre Teilhard De Chardin | Designer Children | Prometheism | Euvolution