OKLAHOMA CITY –
You may have heard of civil asset forfeiture.
That’s where police can seize your property and cash without first proving you committed a crime; without a warrant and without arresting you, as long as they suspect that your property is somehow tied to a crime.
Now, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol has a device that also allows them to seize money in your bank account or on prepaid cards.
It’s called an ERAD, or Electronic Recovery and Access to Data machine, and state police began using 16 of them last month.
Here’s how it works. If a trooper suspects you may have money tied to some type of crime, the highway patrol can scan any cards you have and seize the money.
“We’re gonna look for different factors in the way that you’re acting,” Oklahoma Highway Patrol Lt. John Vincent said. “We’re gonna look for if there’s a difference in your story. If there’s someway that we can prove that you’re falsifying information to us about your business.”
Troopers insist this isn’t just about seizing cash.
“I know that a lot of people are just going to focus on the seizing money. That’s a very small thing that’ s happening now. The largest part that we have found … the biggest benefit has been the identity theft,” Vincent said.
“If you can prove can prove that you have a legitimate reason to have that money it will be given back to you. And we’ve done that in the past,” Vincent said about any money seized.
State Sen. Kyle Loveless, R-Oklahoma City, said that removes due process and the belief that a suspect is presumed innocent until proven guilty. He said we’ve already seen cases in Oklahoma where police are abusing the system.
“We’ve seen single mom’s stuff be taken, a cancer survivor his drugs taken, we saw a Christian band being taken. We’ve seen innocent people’s stuff being taken. We’ve seen where the money goes and how it’s been misspent,” Loveless said.
Loveless plans to introduce legislation next session that would require a conviction before any assets could be seized.
“If I had to err on the side of one side versus the other, I would err on the side of the Constitution,” Loveless said. “And I think that’s what we need to do.”
News 9 obtained a copy of the contract with the state.
It shows the state is paying ERAD Group Inc., $5,000 for the software and scanners, then 7.7 percent of all the cash the highway patrol seizes.
Legendary news publication “The Economist” has seen fit to not only acknowledge the innovations of Blockchain’s technology but produce a feature story on it for the current October 31 weekly edition. The cover story’s title is called, “The trust machine – How the technology behind bitcoin could change the world.” Here we go over some excerpts and the basic tenor of the piece.
The Economist is one of the Western world’s oldest and most trusted publications
As you may already be aware, Bitcoin does not have a sterling reputation within the mainstream media, if that fact has alluded you to this point, The Economist makes sure you get that realization stated up front as fact within the story’s first sentence, which succinctly reads “Bitcoin has a bad reputation.” The online edition fails to reveal a name of an author for this story.
This first sentence sets up the article with a short summary of why the generally negative reputation has been established, so far. By the middle of the second paragraph, it does not refute any issues with the public image Bitcoin. They seem to have little interest in disputing its validity, but they rush to the defense of the technological flavor-of-the-month, Bitcoin’s revolutionary Blockchain technology, whose impressive skip set is attracting venture capitalists and banking magnates like moths to a flame.
An original point of view was the use of Napster as the progenitor, the guiding light, for all future peer-to-peer networks, be it Napster, Spotify or Bitcoin. The article covers the broad strokes of what a blockchain is and how it may help businesses become more efficient in a multitude of business fields, from banking to real estate registry in Honduras. A swing at Bitcoin, while catapulting “The Blockchain” is pretty much a prerequisite in such an editorial piece.
“Bitcoin itself may never be more than a curiosity. However, blockchains have a host of other uses because they meet the need for a trustworthy record, something vital for transactions of every sort. Dozens of startups now hope to capitalize on the blockchain technology, either by doing clever things with the bitcoin blockchain or by creating new blockchains of their own.”
It has some other facets of the interaction between the mainstream and the blockchain that I won’t spoil. The representation of how a major pillar of the mainstream media with 1,400,000 weekly readers covers a revolutionary technology like Bitcoin and its blockchain is worth a read. The piece is generally quite positive, if fairly predictable, but the idea of promoting the blockchain over Bitcoin reminds me of something my favorite Bitcoin guru Andreas Antonopoulos said. He said the following at a recent Wired Money Bitcoin education seminar in July that is quite salient, to put this in perspective.
“The Blockchain, in itself, is boring technology. It’s a slow ledger. Don’t make the mistake of ignoring the disruptive potential of Bitcoin, and so you can get some watered-down, CompuServe-like, smooth jazz, soft version of it that feels nice and comfortable at the executive Board Room. There are two places you can be. You can be Blockbuster or your can be Netflix. That’s why Bitcoin is the important thing, not The Blockchain.”
Reading The Economist piece is a good idea, as is watching the video of Andreas’ dissertation at Wired Money. Take in the arguments from both sides of the aisle, and make a decision on where your digital future is headed. Will you be much more educated listening to Andreas for twenty minutes over reading the referenced article for 7 minutes through the link above? Absolutely, but inquiring minds might want to know what the mainstream’s latest spin looks like in print, however short-sighted it may be.
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Three North Carolina men fearing a government takeover and martial law stockpiled weapons, ammunition and tactical gear while attempting to rig home-made explosives, according to charges announced by the Justice Department on Monday.
The men from Gaston County, near Charlotte, were arrested by federal authorities on Saturday after more than a month’s investigation.
Walter Eugene Litteral, 50, Christopher James Barker, 41, and Christopher Todd Campbell, 30, are accused of stockpiling guns and ammunition, as well as attempting to manufacture pipe bombs and live grenades from military surplus “dummy” grenades, according unsealed criminal complaints released Monday.
The close to 60 pages of information compiled by federal authorities since July include allegations Litteral planned to makes explosives out of tennis balls covered in nails and coffee cans filled with ball bearings.
According to the documents, both Litteral and Campbell spoke openly about their opposition to Jade Helm 15, a series of ongoing special forces training missions in several Southwestern states that has drawn suspicion from residents who fear it is part of a planned military takeover.
In addition to ammunition for a long-range .338 caliber rifle, the authorities said Litteral purchased hand-held radios, Kevlar helmets, body armor and face masks in preparation for an armed resistance to the feared military occupation.
Litteral was also planning to purchase an assault rifle along with ammunition for Barker, whose past convictions for possession of stolen goods and cocaine barred him from possessing a gun, according to the documents.
The FBI began its investigation in mid-June after receiving a tip about Litteral and Barker attempting to make homemade explosives, and later began investigating Campbell based on similar information that he was attempting to reconstruct grenades.
Litteral was quoted in the documents calling his planned homemade explosives “game changers,” and authorities allege he planned to test the devices with Barker in Shelby, North Carolina.
The federal conspiracy charges carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. In addition, Campbell has been charged with a separate firearms charge punishable by 10 years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.
In addition to the FBI, agencies assisting in the investigation include the North Carolina Highway Patrol, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Federal Air Marshal Service as well as local police in Charlotte, Belmont, Mount Holly and Gastonia.
The men will remain in federal custody pending the outcome of detention hearings scheduled for Thursday. It was not immediately clear if they had attorneys.
Retired general and former Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark on Friday called for World War II-style internment camps to be revived for “disloyal Americans.” In an interview with MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts in the wake of the mass shooting in Chatanooga, Tennessee, Clark said that during World War II, “if someone supported Nazi Germany at the expense of the United States, we didn’t say that was freedom of speech, we put him in a camp, they were prisoners of war.”
He called for a revival of internment camps to help combat Muslim extremism, saying, “If these people are radicalized and they don’t support the United States and they are disloyal to the United States as a matter of principle, fine. It’s their right and it’s our right and obligation to segregate them from the normal community for the duration of the conflict.”
There are sociopaths who have decided to feed off of others’ productive efforts. They feel that they do not need to prepare for future disasters because, with their guns, they will just take what they need to survive. This article discusses how to quickly recognize and avoid such dangerous people who may have a strong potential for violence and crime. This article will give some specific clues to consider, but one of the best ways to recognize dangerous, crime prone people and the violence they bring is by being aware of your own gut feelings.
No matter how exciting or entertaining some people seem to be, think twice about staying involved with them if they:
1. Are alcohol or drug abusers who easily can lose control of themselves, especially when they are under the influence of their drugs or when they are in desperate need of their drugs.
2. Show little or no evidence of empathy.
3. Seem to be incapable of feeling guilt.
4. Seem to be hostile and impulsive.
5. Appear to have a strong preference for action instead of thought.
6. Exhibit rapid and extreme mood swings.
7. Tend to project blame from themselves unto others.
8. Seem to live mainly for the present and have little appreciation for the future consequences of their actions.
9. Exhibit a sense of entitlement.
10. Show resentment toward authority figures and do not conform to normal social customs and laws.
11. Have friends who are similar to them.
12. Casually mention past altercations, arrests, or incarcerations.
13. Believe more in fate than in their ability to determine their futures and to avoid crime.
14. Have facial scars that possibly came from their past, violent encounters.
As an early warning system, these clues are imperfect. There are some types of dangerous people who may exhibit some of these clues, but not all or even most of these clues. There are even normal people who may display some of these clues, but who never will resort to violence and crime. Nevertheless, the more of these clues that you detect, the more you should be on your guard and the more you should avoid extended association with such a potentially violent, crime prone person. It is probably better to be too suspicious than to be too naïve and trusting as this young woman discovered.
Matthew 26:15 reads, “All who draw the sword will die by the sword. Sociopaths will get what they deserve. Being associated with a sociopath in any way also can put innocent people at risk.
If you think bitcoin is mainstream, though, think again. According to an analysis earlier this year, there were only 1.2 million bitcoin addresses holding anything other than dust as of February.
Even its advocates admit that it has a long way to go. Curtis Fenimore’s attempt to promote bitcoin to the masses has stalled. Bitcoin Bigfoot, his grassroots effort to get posters and other materials promoting bitcoin out into the community, “hasn’t been all that active or relevant lately,” he admitted.
Fenimore raised all of the bitcoins for his public awareness effort when the price was over $700. Then, he spent the funds on Bitcoin Bigfoot after the price fell under $700. It was just the luck of the draw.
In the meantime, many people are still blissfully unaware of bitcoin. “We still have a very long way to go in absolute terms,” he suggested.
The perception problem may have more to do with depth than breadth. Bitcoin entrepreneur Erik Voorhees argued that around half the people he spoke to are aware of bitcoin, but only a small fraction understand it.
This is normal and expected, said Voorhees:
“Both the Internet and Paypal had a long period where people heard of it and sort of knew what it was, before they really tried it out.”
Conquering the learning curve
How will the understanding of bitcoin grow among the masses that have heard of it, but know little about it? We’re still in the speculation phase, where people hope to make a fast buck. This early, immature phase could work to the cryptocurrency’s advantage, said Voorhees.
Successive price bubbles create an effect called the ‘tide theory’. When prices spike, people wake up, smelling a potential money-making opportunity, and flock to bitcoin hoping for profit. That may be a short-term reaction, but it sparks a new wave of user adoption.
When the price slumps again, many of the people who arrived in that wave will slide away, but some will stay. Those remaining will have gained a deep understanding of bitcoin and its technology. With each successive bubble, the pool of adopters that continue to use the payment network increases.
Kudos to developer Larry Hall for finding an inventive way to sell $3M luxury condos he built in a stretch of desert near Concordia, Kansas. His trick? Siting them in decommissioned missile silos strong enough to survive a nuclear attack.
As the Wall Street Journalreports, Hall has not only done enough prep work for doomsday-minded Americans with money to burn—outfitting the facility with a hydroponic vegetable garden, “sophisticated water and air-treatment facilities, state-of-the-art computer network technology and several alternate power generation capabilities”—but he knows his clients will want to keep up a certain standard of living should the world become a blasted radioactive hellscape. Which is why the underground luxury condo has a 17-seat movie theater, a swimming pool, a dog park, and a gym. It even has its own little jail!
Cabin fever getting to you? Each of the units comes with “windows,” i.e., video screens that can show a few outdoor scenes reminiscent of a Windows background image, so occupants can lose themselves in pastoral scenes while the world outside burns.
Hall completed construction on his first luxury bunker in 2012. All seven of the 1,820-square-foot floors have been sold—the Journal has a nifty diagram of a cross-section of the facility—four of them to the executive of a tobacco-product firm, who paid $12M in cash. A Florida nightclub owner who bought a full-floor unit in a second compound that’s currently under construction maintains that he is not at all the “tinfoil hat-wearing” type. Tinfoil being the poor man’s response to irrational fears.
Hall is currently considering silos in Texas and elsewhere for additional developments. So business is booming! Here’s a look inside one of the completed complexes, which owners are free to live in full-time while they wait for the worst.
When Bill Gates introduced the Windows® operating system it changed how we use computers forever and made Gates one of the wealthiest men on the planet.
But it was also Gate’s unique business model that made Microsoft the powerhouse that it is today. Instead of hiring programmers to write his code he chose mathematicians, physicists and other scientists under the theory that if they were that smart computer programming would be a piece of cake. Gates was most certainly correct as the company’s success amply demonstrates. Now this software legend is adding his thoughts on Bitcoin and what it might mean to the future.
Gates has been mostly silent on the issue of Bitcoin, which is a bit strange considering his background in both tech and business, but he finally broke his meditation about Bitcoin in a recent interview with Erik Schatzker on Bloomberg TV’s Smart Street show recently. Schatzker asked his opinion of cryptocurrencies during the interview and Gates replied:
“Bitcoin is exciting because it shows how cheap it can be. Bitcoin is better than currency in that you don’t have to be physically in the same place and, of course, for large transactions, currency can get pretty inconvenient.”
But the richest man in America did not stop there. He went on to talk about the bad reputation that Bitcoin has gotten from a media that only seems to report when something bad happens, such as Mt. Gox and Silk Road. While Bitcoin has been used by criminals over the years, in today’s world this is simply no longer as true because more and more ordinary citizens are adopting it with enthusiasm. Gates shed light on this aspect, stating:
“The customers we’re talking about aren’t trying to be anonymous. They’re willing to be known, so Bitcoin technology is key and you can add to it or you could build a similar technology where there’s enough attribution where people feel comfortable that this is nothing to do with terrorism or any type of money laundering.”
Gates also spoke at the Sibos 2014 financial-services industry conference in Boston recently and while his support for a new age in finance was not apparent, he was most definitely in favor of using Bitcoin as a payments solution at the very least. During his speech he made it clear that he believed virtual currencies will take the forefront leading to all financial transactions being “digital, universal and almost free.”
The Canadian government has had to warn its citizens not to carry cash to the USA because the USA does not presume innocence but guilt when it comes to money.
Over $2.5 billion has been confiscated from Canadians traveling to the USA, funding the police who grab it.If you are bringing cash to the land of the free, you will find that that saying really means they are FREE to seize all your money under the pretense you are engaged in drugs with no evidence or other charges.
It costs more money in legal fees to try to get it back so it is a boom business for unethical lawyers to such an extent than only one in sixth people ever try to get their money back and the cops just pocket it. That’s right.
Money confiscated is usually allowed to be kept by the department who confiscated it.
This is strangely working its way into funding police and pensions.
This is identical to the very issue that resulted in the final collapse of Rome when the armies began to sack cities to pay for their pensions.
We are at that level now with respect to seizing whatever they want knowing you will have to spend more in legal fees to assert your rights that do not really exist.Those trying to flee tyranny elsewhere can not bring money with them for the police get to take it on this end.
This pretend war on terrorism is really a wholesale war against the people. It serves as the justification to seize whatever they desire ever since 9/11 as reported by the Washington Post.
Every so often there is a natural disaster, terrorist incident, or major crisis that throws parts of the country into temporary chaos. Many times everything people own is wiped out as was the case with Hurricane Katrina, Super-storm Sandy, and the Joplin tornado. When these things happen, you see society at its worst with looting, violence, and mass chaos. Given Americans’ history of rioting over small things like Black Friday sales and sporting events, it makes sense that this would happen in the event of a major disaster. Those that prepare for these events are being prudent and should be commended.
To the governments of the world, it is about control. The establishment does not like any movement that is outside of their control. For example, in Venezuela, the government has called on prosecutors to target people who are “hoarding” basic staples in the event of a natural disaster or economic crisis. In the U.S. an executive order gives the federal government the authority to seize, confiscate, or re-delegate resources from companies or individuals as deemed necessary in the event of a national security emergency or disaster. In Los Angeles County, codes officials raided the homes of hundreds of people who were growing and storing their own food and producing solar power. The county officials informed them that they could keep their land but they would have to clear everything off of it and would not be allowed to live there.