The digital cryptocurrency Bitcoin has enjoyed an explosive rise into the mainstream of late. What was once considered by most to be an obscure, technically-complex financial invention used only by ideologues on the fringes of society has now gained recognition as an anonymous and secure way to engage in online transactions with individuals and businesses from around the world. A robust Bitcoin marketplace recently emerged in China, driving its value above $200. In fact, for the first time in history, a bar in China just started accepting the digital currency.
Now, Zerohedge is reporting on recent comments by eBay CEO John Donahoe, who indicated that the online auction service may soon begin accepting Bitcoin via its payment system PayPal. PayPal can also be used to make purchases on a wide range of websites, so, if this were to take place, it would drastically increase the number of retailers through which Bitcoin users could buy products. Is this hot new digital cryptocurrency on its way to becoming a mainstream method of payment for typical consumers?
Two big names in entertainment are making political waves this week. Comedian Russell Brand is trying his hand editing a political magazine and gave a fantastic interview on BBC’s Newsnight. Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger is reportedly trying to change the law so he can run for President, even though he’s an immigrant. At least it would shut up all the Birthers. So I thought… what if Schwarzenegger succeeded in changing the law, and we saw him go head-to-head against Brand for President in 2016?
The Recording Industry Association of America is wildly out of touch with its own consumer base. Recent advances in digital technology have benefited the music industry, as 2012 saw the sector reporting its first increase in sales since 1999. Rather than embracing new technology and looking for new ways to increase revenues, the RIAA has focused its efforts on hamstringing technological innovation, whether through its support of unpopular internet-ruining bills like SOPA or its opposition to all peer-to-peer software.
Now, Russia Today is reporting that the RIAA has issued a warning against Bitcoin and Litecoin, alleging that the digital currencies somehow contribute to copyright violations. With music industry revenues on the rise as technology now allows artists to promote themselves to fans more efficiently online, shouldn’t it be recommending instead that its artists and labels begin accepting Bitcoin in exchange for digital downloads, concert tickets, and merchandise? The RIAA continues to focus its energy on undoing useful innovations, rather than capitalizing on them.
Later this week former Vice President Dick Cheney is planning on visiting the 2013 Toronto Global Forum in Canada, but he’s not getting a hero’s welcome. Lawyers Against the War (LAW), an international volunteer organization, urged Canadian authorities to arrest him for war crimes, specifically for “authorizing, counseling, aiding, abetting and failing to prevent torture.”
Each Thursday, we point out one of the many Easter eggs that have been hidden throughout Silver Circlefor observant fans to find. Be sure to keep an eye out for them as you are watching the movie online or on DVD. Since today is Halloween, let’s take a closer look at the creepy statue that you might have noticed lurking outside of the headquarters of the Department of Housing Stability.
In the movie, the Department of Housing Stability (HOUSTAB) is a bureaucracy within the Federal Reserve System which is charged with “stabilizing” the prices of homes. However, its mandate is pursued with an ends-justify-the-means approach that often involves forcing homeowners off of their own property. In the same way that the program, which seemed well-intentioned initially, has corroded into something more sinister, the statue out in front of the building, which was commissioned by HOUSTAB officials in an effort to comfort the public, has become a terrifying symbol of the tyrannical nature of the program.
Most people talk about precious metal investments as if it is some archaic way of preserving wealth. Well…it is; it’s been used since 542BC and maybe before! However it is a resilient metal, not just literally, it has stood the test of time as being the preferred metal used for currency. Here are a few reasons why: Read the rest of this entry »
For the uninitiated, jury nullification is a de facto right of jurors under common law, since citizens serving on a jury can vote based on their conscience and can’t have their vote challenged on the basis of their rationale. Throughout history, juries have acquitted defendants who were factually guilty of the crime in question, under the rationale that a particular law or application thereof is unjust. Recently, New Hampshire passed a law allowing defense attorneys to inform jurors of their right to overturn bad laws by refusing to convict, which has been used to attain acquittals for defendants accused of victimless crimes.
However, in most states, judges will instruct jurors to vote only on the facts of the case and not the righteousness of the law itself. As a result, most jurors do not realize that they have the ability to overturn convictions for victimless crimes, even when the defendant is guilty. In an effort to solve this problem, the Fully Informed Jury Association recently placed a billboard, which informs the public about jury nullification, in the Judiciary Square Metro station in Washington DC. Local prosecutors and statists are up in arms about the ad, implying scurrilously that it is an attempt to tamper with juries, particularly in the upcoming trial of freedom activist Adam Kokesh.
With no disrespect intended to the legitimate skeptics out there who challenge the government’s official story on one issue or another, today’s Tin Foil Tuesday feature takes a tongue-in-cheek closer look at tin foil hats themselves. An icon associated with paranoia, the tin foil hat is believed to protect the wearer from invasive radio waves by creating a Faraday cage around the skull, preventing aliens, reptilians, the Anunnaki, and others from reading the user’s thoughts.
However, The Atlantic noted the existence of a 2005 Massachusetts Institute of Technology study on the effectiveness of tin foil hats as a Faraday cage. As a matter of fact, aluminum helmets actually amplify radio waves in the frequency range currently used by the government, cell phone companies, and satellites. The study concluded, albeit facetiously, that the FCC and the government must have propagated the myth of the tin foil hat’s effectiveness in order to make it easier to read the thought patterns of those who wear them. Could tin foil hats themselves be a part of a grand conspiracy?
In the final years of former Congressman Ron Paul’s congressional career, he introduced a bill to audit the secretive and nefarious Federal Reserve, which passed the House of Representatives. However, Senator Harry Reid, along with his Fed-connected allies in the Senate, shut down Paul’s effort before it could reach the President’s desk. Meanwhile, Janet Yellen has been nominated by President Obama to take over Ben Bernanke’s position as Federal Reserve chairman, probably at the beginning of 2014.
Senator Rand Paul appears to have finally found a way to force the Senate to take on his father’s Audit the Fed bill, referred to formally as the Federal Reserve Transparency Act. Since Janet Yellen’s appointment must go through the Senate, Senator Paul is threatening to put her nomination on hold, requiring 60 votes to overturn, until legislators vote on auditing the Federal Reserve. If enough senators stand with Rand on this issue, the American people may soon get the chance to challenge the Fed’s domination of the US economy in an epic political fight. Check out the video below, provided by Campaign for Liberty, that details this forthcoming showdown.
Last night, John Stossel dedicated an episode of his show on Fox Business to exposing the flaws of the Federal Reserve System. Just a few years ago, virtually no news programs would have aired content critical of the Fed. In fact, it was once a subject that few cared about at all, given the fact that it is mired in heavy jargon and confusing to the average non-economist.
Naturally, Stossel had libertarian icon and monetary policy expert Ron Paul on the program to discuss his view that the Federal Reserve should be phased out via competition in currency. Though Dr. Paul once expressed skepticism about bitcoin, he seems to be warming up to it as an alternative to the Fed, considering his statements on the show, “Hayek had suggested that maybe the best transition would be just to legalize [currency] competition… maybe bitcoin offers competition.” Check out a video clip of Ron Paul’s appearance on Stossel below and let’s discuss the details after the jump.