Power Grab – Waging Wars on Ghosts

>> March 17, 2020

>> Blog Post #41


French President Macron went on television yesterday evening to announce that France had entered a war. He repeated the phrase “we are in a war” over and over again, to bash it into everyone’s mind and probably make viewers believe that this is inevitable or true…

I wanted to write about it last night, but I was too angry, my entire reaction to the whole speech was disgust.


You cannot wage war against a virus. A war if you look at various dictionaries is generally defined as a period of armed fighting between countries, states, groups, organizations. However, it has sometimes been used metaphorically to describe different realities.

The war on drugs. Established under Nixon, the war on drugs was an attempt by the US to meddle in the political affairs of Central and South American countries under the false pretext of fighting drug abuse back home. The policy lasted for decades and led to a lot of political instability south of the border and to some well documented racial disparities in prosecutions and prison sentencing in the US, with the African American community being the big loser on that front.

Then you have the war on terror. This one defies logic when you think of it. How can you go on television, make a false statement, start a war on that false statement, be responsible for thousands of deaths – on both sides – remain in office and then retire peacefully. That is exactly what happened when George W. Bush declared the “War on Terror” and decided to invade Irak even though the UN experts determined that Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction….

How is it possible, that you – as people – will accept “leaders” to blatantly lie to your face, with terrible consequences – people died because of it – and stay silent?

The Macron discussion yesterday went something like this.

  • These are not normal times.
  • They are happening because you – the French people – are acting irresponsibly.
  • I personally blame you for your behavior.
  • You are actually the reason this virus is spreading, and I blame you for it.
  • So, I will punish you and send you to your room until further notice.
  • To do so, I will take decisions that have never been taken before in times of peace in this country’s history.
  • All these are based on discussions I have had with “the experts”.
  • I am declaring war – even though there is no enemy.
  • By doing so, I will be allowed by the powers I am now granting to myself, to take a slew of decisions that will not be in your best interest.
  • You have given me no choice.
  • It is your fault.
  • If you do not comply, you will be severely punished.

I am terrified at how easily democracies seem to be sliding out of the people’s hands.

People you are going to get fucked hard. New laws will be passed that will severely restrict your personal liberties, and they will never be rescinded once the virus disappears.

I hope some smart people start to take that declaration and document the choice of words and how they are used to manipulate the mass. This is the only thing Macron was doing yesterday and it is far scarier in my books than the virus itself.

Please, in these difficult times, remain safe. Take care of your loved ones and respect the basic hygiene rules to try and slow down the spread of the virus. But I also urge you to remain vigilant and critical of all the laws that are going to be taken very quickly by your respective governments.

You are a human being, you have no master, you have no owner. You are also capable of loving and caring for people. Stay safe.


Power Again – Democracy > Health

>> March 13, 2020

>> Blog Post #40


Power: That which you do not want to let go of.


Follow-up to yesterday’s post.


France just changed the rules. The situation is more dire than it was before. Let’s pick another random number and now say that all gatherings of more than 100 people are banned in our fight for Corona Virus.

Exceptional situations warrant exceptional measures. All schools will be closed until further notice. 12 million students, out of a total population of 67 million people will have to stay home.

Where this really gets ridiculous is that municipal elections will be maintained this weekend, all in the name of democracy, as more than 45 million French people are invited to come and gather in their townhalls to vote.

Meanwhile in America Trump leads the way. To fight the virus all you have to do is shake hands with corporate America. No better time to make money than when people’s lives are at risk.

A sick “democracy” must be better than a healthy world. Or maybe only the economy needs to be healthy.


Power

>> March 12, 2020

>> Blog Post #39


Power: That which you do not want to let go of.

France just passed a law last week making it illegal to organize any gathering of more than 1,000 people because of the Corona Virus outbreak.

The goal is plain and simple, try to contain the spread of the virus as much as possible.

My first reaction was to wonder how they had come up with this number. Seems almost random. Actually, I’m fairly sure it is just as random as anything else. How does a group as large as 1,000 people help prevent exponential growth? What are the economic numbers that would make cancelling gatherings of 500 or 893 people to difficult?

In any case, the reaction was fairly logical, at least in my books. Most events that I know of or have heard about since then have been cancelled. Garage sales, school reunions etc., except for something very specific.

Political meetings. It is election season in France, with all French municipalities voting in a few weeks for their mayors. Apparently, who gets elected in places like Paris are more important than curbing the spread of the virus as they tried to pack their meetings over the weekend by limiting the number of attendees to just under 1000 people. Here, let’s organize a meeting of 999 people, we are complying with the law. Now please vote for me because I’m a responsible person who should take all sorts of decisions with the powers you grant me…. That tells you a lot about the consideration politicians have for their fellow compatriots, but no one seems to say anything about it. I think these politicians should just go fuck themselves.

Now let’s turn our eyes to Russia for a second. The Parliament just passed a bill that would enable Vlad Putin, to potentially stay in office until 2036! Hey, when something in the law isn’t to your advantage, just change it. Why would you ever want to surrender your power?

Fortunately, some opponents decided to hold rallies to protest these rule changes that seem to come from another age, but… those rallies were not authorized because of the risk of contamination due to the corona virus…. The irony….

No here I am today, wondering what I should think about the risks to me and my family, friends, loved ones, when some many people, countries, governments are taking very different approaches to the pandemic risk. The only thing I know for sure is that I shouldn’t base any of my decisions on the laws that politicians pass as they have nothing to do with what is right for people and everything to do with their own very personal agendas.


Easy & Hard at the Same Time

>> March 10, 2020

>> Blog Post #38


I just spend the past 48 hours taking care of our new puppy.

Haven’t had a dog in years. Too long to remember much, and definitely too long to say that I know anything about dog training.

But I do know I want a well-trained dog and I fully intend to do everything I can to train it well and to do so myself.

So, I did whatever anyone else does in this day and age, that is to try to find good videos on YouTube that show you what should be done. I’ve watched a bunch over the past few weeks to get ready. I was happy to see that there were quite a few very popular ones (at least by views and likes) that seemed to preach the same method of training. You can probably tell I’m not the best student as I could not, if my life depended on it, tell you what that method is called. In a nutshell, it is all about reinforcing the positives in your dog’s behavior and establishing a good personal relationship between owner and dog.

Thinking about how to train my dog made me think about how to educate my kids, myself, how to teach people something you know etc. It’s funny how hard it is sometimes to teach something you know, to make it easily understandable when it’s so natural or habitual to you. And yet, sometimes it just seems impossible to get certain things through.

Watching the dog videos seems so easy, and yet, most dogs I encounter seem to respond fairly randomly to a set of standard commands. Do these people never watch YouTube? Do they not want their dog to be trained properly? Do they give up too easily? Or do I really think that I’ll be able to do better?

I’m very curious about how well I’ll do training my dog, and what it will tell me about myself. Training a dog probably compares well to other forms of teaching or training, and with the turn my life is taking, it should be a valuable measuring stick.


Money is Coined Liberty…

>> March 9, 2020

>> Blog Post #37


To people who might wonder why I have become so passionate about Bitcoin.


Money is coined liberty, and so it is ten times dearer to the man who is deprived of freedom. If money is jingling in his pocket, he is half consoled, even though he cannot spend it. But money can always and everywhere be spent, and, moreover, forbidden fruit is sweetest of all.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky – The House of the Dead

People are growing increasingly tired of the lies and the cheating of the suits and ties. Bitcoin feeds off of that which is one of the reasons I think it is inevitable. Bitcoin is a tool for liberty, and we want more of it.


Voting – Letter to Jean Grave

>> March 5, 2020

>> Blog Post #36


Here is a short text that I like a lot on the topic of voting. I’ve tried to translate it into English the best I could. It was written by Elisée Reclus in 1885


Letter to Jean Grave – Élisée Reclus 

Clarens, Vaud, September 26, 1885.

Brothers,

You ask a man of good will, who is neither voter nor candidate, to outline his ideas on voting.

The timeframe you are allowing me is very short, but having strong convictions on the topic of electoral vote, what I have to say can be formulated in a few words.

To vote is to abdicate; naming one or more masters for a short or long period, renouncing one’s own sovereignty. Whether he becomes an absolute monarch, a constitutional prince or a simple agent of royalty, the candidate you are putting in power will be your superior. You appoint men that are above the law, since they are in charge of writing them and their mandate is to have you obey.

To vote it to be fooled; believing that men like you will suddenly acquire the ability to know and understand everything. Your agents having to legislate on all sorts of things, from matches to warships, weeding to the extermination of tribes, it will seem to you that their intelligence grows as their tasks grow immensely. History will teach you that the opposite is true. Power has always caused anxiety; chatter has always rendered dumb. In sovereign assemblies, mediocrity always prevails.

To vote is to conjure treason. Voters probably believe in the honesty of those to whom they give their votes –  and maybe they are right, on the first day, when candidates are still bathed in the fervor of their first love. But there is always a tomorrow. As soon as the environment changes, man changes with it. Today the candidate will bow to you, maybe too low; tomorrow, he will straighten himself, maybe too high. He begged for votes, now he will order you around. Can a worker who becomes a master remain himself? Doesn’t the fiery democrat learn how to bow down when the banker deigns to invite him in his office, when the kings’ valets honor him? The atmosphere around these legislative bodies is unhealthy. You send your agents in a corrupt environment, don’t be surprised if they end up corrupted.

Do not therefore abdicate. Do not give away your destiny to incapable men and future traitors. Do not vote! Instead of trusting others with your interests, defend them yourself; instead of engaging lawyers, act! Opportunities abound for men of good will. Holding others responsible for one’s conduct is to lack bravery.

I wholeheartedly salute you brothers.

Elisée Reclus.


Bitcoin Training – Purpose

>> March 4, 2020

>> Blog Post #35


I have decided to start building training material about bitcoin and to slowly develop my training offering. If you have any questions or comments about this, please reach out to me at: elledub@tuta.io


Purpose

Too many people around me still have a problem understanding what bitcoin is.

  • Some don’t know;
  • some think they know things that just aren’t true;
  • some blindly repeat the worst fallacies ever;
  • most people seem to want to understand it better if you listen to them and are at least a little curious.

What people say they want and what they actually want is different.

People ask how they could learn more

  • I don’t necessarily know where to send them;
  • I very much doubt they are going to read all of the Nakamoto Institute resources by themselves;
  • what they are really asking for is for someone to talk them through it at least to get started;
  • people are often afraid of asking too precise questions, for fear of looking bad;
  • many are not used to conducting researching by themselves. A large majority of people – not all of course – have become too accustomed to having their hands held while learning, or worse, being told what to think. Please consider what I just said very carefully as it is one of my strongest beliefs;
  • Bitcoin seems so complicated it is scary;
  • we are still early enough in the game, that we do have to concede that we lack widely available, easy to understand resources.

Why I decided to do this

  • I feel like I can help since I’ve been involved in bitcoin for a few years;
  • I want more people to know about it and understand it;
  • it really makes me angry when I hear stupid comments and I feel like it is a personal responsibility to react – I’m looking at you flat earther types;
  • it is a good test for me to see if I can explain it myself – clearly, and in a way people will find interesting and worthwhile;
  • it is a great way of bringing more people into the bitcoin world – evangelize;
  • it is a great way of meeting people and growing your own network. Always happy to meet people who have a very different background and set of skills than mine.

What I think I know and what I actually know is different.

via GIPHY

  • only by talking to real people, with real questions, and real needs / use cases, can you better understand what people actually know, need, want;
  • I run a bitcoin-only business and having a clear and precise understanding of how people interact / want to interact with bitcoin is extremely valuable – this could lead to new products or services that can be discussed or tested during those real-life interactions

and obviously you knew about this one:

  • the last item is money, I hope to be able to monetize parts of this: more info in the last paragraph of this section.

What “training” am I developing

As of today, the only thing I have is what is in the few lines above, so at this stage it’s all a work in progress, but this is the vision I have and the way I wish to approach all of this. Everything will be iterated anyways, as iterating is really a great mix of getting stuff out through the door while always keeping a strong focus on quality through peer / outside feedback.

training material / content:

  • articles, posts
  • slide presentations
  • longer text material
  • videos
  • infographics

training time / events:

  • in-person bitcoin training
  • classroom bitcoin training
  • hands-on product training
  • remote consulting

How it should work

The bitcoin ecosystem is a wonderful space to work in. I came into bitcoin after reading about the lives of the people who created the internet, their dreams, their ethos. A lot of the principles that they held dear to their hearts are fundamental to bitcoin. Knowledge wants to be free. Decentralization is a goal to tend towards. Open source is extremely powerful. These are just a few examples, but hopefully you get the overall gist and I’ll detail some of these and more in the training itself.

What I listed under training material and content should consist mainly of knowledge, that I will be formatting one way or another. As such, it will be freely available to all as long as there is no specific design element to things such as infographics etc. I should have a lot of this content on the website and it will be available to download for free. I do not own bitcoin or ideas or concepts.

The items I list under training time or events work the other way around. My time is precious, and I own it. You should therefore expect most of the items falling under this category to be tailor made by me and represent a time commitment on my side. They will therefore come at a cost and that will be a way for me to monetize my work. As in the above paragraph, there might be a few caveats / exceptions. Speaking opportunities for example, under certain circumstances – community-focused nonprofit events for example – might actually be free.

Knowledge is free, my time is not.


Please let me know in the comments section below if there is anything specific that you are interested in or would like to see developed or contact me by email. I’m always happy to discuss.


Changes, Cycles and Recognizing Your Role In Them

>> March 2, 2020

>> Blog Post #33

I believe in come kind of flux, of cycle. Vicious cycles, virtuous cycles. Nothing is uniform. Like Taleb’s majority and minority rules. Who comes up on top under different scenarios?

I can very well imagine a small committed intolerant group coming out on top in trying to build a new world, a better world, because we’ve reached certain limits in the old world, and people have just had enough of it.

You can get a lot of support from these people. A small minority can be successful in putting a new system in place. And it can have great success. But like any other system, it will evolve across generations. Systems eventually get rigged. Systems, like security, are a process – not a state. They are an incessant combat. Eventually unhappiness and resentment grow, and the system fails or gets overthrown.

Now my hope is that we are nearing the end of a bad system, or maybe one that we should characterize as having started out for good reasons but that gradually turned bad. We want to change that bad system into a good one, knowing very well that it might fail, and also knowing that even if it is successful at first, it will most probably end up failing in the long run.

But that might not be our battle to fight. Each generation needs their own battles. Sometimes the 1st battle is realizing you have one and it falls on you to fight.

What Has Government Done To Our Money – Notes – Part 6

>> February 28, 2020

>> Blog Post #32

Access part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 and part 5


Summary

Once again it is important to base all of Rothbard’s writings in the context of a free market.

In a Free Market:

  • Money originates from the choice of a commodity, by the free market, as a medium of exchange.
  • The unit of money is a unit of weight of the commodity.
  • Usually a metal such as gold or silver is used.
  • The shape and form of the money are chosen by the market participants.
  • Private coinage is a legitimate business endeavor.
  • The price of money is its purchasing power. It is a function of supply and demand on the market.
  • Government’s wish to fix the price of money is an interference with the free market and the public’s demand for money.
  • Multiple monies can co-exist on the market. Their relative prices are a function of the ratios of their respective purchasing powers.
  • Increases in the money supply dilute the purchasing power of each ounce of money.
  • Inflation is the increase in money substitutes, not covered by the same increase in the real stock level of money. It is never socially useful and only benefits certain people to the detriment of others.
  • Inflation is a fraudulent invasion of property.
  • Inflation could not exist on the free market.
  • Freedom can run a monetary system superbly, without any need for government interaction.
  • Liberty is the mother, not the daughter of order.

Keep Calm

And Enjoy

Freedom, Liberty & Absence of Government Intervention