The FBI's campaign to destroy Dr. Martin Luther
King began in December 1963, soon after the
famous civil rights March on Washington. It
started with an extensive -- and illegal -- electronic
surveillance of King that probed into every corner
of his personal life.
Two weeks after the march, the same week King
appeared on the cover of Time magazine as "Man
of the Year," FBI agents inserted a microphone in
King's bedroom. ("They had to dig deep in the
garbage to come up with that one," FBI director J.
Edgar Hoover said of the Time cover story.) Hoover
wiretapped King's phone and fed the information to
the Defense Department and to friendly
When King travelled to Europe to receive the
Nobel Peace Prize, Hoover tried to derail meetings
between King and foreign officials, including the
Pope. Hoover even sent King an anonymous
letter, using information gathered through illegal
surveillance, to encourage the depressed civil
rights leader to commit suicide.
"The actions taken against Dr. King are
indefensible. They represent a sad episode in the
dark history of covert actions directed against
law-abiding citizens by a law enforcement
agency," a Senate committee concluded in 1976.
History reveals that time and again, the FBI,
the military and other law enforcement
organizations have ignored the law and spied on
Americans illegally, without court authorization.
Government agencies have subjected hundreds of
thousands of law-abiding Americans to unjust
surveillance, illegal wiretaps and warrantless
searches. Eleanor Roosevelt, Martin Luther King
Jr., feminists, gay rights leaders and Catholic
priests were spied on. The FBI used secret files
and hidden microphones to blackmail the
Kennedy brothers, sway the Supreme Court and
influence presidential elections.
Yep. It's been ~18 months since we first heard of Edward Snowden, and there have been no significant policy (as in, presidential executive order) or legal changes to NSA surveillance authority.
I don't know why there's no modern-day Church committee, but here are a few hypotheses:
1. Sen. Church was running the investigation circa 1975, a few years after Watergate was exposed and a year after Nixon resigned. I suspect there was much more public concern about executive abuses than there are today, and the GOP's willingness to defend the Nixon administration was limited post-Waterage (compare to now, where nearly all Dem politicos will defend to the hilt a D in the White House).
2. Much of FedGov's surveillance abuses pre-Church were clearly illegal and criminal. The lesson intelligence agencies learned is that, no matter how dodgy the behavior, as long as there's an AG opinion theoretically blessing it, you won't be prosecuted. So the surveillance abuses today may violate the 4A and our sense of proportionality, but they aren't clearly indictable offenses. Instead of "clearly illegal" you have "AG blessed in a written opinion and lawyers may disagree."
3. There was no Intelligence Committee back then, so TLAs were more limited in being able to get congressional buy-in for warrantless surveillance. Now there is, and Feinstein (and Rs on it as well, to be sure) have been the biggest defenders of the NSA post-Snowden. They have to be: they were read in on the programs and were complicit in any wrongdoing. Answer: argue there was none!
4. Forty years after the Church Committee, people now may expect to be under surveillance (sadly) and expect FedGov to be corrupt. Look at post-1970s movies like Enemy of the State, Gattaca, Minority Report, A Scanner Darkly, V for Vendetta, etc. So what would have shocked the average American's conscience 40 years ago may now be almost expected. (This is the boiling-frog theory.)
5. There's a lot more inflation-adjusted $$$ to be made from the surveillance-industrial complex now especially post-9/11 than there was 40+ years ago. It may be an order of magnitude higher. More tax $$$ kicking around == more support in Washington officialdom.
I'm sure there are other explanations too but those are the first that come to mind...
While the sitting POTUS is in fact a Democrat, a lot of the revelations presented by Snowden (and the AG opinions blessing the illegal spying (and torture, etc)) where initiated under a Republican POTUS and for most of his tenure a Republican majority in Congress. And while we didn't have solid evidence before Snowden, it was fairly common knowledge that rights were being infringed upon in the guise of security (and ironically 'protecting our freedoms'). And I cannot really recall a GOP member being outraged about this then or now.
Regardless, both parties have been pretty absent in this debacle and typically, when a congress-person steps out from the herd and starts to question the legitimacy of it all, they typically get displaced in the next election.
The above rule holds true for both major parties.
The surveillance state has written itself a blank check.
For a time-capsule view of the mood on the issue, there's this 1965 novel by Rex Stout: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Doorbell_Rang
It's part of the series about sedentary detective Nero Wolfe, one of my literary guilty pleasures. While being all for law and order, Stout was not too keen on unbridled authority, and his characters would often tweak a policeman's metaphorical nose.
A lot of people dismiss accusations against government agencies or fail to consider hypothetical legal abuse scenarios because "the government would never do that". Yes, the government would ever do that.
Civil Rights Movement -> Destabilizing Effect on American Culture -> Probably a Communist Plot -> Civil Rights Movement is the Enemy
Who know what political uses the information stored in the Utah Data Center will be used for in the future?
It was such a weak case that Hoover had to really push on LBJ to let him go after King so aggressively, and probably reflected cryptic racism as much as his fear of communism.
I do consider myself patriotic, but we have to fess up when we get things so wrong.
If you want an example of what the government would do and what the FBI did do, don't look at Martin Luther King. Look at Fred Hampton.
I'm wondering more about what might be called the "collective subconscious" of the elite and powerful, which knows that black America doesn't forget slavery, Native Americans don't forget conquest, the part that remembers that a government's first and foremost enemy is its own people.
The civil rights movement represented (re-presented) a direct threat to the establishment. It wasn't just the south, there were riots in every major city. Malcolm X was gunned down in NYC. The impoverished black populace, then and now, is a powder keg of rage and misery ready to explode, so targeting leaders was the tactic then. Now we have mass incarceration, with a significant percentage of the black population in jail, or denied full citizenship as felons.
I guess I'm wondering just how much "law enforcement" effort is spent on this high-value problem, instead of on the myriad fantasy "crime-solver" cases that our lovely entertainment establishment narrates in cop show after cop show.
For those who don't wish to Google, Fred Hampton was a Black Panther leader assassinated in his bed by Chicago police acting in concert with the FBI.
Are there recent, well-documented cases of government blackmailing like this?
Don't take my comment as an excuse or an argument that's it's OK. Governments are run by humans which regularly mess up despite their high hopes.
If I were to pick some (e.g. Switzerland/New Zealand), what you'd dig up on the US would still be far, far, far, far worse. There's really no morally relativistic comparison between Switzerland's aiding and abetting money laundering and the US starting two wars in the last 15 years or Obama's drone murder program. None whatsoever.
This reminds me of the invective that got thrown at Ecuador's Raffael Correa after he offered asylum to Snowden.
Lots of people tried to act as if his government arresting protesters who were blocking a road (mentioned in an Amnesty report) made the country hypocritical when it lectured the US on human rights.
Not so much, actually.
Let me give it a go! Switzerland basically bankrolled the Nazi war machine. Without Switzerland, Germany would have been unable to stash away all of the treasures it stole and likely wouldn't have been able to carry out the Holocaust with the efficiency it did. Pretty bad huh?
New Zealand has a dismal record on aboriginal rights. The Maori make up 4% of the population, but 50% of the prison population. Check out Amnesty International if you want to read up on other stuff. Some have labelled it genocide.
what you'd dig up on the US would still be far, far, far, far worse
That's purely subjective and I'm sure you'd find many who would disagree.
I'm not arguing that the US shouldn't be criticized. What I'm arguing about is the utter shock that people display when they find out the US hasn't been perfect. It almost seems like the US is held to a much higher standard than other Western nations.
IMO it's commendable though that the Swiss government was not defensive at all when the gold issue came up again in 1996. Legally they could have defended themselves using the treaty signed with Washington post WW2 (~250M CHF) - instead it caused a majority of Swiss parliament to spawn quite a large program , which resulted in extensive documentation, a 295M CHF victim fund as early 1997 and a $1.25 billion settlement later on.
I don't know how much better you could expect any government to handle this situation after the fact.
Also, you're justifications of their previous actions based on forming a fund are missing the point. It's the fact that they participated in the first place that's the problem.
Some of this is right, some isn't. I (a New Zealander of European ancestry) agree with your general point, however.
Maori are 14.9% of the population. Yes, they make up 51% of people in prison. Yes, this is bad, and there are significant ongoing social inequalities disproportionately affecting Maori.
"Genocide" has been used, but it doesn't seem to fit reality especially well (no organised extermination). Do you have a link to the Amnesty International info?
Historically, there have been both good and bad things regarding rights, e.g. Maori men had universal suffrage before non-Maori men, but the Treaty of Waitangi, signed in 1840, was violated and ignored extensively (we've been trying to undo that damage for the last few decades). The Waitangi Tribunal, which hears grievances between Maori and the crown, has settled claims totalling nearly 1 billion NZD.
By your standards, every country is failing to do democracy.
What you have in the US is a system where politicians are all either elites in society, or vetted by elites. Where they manage to convince or coerce a 'big enough' group of people to vote for them (ie. half or just over half of voters that actually turn out, which is a subset of the population). Once they're in power, they don't rule on behalf of the people, they rule on behalf of the elites that funded their campaigns. They toe the party line, and within each party is a group of elite 'thinkers' - none of whom are elected, but nevertheless direct the party.
Democracies are also supposed to represent minorities and the 'common folk'. 'Rule of the people' implies a need to either involve the people directly, or rule on their behalf, yet in the US there is a decided animosity towards the people.
In your most recent elections, 36.6% of voters turned out. Once you tally the possible margins of victory, this means that it's possible that you are now ruled by politicians that less than 20% of eligible voters actually voted for. And I wonder what percentage of the population takes part in party primaries? How representative is the US' democracy?
That said, the United States' implementation of a constitutional republic is still worse than other forms that have been tried. It has a majoritarian voting system, an electoral college and is heavily vulnerable to gerrymandering and divide/conquer.
Furthermore, the United States usually gets more stern criticism precisely because of the idiotic lie of American exceptionalism. The United States is the only country I know of that obsesses over how supposedly "free" it is with an almost religious fervor. All of this propaganda only makes the inevitable examples of U.S. government corruption even more bitter than they would have been if only Americans had a far more realistic outlook about themselves: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unethical_human_experimentatio...
"I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place." - Winston Churchill
As GauntletWizard gets into, it helps when individuals asked (by individuals or circumstance) to be bad feel like they'd be doing something wrong and unusual, which people are less likely to do than things they just feel are wrong.
It hurts when people who have already decided to do bad things exploit it.
There's a limit; This is the same argument made by moral crusaders who're against sex education, and that ultimately causes harm. But it's the argument ignored by the D.A.R.E. program organizers, and that has a storied history of being shown (sometimes) to increase drug use.
Did the FBI agents drafting this think they were doing their best to do good?
We are not talking about a movie maker delivering a boring scene who will try to do better in the next movie. We're talking about toppling foreign governments, invading countries, backing or installing dictatures, assassinating people, droning teenagers, dealing cocaine, torturing people, launching nuclear weapons. Doing it times and times over, never being shy about it, and never admitting any wrong.
There is zero structure of improvement in the US government behavior. Those structure exists, for example the Geneva treaty, the Rome treaty which brings trial for war criminals, but the US government refuses any accountability. There is no downside to the erratic US behavior.
I have reason to hope that things CAN change and in fact, ARE changing. Look how rapidly gay marriage has gone from an impossibility to soon being the law of the land in an incredibly short amount of time. Pot legalization is happening at the same speed. The next great wave will be atheism. These things are happening because of increased communication and awareness due to our newfound interconnectivity. That is only going to increase.
Soon it will be extremely hard to keep secrets at all, a condition that is essential to these atrocities continuing.
In fact, that's what the authors of the Constitution were trying to do...
Doesn't seem to be working with Guantanamo. Or invading other countries.
The point is people erroneously "believe" in their government. That it does only the most necessarily evil and then only to bad people. Such beliefs are manifestly dangerous. They result in things such as Drug seizure laws, PATRIOT act, militarization of police, demonizaton of whistle blowers.
DON'T trust authority, DON'T give authority powers assuming they will only be used for good, DO assume authority is lying, cheating, and evil.
I agree with your last statement completely. The trick is to get people to get knowledgeable (or even care) about history and what is happening in the country. Right about now, it seems to be we're more tending towards "Brave New World" than "1984". If people could just turn off 30 minutes a day of their "Real Housewives" and focus on learning something new, about anything, we'd start fixing the problems.
But it's OK if you have power. "Sorry, hard drives crashed."
The rich are getting richer, the middle class is disappearing, and people are getting desperate. Western society as a whole is _one_ catastrophic meltdown away from massive civil unrest that will end in bloodshed and revolution.
Does the average American consider these trends when making investment decisions or going about their normal lives? Do they even _care_?
Most people can't afford to openly question the system, because they have too much to lose. They can't afford to be thrown in jail, or have their assets seized, or get put on a list by the NSA. Which is why Bitcoin matters.
Bitcoin enables people to dismantle the massive out of control tyranny without openly admitting or perhaps even _realizing_ their intent. The proof? Plenty of successful, educated people believe Bitcoin is an apolitical fintech innovation that streamlines payments. Success! These people of course have at best a cursory understanding of geopolitics and macroeconomics, which is all the better. Anyone can buy into Bitcoin without leaving their bedroom, and give very plausible reasons for buying in. "Because the price is going up. What's it to you?"
Bitcoin eliminates the State's ability to conduct endless warfare and welfare, because the State can't print BTC. Neither can they seize BTC, which gives _you_ the upper hand. Oh, you want my money? Sorry, can't seem to locate the wallet. Oh, I'm in violation of your moral code and you want to take my bank account? Sure, you can have the $0.00 in my bank account. Think you'll rot away in prison for disobeying tyrants? A huge proportion of inmates have smartphones, which is all you need to access your cash.
Sorry, you can seize my physical assets but you're not touching my fucking fortune. Bitcoin violently flips the power equation. Few appreciate this, but as governments around the world continue to get more and more bankrupt and desperate, having capital outside of their clutches will be a great boon.
In fact, that implicitly invites comparison.
What's changed that made government ideal for hundreds of years and suddenly isn't ideal now that your upper-middle-class sheltered white privilege has decided that your life would be slightly easier if you paid less tax?
But I can see how this excellent rebuke actually fully addresses all possible claims that the flaws seen in modern nation states are intrinsic to the structure thereof rather than merely globally applicable aberrations caused by some other confounding factor, so well done with that. You really knocked it out of the park.
I was just pointing out that in the marketplace of societal organizational schemes, the nation-state has been winning for a long time now. You have your excuses as to why, but many competitors have been tried, and they're nearly all total failures.
Also, only a truly nutty religious zealot would claim that any system is flawless. That's the sort of shit that nut jobs like you say about your religion. It's not the sort of argument that any sane person makes about anything. The rest of us live in a world where we don't have all the answers; you're the only one in this conversation who thinks he knows absolutely everything, and who thinks he has the right to demand that I can't live in the society I prefer.
Thank you for being a truly cartoonish individual. You never stop making me laugh, you hilarious little asshole.
edit: also, LOL at how fast you responded. you really, really need a life.
edit2: seriously. you're fucking HILARIOUS. such a joke.
You caught that did you? I'm very impressed.
And so far in debt and worry about healthcare you never again get a change to have your head above water and have a look around.
What you call a myth, we call an ideal. Are we living up to it right now? No. That doesn't mean we should discard it. Quite the opposite, in fact.
(this exact number has been selected for a specific reason,
it has definite practical significant.
(this exact number has been selected for a specific reason,
it has definite practical significance).
One thing we were stuck on for a while is how to let users vote on what the primary URL should be, but (fingers crossed) I now think we may have hit on a way to do it.
The original article was submitted yesterday but got almost no traction, and the inertia of this post seemed to die off around the time it was switched to the NY Times link. Seems like the EFF one really is a better discussion piece. Would you consider changing the URL back so that the majority of the discussion reflects the original source that sparked it in posterity?
San Francisco seems like a broad term but there's so much interesting stuff, they were watching school teachers in the 60s and 70s and trying to create distrust within communities that were too left leaning.
"Formerly vaguely liberal-moderate, more recently moderate-to-neoconservative (hackers too were affected by the collapse of socialism). There is a strong libertarian contingent which rejects conventional left-right politics entirely. The only safe generalization is that hackers tend to be rather anti-authoritarian; thus, both paleoconservatism and ‘hard’ leftism are rare. Hackers are far more likely than most non-hackers to either (a) be aggressively apolitical or (b) entertain peculiar or idiosyncratic political ideas and actually try to live by them day-to-day."
Mapping this to any political ideology would be difficult.
If you want to destroy HN as it exists today, turn it into a political vehicle.
HN is not a HiveMind.
Even if I'm wrong, that still means I'm not part of the same hivemind/groupthink as you are. And yet here we both are, on HN.
Extreme and uncompromising to the point of absurdity? Actually, that does sound like the HN community!
More seriously though, even if there were enough cohesion among HN thinkers to build up anything resembling a worthwhile political entity, at least in the USA, it would be a powerless symbolic party, fit only for mockery by late night television comedians. The USA's current political system is completely intractable to the point where the current two parties are the only option; the only viable path is to move the two parties in our direction, alternatives are assuredly doomed to failure.
BUT they force other parties to think more about these issues and take position themselfs. I think the Piratenpartei is extremely beneficial for the political landscape here.
I have often wondered why the US seemed so slow to adopt these ideas. From my limited understanding, a good deal of the problem is probably the 2 party system in the US, but that doesn't mean a "HN party" couldn't apply a lot of pressure to democrats and republicans alike.
Becoming a political party means that we would need to have a stance on every issue. Being a lobby means we can focus on the issues that we know about and care about.
Isn't that the reason? We may need a lobby too.
It was more a North-South divide than a party divide.
(Signed into law by a Democrat, incidentally)
> that it was Democrats who were the anti-abolitionist party?
And France had a Napoleon (III) at the helm, but that hardly means a thing today.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964
In the House:
- Southern Democrats voted 94% against it -- but Southern Republicans voted 100% against it.
- Northern Democrats voted 94% for it -- but Northern Republicans voted only 85% for it.
In the Senate:
- Southern Democrats voted 95% against it -- but Southern Republicans voted 100% against it.
- Northern Democrats voted 98% for it -- but Northern Republicans voted only 84% for it.
So, the strongest split wasn't party, but region -- the South was against it and the North was for it. But by party within either region, North or South, the Democrats were more for (or less against) it, while the Republicans were less for (or more against) it.
OTOH, the Southern Strategy was a direct result of Republicans realizing that Democrats were vulnerable in the South because the Democratic Party as a whole was no longer voting in line with Southern conservatives.
I don't think it has enough wherewithal to bootstrap something like a new political party.
The FBI spied on Martin Luther King Jr. in an unsuccessful effort to prove he had ties to Communist organizations. In 1963, Attorney General Robert Kennedy granted an FBI request to surreptitiously record King and his associates by tapping their phones and placing hidden microphones in their homes, hotel rooms and offices. A 1977 court order sealed transcripts of the surveillance tapes for 50 years.
...some people think he made extensive use of prostitutes, but I expect the FBI would have pulled an "Eliot Spitzer" on him had that been the case. Still, there's something there or they wouldn't be covering it up to protect his saintly image.
It's interesting... but why would it matter ???
Isn't the issue that Americans endure INVASION of private time... not necessarily how Americans USE their private time ???
Serious question. Just wondering if there is some legal justification for invading privacy to find out ... say ... what a political enemy is doing ??? I don't think they're supposed to do that ... but I'm not a lawyer.
If you read "Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?" (which he wrote towards the end of his life), he basically says that the Civil Rights movement needs to shift from racial agenda to an agenda of helping the poor. However he never presents an actual plan other than some vague idea of a massive transfer of wealth from the rich to the poor.
I'd go farther to argue that he's not a communist b/c he wasn't really thinking in those terms and he actively tried to avoid the label (that's why he took for ever to stand up against the war in Vietnam)
We need some sort of standardised trust metric....
Witness testimony is perfectly fine as long as it isn't implied to be anything greater than that.
The metadata is technical evidence, not witness testimony. But...
Who wrote the software that collected the metadata? Any bugs in it? Any possibility that I did not, in fact, make that call?
Where was the metadata stored? Who had access to it? Could anybody have altered it, perhaps even to cover their own tracks?
Who had custody of the data after the records got pulled from the database? Any chance that they could have altered it? Maybe they knew that the prosecution's case was weak, and they wanted to make it look better?
In this way, technical evidence does in fact depend on witness testimony.
In any case, I think a bigger problem isn't juries, but the huge amount of cases that never see a jury, via absurd overcharges leading to plea bargains. Only a judge is involved, and judges are much more "reliable" than a jury ...
Besides, when would an incident like this ever get in front of a jury? I can't think of a single case where the FBI was in the dock for COINTELPRO shenanigans like this.
The redaction reveals more about what the FBI wouldn't do: how at least one person was reluctant to release public documentation proving that's what the FBI did.
There's this bizarre projection of the individual and his/her motivations onto every living being that fails to make any logical sense.
Is there any psychological premise for why we feel the need to dictate the behavior of others such that they perfectly mirror how we behave (or in many cases, wish to)?
There appears to be a tipping point where someone agrees with a certain set of values and as opposed to stopping at enforcing those values on themselves (reasonable), they go absolutely nuts trying to push it onto everyone else.
A sort of: how dare you.
(I'm not defending the letter or the FBI, I just think a minute detail of the story is consistent)
I'm not sure it is in fact fair "to use those moral standards against him", though, unless you're working with a conception of moral standards as a game in which the point is to cast your team into The Good Guys and the other team as The Bad Guys. And sure, some people play that exact game (the FBI is doing it here), but you can also approach moral standards as ideals which would make the world better if we could adhere to them. The latter conception still means that people who fail to keep standards can suffer natural consequences (as well as artificial ones of standing) if they don't adhere, but it's not much of an attack on the moral authority of the standard.
There's also a question of a sort of standards severability. King is known for agitating for racial equality and social justice, not for being a crusader for the virtues of chastity and fidelity. If he'd been known to privately abuse and privilege based on apparent race, or inclined to acquire wealth at the expense of others, that'd seem be a bigger deal.
Finally, a little bit of C.S. Lewis:
"The sins of the flesh are bad, but they are the least bad of all sins. All the worst pleasures are purely spiritual: the pleasure of putting other people in the wrong, of bossing and patronising and spoiling sport, and back-biting, the pleasures of power, of hatred. For there are two things inside me, competing with the human self which I must try to become. They are the Animal self, and the Diabolical self. The Diabolical self is the worse of the two. That is why a cold, self-righteous prig who goes regularly to church may be far nearer to hell than a prostitute. But, of course, it is better to be neither."
Again, none of this is to discount the value it might have to consider an MLK with weaknesses and some questionable behavior. Or, for that matter, the value of fidelity.
Similar to how you'd feel towards people getting payday loans. Don't do it. Because X, and X is a valid reason to me to not do it. So you shouldn't do it.
At least personally, not giving advice that's isn't asked for is really hard at times because I think I usually have good advice. But that's exactly how "those" people feel.
By and large humans are not logical, our actions are not logical/rational at least on individual basis. They are rational from a evolutionary species domination POV. We are herd animals. Enforcing "moral standards" is outcome of Herd dynamics. e.g. way to maintain control / "leader of the herd" status and to distinguish other herdmembers.
Are you inditing all three of them?
I'm pretty sure all three parties have put their words to action, and are fully willing to follow their moral beliefs in addition to foisting those beliefs on others.
FBI's "Suicide Letter" to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Dangers of Unchecked Surveillance
That aside, there is very little doubt in my mind Hoover was a bad man. The sad part is, many people eventually are bad given the chance and they never even know it. This is why impartial rules and transparency are important.
This may not be a common sentiment, but I look forward to the day when we are governed by machines rather than monkeys. I mean... the constitution, the rules of state and religion, they are algorithms no? Designed to remove as much as possible the corruptible human element from the equation? So why not take this concept a level further?
That's my thinking.
Eventually there will always be another Hoover. But the next one might have better tools. But I think the human race can build a better system based on principals of efficiency, impartiality and beneficence. And maybe after a bit more waste, abuse and needless suffering caused by greed (that is the bottom line with the people who run the Hoovers of the world no?) it will.
The US then and now was totalitarian and authoritarian. Some of you, especially here on hn, may not fall into those mind-sets but it doesn't matter - you've lost - you're barely scraping by, working 60 to 80 hours a week and you have no time to change your environment. Meanwhile the political class is able to work full-time on perpetuating their power while taking away yours. You have no power, no rights, because they have been chiseled away the last 30 years by the authoritarians.
I've said this before and I'm always downvoted but I don't care. Just leave. Go to Berlin, or London (not much better though), Switzerland, or anywhere else. Even if you go to someplace like the UK that isn't much better than the u.s. you will at least no longer be contributing to a government spending 10X to 100X of any other country on arguably evil pursuits. Take your wealth-creation skills to somewhere else where you won't be contributing to your our demise.
I know that many of you will discount this one event as a one-off - MLK was certainly special. But it's only a one-off because it was the start of this sort of campaign against someone that can bring change.
It's interesting when someone from Switzerland claims the moral high ground about a country's past wrongs. Switzerland has a colorful history of Nazi collaboration and laundering of stolen treasure by the 3rd Reich.
Is that an unfair characterization of you as a modern Swiss person? Yes.
Just like comparing 1960s America to the present day. The U.S. may not live up to the ideals that are plastered over it's monuments, but it's certainly not contributing to your demise (whatever that means).
> Just leave. Go to ...
Spoken like a true Swiss. No, we all don't have the spare funds or network of employers to travel to a different country at will. Not to mention, SV is the epicenter of venture capital in software, not Zurich. Who are the VCs who would fund a startup's relocation to Zurich?
> contributing to a government
You can be forgiven for this, but U.S. citizens are perpetually bound to pay taxes even when residing abroad. The first $90k is forgiven, but the next must be taxed. Oh, and the state (e.g. California) doesn't play by these rules; it takes the full amount.
California is crazy in how they handle overseas expats.
The Swiss provided a service to the Jews in Germany and helped hide their money from the nazis. Unfortunately most of their customers were killed... If I lived in a country with a corrupt or evil government I would try to move my money to Switzerland too, but the u.s. Is making it increasingly difficult to conduct finance anonymously.
Based on your other comments... I'm not sure if you're aware of the rest of the world. ETH is on par with MIT and EPFL is high up there as well. There is a good start up community here in Zurich, but it's true that VC isn't as advanced here - it's still mostly angel investors. Google has a big office here and it seems to be adding to the enovironment.
But I'm not sure if Silicon Valley is a good goal. I've live and worked there for startups and two big mainstream companies and have no desire to go back that desperate life.
Oh lordy, that is the understatement of year!
"Documents recently uncovered in former East German archives suggest that in 1944, SS Chief and German Interior Minister Heinrich Himmler sent a special train loaded with hundreds of millions of dollars worth of gold, jewelry and art objects to Switzerland for deposit in the vaults of Swiss banks."
Why, they even cunningly tricked the Nazis into taking the Jews' money and delivering it to the Swiss for them!
That sounds like a reflection of you and not the bay area.
Many, many places that "starting salary" is more like $50-60k.
Germany and London pay much less though but experienced developers can get decent wages.
Edit: also, when I lived in the u.s. and ma"de significantly more than 100K I still felt like I was scraping by. Taxes in the u.s., especially California, are high, expenses are high, and plus I had no time to spend my money anyway. If take a couple weeks off to travel every now and then but would have to at least answer emails while traveling. No more of that.
1) American workers don't work 60+ hours to earn 50% less than what people in Switzerland do.
2) The median income in the US is barely below that of Switzerland.
3) The average American worker does not work more than 45 hours per week for the median income.
4) If you compare people of a similar qualification + education + demographic, Americans earn more than people in Switzerland per hour worked, and have more disposable income thanks to a lower cost of living and lower taxes. The US has a very real poverty problem that is especially bad in the black community, and it substantially alters the stats on incomes / standard of living. The asian median household income for example is 100% higher than the median black household income.
I don't want this to get sidetracked to be a conversation about Switzerland though. In general life is better in Europe than the u.s. - less desperate. At least you have obamacare now.
Spain has 30% real unemployment. France's economy hasn't grown in ten years in inflation adjusted terms, and is suffering hyper stagnation; it has averaged sub 1% nominal GDP growth for that time. Italy is on its third recession in seven years. Portugal is so relatively poor their middle class would barely qualify as poor in the US. Greece is a total economic disaster still.
The Netherlands, Ireland, and Denmark are the three most indebted countries on earth per capita compared to income. Lavish spending today to fake prosperity, to be paid for tomorrow with lowered standards of living. The US has done plenty of that too, but it can more easily manage its debts than European nations can.
The total GDP of Europe is still below 2007 levels, and looks set to remain below that level for another ten years inflation adjusted. Pegging the European economy in effectively a 20 year depression.
Moldova, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, Russia, Romania, Ukraine, Macedonia, Kosovo, Bulgaria, Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Czech, Slovakia - you're telling me life is more desperate in the US, than in these countries? That's blatantly false.
France just saw its unemployment rate hit new highs. The US unemployment rate is now almost half that of France.
In fact, the US unemployment rate is chasing back down toward that of Germany, and the US economy is growing faster than Germany's. And that's with a labor force participation rate higher than nearly all of Europe; ~7 points higher than France, ~3 points higher than Germany, ~10 points higher than Belgium etc.
With available labor being substantially reduced, wages are likely to begin climbing again in the US soon - you aren't going to see that in most of the countries of Europe, because their economies are not growing.
The private plans for the self-employed/underemployed do suck though. Eventually the country needs to dump the foolishness of employer-based private insurance into some more mature, rational, and responsible approach to universal healthcare, but for now it's sadly the best we could manage.
I'm not sure how other parts of Europe compare.
BTW, it's a mindset that is often mocked by Europeans when it comes to subjects like health care, vacation, taxes, guns, etc. But the reasons for it seem obvious now, don't they?
The idea that the U.K., German, or Swiss governments are less authoritarian than the U.S. is laughable to U.S. citizens. You can't see it because you trust those governments; but most Americans got over that a long time ago.
Considering that the UK will throw people in jail for expressing their right to freedom of speech is a slight counter to your argument.
I want to move! I'm an American web developer living in California, and I want to go to Switzerland or Berlin. I only speak English. What do I do next?
OMG STOP THE PRESSES I figured out the men's rights thing!
Anarchy => no rules
That somewhere is rulers.
Therefore, no rulers => no rules.
Therefore, (Anarchy => no rulers) => (Anarchy => no rules).
History shows that, in anarchy situations, those who wish to break the rules are sometimes highly motivated and well armed. Thus anarchy at least means "no rules that apply to a warlord when he really wants them not to".
Now, one could argue that that is essentially the situation with the US government now. But the well-armed warlords tend to show considerably less restraint than the US government does.
In anarchy situations, whoever is capable of filling the power vacuum creates new rules - the "highly motivated and well armed" groups don't break the rules (since if they disagree, there's obviously not a consensus about those rules); they define the rules and others possibly break them.
(But if you're living in it, that "technically" isn't going to comfort you one bit...)
See: English common law prior to being co-opted by the state.
Also see: David Graeber, anarchist, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVDkkOAOtV0
People who think like this suffer from a lack of imagination, in my opinion. They are people who cannot imagine that others can negotiate or have negative experiences of being ruled over, thus must be dictated to.
That should sadden you, as it saddens me.