Tag Archives: control

Best Buy’s Worst Policy-Swiping ID’s and Destiny Management

Kaye Beach

April, 14, 2012

Best Buy (and Victoria’s Secret and The Finish Line and many other stores!) Requires Govt. Issued Photo ID for ALL Returns.

The ID card data is swiped, stored and shared with a third party  to track customer purchases and “to monitor the return behavior of shoppers; and warn or deny individuals flagged as questionable” Link to The Retail Equation, Inc.’s brochure


Best Buy’s return policy;

Returns Tracking

When you return or exchange an item in store, we require a valid photo ID. Some of the information from your ID may be stored in a secure database used to track returns and exchanges. Based on return/exchange patterns, some customers will be warned that subsequent purchases will not be eligible for returns or exchanges for 90 days. . .


. . . And how do we like it so far?

I’m Done With Best Buy Thanks to The Retail Equation

03-18-2012 02:37 PM

I am a premier silver member and have been for several years.  In November of last year, I received a warning in store that I could not make any returns at Best Buy for 90 days.  So for the next 90 days I did not make any purchases at Best Buy.

Yesterday, I spent over 700.00 on the new Ipad and an Invisible Shield.  The Invisible Shield was not installed correctly and Best Buy decided to give me a refund.  Keep in mind that this was only 29.99 of the amount I spent.  This was the first purchase I have made since the 90 days had expired.  I figured that I could return something that was actually not working correctly and be fine.  However I received another warning today saying that I could not return anything for 90 days even though the product was not working correctly.

It sounds like The Retail Equation (TRE) does not take into consideration that some returns might be valid due to defective products.  All TRE looks at is how many returns and that is not a fair way to evaluate whether someone is abusing a return policy.   In the end, Best Buy has lost a premier silver member.  Amazon and other online retailers will gladly accept my business going forward.  Best Buy seriously needs to find another way to evaluate returns instead of TRE.  Their method simply does not work.


Another unhappy Best Buy customer is suing them over their “swiping” policy.

How does this work?  According to the Retail Equation, Inc.,

“The technology’s predictive modeling measured the likelihood of fraudulent or abusive behavior, as well as the likelihood of a consumer’s profitability”

 Predictive Analytics

From Wikipedia  Predictive analytics encompasses a variety of statistical techniques from modeling, machine learning, data mining and game theory that analyze current and historical facts to make predictions about future events.

Data mining and predictive analytics is being used in just about every aspect of our lives.  Predictive analytics applies a mathematical formula to masses of data to predict what a person is more or less likely to do in the future.  Decisions are being made that affects our lives, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse, every day.

For example, in our schools;

“They use their technology infrastructure to gather and analyze data on the factors that are most predictive of students who are in danger of school failure and/or dropping out.  . . .As a result, the district has forged new partnerships with local law enforcement agencies”

From the Oklahoma Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development pg 26

If you think it stinks when you are misidentified as a naughty shopper, wait till you are misidentified as a “troubled individual”

Technology identifies troubled individuals

Sept 26, 2010

Imagine using the same technology to locate a lone bomber before he carries out his terrorist act and to identify a troubled veteran or first responder ground down by tragedies and violence.

Stop imagining.

A Swiss professor working with a Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientist who heads the Mind Machine Project there outlined how this program operates through computerized scanning of phone calls and electronic messages sent through e-mail and social networking mechanisms.

. . . Using character traits that have been identified through psychological profiles conducted on lone bombers following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Guidere said he and his colleagues developed programs that isolate signs pointing to a potential terrorist.

He said lone bombers, in particular, are not mentally deranged but harbor hatred and deep resentment toward government. Their emotional spikes, Guidere explained, can be identified by the computer program.

The practical side is that once the individual has been identified, the information can be passed along to authorities so surveillance can begin. . .

Read more

The burgeoning use of driver’s license scanning devices makes tracking and monitoring of the population much easier.  When these data are held in separate databases there are plenty of security and privacy concerns but if the databases are linked or matched with other databases or shared-watch out!  The negative implications explode at that point.

In case you are wondering just what information is in those bar codes on your driver’s license, here is a link for you to follow and find out.

And here is a great article from 2002 which is ancient history from a technology capability perspective, but it does a great job of allowing us to begin to consider the implications of widespread scanning of our government issued photo ID’s .

Welcome to the Database Lounge

Published: March 21, 2002

ABOUT 10,000 people a week go to The Rack, a bar in Boston favored by sports stars, including members of the New England Patriots. One by one, they hand over their driver’s licenses to a doorman, who swipes them through a sleek black machine. If a license is valid and its holder is over 21, a red light blinks and the patron is waved through.

But most of the customers are not aware that it also pulls up the name, address, birth date and other personal details from a data strip on the back of the license. Even height, eye color and sometimes Social Security number are registered.

”You swipe the license, and all of a sudden someone’s whole life as we know it pops up in front of you,” said Paul Barclay, the bar’s owner. ”It’s almost voyeuristic.”

Mr. Barclay bought the machine to keep out underage drinkers who use fake ID’s. But he soon found that he could build a database of personal information, providing an intimate perspective on his clientele that can be useful in marketing. ”It’s not just an ID check,” he said. ”It’s a tool.”

Read More

Swiping of driver’s licenses is being required for buying gas (in case you try to leave without paying), for entry to public schools (in case you might be child predator and if you are misidentified as a sex offender, which happens often enough, well, stinks for you!), for buying cold medicine, for entry to bars and casinos, San Francisco wants ID swipes for most public events, Harlem wants tenants to swipe to gain entry to their homes,  and now, the TSA is swiping  airline passengers’ ID’s .


TSA tests ID-scanning machines at Washington Dulles

April 14, 2012

The Transportation Security Administration began an experiment today at Washington’s Dulles International Airport to check identification and boarding passes by machine rather than just the visual check by officers.

While TSA officers have been checking identification with black-lights and magnifying glasses, the machines are geared to recognize all valid identification, ranging from driver’s license or passport to tribal identification or foreign passport.

“For efficiency, it is fantastic,” said Domenic Bianchini, TSA director of checkpoint technology. “We think it’s a valuable technology and we think over time we will see the real value added.”

The machine doesn’t store any personal information about the passenger, according to Greg Soule, a TSA spokesman.

Gee.  When have we heard that before?

Although TSA has repeatedly stated that the scanners were “incapable of storing or transmitting” scanner images, despite specification data to the contrary provided by the respective manufacturers. In August 2010 EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center) discovered that the TSA had stored over 2,000 images, which the agency quickly claimed were of “volunteers” without specifying who compose this group or whether any were passengers who had “voluntarily” used the scanners in the testing phase.

Read more

The TSA is conducting the driver’s license “experiment” at Dulles, Houston and Puerto Rico but hopes to eventually “expand the program to every airport checkpoint” Read more

At some point in the not-so-distant-future, we will be required to show and/or swipe our driver’s license for just about everything we as humans need to live.  As the process grows more and more automated and the data is digitized, we will find our movements, transactions and habits logged and our lives tracked and documented.    Data mining and predictive analytics will be applied to nearly everything we do.  The purpose of such credentialing processes is to allow some access and deny others, deemed unworthy by algorithm, access.

In 2010 I was repeatedly denied the ability to pay for my purchases by check due to a company called Certegy’s algorithm which decided that since I rarely write checks but had written several during the Christmas shopping season, this indicated that I was untrustworthy and that stores should not accept my checks.  The year before, I was denied the privilege of renting a car because my credit score was too low.  My credit score is low because I don’t buy on credit!  I wasn’t asking to pay for the rental with credit either.  I offered my debit card.

Chances are you have experienced similar incidents.  Chances are that we have encountered other bumps in the road of life when no explanation for the problem was ever given but likely there was some algorithm behind it.  This is our future.  In health care, travel, purchases, renting or buying our homes, anything information about us that can be digitized can be factored in to determine whether or not we measure up.  This is nothing short of destiny management.

With the governments unhealthy focus on security at all costs, we can expect things to get more and more complicated as the practice of tracking and tracing and databasing everything we do grows. Woe to those that are unfortunate enough to be perceived as a possible threat or have a data trail that makes them appear less than an ideal citizen in the eyes of Big Momma Gov. who is no longer willing to wait for us to actually do something wrong before she pounces.  This government (and its partner corporations) wants to play psychic and limit our opportunities based on some supposed prescient power that indicates that we are more likely to do something naughty in the first place.

How do we exercise our free will when it is being effectively pre-empted?

EVERY MED YOU TAKE, They’ll BE WATCHING YOU – Prescription Monitoring Programs

Kaye Beach

March 18, 2012

Prescription Monitoring Program

DESCRIPTION: A PMP is a statewide electronic database which collects designated data on substances dispensed in the state. The PMP is housed by a specified statewide regulatory, administrative or law enforcement agency. The housing agency distributes data from the database to individuals who are authorized under state law to receive the information for purposes of their profession.

Read More

The states have received plenty of federal funding from the DOJ for the creation of PMP’s.

the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), Office of Justice Programs in the U.S. Department of Justice created the Harold Rogers Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (HRPDMP) in 2002 (3).

Funds for this program were provided by Congress to assist in the planning, implementation, and in some cases the enhancement of state PDMPs. From 2002 to 2008, over 100 state HRPDMP grants were awarded by the BJA.

For fiscal year (FY) 2009, $7 million was appropriated by Congress for the HRPDMP. President Barack Obama proposed that the budget for 2010 would include $7 million for the grant program (4).

http://chfs.ky.gov/NR/rdonlyres/85989824-1030-4AA6-91E1 7F9E3EF68827/0/KASPEREvaluationPDMPStatusFinalReport6242010.pdf

The goal of the State of Oklahoma is to reduce prescription fraud, substance abuse, “doctor shopping”, and other illegal activity related to pharmaceutical drug diversion. The Bureau works in partnership with pharmacies, practitioners and other health care professionals throughout Oklahoma to reduce prescription drug abuse.

The Oklahoma Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) was enacted into law by the Oklahoma Anti-Drug Diversion Act (63 O.S. Section: 2-309). http://www.ok.gov/obndd/Prescription_Monitoring_Program/

Oklahoma is credited as the first state to begin using a prescription monitoring program back in the early 90’s.  Now Oklahoma has raced to the top again with its high tech, electronic PMP that boasts real time prescription data sharing beginning this year.

The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control started the monitoring program in 2006 to reduce prescription fraud, substance abuse and “doctor shopping.”  http://newsok.com/real-time-reporting-law-could-cut-down-on-prescription-abuse-fraud-oklahoma-officials-say/article/3646147#ixzz1osdhdWGx

Oklahoma’s modern electronic PMP has been running since 2006 and three quarters of doctors and pharmacies use the program.

Oklahoma to Track Prescription Drug Abuse


Under a statewide database program to be administered by the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control, authorities will track instances in which substance abusers try to fraudulently acquire prescription drugs

 . . .”The CONTROL project is a vital tool that will help crack down on prescription drug abuse and help get desperately needed treatment for people suffering addiction,” (Emphasis mine) Gov. Henry said at a state Capitol news conference.

. . .Under CONTROL, physicians and pharmacists will be able to check a patient’s prescription history from hospitals, clinics and pharmacies to deduce whether that person is “doctor shopping” for drugs. The entire process, which includes safeguards to prevent abuse, will take only a matter of minutes.. . . The program goes online July 1 and is entirely funded through federal grants. Oklahoma to Track Prescription Drug Abuse


With all of these firsts for Oklahoma in prescription drug monitoring, doesn’t it seem rather ironic that the state also boasts #1 status in prescription drug use and in painkiller abuse?

Oklahoma is #1 in prescription drug use per capita


                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Oklahoma is #1 in painkiller abuse

The report [Centers for Disease Control] says that Oklahoma leads statistics with the highest number of people — 1 in 12 — using painkillers recreationally.

Nov. 10, 2011 http://www.officer.com/news/10449255/okla-police-working-to-stop-prescription-drug-abuse

Last year, about 240,000 people in Oklahoma, or 8%, abused prescription drugs, giving the state the highest mark in the nation, although New Mexico and West Virginia lead in per-capita overdose deaths.

Prescription drugs are responsible for four in five overdose deaths in Oklahoma.  The leading causes of drug-related deaths in Oklahoma in 2010 were hydrocodone, oxycodone and alprasolam. http://www.allgov.com/Controversies/ViewNews/Drug_Addiction_in_Oklahoma_Costs_More_than_Entire_State_Budget_120313

While the Oklahoma PMP monitors a wide range of drugs (all schedule II-V)  it is the painkillers that are causing the brunt of the deaths and addiction related problems such as doctor shopping which the PMP is tailor made to address.

Oxycodone addiction and abuse, in particular a drug called OcyContin, is without a doubt a horrible problem.  Over the years I have personally heard of numerous cases of addiction and accidental overdoses from OxyContin.  The maker of the drug, Purdue, back in the mid 90’s, presented their new formulation of the drug oxycodone as less addictive and safer that the older preparations for the drug

Purdue knew it needed to overcome doctors’ fears about addiction, so it treated the time-release formula as a magic bullet. It claimed the drug would give pain patients steadier 12-hour coverage, avoid withdrawal, and frustrate addicts seeking a euphoric rush. As one 1998 Purdue promotional video stated, the rate of addiction for opioid users treated by doctors is “much less than 1%.”

The pitch worked, and sales took off: from $45 million in 1996 to $1.5 billion in 2002 to nearly $3 billion by 2009. The key: Nearly half of those prescribing OxyContin were primary-care doctors rather than, say, cancer specialists, the General Accounting Office reported. Purdue had succeeded in vastly expanding the market for its drug http://features.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2011/11/09/oxycontin-purdue-pharma/

Purdue aggressively marketed the painkiller and downplayed the risk of addiction at the expense of lives.  The company was prosecuted for its misleading campaign, found guilty and had to pay out millions in fines.

When it was introduced in the late ’90s, OxyContin was touted as nearly addiction-proof — only to leave a trail of dependence and destruction. Its marketing was misleading enough that Purdue pleaded guilty in 2007 to a federal criminal count of misbranding the drug “with intent to defraud and mislead the public,” paid $635 million in penalties, and today remains on the corporate equivalent of probation. http://features.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2011/11/09/oxycontin-purdue-pharma/

So big Pharma worked its magic and we are left to deal with the fallout.  Prescription Monitoring Programs are being offered as a solution to the death and destruction wrought by prescription drug addiction but I can find nothing to show that the program is doing much, if anything,  to help.

Prescription-drug overdoses are major killer in Oklahoma


The number of fatal drug overdoses in Oklahoma more than doubled over the past 10 years, climbing to 739 in 2010. . .


The PMP is a statewide database program administered by the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control, a law enforcement agency.

These state programs are now being linked for the purpose of sharing this information across state lines around the nation.

This  2002, a General Accounting Office report concluded that state PDMPs were a helpful tool for reducing drug diversion based not on any hard facts or numbers but on enthusiastic reports from law enforcement users and PDMP managers.  (GAO Report to the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, Committee on Energy and Commerce, House of Representatives. Prescription Drugs: State Monitoring Programs Provide Useful Tool to Reduce Diversion. May 2002. http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d02634.pdf.)

Here is some insight from a 2011 study that “. . .evaluated the association of PDMPs with drug overdose mortality rates and consumption of prescription opioid medications in the United States during 1999–2005.”

Conclusions. While PDMPs are potentially an important tool to prevent the nonmedical use of prescribed controlled substances, their impact is not reflected in drug overdose mortality rates. Their effect on overall consumption of opioids appears to be minimal.

PDMPs were not associated with lower drug overdose mortality rates for any of the study years or with decreases (or even with lesser increases) in the rates of death resulting from drug overdoses.

The findings also indicate that PDMPs were not associated with lower rates of consumption of opioids during 1999–2005. . . Even when focused on proactive PDMPs or programs with relatively high rates of reporting, there were no associations of PDMPs with trends in overdose deaths or opioid use.  . . . it can be said unequivocally that PDMP states did not do any better than non-PDMP states in controlling the rise in drug overdose mortality from 1999 to 2005

Source: 2011 Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs and Death Rates from Drug Overdose. 

In a nutshell;

  • PMP’s showed no effect on the number of deaths from drug overdoses.
  • PMP’s showed no effect on levels of consumption of painkillers
  • The states with PMP fared no better in controlling the rise in drug overdose mortality.  (In Oklahoma’s case, we actually fared worse that states with no PMP!)

Nevertheless, we are being treated to a deluge of news stories bringing us heart wrenching tales of lives lost or ruined by prescription painkiller abuse.  These same stories offer the salvation of a nationwide integrated government prescription tracking database for everyone.  The fact that this is an invasion of our medical privacy and a violation of doctor-patient confidentiality is never mentioned in these stories.

Who is Authorized to Request Patient Prescription Data?  (Apparently just about everyone BUT you)


  • Prescribers YES
  • Pharmacists YES
  • Pharmacies YES
  • Law Enforcement YES
  • Licensing Boards YES
  • Patients NO
  • If other requester (specify) Attorney General, Medical Examiners


The PMP’s are (in some states like Oklahoma) law enforcement programs, funded by law enforcement agencies for the purpose of feeding your personal information to law enforcement as an investigative tool.  Another way to say it, is they are spying on the majority of law abiding people because they might do something wrong.

Aren’t we are supposed to presumed innocent until proven guilty? If we are doing nothing wrong, aren’t we supposed to be left alone?   Yes!  That is exactly how it is supposed to be.

The National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws (NAMSDL) recommends;

Monitoring systems should proactively provide information to law enforcement agencies, licensing officials, and other appropriate individuals. This information should be reviewed by a drug monitoring official and if there is reason to suspect that a violation has occurred, the offender should be reported to the appropriate agency.

In addition, a statute must be in place that allows programs to disclose information for public research, policy, and educational purposes. . .(Emphasis  mine)


I don’t know about you but the idea of my medical information being accessed by a variety of people ( all benevolent and caring as they may be)  makes me feel violated and powerless. This is very personal information!

Prescription tracking: Too invasive? Steve Klearman September 07, 2008

The push for monitoring is coming not just from doctors and public health officials but the attorney general’s office. And it would likely be a useful tool. But it’s easy to imagine a time when lobbyists could convince lawmakers that the drug problem has become severe enough to grant law enforcement agencies unfettered access to everyone’s prescription history without a warrant. Then, agents would view the private medical information of hordes of innocent people in hopes of nabbing a small number of abusers.

. . . Even more troubling is the thought that computer hackers or bribed employees could obtain the records and sell them. The information would be very valuable to pharmaceutical companies, and to insurers and employers who want to avoid both abusers and people in need of expensive health care.  http://reno.injuryboard.com/fda-and-prescription-drugs/prescription-tracking-too-invasive.aspx?googleid=246936

Mr. Klearman’s concerns about the databases being hacked were born out in 2009.  In May 2009, hackers gained access to Virginia’s Prescription Monitoring Program and held 8 million patient records hostage for 10 million dollars in ransom.

Hackers Break Into Virginia Health Professions Database, Demand Ransom


Oklahoma prescription drug monitoring: what’s collected? by  Paul Monies July 5, 2011

. . . .

Senate Bill 1159, by Republicans Sen. Anthony Sykes and Rep. Randy Terrill, expanded the information collected under the PMP program to include the address and date of birth of patients getting a prescription for certain classes of drugs.

Here’s what the PMP program collects on each prescription, according to Oklahoma law and the administrative rules of OBNDD:

A. Section 2-309C. A. A dispenser of a Schedule II, III, IV or V controlled dangerous substance, except Schedule V substances that contain any detectable quantity of pseudoephedrine, its salts or optical isomers, or salts of optical isomers shall transmit to a central repository designated by the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control using the American Society for Automation in Pharmacy’s (ASAP) Telecommunications Format for Controlled Substances version designated in rules by the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control, the following information for each dispensation:

1. Recipient’s name;

2. Recipient’s address;

3. Recipient’s date of birth;

4. Recipient’s identification number;

5. National Drug Code number of the substance dispensed;

6. Date of the dispensation;

7. Quantity of the substance dispensed;

8. Prescriber’s United States Drug Enforcement Agency registration number; and

9. Dispenser’s registration number; and

10. Other information as required by administrative rule.

B. The information required by this section shall be transmitted:

1. In a format or other media designated acceptable by the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control; and

2. Within twenty-four (24) hours of the time that the substance is dispensed. Beginning January 1, 2012, all information shall be submitted on a real-time log.

Oklahoma prescription drug monitoring: what’s collected? by  Paul Monies July 5, 2011

The Prescription Monitoring Programs are indeed a violation of privacy but when you have people dying of prescription drug overdoses, for some, the trade-off might seem reasonable. It is important to point out in response to the media saturation of tragic tales in support of the PMP, that there is no indication whatsoever that the invasive surveillance of our medical information does anything to reduce the problem.  I will be interested in researching just what sort of measures are in place to get an addict some help once caught by the PMP but from what I have seen so far, this appears to be just one more invasive  program to track and control Americans in the name of safety.

Oklahoma Action Alert! Pushing Back against the UN and Sustainable Subversion

Kaye Beach

Feb. 14. 2012

The problem with UN Agenda 21 is not that it came from the United Nations but that our government leaders have embraced the plan and have worked diligently to naturalize the policy into US law and national, state and local policies. The principles of government promoted by the UN and it’s Agenda 21 are antithetical to our form of government that has traditionally put great emphasis on private property rights.   This emphasis on individual liberty and property rights is largely responsible for the historic success of United States as a nation.

The implementation of the tenets of Agenda 21 is nothing short of subversion.  This has nothing to do with environmental stewardship.  It is about control!

There are battles being waged all over the United States as citizens and legislators struggle to protect fundamental property rights against multitudes of non-government organizations and agencies carry out the goals of Agenda 21.

Below is information on two efforts taking place in Oklahoma to defend against the implementation of contrary UN goals, a little history on how the UN policy came to America, one example of how damaging it is to industry and innovation in America and a new agreement (signed Feb 11, 2012) between the EPA and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).


Two efforts to push back  taking place in Oklahoma right now. Your support is crucial.

On the county level;

Cleveland County Commissioner Offers Resolution Opposing Agenda 21

On a state level; HJR 1072, Support for the American Sovereignty Restoration Act by Rep. Charles Key.  This measure reiterates the intent of the American Sovereignty Restoration Act  which would end membership of the US to the United Nations. 

HJR 1072 urges Congress and the President of the United States pass legislation and take steps to end membership of the United States in the United Nations. Read HJR 1072

This measure was  referred to the House Rules Committee on Feb. 7, 2012 but it needs to be scheduled for a hearing in the Rules Committee.

Let the Rules Committee leaders know that it is very important that HJR 1072 gets scheduled and heard! 

Call or email;

Some background;

Land Use Control

Since the mid 1970s, both the United Nations and the United States have been moving toward ever-tightening “public” control of land use.

By: Henry Lamb – Sovereignty.net

Ownership of land is the foundation of freedom in America.  The hope of owning even a small plot of ground compelled our forefathers to brave incalculable risks crossing the ocean and challenging the wilderness.  Land ownership was so cherished by our nation’s founders that they guaranteed that government could not take private property without just compensation paid to the land owner.  This founding principle has eroded dramatically over time, especially since 1976.
The United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (HABITAT I) met in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1976.  Agenda Item 10 of the conference report was entitled simply “Land.”

Here is an excerpt from the Preamble to that item:
“Land…cannot be treated as an ordinary asset, controlled by individuals and subject to the pressures and inefficiencies of the market.  Private land ownership  is also a principal instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth and therefore contributes to social injustice; if unchecked, it may become a major obstacle in the planning and implementation of development schemes.  Public control of land use is therefore indispensable….”
This policy document was agreed to by the United States.  Among the U.S. delegates were William K. Reilly, former EPA Administrator, and Carla Hill, former Trade Negotiator in the Bush Administration.

Read more

Here is one example of how the principles of UN Agenda 21 looks on the ground as it is being carried out in the USA.

Signed on Feb 11, 2012-New Agreement between EPA and United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). 


Administrator Jackson signed the first Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between EPA and United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) during the 26th Session of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum, held in Nairobi, Kenya in February 2011. The MOU identifies areas for strategic cooperation, including strengthening environmental governance and regulatory capacity in developing countries; creating healthy urban communities; facilitating the transition to a green economy; responding to global challenges such as climate change; and providing scientific leadership.


WHEREAS the United Nations Environment Programme (hereinafter referred to as UNEP) is the leading organization within the United Nations system in the field of environment;
WHEREAS the mission of the Environmental Protection Agency of the United States of America (hereinafter referred to as EPA) is to protect human health and the environment within the United States and EPA may, consistent with applicable law, cooperate with other nations and organizations to protect the environment globally;

Full text of the MOU

OG&E Smart Meters – Controlling the Consumer

Kaye Beach

Dec, 6 2011

The more I look, the less I find to like about smart meters.

Personally speaking, my biggest concern is the privacy issues. Smart meters brings the prying eyes of corporations and the government right into your very home.


EPIC, the Electronic Privacy Information Center on Smart Meter privacy issues;

Privacy implications for smart grid technology deployment centers on the collection, retention, sharing, or reuse of electricity consumption information on individuals, homes, or offices. Fundamentally, smart grid systems will be multi-directional communications and energy transfer networks that enable electricity service providers, consumers, or third party energy management assistance programs to access consumption data. Further, if plans for national or transnational electric utility smart grid systems proceed as currently proposed these far reaching networks will enable data collection and sharing across platforms and great distances.

A list of potential privacy consequences of Smart Grid systems include:

  • Identity Theft
  • Determine Personal Behavior Patterns
  • Determine Specific Appliances Used
  • Perform Real-Time Surveillance
  • Reveal Activities Through Residual Data
  • Targeted Home Invasions (latch key children, elderly, etc.)
  • Provide Accidental Invasions
  • Activity Censorship
  • Decisions and Actions Based Upon Inaccurate Data
  • Profiling
  • Unwanted Publicity and Embarrassment
  • Tracking Behavior Of Renters/Leasers
  • Behavior Tracking (possible combination with Personal Behavior Patterns)
  • Public Aggregated Searches Revealing Individual Behavior

Read more from EPIC, the Electronic Privacy Information Center http://epic.org/privacy/smartgrid/smartgrid.html


OG&E Positive Energy® Smart Grid

OG&E is building the Positive Energy® Smart Grid in partnership with customers to improve energy efficiency. As the technology continues to rollout across OG&E’s service territory, it not only helps Oklahomans use energy more wisely, but it helps us meet the growing demand for energy and the desire for environmental stewardship.

The smart grid uses a secure wireless network for two-way, real-time communication with smart meters installed on the outside of customer homes. In the future, that meter could communicate with programmable thermostats or other technology inside customers’ homes.


Federal Funds Push Oklahoma Deployment

Norman Oklahoma began deployment of smart meters in a program study which began January 1st, 2010.  OG&E planned to extend its Smart Power rollout to all of its customers beginning in 2012 contingent upon the success of the Norman study and after approval from the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.  But that is not what happened.

On Dec 29, 2009 OG&E received a grant from the Dept. of Energy for $130 Million.

“The Company’s original plan was to review the results from the Phase 11 Norman Project and then perhaps within five years establish system wide deployment, however, after applying for and receiving the grant of $130 million in 2009 from the DOE, OG&E’s timeline for deployment of Smart Grid was moved up.  OG&E saw the additional funding by the DOE as an opportunity to move sooner rather than later, on the deployment of system wide Smart Grid technology, even prior to receiving the study results from the Norman Project.”

Q: What were the results of the SmartPower project in Norman?

A: Since, the Norman project will not be fully implemented until June of 2010, there are and were no results from that project at the time this Application for pre-approval was filed.


Q: Why is OG&E requesting pre-approval to move forward with Company wide deployment before the Norman Project (Phase I) is completed ?

A: The Company believes a window of opportunity was created for further deployment in 2009, with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) which contained an estimated $3 .4 billion in stimulus grant funding for Smart Grid investment.

Responsive Testimony of Tonya Hinex-Ford for Oklahoma Corporation Commission 05-21-10

OG&E’s full rollout of the smart meter/smart grid is not based on any actual significant evidence that this technology is a wise choice for Oklahoma, that it would save energy or money, but rather because of the opportunity to for OG&E to receive millions in federal funds.

OGE in Oklahoma City, Okla, $130 million grant, “Oklahoma IOU plows ahead with system-wide project plans,” (SGT, 2009-Aug-25);


I received a call from a gentleman last week who told me how he was pressured by an OG&E meter reader to install a smart meter on his house.  This man has a notice on his current analog meter stating that he does not want a smart meter installed and he has sent in a certified letter stating the same to OG&E.  The OG&E employee at first refused to give his name or to call his supervisor as requested by the homeowner but finally relented and the smart meter was not installed on the man’s home.

If you have a complaint about your smart meter in Oklahoma, you can file a complaint with the Corporation Commission at  www.occeweb.com  Click on “Complaints”  “Public Utilities” and fill out the form.

One lady in central Oklahoma submitted her concerns to the Corporation Commission and asked about relocating the meter on her house.  She shared the response with us.

Thank you for your e-mailed correspondence regarding Oklahoma Gas and Electric Company (OG&E).

I have reviewed your concerns regarding Oklahoma Gas and Electric Company (OG&E) and I understand your objection to the implementation of the Smart Meter Program.

However, there are no provisions that allow a consumer to opt out of the use of a smart meter. (Emphasis added) Additionally, if a meter is moved for the convenience of a consumer, in accordance with the rules of the Commission, the consumer will bear that cost.

However, as a courtesy, I have forwarded this matter to the Company for review. You may be contacted by a representative of the Company to further discuss your concerns.

I hope that this matter can be resolved to your satisfaction.


K. Dobbins

Kimberly Dobbins, Manager
Oklahoma Corporation Commission
Consumer Services Division
Public Utility Complaints

Oklahoma Smart Meter/Grid – Just Trust Us

People are being told that Oklahoma’s Smart Meter/Grid system is substantially different from systems in states. Concerns about privacy, safety and health are being downplayed.   I have seen no evidence that this is true but will be following up on these claims.

Here is what a little research into the system being utilized by OG&E turns up;

OG&E has selected Acatel-Lucent to build its communication system for the smart grid.

OG&E, Alcatel-Lucent, Osmose and ABB] OG&E selects communications, field inventory and DMS partners for smart grid

Alcatel-Lucent will work with OG&E’s WAN team to build a multi-tiered IP/MPLS communications network across the utility’s 30,000 square mile service territory. The network will include a 6.0 gigahertz, point-to-point microwave backbone system, plus a 3.65 gigahertz point-to-multipoint layer. The WAN will transport two-way data traffic from smart devices on the power delivery distribution system to enable real-time automation and advanced metering.


Besides being two way communication devices, another  fact to remember about smart meters is that they to whatever degree that they do work to reduce your energy use is by changing your behavior.

Smart metering

Smart metering is primarily intended to make consumers more conscious of energy consumption, thus leading to reduced consumption during peak periods and an overall reduction in the production of greenhouse gases.

Informing the user is merely the first step: facilitating the desired action by consumers requires two other capabilities:

  • The use of tariffs to encourage energy consciousness (whereby high instantaneous demand during periods of peak demand is charged a premium price)
  • Direct control of major household appliances

A fuller exploration of these topics can be found in the Alcatel-Lucent white paper, Smart Metering – Enabling Greater Energy Efficiency.2


In this Alcatel-Lucent strategic whitepaper, they are marketing to utilities the dream of controlling the consumer.


In the long-term, we can envisage distributors or energy retailers wanting to be able to incent customers to allow them to control non-essential demand.

For example, in exchange for a favorable tariff, the customer would allow the distributor to regulate their air-conditioning in order to shed load at times of excessive demand.

This is not a dream. The technology is ready. Domestic appliance manufacturers are starting to implement standard remote control protocols that would enable this sort of control. All that is required is the political will and a rollout of enabled smart meters.

Read more

“Incent” or Coerce?

Can they incent you into giving up control over your air conditioner?

First of all, I don’t think incent is even a word. But I am sure that with the right incentives they can get you to do a lot of things you you’d prefer not to do. “Incent” or incentivize, in my opinion, is a stand in for a more appropriate term such as “coerce”.  They can make it completely unaffordable for those who prefer to continue to set their own thermostats controls themselves but that strikes me as a negative method which deserves a negative term like “coerce”


Alcatel-Lucent gives the features and benefits of smart meter technology;


Maintain data records of the usage within the meter at configured intervals for a set amount of time.


Interrogating the meter usage data at configured intervals ranging from 15 minutes to every three months.


Interrogating the meter usage data on an ad-hoc basis.


The ability to configure a meter to be off (deactivated and not assigned to a customer account), to be on with a configured maximum capacity, and to be suspended (deactivated but remaining configured to a customer account).


Providing a display unit (probably remotely from the meter itself). Equally this could be a web interface to the customers account.

Network Monitoring/

Demand Response

Multi utility


2-way Communication


Intelligent House


Intelligent Energy



Assembling and storing the data received from each customer, partitioning it by customer, by customer type, by geography, by retailer (if appropriate), etc. Providing the statistics required to manage the service (for example, gross demand from a given geography by time over a given period, gross demand by customer type over a given period, etc.)

Formatting for transmission to the retailer (if appropriate), archive management.


Applying the tariff plan appropriate to that customer, customer type, retailer, etc. and creating the appropriate billing records for onward transmission to the customer.


Applying the above in real-time. This is of great importance in the case of pre-paid metering.


Implementing a rules-based decision tree when credit expires or a credit limit is reached dependent upon customer, customer type, retailer, etc.


This can include the temporary reduction of power to a “social minimum” where credit becomes an issue or configuring the meter to suit the circumstances of the particular customer.


In the case of power outages, the meter can transmit a “last gasp” that alerts the distributor to a failure in the network.


In the longer term, there is the ability to register remote devices in the premises, to read their configuration and, upon suitable authority, to regulate them. The example, cited above, of raising the temperature of air-conditioning is a typical application. Others could be the activation of other devices (for example, washing machines, when the lowest tariff threshold is reached).

Read more

Alcatel Lucent (Yes. The same guys implementing Oklahoma’s Smart meter/grid communications system) has had a very interesting document turn up in WikiLeaks’ newly released “Spyfiles”

 Alcatel-Lucent Unified Lawful Interception Suite

1357 ULIS adds lawful interception functions to Alcatel-Lucent products, adapting their internal interfaces to the standard lawful interception interfaces of law enforcement agency monitoring facilities.

The Alcatel-Lucent 1357 ULIS is a complete communications interception solution. It provides government authorities/LEAs and network operators with an integrated system for transparently intercepting and extracting real time information from vast amounts of voice, data and multimedia communications over virtually any type of network.


So Alcatel-Lucent is adapting their products to permit “law enforcement monitoring facilities” to intercept your data.

For interception to be lawful, it must be conducted in accordance with national law, following due process after receiving proper authorization from competent authorities. Typically, a national Law Enforcement Agency  (LEA) issues an order for LI to a specific network operator, access provider, or network service provider, which is obliged by law to deliver the requested information to a Law Enforcement Monitoring Facility.  Link

What sort of data can Alcatel Lucent intercept?

The Alcatel-Lucent 1357 ULIS is a complete communications interception solution. It provides government authorities/LEAs and network operators with an integrated system for transparently intercepting and extracting real time information from vast amounts of voice, data and multimedia communications over virtually any type of network. (Emphasis mine) .  Link

But it says “Lawful Interception” so what is the big deal?  What do you think it takes to ‘lawfully’ intercept information these days?  A warrant?  A subpoena?

Not necessarily.

For some relevant background on Lawful Interception and the newer laws and policies that show that “lawful” may not mean what you think it does, see Lawful Interception: Technology that is legally watching you

The Bottom line?

Based on the law as it stands, you will likely never know if law enforcement or intelligence services are using intercept or intrusion technologies against you. If you do, then it may be accidental or long after the fact.

Read more-Lawful Interception: Technology that is legally watching you

So what is the state doing to protect our sensitive data?

Not much.

Oklahoma HB 1079, The Electric Usage Data Protection Act was passed into law and signed by the governor on May 24, 2011.

There is little protection afforded to the customer of their personal data collected by the smart meters.

HB 1079 authorizes OG&E and other utility providers in the state the right to share your meter usage data, without your consent, to various third parties for purposes of “development, enhancement, marketing, provision of energy-related products and services or promotion of public policy objectives.”  The third parties, according to the bill, will keep our info “confidential”

The bill does not define what “confidential” means legally.  The law states that a representative of the third party has to state that they will keep the information confidential in writing so maybe a copy of this statement or form would give a better idea of the parameters.  Also, there are no penalties provided for improper uses of our data in the bill which make it hard for me to believe that our privacy is being taken seriously at all.

The Electric Usage Data Protection Act went into effect on Nov 1, 2011.

Read the bill http://www.scribd.com/doc/62786738/Oklahoma-HB1079-The-Electric-Usage-Data-Protection-Act

I agree with Alcatel-Lucent.  It is  all about control.


Howard and I gave some attention to the topic of smart meters on our October 21, 2011 show.

Citing concerns with the health effects, privacy, safety and accuracy, some residents are telling their utility company NO!  They do not want the new meters installed and they say they are being told that unless they comply, they will lose service.

Here is the audio for that show; A4L_2011-10-21_64k.mp3

Tonight Oct 7, 2011 on AxXiom For Liberty Live- “Control Freaks”

Kaye Beach

**Show Notes and links below**

Oct. 7 2011

Tonight on AxXiom For Liberty Live with Kaye Beach and Howard Houchen-6-8pm CST

Listen Online

We have a whole slate of great guests lined up for you tonight!
First we have Luke Lawrenson,  a bright 12th grader at Hugo High School, who might be a little too smart for his own good.  He is going to share with us the essay that got him , a smart 12th grader at Hugo High School, kicked out of his AP English Class.

Then we have Adrian Wylie from Florida.

Adrian Wiley, co host of Liberty Underground, an AM radio show on WTAN Clearwater Florida.
Adrian, also the Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Florida took a stand against waiving his Fourth Amendment rights in the state of Florida in order to get his REAL ID card.
He went to court this week and will tell us what the outcome was tonight!

Pinellas Libertarian won’t get a driver’s license and he won’t stop driving

Next up is Amanda Teegarden, Exec. Director of OK-SAFE, Inc. and Vicky Davis (channelingreality.com)for a roundtable discussion on the technological restructuring of our government and the true implications of these changes.  What you hear from these two excellent researchers will take you off the beaten path by exposing some of the realities of the profound and bewildering changes taking place right now in our society.

Guess what?  It boils down to CONTROL.

Some relevant links;

The Rock the Revolution Tour kicks off on Oct. 15 http://www.rocktherevolutiontour.com/

Fall Concert to Benefit the HUGS Project – sending care packages to those troops deployed overseas.  OCT. 22 – 5 – 10pm at the Edmond Nat’l Guard Armory https://www.facebook.com/update_security_info.php?wizard=1#!/event.php?eid=270517602969309


Every Human is Being Enrolled Into a Single Global System of Identification and Financial Control


Activist Randy Kelton “railroaded” in rural Texas county; faces year in jail

www.reddirtreport.comBut as a reporter who has covered government in urban and rural areas of Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma, I can tell you the corruption in these rural areas is often very real and affecting real people.

Sometimes the dragon wins

by Michael Badnarik

Of the 300-plus millon people in the United States, those in the rapidly growing Liberty movement still make up a fairly small percentage. A small percentage of those people are metaphorical White Knights who bravely joust with the dragon of tyranny. Not surprisingly, if you piss off the dragon too much, he will breathe fire in your direction and toast you to a crisp.

Such is the unfortunate circumstance for my good friend, Randy Kelton, one of the hosts from Rule of Law Radio.

Read more


OK-SAFE Reports: Notes on First Joint Committee Meeting on Health Care Reform in Oklahoma

Electronic Health Records And the End of Anonymity

The Electronic Police State 2010 (a report)

An electronic police state is characterized by this:
State use of electronic technologies to record, organize, search and
distribute forensic evidence against its citizens.

Is Your Governor For Sale to the EPA?

Posted June 19, 2011

From MORPHcity

By Cassandra Anderson
June 8, 2011

Congress failed 3 times to pass laws (HR 2421, S. 1879 and S. 787) for federal control over almost all water, so the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers are declaring jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act.

Currently,  waters with a ‘significant nexus’ to ‘navigable waters’ are covered under the Clean Water Act (CWA).  The EPA is now trying to assert that the CWA “protects” (controls) traditional navigable waters, interstate waters, adjacent wetlands, tributaries, and ‘other waters’ which account for just about all water except swimming pools (see page 5)

Read more from MORPHcity



Centralization of Power in Modern Russia

Centralization of Power in Modern Russia Print

Russia’s current system of government is characterized principally by the centralization of power.  Politically, economically, geographically, and culturally, virtually all power resides in “apparatchiks” or elites – wealthy individuals who are close to the Russian White HouseKremlin.  Vladimir Putin orchestrated this consolidation, serving as President from 1999 until March 2008.  He was then forced by term limits to move into the role of Prime Minister.  Although his former post is officially now occupied by his long-time deputy, Dmitry Medvedev, nearly all experts continue to see Putin’s influence both in the consolidation and exercise of power domestically and in foreign policy.  Many experts anticipate Putin’s return to the Presidency in the future.  Most would agree that currently, modern Russia remains Putin’s Russia.

The context of centralization in the Putin era is important:

  • Elections are held for some legislative offices and for the Presidency.  However, one political party, United Russia, dominates.  Elections are not considered to be free or fair by international standards.  Russia is no longer considered by independent analysts to be a democracy, but has instead been called an “electoral monarchy,” a “managed democracy,” or a “bureaucratic oligarchy.”
  • Most significant government postings are appointed by the President and staffed by a group of elites loyal to the Kremlin.  These elites are drawn primarily (75%) from Russia’s security forces – the KGB, the FSB that replaced the KGB, or from other police/intelligence sectors.  These elites, also known as the “siloviki,” usually serve consecutively or simultaneously in the higher ranks of Russia’s corporate sector.
  • Previously elected by the people, the leaders of Russia’s 89 provinces are now appointed, with representation at the national level consolidated into just seven super-governors who serve at the pleasure of the President.  Regional sovereignty among Russia’s numerous internal republics is subject to Moscow’s oversight.
  • All television stations and most of the radio news outlets are state-owned or state-controlled.  The internet is considered mostly free, but vastly underutilized.  Both state-dominated and independent print media exist, but government intimidation and harassment is common and inevitably leads to self-censorship.  Russia regularly ranks among the world’s most dangerous places for journalists.  There have been a number of unsolved murders of journalists in Russia in the past eight years, including the high profile execution-style murder of prominent Putin critic Anna Politkovsky.
  • The actions of opposition parties and leaders are tightly controlled by the Kremlin, and the full force of the state is brought to bear against those stepping outside established boundaries.  Full freedom of association does not exist.  Civil society is highly restricted.  NGOs (Non Governmental Organizations), especially those with international connections, are regulated by the state.
  • The state reserves the right to breach private property protections for any reason; nationalization or seizure of businesses is common.  No significant accumulation of wealth is generally tolerated outside the Kremlin-elite network.
  • The courts provide little remedy for individuals or corporations.  Judges and prosecutors are often seen as corrupt; defense lawyers are often harassed and intimidated.  A culture of impunity reigns and abuse of power by public officials is common.
  • The Kremlin promotes a youth movement known as Nashi, an ultra-patriotic group that receives government support and training.
  • Putin’s government has also been involved in curriculum and textbook redesign in Russian schools, commissioning the rewriting of some history texts to sanitize them of the mention of Stalinist excesses.  History texts memorialize the sacrifices of Soviet troops in defeating Hitler, glorify the tsarist past, and indulge in revisionist accounts of the abuses suffered under Communist rule

Read More


America, Meet Machiavelli. Your Leaders Know Him Well

“Machiavelli wrote his Prince–a work destined to become one of the few treatises which have crystallized a political theory into permanent form, a work that fits any age and will continue to fit any so long as human nature remains what it is.”

Part I


i. The Doctrines of Machiavellianism Permeate the World of Business and Society


Ida M. Tarbell

Some four hundred years ago there was living quietly in a little villa not far from the City of Florence Italy, a man about forty-five years old, Niccolo Machiavelli by name. His serious occupation–followed at night after a day spent in superintending his estate and drinking wine with his rustic neighbors–was writing a treatise explaining how, in his judgment, the then existing government of Florence could bring that city back to a power and glory which it had lost. Signor Machiavelli was very well fitted for his task. He was not a scholar, in the strict sense of the term, but he was a man thoroughly familiar with his world. He knew its literature and its history. He was an able writer, perhaps the first prose writer Italy had ever produced. He was a man of large experience in politics, diplomacy, society. For fifteen years before taking to his little villa he had been the private secretary and confidential agent of the most powerful factor in the Florentine Republic–the Council of Ten, and in this position he had seen from the inside some of the most extraordinary events of the period. He had been with Cesare Borgia when that crafty general, having lured a large number of his enemies to a conference to discuss terms of peace, cut off their heads–for the good of his country! He had passed months at the court of Francis I, one of the greatest of French Medieval sovereigns, begging men and money to help Florence keep off her enemies. He had matched cunning with cunning; deceit with deceit, bullying with bullying, logic and logic in the leading diplomatic circles of Europe. He was a man of his world, too, always in the thick of the cleverest circle of his city, gossiping, carousing, agitating. He could run an enemy through with a sword, if need be; he could play the gallant with the best of them; he could turn a sonnet to suit the critical taste of his day; and he could write a pamphlet or a creed for the city gate as no other man in Florence. In short, Machiavelli was a versatile, brilliant, learned man of his times–but he was something more than most of such gentlemen, of whom Florence had many. He had a mind of extraordinary analytical power, a genius for construction, a warm devotion to his native city, and a patriotic passion for her glory.

Machiavelli Teaches Despots How to Make Themselves Impregnable

Signor Machiavelli was altogether too young and too much in love with life and action to be spending his nights in writing a treatise on government if he could have helped himself. But he could not. He had lost his office by the overthrow of the Republic of Florence and the restoration of the old despotic power of the Medici. Machiavelli saw no chance for a restoration of the republic. But he believed he did see the way for an able Despot to make Florence all powerful in Italy. He decided to explain his views to the Medici. The world has always been divided as to why Machiavelli, a Republican and practically an exile because of his principles, should have attempted to teach a Despot how to make himself impregnable and his state glorious. There are those who say it was that he might be restored to place–and certainly Machiavelli, when he came to offer his treatise to the Medici, offered his services along with it, pleading that the work itself proved his fitness to serve a Despot,–which it certainly did; but there was a great deal more than a desire for a position in Machiavelli’s mind. He loved his Florence–ardently, passionately desired her glory. He saw no chance for the success of a Republic. He believed a powerful and wise Despot could make a state glorious and it mattered little to him how Florence became a stable power if she only achieved the end, and so Machiavelli wrote his Prince–a work destined to become one of the few treatises which have crystallized a political theory into permanent form, a work that fits any age and will continue to fit any so long as human nature remains what it is.

The Business of a Prince Is to Make His State Great

And what was this theory that Signor Machiavelli worked out so well? So direct, so lucid, so comprehensive, and so frank is the Prince that a very brief analysis makes it clear. It opens with a definition of “the business of a Prince,” which, says Machiavelli, “is to make his state great and to extend its borders.” In Machiavelli’s day the Prince so generally came into power by force or by adventurous brigandage that it was this class of rulers alone which he seriously considered in his Treatise. Obviously the first requirement of a Prince who has secured power is an army, his chief art is the art of war. Even the prophets themselves stood or fell by their power to back up their teachings by force, Machiavelli claimed. Thus Moses succeeded because he had an army to back up his laws. Savonarola failed because “when the multitude ceased to have faith in him he was destitute of the means either to compel faith or to inspire confidence.” It was a Medieval application of the more modern saying, “Trust in God and keep your powder dry.”

The Prince Should Use Secret Intrigue and Treachery

But while Machiavelli places full stress on the necessity of making war in the most scientific and approved manner, he by no means limits his Prince’s duties to raising and disciplining troops and to conducting aggressive campaigns. In his judgment there is another and no less important field of action for every Prince, It is that of secret intrigue and treachery, the place in which states are most surely undermined and destroyed. The chief weapons in this field are lying, treachery, cruelty; and Machiavelli calmly advises the use of each, always supporting his contention with ample historical illustrations.

Lying and Craftiness Is a Necessity for a Prince

Lying, in his opinion, is a sacred necessity. “A prudent prince cannot and ought not to keep his word,” he says, “except when he can do it without injury to himself, or when the circumstances under which he contracted his engagement still exist.” Craftiness is to be cultivated sedulously. Indeed, Machiavelli impresses it upon his Prince that the fox is a worthy example to emulate. “As a Prince must learn how to act the part of a beast sometimes, he should make the fox and the lion his patterns, but the fox often wins when the lion would fail: I could give numerous proofs of this and those who have enacted the part of the fox have always succeeded best in their affairs.

A Prince Should Not Be Afraid of Cruelty

Nor should he be afraid of cruelty. Like lying and treachery it is often necessary. In an army it is useful in helping keep troops in order. In governing a city it prevents uprisings.

It is Better to Be Feared Than Loved

These are hard practices and evidently make a man feared and hated. Machiavelli calls attention to this fact and argues it out logically: “It has sometimes been asked,” he says, “whether it is better to be loved than feared, to which I answer that one should wish to be both, but that is a hard matter to be accomplished and I think if it is necessary to make a selection it is safer to be feared than to be loved. Men are generally more inclined to submit to him who makes himself dreaded than to one who merely strives to be beloved; and the reason is obvious, for friendship of this kind being a mere moral tie, a species of duty resulting from a benefit, cannot endure against the calculations of interest; whereas fear carries with it the dread of punishment, which never loses its influence.

The Prince Must Renounce Good

As a general rule, Machiavelli lays it down that hatred is as easily incurred by good actions as by evil–and that when the strongest party is corrupt the Prince must comply with their disposition and content them. “He must renounce good or it will prove his ruin.”

To Maintain Power a Prince Should Not Be Good

It is not a high notion of humanity that such doctrines as these presupposes. Machiavelli admits this frankly. Indeed, throughout his treatise he repeatedly claims that it is only possible to practice the methods he advises because men are generally so cowardly, so treacherous, and so selfish. For instance, in explaining the wisdom of not keeping promises he says, “I should be cautious in inculcating such a precept if all men were good; but as the generality of mankind are wicked and ever ready to break their words, a prince should not pique himself in keeping his more scrupulously, especially as it is always easy to justify a breach of faith on his part.” And again in cautioning His Prince against having any pride in being considered just and good he says, “The manner in which men live is so different from that in which they ought to live, that he who deviates from the common course of practice and endeavors to act as duty dictates necessarily insures his own destruction. A Prince who wishes to maintain his power ought therefore to learn that he should not be always good.

The Use of Force and Treachery

It is thus by force, craft, and treachery and by a wholesale application of the principle that every man has his price that the great Italian taught that power is to be secured. But this means enemies, for, whereas, a man beaten in an open contest waged according to the rules of war, may become a friend, he who has been stripped of his possessions by craft and treachery combined with force rarely, if ever, can be trusted.

The Prince Should Take Men into Partnership or Crush Them

How shall he deal with them? It is simple in Machiavelli’s judgment. “Either make a man your friend or put it out of his power to be your enemy,” he says. That is, take him into partnership or crush him. “He may revenge a slight injury, but a great one deprives him of his power to avenge. Hence the injury should be of such magnitude that the Prince shall have nothing to dread from his vengeance.” That is, the only safe way to deal with a conquered enemy is to destroy him, and particularly is this true if that enemy has ever known freedom.

The Prince Should Not Help a Rival Power

Not only must you destroy all those you conquer, but under no circumstances should you help a rival power in any of its enterprises, even if those enterprises be quite foreign to those in which you are interested–nothing in which as far as you can foresee you ever will be interested, for the prince who contributes to the advancement of another power runs the risk of ruining his own. The rival may, through the help given him, so advance in power that it may one day ruin the Prince himself–that is, never help in any way anybody outside of your domain.

The Rules for Securing and Increasing Worldly Power

But while Machiavelli lays down forcibly. and clearly the above rules as essential to securing and increasing worldly power, he repeatedly advises against the unguarded use of them. For instance, cruelty must always be “well applied”—that is, only exercised when it is absolutely necessary. Again, although a Prince must do evil when required to preserve and strengthen his domain, he must, above all, preserve an appearance of always doing good. “A prince should earnestly endeavor to gain the reputation of kindness, clemency, piety, justice, and fidelity to his engagements. He ought to possess all these good qualities, but still retain such power over himself as to display their opposites whenever it may be expedient.

The Prince Should Maintain an Outward Appearance of Kindness and Piety

“I maintain that a Prince, and especially a new Prince, cannot with impunity exercise all the virtues, because his own self-preservation will often compel him to violate the laws of charity, religion, and humanity. He should habituate himself to bend easily to the various circumstances which may, from time to time, surround him. In a word, it will be as useful to him to persevere in the path of rectitude, while he feels no inconvenience in doing so, as to know how to deviate from it when circumstances dictate such a course. He should make it a rule, above all things, never to utter anything which does not breathe of kindness, justice, good faith, and piety; this last quality is most important for him to appear to possess, as men in general judge more from appearances than from reality. All men have eyes, but few have the gift of penetration. Every one sees your exterior, but few can discern what you have in your heart.”

The Doctrine of the End Justifies the Means

These, briefly, are the famous principles of Machiavelli. In a word, it is the doctrine that the end justifies the means, that whatever is necessary in order to secure the glory of your country is right. Men should love their country more than their souls.

Machiavelli Sought to Teach a Tyrant How to Become Impregnable

Machiavelli gave the Prince to the Florentine Despot, but he did not get his reward. Whether the treatise was too strong for the stomach of Lorenzo or not, we do not know. It was only after Machiavelli’s death that the work was published, and no sooner was it out than a storm of indignation broke over it. Impious,. infernal—no adjective was too strong to describe the popular judgment. The Republicans called him traitor because he sought to teach a tyrant how to become impregnable. The Despots hated him because he showed their hand. The church, outraged by his frank accounts of the discrepancies between her practices and principles, put the Prince under its ban and burnt Machiavelli in effigy. And yet Machiavelli had not invented Machiavellianism. He simply described as clearly and succinctly as he could the methods which his observation and study had taught him to be the most successful in ruling Italian cities. He had considered not at all the morality of methods—no despot who won glory did that. He had considered not at all that a man might lose his soul, might drive other men to destroy their souls, by these practices.

Machiavelli Revealed the Formula for Worldly Success

The glory of the state—that in Machiavelli’s mind was the end of all political action. If it cost men their souls why still the glory of the state justified the price. Italy had taught him this, yet Italy, when she saw her own theory stated in black and white, turned on the man who had analyzed her so plainly, and called him traitor. The world took up the cry and from that day to this has characterized the theory that the end justifies the means with the opprobrious title of Machiavellian. It has made an adjective of reproach of the great Florentine’s name, as if he had let loose the evils inherent in the theory which bears his name. As a matter of fact, all that Machiavelli did was to work out the formula for worldly success followed by the ablest rulers of his own time. His crime in the eyes of Florence was that he revealed the formula.

The Principles of the Prince Are in Active Operation Throughout the World

But though the world repudiated the Machiavellian theory as soon as it saw the light, it by no means abandoned it. Again and again since the Prince first was written, four hundred years ago, its principles have been in as active operation as in the age of despots. Again and again those who hated and feared the theory have risen to overthrow it. What was the Reformation in essence but a revolt against Machiavellianism in the church. What was the French Revolution? Every age, indeed, has seen this theory intrude itself in Church or State, and has seen an attack upon it. Every country has had repeated struggles with it, so has every institution; indeed, so does every individual who aspires.

Machiavellianism Arises in America in the 1880s

There has always been a trace of Machiavellianism in American life, but never in the history of our country has the formula been applied and openly defended, until the last two decades.

A Modern Treatise in the Art of Acquiring and Extending Power

Today, however, one could easily reconstruct out of the mouths of our captains of industry a modern edition of the Prince which would serve quite as well as a textbook for the aspirant to financial power as the Prince of’ Machiavelli would have served Lorenzo Medici if he had the brains, the daring, and the dexterity to apply it. The object of this modern treatise, like that of the Medieval one, would be to instruct in the art of acquiring and extending power; but while four hundred years ago it was acquiring power in order to make a state rich and glorious, today it is acquiring power in order to make oneself rich and glorious. Four hundred years ago it was a state which the Prince aspired to control, today it is a great business—a natural product like iron or coal or oil, a great food product like beef, a great interstate transportation line like the railroad, a great deposit for the savings of the poor like a life insurance company. These are the Kingdoms for which the modern man sighs. They do not come to him as an inheritance any more than in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries Italian cities came to Despots by inheritance. They come by force, and today, as in Machiavelli’s time, the chief art of the would-be captain of industry is war, the end of which is to acquire that which other men now control.

Business Is War

It matters not at all that the man who owns the enterprise desired to extend the captain’s power may have been a pioneer in the industry, may have been one of the first in the country to make sugar, or produce oil, raise cattle, or ice cars; it matters very little that he has developed his own markets, invented his own processes and machines; his property is wanted and he cannot be allowed to live free any more than in Machiavelli’s judgment Cesare Borgia should have allowed the Italian princes whose domain skirted his and who were weaker than he to live free. Business is war, then, not a peaceful pursuit.

The Art of Developing Monopolies

And this commercial warfare has been developed by our modern captains to a science as perfect as the militarism of the nations. Its tactics are as admirable, its plans of campaign as clear and able.–You want to control beef, for instance—an excellent kingdom to master, so steady and sure are its resources in a prosperous land. But how can you do it? It is an industry as old as the nation. It has been built up and is owned and managed by ten thousand cattlemen on a thousand hills and plains, by hundreds upon hundreds of dealers in the numberless cities and villages and country-sides of the land, by scores upon scores of railroads and steamship lines which compete to carry its products. Where is the central position which, controlled, will bring them all, cattle-raiser, transporter, marketman, under your direction or, if you prefer, drive them from the industry? Any modern captain will tell you it is in transportation. If you can, by any means, so control the railroads and steamships which ship the cattle first and the dressed meat later as to obtain better rates than anybody else, you can control ranchmen and dealers. For if you can ship what you buy cheaper than your competitors, you can afford to sell cheaper. The world buys where it can buy cheapest. In time the world’s market is yours and when it is yours you can pay the ranchman your own price for cattle. There is nobody to offer him another. You can make your own rate for the transportation; you are the only shipper. You can demand of the consumer the highest price. There is nobody to offer him one lower.

The Development of Financial Monopolies

Secure the special favor of the railroad then and the rest will be easy, as it is in all great military campaigns where the key to the position has been found and where all resources have been concentrated on its capture. And this favor secured, go after the dealer. If you are a courageous and plausible person, tell him frankly that his business belongs to you, and he had better sell at once. But he does not wish to sell. He has queer ideas about the business being his. He stands on what he calls his rights and a fight is as inevitable as it was in Machiavelli’s time when some little Italian town accustomed to governing itself refused to turn over its keys to a big neighbor. And it is beautifully clear from the revelations of our captains of industry during the last thirty years of investigation on what plans the fight will be fought. Cut off his supply of meat. If he has none he sells none. But cattlemen cannot be prevented from selling. No, but if it costs the obstinate dealer more to get that meat to his market than it does you to get it to yours, he cannot sell at the price at which you sell. And here enters the railroad rebate—the modern battering-ram for crushing those who fight to save their own. Crushing them by preventing them getting the supply on which they feed at livable rates of transportation. We all understand it. For nearly forty years we have had it illustrated constantly before our eyes. Recently we have had it ad nauseam. Small dealers in oil and coal and lumber and salt, and a hundred other things forced into combination, into bankruptcy, or into new lines of business—because they could not get a rate which enabled them to ship; the big shipper forcing the discrimination until his rival succumbed like a wall weakened by incessant battering.

The Attacks on Recalcitrant Businesses

But the besieging captain of today has other weapons than his formidable special rate. Have you ever watched, month after month, an attack on a recalcitrant business by some great leader? It is quite as interesting in its way as the study of the siege of Toulon, of Vicksburg, or of Port Arthur. Mines are run under the man’s credit and exploded at the moment when they will cause the most confusion, abatis are constructed around his markets until whenever he would enter them he falls into entanglements which mean retreat or death, a system of incessant, deft sharp-shooting is kept up, picking off a bit of raw product here, delaying a car-load there; securing the countermand of an order at this point, bullying or wheedling into underselling at that, trumping up lawsuits, securing vexatious laws. For fertility of invention in harassing maneuvers I recommend the campaign of a modern captain of industry as far superior to the annoyances of the famous guerrilla warfare of the Spaniards.

The Modern Captains of Industry Use Machiavellian Tactics to Destroy Free Enterprise

Now we will all admit that under the competitive system, in a sense, business is war; that is, men are each rightfully seeking to make his own venture as big and as powerful as his ability and energy permit, but in all war, even that of four hundred years ago, there are rules. Compare the use of the ancient battering-ram with the use of the modern one—the rebate. The former was recognized as a legitimate instrument, and the latter has always been declared illegitimate. That is, when an Italian Despot sallied forth to knock down the walls of a city he wanted to add to his domain he used an instrument which the laws allowed—but our modern captain uses as his principal weapon of conquest an instrument forbidden by all the laws of the game. As far as weapons of war are concerned, he really goes the Italian Despot one better. Not only that; he equals him easily in those practices which have always been supposed to be an Italian specialty, and which, as has already been pointed out, form the backbone of Machiavellianism as it is developed in the Prince. Consider the parallel. Our modern captain, like our medieval tyrant, must be prepared for cruelty. If he cannot win over a man and make him a convert to his scheme, or if he does not want him in his aggregation—he must put it out of his power to be his enemy—that is, he must crush him. Machiavelli suavely advises to do him an injury of such magnitude that the Prince shall have nothing to dread from his rival’s vengeance. This will make you feared, of course, but the consoling observation Machiavelli offers to those who may gulp a bit at wholesale slaughter is that it is safer to be feared than loved.

People Fear the Captains of Industry on Wall Street

What is today half the power of a half-dozen of our leading captains of industry? It is that they are feared by thousands of men. What is it that drives many a railroad president to grant rebates—a crime in the eyes of the law for which he knows that if the government does its duty he will be fined and imprisoned? Fear of a warfare on his freight, his bonds, his stocks. Why do so many men with righteous causes of complaint throw up their hands at the approach of the captain of their particular industry? Because they know that resistance almost inevitably has ended in failure. Every one who knows Wall Street—the railroad business, the copper-steel, oil, beef business—knows that half the popular stock in trade of the leaders is that they have intelligently and persistently cultivated Machiavelli’s counsel that it is safer to be feared than loved.

Wall Street Business Leaders Lie to the American People

It is not only cruelty which is necessary in modern businesses. It is lying. Follow the testimony in the great insurance investigations of the past fall and compare it with the investigations of other years, and perjury sticks out at every corner, perjury so obvious in many cases that it is laughable. Follow the testimony of the leader of the great oil trust—that of many railroad men. When it is necessary they lie.–No Borgia or Medici ever followed more wisely and carefully than our captains Machiavelli’s great rule—”A prudent prince cannot and ought not to keep his word except when he can do it without injury to himself.”

Lying for the Sake of Business

But while the Machiavellian rule that a Prince should do evil or good according as the one or other serves his interests can be shown by a multitude of documents to be followed faithfully and intelligently by the modern captain of industry, he is no less scrupulous in obeying Machiavelli’s injunction not to do evil unnecessarily, that is to do it only when it is necessary to attain the end. Our modern captains of industry rarely lie or break the laws, bribe or practice cruelty, save for the sake of the end that is they do not do these things for the sake of doing them as a Caligula or a Nero would have done. They do them for the good of the business. Listen to one of our railroad officials who, recently on the stand, testified to granting a rebate. “We knew it was illegal but it was the only way we could get our share of the business;” that is, the law is less important than the share of business.

In the Minds of Commercial Leaders the End Justifies the Means

In one great concern where for nearly forty years there is an unbroken record of lawbreaking and of spying and of hard dealings, the repeated explanation has been that it was for the good of the business. Not long ago a Western Senator of the United States was found guilty of stealing public lands. A former colleague openly justified him on the ground that by this robbery the land had been opened up more quickly than it otherwise would have been. Wherever a case comes to the surface it is promptly justified as necessary to keep up the dividends, expand race, meet competition, get your share of the business, stimulate commerce. That is, in the minds of our commercial leaders the end justifies the means as much as it ever did in the mind of Cesare Borgia, the monks of the Spanish Inquisition, of Napoleon Bonaparte, or of Count Metternich.

Modern Captains of Industry Use Charitable Giving to Deceive People

Probably at no period of the world’s history where the Machiavellian formula has been the chief working one of a great social institution has its crowning principle—to give the whole fabric the color of charity—been so universally practiced as it is today by our captains of industry. Cesare Borgia, Machiavelli’s great model and that incredible villain, his father, Pope Alexander VI, troubled themselves precious little about screening their deeds with clemency and charity—their failure to do so was a chief cause of their final failure. Machiavelli realized this and it was his reason for repeatedly putting emphasis on the necessity of posing as a saint, however great a devil we may be. Today there is hardly to found in American industry a leader, however Machiavellian in practice, who does not seek to justify himself in the eyes of the public by some form of benefit to society. He may cultivate the arts, he may establish lectureships, he may endow colleges, he may build hospitals, but whoever he is—however truly a commercial brigand he is, he follows Machiavelli in appearing a social benefactor. It is instinct with him primarily— not calculation. There are few men, whatever their practices, who do not instinctively desire to be called honorable and generous, and to be considered gentlemen.

When the People Become Alarmed Create a Distraction

The world has so advanced since Machiavelli’s days, too, that few men are so unconscious of the social obligations that they do not try to square themselves with God and man for what they take contrary to the legal or the moral code. But what may be instinct at first inevitably becomes a calculation as they grow in brigandage. They see it pays to be known as public benefactors. That such a reputation will keep the public silent longer than any other. That a great gift may often head off a legislative investigation. It is an application of Napoleon’s wisdom: When the people are restive, “gild a dome,” that is, give them something new to see and talk about, distract their attention; that done, their sense of injustice is soon asleep.

Commercial Machiavellianism Is the Accepted Business Code of Today

Now this parallel between our modern industrial code and that of the Prince is not a mere fanciful one. It is a legitimate historical parallel easily reinforced by a multitude of documents as every one must admit who knows the industrial records of the United States for the last forty years. Commercial Machiavellianism is the accepted industrial formula. It is not only accepted and defended as necessary to our national prosperity and our happiness by those who practice it and profit by it, but the Nation, as a whole, winks at it. How often do we hear from the lips of eminently respectable citizens the words: “Business is business”? How often in justification of lying, “Everybody lies”? How often in defense of bribery the words of the Missouri judge, “Bribery at worst is merely a conventional crime”? How often the words of Tim Campbell of New York “What’s the Constitution between friends”? That is, the public as a whole is coming to admit Machiavellianism as a business necessity and to justify it by the end.

The Accumulation of Private Wealth and Power

Now looked at a little more closely what is the business end our captains of industry seek? It certainly is not—never has been—except in rare cases, the mere accumulation of private wealth, the mere winning of personal power. These men who control the industrial world today are, as a rule, men of “great imagination—men who have looked over a vast field of scattered forces and seen how they might bring them into harmony and direct them to definite ends, how in thus combining and organizing they might not only build in their own land one great and splendid industry in the place of the thousands of little ones now doing the work, but they might extend this great creation into foreign lands, thus enlarging American empire, piling up American power, enriching the American people.

The Dream of Universal Empire

Our captains of industry are poets in their ways—poets who rhyme in steel and iron and coal, whose verses are great ships and railways and factories and shops. They create that the world may have more food and light and shelter and joy.–They create for the joy of it—for the sake of feeling themselves grow, for the sake of doing for those they love. This, to a degree, is the vision of them all. These are noble ends, but they can only be kept so by noble means. Yet, almost immediately comes the realization that this dream of universal empire cannot be reached by the means which human law and justice prescribe. What of it? The man, hot with his vision, sees his end as greater than truth, than righteousness, than justice. He gradually, and perhaps unconsciously at first, works out a modern version of the half-pagan formula of Machiavelli to apply to a modern and Christian situation, and the world, dazzled by the magnificence of his achievement, justifies him as he does himself.

Great Monopolies and Trusts in Existence

Now, is he right? Are we right? Is the Machiavellian system today so firmly implanted justified by its results as we see them today? What are the results? Take the material ones. Is there a great monopolistic trust in existence today which has carried out its avowed purpose of better and cheaper products, because of combination? In my judgment not one. The whole history of the trust aiming at monopoly has been that it never gave a pound of beef or a gallon of oil of any better quality or cheaper price than it is forced to do by competition. And why should we expect it to? Suppose that a trust builder started out honestly, fired by the vision of a world-wide machine—a benefit to man and a glory to his nation—and to accomplish this end he breaks laws, crushes rivals, lies, is cruel, treacherous, unscrupulous. How long will his vision resist his evil doing? Let us who have seen our visions fade by the hardening of our hearts which let us grant that the man may have had at the start, is killed by the wrong doing necessary to secure his end. A selfish greed of power and gold replaces it. It cannot be otherwise. The ideal must deteriorate if the means used to realize it are vicious.

Unbridled Greed Leads to Downfall of Powerful Business Leaders

Look at the history of the Life Insurance Companies as revealed recently. The men at their heads have wrought their own ruin by deliberately doing evil—doing evil because of their unbridled, increasing greed. Yet, no doubt, the day was when many of the men foremost in these scandals were fired by the nobility and the sacredness of their business, and looked with pride and exultation on the amount of the return they could by careful and devoted management, make to the thousands upon thousands of the poor who saved and denied themselves and struggled to provide for dependent wife or child. And yet these men came to struggle to secure for themselves and their families and friends the bulk of all the earnings coming from the money of those who had trusted them. Never, indeed, have we had a more perfect example of the ultimate result of the Machiavellian formula—and that is the moral downfall of the man who practices it.

Machiavellian Practices Corrupt Employees and the Youth

But the formula not only ruins the men who practice it–what does it do for the great body of young men who, as employees of a great corporation, must, of necessity, know the meaning of the practices? Take the matter of bribing clerks in railroad freight offices to turn over information concerning the shipments of rival concerns. In at least one great trust this practice is so extensive as to have become a matter of elaborate bookkeeping. No clerk can be so stupid as not to know he is doing a wrong and harmful act when he betrays private information. He knows the money paid him for the information is a bribe. Yet the money comes from a great and powerful corporation. Even if he wants to refuse it he dares not lest he lose his position. His honor is sullied—his manhood shaken—his soul corrupted. There can be no estimation of the corruption of manliness which this practice alone has caused. There can be no condemnation too bitter of the men who have devised the system. They are corrupters of youth.

Machiavellian Practices Teach That Lying Is Part of Business Strategy

Think again of what must be the effect on a great body of young men employed by a trust, when they know their president has lied deliberately on the witness stand, has lied for the good of the business. There are plenty of such cases revealed in our commercial investigations. The young man loyal to his employer and yet trained to honor the truth must almost inevitably come to the conclusion that lying is one of the necessary implements in successful business—and as time goes on he probably will conclude that it is all right if it will aid in getting you anything you want. If the good of the business justifies lying, it justifies all other things—law-breaking, cruelty, treachery; unconsciously the young man becomes a Machiavellian in his theory of the relation of honor to business.

The Young Men in America are Learning the Art of Commercial Machiavellianism

Not only does he come to defend these practices to himself; he soon will be adept in defending them to others. Let us suppose that the private secretary of some great captain of industry of today—a man who, for the good of the business, has found it necessary to put into practice the methods we have been considering–suppose this man’s confidential secretary to be a man of keen and analytical mind, of clear power of expression, of an ardent enthusiasm for business, loving the particular industry whose captain he serves as Machiavelli loved Florence; ambitious to see it all-powerful as Machiavelli was ambitious to see his beautiful Florence powerful; and let it come to a point in his career, as it came in Machiavelli’s when he was about forty-five years old, that his industry, after the loss of its first powerful head, retrogrades from a first to a second or a third place in the order of business industries—that it is in danger of falling still lower. The secretary sees the reason—the new management has loosened its grip. It no longer fights for the privileges the law forbids—no longer tracks its competitors in secret and in secret undermines them, no longer bribes or lies. Can you not imagine this secretary reared to believe that these things are essential in business and that business success is a paramount duty; can you not imagine him sitting down to frame for the guidance of those who, in his judgment, are ruining the business—the code which alone in his experience and judgment can make a business great? That is, our young men the country over are not only learning the essentials of commercial Machiavellianism and accepting them, but they are becoming their defenders. And when they reach this point clear thinking and unselfish actions will be as impossible to them as recent revelations show that they have become to an appalling number of our financial leaders. They are men lost to society—men lost to the state. There is but one name for this and that is treason. Indeed, I doubt if this trust question has a more serious phase than this corrupting of the minds and the hearts of youths.

Machiavellianism Is the Working Formula of the Major Political Parties in America

But this Machiavellian formula affects more than our industrial life today. It is, to an alarming degree, the working formula of our political parties. It has reduced at least one great sport to a degradation which is a national scandal. It crops out in every art and profession. It has invaded even the field whose teachings are most fundamentally antagonistic to it—the field of the Christian religion. What are the scandals of our political life but the gross application of the great Italian’s principles. We buy votes that our party may succeed. It is illegal, it is corrupt; but the success of the party is higher law, to which we must sacrifice our common creed of morals. We stuff ballot boxes, run in repeaters, vote in blocks of five, juggle the returns all for the glory of the party. We take the funds of corporations whose only object we know to be to provide a future protection and favor for themselves, we do it though it is in many places contrary to law, and everywhere contrary to sound morals. We tolerate, even support, in their aspirations unspeakable politicians like Addicks of Delaware, Depew of New York, Quay of Pennsylvania. The good of the party requires it. If by any chance scandals occur, bribery is too flagrant, the alliance between the Campaign Committee and the Corporations too obvious, the activities of the politicians too pernicious, we do our best not to force out the truth that we may correct the wrongs; we cover them with plausible explanations, condone them with scriptural quotations on the sin of judging our fellow man—as if the whole basis of government by the people was not judging him—protect them with the pious challenge “let him who is without sin cast the first stone,” silence all critics by a bluster of righteous indignation as to the impossibility of people whose aims and words are so noble doing these vile things. It is the Machiavellian game of affirming you are virtuous whatever your practices. It is a great game, and, well played, it works a long time.

The Machiavellian Creed Influences All Aspects of Life Including Literature

But it is impossible in a nation where business and politics are the two absorbing interests that the dominating creed of those interests should not influence all departments of life. It is inevitable that our art and our literature should not escape the Machiavellian hand which rules us. We see it in the overweening respect that we have for the “best-sellers” among books, the big prices of the artists. Quantity and price, not the integrity, sincerity, and freshness of the product, are unquestionable, powerful motives in artistic life today.

The Influence of Machiavellian Doctrines on Christianity

Most deplorable of all is the influence these doctrines have on the Church. In a poem published not long ago in a leading religious journal this line is found, “The Union right or wrong, still this will be my song.” It is nothing but a new version of the Middle Age theory that for the glory of a country a man should be willing to sell his soul. And could anything be more brutally Machiavellian than the arguments recently brought to bear upon one great captain of industry by certain of those who were trying to induce him to contribute to foreign missions, that quite apart from the persons converted the mere commercial result of missionary effort to our land is worth a thousandfold every year of what is spent on missions!

Commercial Machiavellianism Is the Most Alarming Phase of American Life Today

It is this threatening saturation of all our active ties with commercial Machiavellianism which is the most alarming phase of American life today. Unless it is checked it means a general demoralization of the sense of fair play, a general lowering of our intellectual honesty. Our indifference to it up to this point has, perhaps, been natural enough. The nation, as a whole, has been dazzled by its material success. There is no one of us with blood in his veins, with the love of great games and great fights in his heart, that is not stirred by the sight of growth, of expansion, of the piling up of wealth and power. These mammoth enterprises of ours, extending around the earth, fill us with exultant pride. We are an achieving people, we say. We recall, too, that these great material successes mean other things. They mean endowments for our colleges, buildings and equipment for our hospitals, fresh funds for our missions, parks in our cities, pictures in our museum. It is, perhaps, natural that in our pride at the magnificence of our results we should overlook the integrity of the means by which they are achieved, should fail to ask ourselves whether clear thinking, honest living, aspiring ideals, unselfish devotion to unselfish ends were growing as fast as endowments and buildings. It is certainly easy enough for any one to persuade himself for a time at least that material growth is its own justification, particularly when that success contributes to one’s pet enterprises.

Growing Public Indifference at How Men Make Money

At all events for many years warnings against the corruption inherent in our illegal and immoral business practices have been received by the majority of those to whom our public morals are entrusted with silence or apology. “Judge not lest ye be judged,” “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone,” they tell us. Can there be greater blasphemy than to apply these noble Christian counsels to men convicted repeatedly of betraying their trusts, of perjuring themselves for business sake, of breaking and evading laws for greed. Even the continued revelations of these practices and the awful results in destroying character which are and have been coming to us daily this fall have not been sufficient to disturb the complacency of many a smooth-tongued teacher. We still hear “wait—judge not lest ye be judged ” uttered by eminent mouths as proof after proof is laid before us of the ruin of character which has been wrought by our long indifference to how a man made his money if he only made it and gave it to the church or college or city. This is no advocacy of hasty condemnation. To accuse without proof is a crime, but to excuse when you have proof is likewise a crime.

The People Must Declare For or Against the Machiavellian Doctrines

The issue is coming to be too distinct to evade. We must either declare for or against the Machiavellian theory. I am told that it is useless to trouble ourselves, that it will right itself. And that is true. It will right itself in the long run. We all of us may accept, root and branch, the Machiavellian theory, accept it, practice it in our business, in our homes, in society. We may make this country as truly Machiavellian as was the Age of Despots, but that will not defeat the ultimate triumph of eternal justice. The Good is the stronger principle. It finally prevails. All that we can do is temporarily to accelerate or to delay the stream of righteousness. We can help make our age Machiavellian, but all of the men of the earth combined cannot entrench that theory so firmly that a future age will not destroy our work. We cannot build so gloriously with it that a future age will not condemn us as we do the Despots of Italy. The question is whether we are going to throw our weight for or against the present system—whether we are going as a nation to tolerate it and let the future overthrow it or whether we are going to try to take care of it ourselves.

Commercial Machiavellianism Is Our Great Problem Today

There are many signs that we are choosing do our own housecleaning, that we have intention of going down to history along with Cesare Borgia and Alexander VI, the Monks of the Inquisition and Count-Metternich; that we are recognizing frankly that commercial Machiavellianism is our great present-day problem.

The Most Effective Strategy Is to Expose the Machiavellian Principles Practiced by Businessmen Today

And if so, what is there to do about it ? The first and most effective work is to air the formula, drag it out into the light, put it down in black and white, state it exactly as it is and as our captains practice it. How many of the very men who practice the Machiavellian formula would be willing to stand by it in the open if it were put to them in its bald truth ? How many of them would openly put their names to the following creed ?

The Modern Machiavellian Creed

“Success is the paramount duty. It can be attained in the highest degree only by force. At times it requires violence, cruelty, falsehood, perjury, treachery. Do not hesitate at these practices, only be sure they are necessary for the good of the business and be very careful to insist upon them always as wise and kind and that they work together for the greatest good of the greatest number.” We all know that there is scarcely one of them so hardened that he would not pale at the thought of signing that creed and yet it is constructed substantially out of their own words as spoken at one time or another on the witness-stand.

A System Which Requires That Men Sell Their Souls for Worldly Glory

The truth is the Machiavellian formula carries its own death potion with in. It cannot stand the light. It is only strong when is out of sight—when it is unuttered. Today, as four hundred years ago, state it bluntly and men disown it. Why was Machiavelli repudiated by Italy as soon as the Prince was published? Why has his name remained to this day in all nations an adjective of reproach? Because he set forth uncondemned a system which demands that men sell their souls for worldly glory. And never in any age, blind and hard and temporizing as men may have been, have they been fling to admit aloud that it pays to buy wealth or power or glory at the cost of the soul. They are willing to practice the formula so long as they can avoid hearing it; those who profited by their success have been willing to support them so long as they could deaden their intellects by repeating “judge not lest ye be judged,” but when it came to defending the Machiavellian creed aloud, they dared not do it.

Truth Is the Cure for Commercial Machiavellianism

And herein lies our safety. The truth, nothing but the truth, ugly and cruel and relentless as it may be, is the cure for commercial Machiavellianism. (“Commercial Machiavellianism,” McClure’s Magazine, Vol. XXVI, March, 1906, No. 5, pp. 453-463.)

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Global Governance in the Twenty-First Century

An Overview of the Elite Forces Controlling the World Economy

Written and Edited By Michael L. Chadwick

Let’s Build! IEM’ers


Emergency access granted in test of interoperable ID system

Emergency access granted in test of interoperable ID system

Autumn Blend authenticates responders from federal, state and private-sector organizations

Oct 21, 2010

“Mobile and fixed devices electronically validated participants’ identities through personal identification credentials, ID numbers and biometrics. Logical access through personal identification allowed personnel to use computers for secure e-mail collaboration.

As the authentication systems cleared individuals for access to the venue, the Virginia Interoperability Picture for Emergency Response geospatial application tracked and displayed their locations in near real time at fusion and emergency operations centers across the country. ”

This is an unprecedented tracking, and control system that our government is building! You should know it will be utilized for everyone as soon as we all have the proper credentials. Real ID, smart passports, Schumer’s Biometric, RFID enabled social security card scheme, pass cards…that is what these things are for. They enable checkpoints to be placed in a snap and to control your ability to access services, areas, items.

Government employees already

It is sheer folly to give your government this much control over so many vital aspects of our lives.

A recent national emergency preparedness exercise successfully demonstrated an interoperable, electronic identity authentication system for government and private-sector personnel.

Known as Autumn Blend, the event was coordinated by the Homeland Security Department’s Federal Emergency Management Agency and Northrop Grumman. It included federal, state, local and private-sector emergency response and recovery officials.

…As the different response groups converged on the site, their personal identification credentials were electronically scanned at different authentication points to grant physical and data access during the demonstration.

.. . Mobile and fixed devices electronically validated participants’ identities through personal identification credentials, ID numbers and biometrics. Logical access through personal identification allowed personnel to use computers for secure e-mail collaboration.

As the authentication systems cleared individuals for access to the venue, the Virginia Interoperability Picture for Emergency Response geospatial application tracked and displayed their locations in near real time at fusion and emergency operations centers across the country.

Autumn Blend participants included:

  • DHS.
  • FEMA.
  • Buckley Air Force Base in Colorado.
  • Pentagon Force Protection Agency.
  • Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.
  • Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council for Trauma.
  • Northrop Grumman’s Newport News shipbuilding sector.
  • Newport News fire department.
  • Virginia Governor’s Office of Commonwealth Preparedness.
  • Technology partners such as ActivIdentity, CertiPath and Monitor Dynamics.

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