2. If the whois records and registration information is incorrect (the are very strict about the technical setup of domains in whois and dns)
3. If the cops show up with a court order (has never happened in 25 years of the ccTLD)
.TO: Tonga is another tiny island nation - .to - but the registry has a web portal for direct registration (so you don't have to use a registrar which may bow to pressure) and they have a very private WHOIS policy. Almost no details can be gleaned from putting accurate information as the registrant contact. I would recommend any ccTLD that allows direct registration through an HTTPS session. Avoid the registrar middlemen for ultimate control over your domain. However, you will be responsible for manually renewing your domain! And be sure to read the registry's fine print for how they may revoke a domain. Ensure the contact data is accurate so you can get any email / snail mail correspondence. This will help you defend your domain in case of a dispute, and help prevent against unauthorized transfers of the domain. Make sure the email account on record is not easily hijacked.
SegWit would make it HARDER FOR YOU TO PROVE YOU OWN YOUR BITCOINS. SegWit deletes the "chain of (cryptographic) signatures" - like MERS (Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems) deleted the "chain of (legal) title" for Mortgage-Backed Securities (MBS) in the foreclosure fraud / robo-signing fiasco
SegWit is a "clever innovation" brought to you by clueless / corrupt AXA-owned Blockstream devs;
MERS is a "clever innovation" brought to you by reckless / corrupt Wall Street bankers;
SegWit and MERS both work by simply deleting crucial "ownership data" for transactions.
Of course, the "experts" (on Wall Street, and at AXA-owned Blockstream) present MERS and SegWit as "innovations" - as a way to "optimize" and "streamline" vast chains of transactions reflecting ownership and transfer of valuable items (ie, real-estate mortgages, and bitcoins). But, unfortunately, the "brilliant bat-shit insane approach" devised by the "geniuses" behind MERS and SegWit to do this is to simply delete the data which proved ownership and transfer of these items - information which is essential for legal purposes (in the case of mortgages), or security purposes (in the case of bitcoins).
SegWit allows deleting the "chain of (cryptographic) signatures" for bitcoins - ie, SegWit supports deleting the cryptographic data specifying "who transmitted what bitcoins to whom" (as originally specified in Satoshi's whitepaper defining Bitcoin);
MERS (Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems) allowed deleting the "chain of (legal) title" for real-estate mortgages - ie, MERS supported deleting the legal "notes" specifying "who transmitted what mortgages to whom" (as previously tracked by banks / mortgage lenders / originators / notaries / land registries / "cadasters", etc.)
So, the most pernicious aspect of SegWit may be that it encourages deleting all of Bitcoin's cryptographic security data - destroying the "chain of signatures" which (according to the white paper) are what define what a "bitcoin" actually is. Wow, deleting signatures with SegWit sounds bad. Can I avoid SegWit? Yes you can. To guarantee the long-term cryptographic, legal and financial security of your bitcoins:
You should avoid sending / receiving / holding Bitcoins using the dangerous, new "SegWit" addresses. (As far as I understand, "SegWit" bitcoin addresses all start with a "3".)
You should just use safe, "normal" Bitcoin addresses - and avoid using unsafe "SegWit" addresses. (If I understand correctly, all "normal" Bitcoin addresses still start with a "1", while "SegWit" addresses always start with a "3".)
You can also use Bitcoin implementations which encourage using "normal" Bitcoin addresses. (As far as I understand, implementations such as Bitcoin ABC, Bitcoin Unlimited, Bitcoin Classic are being deployed mainly to support "normal", "non-SegWit" Bitcoin addresses - as well as market-based (bigger) blocksizes and (lower) fees.)
You can avoid Bitcoin implementations which require SegWit. (As far as I understand, SegWit2x, UASF/BIP148 are being deployed mainly to support "SegWit" Bitcoin addresses - as well as centrally-planned (smaller) blocksizes and (higher) fees).
MERS = "The dog ate your mortgage's chain of title". SegWit = "The dog ate your bitcoin's chain of signatures."
By deleting / losing the "chain of title" for mortgages stored in the MERS database (in the name of "innovation" and "efficiency" and "optimization" being pushed by "clever" bankers on Wall Street), MERS caused a legal and financial catastrophe for mortgages - by making it impossible to (legally) prove who owns which properties.
By deleting / losing the "chain of signatures" for Bitcoins stored in SegWit addresses (in the name of "innovation" and "efficiency" and "optimization" being pushed by "clever" devs at AXA-owned Blockstream), SegWit could end up causing a financial (and possibly also legal) catastrophe for Bitcoin - by making it impossible (or at least more complicated in many cases) to (cryptographically) prove who owns which bitcoins.
Wall Street-backed MERS = AXA-backed SegWit It is probably no coincidence that:
Clueless, corrupt bankers from Wall Street used MERS to recklessly delete the "chain of (legal) title" for people's mortgages;
And now clueless, corrupt devs from AXA-owned Blockstream want to recklessly use SegWit to delete the "chain of (cryptographic) signatures" for people's bitcoins.
by supporting the most ignorant developers and "leaders" (lying Blockstream CTO Greg Maxwell and CEO Adam Back, drooling authoritarian idiot Luke-Jr, vandal Peter Todd, etc);
by supporting a massive campaign of propaganda, censorship, and lies (on forums like r\bitcoin and sites like bitcointalk.org - both controlled by the corrupt censor u/Theymos) to try to force SegWit on the Bitcoin community.
Do any Core / Blockstream devs and supporters know about MERS - and recognize its dangerous parallels with SegWit? It would be interesting to hear from some of the "prominent" Core / Blockstream devs and supporters listed below to find out if they are aware of the dangerous similarities between SegWit and MERS:
Luke-Jr u/luke-jr - co-founder of and occasional contractor for Blockstream, in charge of Core's "BIP" numbering process, known for his [delusions] and authoritarianism - and for the messy SegWit-as-a-soft-fork kludge - now leading the brainwashed lemmings and sybils of r\bitcoin off the cliff, with his doomed UASF/BIP148;
Core / Blockstream devs might not know about MERS - but AXAdefinitely does While it is likely that most or all Core / Blockstream devs do not know about the MERS fiasco... ...it is 100% certain that people at AXA (the main owners of Blockstream) do know about MERS. This is because the global financial crisis which started in 2008 was caused by:
CDOs - collateralized debt obligations
MBSs - mortgage-backed securities
MERS - the company / database Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems which "lost" (deleted) millions of people's mortgage notes - leading to "clouded titles" which made possible the wave of foreclosure fraud and robo-signing, which eventually cost the "clever" banks tens of billions of dollars in losses.
Loans originated with MERS as the original mortgagee purport to separate the borrower’s promissory note, which is made payable to the originating lender, from the borrower’s conveyance of a mortgage, which purportedly is granted to MERS. If this separation is legally incorrect - as every state supreme court looking at the issue has agreed - then the security agreements do not name an actual mortgagee or beneficiary. The mortgage industry, however, has premised its proxy recording strategy on this separation, despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s holding that “the note and mortgage are inseparable.” [Compare with the language from Satoshi's whitepaper: "We define an electronic coin as a chain of digital signatures."] If today’s courts take the Carpenter decision at its word, then what do we make of a document purporting to create a mortgage entirely independent of an obligation to pay? If the Supreme Court is right that a “mortgage can have no separate existence” from a promissory note, then a security agreement that purports to grant a mortgage independent of the promissory note attempts to convey something that cannot exist. [...] Many courts have held that a document attempting to convey an interest in realty fails to convey that interest if the document does not name an eligible grantee. Courts around the country have long held that “there must be, in every grant, a grantor, a grantee and a thing granted, and a deed wanting in either essential is absolutely void.”
The parallels between MERS and SegWit are obvious and inescapable.
MERS separated (and eventually deleted) the legal information regarding the "conveyance" (transfer) of ownership of "realty" (real estate)
SegWit segregates (and allows eventually deleting) the cryptographic information regarding the sending and receiving of bitcoins.
Note that I am not arguing here that SegWit could be vulnerable to attacks from a strictly legal perspective. (Although that may be possible to.) I am simply arguing that SegWit, because it encourages deleting the (cryptographic) signature data which defines "bitcoins", could eventually be vulnerable to attacks from a cryptographic perspective. But I heard that SegWit is safe and tested! Yeah, we've heard a lot of lies from Blockstream, for years - and meanwhile, they've only succeeded in destroying Bitcoin's market cap, due to unnecessarily high fees and unnecessarily slow transactions. Now, in response to those legal-based criticisms of SegWit in the article from nChain, several so-called "Bitcoin legal experts" have tried to rebut that those arguments from nChain were somehow "flawed". But if you read the rebuttals of these "Bitcoin legal experts", they sound a lot like the clueless "experts" who were cheerleading MERS for its "efficiency" - and who ended up costing tens billions of dollars in losses when the "chain of title" for mortgages held in the MERS database became "clouded" after all the crucial "ownership data" got deleted in the name of "efficiency" and "optimization". In their attempt to rebut the article by nChain, these so-called "Bitcoin legal experts" use soothing language like "optimization" and "pragmatic" to try to lull you into believing that deleting the "chain of (cryptographic) signatures" for your bitcoins will be just as safe as deleting the "chain of (legal) notes" for mortgages: http://www.coindesk.com/bitcoin-legal-experts-nchain-segwit-criticisms-flawed/ The (unsigned!) article on CoinDesk attempting to rebut Nguyen's article on nChain starts by stating:
Nguyen's criticisms fly in the face of what has emerged as broad support for the network optimization, which has been largely embraced by the network's developers, miners and startups as a pragmatic step forward.
Then it goes on to quote "Bitcoin legal experts" who claim that using SegWit to delete Bitcoin's cryptographic signatures will be just fine:
Marco Santori, a fintech lawyer who leads the blockchain tech team at Cooley LLP, for example, took issue with what he argued was the confused framing of the allegation. Santori told CoinDesk:
"It took the concept of what is a legal contract, and took the position that if you have a blockchain signature it has something to do with a legal contract."
Stephen Palley, counsel at Washington, DC, law firm Anderson Kill, remarked similarly that the argument perhaps put too much weight on the idea that the "signatures" involved in executing transactions on the bitcoin blockchain were or should be equivalent to signatures used in digital documents.
"It elides the distinction between signature and witness data and a digital signature, and they're two different things," Palley said.
"There are other ways to cryptographically prove a transaction is correctly signed other than having a full node," said BitGo engineer Jameson Lopp. "The assumption that if a transaction is in the blockchain, it's probably valid, is a fairly good guarantee." Legal experts asserted that, because of this design, it's possible to prove that the transaction occurred between parties, even if those involved did not store signatures. For this reason, Coin Center director Jerry Brito argued that nChain is overstating the issues that would arise from the absence of this data. "If you have one-time proof that you have the bitcoin, if you don't have it and I have it, logically it was signed over to me. As long as somebody in the world keeps the signature data and it's accessible, it's fine," he said.
There are several things you can notice here:
These so-called "Bitcoin legal experts" are downplaying the importance of signatures in Bitcoin - just like the "experts" behind MERS downplayed the importance of "notes" for mortgages.
Satoshi said that a bitcoin is a "chain of digital signatures" - but these "Bitcoin legal experts" are now blithely asserting that we can simply throw the "chain of digital signatures" in the trash - and we can be "fairly" certain that everything will "probably" be ok.
The "MERS = SegWit" argument which I'm making is not based on interpreting Bitcoin signatures in any legal sense (although some arguments could be made along those lines).
Instead, I'm just arguing that any "ownership database" which deletes its "ownership data" (whether it's MERS or SegWit) is doomed to end in disaster - whether that segregated-and-eventually-deleted "ownership data" is based on law (with MERS), or cryptography (with SegWit).
Who's right - Satoshi or the new "Bitcoin experts"? You can make up your own mind. Personally, I will never send / receive / store large sums of money using any "SegWit" bitcoin addresses. This, is not because of any legal considerations - but simply because I want the full security of "the chain of (cryptographic) signatures" - which, according to the whitepaper, is the very definition of what a bitcoin "is". Here are the words of Satoshi, from the whitepaper, regarding the "chain of digital signatures": https://www.bitcoin.com/bitcoin.pdf
We define an electronic coin as a chain of digital signatures. Each owner transfers the coin to the next by digitally signing a hash of the previous transaction and the public key of the next owner and adding these to the end of the coin. A payee can verify the signatures to verify the chain of ownership.
Does that "chain of digital signatures" sound like something you'd want to throw in the trash??
The "clever devs" from AXA-owned Blockstream (and a handful of so-called "Bitcoin legal experts) say "Trust us, it is safe to delete the chain of signatures proving ownership and transfer of bitcoins". They're pushing "SegWit" - the most radical change in the history of Bitcoin. As I have repeatedly discussed, SegWit weakens Bitcoin's security model.
The people who support Satoshi's original Bitcoin (and clients which continue to implement it: Bitcoin ABC, Bitcoin Unlimited, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Classic - all supporting "Bitcoin Cash" - ie "Bitcoin" without SegWit) say "Trust no one. You should never delete the chain of signatures proving ownership and transfer of your bitcoins."
We define an electronic coin as a chain of digital signatures.
So, according to Satoshi, a "chain of digital signatures" is the very definition of what a bitcoin is.
Meanwhile according to some ignorant / corrupt devs from AXA-owned Blockstream (and a handful of "Bitcoin legal experts") now suddenly it's "probably" "fairly" safe to just throw Satoshi's "chain of digital signatures" in the trash - all in the name of "innovation" and "efficiency" and "optimization" - because they're so very clever.
Who do you think is right? Finally, here's another blatant lie from SegWit supporters (and small-block supporters) Let's consider this other important quote from Satoshi's whitepaper above:
A payee can verify the signatures to verify the chain of ownership.
Remember, this is what "small blockers" have always been insisting for years. They've constantly been saying that "blocks need to be 1 MB!!1 Waah!1!" - even though several years ago the Cornell study showed that blocks could already be 4 MB, with existing hardware and bandwidth. But small-blockers have always insisted that everyone should store the entire blockchain - so they can verify their own transactions. But hey, wait a minute! Now they turn around and try to get you to use SegWit - which allows deleting the very data which insisted that you should download and save locally to verify your own transactions! So, once again, this exposes the so-called "arguments" of small-blocks supporters as being fake arguments and lies:
On the one hand, they (falsely) claim that small blocks are necessary in order for everyone to be run "full nodes" because (they claim) that's the only way people can personally verify all their own transactions. By the way, there are already several errors here with what they're saying:
Actually "full nodes" is a misnomer (Blockstream propaganda). The correct terminology is "full wallets", because only miners are actually "nodes".
Actually 1 MB "max blocksize" is not necessary for this. The Cornell study showed that we could easily be using 4 MB or 8 MB blocks by now - since, as everyone knows, the average size of most web pages is already over 2 MB, and everyone routinely downloads 2 MB web pages in a matter of seconds, so in 10 minutes you could download - and upload - a lot more than just 2 MB. But whatever.
On the other hand, they support SegWit - and the purpose of SegWit is to allow people to delete the "signature data".
This conflicts with their argument the everyone should personally verify all their own transactions. For example, above, Coin Center director Jerry Brito was saying: "As long as somebody in the world keeps the signature data and it's accessible, it's fine."
So which is it? For years, the "small blockers" told us we needed to all be able to personally verify everything on our own node. And now SegWit supporters are telling us: "Naah - you can just rely on someone else's node."
Plus, while the transactions are still being sent around on the wire, the "signature data" is still there - it's just "segregated" - so you're not getting any savings on bandwidth anyways - you'd only get the savings if you delete the "signature data" from storage.
Storage is cheap and plentiful, it's never been the "bottleneck" in the system. Bandwidth is the main bottleneck - and SegWit doesn't help that at all, because it still transmits all the data.
Conclusion So if you're confused by all the arguments from small-blockers and SegWitters, there's a good reason: their "arguments" are total bullshit and lies. They're attempting to contradict and destroy:
Satoshi's original design of Bitcoin as a "chain of digital signatures":
"We define an electronic coin as a chain of digital signatures. Each owner transfers the coin to the next by digitally signing a hash of the previous transaction and the public key of the next owner and adding these to the end of the coin. A payee can verify the signatures to verify the chain of ownership."
Satoshi's plan for scaling Bitcoin by simply increasing the goddamn blocksize:
Satoshi Nakamoto, October 04, 2010, 07:48:40 PM "It can be phased in, like: if (blocknumber > 115000) maxblocksize = largerlimit / It can start being in versions way ahead, so by the time it reaches that block number and goes into effect, the older versions that don't have it are already obsolete."
The the notorious mortgage database MERS, pushed by clueless and corrupt Wall Street bankers, deleted the "chain of (legal) title" which had been essential to show who conveyed what mortgages to whom - leading to "clouded titles", foreclosure fraud, and robo-signing.
The notorious SegWit soft fork / kludge, pushed by clueless and corrupt AXA-owned Blockstream devs, allows deleting the "chain of (cryptographic) signatures" which is essential to show who sent how many bitcoins to whom - which could lead to a catastrophe for people who foolishly use SegWit addresses (which can be avoided: unsafe "SegWit" bitcoin addresses start with a "3" - while safe, "normal" Bitcoin addresses start with a "1").
Stay safe and protect your bitcoin investment: Avoid SegWit transactions.
[See the comments from me directly below for links to several articles on MERS, foreclosure fraud, robo-signing, "clouded title", etc.]
by John Lord, LL. D. Galileo has now attained the highest object of his ambition. He is at the head, confessedly, of all the scien- tific men of Europe. He has an ample revenue; he is independent, and has perfect leisure. Even the Pope is gracious to him when he makes a visit to Rome; while cardinals, princes, and ambassadors rival one an- other in bestowing upon his attention and honors. But there is no height of fortune from which a man may not fall; and it is usually the proud, the ostenta- tious, and the contemptuous who do fall, since they create envy, and are apt to make social mistakes. Gal- lileo continued to exasperate his enemies by his arro- gance and sarcasms. "They refused to be dragged at his chariot-wheels." "The Aristotelian professors," says Brewster, "the temporizing Jesuits, the political church- men, and that timid but respectable body who at all times dread innovation, whether it be in legislation of science, entered into an alliance against the philosoph- ical tyrant who threatened them with the penalties of knowledge." The church dignitaries were especially hostile, since they thought the tendency of Galileo's investigations was to undermine the Bible. Flanked by the logic f the schools and the popular interpreta- tion of Scripture, and backed by the civil power, they were eager for war. Galileo wrote a letter to his friend the Abbé Castelli, the object of which was "to prove that the Scriptures were not intended to teach science and philosophy," but to point out the way to salvation. He was indiscreet enough to write a longer letter of seventy pages, quoting the Fathers in support of his views, and attempting to show that Nature and Scrip- ture could not speak a different language. It was this reasoning which irritated the dignitaries of the Church more than his discoveries, since it is plain that the literal language of Scripture upholds the doctrine that the sun revolves around the earth. He was wrong or foolish in trying to harmonize revelation and science. He should have advanced his truths of science and left them to take care of themselves. He should not have meddled with the dogmas of his enemies: not that he was wrong in doing so, but it was not polite or wise; and he was not called upon to harmonize Scripture with science. So his enemies busily employed themselves in collect- ing evidence against him. They laid their complaints before the Inquisition of Rome, and on the occasion of paying a visit to that city, he was summoned be- fore that tribunal which has been the shame and the reproach of the Catholic Church. It was a tribunal utterly incompetent to sit upon his case, since it was ignorant of science. In 1615 it was decreed that Gali- leo should renounce his obnoxious doctrines, and pledge himself neither to defend nor publish them in the future. And Galileo accordingly, in dread of prison, appeared before Cardinal Bellarmine and declared that he would renounce the doctrines he had defended. The cardinal was not an ignorant man. He was the greatest theolo- gian in the Catholic Church; but his bitterness and ran- cor in reference to the new doctrines were as marked as his scholastic learning. The Pope, supposing that Galileo would adhere to his promise, was gracious and kind. But the philosopher could not resist the temptation of ridiculing the advocates of the old system. He called them "paper philosophers." In private he made a mockery of his persecutors. One Saisi undertook to prove from Suidas that the Babylonians used to cook eggs by whirling them swiftly on a sling; to which he replied: "If Saisi insists on the authority of Suidas, that the Babylonians cooked eggs by whirling them on a sling, I will believe it. But I must add that we have eggs and slings, and strong men to whirl them, yet they will not become cooked; nay, if they were hot at first, they more quickly become cool; and as there is nothing wanting to us but to be Babylonians, it follows that Being Babylonians is the true cause why the eggs became hard." Such was his prevailing mockery and ridicule. "Your Eminence," write one of his friends to the Cardinal D'Este, "would be delighted if you could hear him hold forth in the midst of fifteen or twenty, all violently attacking him, sometimes in one house, and sometimes in another; but he is armed after such a fashion that he laughs them all to scorn." Galileo, after his admonition from the Inquisition, and his promise to hold his tongue, did keep compara- tively quiet for a while, amusing himself with mechan- ics, and striving to find out a new way of discovering longitude at sea. But the want of better telescopes baffled his efforts; and even to-day it is said "that no telescope has yet been made which is capable of observ- ing at sea the eclipses of Jupiter's satellites, by which on shore this method of finding longitude has many advantages." On the accession of a new Pope (1623), Urban VIII., who had been his friend as Cardinal Barberini, Galileo, after eight years of silence, thought that he might now venture to publish his great work on the Ptolemaic and Copernican systems, especially as the papal censor also had been his friend. But the publication of the book was delayed nearly two years, so great were the obsta- cles to be surmounted, and so prejudiced and hostile was the Church to the new views. At last it appeared in Florence in 1632, with a dedication to the Grand Duke,——not the Cosimo who had rewarded him, but his son Ferdinand, who was a mere youth. It was an un- fortunate thing for Galileo to do. He had pledged his word not to advocate the Copernican theory, which was already sufficiently established in the opinions of phi- losophers. The form of the book was even offensive, in the shape of dialogues. One of them he ridiculed under the name of Simplicio. This was supposed to mean the Pope himself,——so they made the Pope believe, and he was furious. Old Cardinal Bellarmine roared like a lion. The whole Church, as represented by its dignita- ries, seemed to be against him. The Pope seized the old weapons of the Clements and the Gregorians to hurl upon the daring innovator; but delayed to hurl them, since he dealt with a giant, covered not only by the shield of the Medici, but that of Minerva. So he convened a congregation of cardinals, and submitted to them the examination of the detested book. The author was summoned to Rome to appear before the Inquisition, and answer at its judgement-seat the charges against him as a heretic. The Tuscan ambassador expostulated with his Holiness against such a cruel thing, considering Galileo's age, infirmities, and fame, ——all to no avail. He was obliged to obey the sum- mons. At the age of seventy this venerated philoso- pher, infirm, in precarious health, appeared before the Inquisition of cardinals, not one of whom had any familiarity with abstruse speculations, or even with mathematics. Whether out of regard to his age and infirmities, or to his great fame and illustrious position as the great- est philosopher of his day, the cardinals treat Galileo with unusual indulgence. Though a prisoner of the Inquisiton, and completely in its hands, with power of life and death, it would seem that he is allowed every personal comfort. His table is provided by the Tuscan ambassador; a servant obeys his slightest nod; he sleeps in the luxurious apartment of the fiscal of that dreaded body; he is even liberated on the responsi- bility of the cardinal; he is permitted to lodge in the palace of the ambassador; he is allowed time to make his defence; those holy Inquisitors would not unneces- sarily harm a hair on his head. Nor was it probably their object to inflict bodily torments: these would call out sympathy and degrade the tribunal. It was enough to threaten these torments, to which they did not wish to resort except in case of necessity. There is no evidence that Galileo was personally tortured. He was indeed a martyr, but not a sufferer except in humiliated pride. Probably the object of his enemies was to silence him, to degrade him, to expose his name to infamy, to arrest the spread of his doctrines, to bow his old head in shame, to murder his soul, to make him stab himself, and be his own executioner, by an act which all posterity should regard as unworthy of his name and cause. After a fitting time has elapsed,——four months of dignified session,——the mind of the Holy Tribunal is made up. Its judgement is ready. On the 22nd of June, 1633, the prisoner appears in penitential dress at the convent of Minerva, and the presiding cardinal, in his scarlet robes, delivers the sentence of the Court, ——that Galileo, as a warning to others, and by way of salutary penance, be condemned to the formal prison of the Holy Office, and be ordered to recite once a week the seven Penitential Psalms for the benefit of his should,——apparently a light sentence, only to be nominally imprisoned a few days, and to repeat those Psalms which were the life of blessed saints in mediæ- val times. But this was nothing. He was required to recant, to abjure the doctrines he had taught; not in private, but publicly before the world. Will he recant? Will he subscribe himself an imposter? Will he abjure the doctrines on which his fame rests? Oh, tell it not in Gath! The timid, infirm, life-loving old patriarch of science falls. He is not great enough for martyrdom. He chooses shame. In an evil hour this venerable sage falls down upon his knees before the assembled cardinals, and reads aloud this recantation: "I, Galileo Galilei, aged seventy, on my knees before you most reverend lords, and having my eye on the Holy Gospel, which I do touch with my lips, thus publish and declare, that I believe, and always have believed, and always will believe every article which the Holy Catholic Roman Church holds and teaches. And as I have written a book in which I have main- tained that the sun is the centre, which doctrine is re- pugnant to the Holy Scriptures, I, with sincere heart and unfeigned faith, do abjure and detest, and curse the said error and heresy, and all other errors contrary to said Holy Church, whose penance I solemnly swear to observe faithfully, and all other penances which have been or shall be laid upon me." It would appear from this confession that he did not declare his doctrines false, only that they were in opposition to the Scriptures; and it is also said that as he arose from his knees he whispered to a friend, "It does move, nevertheless." As some excuse for him, he acted with the certainty that he would be tortured if he did not recant; and at the worst he had only affirmed that his scientific theory was in opposition to the Scriptures. He had not denied his master, like Peter; he had not recanted the faith like Cranmer; he had simply yielded for fear of bodily torments, and therefore was not sincere in the abjuration which he made to save his life. Nevertheless, his recantation was a fall, and in the eyes of the scientific world per- haps greater than that of Bacon. Galileo was false to philosophy and himself. Why did he suffer himself to be conquered by priests and despised? Why did so bold and witty and proud a man betray his cause? Why did he not accept the penalty of intellectual freedom, and die, if he must? What was life to him, dis- eased, infirm, and old? What had he more to gain? Was it not a good time to die and consummate his protests? Only one hundred and fifty years before, one of his countrymen had accepted torture and death rather than recant his religious opinions. Why could not Galileo have been as great in martyrdom as Savon- arola? He was a renowned philosopher and brilliant as a man of genius,——but he was a man of the world; he loved ease and length of days. He could ridicule and deride opponents,——he could not suffer pain. He had a great intellect, but not a great soul. There were flaws in his morality; he was anything but a saint or hero. He was great in mind, and yet he was far from being great in character. We pity him, while we exalt him. Nor is he world harsh to him; it forgives him for his services. The worst that can be said, is that he was not willing to suffer ad die for his opinions: and how many philosophers are there who are willing to be martyrs? Nevertheless, in the eyes of philosophers he has dis- graced himself. Let him then return to Florence, to his own Arceti. He is a silenced man. But he is silenced, not because he believed with Copernicus, but because he ridiculed his enemies and confronted the Church, and in the eyes of blinded partisans had attacked divine authority. Why did Copernicus escape persecution? The Church must have known that there was something in his discoveries, and in those of Gali- leo, worthy of attention. About this time Pascal wrote: "It is vain that you have procured the con- demnation of Galileo. That will never prove the earth to be at rest. If unerring observation proves that it turns round, not all mankind together can keep it from turning, or themselves from turning with it." But let that persecution pass. It is no worse than other persecutions, either in Catholic or Protestant ranks. It is no worse than burning witches. Not only is intolerance in human nature, but there is a repugnance among the learned to receive new opinions when these interfere with their ascendency. The op- position to Galileo's discoveries was no greater than that of the Protestant Church, half a century ago, to some of the inductions of geology. How bitter the hatred, even in our times, to such men as Huxley and Darwin! True, they have not proved their theories as Galileo did; but they gave a great shock as he to the minds of theologians. all science is progressive, yet there are thousands who oppose its progress. And if learning and science should establish a different mean- ing to certain texts from which theological deductions are drawn, and these premises be undermined, there would be the same bitterness among the defenders of the present system of dogmatic theology. Yet theology will live, and never lose its dignity and importance; only, some of its present assumptions may be discarded. God will never be dethroned from the world he gov- erns; but some of his ways may appear to be different from what was once supposed. And all science is not only progressive, but it appears to be bold and scornful and proud,——at least, its advocates are and ever have been contemptuous of all other departments of knowl- edge but its own. So narrow and limited is the human mind in the midst of its triumphs. So full of preju- dices are even the learned and the great. Let us turn then to give another glance at the fallen philosopher in his final retreat at Arceti. He lives under restrictions. But hey allow hi leisure and choice wines, of which he is fond, and gardens and friends; and many come to do him reverence. He amuses his old age with the studies of his youth and manhood, and writes dialogues on Motion, and even discovers the phenomena of the moon's libration; and by means of the pendulum he gives additional impor- tance to astronomical science. But he is not allowed to leave his retirement, not even to visit his friends in Florence. The wrath of the Inquisition still pursues him, even in his villa at Arceti in the suburbs of Florence. Then renewed afflictions come. He loses his daughter, who was devoted to him; and her death nearly plunges him into despair. The bulwarks of his heart break down; a flood of grief overwhelms his stricken soul. His appetite leaves him; his health forsakes him; his infirmities increase upon him. His right eye loses its power,——that eye that had seen more of the heavens than the eyes of all who had gone before him. He became blind and deaf, and cannot sleep, afflicted with rheumatic pains and maladies for- lorn. No more for him is rest, or peace, or bliss; still less the glories of his brighter days,——the sight of glit- tering fields, the gems of heaven, without which "Neither breath of Morn, when she ascends With charm of earliest birds, nor rising sun On this delightful land, nor herb, fruit, flower Glittering with dew, nor fragrance after showers, nor grateful evening mild, . . . is sweet." No more shall he gaze on features that he loves, on stars, or trees, or hills. No more to him "Returns Day, or the sweet approach of even or morn, or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose, Or flocks, ir herds, or human face divine; But clouds, instead, and ever-during dark Surround" [him]. It was in those dreary desolate days at Arceti, "Unseen In manly beauty Milton stood before him, Gazing in reverent awe,——Milton, his guest, Just then come forth, all life and enterprise; While he in his old age, . . . . . . exploring with his staff, His eyes upturned as to the golden sun, His eyeballs rolling." This may have been the punishment of his recanta- tion,——not Inquisitorial torture, but the consciousness that he had lost his honor. Poor Galileo! thine illus- trious visitor, when his affliction came, could cast his sightless eyeballs inward, and see and tell "things un- attempted yet in prose or rhyme,"——not "Rocks, caves, lakes, bogs, fens, and shades of death, . . . . . . . . . Where all life dies, death lives, and Nature breeds . . . . . . . . . Gorgons, and Hydras, and Chimeras dire," but of eternal Providence," and "Eden with surpass- ing glory crowned," and our first parents," and of "salvation," "goodness infinite," of "wisdom," which when we know we need no higher though all the stars we know by name,——— "All secrets of the deep, all Nature's works, Or works of God in heaven, or air, or sea." And yet, thou stricken observer of the heavenly bodies! hadst thou but known what marvels would be revealed by the power of thy wondrous instrument after thou should'st be laid lifeless and cold beneath the marble floor of Santa Croce, at the age of seventy-eight, without a monument (although blessed on his death- bed by Pope Urban), having died a prisoner of the Inquisition, yet not without having rendered to astro- nomical science services of utmost value,——even thou might have died rejoicing, as one of the greatest bene- factors of the world. And thy discoveries shall be forever held in gratitude; they shall herald others of even greater importance. Newton shall prove that the different planets are attracted to the sun in the inverse ratio of the squares of their distances; that the earth has a force on the moon identical with the force of gravity, and that all celestial bodies, to the utmost boundaries of space, mutually attract each other; that all particles of matter are governed by the same law,——the great law of gravitation, by which "astronomy," in the language of Whewell, "passed from boyhood to manhood, and by which law the great discoverer added more to the realm of science than any man before or since his day." And after Newton shall pass away, honored and lamented, and be buried with almost royal pomp in the vaults of Westminster, Halley and other mathematicians shall construct lunar tables, by which longitude shall be accurately measured on the pathless ocean. Lagrange and Laplace shall apply Newtonian theory to de- determine the secular inequalities of celestial motion; they shall weigh absolutely the amount of matter in the planets; they shall show how far their orbits de- viate from circles; and they shall enumerate the cycles of changes detected in the circuit of the moon. Clai- raut shall remove the perplexity occasioned by the seeming discrepancy between the observed and com- puted motions of the moon's perigee. Halley shall demonstrate the importance of observations of the tran- sit of Venus as the only certain way of obtaining the sun's parallax, and hence the distance of the sun from the earth; he shall predict the return of that myste- rious body which we call a comet. Herschel shall con- struct a telescope which magnifies two thousand times, and add another planet to our system beyond the mighty orb of Saturn. Römer shall estimate the velocity of light from the eclipse of Jupiter's satel- lites. Bessel shall pass the impassable gulf of space and measure the distance of some of the fixed stars, although such is the immeasurable space between the earth and those distant suns that the parallax of only about thirty has yet been discovered with our finest instruments,——so boundless is the material universe, so vast are the distances, that light, travelling one hun- dred and sixty thousand miles with every pulsation of the blood, will not reach us from some of those remote worlds in one hundred thousand years. So marvellous shall be the victories of science, that the perturbations of the planets in their courses shall reveal the exist- ence of a new one more distant than Uranus, and Leverrier shall tell at what part of the heavens that star shall first be seen. So far as we have discovered, the universe which we have observed with telescopic instruments has no limits that mortals can define, and in comparison with its magnitude our earth is less than a grain of sand, and is so old that no genius can calculate and no imag- ination can conceive when it had its beginning. All that we know is, that suns exist at distances we cannot define. But around what center do they revolve? Of what are they composed? Are they inhabited by intel- ligent and immortal beings? Do we know that they are not eternal, except from the divine declaration that there was a time when the Almighty fiat went forth for this grand creation? Creation involves a creator; and can the order and harmony seen in Nature's laws exist without supreme intelligence and power? Who, then, and what, is God? "Canst thou by searching find out Him? Knowest thou the ordinances of Heaven? Canst thou bind the sweet influences of the Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?" What an atom is this world in the light of science! Yet what dignity has man by the light of revelation! What majesty and power and glory has God! What goodness, benevolence, and love, that even a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice,——that we are the special objects of His providence and care! Is there an imagination so lofty that will not be oppressed with the discoveries that even the telescope has made? Ah, to what exalted heights reason may soar when allied with faith! How truly it should elevate us above the evils of this brief and busy existence to the conditions of that other life,—— "When the soul, Advancing ever to the Source of light And all perfection, lives, adores, and reigns in cloudless knowledge, purity, and bliss!" AUTHORITIES. Dekambre, Histoire de l'Astronomie; Arago, Histoire de l'Astronomie; Life of Galileo, in Cabinet Library; Life of Galileo, by Brewster; Lives of Galileo, by Italian and Spanish Literary Men; Whewell's History of Inductive Sciences; Plurality of Worlds; Humboldt's Cosmos; Nichols' Architecture of the Heavens; Chalmers' Astronomical Discourses; Life of Kepler, Library of Useful Knowledge; Brewster's Life of Tycho Brahe, of Kepler, and of Sir Isaac Newton; Mitchell's Stellar and Planetary Worlds; Brad- ley's Correspondence; Airy's Reports; Voiron's History of Astronomy; Philosophical Transactions; Everett's Orations of Galileo; Life of Coper- nicus; Bayly's Astronomy; Encyclopædia Britannica, Art. Astronomy; Proctor's Lectures.
Since we've all been goxxed now is the time to buy those $50-60 coins floating around and profit from everybody else's misery. Or you could wait for Gox to come back online and crash down the price even further but good luck trying to do any trading there to buy coins, the trading engine is already broken I don't expect the new one to work flawlessly due to epic 3yr history of GOXXING BTC-E.com To pay into this exchange, you need a BTC-E code, PM or Okpay. Take pics of your ID and utility bill and pay the $10 to Okpay for 'quick verification'. You can pay bitcoins directly into your Okpay account for initial funding or wait and see how long it takes for reg verification. Now either wire money, or instant money transfer (MoneyPolo, Contact-sys, Unistream) to fund your account or find an Okpay exchanger somewhere. Or Ukash/CashU. Just because contact-sys is Russian doesn't mean there aren't sending points in every country in the world. BTC-E codes you buy on #bitcoin-otc from verified gpg authenticated traders with good ratings, or on bitcointalk.org forums in the currency exchange forums. Perfect Money is a shady HYIP digital currency run by Russians much like Liberty Reserve. You sign up for free, and load your account with wires (if verified) or you use an exchanger. This is what talkgold.com is for to find legit exchangers. I use wm-center.com to wire WU/Moneygram and get PM. Click on 'Interkassa' payment method in BTC-E and select Perfect Money. Instant load. You can also obviously dump Litecoins you bought on Vircurex to fund the account, or a gagillion PPcoins Bitfloor.com Fastest way to deposit is through CapitalOne P2P or cash deposit https://bitfloor.com/docs/#funding-deposit Be aware Bitfloor is insolvent due to owing 25k bitcoins that were stolen last year but they have a repayment schedule that may or may not bankrupt them. Use at own risk but most ppl trade there everyday with no problems. Bitstamp.net Great exchange in Slovakia? I think. You have to pay with Euro SEPA wire, then for some stupid reason they convert the money to USD. You can pay in here using transferwise.com if you're from UK, or XEtrade and other Forex online money transfer companies. Google 'free money transfer fx' and review your options. Most don't charge you anything if over a certain amount of money. They take your internet billing or other local payment, convert to EUR and send SEPA for you if you request it. If they don't then check with Bitstamp what a SWIFT wire costs (probably nothing, I think they use Latvian banks that charge no receiving fees). If you want a bank account in Latvia then sign up here: http://www.rietumu.com/ if you have a local corporation or business where you live you can, maybe a personal account too. You can always incorporate a dirt cheap Delaware LLC or Oregon LLC from anywhere in the world and use it to open up worldwide bank accounts. Bitcoin-24.com Takes direct wires, all sorts of other methods: https://bitcoin-24.com/fees You can also use Liqpay if you have a USD or EUR card. Sign up to liqpay.com, then they block a small verification amount you have to sign into internet banking (for the card) to check. It's usually $1.something or less. After that you are verified to load $1-100 or so, but I'd just try $50 at first. Any more than that and Liqpay will seize the funds and ask for your bank to authorize a fax they send which no bank will do because of privacy reasons, so pointless to load anymore money. Liqpay may also call you to verify card details this is normal. Liqpay is meant for Russians and CIS countries to use like Ukraine so due to epic fraud of credit cards don't expect to load too much this way unless you find a Liqpay exchanger, but what's the point when you can just wire money to bitcoin-24 anyways. Vircurex.com Good exchange, had some problems due to DDoS but so did all exchanges. They only accept BTC, altcoins and VouchX for payment. You buy Vouchx here: https://www.aurumxchange.com/ or from somebody on Bitcointalk, or IRC (with rep). You can buy a bunch of litecoins anywhere to fund this exchange such as the bitcointalk forums or IRC. Warning: the so-called official twitter account is fake, don't use it. Cavirtex.com Can only fund if in Canada, they accept cash deposit and internet billing. Price has been steady at ~$90 all day though no panic selling. LibertyBit.com https://www.libertybit.com/funding various easy methods, new exchange in Canada that takes intl wires and shockingly Interac deposits (easily frauded). Bitcoin China https://btcchina.com/ fast growing exchange, you pay in with Alipay or Tenpay both Chinese methods that westerners can't use or figure out due to no translation. You can probably use Alipay if you find and exchanger to load it, they do exist. **Edit they now support Liberty Reserve deposit and withdrawal Check english forums to see if anybody exchanging Alipay or taking wires. CampBX.com Accepts money orders, and CapitalOne P2P payments. Also accepts Dwolla but you need to be verified. Bitcoin-central.net Just had a major outage due to instawallet hack, appears to be back online. You get your own quasi-bank account when you verify here much like how ecardone.com (liberty reserve) does banking so can transfer to other users legally with vouchers. You can buy a voucher p2p on Bitcointalk forums or IRC or send a bankwire. VirWoX.com You can pay with Paypal to get Second Life "Linden Dollars" then convert to BTC, or at least you used to be able to. I have no idea if this is still the case I've never used them. Or course there's all the fixed price exchangers https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Trade and https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?board=53.0 for everything from Moneypak to Skrill. You can also risk buying coins on Silk Road with moneypak ==============R U L E S ================================
Learn to use #bitcoin-otc, you'll thank me later. It has the most buying/sell options. Use localbitcoins.com too if you can to avoid bullshit exchange problems
ALWAYS USE 2-FACTOR ID ON EVERY EXCHANGE
Always use 2-factor ID on the email you used to sign up for the exchange
Don't click any links in BTC-E.com chat trollbox!!!
Don't click any links PM'd to you on BTC-E.com from other users
Enjoy buying all the way down the crash once Gox comes back online and the great sell off begins! Hold them for a year and they'll be worth 10x as much just like the 2011 crash. Bonus points if you speculate on Litecoin, rumor has it Gox will be trading them when they come back online but again, this is MtGox we are talking about so the site could implode on the zerg rush of people trying to get into their accounts or trading engine could sell all your coins for $0.0001 again like they did in 2011. Great successez!
China orders banks to stop financing cryptocurrencies & plans his own digital currency (144 points, 225 comments)
At 8:00 on January 4, 2018, the founder of Vechain, Lu Yang, will make a breakthrough in technological transformation at the live-streaming "China-US Blockchain Broadcasting Group" (134 points, 73 comments)
302 points: Crypto078's comment in A message from Sunny Lu: STOP ASKING VECHAIN PARTNERS FOR MORE INFO
275 points: hawktopuss's comment in VeChain mods removed a legitimate criticism to VeChain. It cant always be happy rainbows and sunshine. We need to hear and discuss all the sides. Here is the text that was removed by them.
China orders banks to stop financing cryptocurrencies & plans his own digital currency (144 points, 225 comments)
At 8:00 on January 4, 2018, the founder of Vechain, Lu Yang, will make a breakthrough in technological transformation at the live-streaming "China-US Blockchain Broadcasting Group" (134 points, 73 comments)
302 points: Crypto078's comment in A message from Sunny Lu: STOP ASKING VECHAIN PARTNERS FOR MORE INFO
275 points: hawktopuss's comment in VeChain mods removed a legitimate criticism to VeChain. It cant always be happy rainbows and sunshine. We need to hear and discuss all the sides. Here is the text that was removed by them.
Dog the Bounty Hunter Hits the Campaign Trail by [email protected] (Ben Schreckinger) via POLITICO - TOP Stories URL: http://ift.tt/2ujpY4y CUMMING, GA.—I first encounter Dog the Bounty Hunter on a Sunday morning between services in a back room at the Christ Community Church in Cumming, a town of some 5,000 people about an hour’s drive from Atlanta. His wife and fellow reality TV star is sitting in the corner with a sleeveless dress, and Dog—his real name is Duane Chapman—is pacing the room, a white shirt unbuttoned to the solar plexus, exposing his leathery chest. The couple sports matching, slightly-longer-than-shoulder-length bleach- blond hair. They’re here to support Michael Williams, a tall, broad-shouldered and clean-cut state senator who has launched a long-shot campaign to become Georgia’s next governor. Williams, a relative unknown, is working to boost his statewide name recognition ahead of next year’s primary. He has already loaned his campaign a million dollars, called a surprise press conference at the state house to lambast his chief rival and gotten himself condemned by the Southern Poverty Law Center for attending a rally against sharia law. Now, he has enlisted the celebrity bounty hunter to campaign as his surrogate for the first half of the last week of July, criss-crossing the endless sprawl of the Atlanta suburbs. In between taking smoke breaks and naps, Dog is delivering sermons, filming ads, making fundraising calls and delivering a memorable stump speech in a hotel ballroom — all under the tutelage of his wife, Beth, the president of the National Bail Bondsman Association. Williams believes he has one ace in the hole—his September 2015 endorsement of Donald Trump, which made him the first state official in Georgia to back the future president. He also has Dog. And as I found out after spending three days watching them campaign together, that is … well, it’s something. Williams is betting that the bounty hunter’s celebrity — Dog’s outrageous look and his eight-season run on an eponymous A&E reality show have made him a household name in much of the country — convey law-and-order credibility to Republican primary voters, just as Trump used his own reality show to convince millions of Americans of his executive competence. He’s also betting Dog will generate buzz. As it turns out, in the wake of Trump, who rode provocation and controversy to the White House, the Dog shtick — vulgarity, tall tales and a bare chest — is losing its capacity to shock. It’s a testament to just how much politics has changed in the Trump era that everywhere we went, people just seemed to take it all in stride. In person, Williams, who describes himself as an “introvert,” is far more retiring than his rabble-rousing campaign would lead you to believe. He seems uncertain about the decision of his political consultant Seth Weathers – who towers above us all at a Jonah Ryan-esque 6’ 5” — to invite POLITICO Magazine into the midst of his young campaign. Dog, who served 18 months in a Texas jail for first-degree murder in the 1970s before turning to bounty hunting, has a ready solution to Williams’ angst. “I need your address,” he tells me, by way of greeting. “In case you write something bad about me.” A few minutes later, after a 10-member band has wrapped up its invocation, he takes the stage inside the church’s modern auditorium to preach the gospel of Dog, a rambling account of his life story layered with Christian overtones, to a hundred-odd congregants. After a jailyard conversion to bounty hunting, Dog meets the future Mrs. Dog — then an assistant to a Democratic state senator in Colorado — when the latter is arrested for shoplifting a lemon in the ’80s. Two decades later, they land a reality show on A&E. In between, Mrs. Dog convinces her husband to wear nothing but a leather vest for an appearance on Fox News, and the bounty hunter uses the spot to deliver a prophecy, declaring it will take him exactly seven days to capture the fugitive cosmetics heir Andrew Luster. At another point in Dog’s narrative, as our hero sits in a courtroom fighting possible extradition to Mexico, Mrs. Dog starts swaying in her seat in the gallery, doing “the Holy Ghost shuffle,” and Dog follows her lead. The couple forms a sort of divine force field between them, which ensnares the prosecutor, temporarily choking the man so that he cannot address the court, thereby foiling the extradition. Dog’s delivery lacks the hypnotic mania of Trump’s — the two reality stars have met each other on the motivational speaking circuit through their work with Tony Robbins — but many of the same raw ingredients are there: free-association, self-mythologizing and off-color humor. At various points, Dog describes himself as a “half-breed Indian,” brags that he can speak Spanish — ticking off the words “marijuana” and “burrito” —and occasionally calls out to Beth, who sits in the front row of the sanctuary, to help him recall details. Just what, exactly, any of this has to do with electing Michael Williams is anyone’s guess, but apparently it makes for effective preaching. After the sermon, Weathers passes along a note from pastor Jason Skipper: “Over 25 people made a decision for Christ today!!!! Most of those were people I had never seen before.” Williams has made less of an impression on the congregation. “He was kind of quiet,” says an usher outside the sanctuary. “He needs to be a little more outgoing to get elected.” Indeed, Williams faces a number of obstacles to claiming the state’s open governor’s seat. His two top opponents, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp, have the advantages of statewide office, and even State Sen. Hunter Hill, another relative newcomer, has to date outraised Williams, who has loaned his own campaign a million dollars, a sum he plans to at least double over the course of the race. An accountant by trade, Williams, 43, made his fortune operating a string of Sports Clips barbershop franchises after stints at Arthur Andersen and the clothing manufacturer VF Corporation.1 He sold off the barbershops in 2013 — later citing the headache of Obamacare as the impetus — and launched a state senate bid against fellow Republican Jack Murphy, a well-known incumbent, beating Murphy in what turned out to be the most expensive state senate race in Georgia history in 2014. Weathers, his consultant on that race, went on to serve as Trump’s first Georgia state director in 2015, and Williams served as the Trump’s Georgia co-chairman, introducing the future president at a rally that October, at a time when few other politicians would touch him. This January, Weathers and Williams traveled up to Washington for Trump’s Inauguration, which the bounty hunter and his wife also attended. Before the inaugural festivities, Dog was overcome with the strong premonition that something major would go down in D.C. “I said, ‘Somebody's going to try to shoot the president, and I'm going to jump on him,’" Dog recalls. Once in Washington, he says the foreboding only grew. "I seen all these FBI agents around me, CIA, and one of them came up to me and said, 'Dog, you're one of the targets', and I said, 'For who?' And he said, 'Well, I'm not going to tell you that, but if they want to take out somebody who stands for strong law and order, it's going to be you.'" Happily, the most notable incident that befell Dog in the capital was his meeting with Williams, brokered by Weathers, who knows Mrs. Dog through work he does for the National Bail Bondsman Association. As the president of that group, Mrs. Dog is on the warpath against state and federal bail reform laws and their chief proponents: George Soros, Rand Paul, Kamala Harris and Chris Christie. Mostly Chris Christie2. At the Inauguration, the foursome bonded over a shared love of law enforcement, and the Dogs pledged to help Williams should he run for governor. Williams entered the race in June and immediately made a splash at the state Republican convention, where in his speech he claimed he had been offered the chairmanship of the senate appropriations committee backstage if he would agree to abandon his run. Days later, Williams drew national attention when he attended a “March Against Sharia” in Atlanta and posed for photographs with members of an armed militia who flashed the “okay” hand sign for the camera.3 In July, Williams struck again, announcing a snap press conference at the statehouse “regarding reprehensible actions” by Cagle, a favorite of the state’s GOP establishment. At the presser, he accused Cagle of blocking legislation that would have raised police pay, but did not produce any evidence. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and establishment Republicans panned the press conference. "I think he walked out of that with less support than when he walked in," says one Republican operative in the state, who called Williams the “boy who cried wolf.” Williams contends that he is simply pacing his bomb-throwing, saving the most explosive salvos for later stages of the race. “We’re going to expose the process,” he says. “We have a very, very long campaign and there's a lot of stuff that’s going to come out.” The burn-it-all-down campaign style has drawn the inevitable comparisons to Trump, though his backers protest that Williams was running the same sort of campaign back in 2014. In essence, his supporters say, Trump ran his playbook to win the presidency. Either way, bomb-throwing does not come naturally to Williams. He describes public speaking as “outside my comfort zone” and his delivery remains stilted. He’s started mixing it up with critics on social media, but he still mispronounces the president’s favorite social media platform as “Tweeter.” Williams becomes most animated when describing waste and mismanagement in state government, like the $33 million that has gone missing from the Department of Corrections. He is also bonkers about the transformative potential of the blockchain, the technology behind Bitcoin. From behind the wheel of his very on-message car, a fiscally responsible Honda Accord with a small crate of munitions in the trunk, Williams says he’s considering the idea of making Georgia the first state to accept tax payments in the form of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. “That would put us on the map.” For the less-wonky stuff, Williams has Dog, whose show is more popular in Georgia than just about anywhere else. Though Cagle’s representative initially laughs when asked about Dog’s role in the race, his campaign comes back later with a statement. “When you have a mess like Michael’s campaign, you need less ‘bounty hunter’ and more ‘Bounty paper towels,’” it reads. “Michael and Dog can’t get traction because Georgians know and trust Casey Cagle as a conservative leader.” Cagle’s campaign also does some light opposition research on the bounty hunter, passing along an April 2015 clip from the Fox show “Outnumbered” in which Dog speaks favorably of Hillary Clinton and her husband, surprising the Fox hosts, who cut him off to segue into a negative segment about the Clinton Foundation4, though not before Dog can say, “I’m a Republican, but I have faith in the dynamic duo.” On Monday, the bounty hunter and his wife tape an episode of their podcast with the candidate before decamping to Buford for a fundraising dinner at Adam’s Restaurant and Piano Bar, an upscale joint owned by a Moroccan immigrant with tasteful abstract art lining its exposed brick walls. There, Dog trashes Clinton and enchants the gathered donors – a group that includes a couple pastors, a few undertakers, a local Tea Party activist, and Jamie Ensley, a former chairman of the Log Cabin Republicans — with tales of the time he bailed two nephews of Egypt’s since-deposed president, Hosni Mubarak, out of jail. "My uncle is Mubarak, king of Egypt," Dog recalls one of the Egyptians telling him, to which he says he responded, "Yeah, my uncle is Billy Graham." When one of the young men begins filling out paperwork in Arabic, Dog chides him, "Don't be stupid. Fill this out in American." All of this yields Dog the promise of a fine Arabian horse, but he is visited by concerned Department of Defense officials, who’ve been listening in on his calls with the Egyptians. The resolution of the story is unclear, as it bleeds into a possibly related tale in which Dog accidentally reveals the location of Osama Bin Laden on television years before the terrorist leader’s death. The donors are impressed. “I think he’s a great American,” Ensley says. Most of the dinner is off the record, but Mrs. Dog insists that I take down many of her thoughts. Besides using the word “de-crap-idated” to describe rundown neighborhoods and quoting Ernest Hemingway5, she mostly talks about Christie, whom she singles out as an example of a Republican who has irredeemably lost his way. “You’ve got to circle the wagons and shoot inwards when that happens," she says. The next morning, Dog films social media ads with Williams, and in the afternoon, the crew huddles in a shared conference room at Weathers’ co-working space to make fundraising calls to friends of the campaign. Williams has stepped out to fetch burgers and left his cell phone with Dog, who has put it on speakerphone as he tries out various sales pitches with his sunglasses pulled down over his eyes. "Fee-fi-fo-fum, here I come for 5,000 bucks. Get ready," he says, and, "I've got a business proposition for you. You've got Visa-Mastercard, right?" Reaching the voicemail of one Williams acquaintance, Dog says that he’s stolen the candidate’s credit card. "If you don’t call me back in 15 minutes we're going to hit it for five grand,” Dog warns. “Uh, two-minute warning!" Few potential donors are picking up their phones, prompting the bounty hunter, to sigh, "Damn, all these Republicans got jobs." Beth suggests that Dog switch tacks, instead calling bail bondsmen, who revere the Dogs, and who, it turns out, are more likely than lawyers and bankers to answer their phones on a weekday afternoon. "How do you pronounce your name?” Dog asks the first one he reaches. “Seat-a-bomb? What tribe are you with? I'm half Apache."6 Dog notes that Williams is open to medical marijuana and passes the phone off to Beth, who seals the deal. “If you determine this is someone who's going to help our industry, I'm 100 percent in,” the bondsman says, pledging to donate. Listening in on the fundraising sessions are two old friends of the couple, Larry and Gus, sexagenarians sporting near-identical gray goatees, gray ponytails and pierced ears. Larry, a retired caterer, is liberally dispensing political fundraising advice. "I'd have a follow-up call in five minutes," he advises after Dog hangs up on the bondsman. Fifteen seconds later, Larry has pulled his sunglasses down over his eyes and called the bondsman back, tentatively suggesting that the man donate $5,000 and asking him in a Jersey accent for his credit card information. The bondsman asks if there’s a website he can visit instead, and the conversations seems to stall as the man begins to equivocate. "See, they're bondsmen,” Dog says. “They're afraid it's a scam.” Dog then whispers stage directions to Larry, who still has the man on speakerphone, telling him to say, “Let me get Dog.” “Let me get Dog,” says Larry a few seconds later, handing the phone back to the bounty hunter. “I realize you might think this is a fucking scam," Dog tells the bondsman, who is eventually talked back into giving money, pledging $2500. The call is a success, though the mood in the room briefly turns when I ask Dog about his Wikipedia page, which describes his mother’s extraction as German, rather than Apache — raising Elizabeth Warren-esque questions about his true heritage. "Wikipedia is a piece of shit,” Beth protests. “It doesn't even matter." Dog says that he’s taken two DNA swabs and that he has an official card back home attesting to his ancestry.7 Soon, a reporter from the local Forsyth County News shows up. "We're literally in a time of war,” Dog tells him while puffing a cigarette out in front of the building. “We're in a time of recession.”8 Then Dog, 64, heads back to his hotel to for a nap, posing for photographs with a handful of fans on his way out of the office complex. The final stop of Dog’s campaign swing is a Tuesday-evening gathering at a Sonesta hotel in Duluth. The mass rallies haven't started at this early stage in the campaign, and the ticketed event draws a mostly khakis-and-boat-shoes crowd of about 30 Georgians, who sit at tables festooned with ornate centerpieces: bottles filled with string lights sitting on top of log slabs strewn with pebbles. Only one family looks like it’s stepped out of Southern populism central casting, that of Dog fan Andie Dick, who learned about the event on Facebook and brought along her husband, daughter and daughter’s boyfriend. Dog hasn’t yet won Williams her support, but the bounty hunter has won him an audience. “I don’t think I’ll be voting for Michael based on Dog, but that's why I'm here," she says. Her husband, David, who works in flooring, wears a white T-shirt with a Confederate flag decal that says “Dixie Classic” on the front and “Don’t Tread on Me” on the back. Though he paid $270 for the tickets, an early anniversary present to his wife, he describes his opinion of Dog as “indifferent."9 Post-nap, Dog arrives about an hour late, around 6 p.m. After perfunctory opening remarks by Williams, the bounty hunter takes the stage. It is not until Dog stands at the podium, shades down over his eyes, framed between bouquets of red, white and blue balloons, that the whole exercise becomes fully surreal, like the set of an ad for a car dealership’s Presidents Day Sale.10 His stump speech includes considerable overlap with his sermon, though with several new twists. "I've tased over 2,000 human beings," Dog boasts, while dinging Christie and vouching for Williams’ personal behavior.11 We learn additional details of his early life on a Native American reservation that foreshadow his foray into politics. “The Navajos would dance around me and say, 'This is him. He's going to lead millions,’” Dog recalls. And he reveals more about his approach to law and order when he divulges that employees at Western Union often help him trace payments made by the fugitives he chases. "It's not illegal,” Dog insists. “Some guys have to have a warrant but not the Dog. I have morality." Some lines, like his condemnations of Democrats, are crowd-pleasers. Others draw polite, perplexed silence, like when he speaks of his desire to let most undocumented immigrants find a path to citizenship, or when he opines, “Maybe homosexuality is not demon possession ... Maybe they’re all just different than us."12 Overall, the crowd appears satisfied by the performance. “He very well articulates what we all feel and think as conservatives," says Jan Taylor, a semi-retired Williams supporter from the affluent suburb of Johns Creek. Though this is Dog’s final campaign event of this swing, Weathers and Williams are planning to have him come back for more and they have their eyes on other conservative TV celebrities.Trump confidant Roger Stone, who has gained a measure of campaign trail celebrity himself, plans to endorse Williams and campaign with him in Georgia later this month. An advocate of campy campaigning — he was part of a small inner circle that advised Trump to announce his presidential run with a flamboyant kickoff and debated bringing bikini-clad women, clowns and a circus elephant to the event — Stone says that while elites may scoff at the spectacle of Dog on the trail, the bounty hunter could make for a potent surrogate. “Voters like the pop culture,” he says. “Voters like celebrities who don’t come from the world of politics” Stone also says that Trump ought to throw his weight around in intra-party politics and endorse Williams in the primary. Predicting the president’s behavior is never easy, but a former Trump campaign official from the Southeast who’s discussed the matter with campaign leadership says an endorsement is unlikely. “Not that they don’t appreciate the support Williams gave, but there’s no reason to wade into that race.” Meanwhile, Republican operatives in Georgia view Williams’ willingness to spend his personal fortune as a bigger asset than his relationship with Dog. “Anybody who has pumped a million dollars into his campaign and has a another million to put in is real,” says one such operative, who adds that he remains skeptical of the state senator’s chances of overthrowing Georgia’s political establishment. “President Trump had 100 percent name recognition, but Michael’s trying to run the same race without that.” Whether or not Williams pulls off his upset, the Dogs appear determined to continue their pivot from bounty hunting to politics. After the speech, Mrs. Dog tickles my belly and beckons me over to a circle of chairs outside the ballroom, where she sips a two-olive martini and continues to expound her views of Christie. "The day he sat his fat ass on that beach,” she says, “That was the day his real truth was revealed." And, "The whole country will raise a ruckus if he's brought into the Trump administration, even to take out the trash." Mrs. Dog’s plans include continuing to raise a ruckus in New Jersey to make the reversal of bail reform a campaign issue and one last jab at Christie as he exits the scene, helping to push a wrongful death lawsuit against the governor lodged by the family of a man murdered by someone released from prison under the state’s new bail reform law. She has longer-term plans as well, and they include a state senate seat. "I might run in Hawaii," she says, though her ambitions do not end there. "I would like to eventually be U.S. Senate.”
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