Archive for the ‘liberty’ Category

A license to kill our own

March 9, 2010

What do you think?  Do you think a secret committee of government staffers can vote on who lives and who dies?  Stop and absorb that please.  Were you up in arms about the so-called Obama “Death Panel?”  Were ya?  Well it’s happening right now……

I saw an article in Newsweek, Can Intel Agencies Kill Americans? Pretty troubling to think about.  It’s another example of the slow deterioration in our fundamental right to be safe from our own government.  The director of national intelligence testified that United States intelligence agencies can assassinate United Citizens. It’s alleged that “… strikes specifically targeting Americans must first be approved by a secret committee made up of senior intel officials and members of the president’s cabinet.

Our right to due process is guaranteed to us by the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.  It reads in part, “..nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”  This clause is in the Constitution to prevent the government from killing its citizens without some sort of due process.   We’re supposed to know what the government accuses us of, be able to present a defense and have a disinterested arbiter weigh the evidence.  Allowing a secret committee to decide who lives and who dies is something we all should fear.  That is an out of control government.

And don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying that some of these people don’t deserve to die, but I don’t think having a group of government officials casting votes on which American citizen should be assassinated is the way to go.

As long as I’m alive I will still  GET OUTSIDE EVERYDAY!!!

I thought this was a fitting picture for an entry about an overly aggressive government.  In addition to this fire tower with all kinds of antennae on it there are a bunch of other towers at the top of the mountain.  If there were so many people that wanted to hurt us don’t you think they would blow up or cut down some of these towers.   By destroying one of these towers you could create a huge disruption for minimal effort.   Sure, there are lots of bad, evil, mean people out there, but not so many that we need to live in fear or abrogate our rights.  While your government wants you to think that you need to fear the other people, it’s your own government that you need to fear.

After a light snow.  Just a white pine with a little slush on it.  If you look at the slope of the land you can see that this is a pretty steep area.  I like hills.  I went to Indiana one time.  It was way too flat for me and there is no ocean either.

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Terrorism and privacy

January 26, 2010

Took me a while to get around to this, but it’s been percolating through the dark recesses of my troubled mind for some time now.  You have all heard of the Christmas Day Panty Bomber.

I don’t get it.  Since 9/11 there can be no doubt that the government is snoopy snooping to a greater degree in each of our lives.  If we fly we need to take off our shoes and belts.  I couldn’t even carry a little Swiss Army knife into my state capital.  You know the gubmint is capturing, tracking and analyzing all of our banking, phone, credit card and Internet activity.    Anyways, I feel as though the government is imposing itself into private aspects of my life since 9/11.

So the father of the Christmas Day Panty Bomber actually called up the authorities to alert them.  U.S. government officials tell The Associated Press that the Nigerian man charged with trying to destroy a jetliner came to the attention of U.S. intelligence in November when his father went to the U.S. embassy in Abuja, Nigeria, to express his concerns about his son.”

I just don’t get how if the government is collecting all of this information, our privacy is being diminished, we’re being watched and taped more often and more inconvenienced rather than less, how they let this guy get on board a plane.  I mean why the hell do we put up with Big Brother getting bigger every day, week and year if there if there is no benefit in it for us.   I want to know what the hell they are doing with all of this information that they are collecting if they can’t even use it for its intended purpose.   I know the government has infiltrated meetings of peace activists.  Maybe the information is being used to track political enemies or for commercial gain.  One thing for sure though, it doesn’t seem like it’s making us any safer.  When one is looking for a needle in a haystack I never got the point of making the haystack insurmountably large.  Privacy, with the ease and speed that information is transmitted,  is too easy to destroy.

Why do we stand for Government trespasses?

Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. B. Franklin, 1759

GET OUTSIDE EVERYDAY!!!

It’s that time of year.  It was a beautiful weekend.  Saturday was cold, dry and sunny so there was maybe an inch or two of fresh snow on hard pack.  Sunday was 40 or so so the snow was all soft like mashed potaters.    I like skiing abandoned ski areas.  I like skiing through trees.  I like to walk up and ski down.   This is a picture of the trail where the t-bar used to run.  You can see the big rusty old pole with the wheel at the top that the cable used to run along.   The trail is a bit overgrown.  This trail is maybe five feet wide and, trust me, it is much steeper than it looks.  In fact if you don’t ski you may not even be able to see a trail running straight down the hill.  This truly was first tracks, not even footprints.

And here is another nice trail.  I am always literally dumbfounded that I hardly ever run into anyone else when I am recreating in the out of doors.  If you ski you gotta appreciate how nice this trail is.    If you look at the horizon you can see massive office buildings and neighborhoods of houses.  Amazing to find hidden little jewels like this in the center of suburbia.  There were some footprints, but I was the first person to carve some turns.

And there is not a less crowded , better or cheaper ski trail in all of New England.  So for your own mental and physical health GET OUTSIDE EVERY DAY!!!


Nazi Checkpoints

October 4, 2009

Drip, drip drip.  Chip, chip, chip.  The frogs in the pot don’t realize that the water is beginning to boil.

Citizens of the United States are supposed to be able to travel freely and not be subjected to unreasonable searches or seizures.  Although the Constitution doesn’t specifically mention “travel,” the right to travel has been a firmly embedded right since the Articles of Confederation guaranteed that “the people of each State shall have free ingress and regress to and from any other State.” There is also a long line of case establishing that states can’t treat newcomers differently than long-time residents unless the state restriction is necessary to serve a compelling state interest.

And in the 1999 SCOTUS case of Saenz v. Roe, 526 US 489 (1999) Justice Stevens notes:

The word “travel” is not found in the text of the Constitution. Yet the “constitutional right to travel from one State to another” is firmly embedded in our jurisprudence. United States v. Guest , 383 U. S. 745, 757 (1966). Indeed, as Justice Stewart reminded us in Shapiro v. Thompson , 394 U. S. 618 (1969), the right is so important that it is “assertable against private interference as well as governmental action … a virtually unconditional personal right, guaranteed by the Constitution to us all.” Id., at 643 (concurring opinion).

Then we all know, or should know, of course that The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated…” The operative word being “unreasonable.”  Generally government can’t stop us or search our person without having some reason to do so.  Government can’t go on fishing expeditions.  Government is supposed to know what specific contraband it is looking to seize and particularly where that contraband is likely to be found prior to engaging in any search.  Government is not supposed to set up so called “dragnets” where it nets the innocent as well as the guilty.

If you are seized you are not free to go about your business.  What constitutes a seizure can vary from state to state, but generally if there is a show of authority (men in blue, orders to stop, guns, flashing lights, badges and other such acts/things) and you yield to that show of authority/force than you have been seized and prevented from going about your business.

This is a confusing area of the law.  On the one hand the cops can set up drunk driving checkpoints because of the immediate danger that freaking dumb drunks pose to the rest of us.   On the other hand Indianapolis v. Edmund, 531 US 32 (2000) made clear, at least for the time being, that cops can’t set up checkpoints with the purpose of interdicting illicit drugs.  Interestingly enough the so called “Conservative Justices” – Scalia, Thomas and Rehnquist were in favor of allowing random police stops of citizens going about their business. As Rehnquist noted in his dissent random law enforcement checkpoints are legitimate to “…checking for driver’s licenses and vehicle registrations, and because there is nothing in the record to indicate that the addition of the dog sniff lengthens these otherwise legitimate seizures, I dissent.”  Conservative my ass!!  He is a Republican.

My definition of a Republican: someone who thinks the government can do nothing right unless and until it comes to kicking in doors, searching, seizing citizens, legislating morality, law enforcement and the military and than the government can do no wrong. I’ve never been certain how some people can hold two mutually exclusive beliefs.  That’s me though.

Anyways, now that the foundation has been built: 1. we have the right to free intrastate and interstate travel and 2. we have the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures let’s look at some startling violations that are happening as we speak.  Tipping point?  You decide.

Tipping point?  You decide.  Chip, chip, chip, drip, drip, drip.  The water around the pot of frogs slowly comes to a boil.

GET OUTSIDE EVERY FREAKING DAY WHILE WE ARE STILL ALLOWED TO DO SO!!!!

How many campfires did you sit around this summer?  I know one thing, not enough!!

37Here I am catching a crappy wave.

17So GET OUTSIDE EVERYDAY © and rip it up!!


Eminent Domain

September 30, 2009

The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution states, “…nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” This clause of the Fifth Amendment is known as the takings clause.  It empowers the government to take private property for public use.  Maybe you know someone who had a few feet taken from their front lawn to widen a road or build a sidewalk.   The Fifth Amendment also requires that when governments exercise their right of eminent domain that “just compensation” is given to the owners of the property.   It allows governments to take private property for “public use” as long as just compensation is paid.

So the natural outcome is that we are all left deciding and defining what is “private property,” what is “public use” and what is “just compensation.”

Well a few years ago there was a big eminent domain case out of Connecticut, Kelo v. New London, 545 U.S. 469 (2005). The long and short of it, the way I understand it, is that Big Pharma Giant Pfizer wanted to build a plant in New London.  The city established a private corporation to oversee development in the area.  The problem was that a bunch of people still owned homes and lived in the area.  The question became whether government can while exercising its power of eminent domain take private property from some people (the homeowners) and give it to other private parties (the New London Redevelopment Corp. that was representing private interests).  The big question became what was public use and whether generalized promises of future jobs and future tax revenues could qualify as “public use.”  The Court has slowly allowed “public use” to be redefined as public purpose.    If the effervescent promise of future tax revenues qualifies as a great enough benefit, just about any government taking of private property can somehow be rationalized as public purpose.

Or as Justice Thomas wrote in his dissent, “Once one permits takings for public purposes in addition to public uses, no coherent principle limits what could constitute a valid public use…”  Why not take any house or business if some developer or business is able to somehow show that by razing the existing home/business and replacing it with a new business that government may get sometime down the road the possibility of additional taxes?

I would ask, where is the public use?  How is the public able to use the plant that Pfizer wanted to build?  We can’t so there is no public use to my non-black robed eyes. The public has no beneficial interest in a privately owned plant.  To me it appeared that this was a land grab by government to further the interests of private industry.

Do you think that private entities offering the possibility of future jobs and taxes is enough of a public use to justify government taking private property? I don’t.

The City of New London won and the homeowners lost their homes.  End of story?  Not quite.

The case was decided in 2005 so what happened to all of the new jobs, new development and new taxes.  I want to know.

As Jeff Benedict wrote in the Hartford Courant,

A few weeks ago I visited the neighborhood, ground zero in the famous battle between the city and homeowners. Here’s what I saw: a sea of brown dirt littered with old rusty nails, broken bricks and slivers of glass — the only signs that people once lived there. Every home has vanished. Nothing has been built in their place. The neighborhood is a ghost town, a scarlet letter on the city’s forehead.

No new tax revenues have come.  No new jobs have come.  No new “public use” has come.

And in another follow-up story, AP writer Katie Nelson notes, “But what of the promised building boom that was supposed to bring up to 3,169 jobs and $1.2 million a year in tax revenues?”  There are no new jobs.  There are no new taxes.  There is no public use.  They took the land, kicked the people out of their homes and gave nothing back.  Government is controlled by monied vested interests.

Like I always say, if it can happen to them, it can happen to you.  On notice is on guard.

GET OUTSIDE EVERYDAY!! ©

p1010025Just a pretty summer pond.  In a couple more weeks these trees will be ablaze with color.  I was walking about and I saw some scraping at the base of a tree from where a woodpecker had gone to town.

p1010024So I thought to myself that these scrapings would be great tinder for a firesteel.  I didn’t get a fire going, but I guess the point is to always be aware and on the look out for what you may be able to use.

Now that summer is winding down I hope to get back a bit more to blogging.

Guns at protests

August 18, 2009

Good.  In case you haven’t seen it, a man carried what looks to be an AR at a protest in Phoenix, AZ. art.obama.gun.pool That’s fine by me.  I think it’s good to exercise our rights.  I also think that it’s good for those in government to be aware that the forceful overthrow of government is always an option.

PHOENIX, Arizona (CNN) — A man toting an assault rifle was among a dozen protesters carrying weapons while demonstrating outside President Obama’s speech to veterans on Monday, but no laws were broken. It was the second instance in recent days in which weapons have been seen near presidential events.”

I understand that some folks are concerned.  I figure some people who are opposed are just anti-gun or gun control nuts.  I don’t care about them.

Then there is probably another group of folks who are concerned that carrying guns at political protests can lead to violence.  I understand their concerns.  I hope that those in power are concerned too.

gun-at-town-hall-chyron

And at an Obama town hall meeting in New Hampshire another protester had his sidearm openly displayed.

Once again I think it’s fine and appropriate for American citizens to be exercising their rights.  I also think it’s important for our elected representatives to understand that change can be forced too.  Most Americans were against the bailouts for Wall Street, yet our congresspeople ignored MILLIONS of phone calls and emails and letters and went ahead and bailed out big finance and big insurance.

It’s great for people to get out and protest things.  I wish more Americans took to the streets to petition the government for a redress of our grievances. Be careful though folks, cops being what they are, don’t allow yourself to be drawn into some unnecessary conflict with the blue enforcers of government policy.

Those we elect need to know and understand that they will be held accountable.  Law is in the books.  Order comes about through the ongoing threat of force.

GET OUTSIDE EVERYDAY!!!! ©

This is lamb’s quarters.  It is definitely one of the more tasty wild edibles.  Some stuff is good to eat and I’ll grab whenever I run into.  Stuff such as berries, the blueberries, the blackberries and mulberries.  Yum.  Then there is other stuff that is genuinely good to eat to, stuff like lambs quarters, dandelions and purslane fall into this category.  Then you got a whole lot of stuff that just ain’t that good and I’d only eat if I was hungry.  Anyways, back to the point at hand, lambs quarters.  This stuff is in the second category.  it is good to eat anytime.  Lambs quarters is the pale looking plant with the leaves shaped like goose feet.  that’s also another name for lamb’s quarters – white goosefoot.

q10Here is a better shot of a lamb’s quarter plant.  Some of the ways I spot this plant are the whitish leaves that seem kind of waxy and the hollow stem.  It can grow 4-5 feet tall and gets massive seed heads on it.  These plants develop so many seeds that Indians used to collect the seed and grind it to flour.  You can also boil the seed and make a sort of oatmeal from it.

q9Wildman Steve Brill writes, This European relative of spinach and beets, which grows throughout the North America, bears large quantities of edible, spinach-flavored leaves you can collect from mid-spring to late fall. It’s one of the best sources of beta-carotene, calcium, potassium, and iron in the world; also a great source of trace minerals, B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, and fiber.”

Lamb’s quarters grows everywhere.  I guarantee you that if you don’t know what it is there is some growing within a few hundred yards of where you live – city, country or suburbs and you consider it a weed.  You want to eat the youngest leaves or the smallest leaves from the top of the plant.  This is a great plant to start foraging with because it is easy to ID and really does taste great.  In addition it could keep you alive.  This is a real tasty wild edible.  Get yourself some field guides, positively ID the ones in your neighborhood and try it out.

Legalize it!!

July 27, 2009

The time has come to legalize It.  It being marijuana.   “Calif. tax officials: Legal pot would bring $1.4B”  Think Cali can use that kind of money?  How about your own state?  Hell, even the Republican governor has admitted to smoking pot at one point in his life.    “The Equalization Board used law enforcement and academic studies to calculate that about 16 million ounces — or 500 tons — of marijuana are consumed in California each year.” WOW!!

So on the one hand states are missing out on billions in tax revenues, on the other hand enormous sums of money are being spent by the federal and state governments to further perpetuate the illegality of marijuana.  Billions are spent every year to keep a plant illegal.

“In 2007 the Department of Justice reported that there were 1,841,182 drug arrests in the United States; the report also stated that there were  more drug abuse arrests than any other category of offenses. Marijuana arrests accounted for 47.4% of the drug abuse arrests. This allows us to estimate that about 872,720 persons were arrested for marijuana offenses. Eighty-nine percent of these arrests were for possession.”

This is not only an economic issue for state governments, but it is also a liberty issue for private citizens.  Consenting adults should be able to do pretty much anything they want that doesn’t impact others.   The cops like it though.  The seizure of private property prior to conviction and roadblocks are further intrusions on citizens’ rights.  Why give the cops another reason to interact with citizens.

Pot also isn’t the gateway drug anymore than milk and cookies.  How many heroin junkies started with milk n’ cookies?

Since pot was first criminalized do you think a single person has been denied due to marijuana’s banned status.  Kids in elementary school and prisoners in jail all have access to the illegal weed.  Goes to show all the money spent on cops, prisons, judges, and brand spanking new cop toys is wasted money.  Prohibition does not work.  Prohibition puts a substance in the control of criminals and drives up the market price.

Making pot illegal only serves to benefit: cops, prisons, lawyers and politicians.  The fastest way to cure all of the violence in Columbia and Mexico and American cities is to take drugs out of the hands of criminals.  How do we accomplish that overnight? LEGALIZE IT.

So there you go six simple arguments to legalize It.

1. issue of personal liberty and self-determination, legalizing It would help to limit Big G Government intruding into our private affairs.  Why give them another excuse?

2. It isn’t nearly as dangerous as those with beholden interests make it out to be;

3. opportunity cost of lost tax revenues;

4. direct costs of keeping pot illegal;

5. indirect costs of giving kids a permanent record and the loss of student loans;

6. the ineffective War on Drugs has been an utter and total failure.

GET OUTSIDE EVERYDAY!! ©

d7

Pretty gold finch feather.  I saw blue jay feather yesterday that was as blue as the bluest sky.   Really pretty amazing.  We were sitting outside the other day and four yellow finches were flying around us putting on an acrobatic flying show.

This is the flowerhead of staghorn sumac.  I posted a winter picture of it back when snow was covering the ground.  You’ve seen these before haven’t you.  Usually you see them in areas that have been previously disturbed.  Like me.  The plants are kind of hairy.  Like me.

d9

You can make a sort of lemonade from the red berries by picking off the red flowerhead and soaking a bunch of them in cold water.  Use maybe 6-8 flowerheads per big pitcher of water.  Always use cold water and then strain it through  a coffee filter or something to strain out all of the little red hairs.  You can add sugar if you want to. “Of 100 medicinal plants screened for antibiotic activity, this species [staghorn sumac] was most active, attributed to conetent of gallic acid, 4-methoxygallic acid, and methyl gallate.” Foster & Duke, Peterson Field Guide.

Cambridge PD & Dr. Gates

July 24, 2009

I felt like I had to write about this story because it’s been ubiquitous this week.  If you haven’t heard a black professor from Harvard was arrested on the doorstep of his own house.  The story is that this older professor of African American Studies, Dr. Henry Louis Gates, PD*30233165came home from a trip abroad and the front door of his Harvard provided mansion was swollen shut from the humidity.  It sounds like he and his driver tried to force the front door open with their shoulders.  A neighbor saw two men trying to force open the door and called the Cambridge PD.   Doctor Gates went around back and crawled through a window.  He then came around front and opened the front door.   By then the PD were there.  He showed his ID that proved he lived in the house.  Maybe the cop wasn’t satisfied.  Who knows.  Dr. Gates mouthed off to the cop.  It’s reported that he said such things as: ‘this is because I’m black’ and ‘do you know who I am’ and ‘I’ll talk to your momma out front’ meaning the cop’s momma.  Dr. Gates is black and the arresting officer is white.

Dr. Gates ended up being arrested for disorderly conduct. The cop wrote in his police report that Dr. Gates was out of control.  I know the Police fabricate and stretch the truth in their police reports.  They know what they need to write and what they need to include in their reports in order to help the DA convict. The Police are only too happy to oblige.

I have no doubt that Dr. Gates may carry a chip on his shoulder AND RIGHTFULLY SO.  Which means all the more reason to be careful when mouthing off to the Police.  Always remember the Police are the sole of the jackboot of Government.

So there has been all of this talk on the Internet, newspapers, Big M Media and radio talkshows about whether the Police were right or whether Dr. Gates was picked on for being black.

I don’t see it as a black white thing. I don’t care if it’s a white cop and a black defendant.  Dr. Gates was wrong.  This is all about Authority exerting its Authority. The cop said that he had to deescalate the situation and that the best way of doing this was to arrest the old professor on his own porch.  I think the cop would have arrested a white guy too and that is the crux of the problem.

No the best way to deescalate the situation would have been for the cop to leave once he saw proof positive that Dr. Gates was the occupant of the house and not a burglar.   Instead, the cop being a cop felt as though he had to stay there and argue with this guy.  Just leave.

The cop had to prove that he was right.  I wasn’t there, but I can see it now, because I’ve seen it many times before.  The cop probably told him to calm down and quiet down.  Just leave.  If you  are provoking someone’s behavior STOP IT. Cops being what they are the cop had to prove that he was in charge and the Keeper of the Authority.  I mean why else wear the uniform if you don’t want to exert authority.

So no I don’t see this as a black white thing.  This is about the Police arresting a man on his own porch. If the Police were hassling you on your own porch wouldn’t you tell the cops F&uck Off?  That would drive me nuts too.  The Police coming right into my own private lair and hassling me.   Ruby Ridge anyone?  Branch Davidians?

So don’t get drawn into the headline that the Media feeds you.  This isn’t a racial thing.  This is a Government Exerting Its Authority Against The Governed Thing.  If it can happen to a well dressed, older Harvard professor with a PhD basically on the campus of Harvard in Cambridge than it can happen to you.   It can happen to you on your own porch.

Lessons to learn:

  • Don’t believe the story you are told by the Media.  Try to look at the story through your own eyes.
  • Don’t mouth off to the Police unless you need a place to stay for the night.
  • The Police can come up to your door at anytime for any reason and hassle you.
  • The Police can handcuff you, throw you in the back of a car and spirit you away for any reason or no reason at all.
  • You can be arrested for disorderly conduct on your own porch or front lawn.
  • Check who is at the door before opening.  Better to even look if you can and be silent than announcing your presence by asking, “who is there?”
  • The Government and its agents are getting more aggressive.
  • It can happen to You.
  • Know a good defense lawyer.

GET OUTSIDE EVERYDAY!! ©

Just as the Police are the Police, summer is summer.  And summer being what it is there are so many different plants happening now that I’m going to have to have some posts just on plants.  I want to do one on Purslane in the near future.  Personally I think Purslane is my favorite foraging food. Yummy! I should also do a post on Jewelweed because it’s also useful.   Anyways….

c1I hope your recognize this as beautiful blueberries.  These are lowbush blueberries and are only a foot or foot and a half tall.   These aren’t the big super fertilized blueberries that you buy in a store.  These berries are about the size of a pea, maybe even smaller.  I’ve also been told that you can tell edible blueberries from the non-poisonous ones by the little crown on the blossom end of the fruit.  If you don’t know what I mean look at the following picture.

c3Now if you look at these berries notice how the part of the berry away from the stem end has a little crown on it where the flower used to be attached.  it looks a little like a donut shape.  That’s how I was always told to tell blueberries from pooberries.  A pooberry being one that gives you the shits.

I thought this would be a good berry year because of all the rain we had, but unfortunately it has been a pretty slim berry year.  Lesson learned here is don’t every count your crops before they’re harvested and cured, pickled, canned, dried or stored safely away.

Anyways, the Indians used to dry these out and mix them with ground dried meat, maybe some ground nuts and some rendered fat to make pemmican.  Pemmican is ultra high calorie and fat survival food.  You can also make tasty juices.  Blueberry is supposed to be a super food.  I used to spend hours collecting blueberries and making wine from them.

Gay marriage & wild grapes

July 22, 2009

This is a sensitive topic I know.  The grapes come after the waxing philosophical.  If you don’t want to be subjected to my mini-rant on gay marriage then skip below to the GET OUTSIDE EVERYDAY part.  Last chance to leave or skip down to the Wild Grapes part before you are subjected to the rant.

I knew that you couldn’t resist reading the rant.  You don’t even know if I’m pro or con gay marriage.  I’m not gay.  I don’t care who is.  I live in Massachusetts.  Gay marriage has been legal here for more than five years.  Massachusetts is the same now as before gay marriage was authorized.  That’s right, my straight marriage isn’t under attack.  The streets aren’t filled with militant gays and lesbians.  Things are as bucolic as ever in Massachusetts.  Heck, if you were a space alien visiting from another galaxy you wouldn’t have any clue that gay marriage is allowed.

A couple of points to make here:

1. Allowing loving people to marry each other doesn’t mean the end of Western Civilization.  The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is just as screwed up now as it was before gay marriage became legal.  NOTHING HAS CHANGED.  I think the present Speaker of the House is under indictment just like the last Speaker of the House.

2. What business is it of anyone’s which adults can marry which adults?  MYOB!! The gays want nothing to do with you or your kids.  I think they would like nothing better than to be left alone.  While I’m at it I think the Mormons got a bad rap too.  I don’t know why someone would want more than one spouse, but more power to you.

3.  Gays aren’t indoctrinating anyone into the lifestyle anymore than you were indoctrinated into being straight.

4. Your way of life, our way of life, the straight way of life is not under attack.

5. No one is going to force any church to solemnize a gay marriage.

6. Just like the American Revolution and Civil War were fought more over economics than principal, recognition of gay marriage has more to do with economics than anything else.  It has to do with access to health insurance, survivorship benefits, health care and pensions.

I’m not sure that this is a state’s right issue, any more so than if a state refused to recognize marriage between different races or ethnicities.    I do agree that marriage has always been relegated to the states.   However, just as laws against miscegeny were struck down by SCOTUS in 1967 in the landmark Loving v. Virginia case, so should state laws barring gays from marrying.

I like to mind my own business in the hopes that others will mind their own business too.  If the gays don’t bother me, which they usually don’t, then I won’t bother them. Deal?

After five years of legal gay marriage in Massachusetts I can tell you that you have nothing to fear from gays getting married.   At least to me life seems the same.

Hey you are free to disagree with me.  Reasonable people can disagree, as long as no one is getting hurt.  Oh, and in a survival situation no matter how you feel about gay marriage pro or con, I hope you know to keep your opinion to yourself.  Opinions can be dangerous things.  It’s usually much safer to be agreeable and bide your time.  Speaking out can get you killed.  It’s better to be a survivor than be right. In a survival situation  stop worrying about being right and focus on surviving.

GET OUTSIDE EVERYDAY! © Now for the wild grapes.  I was out walking the dog through the woods and saw some wild grapes in a little clearing.  It would have been easy to walk right past them, but like I always preach, you gotta keep your eyes and your mind open.   Your mind has to be open to observe what your eyes are seeing.  It is easy to look right past things without seeing them.

P1010004So what is there to say about wild grapes.  They’re pretty easy to ID.  You can see the stem is kind of reddish purple.  If you look closely the stem almost looks like paper peeling up in a few places.

Another good way to tell wild grape from Virginia Creeper is because grapes have a three lobed leaf. I don’t know if lobe is the correct word, but if you look you can see that the leaf is genuinely divided into three segments.

P1010008Virginia Creeper which looks like wild grape, but shouldn’t be eaten has a five or seven lobed/segmented leaf.  I think you can drink the water from cut grape vines too, but if wild grape is growing you know that there is water nearby.  Wild grapes don’t grow where it’s dry.

I liked this picture too because it looks cool, but also shows another good way to ID wild grape.

P1010007Isn’t this a beautiful picture the way the light is shining through the canopy of grape vines?  Go ahead and click on it to make it big.  So anyways another good way to ID grape is because its tendrils, those are the things that grab onto to other things to climb.  It’s the grape’s way of getting more into the sun.  Anyways, the tendrils on wild grape are binary.  See how there are like four or five pair?  Wild grape tendrils grow in pairs. Plus the fruit looks like grape and tastes like grape, tart grape, but grape.  I used to spend a fair amount of time hunting and picking wild grape and then making wild mountain grape wine – strong and sweet.  Oh, and watch those seeds.  I’ve yet to find a seedless wild grape.

There now you have a bunch of ways to positively ID wild grape: bark, tendrils, leaves and fruit.  You can see this fruit isn’t quite ready yet, But the race is now on between the birds and me.  BRING IT ON TWEETY!!

Why should we?

July 14, 2009

I mean really.  I’m trying not to use profanity, because I don’t know you folks and someone shouldn’t write anything on the Internet that they wouldn’t say to their mother or sister.

Anyways…did you see that federal buildings are vulnerable to attack? The Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) sent undercover ops carrying bomb making supplies into federal buildings.  Once the agents made it past security and metal detectors they assembled the make believe bombs and carried them all over the buildings.  The GAO attempted to penetrate 10 buildings and they were successful 100% of the time.  One of the security (ahem) professionals was sleeping and another was found using a government computer to run a porn website.  Talk about double dipping.

Which reminds me of another older story I saw, GAO: Investigators pass security at 19 airports with bomb parts.

So it’s pretty apparent to me that our Government is as ineffective at securing our airports and buildings as it was responding to hurricanes, or getting to some victim when they are getting their head kicked in and 911 is called.  The Government can’t do it.

Also, anyone who has spent time in a correctional facility will tell you that the guards can’t keep drugs out of prisons.  Why should they when their is so much money to be made by guards smuggling drugs into prisons.  So the Government can’t even keep drugs out of a walled, concertina wired fortress like a prison either.

We’ve been giving up our privacy ever since 9/11.  We’ve been forced to take off our shoes and subject strangers to our dirty, stinky feet.  There are cameras on almost every street corner or traffic light.  We get stopped at roadblocks, and our free movement as US citizens is limited.  It’s getting harder and harder to exercise our Second Amendment rights.  Even protesters are locked into Free Speech Zones.  (I thought the whole US of A was a Free Speech Zone.) They’ve been tapping into our email, Internet browsing, blogging, telephone calls and banking activity.  Think about that, every time any of your info is sent electronically, it is sifted and sorted and compiled and filed by Big G Government.

WHAT FOR!?!?!  All of these Big G Government trespasses into our private affairs obviously don’t have the desired effect of making us safe.

Why do we stand for it!?!?  They search my pockets to make me safe and people still smuggle bomb making materials into protected buildings and box cutters onto planes.  I get stopped for having a Swiss Army Knife on my key chain.

The reason Big G Government is spying on us and limiting our privacy and civil liberties isn’t to make us safe, IT’S TO TRACK US, ANALYZE US AND FIGURE OUT WHO MAY BE A THREAT – POLITICAL OR OTHERWISE.

and my digital camera is back so I can share with you, beg of you and plead with you to GET OUTSIDE EVERY DAY!!! I used to work with one of the best attorneys in the state.  She went to all of the best private schools, high school, undergrad and law school.  This particular attorney had no idea that bees had to pollinate flowers for her to eat an apple, peach, pear or orange.  So I know some reading this may have 1,000 acres in corn, but some other people might not know where corn comes from.   The corn around me is about five feet tall.  This is the male cornflower.  It spews pollen.

P1010009Hopefully a lot of the pollen falls down and lands on the female parts…

P1010012The pollen then fertilizers each little kernel of corn.  If you ever get an ear that has the kernels all messed up it’s most likely due to some sort of problem with when the flower was pollinated.  Because corn is wind pollinated (not insect pollinated) you have to plant more than a few plants in order to get good pollination.  So the next time you sit down to have an ear of buttered corn stop and take a second to thank the farmer who grew it for your table and the miracle of nature.

In A Texas Town

April 30, 2009

This is the story of race, law, constitutional rights and incompetence.  Have any of you heard of Regina Kelly?  The crimes against Ms. Kelly took place in Hearne, TX, but they could have occurred in any city in any state against any of us.  If what you have seen out of your own government over the poast 10, or 20 years isn’t enough to convince you that it could happen to you, then you haven’t been paying attention.

In 2000 Ms. Kelly was a young mother of four, who was swept up in an illegal police raid.  She was told to either plead guilty and get ten years probation or face possibly being found guilty and face 99 years in prison.

But as can be heard in any of our Halls of Justice across this fine land every single day, “But I didn’t do it.”  And the defense counsel can be heard everyday saying, “It doesn’t matter.  You choice is to plead guilty to a lesser charge or risk trial and get who knows how much time.”

Like most city, county and state governments in Hearne, TX there was a drug enforcement task force.   Although drugs were available in all the neighborhoods of Hearne, TX the authorities made a conscious decision to only concentrate their efforts on the housing projects and poor, black people.

The ACLU complaint alleged that the the City of Hearne and Limestone and Robertson Counties engaged in racially motivated and targeted drug sweeps.   “Each sweep results in the detention of virtually every member of an entire, neighborhood, as well as the warrantless searches of many residents’ property and person.”  Also, “the African American community is held in a state of lockdown, with officers of the Task Force, City and Counties as well as officers employed by neighboring counties and cities, searching and detaining innocent residents, often in handcuffs, for lengthy periods of time without warrant or cause.”

So because it’s such a compelling story a movie was made about the events, American Violet.

Who among us can’t relate to the fear of getting railroaded by The Man?

The other interesting thing is that when the movie studio was trying to promote the movie and placed posters in stores around Hearne what do you suppose happened…

The premiere was well attended, though getting the word out was not easy. Father Robert Herald, who hosted the event, said someone dressed in a SWAT uniform advised local merchants to take down the movie’s advertisements.  “They were told it might go better if their poster was removed,” Herald said.

I am SHOCKED, shocked that The Authorities would use our tax dollars and send around guys in uniform to suppress free speech. NOT!!

Is the scourge of drugs so bad as to warrant the destruction of civil rights?  Are you willing to trade your civil rights in return for the false promise of the elimination of illegal drugs?

The War on Drugs and the War on Terrorism are nothing but great schemes put in place by the PTB to desensitize Americans to government abuse.  Now we are accepting of road blocks, having to take our shoes off to fly and warrantless wiretaps.

GET OUTSIDE EVERYDAY!

p1010105This shot is taken from the top of one of the little humps that I sometimes walk.  It may be tough to see, but that mountain in the distance is Mount Wachusett.  You can ski there in teh winter if you don’t mind ponying up 50 bucks.  It’s a ways away.

Went to a friend’s friend’s farm to get a load of manure.  I love manure.

p1010110Some horses that they own.  Are you friends with any farmers so you can get manure from them?  If not make friends.

Don’t get the flu.

p1010112

234 years ago

April 21, 2009

April 19, 1775.  The Boston Massacre (where an escaped slave, Crispus Attucks, was shot and killed) and the Boston Tea Party both had already taken place.  British troops were marching from Boston to Concord, Mass in order to seize hidden stores of militia supplies. Once the colonists found out about the column of British regulars headed to Concord the alarm was sounded.  Bells from town to town rang out, warning guns were fired, bonfires were lit and war drums were beat.  Due to previous conflicts with Indians the colonists had a very effective early warning system developed.  Militia from all over Massachusetts mustered and started on their marches to Concord.  Early on the morning of April 19,  1775 as the British regulars came into the town of Lexington they were met by Lexington militia men.  Although commanders on both sides  ordered their troops not to fire, most likely a drunk in the tavern fired the first shot, and then all Hell broke loose.  The colonists vastly outnumbered were routed and the British started on to Concord.  In Concord there was resistance and a  small  skirmish took place at the North Bridge.  By now additional militia continued to arrive and the Redcoats beat a hasty retreat back to BostonDuring the entire 15 mile retreat back to Boston the Redcoats were picked apart by the colonists’ militia.  By the next morning militia from all over New England had arrived and now numbering 15,000+ laid siege to the city of Boston.

The Revolutionary War had begun.

Because I live in the cradle of liberty I like to celebrate the birth of our republic and the fallen.  Besides, I like the sound of fife and drum and the smell of gunpowder in the morning.  In 1775 the Lincoln Militia was the first to arrive in Concord and faced down the best trained and best supplied army at that time, the British war machine.

p1010003The day started at 06:30 at an old cemetery in Lincoln.  If you notice you can see militia men standing in front of gravestones.  It was a nice foggy morning.

p1010004As a name was called the former farmer and present soldier moved away from his grave and joined his comrades in formation.  Fife and drum played on.  It brought tears to my eyes.  This was the 42nd year marching for the  gentleman in the foreground with the reddish coat (and carrying his musket in an unsafe manner).

The captain called the troops to order and we began our march onto Concord.  Many towns around here have contingents of Minutemen that do different events throughout the year.

So on April 19, 1775 as the alarm was spread Minutemen from throughout New England started their march towards Concord.  You can pretty much march with any group.  This year we marched with the Lincoln contingent.  Some groups start their march at 03:30 in order to arrive in Concord on time.

p1010010The roster was read and thanks were given.

p1010009And off for our six mile walk to Concord for the big parade.  Along the way fife and drum were played and musket was firedIt is really quite moving to be walking the same roads that the Minutemen did so long ago, with folks wearing the period correct clothes, playing fife and drum and shooting musket.

It helps to remind me of the sacrifice that sometimes need be made in order to keep a peoples free from tyranny and oppression.  And give thanks to those who helped to secure ours so long ago. They died so that our children may be free.

p1010011Flags were laid upon memorials and graves.  This is where one group of Lincoln Minutemen met another group.  People came out of their houses to watch us march on the same road that our forefathers marched on 234 years ago.

p1010012And another musket salute for the fallen.

p10100131More fife and musket in the dawn.

Here was a fun and celebratory family that really gets into the spirit of the holiday with their own cannon fire.  BABOOM!!

p1010016It may be tough to see, but this joyous family had four different cannon set up from itty bitty to pretty big.  Boom echoed throughout the neighborhood.  A couple little fires started in the woods so the garden hose was dispatched.

p1010017Crossing a swamp on the way to Concord.

p1010018Arriving in Concord about two hours later.

p10100201A salute from the cavalry who fell in behind us.  Great old fashioned parade with corkguns, American flags and cotton candy for the kids.  There is no place I would rather be on Patriots’ Day then commemorating the dead and their deeds on the same lands where their feet tread.

So please honor these Minutemen.  These brave souls who left hearth and home to venture into the unknown and whose fortitude pointed the colonies down the road to self rule.  Just think when those church bells rang out on that April evening and the Minutemen came running from their homes they had no idea what to expect.  They probably worried that their farms may be burned to the ground by the British.  Although none expected a shooting war, they never knew when they may see their wife or children again….if ever.   And their families left at home did nor know when their husbands, fathers and brothers would return home….if ever.  And some never did.

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.
The foe long since in silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream that seaward creeps.
On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set today a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.
Spirit, that made those heroes dare
To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Oath Keepers

April 9, 2009

There has been a lot of brouhahah about the  Oath Keepers.  For those of you not familiar with the Oath Keepers it is a group of:

“Military, Veterans, and peace officers who will honor their oaths to defend the Constitution, will NOT “just follow orders,” will stand for liberty, and will save the Republic, so help us God. Our motto is: “Not on Our Watch!”

So these brave folks have vowed to defend the Constitution even if it means disobeying orders from their superiors.

I don’t believe it.  Not that I don’t believe their good intentions, but no one knows how they will act when faced with the unknown.  Many a brave man turned tail and ran at the first shot fired.

Shall we look at some evidence and why I feel that the vow of the Oath Keepers can’t be relied upon?

So no, while I appreciate the Oath Keepers warm thoughts and well wishes I don’t believe that when push comes to shove they will disobey direct orders to do whatever is asked of them.  Talk is cheap.

I don’t mean to be disrespectful and I’m sure that the  Oath keepers are well intentioned, but based on the evidence – shooting unarmed people, shooting people in he back, wide spread beatings of citizens, seizure of legally owned firearms when people most need them taking pot away from dying people and on and on and on there is only one conclusion that any sane person can come to; that the authorities can’t be trusted.

And some news of the day – “The US government has admitted the nation’s power grid is vulnerable to cyber attack, following reports it has been infiltrated by foreign spies.” Are you prepping to live in the pre-industrial age?

And the Fed released the minutes from its last meeting, the economy is much worse than they let on and as you hopefully know the Fed downgraded its forecasts – “Sixty-three experts butted heads openly and were unable to decide whether the economy has just simply slowed more than expected, or is in the toilet — where it will remain for years to come.”

Don’t depend on anyone else to do what’s right.

Get outside everyday!!

An old stone dam built in the woods.

p1010063It’s difficult to get a sense of scale but I’d say it’s maybe 10-12 feet from the water to the top.

p1010065A nice piece of quartz sitting in the woods.

Civil disobedience

April 4, 2009

I have been involved in a number of protests over the years.  I love a good march or protest. I’ll try to tell you what I know about how large groups of people react so if you ever g20decide to cowboy up and actually exercise your constitutional right to peaceably assemble to petition the government for a redress of your grievances as opposed to sitting on your butt pecking away at your keyboard you may know how to behave.  Then again you may be just walking past a demonstration and get caught up in it by either the demonstrators or the police with a giant fishnet.  That’s right during the 04 Repub convention in NYC the police used snow fence like a fishing net and scooped up everyone on the street.

g20-3Plus, I bet over the coming years we see more and more public displays of disaffection.  So even if you don’t plan on going to a protest you may nevertheless find youself caught up in one.

g20-1First, if you want to be safer you are better off in the center of the crowd.  More action happens on the edges and periphery.  Stay in the center of the crowd and you will be less likely to get grabbed by the cops or hurt by anyone.  You can see that the young gents to the left chose to disregard my advice and they are on the edges of the crowd.  The guy on the ground was obviously rewarded for his efforts with a thump and a lump on his head.

Always have an escape plan.  Be wary of being with a crowd in a narrow street or alley way.  A big crowd of people can act as one big wild animal if they get startled.  You do not want to be in the way of a stampede of people trying to escape teargas or rubber bullets.  Always have an escape plan.  Look for a doorway or even an alcove built into the side of a building that you can duck into.  Whatever you do do not fall down.  If you have to, look for a big planter or base of a statue that you can climb up on.

If you are there to protest don’t allow yourself to get herded into a Free Speech first_amendment_zone1Zones.   This is the free speech zone from Boston 2004.  What you thought the whole country was a free speech zone. Haha.  Like I said you better get off of your butt and cowboy up.  A Free Speech Zone is basically a cage where the authorities want all of the protesters to go.   Whether you are pro or con on whatever the issue is the authorities want to stick you in a cage.  Don’t let it happen.  You will be in a closed in area who are in favor of issues that you are opposed to and no one that you want to influence will be around to see you.

Look for the authorities.  Beware of who they are.  Cops and feds too will dress up in plainclothes and infiltrate the crowd. It’s not hard to spot them if you open your eyes.  They look like cops who are dressed as protesters.  Some of them will even have earbuds.  You know the look, short hair, overly muscled, shirt is untucked but looks very out of place, like it’s the first time the shirt has ever been untucked.   Cops have even been known to instigate a problem.  If you can, identify the plainclothes authorities.

7077744Marching takes a lot of energy and water.  Make sure that you bring your own bottled water to stay hydrated.    I’d also suggest bringing safety glasses,  a bandanna or better yet an n95 or n100 mask.  if the tear gas starts going off you can soak the bandana in water and cover you face.  Safety glasses will help with tear gas, mace or flying objects.  I’d also recommend bringing some easy food with you like granola bars or fruit.

I’ve seen quite a few citizens bloodied in the streets of London.  I’m not generally a fan of attacking the authorities and I do feel badly for the Bobbies, but I think it’s about time the citizens start to strike back.  It’s not right that the Bobbies bloody woman and hit folks in the head for being on the streets protesting.  Maybe a few rocks, sticks on molotov cocktails might put the balance of power back into balance.  That’s the breaks when the authorities hurt citizen, the authorities best expect to get hurt by said citizens.

I don’t know enough about William Ayers to condemn the guy.  I’m not sure how instrumental he was in the wicked deeds of the Weather Underground.  That being said the guy is now an academic.   Ayers was hired by a Boston College student group to speak on the state of democracy in America.  The Boston College administration canceled the event. Think about the irony. I’m not a fan of Ayers and I’m not going to defend what he did during the 60’s.

My point is, what does it say about the state of big D Democracy in the United States when someone who is supposed to speak on Democracy has the even canceled because it offends “The Administration.”  No need for a speech.  I think we were all taught a lesson.  Want me to teach it to you?  THERE IS NO DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA that the authorities don’t allow you to have!

BTW what do you call someone who destroys private property and shoots at uniformed officers of the state?

You know, you got that word in your head?  Do you?  What do you call folks who destroy private property and shoot at agents of the government?

Well how about our forefathers that threw cases of tea overboard into Boston Harbor and shot their muskets across the North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts.

I don’t like Ted Stevens.  I don’t like his politics.  I don’t like his bridge to nowhere.  In my opinion he is a dirty politician.  None of that matters. Our government hid evidence and tried to prevent witnesses from testifying. That’s more than wrong.  It’s tyranny.

Get outside everyday!

p1010043Mmmmmm, gorgeous babling stream with moss covered rocks.  So lush.  So plush.  The sound was equally as pleasing as the sight.

p1010046I love the way the roots of this old birch are like tentacles coming up from the earth to grab the ground.  I like the way the roots have become covered in bark to protect themselves.  What a grand tree.

Protests

March 21, 2009

Hoo boy.

Just as winter falls down to spring things are heating up, figuratively as well.  Did you see or hear that farmers in Connecticut were out protesting the economic fallout on them?

farmers2

And come they did. Farmers left their spring chores, and vocational agricultural schools sent busloads of youngsters, to form a crowd of more than 100 (plus one cow) on the Capitol steps.

“Do you want a sticker,” called Hillary Woronik, a teenager from Lebanon, and a proud member of Future Farmers of America, as she waved a stack of green stickers at new arrivals. “Keep farms local.”

“Among the legislative proposals being protested is a bill that would eliminate the farm sales tax exemption and farm fuel tax exemption. The end to the tax exemptions is being proposed to help close a massive state budget gap, but farmers say it would put many of them out of business because their profit margins are so low.”

Protests are breaking out all over.  The pot on the stove is covered for now, but it is coming up from a simmer to a boil.  The bankers and government types are the frogs in the pot of cold water.  They don’t feel the temperature of the water that is surrounding them getting warmer.

That pot is going to boil over.  Groups in Massachusetts had protests the other day.  There were protests in a dozen communities.

boston

“Nearly a dozen protests occurred in Massachusetts alone, including in Worcester, Lawrence, and Andover.  Harris Gruman, executive director of the SEIU Massachusetts State Council, said his organization is hoping to push Congress to take action against companies like AIG, while also working to “restore middle-class purchasing power.” “We want Congress to build a recovery for everybody, and not just banks – especially after they have misused the money they were given,” Gruman said. Caraballo, the janitor and a member of SEIU Local 615, marched, in part, to represent several colleagues who had been laid off recently.”They lost their jobs, their healthcare,” Caraballo said, blaming Wall Street’s risky decisions that have hurt the economy. “That angers me.”

I don’t understand why poor and middle-class folks hate unions so much.  If you are poor or middle-class and you hate unions, you’ve been fooled by Republicans and charlatans like Limbaugh.

aigprotestpink__1237521674_8885

Gallery of some pictures of the protests in Boston.

I wish I heard about the protests in advance.  I’m surprised I did not.  There are few things I enjoy more than Civil Disobedience.   Engaging in Civil Disobedience isn’t only your right, it’s also your obligation.  It’s part of the advance payment each of us needs to make in order to live in an ostensibly free society.  Remember the First Amendment, MEMORIZE IT. Now this is from my memory, “the right of the people to peacefully assemble and petition the government for a redress of their grievances shall not be abridged.” I just checked.  I was admirably close, but I’ll keep it the way I wrote it rather than the actual words written because I like my ending more.

I expect we will be seeing many more protests over the coming months.  I also expect that the protests and marches will attract larger and larger crowds.  I wonder what will happen when the police or protesters get carried away and some people are bloodied, seriously injured or worse.  I wonder what may happen when people get really angry and resort to the destruction of private property, Molotov cocktails or toss newspaper machines through banks’ windows.

Imagine some economy related protest.  A window is broken.  A pregnant woman gets pushed to the ground.  The police are blamed.  The police call in backups in riot gear.  The clubs and gas come out.  Maybe the rubber bullets and tear gas balls.  The protesters start overturning cars and throwing things at the police.  A cop is hurt.  Maybe a group of cops are cornered by the crowd.  The cops end up using deadly force.  Maybe someone in the crowd is armed shoots at the cops.  Imagine seeing on the news and cell phone video a bunch of citizens getting shot by the authorities. “What if you knew her and found her dead on the ground? How can you run when you know?

How’s that quote go about the tree of liberty  needing to be refreshed from time to time?  BTW I know it, I’m hoping you know the quote too.

Another day I’ll write an entry about my experiences with civil disobedience.

Anyways, Get Outside Everyday! I thought the following two pictures were pretty nice.  Nothing special.  You do know what these are, right!?!?

p1010001It was a little muddy, but still this must have been a heavy creature to leave such deep prints.

Here’s another cool picture.

p1010007Look at the color of this blue jay feather.  It is so blue.  Amazing.  Proof of God?

News and rants post

February 6, 2009

Just a general post of different news and thoughts.

720c4e6d5a_020409mccant1

The Perp

Follow up to the no torture blog from a few days back.  Hey I’m in favor of the death penalty and vigilante justice if you can be 100% certain that you have the right guy.  Yesterday there was a story on the news about some jerk that started hassling and groping some young woman on a bus. Then when she got off the bus the jerk followed her.  Luckily the bus driver helped the woman and prevented anything worse from happening.  I am a strong supporter of the rule of law and due process, but here we know we got the right guy.  I say beat the hell out of him so he never will consider committing the same transgression again.  It saves time and money and will get the job done.  I know I would have liked to put my heels to his head.

Fortunately, if someone isn’t caught red-handed in the act we have to let the wheels of justice slowly spin and hope that the courts, judges, jury, lawyers and witnesses all coalesce correctly so that the guilty are punished and the innocent are freed.

Which gets me back to the torture policy of the last administration and some Americans too.  There’s the sorry story of Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen that was picked up in New York by the US government.  Because we can’t even manufacture paperclips any longer in the US, we also outsource torture, so We the People sent Mr. Arar to Syria where he was held incommunicado and was tortured for a year.  We The People illegally kidnapped some guy, sent him to a foreign land and had him tortured.

Or another legal resident of the US, Ali Saleh al-Marri who has been detained since 2001 AS A WITNESS.  Maybe he’s guilty of something and should be put to death, but we just don’t know because the government refuses to charge him or present any evidence.

Then there’s the case of another Muslim, Khalid El-Masri, a German citizen on vacation who was taken off of a tour bus, sent to Afghanistan and then beaten by CIA interrogators for a year.

That’s not the end of it, “In recent years, well over 100 people have disappeared or been “rendered” all around the world. Witnesses tell the same story: masked men in an unmarked jet seize their target, cut off his clothes, put him in a blindfold and jumpsuit, tranquilize him and fly him away.

And another, the CIA kidnapping a guy right off the streets in Italy.

No American should be pleased by these actions of our government.  How hard is it to imagine our government doing the same to any of us?  Believe me it’s a small step.  Today it’s Them.  Tomorrow it’s US. Trust me on this.

Don’t become desensitized to Our Government grabbing people, drugging them, sending them to some weird outpost and torturing them.  Today it’s Them.  Tomorrow it’s US.  Trust me on this.

Tomorrow it’s US.

Speaking of fascist Republicans, “Under a series of secret orders, Bush authorized the NSA for the first time to eavesdrop on phone calls and e-mails between the United States and a foreign country without any court review.  The law creating the court, called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, made it a federal crime—punishable by up to five years in prison—for any official to engage in such surveillance without following strict rules, including court approval.”  Here is a good story how a fascist government reacts to whistle blowers, “18 FBI agents—some of them wearing black flak jackets and carrying guns—showed up unannounced at Tamm’s redbrick colonial home in Potomac, Md., with a search warrant.

And since I’m on our country’s rapid slide into fascism, let’s not forget the treatment of Jose Padilla.  Not doubt Mr. Padilla is a despicable character, but he was held without being charged and then administered mind altering drugs.  Free countries don’t hold suspects indefinitely without being charged or administer  psychotropic or hallucinogenic drugs to prisoners or accidentally (of course) destroy tapes of the interrogation.

Read this, “Fascist America, in 10 easy steps.”

Are you worried yet, or do you defend these intrusions in exchange for an ethereal breath of fleeting safety?

Then I’m liking this Obama thing restricting the pay of the executives whose organizations receive taxpayer bailout funds.  “President Barack Obama on Wednesday imposed a $500,000 cap on senior executive pay for the most distressed financial institutions receiving taxpayer bailout money…”  I like that.  I don’t expect it to make a difference, but it feels good.  Ska-rew the banks.  If people that get welfare or food stamps lose their rights, told how to spend their money or give up their privacy rights, then inanimate corporations should be held to the same freaking standard.

I screwed up.”President Obama speaking about his nomination of that feckless and feeble Tom Daschle.  It’s nice to hear someone admit to a mistake so frankly.   Remember when a reporter asked President Bush to cop to a mistake that he made and Bush replied, I wish you’d have given me this written question ahead of time so I could plan for it,” Bush chuckled. After assuring the reporter that “something will pop into my head,” he finally gave up, admitting, “I’m not as quick on my feet as I should be in coming up with one.”

My thought has always been that you need to be able to recognize mistakes in order to take corrective action.  If it makes sense, someone that is never wrong can never be right.  Anyways, I like having a president that can say, “I screwed up.”  Talk about the buck stopping there.  It’s about time.

And then on the other hand I can’t tolerate the revolving door between the government/military/industry and media.  Raytheon lobbyist picked for deputy Defense post. WTF!?!?!  The guy who was Raytheon’s top lobbyist is nominated by President Obama to decide what military contractors will win the bids.  Doesn’t that just reek of corruption?  It’s wrong.  It’s thievery.  It’s piracy.

Add why does it seem like everyone Obama appoints has tax problems? WTF.  First there was Daschle or Dickless as I like to call him.  Now it’s his labor secretary. Why isn’t anyone doing any kind of due diligence and vetting on Obama’s appointees?  It doesn’t give me much confidence in the runnings of the new administration.  It’s just two weeks yester.

A few reasons why I believe in a graduated tax are because those who make more can afford more, sorry folks that’s the way it is.  Trying to pay 10% of $1,000,000 and live on the $900,000 is a helluva lot different than making $10,000 and trying to live on $9,000.  Also, those who benefit the most from our system should pay the most.  You’re free to disagree,

Now why does it seem that those who make the most are able to pay the least and cheat on their taxes the most?

Have you heard Billionaire Buffet lament that he pays a lower effective rate than his secretary and his cleaner.  Is that fair? NO! NO! NO!  He benefited more.  He should pay more.

Why should unearned income be taxed at a lower rate than wages?  Why should FICA have a cap at $80,000?

I’ll tell you why………….because the millionaires and billionaires can afford lobbyists, lawyers and tax accountants.  Why do you think Billionaire Steve Forbes is pushing the flat tax?  Do you think it’s because he loves the welfare recipient or the factory line worker?

The next time you listen to Rush and he’s pushing some tax cut or change to the system please call him and ask him how much $ he stands to gain then ask how much $ your family stands to gain.   Rush received MILLIONS in tax cuts while getting his hourly wage slave listeners to support them.  You’re a bunch of rubes.  More below.

The collapse accelerates.  Weekly jobless claims were released, 626,000 Americans were laid off last week. That’s ain’t just a number.  That’s 626,000 families whose lives were overturned last week.  Think about that.  People worried about paying rent/mortgage, putting gas in their tank, food in their bellies or shoes on their kids feet.  This is serious, serious stuff. Economics is more often the cause of revolution than politics and liberty.

Wasn’t the American Revolution v.1 fomented more by taxation and unfair market protection for the East India Trading Company then any grand experiment in democracy?  Thoughts?

Concerning the acceleration, The US president Barack Obama says more American banks will collapse as a result of the global financial crisis.”

Inflation/Deflation blah, blah, blah.  At some point inflation is going to come back worse then ever.   You can’t run the printing presses and sell bonds like the US has without a future inflation.  I liked this video that explains a good metric to use to track trends.  It’s a short video and worth watching. Got silver?  Got gold? I’m not saying to buy PM’s because they do seem historically high to me right now.  I wish I bought 10 years ago, but I do think there is a lot of eventual upside to them.

The market is currently up over 100 points and why not weekly jobless claims jumped and retailers are biting the dust. (sarcasm) If you have any money in equities I hope it’s gambling money or you know something the rest of us don’t.  Oh sure, it’s bumping up due to the wish of more federal bailout monies for the banks that now need a bailout after Years and Years and Years of record profits.  I’d say it’s time for the shareholders to take it on the chin not the taxpayers.   The stock market is irrational.

We have not hit bottom yet.  The Elliot Wave gang is saying that we may fall to 5,000.  I’m not sure how much stock (pun intended) I put into Wave analysis, but I don’t think we’re near bottom.  Still an interesting tool to use for analysis.

Cheney is back doing what he does best, and enjoys most, building fear up in the American people.  Boo! the bad guys are trying to kill us.  Be very afraid.

Doesn’t Cheney have anyone else to shoot in the face?  BTW I do hold Cheney accountable for shooting his hunting companion.  I don’t care if his victim forgave him.  When you shoot you have to know what’s behind your target.

Why doesn’t Cheney go back to what he does best and lay some people off.  Although the Republicans have done a great marketing job of painting the Dems as being responsible for defense cutbacks, as SecDef, “Over Cheney’s four years as secretary of defense, encompassing budgets for fiscal years 1990-93, DoD’s total obligational authority in current dollars declined from $291.3 billion to $269.9 billion. Except for FY 1991, when the TOA budget increased by 1.7 percent, the Cheney budgets showed negative real growth: -2.9 percent in 1990, -9.8 percent in 1992, and -8.1 percent in 1993. During this same period total military personnel declined by 19.4 percent, from 2.202 million in FY 1989 to 1.776 million in FY 1993. The Army took the largest cut, from 770,000 to 572,000-25.8 percent of its strength. The Air Force declined by 22.3 percent, the Navy by 14 percent, and the Marines by 9.7 percent.

Slowly now – under Bush 41 and Cheney the Marines were cut 10%, the Navy 14%, the Air Force 22% and the Army 26%.  Got that!?!

And Clinton got blamed!! And you believed the Republican Media!! Hahaha!! Marketing con jobs don’t equate with the truth.  Does the truth hurt you? The other side is that Clinton got credit for the peace dividend and the budget surplus that came about partly due to Cheney’s cuts as Secdef.  BTW I was in favor of the cutbacks and base closings.  I still think our military is at least 50% larger then it should be.

Yup, the military is too big.  It’s corporate welfare with hardly any return or multiplier effect to the common cause. There was a reason that the framers were against standing armies because, “Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes. And armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.

It’s my sincere belief that if the military is too large we will be too anxious to use it.

And of course the bailout of the banks got screwed up.  “The Bush administration received assets that were worth $78 billion less than the amount it invested as part of the massive infusion of capital into the country’s banks, congressional investigators have found.”

Let’s blame it on Obama and his Soo-shall-ism.

Let’s just give the richest 1% of Americans more of our hard earned money and call it a day.  We don’t need our government to do it.  “Not since the ’20s has income inequality been this great.”  It’s not a mistake.  This is what tax cuts do.  The richest 1% get filet mignon and you get tube steak.  And you bought it!

Glen Beck is a weird creature.  I don’t have an opinion on him.  I like some of the crap he spouts and dislike some of his spew.    I don’t think that Glen Beck is a great or deep thinker.  He’s more an opinion man and shoots from the hip.  I saw a transcript from his show the other night saying that Obama is fear mongering.  Maybe so, but I’ve yet to hear the vision of mushroom clouds or UAV’s spraying bugs over American cities used to lead us into the wrong war at the wrong time.  I’ll just rebut a few things that Mr. Beck spoke about.  To quote Dick Armey, ‘a jackass can bring down a barn, but it takes a carpenter to put one up.’  BTW I don’t like Armey.  He’s wrong about almost everything.  I wrote him a letter one time telling him that he was wrong about everything.  He actually responded with a thoughful, well-reasoned personal letter back to me.  For that I admire and respect the man, in spite of my disagreements with him.

1. The recession will last for years.  We may face a decade like the Japanese did or worse we may face an Argentinian or Icelandic style breakdown.  Fear mongering to point that out?  Would you rather have a president that tells you to go shopping and act as if nothing has changed?  Remember two weeks after 9/11 Bushie told us to go to Disney World and visit the malls?

Which do you want to be told to go shopping or that the country is facing big problems?

2. Beck complained about the cancellation of oil leases.   Good.  I would have canceled them years ago or charge the companies what they should be paying.    What lies on the people’s common land is for the common good.  It’s not to be sold or leased to private concerns at below market rates in order to enrich private ownership.  And don’t forget that the government overseers were doing coke and were actually in bed (having sex) with those they were supposed to oversee.  Cut the oil companies off from the leases is my opinion. Ska-rew them too!

3. I don’t begrudge the money for the WIC program.  This is money for hungry woman and little kids.  It’s better than bonuses for the guys that drove the banks into the ground.  More people need help now than a year ago.  These monies make a difference on the poorest streets of America.  Why do Republicans hate food, medicine and shelter for the hungry, sick and cold?

4. Money for jobs for people is okay with me.

5.  Money for university building projects is okay with me.  Educational facilities have a big payback to a society.

6. $500 Mill for the NIH is reasonable.  Think if some flu bug got going and the NIH wasn’t funded, do you think Beck would complain?

7. $1Bill for the Census seems good.  They Census hires lots of people and this money will be injected right back into the economy.  Seems like a better bet considering how we gave the banks much more than that and the banks aren’t making loans or even telling us what they did with the money.

8. $89 Bill for Medicaid.  I don’t begrudge money spent on healthcare.  Medicaid helps millions of people.  We need to remove healthcare from employment.  If you don’t agree with me now, you will when your wife or you loses your job.  And at least one of you will!

9. $36 Bill for COBRA coverage.  COBRA helps people who got laid off.  I know people that are making use of COBRA.  With unemployment spiking the way it it this seems like a good use of funds.  Any of you know someone making use of COBRA?  Money for kids’ healthcare is good too.  Look at number 8 again.

10.  $20 Bill for more food stamps seems good to me to when so many people are hurting.  Once again this is money that will be injected right into the corner store or bodega.  Twice again why do Republicans hate giving food to the hungry?

11.  Begrudge more money spent on Amtrak?  This is what I mean, is Beck just stupid?  Ahhh, due to Peak Oil we need to spend much, much more money on mass transit.   Why does Beck throw darts at more money being spent on mass transit?

12. Money spent on ice breakers.  Beck is like a six year old.  The ice doesn’t just disappear overnight.  Because the ice is melting many more ships are taking the short route through the poles.  There is a big race on to also claim resources under the ice. An icebreaker will help commerce to keep moving.  Just last week a ship was rescued by an icebreaker.

13.  $150 Mill for producers of livestock, fish and bees seems like a good investment to me.  What’s more important than securing our supply of food?  How fast do you think Beck would blame the government when the food supply dries up or the food chain breaks down?

14. Beck goes on to deride money spent on alternative energies, green technologies and conservation measures.  Sensible investments and the manufacture of high tech batteries  could employ thousands in the coming years.

He closes by asking if anyone else is insulted.  Yeah I’m insulted by Beck’s stupidity and shortsightedness.  It’s easy to throw stones and not so easy to come up with ideas to fix problems.  Beck is a moron.  Might be fun for entertainment, but it’s a good thing he’s not setting policy.  His thoughts are an inch deep and as wide as the Mississippi.

In the end we get the government that we deserve. Some good Mencken quotes on government.

Get outside everyday.  A healthy heart will do more for you than thirty 30 round mags.  You live how you want.  You polish your guns.  Hold them close like a 14 year old with his Playboys.  Meanwhile I’ll do my pullups, walk everyday or ski, eat well, sleep well because of exercise and not be a fat tub o lard sitting on the couch watching the tube.

i5Last Sunday we went back to that abandoned ski area again for a few runs.  Six times up and six times down.  Here is Running Bear skiing being chased by Green Eyed Dog through the beautiful birch forest.  Tough to see, but those gators that Running Bear is wearing were made at one of those stores that existed in the 70’s where you could sew your own outside and camping gear.  Anyone remember those stores?  You’d buy the kit and then use the stores sewing machines to make your own backpack, tent, sleeping bag or gators.  Running Bear still has his hand crafted gators that are 30 years old.  Notice those big office buildings in the background.  You can find nature anywhere if you open your eyes.

Another snowy day the other …

i9

Snowy woods on a snowy day.  Mmmm, mmmm, good.


Mr. Anonymous

January 8, 2009

Our government likes to spy on us.    Not only do they like to spy on us, but even worse, they DO spy on us.

Due to § 215 of the Patriot Act the FBI can just draft a National Security Letter, without any judicial oversight, and go into your local library or bookstore and demand all of your records.  http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/26/politics/26patriot.htm

Fortunately the average librarian has more balls than the average congress person. Think about that.  Librarians care enough about your privacy to fight for it and congress people?  Ha!

Uhhh, in case you’re under 20 years old, in the old days OUR Government needed a search warrant, but that was before we were trying to protect our ostensibly free society’s freedom by chilling our very freedoms.

Or OUR  Government can get a “Sneak and Peek” search warrant under § 213 of the Patriot Act, again with very limited oversight, and search your house like creepy, crawly burglars and never even notify the property owner of OUR Government’s trespass.  http://www.lawsch.uga.edu/academics/profiles/dwilkes_more/37patriot.html

Or how OUR Government gets all hot and bothered listening in on all of our phone calls, checking all of our Internet activity and scanning our banking records.  http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,1966132,00.asp Seriously man, I’m not making this stuff up.

Then Our Government takes all of these petabytes of data that Our Government collects on us and they sort it and sift it.

The NSA is in charge of the data mining program that Our Government is running on all of us citizens. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120511973377523845.html?mod=hps_us_whats_news

If you told me ten years ago what the coming decade had in store for our privacy rights I would have thought that you were out of your mind.  “Never in the United States!” I would have said.

So with that simple background you’ve been warned that you are most certainly being watched, recorded and analyzed.

I know that I’m already on some lists due to my associations with some groups and believe me I’m not talking anarchists, white supremacists or militias.  If you belong to any political group at all you are under suspicion. The Feds are doing it and as someone on another blog pointed out (sorry I forgot who otherwise I’d credit you) the states are doing it too.

So what to do?  Just as you should never voluntarily consent to a search, no matter how nice those LEOs seem, we’re usually better off by trying to cover our tracks a bit.  I mean why make it easy for Our Government to collect data on us.

I’m no computer wiz, but I know that it is easy to track my Internet history.    When you access a website it’s easy to tell where you are geographically located.  Every computer has an address/phone number associated with it and it’s tracked with no effort at all.

You leave little breadcrumbs everywhere you travel in cyber space.

I recommend using anonymizers.  An anonymizer will help to cover your tracks a bit.

You can pay $ to buy an anonymizer or you can download a free one.  Here are some free ones that I’ve used.

http://anonymouse.org/

http://www.hidemyass.com/proxy/

http://www.shadowsurf.com/

http://www.proxyforall.com/

Shhhh and keep it moving along please.  Nothing to look at here folks.  Keep it moving.

Pics- Just Get Outside Everyday.

33

About a third of the way up (click on the pic) in the center is some hawk that we saw.  It doesn’t look like a redtail to me, but I guess it could be his winter colors.  This bird was maybe 18-20″ tall.  That is one big MFR bird. Click on it to see him puffed up in all of his delicious raptor magnificence.

xc1Just a beautiful snowy field.   Those snow coverd pines are dreamlike.   Mmmm.  Mmmm.   Good.

The Police

January 5, 2009

They’re not there to help you.  The police are your enemies.    The police are the sole of the shoe of the jack boot of government.  And they like nothing more than putting it into the back of a citizen as they grind the citizen worker’s face into the pavement.

There was an armed robbery at a car wash in Portland, Oregon.  http://www.katu.com/news/36878034.html The car wash attendant shot the hapless robber in the face with a pressure washer and the robber ran off.  Hahaha.  All’s well that ends well, right?081230_robbery_best

the hero
chris_truax210
employee/victim

The men in blue are summonsed  I guess to take a report and they must have run a background check on the hero slash victim slash vigilante. Well it turns out that the victim/vigilante had his own run in with the law seven or so years ago for a DUI.   So what do the police do?

They arrest the guy, the employee who saved the day, who saved his boss from being robbed.  They arrest the guy who chased off an armed robber without hurting anyone or getting hurt.  They arrest the guy who practices a little atom of street justice.  They arrest the guy who did what the police are incapable of doing.

Blah, blah, blah if you defend it or enable you  are are just as bad.  Save your excuses for someone who cares to enable the growing black cloud of government intrusion.  It ain’t me babe. (B. Dylan 1964)

Jeesh, maybe next time our hero (and other potential heroes who read the story) may not be so willing to get involved.

The police are your enemies.  The police have one thing in mind and that is to *uck with us citizens.

Clang, clang, clang go the handcuffs.  Spray, spray, spray goes the mace.  Bang, bang, bang go the bullets.  Fist, knee, elbow to the citizen’s face.

Don’t speak with them.  Don’t answer their questions because it will be used against you.  All the modern day police care about is making their numbers, busting citizens, throwing people in the can, getting the fines and fees and seizing as much property as possible.  Did you know that your local police get to keep the proceeds gained from the sale of seized property? Then they get to buy more cool black police toys.  Oh, how they like to use all of their cool black police toys because it makes them feel like big men.  You know the black police boats, the black police bikes, the black police ATVs, the black $500,000 command centers, their cool black tazers and so on.

Man how the police love to trot out their cool black police toys.  How they love to put on their elbow and knee pads, bust windows and kick in doors.

I have regular interaction with law enforcement and the court system.

My advice-

Our Great, Grand and Glorious Constitution protects us.  The cops need a reason to search your house.  They need a reason to pull your car over.  They need a reason to get you out of your car.  They need a reason to stop and question you.  They need a reason to search your person.

If the police show up at your house don’t ever let them in unless they have a warrant.

If the cops want to speak to you step outside and speak to them on the stoop/steps of your pad.  Once you invite the cops inside they’re like rats, rodents and roaches looking around your house for some reason to hassle you.  (Come on angry LEOs reading this post.  You know it’s true.  Help your fellow citizens.) They’ll walk away from the front hall of you place to explore other rooms too.  While you’re talking to the cop they’ll walk down the hall to the bedrooms or go into the living room.  You can’t let this happen.  Never let em in unless they have a warrant.

Cops are like vampires.  They can’t come in unless invited.

If you get pulled over remain polite, but answer as few questions as possible and answer as simply as possible.  Don’t tell them anything.  One answer, even if said innocently, leads to more questions.  Don’t give them anything to use against you.  They are professionals.  Anything that you say will make it into their report and then recited in court to be used against you.

I read a police report the other day, “I activated my blue lights and the Mercedes SUV drifted over into the travel lane and then drifted into the breakdown lane.”  BS!! See this is what they do.  What happened was that the officer activated his blues and the SUV pulled over just as he should have.  The way the officer is framing the facts though is that the driver of the  SUV did something wrong by ‘drifting’.

Don’t argue.

They need a reason to pull you over.  Don’t give em any reasons.  Check the lights of you car – brakes, headlights, turn signals and license plate.  Make sure that they all work all of the time.  Just like a pilot walking around his plane for the pre-flight check.  You gotta do it.  If you live in a must wear seat belt state then wear your seat belt or risk interacting with Agents of Our Government.  The cops are looking for a reason to pull you over.  Don’t give them one.

The answer to the question, “have you been drinking?” is always NO!  It’s not I had just one.  One never means one.

Don’t give them a reason to get you out of your car.  “I only had one” is enough of a reason to remove you from your car.  Then it gets easy for them – “unsteady on your feet, swaying, bloodshot eyes, smell of booze, thick tongued, slurred words.” They can make it up.  And they do. And they do.

DON’T EVER CONSENT TO A SEARCH.  NEVER. EVER. NEVER.

The answer to the puke, crap, piss question, “well if you have nothing to hide you won’t mind having me take a look”  is always – “I’d prefer not” or “do you have a warrant” or “I do not consent to a search” or “I’d like to speak with my attorney before I agree to anything.”  If possible voice your non-consent loud enough for passerby and witnesses to hear you.

If they threaten to bring a drug sniffing dog out if you don’t consent then let them do their job.  Your lawyer can argue about it later.  They need a reason to stop you, remove you from your car, prevent your free movement and get a dog.  If their reason isn’t adequate your lawyer may be able to get any evidence tossed later on.  Even if you have nothing to hide never consent to a search. We have to keep Our Government honest.

The big thing in our putatively free democracy is “Custodial Interrogation.”  Once you are in “Custodial Interrogation” all of your Constitutional rights kick in.  In most states the key whether you are in “Custodial Interrogation” is whether you are free to leave.  Therefore, the question to always ask any cop who is preventing you from going about your business is, “am I free to leave?”  Always, ask the cops that question, “am I free to leave?”  If you’re not free to leave then they gotta read you your rights.  If they violate this you walk.  We gotta keep Our Government honest.

A lot of innocent people are locked up every year.  A lot of innocent people get beat up by cops every year.  A lot of innocent people are hassled, have their possessions searched or destroyed or have their sacrosanct rights violated by the police every year.

If the police hassle you without a reason or if you feel like you’ve been a victim of police abuse then call the local chapter of the National Lawyers Guild (“NLG”). http://www.nlg.org/

Interesting history with the NLG.  The American Bar Association didn’t allow black attorneys to join as recently as the early 20th century.  The NLG formed in response to that.  The NLG is the oldest national bar association that does not discriminate based upon race.

p1010110The view from the top of one of the little  “bumps.”

p1010112This is one of the trails down.  It is steeper than it looks.  This is expert cross country skiing.  Good times.

Talking about a revolution

December 31, 2008

Talking about a revolution.

Don’t you know you’re talking about a revolution
It sounds like a whisper
Don’t you know they’re talking about a revolution
It sounds like a whisper

While they’re standing in the welfare lines
Crying at the doorsteps of those armies of salvation
Wasting time in unemployment lines
Sitting around waiting for a promotion

Don’t you know you’re talking about a revolution
It sounds like a whisper

Poor people are gonna rise up
And get their share
Poor people are gonna rise up
And take what’s theirs

Don’t you know you better run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run
Oh I said you better run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run

Finally the tables are starting to turn
Talking about a revolution
Finally the tables are starting to turn
Talking about a revolution oh no
Talking about a revolution oh no

While they’re standing in the welfare lines
Crying at the doorsteps of those armies of salvation
Wasting time in unemployment lines
Sitting around waiting for a promotion

Don’t you know you’re talking about a revolution
It sounds like a whisper

And finally the tables are starting to turn
Talking about a revolution
Finally the tables are starting to turn
Talking about a revolution oh no
Talking about a revolution oh no
Talking about a revolution oh no

T. Chapman (1988) [smart lady, graduated from Tufts University.]

Get outside every day.

Bushy tail track

Bushy tail track

Just some bushy tail tracks in the first snow.

p1010096

Water and ice.

Our government

December 13, 2008

For the people, of the people and from the people.  Interesting concept in dreamland.  Application of our supposed democratic republic in reality though, well that’s something different.

From the movie Independence Day:

“PRESIDENT: I don’t understand. Where did all this come from? How did this get funded?

MOISHE You didn’t think they actually spent ten thousand dollars for a hammer and thirty thousand for a toilet seat, did you?”

Do you?

Article I, § 8 of the Constitution is pretty clear, Congress gets to spend the money.  It’s part of the separation of powers.  That’s why the line item veto is unconstitutional.  Allowing the president the authority to veto specific items in an appropriations bill is akin to empowering the executive to controlling the purse strings. Clinton v. City of New York, 524 US 417 (1998) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clinton_v._City_of_New_York

The Constitution requires bicameralism (both houses of congress have to approve a bill) then the bill needs to be presented to the chief executive for him to sign, veto or do nothing(pocket veto).  There aren’t that many options.

If you prefer to keep your head buried in the sand then stop reading now and go read the comics.  I call them the way I see them.

So what happens when things get fakakta (that’s yiddish for pooh, not Winnie.)?  That was the problem with Iran/Contra.  Congress didn’t approve the action or the financing so there were no checks and balances in place.  No oversight.  The president at that time did it all.

This is where it’s going to get crazy, and quite frankly unbelievable.  I don’t want to believe it.

What am I trying to get at?  What if I told you that elements within our government may be running illegal drugs in order to fund black operations?  Do you get that, that rogue elements within our government could be running illegal drugs in order to fund operations without congressional approval or oversight?  It’s illegal.

Now the president’s “extraordinary rendition” program is well known.  You know the program where we take suspects and fly them out to countries like Eqypt and Syria in order to be tortured.  Yup, that’s right we even outsource torture now.  You might ask yourself why if Syria is on the list of those who get a lump of coal do we send prisoners there.  Interesting, huh?

“Outsourcing Torture – The secret history of America’s “extraordinary rendition” program.” http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2005/02/14/050214fa_fact6

So you got that so far?

So what would you think if some of the CIA planes that were used to transport suspects to be tortured in Syria or to Gitmo were later found crashed with tons of cocaine on them?  Well I hope you’d find that interesting to say the least.

Let me put it together for you again, elements within our government may be smuggling illegal drugs in order to fund black operations without congressional oversight.

I’m sorry to maybe open your eyes to what your own government is doing.  It’s terribly disheartening when we have spent so much $ and ceded so many of our civil liberties to the War on Drugs to only discover that our government could be at the center of it, or at least directly involved.

Do you doubt it, then let me know.

“MEXICO CITY (AFP) — A private jet that crash-landed almost one year ago in eastern Mexico carrying 3.3 tons of cocaine had previously been used for CIA “rendition” flights, a newspaper report said here Thursday, citing documents from the United States and the European Parliament.  The daily said it had obtained documents from the United States and the European Parliament which “show that that plane flew several times to Guantanamo, Cuba, presumably to transfer terrorism suspects.”

http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5j6QonBKKMo2gw1e3ql-xUcQEZbVg

This is some crazy Shiite, huh?

CIA Torture Jet wrecks with 4 Tons of COCAINE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oszATUJ4IRE

The last rays of sunlight glint off its wings of the plane, which looks for all the world as if it were carry potentates from the US Department of Homeland Security to a conference on drug interdiction at a posh Cancun hotel.

Except this plane isn’t carrying diplomats or FBI agents…

Instead, it is loaded with 128 identical black leather suitcases, each tightly packed with cocaine, an incredible quantity of cocaine, 5.5 tons in all. Stenciled on the side of each suitcase was a single word: Privado.

Inside the suitcases, the packages of cocaine were stamped with different symbols: a scorpion, a star, a horse, among others, as though they were going to different drug gangs for onward smuggling up through Mexico to the U.S.”

http://www.madcowprod.com/08232006.html

“A Beechcraft Super King Air 350 (N675BC), registered to a suspected CIA front, Aviation Enterprises, Inc. of Wilmington, Delaware, was recently spotted alongside a Russian-made AN-124, suspected of being a major drug transport cargo plane, in Colombia.

The “specially configured” King Air flew from Tampa to Guantanamo Bay on October 22, 2007. From 2002 to 2006, the King Air was registered to Prewitt Leasing Inc. of Bedford, Texas.”

http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_wayne_ma_080401_is_cia_using_renditi.htm

The Real Drug Lords
A brief history of CIA involvement in the Drug Trade
by William Blum

http://www.serendipity.li/cia/blum1.html

4th Amendment

December 6, 2008

This is how it’s done.  They don’t come to your house and ask for your guns.  It’s the slow drip, drip, drip against the constitutional bedrock foundation of our country that slowly, but surely wears away our rights and erodes our freedom.  They listen to your calls. They search your emails.  They check what you buy and from who.  They track your Internet searches and what books you take out from the library. They know if you’ve been a good, compliant, orderly citizen or someone who dares to think, to challenge, to speak out.

That’s how it begins.

fort_gordonNow, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires — a wiretap requires a court order. [my emphasis]” President Bush 4/20/2004http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/04/20040420-2.html

“Washington, D.C. – The Bush administration is trying to convince a federal judge to allow a law that grants retroactive legal immunity to U.S. telecommunications companies, while the Electronic Frontier Foundation aims to proceed with a case that claims they violated constitutional rights by transferring private communications of Americans to the National Security Agency without warrants.” [my emphasis] 12/02/2008http://www.tgdaily.com/html_tmp/content-view-40403-118.html

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized” [my emphasis]Fourth Amendment, U.S. Const.

http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html

If you haven’t read the entire US Constitution then click the above link and read it.  It’s not that long.

Does it bother you, or are you willing to trade Liberty for security and deserving of neither?

Over 350 of our elected representatives voted in favor of allowing ATT, Bellsouth and Verizon, among others, to throw open their switches for the government agents’ prying eyes, ears and hands.

Are you willing to trade Liberty for security?

Does it bother you?  Does it?

It’s also Congress that passed immunity for telecomms in the second place, the first place being of course the government putting splitters in all the switches of all of the telecomms except for Qwest.  Qwest had the good sense to know that it was wrong.

Granting immunity is a good enough reason to not have voted for PE Obama who voted in favor of immunity after originally speaking out against immunity.

This isn’t politics.  This is serious business. The government is snoopy, snooping in all of our businesses, all of the time, 24/7.

They track your phone calls, your banking transactions, your Internet searches, your emails, the books you take out from the library and who knows what else or how they might be sorting and analyzing the data.    Beware or you may get a lump of coal.

Please study the names following my pics carefully.  Any of them who voted in favor of immunity and against our Constitution should be voted out of office next chance we got.  Did your senator or congressman vote against your protecting your privacy?

But first a pic-

Muskrat den

Muskrat den

Would you have spotted this or just thought it was a big pile of leaves?

And a muskrat-

muskrat

muskrat

Senators voting in favor of immunity YEAs —69

Alexander (R-TN)
Allard (R-CO)
Barrasso (R-WY)
Baucus (D-MT)
Bayh (D-IN)
Bennett (R-UT)
Bond (R-MO)
Brownback (R-KS)
Bunning (R-KY)
Burr (R-NC)
Carper (D-DE)
Casey (D-PA)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Coleman (R-MN)
Collins (R-ME)
Conrad (D-ND)
Corker (R-TN)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Craig (R-ID)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
Dole (R-NC)
Domenici (R-NM)
Ensign (R-NV)
Enzi (R-WY)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Graham (R-SC)
Grassley (R-IA)
Gregg (R-NH)
Hagel (R-NE)
Hatch (R-UT)
Hutchison (R-TX)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Inouye (D-HI)
Isakson (R-GA)
Johnson (D-SD)
Kohl (D-WI)
Kyl (R-AZ)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Lieberman (ID-CT)
Lincoln (D-AR)
Lugar (R-IN)
Martinez (R-FL)
McCaskill (D-MO)
McConnell (R-KY)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Nelson (D-FL)
Nelson (D-NE)
Obama (D-IL)
Pryor (D-AR)
Roberts (R-KS)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Salazar (D-CO)
Shelby (R-AL)
Smith (R-OR)
Snowe (R-ME)
Specter (R-PA)
Stevens (R-AK)
Sununu (R-NH)
Thune (R-SD)
Vitter (R-LA)
Voinovich (R-OH)
Warner (R-VA)
Webb (D-VA)
Whitehouse (D-RI)
Wicker (R-MS)
Senators agaisnt immunity NAYs —28
Akaka (D-HI)
Biden (D-DE)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Boxer (D-CA)
Brown (D-OH)
Byrd (D-WV)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Cardin (D-MD)
Clinton (D-NY)
Dodd (D-CT)
Dorgan (D-ND)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feingold (D-WI)
Harkin (D-IA)
Kerry (D-MA)
Klobuchar (D-MN)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Leahy (D-VT)
Levin (D-MI)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Murray (D-WA)
Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV)
Sanders (I-VT)
Schumer (D-NY)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Tester (D-MT)
Wyden (D-OR)
Not Voting – 3
Kennedy (D-MA) McCain (R-AZ) Sessions (R-AL)

http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=110&session=2&vote=00168

And the house

Reps in favor of immunity YEAS    290 —

Ackerman
Aderholt
Akin
Alexander
Altmire
Arcuri
Baca
Bachmann
Bachus
Baird
Barrett (SC)
Barrow
Bartlett (MD)
Barton (TX)
Bean
Berkley
Berman
Berry
Biggert
Bilbray
Bilirakis
Bishop (GA)
Bishop (NY)
Bishop (UT)
Blackburn
Blunt
Boehner
Bonner
Bono Mack
Boozman
Boren
Boswell
Boucher
Boustany
Boyd (FL)
Boyda (KS)
Brady (TX)
Broun (GA)
Brown (SC)
Brown, Corrine
Buchanan
Burgess
Burton (IN)
Butterfield
Buyer
Calvert
Camp (MI)
Campbell (CA)
Cantor
Capito
Cardoza
Carney
Carter
Castle
Castor
Cazayoux
Chabot
Chandler
Childers
Cleaver
Clyburn
Coble
Cole (OK)
Conaway
Cooper
Costa
Cramer
Crenshaw
Crowley
Cubin
Cuellar
Culberson
Davis (AL)
Davis (KY)
Davis, David
Davis, Lincoln
Davis, Tom
Deal (GA)
Dent
Diaz-Balart, L.
Diaz-Balart, M.
Dicks
Donnelly
Doolittle
Drake
Dreier
Duncan
Edwards (TX)
Ellsworth
Emanuel
Emerson
Engel
English (PA)
Etheridge
Everett
Fallin
Feeney
Ferguson
Flake
Forbes
Fortenberry
Fossella
Foxx
Franks (AZ)
Frelinghuysen
Gallegly
Garrett (NJ)
Gerlach
Giffords
Gillibrand
Gingrey
Goode
Goodlatte
Gordon
Granger
Graves
Green, Al
Green, Gene
Gutierrez
Hall (TX)
Harman
Hastings (FL)
Hastings (WA)
Hayes
Heller
Hensarling
Herger
Herseth Sandlin
Higgins
Hinojosa
Hobson
Hoekstra
Holden
Hulshof
Hunter
Inglis (SC)
Issa
Johnson, Sam
Jordan
Kanjorski
Keller
Kildee
Kind
King (IA)
King (NY)
Kingston
Kirk
Klein (FL)
Kline (MN)
Knollenberg
Kuhl (NY)
LaHood
Lamborn
Lampson
Langevin
Latham
LaTourette
Latta
Lewis (CA)
Lewis (KY)
Linder
Lipinski
LoBiondo
Lowey
Lucas
Lungren, Daniel E.
Mack
Mahoney (FL)
Manzullo
Marchant
Marshall
Matheson
McCarthy (CA)
McCarthy (NY)
McCaul (TX)
McCotter
McCrery
McHenry
McHugh
McIntyre
McKeon
McMorris Rodgers
McNerney
Meeks (NY)
Melancon
Mica
Miller (FL)
Miller (MI)
Miller, Gary
Mitchell
Moore (KS)
Moran (KS)
Murphy, Patrick
Murphy, Tim
Murtha
Musgrave
Myrick
Neugebauer
Nunes
Ortiz
Pearce
Pelosi
Pence
Perlmutter
Peterson (MN)
Petri
Pickering
Pitts
Platts
Poe
Pomeroy
Porter
Price (GA)
Pryce (OH)
Putnam
Radanovich
Rahall
Ramstad
Regula
Rehberg
Reichert
Renzi
Reyes
Richardson
Rodriguez
Rogers (AL)
Rogers (KY)
Rogers (MI)
Rohrabacher
Ros-Lehtinen
Roskam
Ross
Royce
Ruppersberger
Ryan (WI)
Salazar
Sali
Saxton
Scalise
Schiff
Schmidt
Scott (GA)
Sensenbrenner
Sessions
Sestak
Shadegg
Shays
Sherman
Shimkus
Shuler
Shuster
Simpson
Sires
Skelton
Smith (NE)
Smith (NJ)
Smith (TX)
Smith (WA)
Snyder
Souder
Space
Spratt
Stearns
Stupak
Sullivan
Tancredo
Tanner
Tauscher
Taylor
Terry
Thompson (MS)
Tiberi
Turner
Udall (CO)
Upton
Walberg
Walden (OR)
Walsh (NY)
Wamp
Weldon (FL)
Westmoreland
Whitfield (KY)
Wilson (NM)
Wilson (OH)
Wilson (SC)
Wittman (VA)
Wolf
Yarmuth
Young (AK)
Young (FL)

Reps against immunity NAYS    129 —

Abercrombie
Allen
Andrews
Baldwin
Becerra
Blumenauer
Brady (PA)
Braley (IA)
Capps
Capuano
Carnahan
Carson
Clarke
Clay
Cohen
Conyers
Costello
Courtney
Cummings
Davis (CA)
Davis (IL)
DeFazio
DeGette
Delahunt
DeLauro
Dingell
Doggett
Doyle
Edwards (MD)
Ellison
Eshoo
Farr
Fattah
Filner
Foster
Frank (MA)
Gonzalez
Grijalva
Hall (NY)
Hare
Hill
Hinchey
Hirono
Hodes
Holt
Honda
Hooley
Inslee
Israel
Jackson (IL)
Jackson-Lee (TX)
Jefferson
Johnson (GA)
Johnson (IL)
Johnson, E. B.
Jones (OH)
Kagen
Kaptur
Kennedy
Kilpatrick
Kucinich
Larsen (WA)
Larson (CT)
Lee
Levin
Lewis (GA)
Loebsack
Lofgren, Zoe
Lynch
Maloney (NY)
Markey
Matsui
McCollum (MN)
McDermott
McGovern
McNulty
Meek (FL)
Michaud
Miller (NC)
Miller, George
Mollohan
Moore (WI)
Moran (VA)
Murphy (CT)
Nadler
Napolitano
Neal (MA)
Oberstar
Obey
Olver
Pallone
Pascrell
Pastor
Payne
Price (NC)
Rangel
Rothman
Roybal-Allard
Ryan (OH)
Sánchez, Linda T.
Sanchez, Loretta
Sarbanes
Schakowsky
Schwartz
Scott (VA)
Serrano
Shea-Porter
Slaughter
Solis
Speier
Sutton
Thompson (CA)
Tierney
Towns
Tsongas
Udall (NM)
Van Hollen
Velázquez
Walz (MN)
Wasserman Schultz
Waters
Watson
Watt
Waxman
Weiner
Welch (VT)
Wexler
Woolsey
Wu

—- NOT VOTING    13 —

Brown-Waite, Ginny
Cannon
Gilchrest
Gohmert
Jones (NC)
Paul
Peterson (PA)
Reynolds
Rush
Stark
Tiahrt
Visclosky
Weller