Stonewalled, by Sharyl Attkisson; This is One Book You Can’t Miss

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When I first saw the title, Stonewalled, by Sharyl Attkisson, I thought this was going to be just another reporter complaining about how difficult life in the world of journalism can be.  After all, it’s tough all over and journalism is no different.  Not only do they have to compete against the traditional broadcast news outlets, but also against cable news networks, and the plethora of blogs and other pseudo-news organisations.

Add to it the amount of risk each journalist takes every time they publish something of real substance and meaning.  Not only has history shown us that being a true investigative journalist, in the most historic sense of the phrase, it is difficult and dangerous.  It be dangerous for journalists who stand up and speak out, it is also dangerous for whistle blowers who know when they speak out their lives will be ruined, and quite possibly they are in danger.

In her book, Stonewalled, Sharyl Attkisson speaks plainly and honestly about what investigative journalism is, what news agencies have come to, and what it’s like to try to get blood from a turnip.  That’s my analogy, not hers.  Except she does get blood from a turnip.  She does it with hard work, perseverance, and great with risk to herself.

It’s been a long time since I’ve believed a corporate journalist was worth any salt.  It’s been even longer since I believed any news outlet was telling the whole truth.  I stopped having any faith in the media long ago.  It began to slip away when I noticed a disclaimer on a cable news channel saying their broadcast was “for entertainment purposes only”.  It was two o’clock in the morning.  From that moment on, I stopped caring what they said.  The news is not for entertainment.

Sure, I understand the reasoning behind the cable channel’s disclaimer.  It’s to prevent them from liability claims.  They are not bound to the same rules as broadcast channels.  The question keeps nagging, why don’t they want to held accountable for their words?

Wouldn’t you want to be known for speaking the truth at all times?  Your reputation depends on your ability to speak the truth at all times. The public wants journalists who are known to have the best interest of the public at the center of their work.  The public is tired of journalists and news outlets who merely say what they are told to say, or are willing to say nothing at all.

That’s the whole purpose behind the freedom of speech amendment.  Without journalists who pour over and publish everything our government does, the protections of the rest of the constitution will be lost.  Journalists represent the light shining in the dark.  Ms. Attkisson speaks about how the government, at every turn, is trying to shut out that light.

Government wants to stop reporters from reporting.  They know citizens can’t travel across the country to investigate for themselves.  That’s way this country has valued investigative journalists from the beginnings of this country.  We can’t let journalists be muzzled.

What can we do?  For starters we can create new ways to ensure Freedom of Information Act requests are filled.  Hold the government to a specific time window to fill requests.  Limit redaction.  Require digital copies of all documents to be uploaded to the public every day where every citizen may freely access them with anonymity.  Require all documents that are declassified or that are eligible for FoIA request to be uploaded to the public servers.  Do not allow the government to charge large fees to obtain information.  Ten cents a page for copies should be sufficient.  Currently, the Department of Justice is responsible for making sure FoIA is carried out.  That’s the fox watching the hen house.  Perhaps we should fine or jail individual people found responsible for failing to fill these requests in a timely manner.   We need to define what a timely manner is and then require that it be followed.  In the end, it still boils down to one thing only:  The honesty and integrity of those people who are holders of information that belongs to the public.

I don’t want to give away too much about Stonewalled.  These are just few ways her book got me to thinking.  I can’t wait to hear how it made you think.

 

 

Ebola and Other Considerations

This frightening little creature could easily be found on the television show "Monsters Inside Me".
This frightening little creature could easily be found on the television show “Monsters Inside Me”.

We have been quiet until now about the Ebola cases in the United States.  Let’s face it.  None of us are surprised it found it’s way here.  Most of us wonder what took it so long.  We have been expecting the appearance of the dreaded virus since the 1970’s.  The wonder isn’t how it got here, but what took it so long to get here.

We didn’t jump on the bandwagon to post about it for this amount of time because we wanted to see exactly how it would effect our society from government response to citizen reaction and action.

It’s been six months, and as with all things, the outbreak came and went.  During that time, mass news media enjoyed the flurry of actually being watched for the latest news and bloggers went wild posting their two cents worth of commentary and second guessing.

For the most part, we saw exactly what the government feared would happen.  People who were sick or knew they had been exposed chose to travel regardless of the risk to others.  The needs of the one outweighed the needs of the society, and indeed, the globe.  Fortunately, the number of people who were infected in the U.S. was very small.  Nevertheless, some of those citizens still chose to do whatever they wanted to do regardless of the cost.  Armed guards had to be placed at doors where people had been quarantined.  The occupants refused to remain inside because they felt like they were “prisoners” and were worried about “losing their jobs” and other financial considerations.  The rest of society continued to live their daily lives, waiting to find out if their city was going to be next.

Those people were receiving assistance both financially and fresh food was delivered to their homes every day.  They were getting free medical care.  They had internet, cable TV, and all the other amenities living in the U.S. provides.  Still, they behaved exactly the way Sci-Fi novels and movies said they would.  These are the reasons FEMA has so much power when it comes to such incidences.

The CDC and the WHO had been keeping Ebola under wraps for decades.  Not really secret, but not something they wanted to alarm the American public about.  They’ve been hunting, battling and studying Ebola since it first poked it’s head out of the caves of Africa.  Those are not the only organizations that have worked relentlessly to keep the disease from becoming a pandemic.  Various Christian ministries and charitable organizations have been in Africa taking great risks every time an outbreak occurred.  Through it all, they created a battle plan should such outbreaks come to the United States.  When the day came, they followed through with their plan and it worked.  Imagine how much worse it would have been had no plan been made and people wandered around the country sick and continued to spread the virus without notice.  Those who had been exposed, or gotten sick would have spread the disease, and the cycle we see in Africa would be present here.

In the meantime, as the prepared, we keep vigilant and prepare for these events.  This won’t be the last time we have to be ready for such instances.

Here’s what we do know:

  • It’s transmitted by touching body fluids.
  • Body fluids can become airborne, such as coughing and sneezing.
  • The exact moment when a person becomes contagious is not known.
  • Fever indicates viral load.
  • In Africa, it has been statistically shown that each person who has the disease will infect two more.
  • About half the people who get the disease in Africa die.
  • Dead bodies spread the disease.
  • The viability of the virus outside a living host is not determined.  There is debate ranging from a few hours up to a week.
  • There has been no public discussion about how long a dead body may harbor live virus.
  • United States and Canadian residents likely will fare better because health care and food supplies are more accessible.
  • We quarantine in patients’ homes, whereas in Africa both the infected and undetermined status persons are quarantined in camps.  Home quarantines are most comfortable for patients and reduces the spread of the virus to healthy persons.
  • In the United States, food and necessary supplies are now delivered free of charge to those in quarantine.
  • In America, we have the ability to use special ambulances equipped for safe transport of patients with level four contagions.
  • Americans avoid locations where an infected person is reported to have been.  So much so that one hospital became a ghost town and the mayor of New York City had to ride the subway just to prove it was safe.

We know all of this and still we took a look at our pantry and said to ourselves, “Are we really ready if something were to happen?”.  At first, when the news broke about an Ebola case, then possibly two more, were in Dallas concerned us.  We looked in the cabinets and the freezer and was satisfied that we would be fine if the disease were to make the long drive to our town.  If we were to remain in our homes because other people in our town were passing around a disease, we could do it.

At least, we thought we could.  Therein lies the difficulty.  Can you really afford to quit your job?  Taxes and health insurance don’t pay for themselves.  The only way to fully guarantee that no one will bring the contagion into a home is that no one ever comes inside the home.  Consider how many hundreds of people were being monitored or quarantined as the result of one person coming into our country with the disease.  Are you financially prepared should such an event happen?  This incident lasted a few weeks because of the swift and sure actions of all health care providers involved.  You’ll need the amount of money saved that you would need every day, but you will also need additional funds for the things you don’t expect.  Emergency situations, no matter how well prepared you are, need contingency funds and contingency plans.

For us, it’s time to reconsider how we do things.  Not because we are fearful, but because it is the right thing to do.  All households should be prepared to shelter in place should it come to your neighborhood.  The less you need, the more help medical and relief workers will be able to provide those who are in real distress.

Mapping the Water Supply

Securing a safe water supply is important to every entity in the world.  With changing weather patterns bringing droughts to regions normally the best farmlands, it is getting more frustrating for cities and states as they try to find water sources and negotiate prices and methods to transport water.

Coastal states have the ability to build desalinization plants, but landlocked states must rely on rivers, lakes and aquifers.  To this end there have been many man-made lakes and rivers dammed up for both water and electricity. 

Even after some rains, aquifers remain at levels below 50% or less in some areas of the United States, and around the world.  It takes many days of rain to replenish the water supply both above and below ground.

Because of this, it is important to know where water can be accessed and to keep up with the status of those locations on a weekly basis.  Aquifers serve not just one well but instead wells for entire cities, your wells may have water this week, but not have water next week under severe drought conditions.

One thing you can do is pay attention to EPA, state, and local water authority reports which list where contaminated ground water is already found.  Knowing water is already contaminated and what the contaminants are is a step in the right direction when choosing which places to eliminate as possible sources of fresh water in the future.

Mapping safe and unsafe water is an important part of being prepared.  Keep your map Map of the states of Mississippi, Louisiana, and the Arkansas Territory.up to date since water wells that are clean today may be contaminated next week; and contaminated wells today may be safe next year.  Similarly, it is important to realize that if your well is contaminated, it is possible that those adjacent to yours is contaminated too.  Generally, water wells within cities are likely contaminated with any number of lawn and garden, industrial or other chemicals and not fit for human or animal consumption.

Another thing important is to recognize what a water well looks like.  They are not all like the picturesque open top well, nor are they marked with rustic hand-pump wells.  Some have signs on them that read “city of $%^ pumping station” or “city of $%^ well”.  Some wells, particularly those in colder regions use submersible pumps and therefore may not have a cap visible from a distance.  Instead they are  capped with a slab of concrete or some other structure to keep people from falling inside.  In warmer climates, often there is a tank visible next to the well.  Many people decorate these with cute fake wells. Taking note of where these wells are could be important.  

One easy way to keep your map up to date is to laminate a map and use dry erase markers to make notations and changes.  Label the wells with the notations about the type of of contamination and what is required to make the water potable.  When the time comes that you need to take your water map with you, simply snap a picture of it with your tablet or cell phone, then when time permits, can use your photo to transfer it to a permanent map.  

Here are two links to get you started:

http://watersgeo.epa.gov/mwm/

http://www.epa.gov/region6/water/npdes/

Will 2014 Bring Another Drought?

Halloween is barely passed, Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner.  You’ve got a lot to do between now and January 1, 2014.  Some where in all the business of the holiday season, gardeners need to plan for their 2014 garden.  2014 is going to be different than “normal” years.  At least, that is what the weather forecasters say.  Why?  Climate change.

The droughts of the past few years are not predicted to go away.  Last summer, record temperatures of 129°F were reported in Arizona.  In fact, there are some areas in which droughts will form, or reform as 2014 weather develops.  Starting the new year with a drought is not what farmers and gardeners want to hear.

season_drought

No one wants to spend valuable resources putting in a garden only to have it whither and die.  Most people water their gardens as needed if rainfall is in short supply.  However with the drought history of the past few years, those persons who use public water sources to water their garden, a drought is a game changer.  As a matter of fact, in some regions of the 

Now we are planning the garden plot for next season. According to this forecast map, we need to plan to water the garden.  In our region, when the year starts out with below normal precipitation, it generally does not get better until the rainy season in the fall.  We have had years where it didn’t rain on our back yard for 10 or 12 months.  Those years we container gardened or didn’t garden at all.country last year people were not allowed to spill any water outside.  Drought was so severe in some areas that wells went dry and citizens were not allowed to use water for anything other than drinking and hygiene. Farmers could water livestock, but not their crops. Houseplants were not allowed water.

Like many people, according to the map, we’re right near the edge between persistent drought and drought relief.  Planning for another drought, though possibly not as severe, is a must.  One thing is for sure, scientists say that most of North America is going to experience more droughts and when rain does come, storms will be more intense.  Making use of quarterly precipitation forecast maps helps to plan not only for the next week, but several months.

There are N.O.A.A. maps to predict temperatures and precipitation through the end of 2014, but they are less user friendly and reliability decreases further in the future.  However they do give an idea as to what may happen, so in that they are valuable educated guesses.

 

Reference:

N.O.A.A. Climate Prediction Center

 

Thought Police Arrive in Free World

Things are about to change.It’s long been said they can’t arrest you for your thoughts.  That’s no longer true in the United Kingdom.  Today, CBS This Morning aired a five minute segment about how the United Kingdom has found to deal with “extremists” or “radicals” who may some day be a problem.

In the U.K., the government is actively seeking out those youth who might fall prey to Muslim extremists who are proselytizing and recruiting them into their way of life.

The story seems benign enough, that is until you lift the top layer and see what’s really being said.  It works like this:

  • A community member contacts law enforcement to tell them someone (usually a youth) might become radicals or are “radicalizing”.
  • Police investigate to determine which appropriate action to take:  Rescue or Arrest?
  • Rescue process is a re-education and normalization process
  • Arrest because they’re too radical for society and it is determined they can’t be rescued.

Seriously?  Someone doesn’t like the way you think and you are on the way to brainwashing camp or jail? Why?  Mostly because they might spread those ideas to others which could lead to violence.

By Britain’s current way of thinking all of the Civil Rights and environmental advocates, just to name a few people, would fall into this category before they committed any illegal actions.

It was deeply committed believers in liberty that brought the United States into being.  Later believers in civil rights were relentless when bringing about the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Even so, these battles seem to never be finished.  United States citizens must constantly be on the look out for infringements on the rights afforded by our Constitution.  In the United Kingdom, however, not only are they losing the right to free speech, but also to free thought.

They claim they are “helping” and “saving lives” from people who believe differently than the government wants them to believe.  In this case religious matters, specifically, extremist views that call for action that could lead to violence.

On the face of it, one could justify such a program.  The problem is that the program can be aimed at any line of thought the government doesn’t like.  Think you don’t like paying those unfair and burdensome taxes?  Planning to protest if necessary?  Not with the thought police on the job.  As soon as someone reports you as a “radical thinker” your mission is over.

Freedom, the right to vote, and civil rights were all won by people who had radical thoughts and the courage to act on them.  Almost every person has a radical thought now and then.

It’s one thing to seek out people who are planning and preparing for terrorist actions.  It’s quite another to target those who have certain beliefs.  Never forget that which is applied to a specific sub-population can be expanded to any population within a society.

Like all radical thoughts, the creation of thought police as a social control can spread through governments around the world as quickly as a nasty virus on airplanes.  Already the cast of the CBS This Morning show were talking about how important it was to find those people who might become radicals and “rescue them” to save other’s lives.

Not one single word was said about free speech and free thought.  Nothing was said of the implications of justifying arresting people for what they believed.

Absolutely we do NOT advocate the actions of the terrorists currently being targeted.  What will happen when the thought police have finished rescuing and arresting youth citizens who they consider Muslim radicals?  Will they then turn to other groups of citizens to look for the next radical thinkers?  Perhaps it will be survivalists, environmental, or civil rights activists?  Those people are radical thinkers too.  Few people with radical thoughts are prone to acts of terrorism.

Lastly, consider these points.  Youth who are likely to fall prey to these extremist recruiters might also fall prey to any other group or gang who shows them the attention they need and gives them a purpose for life.  The reason the U.K. chose to focus on youths is because to stop proselytizing by these extremist groups would be in violation of their civil rights.  The government was deciding whether to squelch the rights of adults who can talk back or the rights of marginalized youth who have no voice.  Instead of taking away rights, peace loving groups need to be proselytizing and giving purpose to the marginalized youth more vigorously than violent extremist groups.  The results would be great for everyone except those with violent intentions.

Reference:  CBS This Morning, October 17, 2013

Preppers Paradigm: Re-Evaluating Your Health and Conditioning

Mexico recently surpassed the United States as the most obese nation on the planet, according to a report by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization. The near 32 percent obesity rate in America means that the epidemic touches every faction of the population, including preppers. Buying firearms, canned foods, batteries, generators and even Roadpost.com satellite phones are all necessities in the minds of the diligent prepper. But few take into account the only means of conveyance they’ll have during a world changing event: their own bodies.

Whether you have to squeeze into a small space, hike several miles into the woods or run from whomever and whatever, your physical conditioning will determine your level of success. Though it certainly wouldn’t hurt, you don’t necessarily have to be an Olympic-level athlete to be ready for anything. But making subtle changes to your everyday routine should be a vital aspect of overall preparations.

Wean Off Of Medications

An astounding 70 percent of Americans are on at least one prescription drug, and nearly half take at least two, according to a report published by the Mayo Clinic. It is never a good idea to simply stop taking a medication that you’ve been on for a long time. But you can always ask your doctor about gradually lowering the dosage while trying to find natural alternatives.

For those who take daily blood pressure medication, for instance, garlic is an excellent alternative. Allicin, an ingredient found in garlic tablets and raw cloves, has been found to lower blood pressure by 10 percent in three months or less, according to a report in the U.K. Daily Mail. Cooking the garlic destroys much of the allicin, so eating it raw is the only way to reap the benefits.

The New York Times reported in August that one in 10 Americans are on some kind of antidepressant. Pharmaceutical-grade St. John’s Wort and 5-HTP are natural alternatives that can be used while weaning off your prescription.

Do A Little Exercise Daily

It should be no surprise that 8.3 percent of Americans are diabetic, due to the overall obesity rate. While insulin is used to treat most types of diabetes, the best natural remedy is exercise. A study published by the American Diabetes Association found that cardiovascular disease causes 75 percent of diabetes-related deaths in the U.S. You can improve cardiovascular health significantly with 30 minutes of vigorous exercise per day. This can include a brisk walk, a bike ride or a trip to the gym for the highly motivated prepper. Losing weight also reduced new type 2 diabetes diagnoses by nearly 16 percent over an eight year period, according to the study. Again, you don’t have to be an Olympic athlete, but doing something is better than nothing.

Change Your Diet

Physical Health infographic: physical activity, good nutrition,The saying goes, “You are what you eat.” An adequately prepared prepper cannot be made of McDonald’s, candy and cupcakes. Make subtle changes that you know are benefiting your overall health and well-being. Eat more low-fat meats like chicken breast and fish, as opposed to pork. Replace soft drinks with water, and coffee with green tea. You don’t have to do anything radical, but subtle changes will go a long way when your body needs a little something extra.

About the Author:  Joel Johnson is a military veteran with 8 years of service and spent over three years deployed to Iraq. He used the skills that he learned in the infantry to prepare for what is coming. He is a father with a love for football and his children.

http://www.roadpost.com/Iridium-Phone-Subscriptions-P705C280.aspx
http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/diabetes-statistics/
http://www.mayoclinic.org/news2013-rst/7543.html

Oysters as Part of Your Food Plan?

Oyster shells were used for everything from food to paving roads.  Over-harvesting is one of the causes for the loss of oyster beds in some parts of the United States and around the world.
Oyster shells were used for everything from food to paving roads. Over-harvesting is one of the causes for the loss of oyster beds in some parts of the United States and around the world.

Many people living in coastal areas are relying on the sea for a source of protein during a life changing event.  That’s probably great if you have a boat with enough fuel to get away from all the other people who will be doing the same thing.  There are other things to consider when thinking about the oceans as a source of protein.  Aside from the obvious dangers involved with competition for food and all the nasty business that goes along with that, there could be contamination of the water and the creatures living in it.

If there is an event of such magnitude, it is possible that sewer systems will fail and that people will indiscriminately use the coastal lands and waters for their privy needs.  The waters will become polluted with everything from human waste and be passed on to the sea creatures that live there.  Shellfish may become contaminated and in turn cause any manner of illnesses among humans, which can then be spread from person to person.

Complicating the matter is the fact that oysters are fast disappearing along most of the U. S. coast line.  Habitat along the east and west

Oysters are expensive in stores and restaurants.

coasts has been destroyed, contaminated, or the oysters have fallen to diseases.  Oysters have been over harvested, creating another problem to overcome.  Workers in those regions are trying to save the oyster beds and rejuvenate the oyster population.  Because of this most oysters harvested in the United States are commercially harvested in the Gulf of Mexico and its bays.

Oyster farming is becoming popular in some regions.  Some of the “farms” are for the purpose of taking the oysters to market.  Others are for the purpose of starting and tending to new oyster beds in an effort to restore oyster beds to a region.  Which ever purpose oysters are being raised, it is labor intensive and hard work.

If you want to enjoy oysters, now is the time to do it.  Individuals can harvest them and preserve them for use later.  You may freeze them, smoke them, or can them.  Preserving them means you can enjoy the free protein harvest now and later.  Well, not completely free since you will need fishing licenses and you will have to do some work.  But you have to work regardless of the product you are preserving, right?

For more information about oysters, oyster habitats or oyster farming and harvesting visit this Oyster Recycling web site.  You’ll be surprised what you can do with an empty oyster.

The Snake Dance

Coral SnakeIn this part of the country, there is no “cold” season where snakes hide underground until spring time.  Not at all.  Snakes can be seen year around if you know where to look.  Sure, there are a few cold days, maybe even below 30 degrees three to five days in December or January.  This part of the country it is common to see tall brush even inside city limits.  The soil is sand, not soil.  These are ideal conditions for snakes.  There are all kinds of snakes here too.  There is the usual plethora of non-poisonous snakes but more than that, there are several species of poisonous snakes too.

Yesterday there was a coral snake on the front step.  In the United States there are sixty five species of coral snakes and there are eleven species in the other parts of the world. I’ve also seen water moccasins, diamond back and sidewinder rattlesnakes,   Mind you not all at the same time.  They seem to take turns about which one is the venomous snake on the property.  But, there is always something on the property, or near by, that is dangerous if not respected, if not a snake then scorpions, killer bees, wasps, and others.

Therein lies the rub.  If you don’t respect the fact that snakes are going to be more present in our environment because we have encroached on theirs, they will take us by surprise.  Which is what happened to me yesterday.

It had been months since I saw any kind of snake up near the house.  I waltzed right out the front door to look after the chicks and ducklings when right at my feet, a mere three inches away, was the coral snake.  YIKES!!  Talk about doing the snake dance.  And I didn’t know I could scream like a pro.

When I jumped up on the freezer in the garage, my husband came running out.  “Where’s the snake?” he asked.  Now for most of us that is enough.  But later I asked him how he knew it was a snake.  He said there is only one thing that truly frightens me and that is snakes, so it had to be a snake.

How many times have you gone to your garden or hen house only to find snakes of some sort?  For me, that’s an immediate about face and find my husband reaction.  It’s happened often enough that I don’t go to less frequently used parts of the land without his careful check for snakes.

There’s not much you can do to keep snakes off your property.  If you don’t want to do The Snake Dance, the best you can do is be respectful of the fact that they are there some where.  Pay attention to habitat.  Keep the yard mowed, and mow extra wide paths for walking so that you can maximize your ability to see snakes before you get too close.  For me, I like the paths to be at least fifteen feet wide.  Watch your where your footfalls will land and survey the surrounding areas too.  Watch ahead and behind and to each side.  When you come back through that same path, don’t assume there are not snakes because they weren’t there the first time.

Redfish
(the other half!)

Police Disobey Court Order to Return Seized Medical Marijuana

According to an article first published by The News Tribune, Tacoma, Washington police seized medical grade marijuana from a man during a traffic stop and charged him with misdemeanor possession.  With proof no crime had been committed, the case was dismissed.  However the police refused to return the property to the man.  Even after the judge twice told them to return it.  The police still refuse and will be facing contempt charges if they do not comply by the next court date, May 2, 2013.  The situation is a mess for city police, county sheriff’s office, the court system, and maybe soon, the appellate court system.

Medical Grade MarijuanaThe property is being stored at the sheriff department evidence locker.  The sheriff has no legal right to release it.  The police officers, or their superiors, have to physically get the property, sign for it, and then return it to the rightful owner.  Police refuse, and from the looks of it, their bosses don’t mind that the officers think they are above the law.  Maybe the chief of police thinks he is above the law too?  What is the likelihood that after failing to comply with a court order and is now directly negatively affecting our ability to do our jobs we would still have a job?

Is it possible those police officers are being encouraged by their superiors to refuse to comply until the matter is forced up higher and higher courts until it reaches the Supreme Court of the United States?  What then?  What will be at stake then?  Clearly the issue isn’t about if the municipal courts have jurisdiction over municipal peace keepers, because certainly they do.

Why don’t the officers just return it?  Perhaps the police just don’t like that medical marijuana is being accepted in more and more states.  Could it be they fear that legalizing marijuana for all is just around the corner?

What would happen if the property owner simply went to the county judge to ask for a court order forcing the sheriff’s evidence locker to return it to the city police?  A great deal would be accomplished.  The county would be out of this mess, completely.  It puts the city police department in possession of the stolen property, for which now it can be charged along with the contempt charges.  Isn’t that what the property is?  Stolen property since a legal binding court order has declared the property legal and to be returned to its rightful owner?

This case is about more than some little amount of medical grade marijuana.  It’s about the authority of a judge against the authority of police officers, their supervisors, and the chief of police to disobey a direct legal ruling.  It’s about some local police officers thinking their opinions are greater than the lawmakers of the state, so they may disobey the law at will.

Sure, for the property owner, its about getting his very expensive medical grade marijuana back.  More likely, for the owner, it’s the principle of the thing. We all understand that.  But for the rest of the country, it’s about setting a legal precedence we may not want to set.  What if we replaced “gun or weapon of your choice” or maybe “book” instead of  “marijuana“?  That might sound far fetched, but that is what setting precedence is all about.  Do we want police officers and police forces thinking they are above the law in every respect when they don’t have to obey a judge?  Do we want police to be able to seize things and not return them when there is no crime?

It’s tough to make sure the body of elected and appointed officials are doing the right thing all the time.  The problem isn’t just police and judges, it’s every person in power who tries to circumvent the constitution for what ever purpose.  The judge made a lawful order and those police officers are denying the owner his right to his property by failing to comply.  Shame on the citizens for allowing it without protest.

Reference:  The News Tribune

 

Yet Another Reason to Prepare – Social Networking and Preppers

Social Networking and preppers.Preppers usually know that what happens on the internet stays on the internet – forever.  Except in France, but that is another story.

We also know various companies are using the social networking sites to find out as much about you as they can before they decide to give you a job.  They also use it to decide if they are going to loan you money or extend you credit.  Insurance companies gather as much information about you they can from social media sites, or they hire a private detective to do it for them.  They use the information to determine if they want to insure you, which claims to pay and whether or not to pay or discontinue disability or other benefits.  What can they get off those sites?

They can access all sorts of information they have no legal right, it would actually be illegal, to ask of you.  So can employers.  Not a big deal, right?  You’ve got nothing to hide?

Lenders will use algorithms currently in development to “see” who your “friends” are on all the social media sites and decide your future based on whether or not they like who they see.

With these new super-secret algorithms, used for this purpose, they will find the stuff you deleted last month because you plan to apply for a loan or credit.  It will still be on your friends’ sites.

It would be a fair guess to think that might be why social media sites set their privacy policies in such a manner as to make it contractually legal to sell access to their databases.

Why would I think that?  Because as the number of institutions using the algorithm increases, so will bandwidth usage on the social media sites.  Someone has to pay for that bandwidth.  No, social media sites won’t let that go unpaid.  And, they are in the business of selling “people” to the companies that currently advertise on those sites.

Turning over the passwords to all your social media sites will be required to get credit from these lenders.  They will use that information for several purposes:

  • Determine if your friends are financially stable enough to make you a good risk
  • Market products to your friends
  • Send messages to your friends from your accounts
  • Those messages will also include telling all your “friends” if you have missed some payments.

With employers, insurance companies, and lenders looking at your social media to gain information they can’t legally ask, they will misconstrue, take out of context, and assume meaning that does not exist.  They will use that information to discriminate in ways the Constitution of the United States forbids.

What we can do about it:

  • Do not use real names.  Pseudonyms are legal!  You just can’t intend to defraud people.
  • Use an email service such as gmail or yahoo instead of an address that leads back to your front door when signing up for social media sites.
  • If you do use your real name, be selective about who you “friend”.
  • Demand laws protecting citizens who decline to provide social media account information.  Some people drink on Friday nights until they are drunk, get photographs posted about it, but still pay their bills on time!
  • Lastly, if we all stopped using social media, our businesses might suffer, but everyone would get the message.  We would all connect on forums and lists, as we did in the past, where we have some anonymity until we decide to whom and when to reveal information.