Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tuesday 07-31-12

Does this really surpize anyone?  I doubt it goes all the way to the President.  But the President as already shown his true colors with some of his earlier jump to concultion like in the Gates/Crowley arrest.

Federal Court finds Obama appointees interfered with New Black Panther prosecution

A federal court in Washington, DC, held last week that political appointees appointed by President Obama did interfere with the Department of Justice’s prosecution of the New Black Panther Party.

The ruling came as part of a motion by the conservative legal watch dog group Judicial Watch, who had sued the DOJ in federal court to enforce a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for documents pertaining to the the New Black Panthers case. Judicial Watch had secured many previously unavailable documents through their suit against DOJ and were now suing for attorneys’ fees.

Obama’s DOJ had claimed Judicial Watch was not entitled to attorney’s fees since “none of the records produced in this litigation evidenced any political interference whatsoever in” how the DOJ handled the New Black Panther Party case. But United States District Court Judge Reggie Walton disagreed. Citing a “series of emails” between Obama political appointees and career Justice lawyers, Walton writes:

The documents reveal that political appointees within DOJ were conferring about the status and resolution of the New Black Panther Party case in the days preceding the DOJ’s dismissal of claims in that case, which would appear to contradict Assistant Attorney General Perez’s testimony that political leadership was not involved in that decision. Surely the public has an interest in documents that cast doubt on the accuracy of government officials’ representations regarding the possible politicization of agency decision-making.

In sum, the Court concludes that three of the four fee entitlement factors weigh in favor of awarding fees to Judicial Watch. Therefore, Judicial Watch is both eligible and entitled to fees and costs, and the Court must now consider the reasonableness of Judicial Watch’s requested award.

The New Black Panthers case stems from a Election Day 2008 incident where two members of the New Black Panther Party were filmed outside a polling place intimidating voters and poll watchers by brandishing a billy club. Justice Department lawyers investigated the case, filed charges, and when the Panthers failed to respond, a federal court in Philadelphia entered a “default” against all the Panthers defendants. But after Obama was sworn in, the Justice Department reversed course, dismissed charges against three of the defendants, and let the fourth off with a narrowly tailored restraining order.

“The Court’s decision is another piece of evidence showing the Obama Justice Department is run by individuals who have a problem telling the truth,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said. “The decision shows that we can’t trust the Obama Justice Department to fairly administer our nation’s voting and election laws.”


Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday 07-27-12

Wow, it is amazing to say the least

What ‘Vile’ & ‘Tasteless’ Toy Did This London Store Pull After Customers Complained? (Hint: It Has Big Guns)

Described by some as “vile” and “tasteless,” this toy has been pulled from the shelves of Liberty, a popular London department store, after dozens of customers complained:

That’s a Soviet Katyusha rocket launcher.

So what? It’s a wooden toy version of old Soviet gear? It‘s not like we’re still in the Cold War. What’s the big deal?

“Recently, [Katyusha rocket launchers] have been used by Hezbollah militants to fire rockets into Israel and during the Libyan conflict last year,” the Daily Mail explains.

“A model of a Katyusha rocket launcher and a billboard promoting Hezbollah, the

militant and political group,” the NYT reports.


“Liberty can sell what they like, but I think it is bizarre,” Democrat MP Jo Swinson, who is also a parliamentary aide to Nick Clegg, told The Independent on Sunday.

“When small children in conflict zones around the world are being killed and maimed by rocket launchers, it seems rather tasteless to be marketing a sanitised [sic] pink version to young children in our country,” he added.

Kids on Roof, the Dutch toy company responsible for the wooden rocket launcher, lists the toy on its website under the category “uncensored toys.”

The wooden replica, which is marketed to younger children, is available in baby pink, yellow, or natural wood and cost about $36.00. Oddly enough, despite the reported backlash, the toy sold out on Liberty’s website and in store, according to a spokesman for the company.

“However,” the Daily continues, “he admitted the toy was an oversight which should not have been ordered.”

“We do not condone warfare and we apologize for any offense caused. We won’t be selling anything like that again,” the spokesman said.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wednesday 07-25-12

Thought this was interesting, it is one of two things.  He (the President) is protectiong a fellow Muslim or it is political and he (the President) will use it when he is ready for his polical gain.  Hopefully it is the latter, but i could respect (not agree with) the first one more if he were honest about it.

A Tale of Two Massacres

Posted: July 24, 2012, 12:55 pm - Last updated: July 24, 2012, 12:55 pm

View 734 Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I am a bit behind and just catching up. There are many things to write about, many of them topical news. I generally try to stay away from breaking news, but I think we know enough about one recent incident; I doubt any new relevant facts will emerge. I mentioned the Colorado murders yesterday http://www.jerrypournelle.com/jerrypournelle.c/chaosmanor/ and I agree with Hansen on the matter. And we certainly aren’t going to learn more of interest about the Fort Hood murders.

A reader asks why The Fort Hood murderer has not yet faced trial.

Article 118 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice says:

“Any person subject to this chapter who, without justification or excuse, unlawfully kills a human being, when he—”

(1) has a premeditated design to kill;

(2) intends to kill or inflict great bodily harm;

(3) is engaged in an act that is inherently dangerous to another and evinces a wanton disregard of human life; or

(4) is engaged in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of burglary, sodomy, rape, robbery, or aggravated arson; is guilty of murder, and shall suffer such punishment as a court-martial may direct, except that if found guilty under clause (1) or (4), he shall suffer death or imprisonment for life as a court-martial may direct.
= = =
According to all the sources I pay attention to, there were plenty of witnesses to the murders, 13 people were killed, and Major Nidal Malik Hasan was apprehended in the act. This took place on a US military institution so the question of jurisdiction does not apply. Murder has been covered by military justice codes for most of the life of the republic; I am from the days when the Articles of War were read to the troops on Sunday mornings, and murder was certainly in the Articles, and as many of the Articles ended, “shall suffer death or such other penalty as a Court Martial shall decide.” (I probably ought to omit the quotes since this is from memory but it’s close enough.)
The Army has the full authority to end this matter. It took place on November 5, 2009, and it only takes an order from the Commander in Chief to end the matter. Apparently President Obama has not so directed the Commandant of Fort Hood to end the matter. I do not think I have ever heard the President’s explanation.
I am told that he promises swift justice for the Colorado Movie House murderer although in fact he has no jurisdiction in that matter, it not having happened on a military post. But perhaps that was not taught at Harvard? We have no way of knowing. But every time Mr. Obama discusses the Colorado murders it might be well to ask him why he doesn’t let the Army deal with Major Nidal Malik Hasan.
My guess is that if the current federal government gets involved in the Colorado massacre we will not see justice for a long, long time. And Major Nadal Malik Hasan will outlive me.

More after lunch


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Thursday 07-19-12

A Comprehensive Supply List for Economic Collapse

by M.D. Creekmore on June 15, 2012

This guest post is by Bam Bam and entry in our non-fiction writing contest .

The article M.D. posted in last week’s Friday Miscellany on living conditions in Greece really hit home with me. I did a bit more research. There are food shortages. There are shortages of life-saving medications. There are concerns about the power grid. And if the electric grid goes down, clean water may not flow from the tap. In an economic collapse, debit cards may not work; cash will be king. Once awareness of the situation sets in, rioting, looting and violent crime will be the new norm.

If Europe collapses, the United States is sure to follow. This makes me nervous. And when I get nervous, I make lists. This is my best shot at formulating a comprehensive supply list for prepping. Sure, there are other lists on the Internet that claim to be comprehensive. And I have learned much from the lists that I have read. But I wanted to come up with my own list and present it to the Pack. And now for the 50 million dollar question: what have I missed?

If your debit card stopped working tomorrow, would you be ready? Let’s put our minds together and see if we can come up with a comprehensive list of items needed for survival. (I am assuming in what follows that I will not be bugging out. Hence, I have omitted discussion of my BOB.) Assuming you are staying put, what items would you definitely want on hand? Remember the motto: plan today because tomorrow your debit card may not work.

Please note that the order in which the following items are listed is not indicative of their perceived importance—i.e., I did not place cleaning supplies ahead of weaponry and hunting because I felt the former was more important than the latter. Each category is important, hence its inclusion on this list.

Comprehensive Supply List

1. Water Purification

Bottled Water


Rain Barrel

Water Bottle with Filter

Water Purification Tablets

Pool Shock/Bleach

Kettle w/ Lid for Boiling Water

Propane Stove

Matches/Fire Starter

Charcoal and Sand

Mosquito Netting

Coffee Filters

2. Shelf Stable Foods





Dry Milk




Lemon Juice

Cooking Oil


Canned Goods



Water Enhancers

Baking Essentials (Yeast, Salt, etc.)

Sprouting Seeds

Non-hybrid Garden Seeds

3. Hygiene Supplies




Dental Floss

Feminine Hygiene Products

Shaving Supplies

Baby Wipes

Toilet paper

Insect Spray


Lotion/Lip Balm

Manicure Set (Nail Clippers, Nail Brush, File)

4. First-Aid

First-Aid Kit

Extra Band-Aids

Dental Kit

Wound Care

Rubbing Alcohol

Hydrogen Peroxide

Listerine Mouth Rinse

Antibiotic Ointment

Snake Bite Kit

Respirator Masks

Latex Gloves


5. Medications

Prescription Medication

Birth Control

Foot Care Products

Pain Reliever (Tylenol, Aleve, Aspirin, etc.)

Cold Medicine

Diarrhea/Constipation Medications



Allergy Medication



6. Cleaning Supplies

Bleach/Pool Shock


Baking Soda

Washing Soda


Bar Soap (Fels Naptha)


Mop and Bucket

Broom and Dust Pan

Scrub Brushes

Dish Pan

Trash Bags

Trash Cans

Burn Barrel

7. Cooking and Food Preservation

Solar Oven

Camping Stove

Barbeque Grill

Grain Grinder

Meat Grinder

Solar Dehydrator

Cast Iron Cookware

Cooking Utensils

Non Electric Can Opener

Non Electric Coffee Maker

Water Bath Canner

Pressure Canner

Jars and Lids

Extra 5 Gallon Buckets

Plastic Plates & Bowls

8. Lighting

Oil Lantern

Extra Wicks & Mantles


Solar Lights

Light Sticks



Head Lamp

9. Weaponry & Hunting







Compound Bow

Extra Arrows

Sling Shot

Snare Wire

10. Clothing








Work Shirts


Extra Laces

Flip Flops/Crocks

Tennis Shoes




Work Gloves


Wide-Brimmed Hat

Mosquito Head Gear

Extra Prescription Glasses

Eye Glass Repair Kit

Sun Glasses

11. Household Items


Bath Towels

Solar Shower

Kitchen Towels



Sewing Kit

Washboard and Buckets

Aluminum Foil

Ziplock Bags

Portable Toilet



Pest and Insect Control (Mouse Traps, Diatomaceous Earth)

Extra Keys (Home, Shop and Vehicles)

12. Alternative Energy Source


Extension Cords

Solar Panels

Rechargeable Batteries

Solar Recharger




Fuel Stabilizer

Lamp Oil

Seasoned Fire Wood

13. Tools and Gear

Gardening Tools (Shovel, Axe, Rake)

Fishing Gear (Poles, Tackle, Nets)

Shut Off Wrench for Gas/Water



Basic Construction Tools

Hardware (Nails, Screws)



Tie Down/Rope/Para-cord/Bungee Cord

Duct Tape


Extra Gas Cans

Sharpening Stone/Honing Oil

Gun Cleaning Kit & Supplies

Wire and Wire Cutters

Window Screen Repair Kit

Fire Extinguisher

Plastic Garbage Containers w/ Lid


Chain and Padlocks

Weather Instruments

14. Communications

Two-way Radio

Weather Radio

Ham Radio




15. Money



Tradable Skills

16. Barter Goods







Toilet Paper


17. Maps and Guides

Detailed Map of Local Area

Survival Guide

Field Guide/Eatable Plant Guide

First Aid Manual

18. Identification and Documentation

Photo ID/Passport

Birth Certificate

Social Security Card

Medical Records

Banking Documents

Insurance Documents

Marriage License

Contact Information

19. Entertainment/Sanity




Musical Instruments

Paper, Pens, Sketchbook



20. Pets and Children



Proof of Vaccination


Please feel free to expand on and add your list and or thoughts in the comments below…


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wednesday 07-18-12

This treaty (LOST) hopefully is really dead, it will start a war if it is ratified.

DeMint: Law of the Sea Treaty now dead

The United Nations Law of the Sea Treaty now has 34 senators opposed to it and thus lacks the Senate votes needed for U.S. ratification, a key opponent of the treaty announced Monday.
But the treaty’s main Senate proponent denies the treaty is sunk, saying plenty of time still exists to win support before a planned late-year vote.
The Law of the Sea Treaty, which entered into force in 1994 and has been signed and ratified by 162 countries, establishes international laws governing the maritime rights of countries. The treaty has been signed but not ratified by the U.S., which would require two-thirds approval of the Senate.
Critics of the treaty argue that it would subject U.S. sovereignty to an international body, require American businesses to pay royalties for resource exploitation and subject the U.S. to unwieldy environmental regulations as defined.
The list of treaty opponents has been growing, and on Monday, Sen. Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican and a leader of efforts to block it, announced that four more Republicans have said that they would vote against ratification: Sens. Mike Johanns of Nebraka, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Rob Portman of Ohio and Johnny Isakson of Georgia.

“With 34 senators against the misguided treaty, LOST will not be ratified by the Senate this year,” Mr. DeMint said in a statement on his website.
This head count of treaty opponents — if the number stands — would make it impossible to reach the 67 votes needed to ratify the pact, which Sen. John F. Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat and Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, plans to bring to a vote.
But Mr. Kerry’s office dismissed Mr. DeMint’s tally, saying that vote counts taken months before a proposed vote are “just a snapshot of where our politics are in this instant.”
“No letter or whip count changes the fact that rock-ribbed Republican businesses and the military and every living Republican secretary of state say that this needs to happen, and that’s why it’s a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’ for the Law of the Sea,” Kerry spokeswoman Jodi Seth said.
Ms. Seth said the senator decided long ago to delay requesting a vote on the treaty until after the November elections because “right now we’re in the middle of a white-hot political campaign season where ideology is running in overdrive.”
“That’s why Sen. Kerry made it clear from Day One that there wouldn’t be a vote before the election and until everyone’s had the chance to evaluate the treaty on the facts and the merits away from the politics of the moment,” she said.
Proponents of ratification argue that member nations are establishing rules of the sea that the U.S. would have to adhere to without a vote. They also argue that by ratifying the treaty, the U.S. would protect its claims and rights to mine America’s continental sea shelves and offshore waters for natural resources without interference from other countries or other entities.
Without ratification, U.S. energy companies won’t have the security they need to invest in exploring those areas for resources, supporters say.
The influential U.S. Chamber of Commerce supports the treaty, saying it would be a boon to the U.S. economy by providing domestic companies “the legal certainty and stability they need to hire and invest.”
"At any given time, hundreds of U.S. flag ships and ships owned by U.S. companies rely on the freedom of navigation rights codified in the treaty while crossing the world’s oceans,” said chamber President and Chief Executive Thomas J. Donohue, testifying last month before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “While we can always rely on the U.S. Navy to ensure lawful passage of U.S.-flagged and owned ships, it only makes sense to join with the international community in establishing and protecting lawful passage on the high seas."
Treaty opponents say the Navy and merchant fleet do fine now and for decades previously without the pact’s freedom-of-the-seas guarantees. They also say the treaty seeks to transfer wealth from U.S. companies exploiting energy resources to poorer, landlocked countries — setting a dangerous precedence for wealth distribution.
Mr. Portman and Mrs. Ayotte, in a joint letter Monday to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, said that “after careful consideration” they concluded the treaty isn’t in the U.S. national interest.
“Proponents of the Law of the Sea Treaty aspire to admirable goals, including codifying the U.S. Navy’s navigational rights and defining American economic interests in valuable offshore resources,” the senators wrote. “But the treaty’s terms reach well beyond those good intentions.”
Mr. Kerry held three hearings this year on the treaty.

The first hearing brought together a rare joint appearance by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, as well as Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who testified in favor of ratifying the treaty. The second hearing brought together six four-star military officers, who also testified in favor of ratifying the treaty.
At the third, former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld testified against the treaty.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tuesday 07-17-12

I agree with the blogger, but it goes farther then that, imo.  There is a bunch of chatter on the net about foreign troops here in the US and when the government uses the UN in the US.  I don't buy that stuff at least now, but here is a real first step in my opinion that direction.  It is a firm step towards globalization.

U.S. Officers to Make Arrests in Canada: A Clear Threat to Sovereignty

Posted on July 11, 2012 by Michael Krieger I know, I know, many people will try to brush this off as no big deal. So what? If bad guys cross into Canada we need to be able to nab them right?
My point is why now? My point is why sneak this into an omnibus bill so there is little public debate? This is all about boiling the frog to death (us) so that we don’t realize we are cooked. We must be alert to the fact that this is part of a much bigger trend we are seeing. A move toward ending sovereignty. A move toward global government in which there are no free states in which to hide. Many people have talked about Canada being a safe place to go. Guess not…

Key Quotes:

When the Conservative government passed its controversial omnibus budget bill last month, it included new powers for certain U.S. law enforcement agents that critics say could have ramifications for Canadian sovereignty.
This means they’ll be armed and have the powers to arrest suspects in Canadian territory.

“This is a highly controversial integrated border enforcement program that jeopardizes Canadian sovereignty and potentially compromises the personal privacy of individual Canadians,” wrote NDP MP Brian Masse, critic for Canada-U.S. border issues.

“A program that cedes sovereignty, reduces privacy and requires significant new investment must be fully debated and understood prior to its implementation,” he said.
Although the law deals with Canadian and U.S. waters, some are raising concerns that the next phase of the plan, a land-based version of integrated policing, could be more problematic.

“How do you define a border operation? How far inland does it go? These are things that need to be dealt with in an open way. Instead they seem to be negotiating through mostly closed-door talks with U.S. officials.”
You guys get the joke yet? Posting from Salinas, Utah…Mike

Full article here.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Monday 07-16-12

Court Rules Confiscated Firearms Be Returned After Case is Closed

If you are detained by police, property in your possession can be confiscated and not returned until you are released pending a court hearing or the case is resolved.

However, if that confiscated property includes legally owned firearms, some law enforcement agencies in some jurisdictions believe they do not have to return these possessions. In fact, in Washington, D.C., and New Orleans, this type of theft is, apparently, standard operating procedure.

A recent ruling by the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court definitively states that law enforcement agencies and prosecutors must prove a legitimate need for retaining property -- including firearms -- once a case is resolved.
The ruling stems from a July 2008 traffic stop in which Errol Houston was charged with illegal possession of a firearm and other offenses in New Orleans. Prosecutors later dropped all charges against Houston, who had a legal permit to carry.

Nevertheless, the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office and New Orleans Police Department refused to return Houston’s firearm. After a year of denials, Houston took his case to federal court.

According to the NRA, the ruling is "an important victory for gun rights, property rights and due process in Louisiana and nationwide as it ensures prosecuting attorneys must prove a legitimate need for retaining property after charges against a person have been dropped."


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Saturday 07-14-12

The Modern Refugee

 How far could you run if you really had to? The historical answer to that question has been provided by the refugee, who was literally running for his life. Today the word “refugee” is typically applied to people from the Third World traveling thousands of miles, sometimes in commercial aircraft, to Europe, Australia or North America.

This database shows the volume of refugee flows between any two countries. One can readily observe from the database that refugees from Turkey, for example, flee to Germany or the United States, as do people from Togo in Africa.

But the iconic image of a refugee is that of someone in much greater distress; that of a Western European fleeing advancing German panzers in 1940, or vanishing into the endless spaces of Russia in the mid-1940s. Between 1939 and 1946, millions of people fled to what they believed to be a temporary place of safety, though this was often comparative and sometimes illusory.

When the fighting stopped in 1945, these desperate groups were called displaced persons. Historically, refugees covered far shorter distances. Their near term goal was simply to get out of the path of immediate danger In the last months of World War II some five million German civilians from the German provinces of East Prussia, Pomerania and Silesia fled the onslaught of the Red Army and became refugees in Mecklenburg, Brandenburg and Saxony … During the same period, millions of former Russian citizens were forcefully repatriated against their will into the USSR … At the end of World War II, there were more than 5 million “displaced persons” from the Soviet Union in the Western Europe. About 3 million had been forced laborers in Germany and occupied territories.

The Soviet POWs and the Vlasov men were put under the jurisdiction of SMERSH (Death to Spies). Of the 5.7 million Soviet prisoners of war captured by the Germans, 3.5 million had died while in German captivity by the end of the war. The survivors on their return to the USSR were treated as traitors (see Order No. 270). Over 1.5 million surviving Red Army soldiers imprisoned by the Nazis were sent to the Gulag. The agonies of the Indian partition and the millions displaced by fighting in the Chinese civil war are other examples of short-distance refugee movements.

The partitioning of the Ottoman Empire, and the population shifts associated with it, were also titanic. Even today the short-haul refugee can commonly be found fleeing conflicts in the Third World. Who flees to Ethiopia? People from the Sudan. Who in his right mind escapes to Pakistan? Answer: people from Afghanistan. Safety and security are comparative. The ultimate short-haul refugee is the partisan, who faced with the alternative of death, runs into the nearest forest or wilderness to fight back or escape notice, like the Jewish holdouts of the Lithuania.

Clearly, the modern long-haul refugees, miserable as they might be, still rely on motorized transportation, shipping or the airlines to move. This is in stark contrast to the short haul refugees, who arerunning from an imminent threat, deprived of vehicle, home and much else. In those circumstances, the mode of movement devolves to the lowest tech. Probably the lowest tech, short of ambling around on bare feet like our ancestors from a 100,000 years ago involves escape with a handcart.
Going My Way?
France 1940 The handcart is the bottom of the barrel; the only thing left if the gas stations are closed, the highways are blocked by burning vehicles and the railroads are all shot to hell. It’s where you put grandma, or the baby, or the wife if she breaks a leg. In capable hands the handcart offers a surprisingly robust way to travel across country.

One American family traced the movements of their ancestors to Utah to the handcart convoys of the 19th century. Most of the people in the Christian Christiansen handcart company were Scandinavians (Danes, Norwegians, and Swedes). They numbered about 330 souls, including a girl with a wooden leg and a 60-year-old blind woman. Because the Perpetual Emigrating Fund was exhausted, the emigrants had to purchase their own outfits with pooled resources.

They had 68 handcarts, 3 wagons, 10 mules, and 1 cow. The cow soon died but others were purchased along the way. Likewise, the travelers purchased a fourth wagon and oxen to pull it. Elder J. P. Park, a Scotsman, was the company captain, but he had to communicate with his charges through an interpreter because he could not speak nor understand their language.

Also, he was reportedly unsympathetic towards them. “The less said about this unfortunate choice of a leader for such a people as us,” wrote an emigrant, “the better for him.”
Bound for the Promised Land The best kinds of handcarts, it turns out, are not the supermarket trolley types, but those that are pulled like rickshaws. You can build your own, as shown here, or you can buy these marvelously engineered devices from Germany, where they are made from converted bicycle trailers. The bicycle trailer equipped with the proper handles, is come to think of it, probably the most efficient pulling gizmo ever devised.

The story of the modern short-haul refugee has serious gaps; one is the part played by the convoy and escort. In every movement towards a terra incognita in hisotry, there has always been the need for a guide and mutual aid and protection. Little has been written about how the World War 2 era refugees organized their movements we know from literature on modern long-haul refugees that a people smuggling industry eventually emerges to facilitate their movements.

Fortunately we have more data from people movements in an earlier era, who were not at all shy about describing their convoying and security practices. The classic example is the wagon train. “A wagon train is a group of wagons traveling together. In the American West, individuals traveling across the plains in covered wagons banded together for mutual assistance … Overland emigrants discovered that smaller groups of twenty to forty wagons were more manageable than larger ones. Membership in wagon trains was generally fluid and wagons frequently joined or left trains depending on the needs and wishes of their owners.”

The wagon train is a classic convoy. The phrase “circling the wagons” is commonly used today, even though few stop to think of its origins. Refugees have not been seen on any scale in the Western world since the end of World War 2. With any luck it will never again. But the current world crisis has eroded our confidence in the unshakeable permanence of the post-war boom and peace. Should a crisis of such apocalyptic magnitude ever come again, then the handcart, canned food, sleeping bag and firearm are likely to be as important today as they were in the 19th and 20th century.


Friday, July 13, 2012

After seeing what happened in China, Tibet, Japan and Europe, our President takes step to ensure that we won't have those advantages.  He wants to make sure his and only his message is heard when the time comes.

Obama gives himself control of all communication systems in America

US President Barack Obama quietly signed his name to an Executive Order on Friday, allowing the White House to control all private communications in the country in the name of national security.

President Obama released his latest Executive Order on Friday, July 6, a 2,205-word statement offered as the “Assignment of National Security and Emergency Preparedness Communications Functions.” And although the president chose not to commemorate the signing with much fanfare, the powers he provides to himself and the federal government under the latest order are among the most far-reaching yet of any of his executive decisions.

“The Federal Government must have the ability to communicate at all times and under all circumstances to carry out its most critical and time sensitive missions,” the president begins the order. “Survivable, resilient, enduring and effective communications, both domestic and international, are essential to enable the executive branch to communicate within itself and with: the legislative and judicial branches; State, local, territorial and tribal governments; private sector entities; and the public, allies and other nations.”

President Obama adds that it is necessary for the government to be able to reach anyone in the country during situations it considers critical, writing, “Such communications must be possible under all circumstances to ensure national security, effectively manage emergencies and improve national resilience.” Later the president explains that such could be done by establishing a “joint industry-Government center that is capable of assisting in the initiation, coordination, restoration and reconstitution of NS/EP [national security and emergency preparedness] communications services or facilities under all conditions of emerging threats, crisis or emergency.”

“The views of all levels of government, the private and nonprofit sectors, and the public must inform the development of NS/EP communications policies, programs and capabilities,” he adds.

On the government’s official website for the National Communications Systems, the government explains that that “infrastructure includes wireline, wireless, satellite, cable, and broadcasting, and provides the transport networks that support the Internet and other key information systems,” suggesting that the president has indeed effectively just allowed himself to control the country’s Internet access.

In order to allow the White House to reach anyone within the US, the president has put forth a plan to establish a high-level committee calling from agents with the Department of Homeland Security, Pentagon, Federal Communications Commission and other government divisions to ensure that his new executive order can be implemented.

In explaining the order, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) writes that the president has authorized the DHS "the authority to seize private facilities when necessary, effectively shutting down or limiting civilian communications."

In Section 5 of his order, President Obama outlines the specific department and agency responsibilities that will see through his demands. In a few paragraphs, President Obama explains that Executive Committee that will oversee his order must be supplied with “the technical support necessary to develop and maintain plans adequate to provide for the security and protection of NS/EP communications,” and that that same body will be in tasked with dispatching that communiqué “to the Federal Government and State, local, territorial and trial governments,” by means of “commercial, Government and privately owned communications resources.”

Later, the president announces that the Department of Homeland Security will be tasked with drafting a plan during the next 60 days to explain how the DHS will command the government’s Emergency Telecommunications Service, as well as other telecom conduits. In order to be able to spread the White House’s message across the country, President Obama also asks for the purchasing of equipment and services that will enable such.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wednesday 07-11-12

Need i write anything bout this one?

TSA Agents at Louisville Airport Steal Deaf Man's Candy, Call Him "Fucking Deafie"

A group of students leaving the annual conference of the National Association of the Deaf in Louisville had a rather awful experience courtesy of the Transportation Security Administration in that city's airport. One of the travelers wrote about it on his blog:

It was a very public week-long event downtown, make no bones about it. As such, the shirt very clearly identified me as deaf.

While I was going through the TSA, some of them started laughing in my direction. I thought it might’ve been someone behind me, but I found out otherwise.

They went through my bag (for no reason), and found a couple bags of candy I brought. I was told I wasn’t allowed to fly with that (wtf? I’ve flown with food before — these were even sealed still because I brought them right in the airport). I was then asked if I would like to donate the candy “To the USO”. Since I know the airport there has an Air National Guard base, and I figured it would go to the soldiers, I (annoyed) said sure, why not?

The guards, as I was getting scanned, started eating the candy they just told me was for the soldiers. In front of me, still laughing at me (very clearly now). One of them asked why they were laughing, and one of them came up to me, pointed at my shirt, laughed at me and said, “Fucking deafie”. The Louisville TSA called me a “fucking deafie” and laughed at me because I was deaf, and they expected wouldn’t say anything back (or wouldn’t hear them). Make no bones about it — she was facing me and I read her lips. There was no mistake. I would later find out that they had called at least 4 other individuals the same thing.
H/T BoingBoing

UPDATE: Teaandtheatre (the Tumblr account of the above complainant) is down. A commenter at Boing Boing says that the author "is concerned for negative consequences for himself and other people with disabilities. He was venting primarily to other people with disabilities. This post has gone way past what he wants."

So if you click through, and the Tumblr page is down, that's why. We'll update as soon as TSA responds.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tuesday 07-10-12

It is turely amazing that after they were so villified in the press, that it is an English paper that carries the news.  Don't let the press form your opinions, READ and Learn on your own, Think for yourself

Authorities give 41 guns and 100,000 rounds of ammunition BACK to militia member after he is cleared of conspiring to overthrow government

Police in Hammond, Indiana, were forced to returned 41 guns and 100,000 rounds of ammunition to a militia members who was cleared of federal charges he was part of a group planning to murder law enforcement officers and overthrown the government.

Thomas Piatek, a former member of the Hutaree militia, claimed the arsenal, which also included assorted swords, knives and crossbows, on Friday.

His personal cache of weapons was so large, he and his friends were forced to make two trips to the police station to pick it all up.

Reclaimed: Thomas Piatek holds up an AK-47 assault rifle he reclaimed from the federal government after he was cleared of conspiracy charges

Primitive: Assorted swords, knives and crossbows were also among the weapons Mr Piatek took back from police

Despite the facts that police seized all of his weapons and he spent two years in federal lockup awaiting trial, Mr Piatek showed up to the police station armed, ABC 7 Chicago reports.

'Just a piece, you know, whatever,' Mr Piatek said about the gun he was carrying.

'You got a phone, keys, whatever. It ain't a thing with me.'

More...Man arrested after 'gunning down boy, 12, and spraying bullets at his friends for setting off fireworks'

Three dead in brutal shooting after killer unloads 63 rounds from an AK-47 after 'argument over a girl'

In March, a federal judge dismissed key charges against eight members of the Michigan-based militia, saying the government's evidence showed the group hated the government, but their talk did not amount to criminal conspiracy.

The group made national news when the FBI raided the group in March 2010 and arrested several members.

Stockpile: This is the collection of weapons sized from Mr Piatek that the FBI showed off in 2010 after his arrest. They are all back in his possession now

Loading up: Mr Piatek and his friends had to make two trips with their pickup trucks to take all of the guns and ammunition home

On Friday, Mr Piatek showed up with his lawyer to taken an inventory of all the weapons the government seized from him to make sure he got each rifle, shotgun and box of ammunition back.

'Why did it reach this point?' Mr Piatek said.

'I don't know. Corruption? Who knows?'

The FBI paid a local informant in 2008 to infiltrate and secretly record conversations with the militiamen. Freed: All eight of the Hutaree militia members were freed by a federal judge in March. They are (from top left): David Brian Stone Sr., 44, of Michigan; David Brian Stone Jr. of Michigan; Jacob Ward, 33, of Ohio; Tina Mae Stone and (bottom row from left) Michael David Meeks, 40, of Michigan; Kristopher T. Sickles, 27, of Ohio; Joshua John Clough, 28, of Michigan; and Thomas William Piatek, 46, of Indiana

Anti-government: The Hutaree militia trained in the woods wearing camouflage and carrying military-style weapons

Prosecutors claim the group, which trained in full camouflage with military-style weapons, planned to murder a police officer then attack his funeral procession.

The Hutaree members say they oppose government power, but never planned violent action.

'This is a victory for the Constitution,' Mr Piatek's lawyer, Arthur Weiss, told ABC 7.


Monday, July 9, 2012

Monday 07-09-12

They don't need more power

The tax man cometh to police you on health care

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court's decision to uphold most of President Barack Obama's health care law will come home to roost for most taxpayers in about 2½ years, when they'll have to start providing proof on their tax returns that they have health insurance.

That scenario puts the Internal Revenue Service at the center of the debate, renewing questions about whether the agency is capable of policing the health care decisions of millions of people in the United States while also collecting the taxes needed to run the federal government.

Under the law, the IRS will provide tax breaks and incentives to help pay for health insurance and impose penalties on some people who don't buy coverage and on some businesses that don't offer it to employees.

The changes will require new regulations, forms and publications, new computer programs and a big new outreach program to explain it all to taxpayers and tax professionals. Businesses that don't claim an exemption will have to prove they offer health insurance to employees.

The health care law "includes the largest set of tax law changes in more than 20 years," according to the Treasury inspector general who oversees the IRS. The agency will have to hire thousands of workers to manage it, requiring significant budget increases that already are being targeted by congressional Republicans determined to dismantle the president's signature initiative.

"Knowing the complexity of the health law, there's no question that the IRS is going to struggle with this," said Rep. Charles Boustany Jr., R-La., chairman of the House Ways and Means oversight subcommittee. "The IRS wants more resources. Well, we need to start digging down into what are they doing with the resources and personnel."

Treasury spokeswoman Sabrina Siddiqui said, "The overwhelming majority of funds used by the agency to implement the Affordable Care Act go to administer the premium tax credits, which will be a tax cut averaging about $4,000 for more than 20 million middle-class people and families."

The Supreme Court, in its 5-4 ruling, upheld the mandate that most Americans get health insurance. The majority said Congress has the power to enforce the mandate under its taxing authority. The decision labeled the penalties a tax, noting that they will be collected by the IRS.

Those who don't get qualified health insurance will be required to pay the penalty — or tax — starting for the 2014 tax year, unless they are exempt because of low income, religious beliefs, or because they are members of American Indian tribes.
The penalty will be fully phased in by 2016, when it will be $695 for each uninsured adult or 2.5 percent of family income, whichever is greater, up to $12,500. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that 4 million people will pay the penalty that year.

The law, however, severely limits the ability of the IRS to collect the penalties. There are no civil or criminal penalties for refusing to pay it and the IRS cannot seize bank accounts or dock wages to collect it. No interest accumulates for unpaid penalties.

So how can the IRS enforce the mandate? Scary letters and threats to withhold tax refunds.

The law allows the IRS to withhold tax refunds to collect the penalty, and most filers get refunds. This year, 77 percent of the 135 million individual income tax returns processed by the IRS qualified for a refund. The average refund: $2,707.

For those who don't qualify for a refund, a stern letter from the IRS can be effective, even if it doesn't come with the threat of civil or criminal penalties, said Elizabeth Maresca, a former IRS trial attorney who supervises the Tax & Consumer Litigation Clinic at the Fordham University law school.

"Most people pay because they're scared, and I don't think that's going to change," Maresca said.

The IRS has not yet issued procedures for taxpayers to prove they have insurance. But IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, in a 2010 speech, said he envisioned a process similar to the one used by taxpayers to report interest or investment income.

Under this scenario, an insurance company would send the taxpayer and the IRS forms each year verifying that the taxpayer has qualified insurance. Taxpayers would file the forms with the IRS along with their returns, and the IRS would check them to make sure they match the information supplied by the insurance companies.

The IRS says it is well on its way to gearing up for the new law but has offered little information about its long-term budget and staffing needs, generating complaints from Republican lawmakers and concern from government watchdogs.

The IRS is expected to spend $881 million on the law from 2010 through 2013, hiring more than 2,700 new workers and upgrading its computer systems. But the IRS has not made public information about its spending plans in the following years, when the bulk of the health care law takes effect.

The lack of information makes it impossible to determine whether the IRS will have adequate workers to enforce the health care law, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration said in a report three weeks ago. The report, however, concluded that "appropriate plans had been developed to implement tax-related provisions" of the law.

In 2010, House Ways and Means Committee Republicans issued a report saying the IRS may need as many as 16,500 additional auditors, agents and other employees "to investigate and collect billions in new taxes from Americans."

That assessment has been widely cited by opponents of the law. The IRS disputes the jobs number but hasn't offered another one.

"That is a made-up number with no basis in fact," IRS spokesman Dean Patterson said in an email. "The 2012 budget calls for about 1,200 employees for the IRS to implement the (Affordable Care Act), and the vast majority of those employees are needed to build technology infrastructure to support payments like the new tax credits for individuals and small businesses."

Republicans on the House committee have accused the IRS of obscuring its cost of putting in place the health care law by absorbing it into in other parts of the agency's budget. They cite a June report by the Government Accountability Office that said the IRS has not always accurately identified spending related to the new health care law.

"The agency's repeated lack of transparency to Congress and its failure to provide accountability to the American taxpayers raises fundamental concerns about implementation authorities vested to the IRS," the top four Republicans on the Ways and Means Committee wrote in a June 27 letter to the IRS commissioner.

The committee chairman, Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., has scheduled a hearing on the tax implications of the Supreme Court's ruling for Tuesday.


The ‘New Gestapo’? Maine Gov. Blasts Massive Expansion of IRS Agents

Governor Paul LePage of Maine is making news for allegedly referring to the IRS as the “new Gestapo” Saturday, after blasting the president’s overhaul of our health care system.

He reportedly said:

This tax will add to the $500 billion in tax increases that are already in Obamacare. Now that Congress can use the taxation power of the federal government to compel behavior or lack thereof, what’s next? More taxes if we don’t drive Toyota Priuses or if we eat too much junk food or maybe even pea soup?

This decision has made America less free. ‘We The People’ have been told there is no choice. You must buy health insurance or pay the new Gestapo – the I.R.S.

Even more disheartening is that reviving the American dream just became nearly impossible to do. We are now a nation in which supports dependency rather than independence. Instead of encouraging self-reliance we are encouraging people to rely on the government. [Emphasis added].
LePage has a history of making inflammatory remarks, saying the NAACP could “kiss his butt” in 2011, and that Barack Obama could “go to hell” in 2010. At Maine’s GOP convention in 2012 he told the unemployed to “get off the couch and get yourself a job,” to a standing ovation from the crowd.

Watch the NAACP comment, below:

Maine’s Democratic Party Chairman Ben Grant demanded a full apology for the remarks, saying:

“We’ve come to expect a bunch of nonsense from Gov. LePage, but this is a step too far. There appears now to be no limit to the extreme language he will use to misinform, degrade and insult people. Somebody needs to explain to him that he’s the governor of a state, and not a talk radio host.”
According to the House Ways and Means Committee, the IRS will be adding 16,500 new auditors, agents, and other employees to “investigate and collect billions in new taxes from Americans.”

But is a “Gestapo” comparison taking it too far?


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sunday 07-08-12

Ancient Mosaic Depicting Fiery Bible Story Discovered

A glittering mosaic of colored stones once decorated an ancient synagogue floor with scenes of the Biblical hero Samson getting revenge on the Philistines.

This newly excavated discovery in the ancient Jewish village of Huqoq not only depicts an unusual scene — Samson tying torches to foxes' tails in order to burn his enemies' crops — it's also remarkably high-quality, said dig archaeologist Jodi Magness of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

In a mosaic, "the smaller the cubes, the finer the work," Magness told LiveScience. "Our cubes are very small and fine."

The mosaic decorates part of a synagogue dating back to about A.D. 400 to 500. So far, Magness and her team have excavated only part of the eastern wall of the structure, so they don't yet know how big the synagogue was. But the building appears to be made of large, "beautifully cut" blocks of stone, Magness said, suggesting an expansive structure. [Gallery: Ancient Israeli Treasures]

The mosaic, which is incomplete, depicts several scenes. In one, two female faces flank a Hebrew inscription about rewards for people who perform good deeds. In the other, Samson, of the biblical story Samson and Delilah, ties torches to pairs of foxes, an event described in the Book of Judges in both the Christian and Hebrew Bibles. As the story goes, Samson falls in love with a woman of Philistine origin, a people who ruled the city-states of Gaza, Askelon, Ashdod, Ekron and Gath in the ancient Middle East. The Philistines are depicted as enemies of the Israelis in the Bible.

At his wedding feast with his Philistine bride, Samson taunts the Philistine groomsmen with a riddle they cannot possibly answer. When his bride begs Samson for the solution and passes it on to her kinsmen, he kills 30 men from Askelon in a rage. When he returns home, he finds that his bride has been given to someone else. In revenge, Samson gathers pairs of foxes and ties their tails together with torches between them. He then looses 300 of the animals on the Philistines' fields, destroying their crops.

It's this scene that is depicted in the mosaic. It's an "unusual" subject, Magness said, because only two other synagogues have been found that depict Samson at all, much less a fiery scene of revenge. But one of the other ancient synagogues that does depict Samson is only a few miles from the newly excavated building, Magness said.

"It suggests that, for whatever reason, Samson was popular in the local area," she said.

The synagogue would have been the only house of worship in the village, Magness said. For a village synagogue, it's very fancy, suggesting that the village was an affluent place. That's interesting, Magness said, because the area was under the rule of Byzantine Christians at the time the synagogue was in use. Usually, this is seen as a time of oppression for Jewish peoples, but it seems that the residents of this particular village were doing well.

The archaeologists uncovered the mosaic last week. A student on his first dig was carefully scraping away at the dirt with a hoe when he felt the hard surface of the mosaic. He called Magness over, and they carefully excavated, brushing away dirt to reveal a colorful female face staring back at them, exposed to the light of day for the first time in 1,500 years.

"I think that was probably by far the most exciting moment I've had as an archaeologist in my life," Magness said.