Tag Archives: liberty

Story: I was contacted, threatened, and ordered to take down “leaked” information!

Three weeks ago I was contacted by an anonymous source in the National Security Agency (NSA).  The source contacted me through an email I have made available to the public through this blog. In the email the anonymous source claimed to be a long-time reader of my blog and that (s)he appreciated my honesty and my “small government stance”.

The anonymous source explained that (s)he had information that (s)he wanted to spread virally throughout the internet, specifically through blogs and smaller, independent, media outlets. At first I was very skeptical and assumed that this “anonymous emailer” was probably the other author of this blog (Holden) playing a prank.

The “Top Secret” Information – Proof

Soon I received a .zip folder over a private VPN file transfer set up by the anonymous emailer. The file was several GB in size and contained over one-thousand power-points, .jpg files, word documents, and .pdf’s. In the email the anonymous source highlighted about a dozen documents (s)he called “must reads”.

Over the next two weeks I read what must have been 250 documents. Most of them were very boring and seemed to be meaningless. However, several of them are worth spreading and sending to as many news outlets as possible.

Of course I assume that these “interesting” documents could be fake. So I sent one document to a contact I have in law school whose father happens to work for the Government (I assume FBI or CIA). Within the hour his father called me personally.

He was very concerned and asked me where I received the document. I told him that I found it on a random website on the internet. My friend’s father stressed to me the importance of keeping the document to myself. This pretty much confirmed to me the validity of my anonymous emailer.

Two Nights Ago – Posting the Information

Two nights ago I decided I would post a summary of the information I was provided. I also posted a link to the “critical documents” available for download via a link to a third party website (set up by the anonymous emailer). I felt this was not “leaking” the documents myself, thus was safe and legal.

Less than an hour after posting that article and link the post disappeared. It was as if I had never written it. A few minutes after that I was contacted by an “attorney” representing the United States Government. This was frightening as I blog under a pseudo-name and have never provided by personal mobile phone number on this blog. I was not informed how the “attorney” obtained my contact information nor how they linked me to this blog.

I was ordered, upon threat of charges being brought against me, to provide the details of the anonymous emailer, my email account, and all documents.

Media Shield Law

My first instinct was to give in, but I decided that by providing any information I would be incriminating myself. I contacted an attorney. I have been stressed for the past few days because no one knows about this- not Holden, not my wife.

The Attorney informed me that I was not protected under a new law called the “Media Shield Law”. Specifically I am not protected because I do not meet the criteria as a journalist.

Specifically, the amendment requires that a journalist meet one of the following definitions:

  1. working as a “salaried employee, independent contractor, or agent of an entity that disseminates news or information;”
  2. either (a) meeting the prior definition “for any continuous three-month period within the two years prior to the relevant date” or (b) having “substantially contributed, as an author, editor, photographer, or producer, to a significant number of articles, stories, programs, or publications by an entity . . . within two years prior to the relevant date;” or
  3. working as a student journalist “participating in a journalistic publication at an institution of higher education.”

*Amendment to S. 987, 113th Cong. § 5(A)(i), § 5(B)(iii) (2013).

Per the advice of my attorney I provided all documents to the US Government.

Why I’m Writing This

I decided to write this as a last ditch effort to let everyone who may read this know what’s going on. To you all know how fucked up everything is. To let you know that these laws do matter, that the Government has too much power. I wish I could tell you what I saw on those documents. I wish I could tell the world, but I can’t. I just hope this article isn’t taken down too.


Fake Article, but Real Consequences

Nothing I wrote above was true. As in – it didn’t really happen. BUT I hope it proves a point. The laws are real. The situation could be real. And the Amendment above is real. I hope this brought it home for you and made you realize how dangerous an unconstitutional law like this really is.

The first amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Why Women Earn Less than Men

Do men really earn more than women? Is that because of discrimination? I don’t think so – at least not in the way we think.

For example, my wife is an art teacher and recently accepted a part time job because we are having our first child. In contrast, I was just promoted and have a full time business consultant job. I don’t think this is marketplace discrimination, but rather expectations of gender roles we have accepted.

So is their discrimination in the workplace? I don’t think so. Perhaps it is the gender roles some people are unhappy about.

How Apathy Killed a Country: Security and Privacy

It might seem like the NSA Privacy topic is all anyone is talking about right now and that true, but I have been discussing these issues for three years now. Right here on this very blog. It’s frustrating.  Sometimes I feel like people, especially people in my generation (20 somethings) are blind. We are too addicted to the whims of main-stream-media talking points and our smart phones to know anything different. Perhaps the real question is: Why are we doing nothing? I have my theories.

Hierarchy of Needs and a Call to Action

My theory is we have become fat piggies. Too fat to do anything about our own circumstances.

We have all of our basic needs met. We have food, shelter, short term safety, and we are entertained. Distracted. That’s perhaps the most important thing. We are well fed and highly distracted.

People riot for two reasons:

1. Their immediate needs are not met. They are starving. They are approaching death. They are oppressed and “fight or flight” tells them to fight.

2. They are of higher conscious and demand social change. I think this is where the founding fathers were at. They saw the larger social injustice and understood their context in history. The opportunity came to form the United States and they did it.

Since our needs are being met and we are being kept relatively fat and stupid – subdued – those in the know are free to rule the slave masses. A more subtle and sinister form of slavery than before – slavery of thought and intention. Not a conspiracy, but a technique slowly developed over time by those in power – to stay in power. Unintentional at it’s core, effective, but on purpose.

Distractions and Illusion have made us blind to historical context

We have been to quick to forget history. We’ve been detracted. We have been fat pigs gobbling up free treats in our troughs – with our heads down – while our masters prepare to slaughter (or at least control) us. Big banks have gotten, their institutions have failed, and they’ve gotten richer. We’ve been swindled.

We do nothing because it all seems normal. We sit around the dinner table and complain about the NSA, Obamacare, homophobes – or whatever it is we want to be mad about, but we ultimately do nothing. I suggest reading the book “In the Garden of Beasts” for some historical context to how this is much like Nazi Germany under Hitler. (No I’m not saying we are Nazi Germany, I’m saying the social attitude to corruption is eerily similar.)

End Rant

Of course I’m ranting. It’s just frustration, I guess. I’ve seen first hand the changing perception of America around the world. I’ve heard and read first hand accounts about the military and economic tactics of business men and politicians around the world. A regime change here, a drone strike there, bankrupt a country – sell the spoils to the highest bidder. Greece, Turkey, Guatemala, Panamar, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, whoever. The people riot, the media ignores it, repeat.

8 Reasons Obama’s Presidency has failed

There are a lot of fans of the Obama Administration, but at this point I think there are just too many problems to ignore. Here are 8 issues I find especially troubling.

UPDATE: Washington post confirms the Government is pulling data from at least 9 separate sources including Google.

1. The NDAA – allowing for indefinate detention of U.S. citizens without trial.

2. CISPA – Would allow the Government to legally monitor all traffic and share information with ISPs. New evidence shows that they are already doing this, at least partially, (see #7 below) they just want to make it official!

3. Guantanamo Bay – still open, being expanded on.

4. Fast and Furious – The US Government caught red handed dealing arms to Mexican drug cartels.

5. Benghazi – 4 U.S. citizens killed in a terrorist attack.  “Stand down” orders were given to nearby U.S. Military responders, the administration knowingly lied about what happened, and all mere months before President Obama’s second election.

Note: Obama recently appointed Susan Rice as National Security Advisor (she lied about Benghazi over and over again). The interesting thing about this appointment is that it does not require Senate approval. Was he sending a message? I think so.

6. The IRS scandal – evidence of the direct targeting of conservative groups by the IRS.

7. The Government Spying on us – leaked papers recently proved that the US Government is tracking, logging, and data mining, all cell phone data.

8. The largest spy data center ever built – big enough to log every phone call conversation, every email, and every chat. Read about it here or here.

Big Government Part 1: Privacy vs. Security

On September 11, 2001 at 8:46am Flight 11 was rammed into WTC 1 at 446 mph. At that moment everything changed for America. The great nation and we people contemplated our own vulnerability. We were afraid. We were angry. We never wanted something like this to happen again.

Just over a month later on October 26, 2001 the Bush Administration exploited the fear and confusion among the American people to pass the most privacy-intrusive legislation in world history: The Patriot Act of 2001. Which begs a second question: How did they write AND pass such a comprehensive piece of legislation so quickly? (But maybe that’s another discussion.)

Surveillance State

Since 2001 it has become “common sense” that Americans will have to give up a piece of their privacy for the sake of “National Security”. The Government has since then installed at least 30 million surveillance cameras, built the largest spy data center on the planet, purchased a number of aerial surveillance drones, and more.

It is now fact that all of our emails, our voice conversations, and public actions are logged, tracked, and archived.

And in spite of Government surveillance capability tragedies such as the Sandy Hook and Auaura, Colorado shooting and the Boston Marathon Bombing happened. But instead of questioning the effectiveness of privacy related policy most popular media sources have demanded more surveillance.

Safety vs. Big Brother

I am not an advocate of the “Government is out to get you” school of thought, but I do question the appropriateness and effectiveness of the Government’s public safety tactics and installation Orwellian Big Brother style society. And while I do not foresee the Government becoming a Stalinist dictatorship (and least not anytime soon) – I do see a cultural shift of Government reliance – which I think is detrimental and dangerous.

For example, after the Boston Marathon Bombings local and federal authorities used the security cameras and surveillance data to identify and locate Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev. In some ways this was proof positive that surveillance brings justice – but did it?

After the initial bombing Boston was shut down for nearly a week. Businesses closed, people were not allowed to leave their homes, and police were searching private homes at will for the suspects. People lived in a police state for days AND it cost the city billions.

So which was worse for Boston – the bombing or what followed? I would argue that the terrorist tactic wasn’t to blow up as many people as possible (the bomb was light for terrorist standards), but to exploit the Government’s security tactics in effort to disrupt society and cost them a lot of money. If so, it work.

I’m honestly happy we caught the terrorists, but when we deal with situations in such a manner the terrorist accomplish their goal – MAYHAM. Hardly anyone wants to discuss this though.

Big Data

Another problem with all of this surveillance is management.

I have worked as an IT security consultant for the last five years and I have experienced first hand the challenges of big data. There are various security and access concerns, storage issues, questions about how to mine, sort, and search data – and it’s all very, very expensive.

The amount of data the Government is allowed to collect is an immediate red flag. Who is accessing my data? What are they doing with it? How do we know China isn’t stealing it? Why are they allowed to have my data? Who is checking up on the Government? And how much is it costing the tax payer? And is it worth it?

Why We Need Privacy

Do you remember when you were a kid and you wanted nothing more than to go in your room and shut the door? Every now and again your Mom would walk in unannounced and you would shout “Knock first!”

What about if you found out your parents were listening in on your phone calls or reading your texts? I cringe just thinking about it.

Were you plotting little terrorist attacks or rubbing paint all over the carpet? Probably not. You probably weren’t doing anything wrong, but the idea of someone eavesdropping on your private life seemed awful.

Similarly, all of America deserves its privacy. We want privacy because there are certain aspects of our personal lives that belong to us. There are certain aspects of being free that include no one knowing about it. It is a fundamental part of humanity. A part of humanity that if ignored will lead to hostility and resentment.

That’s part of the problem with Big, Intrusive, Governments.

Featured Image Photo Credit

Liberty

Police State or State of Insanity?

Below is a video of a man in Texas who was arrested and disarmed by officers after someone called the police. Watch the video and let’s discuss.

Two Sides

In my attempt to remain level headed I want to examine both sides of the story here.

The Officer 

On one side we have the police officers. They received a call about a man carrying a rifle while walking down a Texas road. Their heart begins to pound because anytime you have to respond to a man with a gun your life could be in danger. Guns do have the potential to kill and when entering in a situation as such one must be prepared.

The police see the man and an intimidating weapon and a slight panic sets in. They ask the man to turn over his weapon and he gives them an attitude. This automatically makes the situation worse. The cops stop following protocol and act in self interest. Their first concern is disarming a man who seems aggressive – this isn’t by the book, but things are moving so fast that it’s easy to see why mistakes are made.

Gun violence has been all the talk on the news and in precincts everywhere. Tensions are high and protecting life is top priority.

The Armed Citizen

The man is a veteran and purposely chose rural Texas as a place to call home. He chose rural Texas because he believed that values he holds dear are upheld here. He has been desensitized by weapons after carrying one for several years in Afghanistan. He is a proud man and fought to defend the rights of all Americans and he wants to exerciser his to the utmost – that includes legally carrying a gun.

When the officer stops him he feels violated. This is America. This is Texas. He is just a man protecting himself and his son. The officer, who is a little panicked, tries to grab the citizen’s weapon away. This is it – unacceptable – this is exactly the kind of fascism and lawlessness the former soldier fought for to protect. It is inexcusable that any man try to take those rights away – the ones he was literally willing to die for.

The citizen is infuriated. This stamps on everything he believes in – and his son is there to watch.

Clarity

When you see it from both sides it kind of becomes obvious why there was so much conflict. Both sides had a good point, but both failed to realize the other had their own perspective. I would even go as far as to say that perhaps neither were wrong completely, but both failed to see the other person’s point of view. Both were hyper aware of the gun and less aware of the situation. The cop was trying to protect his own life (as far as he knew) and the citizen was trying to protect his rights and beliefs (which he was obviously very passionate about).

How the Media has distorted Judgement

When I first watched this video I felt a lot of emotion. Then as I contemplated it – I realized a lot of those emotions were not my own. They were implanted by the media. They were thoughts and ideas that someone else told me to think. Carefully formulated rhetoric designed by the anti-gun and pro-gun lobbies to persuade judgement. It seems like this has affected almost everyone’s ability to judge the situation without bias.

We know the ideas: Guns are bad. People with guns kill people. Universal background checks. Common-sense laws. The Government is bad. The Government wants to take guns away so they can control us. Blah blah blah.

Maybe what we need to do is sit down and rethink this whole issue. Forget the guns and think PEOPLE. We need to educate people. We need to change the culture. People are both the problem and solution.

Side Note: The New Vietnam?

I also see a frightening pattern regarding returning veterans. Will this be a new pattern? Returning vets realizing they fought in Iraq based on a lie the Government sold based on Nuclear weapons that didn’t exist. A war that was never declared and never ended? Will proud vets return home to a population that quickly dismissed their cause and doesn’t appreciate their sacrifice? In the end I can see nothing good from the kind of endless war we’re in. History forgotten is quickly repeated.

DC Zoo 5

Conservatives: Stop the Hypocracy on Gay Marriage!

I love my fellow conservatives. I will chit-chat and agree all day long about the values of personal liberty, defense of the constitution, limited Government, and balanced budgets. I honestly believe that these values are what makes America great. I think our sense of personal freedom and individualism is why we are so unique. It’s why we make the best movies, have the best tech gadgets, and why the rest of the world often looks to us for innovation.

What I dislike is how many Conservatives cherry pick their own philosophy to fit their personal beliefs. Are you conservative or are you only conservative when it fits your own personal gain and ideology? Let me provide an example.

A while back I was doing some research on local politicians (I live in Georgia) and ran across Representative Paul Braun (pictured above). Mr. Braun says all the things that makes my conservative heart flutter. In one interview he says:

“That’s what I’ve been doing in Congress, trying to push the government back to constitutionally limited government as our Founding Fathers meant it. That’s what I am all about.

I voted against [the budget] because it doesn’t even cut spending. It just slows the growth from a 5 percent growth to a 3.4 percent growth. This is just intolerable as far as I’m concerned, so what I’ll be doing is proposing specific cuts…

I am a Bible-believing Christian,” he said. “I also realize that people have other beliefs than I do and that’s fine. In fact, I respect their beliefs, but the thing we all can believe in is that we’ve just got to stop all of this out-of-control spending. No matter what your religious beliefs are, we’ve got to deal with this tremendous debt that’s unsustainable.”

I can handle this. He wants to cut spending and limit Government. While he may have his own religious beliefs he “respects [other's] beliefs”. No problem. Right? Wrong!

Conservative Hypocracy!

Like so many conservative Rep Paul Braun preaches the limited Government conservative ideology, but is more than willing to use Government to impose his own beliefs on others AT THE EXPENSE OF TAX PAYERS! Here are two examples:

1. In May 2009, Broun proposed failed legislation that would have proclaimed 2010 “The Year Of The Bible”. He also introduced a bill to ban the sale or rental of sexually explicit materials on U.S military installations.

2. In 2008, Broun and 91 co-sponsors introduced H.J.Res.89, a proposition for the Federal Marriage Amendment. The proposed amendment to the United States Constitution would define marriage as “as consisting only of the union of a man and a woman.” Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) and eight other senators introduced a proposition for the amendment with S.J.Res.43 on June 25.

Hypocracy is a Pattern

Rep Braun demonstrates the lack of ideological consistency that is a major pattern in the conservative community.  If you want to preach individuality, limited Government, and personal freedom then it should be FOR ALL PEOPLE – not just the ones who fall into your religiously defined moral code.

Conservatism is about individuality and liberty, not about stifling the pursuit of happiness for a group of people who just so happen to be attracted to the same sex. The Government should stay out of people’s personal lives or any contract between two consenting adults – especially when it involves matters of the heart.

If anyone should support Same Sex Marriage – on principal alone – it should be conservatives.

Liberty

TSA Opt-Out Experience: “Sir, the agent will touch your groin and buttocks.”

I am westward bound. Thirty-thousand feet above the earth’s surface with nothing, but my thoughts and a laptop I have been allowed to temporarily utilize to curb my boredom – that is until the pilot indicates I have to “shut down all approved electronic devices”.

The TSA

Before arriving at this cozy little window seat a lot happened. I was obediently herded from the airport entrance, through check-in, and to security. In an orderly fashion I obeyed the TSA overlords and moved in a single file line toward the security checkpoint. As instructed I handed over my identification and carefully removed anything that could be utilized for terrorist activities.

Such items for removal include my belt, watch, shoes, and jacket. All electronics, liquids, and my personal hygiene items must be emptied into a bin for closer examination. Now barefoot, I must agree to a full body scan of my entire skeletal structure – I must prove I am not harboring any items of ill will – all to guarantee safety, of course. The giant body scanner stands before me.

The Opt-Out Experience

Since I value my personal liberty and would rather my body not be bombarded with protons, electrons, back-scatter rays, or magical beams – none of which I fully understand – I choose to opt out and accept the fully body pat-down. This of course brings a certain amount of public criticism and shame. I am being a difficult slave so an appropriate amount of public humiliation must follow – per protocol I’m convinced.

Loudly: “Sir, you are aware that by opting out an agent will be touching your groin and buttocks?” I confirm.

Another agent, sarcastically: “Sir, you know this machine doesn’t cause cancer, right?”

Me: “Yes, sir. I’m aware of these facts and I would still like to opt out.” I’m a black sheep now. Time for the pat-down. For everyone’s safety, of course.

I’m pulled aside. A few slaves look at me uncomfortably. They can’t be sure I’m not a trouble maker. My actions have confused the herd. I have separated myself from those obediently following the rules set forth by the system.

The Pat-Down

My baggage is laid before me, but I cannot touch it. Not until they are sure I am not a criminal – a terrorist. Like a convicted felon I hold my arms to the side, palms up, as instructed. The TSA agent inspects my hands, rubs my thighs, groin, back, chest, and buttocks. No surface of my body is untouched. The agent then takes his gloves to a magical machine which confirms no traces of terrorist residue have made their way to his hands during pat-down. (I wonder how much that machine costs? Our tax dollars at work – nothing wasted.)

A few seconds later the TSA agent returns and allows me to be on my way. I thank the agent for his time with a smirk.

Some slaves feel degrading and I see why, but this does not phase me. I smile and thank each agent for their time as I gather my things. I decide the experience was free and public body massage. A normal person may have been humiliated – fuck it – I am happy to oblige.

All of this inconvenience, humiliation, forfeiture of your rights, and submission of your personal information (down to a scanned blueprint of your body) in the name of safety. In effort to combat against a terrorist threat we slaves are apparently too stupid and too naïve fully to understand.

I can’t help but ask myself: “Is our sacrifice of personal space and privacy worth it? Is the precedence we have established justifiable?” The answer is no. Undeniably no.

Forfeiture

We have to be careful what we get used to. I mean this sincerely. We are experiencing a slow yet steady forfeiture of our basic rights as human beings – not just as Americans – but as flesh and blood human organisms. Our right to move about has been encroached. Our right to personal privacy – even in the most intimate way – has been thrown out. Taxes slowly increase (we now work almost 6 months a year to pay taxes alone). We are monitored continuously – via email, photograph, surveillance cameras and drones, and innumerable registrations.

And perhaps worst of all, if the Government finds reason to label you a terrorist (in which the rules of obtaining such a label have not been explained to the public) the Government can legally hold you without trial, forever, and kill you.

All this in the name of public safety? How long will this excuse suffice? Where do we draw the line?

media

People are no longer Free Thinkers

It never fails to amaze me how easily people are fooled by propaganda. Especially if said propaganda aligns with the beliefs an individual already holds. I find case after case of this on Facebook. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t find Facebook terribly scientific nor do I care for it much; however, I do find it a useful tool to check the pulse of people’s thinking. Especially people whose views are being shaped by popular media sources.

A prime example was today when I logged in and found literally a dozen of my connections sharing an article supposedly written by Bill Cosby. (You can read the entire article here.) The article goes on to critisize social programs, “spread the wealth” ideaology, lazy people, and even Muslims. I immediately knew this couldn’t by something legitimately accredited to Bill Cosby – especially publicly.

I did a quick Google search and quickly found dozens of sites (including Bill Cosby’s personal website) saying the article was a fake. So why was everyone else so easily fooled, so apt to propagate the lie, and too lazy to fact check? Was it because it so easily confirmed their own beliefs?

This is a pattern. People immediately accept whatever falls in their lap as complete truth. People are no longer free thinkers – rather they are sheep-sponges who obediently fall in line, absorb, and spread any information provided to them in which they find convenient.

A respected pop-culture icon and black leader, like Bill Cosby, spouting popular conservative ideals was just too delicious to pass up – thus it spreads like wildfire on social networks. A few items of hate speech, sprinkled in with a few lines of truth, and suddenly the entire message is accepted at once. The lies and hate are absorbed in the blood stream as inconspicuously as they landed on everyone’s homepage.

My biggest fear is that my peers have forgotten how to think for themselves, how to distinguish a lie from the truth. They are now good slaves propagating whatever they hear or see on whatever screen is in front of them. That is dangerous.

Surveillance: How the average Citizen is giving away their power

I’ve often wondered if the type of surveillance the American people are subjected to (and somehow remain ignorant to or just blissfully ignore) will effect politics of the future. Think about it.

Most average people use Twitter, Facebook, and are probably writing on blogs. Their information has been mined, stored, sorted, and archived. They are trapped. We same people will be running for political office and may attempt to become leaders of free society.

What will the impact of the self-documentation and self-incrimination of our entire life result? The embarrassing pictures, the Facebook rants when you were 17, your changing political philosophy, etc. Think about it – even if you carefully monitor your own social network computers can automatically detect your face in photos friends upload.

Will an average citizen be able to run for and win public office or will this type of information surveillance lead to a self-eliminating elitist favored political system.

Elites in Political Office

This is an idea that concerns me. If in the near future the average American has forfeited enough personal information on the internet and via surveillance to incriminate themselves to the point of non-electablility will the “average Joe” eliminate themselves from the election pool?

What this my leave is elitist candidates who have been carefully groomed from birth to act as our political leaders. Chosen by the elites to act in their interest and elected by the people simply because a normal person has too much baggage floating around on the internet. Kind of an interesting thought.