Thursday, February 20, 2014

The boogeyman in our back yard...

A whole host of web-based “alternative media” websites are (once again) reporting about a supposed Muslim terrorist training compound in Texas. Specifically, about half an hour from my home outside a sleepy little town called Sweeny.

First, let's look at the fact that this rumor has been swirling around for over a decade. No one has ever been arrested in the big bad terrorist training camp. If they have been the subject of an investigation by the FBI or the BATFE, nothing has ever come of it.

The reason for this has nothing to do with the Obama administration refusing to do anything because he's a “closet muslim” or some ridiculous crap, and everything to do with the fact that nothing is going on. If there was even a hint of something going wrong out there, our government would be all over it like white on rice, because that's what government agencies do. They do it because their budgets depend on making the big bust and scaring the hell out of everyone.

This is Texas. Within a half a block away from my home, even the poorest of the working poor can walk into a pawn shop and buy an AK on the layaway plan. I know this because I walked into that pawn shop yesterday, and I'm thinking of getting said AK. Including tax, any non-felon/non-psycho can buy a functional AK-47 for less than $30 per week and have complete ownership in six months. If you have $758, you can walk out with it today.

Think about that long and hard. You're willing to accept that the BATFE would knowingly arm criminal cartels in Mexico for the purpose of scaring everyone into thinking that we needed to further regulate firearms, but a “terrorist camp” has existed in Texas for 10 years and no one is doing anything about it?

Second, let's look at the source. The latest version of this rumor was being spread around by the website “WorldNetDaily”, which has long-since been viewed as a publication whose readers make people like me appear almost normal...and that's really saying something! WND goes on to quote two sources, the first being The Clarion Project and the second being ACT! For America. Both appear to have a heavy anti-Muslim/pro-Israel bias, as evident by both the front pages and the about pages of their websites, destroying any sense of journalistic integrity they should be exercising.

Further, the “joint investigation” from Clarion and ACT! claims to have uncovered declassified FBI documents about this so-called “terrorist camp”. Those “FBI files”, when you finally chase down all the links to their final ends, consist of nothing more than a copy of a phone bill.

They further go on to say that “neighbors have reported gunfire at the encampment, while law enforcement officers have done nothing”. Photos show empty rifle and shotgun casings found in the area. Well, no shit! If you go look up the googlemap of the area, you'll find that it is a rural area...and I would know, my in-laws live on the next road over. Before you even get to this place from the nearest major highway, you'll pass a “fishing and gun club”. Most property owners in the area have at least one deer stand on their plot, I think we have three. Hunting wild hogs is a very common pastime, I personally shot one a mile and a half from this “terror compound” over the Thanksgiving holiday last year.

It would appear that the writer of this article was careful to not say that reports of gunfire were made to the sheriff's department, while implying that they were, in order to seem as though the county sheriff was either “part of the conspiracy” or simply not engaging in due diligence. In reality, if people called the cops every time they heard gunshots out there, deputies would be questioning me every time I go out there!

So here's my take on it. The story is a non-story, courtesy of people who want you checking in the closet for Osama bin Laden every night before you go to bed. Fearmongering at its finest, nothing more and nothing less.

Ironically, the same people who act like our government should be all up in the mix about people living in trailers and shooting guns in the woods of south east Texas are the same people who would shit bricks if the cops tried to tell them they couldn't do exactly that. Get over it already, people.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Romans 13, my thoughts on it...

Foreword from the author

This is my own personal opinion/interpretation of the 13th Chapter of the book of Romans. This is a verse-by-verse dissection of my own particular interpretation of it, and you may take it as you will. Just as every pastor or pope that has ever lived and may ever live in the future, I am just a man reading this book. I commonly read the New English Standard version of the bible, as it is written in what the authors and linguistics experts consider to be the most accurate commonly-available translation of the bible to date, but the quoted passages are in the New International Version as this was the translation of my first bible provided by Westport Baptist Church of Freeport and was the first one I read cover-to-cover. As a man who has done his fair share of linguistics studies, I will say that the translations of the NES, NIV, and KJB bibles are sufficiently similar to eliminate any arguments as to the point they are trying to convey as a result of how they are translated.

The book of Romans, specifically Chapter 13, has continuously been used and abused by those who wish to see their positions as "governmental authorities" to be somehow a benchmark on what is right and wrong.  Within the anarchist Christian community, this particular passage is perhaps the one individual chapter of the bible we deal with most frequently, as it is the one passage detractors of faith tend to latch on to as proof that religion is a tool for those who wish the majority of mankind to be subservient.  It is, in my opinion, also proof that the Christian church has generally been perverted into a sort of slave-master throughout the ages, giving rise to kings and kingdoms in the name of divine right.  Through it all, I am of the opinion that an honest look at the bible through a skeptic's questioning eye will reveal what He wants us to see.

In the interest of full disclosure, I feel it should also be noted that I am not only a Christian but also an anarchist who has disavowed the oath I once swore to the United States Constitution as a requirement of my enlistment in the United States Marine Corps. The various reasons for my swearing such an oath to the constitution are the same reasons I now disavow it, as I have always known in my heart that a search for what is just and right is the true path for a man to follow...but I am nothing more than a mere man, and my opinions should hold no more weight than those of any other man. I'm not asking you to accept my opinions as gospel, I am merely asking you to decide for yourself.

Submission to Governing Authorities

1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
The major difference between now and in the time of the Romans is that we (along with just about every other nation on this rock called “Earth”) do lot live under a king or an emperor. We do, by virtue of our birth in a particular place, live under a set of laws that govern us. God may not have written the laws, but he surely allowed them to be written. God allowed slavery to take place, he allowed the holocaust, and he continues to allow all manner of other revolting shit to happen in the name of “The Law”. It is what it is, but we'll touch on that a bit later.
2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
We live in a nation borne of rebellion, as most nations are the result of some form of rebellion. It is important to note that the bible does not mention whether the judgment will be His, or judgment from those in government. To claim God disapproves of rebellion would be to claim that people are complete morons for claiming “God Bless America” on July 4th, for how can God “bless” a product of a sinful act that continues to celebrate that sin?
3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended.
Is Paul speaking of commendation from God or government? Throughout the bible, we are taught that our reward is not in the “here and now”, but in the afterlife. When I was a child growing up in a Baptist church, I was a member of a group similar to the “Boy Scouts”, only we called ourselves the “Royal Ambassadors of Christ”, aka “R.A.”...and part of our R.A. Pledge was to be a dutiful follower of Christ. Last I checked, Jesus had a habit of pissing off those in charge (to the point where they nailed him to a tree), but he's still considered “sinless” in the eyes of God. This would indicate that there is a distinct difference between doing what is right, and doing what is legal.
4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.
In these United States, our government specifically states that “We the People” are in authority. This particular verse would indicate that our elected representatives are God's servant for our good. If they do not serve God, how can they serve for our benefit? Again, we see the use of the word “wrong”, as opposed to that of “illegal”. As in the old days, if we were to see a man mercilessly beat a slave because that man's wife “had a headache” for the past three nights, it may be illegal to step in and stop it...but would it be wrong? If the Fuhrer, through his seemingly endless chain of command, said you were to run the ovens of would be illegal for you to tell him to brush his teeth with a Mauser, but would it be wrong in the eyes of God?
5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
Again we see the reference to “the authorities”...but who are the authorities?
6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing.
...for the authorities are God's servants”. If the people occupying a government-funded position do not serve God, are they still the authorities? It's times like now when I beg you to ask a very simple and basic question. Are your elected representatives and other authorities really serving God? If a Utilities Department worker cuts off the water to a widow with two kids because she spent her money on food instead of an ever-increasing water/sewer/trash bill and her waitressing job wouldn't cover both, is he still an agent of God? If a policeman understands full-well that a functional addict needs help with his addiction instead of a destroyed life accompanied by a felony conviction, yet still arrests a person over a traffic stop that turned up three tablets of Xanax that weren't prescribed to him, is that person really doing God's work? If a prosecutor knows that a person has done what was right and necessary, but against the law because of a specific technicality, is he doing God's work when pursues charges solely for the sake of his image because re-election campaigns are around the corner? Are they truly agents of God?
7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
If 100% of a man's labor is slavery, at what percentage point does it cease to be “slavery” and begin to become “taxation”? If these agents of government arbitrarily raise taxes for the sake of personal gain that has no benefit to the common citizen, and does nothing to contribute to work glorifying God, are they still owed? If the employees of government are not worthy of respect because they do nothing to fulfill or enforce the laws of God, are they still owed respect? If they have no honor, must we honor their badge, robe, or mail carrier's uniform?

Love Fulfills the Law

8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.
From an anarchist perspective, a legitimate debt must be paid, as a legitimately-owed debt that remains unpaid beyond its terms is a contractual violation against the Non-Aggression Principle. All people are deserving of basic love, even if their actions are not. Love for your fellow man does not include punitive action such as stealing his money in the name of paying legal fines and fees, nor does it consist of caging or killing a man unless it is proven beyond any doubt that he actually harmed another living person with his crimes. It has long-since been theorized by philosophers that even most semi-intelligent people understand the difference between right and wrong. Science has confirmed, over and over again, that people will (in the majority of cases, anyway) do what is right unless they have been conditioned to believe that legislation (the laws of man, as opposed to the laws of God) are what guides morality and righteousness. Prime examples of this are the Stanford Prison Experiment, as well as the numerous worldwide studies where traffic regulations are removed in favor of common sense and decency. If you give a man authority over another and create a penalty for petty offenses, you will see an increase in authoritarians abusing their authorities and people focusing on not getting caught instead of doing what is right. If you take away the regulations (and by extension, the fines associated with their violation), you will find that the world is a much safer, kinder, gentler place to live in.
9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
This is, in essence, the core of anarchism. It is the Golden Rule of Christ, the Non-Aggression Principle, and so many other wonderful things all wrapped up into a big giant burrito of awesomeness. Just take a bite and see for yourselves!
10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
If “love is the fulfillment of the law”, why do we have so many laws on our books imply the exact opposite? Would those who enforce these legislative edicts not be in direct opposition to the word of God, and therefore be a false authority?

The Day Is Near

11 And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.
I don't really know how to react to this verse, because it strikes me differently every time I read it. Today, as I write this, we're looking at a looming (partial) government shutdown if two competing groups of people with only their own interests at stake have to offer. Every time I read this passage, it always hits me in a different way, very similar (but far more powerful) than when I watched Indiana Jones movies as an adult and understanding all the stuff I missed when I first saw them as a child. It's like that, but different. Yeah, it messes with my head a lot, but I digress...
12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
Strangely enough, as the preceding passage has always held a different meaning for me, this one has always conveyed the same message every time I read it. Essentially, “Hold up, I'm not ready for this shit yet!”. Continuously trying to get there, but you get the idea.
13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.
I know the latter half of this chapter kinda gets away from the message the majority of it was trying to convey, but I do feel like it ties in a bit. We (speaking of the human race as a whole) don't have time for bullshit. We have much more pressing issues to deal with. I enjoy beer and sex, just like 99.44% of the rest of the male half of our species that I've had the opportunity to come into social interaction with. That said, there is a time and a place for both, and they become distractions and detriments when they are enjoyed to excess when there are other things to be doing. It reminds me a lot of something Zakk Wylde (long-time recording and touring guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne, who is a huge fan of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and also loves to speak of how much he enjoys making love to his wife) once said in an interview...”When the alarm clock goes off, you gotta get up and fry the donuts like your life depended on it!” As a proficient and well-respected guitarist, he was speaking of maintaining self-control in order to be at the top of his game when he had to record or perform. The Byrds wrote a song, with most of it being direct quotes from Ecclesiastes, explaining that there's a time for everything. There's a time to be upset about how things are going. There's a time to get angry about what government is doing. There's a time to sit back and have a beer or six when it's time to relax. There's a time to hop into bed with your woman and enjoy that special thing she does, just the way you like it.

That time is AFTER you've handled all your responsibilities, not before. We cannot claim a moral high ground if we do not hold it. It's not enough to sit around drinking a cold beer and bitching on the internet about what is wrong with this world, knowing in our hearts that the things we bitch about are wrong. The time for doing that is after we've walked through the front door and untied our bootlaces, knowing our feet and every other part of our bodies are drenched in sweat doing what we know is right. It ain't enough to “do enough”. Last I checked, there were three miles that Jew boy traveled with the Roman soldier. He carried the Roman's bags that first mile as required by law, even though he shouldn't have. He said “fuck you and your emperor” , shucked the bags while he shot a finger, and walked that second mile out of spite just to prove he was more of a man than the Roman could ever be. By the time they started down that third mile, both their hearts had been changed...and the Roman carried him to mile marker 3. Or so was the story I was told, but it made a lasting impression on me and the lesson has served me well to this day.

14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.[c]
I'm pretty sure this is Paul's way of saying that we should abandon our worries about the new iPod update, stop worrying about what the neighbors are driving, and most importantly, stop worrying about what people might think of you. Other “Christians” may not approve of your lifestyle, they may not have the same relationship with God that you have. Your coworkers may not approve of your opinions, political beliefs, or the way you've invested in your 401(k) plan. Your neighbors might think you're insane for not having cable television or a $28,000 debt on the latest and greatest used SUV that serves no purpose other than picking the kids up from school. Do you think their opinions, or your actions, mean more to the eyes of God?

The lesson I'd prefer we all took away from this that we really need to concentrate on what we are doing. We don't need to give in to societal pressures about what is proper, moral, or even “legal”. The corollary to this is that we shouldn't accept what is considered by society to be proper, moral or legal in order to ascertain how we choose to conduct ourselves within society.

I know my faults, and I've got more than a few. It's my responsibility, and no one else's, to remedy these faults. Likewise, it is no sin to prevent others from forcibly imposing the laws of man upon others simply because a group of people do not agree with the way that certain people conduct themselves, so long as they are not actually harming anyone by anything other than by setting a poor example. I firmly believe that Christ wishes us to use force only when absolutely necessary, and to moderate that force only to what we know is absolutely necessary. Sometimes, a man needs a good swift kick in the ass to get himself squared away. It's our responsibility to ensure that the “kick in the ass” does not get lost in translation along the way, and become written in stone to be “12lb hammer to the head”...and it's also our responsibility to ensure that if/when such a thing does happen, it gets corrected.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Maybe I wouldn't be a "9/11 Truther"

Maybe I wouldn't be a truther, if 9/11 wasn't the instigation for the wars that put a purple heart on my friend's chest.

Maybe if it weren't for the billions of dollars being pissed away on our foreign wars, coming out of our paychecks.

Maybe if it weren't for the increased calls for militarization of our local police forces, resulting in DHS grants buying everything from tasers to tanks for the cops in my neighborhood.

Maybe if it weren't for me being “red flagged” at the airport, having my guitar case swapped for anthrax and my carry-on bag ripped apart looking for drugs, by an incompetent TSA goon who managed to miss the several live .30-30 rounds that were left in there by mistake.

Maybe if it weren't for that half-gallon Crown Royal jug that used to sit on my desk, collecting donations for a dead soldier's memorial.

Maybe if it weren't for the cop who pulled me over for drinking a bottle of water, and then asking me all manner of irrelevant questions bound for our newly-created “fusion centers”.

Most importantly, maybe I wouldn't be a truther if I didn't have any concept of basic physics, the entry-level knowledge of government S.O.P., didn't know that cellphones don't work in airplanes unless they're specifically equipped with a satellite link and Flight 93 didn't have any “air phones” on board, I'd never seen videos of a controlled demo on career day in high school, had never even thought about trying to recreate Oswald's miraculous feat, I actually believed anything that ever came out of the mouths of George Bush or Dick Cheney (or any other elected official, for that matter), had ever seen video footage of any of my multiple arrests magically become “unavailable” in the same manner that all of the surveillance footage of buildings surrounding the Pentagon seemed to disappear, didn't know about Building 7 of the World Trade Center falling down in the exact same manner as WTC 1 and 2 without ever having been hit by an airplane, had never seen the photos of plane crashes where the plane wreckage didn't evaporate, had never seen high-speed hard metal impacting into concrete, and all the other bullshit goings-on in my lifetime.

To quote my grandma, “If 'ifs and buts' were candy and nuts, we'd all have a wonderful Christmas”. Until then, I'm gonna continue to question shit. That's life, and life sucks sometimes. If life were gravy, I wouldn't be sitting here typing this while wondering how many decades ago the wallpaper curling up behind my monitor had been hanging on that wall...but just like that wallpaper, the evils of government were here before me and will likely be here after me. It don't mean that I'm gonna stop asking questions...

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

How I became an anarchist...the extended version's the middle of September, always a shitty time full of bad memories. This is the part where I would normally tell you folks to wake up and start questioning your government. How many of you remember that there was a third building falling into its own footprint, that was never struck by an airplane of any kind?

But enough about that. 9/11 was twelve years ago. If you're too stupid to even start questioning the official story, based solely on the plausibility of it alone, you're far too stupid to be listening to anything I'd have to say about I'm going to just move on past the whole 9/11 thing and talk about something else.

This afternoon, I was looking at the news feed of a friend from Baltimore, and she was discussing how even if we anarchists don't necessarily agree with Rand Paul, he's still a "gateway drug" to the ecstasy of freedom. His message may be from the viewpoint of being the latest in a long line of GOP heroes of the moment, but his message isn't necessarily about him. Sounds strange, right?

Here's my viewpoint on the whole deal. 15 years ago, I'm sitting on my grandma's porch. Mailman shows up, and we get the newsletter of our congressional rep...none other than TX-14's Dr. Ron Paul, three-time presidential candidate and long-serving member of the House of Representatives.

It was kinda funny, most people think of "democrats" as being lazy welfare whores who sit around smoking blunts, sipping 40oz bottles of gut-rot, and sport-breeding for the extra food stamps. Nothing could be further from the truth with our family, even though my family has historically been hard-core democrat voters. No, it wasn't because my family had been needing an increase in welfare. It was because my father, who had worked for the same construction contractor as a rig welder for 19 years, did not receive a pay raise throughout the entire 12 years of Reagan/Bush I...even though inflation was still kicking everyone's ass.

I was always told that a democrat looked out for the working man, and the republican looked out for the business man. Seemed legit, from my limited knowledge of politics, since we kicked financial ass during the Clinton years. Yes, my father worked all the time and was known to miss birthdays and little league games just the same as he did during republican administrations, but we had a shitload of more income flowing in. Having seen this first-hand, without recognizing the real issues at play there, I was convinced that the Democratic party was the way to be for anyone who wished to work for a living.

So there I am, 19 years old, and I'm sitting on grandma's porch. I see this newsletter in the mail as I'm looking through the mail, and I see that Dr. Paul is a republican. I knew his name before this, but I had no idea as to his ideology. The only reason I opened it was because I was bored out of my mind and wanted something to do while I sat on the porch having a cigarette.

The words I read were mind-blowing. It made so much sense to me. Keep in mind, this was back in the day before everyone had the internet at the was back in the late 1990s. No matter how much people want to hype the "Clinton's economy did well because of the internet going public" bullshit, it just wasn't true. I was one of the first kids in my school to have access to the internet at home, back when it required a $15/month fee to AmericaOnLine and a long-distance call to their phone server bank via telephone modem. A two-minute YouTube video took half an hour to load. The best you could hope for, if you got online, was checking a few of the major national newspapers, the stock exchange, or buying airline tickets. The era of broadband and mass information simply wasn't available at home.

Still, I went to the library in my time off and learned as much as I could about this "Ron Paul" guy, because everyone seemed to speak so highly of him...except his colleagues in the house, who referred to him as "Dr. No". Clinton's new "crime bill" was fresh in my mind, as it delayed me getting the pistol my father bought for my 16th birthday due to the waiting period and background check my father had to go through to purchase it...but Dr. Paul, instead of talking about how a waiting period was infringing upon our rights, was talking about how the BATFE needed to be abolished altogether. Freshly kicked out of the Corps over a juvie arrest revolving around some fake LSD, I liked what I was reading about Dr. Paul wanting to do away with the DEA. More than anything, I remember having an actual legit on-the-books job as soon as I became old enough to get one...and getting fucked in the wallet every payday by the IRS, which was yet another federal agency Dr. Paul wanted to get rid of.

The whole thing was eventually pushed onto the back burner over the next few years. Things like a full-time job, several stints in college, a marriage, and copious amounts of partying with my friends took the place of being interested in politics. My general outlook on politics was "shit is fucked up, the super-rich are screwing us all, cops are thugs with badges, and there ain't a lot that's going to change it".

Fast-forward to January of 2003. I'm married, living in a home without cable television. The internet still isn't close to being what it is now (although the Lycos chat room had been created, leading to the meeting of me and my ex-wife, hence the reason I'm married and living in Sterling IL at this time), and I'm working at a Walmart warehouse in Spring Valley IL...DC 6092, VALLEY PROUD!!! The warehouse is an hour and a half commute, one way, but they were paying. Me and a coworker rode together and split gas to cut down on expenses. I usually got over to his house about ten minutes before we left, and his television was almost exclusively tuned to CNN. It was during this time that I watched the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq happen right before my eyes.

I was scared. Not for me, but for so many people I knew back home. I enlisted when I was still in high school, but got bounced out after 14 days. My 4-year hitch would have been up a month and a half after 9/11, likely planting my ass right in the middle of Afghanistan. A lot of the people I grew up with were in that boat, and a lot of them would go on to be veterans of Afghanistan, Iraq, or both.

Thankfully, I didn't know any of the thousands of American war dead from my generation or the generation to follow it...but a lot of people I know knew a few of them. One of my father's friends lost a son in Iraq to a roadside bomb. His best friend from childhood promptly enlisted to "finish the mission" or fulfill whatever duty he felt he had to his friend, and was himself permanently disfigured and disabled by an IED not long after he arrived there.

In '04, I started back to school, pursuing a degree in Graphic Communications. I had the fortunate experience of attending a college-level government class during a presidential election being held in the midst of two simultaneous major foreign wars. The US had not held such an election since WWII, so it was somewhat of a historic event...and while that campaign is ramping up into its final days, I'm in class learning more about the background of the US constitution. We're learning more about the constitutional mandate that congress declare any war we fight, and also about how it hasn't happened since we declared war upon Hungary, Bulgaria, and Romania in the summer of 1942.

Over winter break, I picked up a job working at a friend's 8 Liner parlor (quasi-legal video game casino) during the midnight-8am shift and was a full-time student during the day. I scored a pair of huge tips over the process of a single week, combined them with my weekly pay, and managed to build a very nice computer setup. During '05, having broadband at the house was no longer a "rich man's game". If there's one thing in this world that causes a man to research something carefully, it's the fear of being wrong on the internet! Get something wrong on your homework, or during a discussion at the local bar, and someone might either politely correct you or just tell you that you don't know what you're talking about. Get a simple date wrong in a forum discussing politics, and all hell breaks loose! It was roughly around the time of building that computer that I also pretty much stopped watching television. My computer was on the desk next to the TV stand, and I spent more time looking for obscure 1990s alt-rock music while diving even deeper into current and historical political events.

For the spring semester of '06, I moved in with a friend in Crosby. He had just finished his Masters already, but his now-wife and I had both transferred to UH. We worked at the same CNC machine shop (me as a machinist, he as a programmer), had the same lust for horsepower, and both now had contempt for television. We didn't keep one in the house. I spent a lot of my time away from work either chasing women or drinking beer at the local watering holes, but still spent a considerable amount of time digging around about politics on the web. Well, honestly, it was a mixture of politics, porn, and hitting up MySpace to pick up chicks...but you get the picture. I was in college, what can I say?

The next fall, I'm dealing with all manner of bullshit in my personal life. One morning, when I've got a test in my Art History II class, my car won't start. I borrowed the roomie's bike, and the last thing he says when I call to ask if I can borrow it is "Don't crash my bike." Naturally, as I'm making my way down I-10, I end up sliding that Suzuki down the interstate after a minivan pulls out in front of me. I spent the next two weeks camping out at my dad's house healing up. Getting up to eat, shit, or answer the door makes the scabs split open. I wasn't doing a whole lot of anything except discussing (read: ARGUING) politics on the internet, because it was either that or Judge Judy reruns. It's the middle of the day, in the middle of the school year. Most "normal" people are either at work or school. I'm arguing politics on the internets.

It was around this time that I became familiar with people whose names are now readily recognized by people within "this thing of ours", mostly via a now-defunct web forum known as "BureauCrash". The Iraq war was now burning in everyones' minds...but God help you, if you even think about speaking out about it. Even start to dream about questioning any of it, and you're in some serious shit. You're gonna be in a world of shit when you wake up. You're now a godless heathen hippie scumbag communist piece of shit liberal America-hater who supports Al Qaeda, testicular cancer, drunk driving, and Satan.

It was also around this time that I started reading a lot of Lew Rockwell. I became acquainted with the writings of people like Norman Grigg (who, up until about a year ago, I was convinced was a black man due to the fact that his disdain for police was thought to be matched by only me and Ice Cube), Eric Peters, Fred Reed, and so many others. On the sidebar was a lot of links to the works of people like Larken Rose, who I imagined to be someone totally different than the red-headed normal next-door-neighbor type that I now see in his YouTube videos. A major fixture of, of course, would be the work of the man he used to work for...none other than my district's congressional representative, one Dr. Ron Paul.

In '07, I had moved back home to Angleton. I eventually moved into a shack on the river with a woman I was in a relationship with. I spent about six months being almost completely disconnected from the outside world, not knowing that broadband access available there. After the relationship fell apart, I was at the bar 1/4 up the road...and found out that the cable company started servicing the area with broadband about a year prior. My days consisted of going to work, grabbing a sixer and a burger basket from the bar, and getting online to check the days' events and other random goings-on. I discovered info sites like I knew about the guns/ammo shortage of '09 about six months before everyone else, and happily laughed at all those who laughed at me when I told them to buy bricks of .22LR while they could still find them.

During the spring of '09, I moved back to my father's house. He and four of my senior-citizen relatives lived in Angleton, and I was usually the go-to guy when they needed help because I was the single guy that didn't have softball practice, karate lessons, PTA meetings, or whatever it is that people with families and kids are supposed to do. Me and dad got along great, especially after he got healed back up from his health issues. Grandma and her siblings didn't get any younger, so I stuck around. I had my job to go to every morning, but other than that, didn't have a care in the world except for the occasional call to change a light bulb, repair a cabinet hinge, or pick up a random prescription.

It was around this time that I had embraced the AR15 rifle, Facebook, and the concept of anarchy as being the logical conclusion to an acceptance of libertarianism and the Non-Aggression Principle. It was also very near the time I got pulled over by a local cop on the way home from work for drinking a bottle of water, and recognized that the questions she was asking me weren't just for "my own safety" and "for emergency purposes". Even though she was too stupid to properly read the expiration date on the temp insurance card I'd recently received for the Jeep I'd bought the week before, and kept asking me all manner of questions about shit not pertaining to the traffic stop that were surely bound for the nearest Fusion Center, it was the one and only time I'd ever been pulled over by the police and not asked if I had any firearms in the vehicle. This actually saddened me, because I was actively anticipating it...and had every intention of basking in the glory that would have been the look on her face when I responded with "Yeah, bitch, there's an AR15 and three loaded mags in the back seat!".

My cousin, who had recently joined the local police academy, was often butting heads with me over the concept of American police practices around this time. He was (and presumably still is, I wouldn't know because we stopped talking years ago) of the impression that the average person is too fucking stupid to live life properly...and should be robbed at threat of violence via taxation in order to pay a special class of people wearing state-issued costumes, so that these costumed individuals with guns may extract extortion monies and/or kidnap and/or kill people over victimless crimes.

Ironically, he became a police officer under a strange set of circumstances. For starters, he had to get past the fact that he had ingested (in his words) "copious amounts of cocaine" in his younger years, making him an admitted felon seeking employment in a profession whose top priorities include arresting and imprisoning people who are doing the same things he once did. He likens the total destruction of lives and families via felony conviction and imprisonment by the state to a swat on the ass by a father looking out for his children.

Even more ironic is the fact that after all the bullshit I've come to see in my lifetime regarding those who look to the state for their paychecks, it was a conversation with a blood relative who represents everything I hate in this world that finally pushed me over the edge of minarchism to being a total anarchist. I simply ran out of excuses for the idea that we actually need men with guns to rule our lives.

What's really warped is that one of the last conversations I had with this man was in the parking lot of my former job, when he pulled up wearing his Police Academy uniform (the one my grandmother says made him look like a boyscout, still laughing at that!) in a car equipped with a radar detector and illegal window tint. At the time, I was a manager at an auto accessories outlet, selling window tint and radar detectors. While strictly adhering to the laws regarding window tint, we didn't agree with the notion of being restricted by law to using only the lightest-available window films on front door windows in the name of "highway safety" when that same law made a specific exemption for police cars that by definition were used by those whose jobs consisted mainly of driving up and down this state's highways. It's common knowledge that a radar detector is used only for one purpose, and that purpose is to detect police using radar guns. There is no reason whatsoever to have a radar detector, except to avoid being caught breaking the legal speed limit.

It was his girlfriend's car, but I noticed the illegal tint before he ever stopped, because I anticipated quoting a price on a strip and re-tint of those two roll-up's something I'd done a thousand times before, because the cops like to pull people over for illegal tint. Instead of pulling into a parking spot, he pulls around to the install area. I'm on the passenger side. He rolls down the window, and I'm about to start rattling off prices before I even recognize that it's him. I see him, ask him if he knows he's "ridin' dirty" with the windows, and he starts laughing right about the time I see the radar detector in the windshield. I ask him, in obvious sarcasm, why a future cop would ever be worried about being caught breaking the law...half of the sarcasm going to the notion of law enforcement supposedly being upstanding to the point where they don't break the law, the other half going to the fact that cops have "professional courtesy" and don't get tickets.

He laughs and tells me he doesn't have a badge yet. I look up, see the letters "F. R. E. E." on the side of Dr. Ron Paul's office in Clute TX, about 75 yards to my southwest across the street, turn around around and walk my happy ass back inside.

Dr. Ron Paul didn't tell me "hey, you should become an anarchist!". Dr. Ron Paul just put me on a path to figure it out for myself...

Friday, August 9, 2013

Do your friends have arrest records?

Gandhi, Christ, Martin Luther King, Michael Collins, and just about any other man worth looking up to has stood his ground and taken his lumps. Whether it be a police baton, a cat-o-nine-tails, a fire hose, or even simple imprisonment in a man-made cage, it is rare for a man of conviction to not be punished for his beliefs.

If a man will not stand firm in his conviction, out of fear of retribution for his insolence against the powers that be, he is no man.

Obviously, I cannot look down upon the man who will do what is necessary for his own literal survival, and likewise the survival of his own family. The risk of jail is not something to be taken lightly, and every political activist knows that one may very well find himself either in jail for a civil disobedience action or a trumped-up charge intended to silence him.

Today's activist is no different. I've gone to jail in defense of my right to be left alone. I stood my ground, I got hauled off to a cage, I was ridiculed by my armed kidnapper and her accomplices in uniform, and in the end I saw the magic words “DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE”. That's happened on more than one occasion. Sometimes it took hours before I was let out of my cage, sometimes longer...but the handcuff key worn around my neck is a constant reminder of what I am and where I've been.

I fucking earned my key. I've never been arrested for (or even charged with) a crime involving an actual victim, aside from a simple traffic ticket for “failure to yield right of way” that I still dispute. I can no longer count on the fingers of one hand, the number of times I've been put into a cage, only to be released with all charges dropped before ever stepping foot in front of a judge aside from the JP who set my bail.

When I see my friends incarcerated for exercising their God-given rights (sometimes in full compliance of the law but irritating policemen who think such rights shouldn't exist, other times in direct violation of laws that shouldn't exist in the first place), it does bother me.

When I see my fellow Texan John Bush arrested on a public street in Austin for vocally expressing his opposition to the president, in an act that is protected by his natural (and constitutional) right to expression of an opinion, I get upset. When I see Eddie Free get arrested at the Jefferson Memorial (built in honor of a man who, as a colonial land-owning slave-holder, found a conscience and set his slaves free) for nothing more than silently moving his body in an unapproved manner, I get upset. When I see people like Antonio Buehler getting hauled off to jail for photographing police abuses of a pair of young women, I get upset. When I see video footage of Catherine Bleish being harassed and threatened by an Austin PD officer that has been stalking her facebook page under an assumed name, I get upset.

When I see MY FRIEND ADAM KOKESH being arrested for merely asserting his right to armed self-defense, and facing a felony prison sentence in the District of Criminals for committing a simple act of defiance against government by doing something that is done quite regularly (and legally) right here in my home state of Texas, I get pretty fucking upset. For the record, that act was simply possessing a pump-action shotgun on a public street.

I've lawfully walked across my hometown's police station parking lot with a pistol-grip Mossberg Pursuader (20”bbl, 8rd tube, “riot configuration”) slung across my shoulder without causing a stir, because it wasn't illegal in this state. I turned 18 years old, purchased it from Walmart, and it was mine after showing ID and filling out what was then known as “yellow papers”. I still own it, and can lawfully walk down my street with it slung over my shoulder on any given day of the week. Why? Because our legislative zealots haven't given the cops the authority to arrest me for doing so yet.

In the District of Criminals, however, the ownership of a firearm without the simultaneous government-authorized ownership of the magical “Police Officer” costume is considered criminal. So criminal, in fact, that it took a precedent-setting US Supreme Court decision (aka the “Heller” case) to settle once and for all the fact that an American citizen had the right to possess a functional firearm within ones' home.

Under no circumstances may a peon without said magic costume possess a firearm without first getting a permission slip from the local government of the District of Criminals. Even with this permission slip, firearms may not be carried in a vehicle by peons without the magic costume even when traveling from point of purchase to their homes, without jumping through hoops set forth by the government of the District of Criminals. Under no circumstances whatsoever is a peon allowed to possess a functional firearm within the borders of the District of Criminals upon any public street without wearing the magic costume, unless he has the permission slip and is traveling from point-of-purchase to the address listed on his permission slip. Under absolutely no circumstances whatsoever is any peon without a permission slip allowed to display a functional firearm upon a public street.

It matters not that a firearm is, in and of itself, a non-animated object incapable of doing anything whatsoever without outside assistance...or that men wearing the magic costumes are, in reality, nothing more than costumed men. It's illegal for a peon to have a firearm outside ones' home inside the District of Criminals, for any reason whatsoever. If you commit this mortal sin, men with firearms and magic costumes will kick in your door, throw grenades inside your house, take away your guns, point their guns at you and your friends, and ultimately lock you in a cage.

In other words, “Do as I say, not as I do.”

John Hancock, according to the legend, was once asked why he signed his name to the American Declaration of Independence from England, knowing that it was considered “treason” by the king and he'd surely hang for it if he were caught. Hancock replied by stating that he'd heard the king suffered from poor eyesight in his elder age, and didn't want the king to have any difficulty in reading it.

There's a reason why my heroes (and most of my friends) have arrest records. Those without them generally aren't worth looking up to, because they've never stood for anything worth standing for in their lifetimes.

Monday, August 5, 2013

How to build your in-car surveillance system for under $300

In the past decade or so, our police departments have become rather unruly with their application of the law, and have chosen to abandon the law completely when dealing with people would prefer to not consider themselves subservient to those who wear the magic costumes issued by the state. This occasionally results in beatings, false charges being levied against motorists, and even roadside body cavity searches being perpetrated as a punitive measure for those who choose to assert their rights as free individuals.

Most police cars these days are equipped with onboard recording devices that capture both audio and video of traffic stops, but they are most often only released to the public when the footage benefits the police. In cases where the audio or video shows police officers engaged in immoral and/or illegal activities, the footage is either “lost” or otherwise prevented from open and public disclosure for some reason or another, leaving the victim of such behavior simply hanging in the wind.

Over the past several years, the “smart phone” has gone from a cellular telephone with an attached camera to a full-on computer that happens to be equipped with a telephone...and also has audiovisual recording capabilities. Law enforcement agencies have traditionally stopped the recording of their activities by suggesting that the telephone threatens their personal safety, violates a state wiretap statute, or contains “evidence needed for use in a criminal investigation” so it may be seized and deleted.

Even though cellular telephone apps now exist to provide instant mobile-broadband uploads to secure servers, and our courts have ruled that it is completely legal to record a public official in his public discharge of public duties, resistance of filming the police is still an ongoing issue in this country.

So what's the solution? Build a recording device that will capture footage inside and outside the vehicle stealthily, and record it to an on-board storage device.

For under $300 plus the cost of commonly-found supplies for fabricating enclosures and making electrical connections, you can have a full-function five-camera audiovideo recorder that records to a portable USB hard drive without ever having to utilize a cellular telephone. If you wanna get fancy with it, you can even attach a USB WiFi dongle that will transmit the video via cellular broadband through your smartphone's data connection to a secure server!

How is this possible?

Discover the Raspberry Pi.

Huh? What? The Raspberry Pi is a microcomputer. No, let me rephrase that. It is THE microcomputer. It would be small enough to fit into a standard Altoids tin if the manufacturer had used a circuit board with rounded corners. Yes, it's that small. It contains a processor, ethernet port, a pair of USB ports, half a gigabyte of RAM, an SD card, an RCA analog video output, and a 3.5mm analog audio output.

Oh, and did I mention that it costs less than $50? Yeah, you read that right. Less than $50.

Couple that with five generic webcams, the additional “Pi Face” I/O interface board, a 7-port USB hub, a power supply, a pair of microphones, a 12v hardwire power supply, a portable hard drive, and a pair of momentary switches. The whole shebang can be purchased for less than $300.

BOOOOOOOM! After configuring the software and the I/O interface, you now have a recorder that begins filming the driver door looking outward, passenger door looking outward, front of the vehicle forward, rear looking rearward, and also an interior view mounted in or near your third-brakelight assembly that captures all the action from inside the car. Recording can be started with an easily-accessible pushbutton momentary switch, and stopped with another momentary switch that is typically hidden in the same manner as a standard auto security system's “valet” switch to prevent officers from stopping the recording.

With some skillful installation, the front and rear cameras can easily be mounted into the grille and rear bumper areas. Driver and passenger area cameras can be mounted into the plastic trim around the door sill areas, and the interior-view camera can be mounted into the overhead console. Infrared LED bulbs, invisible to the naked eye, provide light picked up by digital cameras, and are easily installed along with the cameras in a stealthy manner. Disguising the interior cameras as a custom set of stereo “tweeter” speakers makes the installation even easier, and is even more easy if the vehicle came pre-equipped with such tweeters from the factory. Night-time washout will generally only occur from headlights of the patrol car at the rear-facing camera.

If the computer unit and hard drive are installed inside the dashboard, the wires can be ran under existing factory trim pieces in the same manner as a custom stereo unit, and will never be seen unless the car is literally torn apart. Mounting the portable hard drive underneath the factory glove box or center console will keep the unit safe, but allow its retrieval by doing nothing more than removing a few screws.

Monday, May 13, 2013

The true implications of the UN Small Arms Treaty

A lot of people claim the UN Small Arms Treaty to be “harmless” to the legal rights of American citizens, because it specifically states a sovereign nation's civilian firearms rights are not applicable to the treaty.

With that said, the treaty's stated goals and guidelines call for controls on what is exported out of the country, to prevent weapons from falling into the hands of “non-state actors”. Such a definition would include everyone that is not recognized as a legitimate government power. It would include everyone from Al Qaeda and Kony's child-soldier army, the Syrian rebels our country is giving monetary aid to (to finance a revolution, which would include the purchase of arms), the resistance fighters of WWII (whom we actually CREATED a pistol specifically for), and even the American colonial revolutionaries who founded this nation.

In 1986, the US congress passed what is known as the Firearms Owners Protection Act. While it included the controversial Hughes Amendment banning the registration of (and as a result, the private possession of) any and all full-auto “machine guns” produced after May 1986, it also prevented the BATFE from operating or maintaining any type of firearm registry or instituting new registration regulations after that date.

Now let's say hypothetically, the people of Cuba wanted to shed the shackles of communism. Due to ITAR restrictions banning the private shipment of firearms outside the US and its territories, it would be necessary to obtain permission from the state department and have them shipped under the official authority of the US government...who would, in turn, be in violation of the UN Arms Trade Treaty, because Cuban revolutionaries are considered “non-state actors”. Nevermind the fact that the US has had trade and travel embargoes on the nation of Cuba since the communist revolution, and even tried to help overthrow the Castro government in the past using methods that would put them in specific violation of the UN Arms Trade Treaty.

Now let's go a step further, and say the massive amount of second-generation American citizens of Cuban descent living in the US decide that they are unwilling to wait on the US government's assistance that would now be in violation of the UN treaty, and they're tired of waiting on the UN to recognize the resistance in Cuba to be recognized as a legitimate government.

These American citizens, children and even grandchildren of American citizens, have a close connection to the people of Cuba. Being roughly 80mi from the coast of Florida, there are many blood relatives still living under the bondage of communism and despotism. They also have the constitutionally-protected right to purchase firearms for self-protection, sporting purposes, or “just because they feel like it”...including semi-automatic versions of the very same rifles our state-actor troops are currently using in battle. Because of the FOPA of 1986, the US government is prohibited by law from keeping a registry of the current ownership status of these rifles beyond the initial sale from a licensed dealer.

Suppose 200 Cuban-Americans out of Miami's 400,000 people got together and decided to help out the Cuban resistance. Over a period of three months, each of these people could purchase three rifles, and say nothing to no one about their reasoning for doing so. Unless purchased from a very small gun shop, the purchase of one rifle per month would not raise suspicions...nor is it required to be reported to the BATFE. Within a three-month period, 600 rifles could be obtained in such a manner. That would be enough rifles to outfit a force roughly equivalent to three US Marine rifle companies.

Without specific knowledge of a conspiracy to violate ITAR regulations, the US government is constitutionally prohibited from keeping records of current ownership status or preventing the purchase of such rifles. Without specific knowledge that such a conspiracy even exists, the US government and its state and local counterparts are prohibited from even investigating the situation because the mere purchase of the rifles is “reasonably known to be” a constitutionally-protected act done in a manner not meeting the BATFE's standards of reporting suspicious purchases.

How, specifically, can the US be in compliance with the UN treaty by preventing the mass transfer of firearms to a non-state party? It cannot investigate the purchase of a rifle without a reasonable suspicion that it is to be used in a crime (such as a conspiracy to violate ITAR), nor can it create a registry of current ownership status due to the FOPA of 1986.

Essentially, the US will be forced to be in violation of either existing US law, be in violation of the UN treaty, or be forced to repeal specific portions of the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986.