Friday, April 28, 2006

Just Say NO! To FEMA

Altho, I fear it will have about as much effect as it did for drug abuse.

The call by the Beltway Boys to replace FEMA with an even larger, more intrusive and powerful entity is:

A). Too Little, Too Late
B). A Giant Leap In The Wrong Direction
C). Pandering To Duh Masses
D). All Of The Above

We know all too well that the answer must be D. FEMA is just a highly visible and convenient symptom of the larger problem of a system of government which is broken beyond hope of repair. Calls from Congress to replace it with something that not only costs more, but which would be even more draconian in scope is ill advised, at best.

I have little hope that any politician will ever heed my words, but I will write them down anyway, just in case. As many people may know I am an ardent fan of the old Civil Defence System, primarily because it was run in a fashion that was intelligent, community based worked. The best move that the incompetents in DC could make would be to reinstitute the old Civil Defence program. As we saw in the days following Hurricane Katrina there was no order, even when the military was sent in. There was nothing even resembling a functional emergency infrastructure.

No supplies on hand, no foods, medicines or anything that would have helped Gulf Coast residents. Everything had to be sent to the area and even that took the government days to accomplish. Individuals and companies did more to aid in the immediate relief than the government. To this day FEMA is still sitting on trailers that could be used to shelter Gulf Coast residents and that is an unconscionable mismanagement on the part of...the government.

A return to an actual Civil Defence program would take a few years but it would mean that there would be supplies in place. There would be CD people in place during a disaster and they would be your neighbours, not some nameless drone from the government. Basic necessities, supplies and communications would be available from the first moments of a disaster and not days off. It would serve to foster a greater sense of community, once people became involved in the process.

Back in the day, we actually studied Civil Defence procedures. I recently re-acquired a hard copy of "In Time Of Emergency, A Citizen's Handbook On...Nuclear Attack...Natural Disasters", this is a book that my classmates and I were given at St. John Elementary in Gulfport, Mississippi, as part of our school work. (By real nuns armed with Irish temperament and yard sticks...brrrr...). Today's kids desperately need this as part of their curriculum and so do their parents. The helplessness of the victims of Katrina was due in large part to their having no knowledge of what to do or how to do it.
This can be remedied, folks. FEMA and a larger version of it are not the answer here. The answer lies in looking to the past for what works, not to some nebulous future that will inevitably be mismanaged by our Brobdignagian government where everyone needs a slice of the fiscal pie to feel good.

Rather than waste tax payer money on yet another unworkable mess like FEMA, let's put it into a renewed CD program that includes the communities it would serve. One which would serve to educate people on disaster preparedness (not the ludicrous plastic and duct tape crap, mind you) and foster community and business involvement. What Congress is proposing is yet another do-nothing expansion of government which will result in more misery and less freedom and safety for the people of this country. Just say no to FEMA and yes to a new Civil Defense program.

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Kodak And REAL ID

While this patent application is not directly related to the REAL ID debacle, it is a sure thing that when it is fully developed it will become part and parcel of the REAL ID arsenal. I'm not going to blame Kodak for creating this, even tho the only application it can be used for is to ID people. If Kodak didn't do this someone else would have. Eastman Kodak just happened to get to the Patent Office first.
(Note: The link above doesn't seem to work right, due to the USPO website. You may search by "number" on the page that this links to. Patent Application Number: 20060045352. Thanks to Kip!)

But, it is a clear indicator that higher tech ID methods are a growing industry in today's statist world. Governments worldwide are clamouring for new and better ways to track "their" citizens for their own unspecified purposes. What we must determine is if we are going to allow them to continue down this road to the Police State or go with the cattle-like flow and be required to show papers for every little thing and have our info shared with everyone from corporations to foreign governments.
By all accounts the majority of people everywhere are more than willing to go this route. Those of us who choose otherwise will be a bothersome minority at the mercy of the State and the ID'ed majority. I shudder to think what that will mean for us.

Australia will be implementing a "smart card" ID that will be required for any number of things, primarily for "medical care and welfare". No ID, no medical care. The other uses to which it is being put make it a de facto national ID, just as the US REAL ID creates a national ID card.
Their "leaders" are even indulging in the obvious lie technique to say that it isn't a national ID, even when all evidence points to the contrary. (Thanks to Kevin at Cryptogon for the heads up on this one from Down Under).

Now, I am by no means a proponent of globalist conspiracy theories, but when I see a large segment of the Western world rushing to do the exact same thing at the same time, I do have to wonder about some folks claims concerning the formation of a one world government. First the US, (that shining beacon of liberty on the hill) then England, Australia and Europe all jump on the ID bandwagon and something starts to stink. The largest proponents in this movement have been politicians and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. I find that disquieting in the extreme and so should others who value their privacy, liberty and freedom. Whenever a political police body supports something you truly need to ask yourself why they wish it to come into being. It is a certainty that it is not for your own good.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

How High Can Gas Go?

Pretty high when you have people like Bush and Ahmadinejad of Iran engaging in an apocalyptic pissing match. Now we have Iran's Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei weighing in on the impending conflict.
"But, if the US ventured into any aggression on Iran, Iran will retaliate by damaging the US interests worldwide twice as much as the US may inflict on Iran."
This, along with threats to curtail Iranian oil production if the world hops onto Bush's Tehran Express, is driving up our prices more than anything. Commodity traders are always high strung and nervous types and when they see rhetoric such as this being thrown around nonchalantly by world powers there's going to be a reaction. In this case it is the higher petroleum prices that we are seeing.

Bush, ignoring the truth behind the matter as usual, is set to have more tax dollars wasted investigating nonexistent price fixing on the part of the oil industry. My guess is that George is a great fan of the "Wizard of Oz", since he obviously wants no-one to look behind the curtain and see that the cause of much of the rise in gasoline prices can be lain directly on his doorstep. You want prices to go down, folks? Tell Mr. Bush to shut the hell up where Iran is concerned. Tell the talking heads on the radio to shut the hell up and stop trying to be the next William Randolph Hearst. And tell your Congress to stop being a bunch of Socialists trying to rob the oil industry. Their profit margin is lower than most industries.

As long as Iran is on the Bush radar then we are going to see prices continue to soar. Add Nigeria's instability, deteriorating safety for oil workers and the increased odds of foreign intervention and things will continue to get worse. The next few conflicts aren't going to be about the so-called "War on Terror". They are going to be about oil, no matter what the Great And Powerful Oz Bush Administration says. When the price of doing business becomes too great and this country's economy goes into the crapper the Powers That Be are going to use the weapon of choice in their arsenal of "good governance". Force. History is unequivocal on that matter, especially where the current regime inside the Beltway is concerned. We will end up being this century's Japan....pick your own Pearl Harbour. My bet's on Iran and Nigeria.

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Monday, April 24, 2006

This Is Why You NEVER Let The Cops Or State Have Your Kids!

It's bad enough that the State of Indiana kills more children than it helps and lets the people who placed them with torturers and murderers go free, but now we get to see that if the police state should get its leather clad hands on your children the chances are good that they'll be sexually violated by the "Law Enforcers" who have them in their care.

The people running the Marion County Juvenile Detention Center in Indiana's state capitol have been sexually abusing teenage girls (no boys have come forward yet) for years, some as young as 13. While the incumbent Republican prosecutor has issued warrants and investigated, it is painfully obvious that nothing substantive will be done. Employees of the department may be punished, some may even serve jail time, lose their jobs or pay a fine but, the key issue will never be addressed. Why is any 13 year old incarcerated by the government? Unless that child is a murderer, (unlikely) there is no compelling reason for them to be in jail. Truancy? Possession of drugs? Simple assault? Shoplifting? It is all too easy for the state and those who enable it, to do the easy thing and abandon a child to the "mercies" of imprisonment. What lesson have these children been taught by the state? That those in authority may do as they wish to you? That rape is state sanctioned? Or perhaps the lesson is that "the police are your friends"? Whatever the supposed lesson of teenage incarceration is the facts are that too many children end up in the hands of people just like the ones in this news story.

It is past time that the juvenile injustice system was shut down and families where brought back into the picture. The state should never be allowed to touch a child. Ever. And cases such as this prove the point. The law enforcement mentality that causes behaviour such as this to occur with the frequency that it does must be changed if we are to avoid growing the police state in this country. That this happened in Middle America is a certain sign that incidents like this are sure to be occurring nationwide. Combine this with the ever present ineptitude of so-called Child Services departments and the rising numbers of deaths there and we do have to ask the dreaded question, "What about the children?".

The time has come when we must begin the dismantling of this system and replace it with something more sane and libertarian. For too long the people of this country have allowed the government to take retribution on its people and, especially our children. In the few instances where it has been used by intelligent officials and arbitrators we have seen that a system which stresses restitution will have better results than one based upon retribution and incarceration. And it will serve to keep kids out of the hands of the sexual predators in uniform.

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Spring Is Sprung

And my thoughts turn to things homestead related. Getting my yard and garden in order, planting, fertilising, mulching, cutting the grass, watching the kids play outside and all the things that go along with that. The grill has been used more of late than the stove, (altho, to tell the truth the grill gets used here year round, even in the deep snow) and will continue to be the most used cookery implement in our arsenal throughout the Spring and Summer. The asparagus is up and being consumed, the first things from the garden are a'sproutin' (the heirloom French Radishes) and long bouts of yard work allow me something that is often missing. A bit of extra time to think.

Puttering about I get to thinking about all sorts of things. How the state intrudes on even the simplest of activities and infringes upon my life at every turn, was a big one this weekend. One might think that gardening and tending to your homestead would be a symbol of freedom, (it is). Growing some of your food, tending to your own yard, doing something for in the name of self sufficiency. But, even in these simple activities the intrusions just get hammered home.

The fertiliser I spread this weekend is regulated to death because of the ingredients in it. The gas my lawn tractor uses has the filthy fingerprints of the state all over it, from the draconian over regulation of oil to the onerous taxation imposed on me every time I have to purchase more. I had to pay taxes on everything I used and will use from my seeds and manure to my shovel and wheel barrow. State and federal departments of agriculture had to approve my purchases and shipping of live plants. And, despite my repeated requests many of my products were placed in the incompetent "care" of the US Postal "Service". My iTunes were taxed and regulated, from the iPod itself, my net access, computer components to the tunes in my playlist.

Taxes, regulations, permissions and so many other intrusions along the production lines that it's impossible for me to list. And that doesn't even include the book length list of things that government forbids me to purchase, like DDT for my fruit trees and crawlspace. Gods forbid some asshat from the EPA shows up after a rain and declares a puddle out back a "wetland". I can't help but feel like Peter in "Office Space" , where government is concerned.
Peter Gibbons: And here's another thing, I have eight different bosses right now.
Bob Porter: Eight?
Peter Gibbons: Eight, Bob. So that means when I make a mistake, I have eight different people coming by to tell me about it. That's my only real motivation is not to be hassled, that, and the fear of losing my job. But you know, Bob, that will only make someone work just hard enough not to get fired.
There's seemingly no escape where Cthulhu government is concerned, but I'll keep on trying. At least they won't be able to lay an additional tax on what finally comes from my garden or the German White Bier my wife brewed up yesterday. Not yet, anyway....and, as I don't drink the latter does me no good at all.

So, someone explain to me...again...that this is a free country? Is it? Or are we just revenue sources for the government?

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