The Good – The Bad – The Possible

Over the years, I’ve written about Peak Oil, Community Exchanges, Shop Local, Campaign Finance Reform, Education Reform, Alternative Healthcare, Big Pharma, Corporate Monoculture Farming, Sustainable Living, Renewable Energy, Self-Healing and Spirituality.

I’ve read, listened and researched.

I’ve talked, argued and thrown my hands up in despair.

I’ve ranted, I’ve raved, tried sharing information through humor and How – Not – Too.

I’ve been on fire with enthusiasm and sick with despair when I believed that my passion for these subjects had no interested audience.

I’ve dreamed, I’ve hoped, I’ve struggled to make a difference through my lifestyle choices, purchasing decisions, writing topic choices and personal belief system improvements.

And now, all that experience has been encapsulated into one extraordinary two-hour film, “Thrive: What on Earth Will It Take?”, which I discovered this morning via a post by recOveryhealth.

(I embedded the film below – yes, it’s that important – I don’t want you to even have to click twice to start watching it  –  *You can donate to the producers here.)

So instead of digging through my archives, you can now glean all that info with the simple investment of a couple hours of your time – you can even watch in increments if you like…

The Good

From the beginning to about 33 minutes – the film highlights the creator’s background and reason for researching.  His quest for truth and the form he found it in echoes the conclusions found throughout the history of the spiritual, the religious and the scientific.  It has been postulated by the prophets, the holy men, the gurus, metaphysicists, cosmologists, cellular bioligists and quantum theorists:

There is a code to the Universe – to Life

If we  figure it out, we can work in harmony with it,

Instead of paddling upstream all the while…

And though I’ve had my crisis of faith moments and believed the Universe to be one big Chaotic mess, bent on destroying me – – I’ve found the only way for me to continue in this life with any semblance of happiness is to embrace the Code story in it’s many variations.

The Bad

Around 33 minutes, you enter the Bad phase – the phase that examines the problems facing our world and the inter-connected,  complex structures  that are contributing to or causing-on-purpose the disasters we fear and seek refuge from.    It digs deep into systems and mind-sets that contribute to the misery of our lives –

You may not agree with all the viewpoints referenced as causing our global problems, but only the truly oblivious could say we have no challenges regarding our continued existence given our present course.

It’s not always a pleasant or comforting place to be, confronting our fears – though I believe this film does it’s best to present the information within a space of hope – – which brings us to…

The Possible

At around 1 hour, 38 minutes – after you’ve delved into a story you really hope isn’t true -but suspect is –  you get to watch the What’s Possible portion.

(If you’re already worried and depressed about the state of things and you feel powerless in being able to do anything about it – skip from :33 to 1:38 on the film.

Choosing not to wallow in the problems portion will not keep you from being inspired by the Possible section; however, if you’re one of those who must know Why? before you do – best just take your lumps and confront your fears.  Watch with a friend and the lights on if it helps – – )

The Possible portion will inspire you – it will show you easy-to-integrate ways to make a difference, right now, today, with what you already know and  have, with who you already are.  To quit contributing to the problems and instead, become part of the solution – you don’t have to do them all – – any forays you make into your favorite arenas makes a difference – just pick one and start.

Without further ado – here’s “Thrive: What on Earth will it Take?”:

For myself, I’m continuing on through my day ‘off’ by meandering through the ThriveMovement website – – – they sound like my kind of folks….

Rule through Distraction, Take II

My recent post regarding the distraction power of egg recalls reminded me how effectively the masses of history have been diverted from focusing on the true nature of their existence.

Threats of eternal fire and torture worked for centuries and still holds power over many.

Malnutrition and long work days by laborers have been the status quo since we got numerous enough and technologically advanced enough to specialize.

Having a majority of the actual producers of goods and suppliers of services kept in line through oppression is very profitable for those at the top.  Some examples:

  • Slavery
  • Serfdom
  • Indentured Servants
  • Low Wages coupled with Inflation and  High Interest Credit systems
  • Social class divisions
  • Taxation
  • Nationalized Industries

The working masses are ‘distracted’ from questioning the system they labor under by a variety of means:

  • Promises of eternal reward for those who suffer meekly in this world
  • Guaranteed protection from those who harm
  • Cultural focus on youth, beauty and status symbols
  • Ideology that focuses on Individual freedom, responsibility and choice, leaving the individual with no one to blame but themselves if things go badly.
  • Lavish Entertainment and Leisure activity options
  • Unlimited access to cheap goods via a centralized and complex system that separates the entitled consumer from the woes of the producer by multiple layers.

Think about it…

Sunny Side Up(date)

Ventured into the newsroom this morning.   Already in a ‘mood’ so what’s a little more irritation and angst?

Read the latest regarding food poisoning allegations and egg recalls.

Seems FDA Chief Margaret Hamburg needs more ‘power’ in order to do her job properly.   She’d also like to have greater authority over imported foods.

Funny, the tainted eggs came from farms in Iowa.  When did they become defined as foreign imports?

She is, however, taking the ‘egg problem’ very seriously.  Apparently laws that allow the shutdown of lemonade stands and small dairy farms (read here, and here, and oh, lookee, here’s another….) have failed miserably when it comes to keeping big corporations on the straight and narrow.  She simply must have more authority in her fight against evil egg producers.

She calls for more enforcement and preventative power.  Oh, and would you people please quit eating eggs sunny side up too?

(I can see aides and under-paid paralegals frantically adding that decree to some sub-section in the pending Modern Food Safety Act….)

Sheesh.   Have you no intelligence whatsoever?  Must we now legislate how your breakfast  be cooked, too?

**********

What really caught my eye was the long list of previous violations by DeCoster companies (seems the two main farms in this tragedy are owned by or heavily linked to Wright County Egg and Quality Egg, both owned by Austin “Jack” DeCoster).

Between 1994 and 2010, seems DeCoster companies have run afoul of and had to pay large fines for multiple offenses regarding harm to the environment, employees and animals.

As my eyes re-read the timeline, I noticed heavy involvement by Labor Secretaries, EPA, Immigration authorities and animal welfare groups… the list was long and varied, but allusions to different agencies involved made my mind fill in, “OSHA”, “Fair Wage & Labor”, “State Environmental agencies”…

I didn’t see FDA or subtle reference to such at all in the long list.   Guess they were anxiously sitting in their offices, unable to join in the battle because they didn’t have proper authority and power….

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Really, what kind of product did you expect from those who don’t care if hog waste runs off into local waterways, if  employees have safe and clean working conditions, who continually hire illegal immigrants willing to work for peanuts and suffer all kinds of indignities just to stay in the country and eat?  Apparently these folks also make the typical slave quarters of the pre-war south look like mansions when compared to the living conditions of their animals.

Rather than just blindly giving Ms. FDA some more power, me thinks perhaps a little more research is required.

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Some preliminary digging into historic egg prices tells me savvy egg producers plan for space and animal workforce management to counteract the dips in productivity compliments of the molting process.

(Which in chicken speak means, renewal time.  “I’m taking time off from reproducing and growing me some new feathers to replace these old, shabby ones.”   Nature does have a cycle.   Which, historically, is rebelliously out of sync with consumer demands….)

According to one poultry specialist report attempting to educate in regards to Flock Management the average wholesale price per dozen of eggs from 1983 – 2002 was 52.3¢.

I figure this is probably a good number, since the report was ‘sponsored’ by the United Egg Producers.  They better know how much money they get per dozen, else their 10-year approach to flock management will be severely handicapped.

This author also contends that prices took a jump in 2003.  Up to an average of .58¢ per dozen.  One section puzzled me:

“Are we entering a period of time for significant changes in the prices we receive for our eggs?  If so, should we re-think our replacement policies? If prices justify the elimination of molting is the industry prepared to make a major investment in new rearing facilities?”

How are they ‘eliminating’ molting?   Have they found the secret to keeping chickens from dropping their feathers?  How do the birds feel about this?  Did Mother Nature get the memo?

Further reading indicates they eliminate molting by selling off the chickens.  And replacing them with new ones, ready to lay….

Sometimes my cynical heart leads me to jump to conclusions….

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I also question the container in which these egg farmers are doing business.   A search to find who actually sets the wholesale price for eggs informs me it’s either complicated or on a need-to-know-basis, and I do not need to know.  (or perhaps I need to polish up my searching skills….it does happen….)

I did find this quote regarding poultry and egg prices from the USDA’s Economic Research website (tsk, tsk, last updated April, 2009):

“With almost 18 percent of total poultry production being exported, the U.S. poultry industry is heavily influenced by currency fluctuations, trade negotiations, and economic growth in its major importing markets.”

Okay, that’s interesting.   Has anyone heard the rumor a global economic crisis is going on?   Maybe egg prices were reduced in order to keep folks from starving due to poverty.   Lowered prices means egg producers need to get their profits from quantity, not quality….just a speculation…

**********

My brain committee speaks up about a gal I worked with years ago.

I never saw this gal wear the same outfit twice during the six months I was a temp in her office.   During a visit to her home,  my hostess proudly showed me her master closet, and two other full-size closets packed from floor to rafter with clothes. They made the local Goodwill racks look sparse and neat.

She was appalled I paid an average of $8/gallon for raw milk from an organic farm. (translation: small flock, healthy animals, modest lifestyle owners who love God’s creatures, great and small.)

She routinely went clothes shopping in order to keep her wardrobe and fashion plate status renewed.   In her mind, organic dairy farmers were interfering with my right to dress well.

When a society encourages fashionable, extravagant wardrobes over basic nutrition, then we all have a problem.

(No, I don’t look in other people’s medicine cabinets…It’s just her bad luck to combine a tour of her wardrobe with criticisms of my food choices…and my ability to type…)

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The buy-local-organic community cries “corporate farming” is the root of most of our evils.

I say corporate farming grew in the fertile ground prepared by a busy, complex society who values luxuries over necessities and demands ‘instant gratification’.

“I want an Egg McMuffin, My Way and I want it now!  Hurry up, I’m late for work.”

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Philip Zimbardo defines Evil as

The Exercise of Power to Intentionally Harm, Hurt, Destroy or Commit Crimes against Humanity.

He also contends it’s not just bad apples who commit Evil.  Often, it’s good apples who have been placed in a poor situation and are required to operate under a problematic system.

The plot thickens….

**********

The AP article listed over 3.5 million dollars paid by DeCoster Farms in fines and settlements since 1994, though I think they just highlighted the big ones.

Are the owner and his managers Evil people who must be stopped via a more powerful FDA?

Or are they business men trying to make a living in a system that demands short-cuts and piss-poor conditions just in order to make a living off a commodity they have no direct power in setting the price of other than through pricey lobbyists and campaign donations? (those two items do not come cheap…)

Have they grown so big and received so many tax breaks, they can survive even in the face of million dollar penalties, fines and settlements?

Did they grow to immense proportions through Taking Over the World Intent, or did they do their best to meet supplier demands in a price fixing system?

Did they discover they could not fulfill supply demands, profit requirements, regulatory fees, labor laws, environmental protection acts and good animal husbandry practices all at the same time?  Did they truly set out to destroy the average American or did they slide one slippery step at a time down a muddy slope built and maintained by our government and culture?

**********

One last observation – It’s amazing to me how I don’t have to go any further than my Yahoo email “What’s New?” tab to connect with reports on the Salmonella outbreak that simply cries out for more FDA power and authority.

Mainstream media is just in time as Congress reconvenes on September 13th and Senate Bill S510 is on the agenda.

I have to scan Facebook, read emails from a friend and surf independent blogs or small locally owned media to find out how local, state and federal authorities are wreaking havoc in the lives of small dairy, poultry and meat operations.

Via charges of regulatory, permit and licensing violations.

Resulting in operation shut down, seizure and/or destruction of personal property and Cease and Desist orders, punishable by jail time if ignored. (Grazin’ Acres, Bechard Family Farms, Rawesome organic co-op, Palmer Family Farm, Brigitte Ruthman just to name a few…)

These small farms were targeted via sting operations or unannounced raids by local regulatory agencies.   No allegations of tainted food, food borne illness, environmental hazards, labor violations or cruelty to animals have been made by those leveling charges.

They face extinction because they dared to provide themselves, their neighbors and local community with healthy, nutritious food.

But you won’t hear about them through Yahoo News or the AP.

Cause if you did, you’d tell Ms. FDA and the authors of S510 they already have power aplenty and they’d better start focusing their enforcement efforts on the proper targets.

Tyranny grows to power in the field of Fear and Hysteria.

Freedom of Food Choices

A few years ago, in an attempt to avoid becoming involved in politics, I told a dairy owner how the battle regarding legal access to raw milk would really be won:

“When 80% of the population prefers raw milk over pasteurized, then legislative bodies must heed the voice of the people.  I’ll contribute to the movement by educating people on the benefits of raw milk and the drawbacks of pasteurized.”

Grassroots movements are, to my mind, the only way to bring about lasting change.   The law just tags along in the wake of social reform.

I see now how naive I was.  I stand corrected.

I should have joined the Raw Milk Association of Colorado then.

**********

I awake to find yet another story of more small dairies raided by local authorities because they dared to give customers what they want – raw milk.  While complying with the local laws.   Which were so broad in nature, they are open to interpretation.

Problem #1

Our complex society contains an equally complex legal system.   Given our desire for “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”, we’ve raced around for more than 200 hundred years, forming new laws whenever it seemed one of the Big Three were being threatened by individuals or groups.

In our quest to be safe, secure and free, with the legal backing to punish those who engage in activities harmful to others, we’re slowly wrapping our heads in a plastic bag.

Which, you’ll remember, your mother specifically told you not to do…

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Katherine Mangu-Ward’s article, Why Buy the Cow? references three dairy farms who have been the target of bureaucratic raids this summer.  All were going forth with their business, secure in their knowledge they were satisfying all laws and regulations, only to find out they weren’t.  Supposedly because the laws where they live are not specifically, item-by-item clear.   In other words:

“Ignorance of our Interpretation of the law is no excuse.”

Sigh…

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As more folks learn the benefits of raw milk, customer base grows.   Instead of proper legislation and regulation reform occurring to support local business, individual freedom of food choice and safety for the individual, we actually see more raids, more destruction or confiscation of private property and all other kinds of personal freedom violations.

Even when no one has gotten sick or filed a complaint.   This tells me Bureaucratic backlash against Grassroots movements does occur.  Around the raw milk industry it happens frequently.

So much for social change via legal,  non-violent means. (First Amendment: Right to Petition)

***********

Where do you draw the line between public safety and individual choice?

How do you fight to preserve your chosen way of life when you have followed the laws, harmed no one and still the local powers that be see you as a threat to society? (Grazin’ Acres Shutdown)

For those who cry for more Safe Food laws and regulations, I’ll remind you there are already remedies in place.

They are called Civil Litigation and Boycott.

If you purchase directly from a food supplier and end up ill, due to their carelessness (not your messy kitchen) then you sue for damages.   If that financial blow isn’t enough to either get their attention and result in improvement or shut down,  then a Boycott will put them out of business.

(I’m pretty certain there are no Federal Bailout funds for small, locally owned dairies. Warning! Boycotts wield the most power within a Free Market, which is quickly disappearing…)

For those who wish for more Food Safety I ask, “When are you going to take some personal responsibility, too?”

I’m convinced there are many benefits from raw milk, but I also took the time to tour the farm and know my supplier.   I observed how their animals were cared for and what kind of living conditions they had.

After all this, had I become ill, I would have had a comin’ to Jesus meeting with my supplier.   Asked them to pay the doctor bill, if applicable. Then made a choice of whether to continue doing business with them or not.

I can do all that by myself without wasting tax-paid services to go do my work for me…

Right now, I can still do that.  You keep whining ‘keep me safe, keep me safe’ I’ll lose that choice….Please quit whining.

(Whining really grates on my nerves…)

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If you’ve lost a loved one to food poisoning, then perhaps you’re thinking, “She just doesn’t get it.  If she had lost someone, she’d be taking this seriously.”

Well, newsflash, I’ve lost a son.   He was 17. Killed by bacterial meningitis.   He saw a doctor on Friday and a doctor on Monday morning, with phone consultations on Saturday and Sunday.   Monday morning he got some shots and was sent back home.  Quit breathing about 2 hours later.   Went into a coma.   Spent a day on life support and was brought back from the pearly gates 3 times before I was told there was no hope.

I was assured no mal-practice took place, via a coroner’s investigation.

Who cares?  I took him to folks with a license proclaiming they are legally permitted to  ‘practice medicine’.   I knew what I was getting into.

You don’t see me storming the nation’s capital shouting, “Hey!  I’m tired of all this practicing.  Can you please make it illegal for these folks to be in business unless they damn sure know what they’re doing?   Can you please pass another law so people will quit dying?”

People get sick and people die.  Yes, we would like to prevent it.  Yes, we have an emotional investment.   But please quit blindly calling for laws that cannot possibly prevent all death and illness, but will severely hamper our freedoms in their quest to attempt to.

Sheesh…how many times do I have to say it?

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” – Ben Franklin, Memoirs of the life and writings of Benjamin Franklin

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Research Notes: I was aware of news stories of illness traced back to a goat milk-share farm in Colorado around late June, early July.   I wanted to find an update on that investigation.

A google search of the keywords, “raw goat milk farm in Colorado, July shutdown” produced:

6,740 links in .26 seconds.  The first 11 revealed three bloggers screaming about food safety, 6 watchdog groups relaying information about raids and seizures on personal food stores, and 2 organizations calling for action before our freedom to eat the way we choose is lost.

I like Google.   It both tells me when my search skills need polishing and also gives me an idea of what the national climate around a subject is.  It highlights who knows how to tag, keyword and Search Optimize and who doesn’t.

Those who fight for Freedom of Food Choice are not only good at footnoting their articles, but they also know how to properly SEO their stuff!  Thus ending the allegation that those who prefer raw milk are “uneducated, illiterate country hicks.”

Not My Problem….

I was going to take the day off.   But my email inbox lured me in…

Lynne McTaggart, author of The Field and The Intention Experiment, posted a blog regarding Codex Alimentarius this a.m. (Here’s my view on the subject.)

In a nutshell, she is calling for help.   Seems conferences designed to unite and inform those who would be detrimentally affected by the passage of Codex, resulted in poor attendance (hey, not my problem) and also in bickering among those who DID attend (remember the motto, “United we Stand, Divided We Fall”?).

Those organizations who have shown steadfast in their efforts to fight this legislation are broke.  And worn out…. and discouraged…

So over I mosey to read the final draft of the 33rd session of Codex Alimentarius European Position.  For your reading displeasure, I submit the following text, direct from the horse’s mouth:

“This is a continuation of the lengthy discussion on the definition of consensus. Some delegations have insisted on developing a definition for consensus because in their view it would add transparency in the Codex decision making process. Many other delegations, including the MSEU, were not in favour of creating such a definition as in their view a rigid definition for consensus could be counterproductive for the Codex decision making. As there was not enough support for creating a definition for consensus at CAC 32, Malaysia proposed additional text to be inserted in the Guidelines to Chairpersons in the Procedural Manual containing elements of earlier proposals for a consensus definition. CCGP 26 agreed to insert the Malaysian proposal to the Procedural Manual: ““Where there is opposition to an issue under discussion, the chairperson should ensure that the views of concerned members be taken into consideration by striving to reconcile conflicting arguments before deciding whether consensus has been reached”. (Text compliments of: 33rd Session of Codex Alimentarius European Position, Final Draft .pdf, Page 4, near the bottom)

In case you pooped out reading in the first line, I’ll give you my paraphrase:

“In 33 sessions of discussing this, we can’t even agree on what constitutes agreement.

We also have a goodly number of members supporting a purposefully murky definition, so this insane issue can become world law, based on the votes of 2 or 3 members, although we will give appearance of valuing dissenters’ opinions by ensuring you bark eaters get some floor time.”

(I’m reminded of, “Define sexual relations.”)

Again, I am by turns, relieved and worried.

Relieved because if 33 sessions has not resulted in a consensus regarding the definition of consensus, then these folks will continue running around in the dark trying to find their own arses with their own hands and Codex will remain a pipe-dream.

(Although Sexual Harassment suits may increase, due to unknowningly grabbing what you thought was your arse, and Surprise!  it’s not….)

Worried, because recent local election results tell me if you keep folks distracted long enough with pretty campfires, the evils we say we are so ardently against will become law or the next  elected official because we were too busy fighting among ourselves,  denying  proposed regulations have anything to do with us, too busy to research or to0 lazy to ask the hard questions.

Or we simply got tired and worn out.

Or we’re not independently wealthy enough to continue surviving without donations from our fellow Freedom Fighters or (worse) a paycheck from those who commit fraud and blackmail on a daily basis.

Or we blindly believe committees formed and backed by government and big business truly have our best interests at heart.

C’mon now, look at your circle of friends.   Who among them would starve while giving you their last crust of bread?

Do you really think these national and international committees are more interested in your welfare than those you know and love?

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I will say I canceled my subscription to one of the Codex Freedom Fighters email list, simply because:

  • Messages were consistently full of typos and hate-filled speech
  • Allegations (but little verifiable proof) were continuously made regarding Big Brother shutdown  via internet communications.

It’s not that I didn’t believe them – I’m open to conspiracy theories.   But I also avoid Raving Fanatics as much as I can.  Even when we have a foe in common.

Simply because, from my viewpoint – “You’re making us all look like a bunch of uneducated, illiterate and prejudiced jackasses.”

Yes, I know you’re mad.  And scared.   And discouraged that what you so vehemently oppose and have so arduously fought against is seen as ‘not my problem’ by your fellow man.

But, please, give me some verifiable information and research regarding the different sides of the issue, so I can become informed on what the Real Issue is.

**********

I realize that Lobbyists, Organizations and Freedom Fighters hold the front line while us troops in the back get our crap together.

But I also submit my ardent belief that lasting change only comes about via grass roots movements.

Our War for Independence was not won by well-dressed, well-fed, well-paid troops, riding expensive war-horses.

It was won by those who marched barefoot in the snow, on bleeding feet, with boiled shoe leather causing great pains in their tummies and brains full of, “What if the British are at my house, raping my wife and killing my kids, right now?”

Slavery didn’t end because someone made a law against it -or even because a war was fought.  It’s demise began when enough average citizens said,

“I don’t care what the law is.  This is wrong!  And I will follow my heart and do what is right, imprisonment or death be damned.”

I refer to the Underground Railroad.

Raw milk isn’t available in our state because some representative said, “Let’s give people a right to choose where they get their food and support our local entrepreneurs.”

Nope, it came about by average citizens doing their homework and saying,

“Hey, guess what?   We’ve figured out how to get the nutrition we deserve and want, all while playing by your complex rules.”

(Although, in all fairness to opposing views, I will admit most historians agree the witch hunt borne out of the Salem Witch Trials came to an abrupt end when the Governor’s wife was accused.)

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Are you feeling overwhelmed by all the disagreement and not sure who is right?   Are you wondering what the heck you can do when an international committee cannot even define ‘consensus’?

(It means casting informed votes and counting those votes, you…you…Margarine Eaters.

Thanks Sharon for sharing this wonderful non-curse word label that speaks volumes about my beliefs)

Think your voice is not heard and not heeded by those elected for the sole purpose of representing you?

Do not despair, dear reader.   You do have power.   You do have a voice.

It’s called daily life actions.

Know your farmer, rancher, neighbor.   Put your means for survival in the hands of those who live within walking distance of you.   Band together and form your own local Community Exchange System.

Quit looking at campfires and instead, say “No” to the chains that enslave you, via promises of safety and security.

Figure out your plan for the worst case scenario (Yellowstone Blowing) and tell me who, exactly, is going to save you then.

From there, start working back towards current reality.

Turn your back on those who make promises they not only have no intention of keeping but aren’t even capable of fulfilling.

The Face of AI

That’s Artificial Intelligence, for those without their handy-dandy acronym list close by.

Via my inbox, I get an email from Yahoo, who supposedly tracks my clicks and sends me links to “Things I’m Interested In”.  Here’s the list:

  • Men’s style mistakes that drive women nuts.
    • (who cares what they’re wearing when they are being dorks?)
  • Natural ways to boost your metabolism
    • (really?  my nutritionist would love to get me off of coffee.)
  • Most iconic swimsuits of all time
    • (think Farrah what’s her name.   And I don’t wear swimsuits.)
  • Healthiest Frozen Dinners on the market
    • (they make healthy ones?)
  • Only types of debt you should ever carry
    • (why are we all in debt in the first place?)
  • What your workspace says about you
    • (I’m unemployed, however, my kitchen and laundry room say I try to be clean and neat…)
  • Ten summer style do’s and don’ts
    • (I hate to shop, apply make-up or ‘do’ my hair)

Notice I did not hyperlink any of these.   I figure if you’re into reading my blog, you don’t care about these topics either… Or, like me, you know they are either fluff, or full of misinformation…

(Tell me, please, who out there Really believes they can ‘drink their way to slimness”?  I tried by switching from Bud to Light years ago…not working…)

Given my knowledge of government and private sector geek heads trading technology back and forth, this list both worries and relieves me at the same time.

If they are this far off the mark, even though someone has access to my ‘internet viewing history stats’ then I’m pretty confident it will be a long damn time before Jack Bauer can find his way to my house…

On the flip side, I fear 5 years from now, my robot maid will march from my kitchen, with a tray bearing: white store-bought bread toast, smeared with margarine and jam containing aspartame, accompanied by improperly roasted coffee and pasteurized milk from cows bred to stand on concrete and give a billion more gallons of milk than should ever be asked of one cow, who are fed soy meal while they stand knee deep in their own offings.

I mean really, did she not read my blogs at all?  It’s so hard to find good help these days…

Ah well.   For the time being, I’m safe from Big Brother.

For one, apparently computerized systems to note my likes and dislikes are not quite out of the proverbial beta testing woods. Appears that plenty of GIGO (garbage in, garbage out) is still going on.

And two, even when I and thousands of others say, “No” to NAIS, biometric Social Security Cards and  handing our internet system over to the President, the powers that be apparently forget to turn up their hearing aides.

If you aren’t listening to me, than I figure you won’t know where to look, either.

“Let those who have eyes, see and those who have ears, hear.”

More Security Headed Your Way

Being a registered voter now means I have more responsibilities.   Like reading pending legislation and letting my representatives know how I feel about it.

Good thing I’m not working full-time.

This latest-greatest commentary brought to you compliments of Senator John Rockefeller.   (Why does that name ring a bell? Oh yeah, now I remember….)

Senate Bill S. 773, Cybersecurity Act of 2009, has various interpretations:

According to Campaign for Liberty folks, it will give the President the power to shutdown all non-government internet networks if a state of ’emergency’ is declared.

They hypothesize that ’emergencies’ could be declared when Heretical Bloggers (aka Free Thinking American Writers exercising their Freedom of Speech rights) are ardently posting their Disagreement with Proposed Legislation (historically labeled as “Disinformation Campaigns” by the current regime.)

According to OpenCongress summary:

“The bill also calls on the Department of Commerce to establish and maintain a clearinghouse  on information related to cybsecurity threat and vulnerability information to public and private infrastructure deemed “critical” by the President.” (Full Summary Here)

I used to work for a guy who kept a list of the people he viewed as ‘enemies’ in his desk drawer.   He deemed this list of people who were dumb enough to publicly disagree with him as ‘critical’.   I would like to see the President’s list of what he calls ‘critical’ before this legislation becomes law.

The Wikipedia summary shed some light on actual language of the bill and indicated other politicians are running around, writing their own bills regarding cyber security, by turns trying to lighten or increase the power of the President to take over or shut down telecommunications.

A quick glance at Senator John Rockefeller’s website homepage shows me he has secured over 131 million dollars in appropriated funds for West Virginia – some surfing and searching netted me a press release regarding s. 773.

During my journey, I see Senator Rockefeller is a big fan of security.   He is committed to keeping Americans safe.   He also appears to be a bigger fan of defending our own infrastructure and country vs. engaging in civil wars located elsewhere.

But I also see his website contains  content that refers to the Bush Administration.   I’m familiar with how political objectives can change over time.  I question if his viewpoints posted nearly 2 years ago are still the same.

Also, I wonder how much he really knows about the internet and therefore, it’s security.

The most novice blogger knows Website Commandment #1:

“Keep your site updated and add fresh content daily.”

(I’m not really casting stones – I fully disclose my recent dereliction of duty regarding Grazin’ Acres news…)

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I will again point out the glaring contradictions –

“Yes, we have no money” (sing to Yes, We Have No Bananas) – Whoop-Whoop!

C’mon, sing the next verse with me:

“But we have plenty of money to create a new agency, form a panel and oversee the implementation, licensing and organization of a Cyberspace Security System…”

(nope, it doesn’t all fit to the music… but, hey, ain’t we having fun?)

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Last spring, for some reason still not completely known to me, I spent a day with no cell phone service and no internet connection.   Seems a cell tower went down, but never discovered the reason for no internet service.

I wandered around the house, lost as to what to do.   (I’m good at ignoring laundry and dishes…)

I needed those tools – I was in the middle of building a database for a customer (who was trying to call me with their decisions regarding bells and whistles) and maintaining a website for a candidate for the local Sheriff’s position.

I realized how much of my life revolved around a house of cards.   I took a deep breath and set about restructuring my life.

Thank goodness!   While I’m currently blogging, I do have a back-up plan to put into action when the President is faced with an emergency and my local internet access is shut down.  It’s called solar-baked bread…and, perhaps, some housework…

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Here’s my version of how this whole SNAFU came about:

Military: Oh lookee at this cool new tool.

Department of Defense Contractor: Oh lookee at what we can make it do.

Genius Entrepreneur: Just think how much campaign contributions I can make if you allow me to turn this technology into a commerical enterprise.

Politician: You got it!

(Hum while the years go by….)

Government: Oh crap!  Look at all the free speech and disinformation campaigns going on… Look at all those sales!  Hey, are we getting our fair share of the sales? Something must be done!

Senator Security-Is-My-Name: I submit to you the Cyber Security Act of 2009, just sign on the dotted line and all will be well….

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Wikipedia informs me ( History of the Internet) the birth of this wonder was originally created to support higher education objectives and those smart folks were not happy when suggestions for commercial use first appeared.

Don’t a lot of college endeavors get accomplished via Federal Grants?

If so, I rest my case.   Just replace “Military” with “Federally Funded Research”.

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Those in my circle call me a closet conspiracy theorist.   I disagree.

I can’t blog from my closet.

As a nation, we have been led down the rosy path of living via cyberspace.  Regardless it’s beginnings, the system is now primarily financed and maintained by the ingenuity, hard work and private funds of individuals.

To find pending legislation that puts the decision on whether that infrastructure is ‘up and running’ or not  in the hands of a few highly placed officials causes me heartburn.

I liken it to the wanton destruction of food stores by local officials who don’t like how a farmer is doing business.

I’m also reminded of  the “Convert to Electronic Banking” campaign and the reality of that system.

Is this really what Security should look like?