Thursday, September 29, 2016

Cruel And Unusual

No, that is not how I describe my last marriage, but I could.

Rather, when most people think of the guillotine, they think of the bloody French Revolution of the late 18th century, but France continued use of the guillotine in capital punishment cases until it was retired in 1977.

It is also entirely possible, even probable, that consciousness is maintained for a brief period after said head is removed from said neck. Cruel and unusual or humane?

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Orbital Speed

Have you ever wondered why a spacecraft could not just slow down on re-entry to just a few miles per hour using rocket boosters? Would it negate the need for a heat shield?

In other words, is it possible for a spacecraft to control its reentry in such a way that it avoids the atmospheric compression and thus would not require the expensive (and relatively fragile) heat shield on the outside?

Well, the reason it's hard to get to orbit isn't that space is high up.

It's hard to get to orbit because you have to go so fast.

Space isn't like the pic to the left.

Space is about 100 kilometers away. That's pretty far away — I wouldn't want to climb a ladder to get there — but it isn't impossible. If you're in Sacramento, Seattle, Canberra, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Phnom Penh, Cairo, Beijing, central Japan, central Sri Lanka, or Portland, space is closer than the sea.

Getting to space is easy. It's not, like, something you could do in your car, but it's not a huge challenge. You could get a person to space with a small sounding rocket the size of a telephone pole. The X-15 aircraft reached space just by going fast and then steering up. [You will go to space today, and then you will quickly come back.

But getting to space is the easy part. The problem is staying there.

Gravity in low Earth orbit is almost as strong as gravity on the surface. The Space Station hasn't escaped Earth's gravity at all; it's experiencing about 90% the pull that we feel on the surface.

To avoid falling back into the atmosphere, you have to go sideways really, really fast.

The speed you need to stay in orbit is about 8 kilometers per second. Only a fraction of a rocket's energy is used to lift up out of the atmosphere; the vast majority of it is used to gain orbital (sideways) speed.

This leads us to the central problem of getting into orbit: Reaching orbital speed takes much more fuel than reaching orbital height. Getting a ship up to 8 km/s takes a lot of booster rockets. Reaching orbital speed is hard enough; reaching to orbital speed while carrying enough fuel to slow back down would be completely impractical.

These outrageous fuel requirements are why every spacecraft entering an atmosphere has braked using a heat shield instead of rockets — slamming into the air is the most practical way to slow down.

How fast is 8 km/s, anyway?

I think the reason for a lot of confusion about these issues is that when astronauts are in orbit, it doesn't seem like they're moving that fast; they look like they're drifting slowly over a blue marble.

But 8 km/s is blisteringly fast. When you look at the sky near sunset, you can sometimes see the ISS go past... and then, 90 minutes later, see it go past again. In those 90 minutes, it's circled the entire world.

The ISS moves so quickly that if you fired a rifle bullet from one end of a football field, the International Space Station could cross the length of the field before the bullet traveled 10 yards.

Let's imagine what it would look like if you were speed-walking across the Earth's surface at 8 km/s.

To get a better sense of the pace at which you're traveling, let's use the beat of a song to mark the passage of time. suppose you started playing the 1988 song by The Proclaimers, I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles). That song is about 131.9 beats per minute, so imagine that with every beat of the song, you move forward more than two miles.

In the time it took to sing the first line of the chorus, you could walk from the Statue of Liberty all the way to the Bronx: [You'd be moving at about 15 subway stops per second.]

It would take you about two lines of the chorus (16 beats of the song) to cross the English Channel between London and France.

The song's length leads to an odd coincidence. The interval between the start and the end of I'm Gonna Be is 3 minutes and 30 seconds, and the ISS is moving is 7.66 km/s.

This means that if an astronaut on the ISS listens to I'm Gonna Be, in the time between the first beat of the song and the final lines... [Just to burn up in the atmosphere above your door.]

...they will have traveled just about exactly 1,000 miles.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


...everything humanity has ever accomplished beyond basic survival is motivated by a fundamental and irreducible fear of non-existence. Our conception of self and self-esteem generally is simply a buffer against the anxiety that comes with recognizing that someday we will cease to be. Culture is just a massive shared delusion to mitigate our fear of the unknown and ultimately of death. Thus we want to imagine certain works of art as timeless or to place value in family lines and offspring, to project ourselves beyond death. We take comfort in our value systems and the structures that arise from them, whether that’s through conceptions of biological kinship, national/ political identity, religious faith, etc. This includes belief in the inherent value of ensuring the future of humanity through scientific progress. Indeed much of modern western life is devoted to the avoidance of death, the various euphemisms and stock phrases in mourning, the entire funeral home industry that serves to remove death from the ordinary course of life, from the home and onto the embalming table or into the crematorium. We build up the artifice to avoid the brutal reality. In short, everything we’ve ever done and will ever do is motivated by little more than our existential terror in confronting death. Woody Allen did not write this, although he could have.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Presidential Debate Impressions

Hillary comes across as a bald-faced liar, albeit a professional one. Another way of saying the same thing is that Hillary Clinton is a practiced politician in her speech and manner. She looks ill. Her hair is a sprayed helmet. I wonder if she is wearing an earpiece. Is somebody feeding her facts and figures? Putting words into her mouth?

Conversely, Donald Trump flounders in business details.

It's turning into the attack Trump show. Whatever the topic is, Hillary digs into Trump. I guess that's the game, eh? The commentator is arguing with Trump! Hillary stands there and grins. I wish somebody would ask her about David Koresh and Vince Foster and so far, no Benghazi!

It is the attack Trump show so far.

Hillary is relaxing into it, continues attacks, Donald is stuck in the headlights.

Trump is doing better. The crowd cheers for Hillary. Crowd cheers back at Trump's reply. Hillary is making more personal suggestions. Trump says "it's not nice" to do that.

My first impression is that Hillary came off better, although it's a snarky, pissy performance by her. Trump didn't panic but I can't say he won the debate.

What bothers me is that Hillary is a known liar and so whatever she says is subject to question. The commentator guy was clearly on the establishment side and practically grilled Trump while Hillary gets a pass. Commentator guy interrupted Trump numerous times. Not once did he interrupt Hillary.

My next scary thought is that Hillary is probably going to be the next president because... omigosh, drum roll, please. The game is fixed. The history has already been written. Now, it's going to be crammed down our collective throats. In the end, we'll end up asking for their solutions. I hope my kool-aid is raspberry-flavored.

Two debates to go. You're only as good as your last performance, so Trump will learn and do better next time because he's that sort of guy. A lot of fighters will drop the first round to get a good take on their opponent. I predict an angry Hillary in the next debate. Her anger is the tell. If she's not angry, then the fix is in and she's going to be the next president.

More damning information is set to be released by Assange in October. That may overshadow any debate results.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Sunday Edition (.021)

Another week flown by, new government conspiracies to unravel, more lying and obfuscation, more denials, more claims of inequality, more threats from China and Russia and Syria and guess what? Libya is back in the news. Looks like the US may be considering sending soldiers. Oh, what a miserable web we weave when first we weave to deceive. Do you know any liberals? Any so-called progressives? Have you heard their reasons for taking away your freedom and liberty? And what did you do? Sit on the couch and complain to your wife?

• Oh, the humanity! They say the riots in Charlotte have resulted in looting at the NASCAR Hall of Home. Is nothing sacred? Breaking news corrects the story and says there was no looting at the NHOF. For a moment, I was incredulous.

• As race riots continue to plague Charlotte, North Carolina after a police shooting there, Rev. William Barber, president of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP, has taken center stage in helping to shape the public narrative by commenting on the issue in the news media. Now we find out that this guy, this NAACP leader, is financed by George Soros.

• Only the Left could dream up something so stupid as transgender sensitivity training. What a freaking waste of valuable time and money. They are imposing their LGBT left wing agenda on everyone, whether they agree with it or not. Of course, anyone refusing to conform to that nonsense is automatically purged from the military.

This is the same sort of insanity with respect to the universal prevailing politically correct narrative that assumes Islam is a so-called “religion of peace” morally equivalent to all other religions, despite the very bloody history of Islam. Anyone who works for the federal government that doesn’t always adhere to that stupidity, including our Generals, is automatically purged from the federal government.

Thus, for all intents and purposes, America has been rendered totally defenseless to the scourge of Islam, which our federal government doesn’t even view as being a scourge or our enemy, but instead as being a wonderful “religion of peace” morally equivalent to all other religions.

Today, if you work for the federal government, there is no freedom of conscience, you either conform or otherwise be purged. This is the age of political correctness and the tyranny of the Left.

• London's first Muslim mayor warns migrants not to assimilate the Western values that built what they are fleeing to, but to hang on to the religion and values responsible for what they are fleeing from.

(But if the West turns Muslim, where will Muslims have left to go?)

Indonesian cleric, Abu Bakar Bashir recently put it, "If the West wants to have peace, then they have to accept Islamic rule."

• Unsurprisingly, President Barack Obama has vetoed a bill that would have allowed the families of 9/11 victims to sue the government of Saudi Arabia.

The move sets Obama up for a possible first veto override by Congress. Both chambers passed the bill by voice vote. The House sent Obama the bill just before the 15th anniversary of the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, 2001.

Obama says the bill would “upset longstanding international principles regarding sovereign immunity.”

The bill would have given 9/11 families the right to sue in U.S. court for any role that elements of the Saudi government may have played in the attacks.

Fifteen of the 19 men who carried out the attacks were Saudi nationals.

Now we know why the missing 28 pages on 9/11 were kept under lock and key for 15 years: They show the hijackers got help across America from Saudi diplomats and spies in the run-up to the attacks. Because of the coverup, a Saudi terror support network may still be in place inside the United States.

A CIA memorandum dated July 2, 2002, stated unequivocally that the connections found between the hijackers, the Saudi embassy in Washington and Saudi consulate in Los Angeles are “incontrovertible evidence that there is support for these terrorists within the Saudi government.”

“Numerous” FBI files also fingered two Saudi government employees who assisted the 9/11 hijackers as “Saudi intelligence officers,” the newly declassified documents reveal.

Though much is still redacted, they also show the Saudi government’s ties to the hijackers and other al Qaeda suspects were so extensive that the FBI’s Washington field office created a special squad to investigate the Saudi angle.

But this special focus on Saudi Arabia occurred belatedly, only after the 9/11 attacks, “due to Saudi Arabia’s status as an American ‘ally.’ ” Astoundingly, investigative resources were not dedicated to Saudi involvement in financing and supporting terrorism prior to 9/11.

The explosive information was locked up in a top-secret, highly secured room in the basement of the US Capitol for the past 15 years, ostensibly to protect the Kingdom from embarrassment.

• Government is the problem. The exiting administration colludes and coordinates with the new incoming administration so a larger agenda may be pursued without the interference of party politics. Have you noticed Michelle Obama and George Bush cozying up to one another? What's up with that? I'll tell you what's up -- they both know if certain government secrets are not kept, the entire crew will end up in federal prison. The democrats and the globalists cannot afford to lose the presidency in November. Look at the following photos and explain to me why Bush and Michelle pay so much attention to each other? They are both farking idiots.

Americans have sold their freedom to the highest bidder. Corporations run the country and put their own candidates in office. The Obamas, the Bushes, the Clintons -- all these idiots should be strung up and flailed for believing and acting as though they are better than the rest of us. Not to mention, the murders, the false wars, the deception, the media manipulations and not least of all, the utter disregard for the truth. What truth? To these people, there is no truth beyond simple perception and that is what they use to fool the citizenry.

By the way, if you go along with the current social programs and the accompanying pollyanna philosophy of the globalists, bear in mind that the rest of us will never go along with your plans.

• Three of the world's richest and most intelligent men are hoping to be the first to find alien life.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Russian entrepreneur Yuri Milner and physicist Stephen Hawking have revealed exclusively to MailOnline that they will be listening to signals from 'Earth 2.0'.

Officially named Proxima b, the rocky planet is believed to have the right conditions to harbour life and is just four light years from Earth.

The trio are funding an ambitious $100 million (£76 million) project known as ‘Breakthrough Listen’, which will use the world's most powerful telescopes to listen to messages from ET.

Perhaps the biggest thing we have going on this week is the looming world market correction. The old bubble will burst soon. There is no way around it. Our government and our central banking system is responsible but that won't matter much as you sit in your mortgaged home wondering how you're going to afford to eat. Think it can't happen here? Think again.

See you next week, if you're still around.

Would you hold this Saudi king's hand for a million $? Sure you would.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Wasteland Weekend

On the heels of the Burning Man festival comes the Wasteland Weekend. It's a Mad Max sort of a fan festival held every year in the Mojave Desert two hours north of LA. It's kind of like Rennaisance Fair except people dress like they're characters out of a post-apocalyptic story. There are bands and other forms of entertainment so I'm told. Here is the web site. The event is this weekend, so you better hurry if you decide to go.


The exabyte is a multiple of the unit byte for digital information. The prefix exa indicates the sixth power of 1,000 and means 1018 in the International System of Units (SI), and therefore 1 exabyte is one quintillion bytes (short scale). The unit symbol for the exabyte is EB.

1 EB = 1000000000000000000B = 1018bytes = 1000petabytes = 1 billion gigabytes.

In principle, the 64-bit microprocessors found in many computers can address 16 exabytes of memory.

     1000 kB kilobyte
     10002 MB megabyte
     10003 GB gigabyte
     10004 TB terabyte
     10005 PB petabyte
     10006 EB exabyte
     10007 ZB zettabyte
     10008 YB yottabyte

The world's technological capacity to store information grew from 2.6 (optimally compressed) exabytes in 1986 to 15.8 in 1993, over 54.5 in 2000, and to 295 (optimally compressed) exabytes in 2007. This is equivalent to less than one CD (650MB) per person in 1986 (539 MB per person), roughly 4 CDs per person of 1993, 12 CDs per person in the year 2000, and almost 61 CDs per person in 2007. Piling up the imagined 404 billion CDs from 2007 would create a stack from the earth to the moon and a quarter of this distance beyond (with 1.2 mm thickness per CD).

The world’s technological capacity to receive information through one-way broadcast networks was 432 exabytes of (optimally compressed) information in 1986, 715 (optimally compressed) exabytes in 1993, 1,200 (optimally compressed) exabytes in 2000, and 1,900 in 2007.

The world's effective capacity to exchange information through two-way telecommunication networks was 0.281 exabytes of (optimally compressed) information in 1986, 0.471 in 1993, 2.2 in 2000, and 65 (optimally compressed) exabytes in 2007.

In 2004, the global monthly Internet traffic passed 1 exabyte for the first time. In January 2007, Bret Swanson of the Discovery Institute coined the term exaflood for a supposedly impending flood of exabytes that would cause the Internet's congestive collapse. Nevertheless, the global Internet traffic has continued its exponential growth, undisturbed, and as of March 2010 it is estimated at 21 exabytes per month.

According to the June 2009 Cisco Visual Networking Index IP traffic forecast, global mobile data traffic will grow at a CAGR of 131 percent between 2008 and 2013, reaching over two exabytes per month by 2013. The 2011 update of Cisco's VNI IP traffic forecast, by 2015, annual global IP traffic will reach 966 exabytes or nearly one full zettabyte. Internet video will account for 61% of total Internet data. The February 2013 update of Cisco VNI Forecast for 2012–17, Annual global IP traffic will pass the zettabyte threshold by the end of 2016. In 2016 global IP traffic will reach 1.3 zettabytes per year or 110.3 exabytes per month. By 2017, global mobile data traffic will reach 11.2 exabytes per month (134 exabytes annually); growing 13-fold from 2012 to 2017.

The global data volume at the end of 2009 was 800 exabytes.

161 exabytes of data were created in 2006, "3 million times the amount of information contained in all the books ever written", with the number expected to hit 988 exabytes in 2010.

In the next decade, astronomers expect to be processing 10 petabytes of data every hour from the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope. The array is thus expected to generate approximately one exabyte every four days of operation. According to IBM, the new SKA telescope initiative will generate over an exabyte of data every day. IBM is designing hardware to process this information.

The Digital Britain Report says 494 exabytes of data was transferred across the globe on June 15, 2009.

Several filesystems use disk formats that support theoretical volume sizes of several exabytes, including Btrfs, XFS, ZFS, exFAT, NTFS, HFS Plus, and ReFS.

The ext4 file system format supports volumes up to 1 exabyte in size, although the userspace tools cannot yet administer such filesystems.

A popular expression claims that "all words ever spoken by human beings" could be stored in approximately 5 exabytes of data, (although this project is now outdated and therefore not entirely accurate) often citing a project at the UC Berkeley School of Information in support. The 2003 University of California Berkeley report credits the estimate to the website of Caltech researcher Roy Williams, where the statement can be found as early as May 1999. This statement has been criticized. Mark Liberman calculated the storage requirements for all human speech at 42 zettabytes (42,000 exabytes, and 8,400 times the original estimate), if digitized as 16 kHz 16-bit audio, although he did freely confess that "maybe the authors [of the exabyte estimate] were thinking about text".

Earlier studies from the University of California, Berkeley, estimated that by the end of 1999, the sum of human-produced information (including all audio, video recordings, and text/books) was about 12 exabytes of data. The 2003 Berkeley report stated that in 2002 alone, "telephone calls worldwide on both landlines and mobile phones contained 17.3 exabytes of new information if stored in digital form" and that "it would take 9.25 exabytes of storage to hold all U.S. [telephone] calls each year".

International Data Corporation estimates that approximately 160 exabytes of digital information were created, captured, and replicated worldwide in 2006. Research from University of Southern California estimates that the amount of data stored in the world by 2007 was 295 exabytes and the amount of information shared on two-way communications technology, such as cell phones in 2007 as 65 exabytes.

The Stanley Hotel

In Estes Park, Colorado, there is a beautiful and expansive hotel that offers sweeping views of the Rocky Mountains. The Stanley Hotel may well have simply existed as a footnote on a historic registry and a hidden gem known only to locals if not for one fateful stop by one very iconic horror writer.

Back in 1974, Stephen King and his wife Tabitha made a stop at The Stanley. The hotel was just about to shut down for the season and they happened to be its final guests for the year. If ever there was a scene to spark the mind of a writer, especially one specializing in unsettling tales, that was it. The Kings found the hotel eerily empty–they ate in a grand dining room that had been packed up for the winter, the hallways were empty and seemingly endless, and, to top it all off, canned orchestral music floated through the empty dining room. King later explained, “Except for our table all the chairs were up on the tables. So the music is echoing down the hall, and, I mean, it was like God had put me there to hear that and see those things.”

As if that weren’t enough to inspire, King described his one night in the hotel as such, “I dreamed of my three-year-old son running through the corridors, looking back over his shoulder, eyes wide, screaming. He was being chased by a fire-hose. I woke up with a tremendous jerk, sweating all over, within an inch of falling out of bed. I got up, lit a cigarette, sat in a chair looking out the window at the Rockies, and by the time the cigarette was done, I had the bones of the book firmly set in my mind.”

King went on to write The Shining, published in 1977 and, in the process, immortalized The Stanley as The Overlook Hotel in the novel. The owners of The Stanley, in turn, have done their part to immortalize King. Rather than get huffy about their hotel’s infamy, they’ve embraced it -– the uncut R-rated version of Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film adaptation of the book plays on continual loop on channel 42 within the hotel and, in a nod to the hedge maze outside The Overlook Hotel, in 2015 a giant hedge maze was installed at The Stanley. It was that maze that was featured in the conclusion of The Shining.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Monday, September 19, 2016

Al Capone's business card said he was a used furniture dealer.
What does your business card say?

How Things Have Changed

That would be me on the left and just some idiot on the right.
However, there is no better time:
Tune in, Turn on, and Drop out. Defy Authority.
Oh, and have a nice day.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

I'm A What?

Just chillin' on a Sunday afternoon.
According to recent research, they say individuals who hold strong beliefs in conspiracies often also score high in narcissism and low in self-esteem. Well, they have me there. All the same, I say most conspiracy theorists are able to distinguish fiction from reality with a high degree of reliability and are generally critical thinkers.

Do you get it yet?

business as usual.

The Sunday Edition (.020)

Welcome. I see you found your way back to the NTD Sunday Edition. Good for you! I am here to assure you that your assessment of the world as a crazy place is spot on. The only thing I can add is that the world appears to be even crazier than you and I can imagine. It's full of lying, manipulating, seekers of wealth, power, and control. How far will you go just to chase a dollar?

• Hillary Clinton is the first presidential candidate in history to propose abolishing the borders. That'll get rid of the immigration problem, I guess.

• There were more bombings this week in New York City and the report of a crazed muslim stabbing people with a knife in a shopping mall in Minnesota. Trump says is he is elected, these bombings and random attacks will "go away." How can that be? I'll tell you why -- because they are manipulated, arranged events. Trump knows it and he knows that if the political power that arranges such events is driven from office, such attacks will vanish. This is not to say that there are not even more shadowy influences as well, such as George Soros and Saudi Arabian princes with more money than sense, but if we could keep our leaders from accepting their bribes, we might get ahead of the power curve. Ha! I'm dreaming.

• An Australian study has found that about one in five corporate executives are psychopaths – roughly the same rate as among prisoners.

The study of 261 senior professionals in the United States found that 21 per cent had clinically significant levels of psychopathic traits. The rate of psychopathy in the general population is about one in a hundred. Ha! I figured %100 of American CEOs are crazy.

• Wells Fargo Bank, one of the nation's largest banks, has been hit with $185 million in civil penalties for secretly opening millions of unauthorized deposit and credit card accounts that harmed customers, federal and state officials said Thursday. Employees of Wells Fargo (WFC) boosted sales figures by covertly opening the accounts and funding them by transferring money from customers' authorized accounts without permission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Los Angeles city officials said. An analysis by the San Francisco-headquartered bank found that its employees opened more than two million deposit and credit card accounts that may not have been authorized by consumers. Many of the transfers ran up fees or other charges for the customers, even as they helped employees make incentive goals. The bank agreed to pay full restitution to all victims and a $100 million fine to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's civil penalty fund - the largest in the regulator's five-year operating history. Wells Fargo will pay a separate $35 million penalty to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Additionally, Wells Fargo said it terminated approximately 5,300 employees and managers over a five-year period for their involvement with the unauthorized accounts.

Note: No Wells Fargo executives have been held responsible for this bank's institutionalized breach of customer trust. Do you think these actions were taken without approval from at least one executive?

• Whole brain emulations of human minds are quite a ways off, and likely won’t appear until the second half of the 21st Century. But in the stage leading up to this we’ll be able to emulate the brains of much simpler organisms. Already today there’s the OpenWorm project, an effort to digitize the brain of a nematode worm.

Within the next two decades, we will most certainly be able to emulate the brains of other organisms, like ants and bees. And who knows, by this point we might even be able to start emulating the brains of simple mammals, like mice. But by virtue of doing so, we will have created virtual animals who essentially “live” inside a computer. And someday, perhaps even by the 2030s, these digital brains will be uploaded to robotic avatars.

• If there is anything positive to say about the 2016 elections, it's that they have finally forced an end to the official denial of computerized election rigging. In the past month, the fact that our voting technology is a hacker's paradise has been validated by no less than all the major TV news networks. Of course, the corporate media and political parties are now professing "shock" at the very prospect that US elections can be manipulated, and yes, even stolen. Yet it has long been an open secret that game-changing races have been decided not by voters, but by insiders; from the presidential race of 1960, appropriated for John Kennedy by Democratic muscle in Chicago, to the two victories secured for George W. Bush by GOP fixers in Florida and hackers in Ohio. Among other suspect elections in recent years are key Congressional races hijacked by combinations of voter suppression, gerrymandering, dark money and the ugly little secret of American elections: rigged voting machines. How is this possible? Because over many decades, our public elections have been privatized and outsourced to a handful of corporations and dozens of private service vendors. Some have even been convicted of crimes, including bribery, bid rigging, kickback schemes, lying to voting officials and computer fraud. In turn, these shady corporations have sold us billions in "proprietary" computerized voting systems, [while] election laws have slowly been altered to facilitate this quiet transition to more "expedient" private control.

• The head of a Dallas police organization is suing a collection of Black Lives Matter figureheads and other prominent individuals for allegedly inciting racial violence against American police officers.

Dallas Police Department Sergeant Demetrick Pennie, President of the Dallas Fallen Officer Foundation, filed an amended federal complaint September 16 against more than a dozen defendant institutions and individuals to build a class action case on behalf of “police officers and other law enforcement persons of all races and ethnicities including but not limited to Jews, Christians and Caucasians” for “inciting” race riots and related violence.

The suit hopes to produce damages and an injunction placed against alleged threats of racially-motived violence going forward.

The defendants represent a who’s who of public figures in both racial and general political matters. Apart from founding members and public faces related to Black Lives Matter, Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam; Rev. Al Sharpton and the National Action Network; Malik Zulu Shabazz and the New Black Panthers; George Soros; President Barack Obama; former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder; and Democrat Nominee Hillary Clinton are all included in the suit.

The 66-page federal complaint alleges that each defendant individual and organization “repeatedly incited their supporters and others to engage in threats and attacks” against police officers around the nation, culminating in the July killings of five Dallas area officers with nine others wounded at a Black Lives Matter gathering. The complaint singles out George Soros as “the financier of the BLM Defendants and similar organizations with the goal of inciting a race war” and advocating violence against whites and Jews.

Defendants Obama and Clinton are blamed for repeatedly endorsing behaviors carried out and surrounding Black Lives Matter.

Sgt. Pennie is being represented by Larry Klayman of FreedomWatch. Klayman previously founded the conservative legal watchdog Judicial Watch.

• Although Facebook claims it is not biased politically, the company labels every user as liberal, moderate or conservative, even if they do not post or comment about politics, the New York Times reports.

The easiest way for a user to determine how Mark Zuckerberg’s company labels his or her political leanings is to visit the “ad preferences” page at The user then scrolls down the preference list and clicks on “interests” and then the “Lifestyle and Culture” grouping. Next, the user can scroll down and click the box for “U.S. Politics,” and the user will learn how Facebook characterizes his or her interests as liberal, moderate of conservative.

Facebook does give users the opportunity to make their own political determinations, by going to Facebook’s “About Me” preference and stating Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.

Given that Facebook wants to know users’ deepest secrets so they can sell them to anyone willing to pay, Mark Zuckerberg and his posse will categorize users as hard-core liberals by their affinity for brands like “Tom’s of Maine,” or hard-core conservatives if they crave Chick-fil-A.

Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook have developed the type of extensive dossiers on 1.7 billion worldwide users that the East German Stassi would have craved. Political campaign managers pay higher fees to Facebook for “optimizing” the effectiveness of their political ads.

• The rise of autonomous killing machines is a grim and frightening prospect, but it’s virtually guaranteed to happen.

We already have various levels of autonomy in a number of weapons systems, including cruise and patriot missiles. The Aegis Combat System, which is found aboard naval ships, has an autonomous mode in which it uses powerful computers and radars to track and guide weapons to destroy enemy targets. There’s also Samsung Techwin's remote-operated sentry bot — which is currently deployed in the Korean DMZ. And the U.S. packbot/REDOWL system could be easily modified to take out snipers on its own.

Despite calls to halt the development of machine-soldiers that identify and kill without human input, military leaders will not hesitate to use a robot when a human life can be spared. What’s more, these machines will eventually exceed human capacities across a number of physical and cognitive domains. They may also be developed as part of a pending arm’s race.

• It is a seemingly well-known fact that the speed of light cannot be breached in our universe, but that has been outright proven wrong by researchers from NEC Research Institute in Princeton, US. They passed a laser beam through a chamber of specially prepared gas and clocked its time. As it turned out, the beam was observed to be 300 times faster than the speed of light. Incredibly, the beam exited the chamber before it had entered it, which appears to violate the law of cause and effect as theorized by Einstein. It is like seeing the TV turn on before you press the switch on your remote. But then again, as the researchers explain, that law is not technically being broken, as the beam of the future has no means to affect the conditions in the past, which proves that Einstein wasn’t wrong, after all. Wrong or not, the experiment still managed to prove that the light speed barrier can in fact be broken and that effect can precede cause.

• We have previously talked about how far science has come in its quest for discovering true invisibility, but as if that wasn’t enough, scientists have already taken the next leap and figured out how to hide things from time itself. Researchers from Cornell University have made a device which splits a light beam into two components, transports it through a medium, and puts it back together at the other end with the help of a time lens, without any record of what happened in that duration. The lens slows down the faster part of the beam and speeds up the slower one, creating a temporary vacuum in time that hides the events during transmission.

So where we would have gotten a combined wave full of interference, this device skips whatever happens on the way and hides it from time itself. As of now, the event can only be hidden for an extremely short interval, but it’s only a matter of time before someone figures out how to do it for a longer period. Temporal cloaking has useful applications in a lot of fields, primarily in secure data transfer. 1Objects Doing Two Things At The Same Time

We have countless theories on how particles on the quantum level do the impossible, but it wasn’t until scientists from UC Santa Barbara made an actual quantum machine that we were able to witness this in the real world. The scientists cooled a really tiny piece of metal to the lowest temperature it can have, also known as its “ground state.” When they applied it to the quantum circuit and plucked it like a string, what they noticed was that it moved and didn’t move at the same time, which was only theoretically possible until that point.

If it doesn’t sound amazing, just think of it as an experiment wherein a man is found to be relaxing at home and backpacking across Europe at the same time, albeit on a much smaller scale. The discovery has enormous consequences for science, because quantum mechanics may have the means to fulfill our wildest dreams. Science magazine called it the most important scientific advance of 2010. Some people even went on to quote the experiment as proof of multiverses, but the community is divided on whether that leap could be made, since we are still some way away from replicating the results on a larger scale. Still, the discovery proves that quantum science works and that maybe, just maybe, being in two places at the same time and hopping between universes for fun is a reality not too far away in the future.

That's it for this week, folks. I mean, there is a lot more insanity to write about but there are only so many hours in a day. I think I'll take a break and do something crazy. Thanks for reading! See you later...

Friday, September 16, 2016

Peace? Not In My Lifetime

If you are unaware, there has been a decade long decline in peace. The last decade has seen a historic decline in world peace - interrupting a long term improvement in peace since World War II.

Terrorism is at an all time high.

Battle deaths from conflict are at a 25 year high. The total number of conflicts has jumped sharply in recent years, rising from 31 in 2010 to 40 in 2014.

The number of refugees and internally displaced persons increased dramatically over the decade, doubling from 2007 to 2015, to approximately 60 million people.

Deaths from terrorism increased by 80 per cent from last year’s report with only 69 countries not recording a terrorist incident. The intensity of terrorism also increased with the number of countries suffering more than 500 deaths from terrorist acts more than doubling, up from 5 to 11. The rise in political instability was globally distributed with large changes within many countries spread across many regions. Among the countries with the largest deteriorations were Djibouti, Guinea-Bissau, Poland, Burundi, Kazakhstan and Brazil.

Someday, I'm going to climb into my clothes basket
and fly away. To Alaska, probably.
The total number of conflicts has jumped sharply in recent years, rising from 31 in 2010 to 40 in 2014. This increase in the number of internal conflicts has led to a concurrent rise in battle deaths. In 2014, owing largely to the conflict in Syria but also the increasingly protracted conflict in Yemen, battle deaths hit a 25 year high. This number is likely to increase when 2015 data is released.

Although the majority of deaths in 2014 occurred in Syria, there were a number of other conflicts that resulted in high numbers of battle deaths. In total, 11 conflicts resulted in more than a thousand deaths each in 2014, with conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan resulting in more than 10,000 deaths each.

However, it is important to place today’s violence in historical context. While the total number of battle deaths did reach a 25 year high in 2014, the last 25 years have been relatively peaceful compared to the preceding 25. From the period 1990 to 2014, there were more than 50,000 deaths in a year on six occasions. By contrast, from 1965 to 1989 there were more than 50,000 deaths on 24 occasions.

Creation Dream

Remember when music used to be, well... it used to be music, not some dude mush-mouthing his way through bad lyrics. Anyway, an internet acquaintance posted some Bruce Cockburn today, so I thought I'd return the favor. Good stuff, amazing acoustic guitar.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Freedom 101

As crazy as it sounds, there is no college in America that teaches a course in personal/individual freedom. No college course in America teaches how freedom/liberty is recognized by the government and how a citizen may use his freedom to build a better life for himself.
[It is difficult to build a better life without personal freedom.]
Don't you think such a college course would be valuable? I do.

Monday, September 12, 2016

BG & The BFGs

The Day After

What kind of an American are you? Will you mourn the dead or will you celebrate the government as protector of national security? For thoughtful and historically balanced realists, the correct reaction is that the last remnants of the Republic collapsed with the twin towers and burned with the response from the Pentagon fire. Most docile and obedient subjects of the despotic regime that has morphed into outright tyranny still believe the official report from The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States provides the definitive details on the 911 investigation. It does not and our leaders are lying to us.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

“Life is like arriving late for a movie,
having to figure out what was going on
without bothering everybody with a lot of questions,
and then being unexpectedly called away
before you find out how it ends.”

— Joseph Campbell

The Sunday Edition (.019)

Thanks for reading Edition 19 of the Sunday Edition of the North Texas Drifter. As we remember the events presented to us on television that fateful day fifteen years ago, I'd like to suggest that the real perpetrators of 9/11 have gotten away scot-free and made literally billions of dollars from the event, and subsequently changed the perception of history.

 Who arranged for 9/11 to happen? That bin Laden guy, calling the shots from a cave in Pakistan? Obama claims we killed bin Laden. Job well done. Mission accomplished. If so, why are we still at war? Look at the leadership of the political parties in the USA, ask Obama or Hillary or Biden or even George Bush or one of his crew. They know what happened. They know they've created a war that will give the American people something to fear besides the government. Our own government has created our enemies in order to control its citizens. What is the truth? It's not to be found in the daily lives of Americans too busy to consider that their freedom and their ability to make their own decisions is vanishing because of so-called "progressive" social policies.

The push for more control over people's lives also happens to be the end result of the progressives' war on climate change. This is truly a load of foaming crap foisted on the people of the world. How much is your carbon footprint worth? You don't know? Don't worry, the government will decide for you.

• The U.S. House of Representatives, following the lead of the Senate, has passed a bill allowing Americans to sue Saudi Arabia over connections to the 9/11 event only days before the attack’s 15th anniversary. The measure passed unanimously, without objection or opposition, but President Obama has promised to veto the bill. House Resolution 3815, also known as the “Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act” or JASTA, creates an exception to sovereign immunity created by a 1976 law, which currently prohibits U.S. citizens from suing foreign countries for terrorism that kills Americans on U.S. soil. The unanimous vote in the House gives the Republican-dominated legislature the ability to override a promised veto from the White House.

• The largest baby ever born weighed in at over 23 pounds but died just 11 hours after his birth in 1879. The largest surviving baby was born in October 2009 in Sumatra, Indonesia and weighed an astounding 19.2 pounds at birth. How much did you weigh at birth? Aren't you glad your mother decided to keep you instead of, you know, getting rid of you?

• An association of architects and engineers who have questioned the cover story for the attack on 9/11 in New York City have published an article in Europhysics Magazine, the respected publication of the European physics community, saying that “the evidence points overwhelmingly to the conclusion that all three buildings were destroyed by controlled demolition.” Additionally, “Given the far-reaching implications, it is morally imperative that this hypothesis be the subject of a truly scientific and impartial investigation by responsible authorities,” the physicists conclude.

By now, there are numerous scientific articles and studies supporting the view that the buildings were demolished by preset explosives and that the terrorist attack was a ruse. Even Donald Trump has admitted that the real perpetrators have gotten away scot-free. Trump says he'll out the guilty when he is elected president. Perhaps that is what the US needs -- a full accounting of the crimes perpetrated on the people of the US (and the world)...

We have been misled. We have been lied to about any number of events and so-called facts. As a result, the public's view of reality is distorted. Ya see, we believe what they want us to believe.

The 9/11 Commissioners publicly expressed anger at cover ups and obstructions of justice by the government into a real 9/11 investigation:

• 9/11 Commission co-chair Lee Hamilton says “I don’t believe for a minute we got everything right”, that the Commission was set up to fail, that people should keep asking questions about 9/11, and that the 9/11 debate should continueThe 9/11 Commission chair said the Commission was “set up to fail”
• The Commission’s co-chairs said that the CIA (and likely the White House) “obstructed our investigation”
• 9/11 Commissioner Bob Kerrey said that “There are ample reasons to suspect that there may be some alternative to what we outlined in our version . . . We didn’t have access . . . .”
• 9/11 Commissioner Timothy Roemer said “We were extremely frustrated with the false statements we were getting”
• 9/11 Commissioner Max Cleland resigned from the Commission, stating: “It is a national scandal”; “This investigation is now compromised”; and “One of these days we will have to get the full story because the 9-11 issue is so important to America. But this White House wants to cover it up”. When asked in 2009 if he thought there should be another 9/11 commission, Cleland responded: “There should be about fifteen 9/11 commissions”
• The Senior Counsel to the 9/11 Commission (John Farmer) – who led the 9/11 staff’s inquiry – said “At some level of the government, at some point in time…there was an agreement not to tell the truth about what happened“. He also said “I was shocked at how different the truth was from the way it was described …. The tapes told a radically different story from what had been told to us and the public for two years…. This is not spin. This is not true.”
• The Co-Chair of the congressional investigation into 9/11 – Bob Graham – and 9/11 Commissioner and former Senator Bob Kerrey are calling for either a “PERMANENT 9/11 commission” or a new 9/11 investigation to get to the bottom of it
• 9/11 Commissioner John Lehman says that a new investigation should be “vigorously pursued“

The black boxes from the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, were found and retrieved in the weeks after the 9/11 attacks, a significant amount of evidence indicates. And yet government officials and the official investigation into the attacks have asserted that these devices were never recovered. A plane’s two black boxes record important information about a flight. The black boxes from American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175–the planes that hit the World Trade Center–could therefore have helped investigators determine what happened on these aircraft before they crashed on September 11. A number of people who were involved in the recovery effort in the weeks after 9/11 have said they saw or helped recover objects at the World Trade Center site that appeared to be black boxes from a plane. One worker unearthed an object that looked like a black box at Pier 25 on the Hudson River.

• A Russian radio telescope scanning the skies has observed “a strong signal” from a nearby star, HD164595, in the constellation Hercules. The star is a scant 95 light years away and 99% of the size of Earth’s own sun. It has at least one planet, HD164595b, which is about the size of Neptune and has a 40-day year. Seth Shostak of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute (Seti) ... was shocked to have learned of the discovery only now – the readings from Russian radio telescope Ratan-600, Shostak said, were taken a year ago. The news came to international attention on Saturday through Claudio Maccone of the University of Turin in Italy, who attended a talk by the scientists who recorded the signal on 15 May 2015. Maccone sent the Guardian his proposed presentation for the International Academy of Astronautics 2016 meeting on the subject of the search for alien life, set for 27 September. He will call for the permanent monitoring of HD164595. “Could it be an ET?” asked Shostak rhetorically. “Of course, but ... it is hard to tell if the signal comes from intelligent life. If it is being broadcast across a large chunk of the radio spectrum, the noise is probably coming from a quasar or another source of stellar “noise”; if it is over a narrower band but very strong, it is likelier to be the product of intelligence.

• In his latest book, The War on Guns: Arming Yourself Against Gun Control Lies, John R. Lott Jr. points shows that from 1950 to 2010, not one mass public shooting took place in an area where citizens could arm themselves in self-defense.

In other words, gun-free zones or gun-restricted zones were the targets of choice.

This flies in the face of the 21st century gun control movement’s claims that gun-free zones do not endanger innocents. It exposes the fallacy of arguments that present attackers as uninterested parties who choose a target by chance, never taking into account whether that target contains people who can shoot back.

During MSNBC’s September 7 Commander-in-Chief Forum, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton suggested more gun control is part of the fight against terror attacks in the United States. She did this after forum host Matt Lauer brought up “terror attacks on our soil.”

• If we allow Islamic women to go around covered from head to toe, how do we know they're really women if they're totally disguised? Does it matter? Can I, as an American citizen and a male, walk around with a mask over my face and a long floppy robe capable of hiding my AR-15?

• The University of Colorado has banned any free inquiry over the highly speculative government concept of "climate change." Climate change is, of course, code language for just another way for the federal government to restrict individual rights and upon which to base a socialistic form of government. Think that's just a conspiracy theory? Mind if I call you Pollyanna?

• Shizo Kanakuri disappeared while running the marathon in the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm. He was listed as a missing person in Sweden for 50 years — until a journalist found him living quietly in southern Japan. Overcome with heat during the race, he had stopped at a garden party to drink orange juice, stayed for an hour, then took a train to a hotel and sailed home the next day, too ashamed to tell anyone he was leaving. There’s a happy ending: In 1966 Kanakuri accepted an invitation to return to Stockholm and complete his run. His final time was 54 years, 8 months, 6 days, 8 hours, 32 minutes and 20.3 seconds — surely a record that will last forever.

U.S. elections are designed to make the public feel as if we are participating in our own governance, when in reality, we are only ever allowed to choose from a list of candidates that the elites pre-select. This does not mean that all politicians are corrupted or controlled, but according to the evidence I have seen, the majority of government represents the desires of a select few, and not the majority of the citizenry. There is absolutely no chance of retaking our current government by working within the system. To be blunt, the system is now structured to protect itself and nothing else. To think that it can be influenced through “elections” is an absurd notion.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Vonnegut's Basics

The 8 basics below were taken from the preface to Vonnegut's short story collection, Bagombo Snuff Box.

Kurt Vonnegut (1922 - 2007) wrote a number of memorable novels, such as Cat's Cradle, God Bless You Mr. Rosewater, Breakfast Of Champions, Sirens of Titan and Slaughterhouse Five, among others, often focusing on the matter of chance in a person's life. Vonnegut plays with happenstance both dark and funny in classic and counter-culture scenarios with prose that is clear and concise.

With customary wit, Vonnegut gives the 8 basics of Creative Writing:

1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
4. Every sentence must do one of two things: reveal character or advance the action.
5. Start as close to the end as possible.
6. Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

Vonnegut also maintained that "The greatest American short story writer of my generation was Flannery O'Connor (1925-1964). She broke practically every one of my rules but the first. Great writers tend to do that."

Worth Repeating

Seven blunders of the world that lead to violence:
wealth without work,
pleasure without conscience,
knowledge without character,
commerce without morality,
science without humanity,
worship without sacrifice,
politics without principle.

— Mahatma Gandhi

Friday, September 9, 2016

The Greatest Threat

The Greatest Threat To Our Freedoms: A Government of Scoundrels, Spies, Thieves, And Killers

by John Whitehead

“There is nothing more dangerous than a government of the many controlled by the few.” — Lawrence Lessig, Harvard law professor

The U.S. government remains the greatest threat to our freedoms.

The systemic violence being perpetrated by agents of the government has done more collective harm to the American people and our liberties than any single act of terror.

More than terrorism, more than domestic extremism, more than gun violence and organized crime, the U.S. government has become a greater menace to the life, liberty and property of its citizens than any of the so-called dangers from which the government claims to protect us.

This is how tyranny rises and freedom falls.

When the government views itself as superior to the citizenry, when it no longer operates for the benefit of the people, when the people are no longer able to peacefully reform their government, when government officials cease to act like public servants, when elected officials no longer represent the will of the people, when the government routinely violates the rights of the people and perpetrates more violence against the citizenry than the criminal class, when government spending is unaccountable and unaccounted for, when the judiciary act as courts of order rather than justice, and when the government is no longer bound by the laws of the Constitution, then you no longer have a government “of the people, by the people and for the people.”

What we have is a government of wolves.

Worse than that, we are now being ruled by a government of scoundrels, spies, thugs, thieves, gangsters, ruffians, rapists, extortionists, bounty hunters, battle-ready warriors and cold-blooded killers who communicate using a language of force and oppression.

Does the government pose a danger to you and your loved ones?

The facts speak for themselves.

We’re being held at gunpoint by a government of soldiers —- a standing army. While Americans are being made to jump through an increasing number of hoops in order to exercise their Second Amendment right to own a gun, the government is arming its own civilian employees to the hilt with guns, ammunition and military-style equipment, authorizing them to make arrests, and training them in military tactics. Among the agencies being supplied with night-vision equipment, body armor, hollow-point bullets, shotguns, drones, assault rifles and LP gas cannons are the Smithsonian, U.S. Mint, Health and Human Services, IRS, FDA, Small Business Administration, Social Security Administration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Education Department, Energy Department, Bureau of Engraving and Printing and an assortment of public universities. There are now reportedly more bureaucratic (non-military) government civilians armed with high-tech, deadly weapons than U.S. Marines. That doesn’t even begin to touch on the government’s arsenal, the transformation of local police into extensions of the military, and the speed with which the nation could be locked down under martial law depending on the circumstances. Clearly, the government is preparing for war—and a civil war, at that—but who is the enemy?

We’re being robbed blind by a government of thieves. Americans no longer have any real protection against government agents empowered to seize private property at will. For instance, police agencies under the guise of asset forfeiture laws are taking property based on little more than a suspicion of criminal activity. In one case, police seized $53,000 from the manager of a Christian rock band that was touring and raising money for an orphanage in Thailand. Despite finding no evidence of wrongdoing, police kept the money. Homeowners are losing their homes over nonpayment of taxes (for as little as $400 owed) and municipal bills such as water or sewer fees that amount to a fraction of what they have invested in their homes. And then there’s the Drug Enforcement Agency, which has been searching train and airline passengers and pocketing their cash, without ever charging them with a crime.

We’re being taken advantage of by a government of scoundrels, idiots and cowards. American satirist H.L. Mencken calculated that “Congress consists of one-third, more or less, scoundrels; two-thirds, more or less, idiots; and three-thirds, more or less, poltroons.” By and large, Americans seem to agree. When you’ve got government representatives who spend a large chunk of their work hours fundraising, being feted by lobbyists, shuffling through a lucrative revolving door between public service and lobbying, and making themselves available to anyone with enough money to secure access to a congressional office, you’re in the clutches of a corrupt oligarchy. Mind you, these same elected officials rarely read the legislation they’re enacting, nor do they seem capable of enacting much legislation that actually helps rather than hinders the plight of the American citizen.

We’re being locked up by a government of greedy jailers. We have become a carceral state, spending three times more on our prisons than on our schools and imprisoning close to a quarter of the world’s prisoners, despite the fact that crime is at an all-time low and the U.S. makes up only 5% of the world’s population. The rise of overcriminalization and profit-driven private prisons provides even greater incentives for locking up American citizens for such non-violent “crimes” as having an overgrown lawn. As the Boston Review points out, “America’s contemporary system of policing, courts, imprisonment, and parole … makes money through asset forfeiture, lucrative public contracts from private service providers, and by directly extracting revenue and unpaid labor from populations of color and the poor. In states and municipalities throughout the country, the criminal justice system defrays costs by forcing prisoners and their families to pay for punishment. It also allows private service providers to charge outrageous fees for everyday needs such as telephone calls. As a result people facing even minor criminal charges can easily find themselves trapped in a self-perpetuating cycle of debt, criminalization, and incarceration.”

We’re being spied on by a government of Peeping Toms. The government is watching everything you do, reading everything you write, listening to everything you say, and monitoring everything you spend. Omnipresent surveillance is paving the way for government programs that profile citizens, document their behavior and attempt to predict what they might do in the future, whether it’s what they might buy, what politician they might support, or what kinds of crimes they might commit. The impact of this far-reaching surveillance, according to Psychology Today, is “reduced trust, increased conformity, and even diminished civic participation.” As technology analyst Jillian C. York concludes, “Mass surveillance without due process—whether undertaken by the government of Bahrain, Russia, the US, or anywhere in between—threatens to stifle and smother that dissent, leaving in its wake a populace cowed by fear.”

We’re being ravaged by a government of ruffians, rapists and killers. It’s not just the police shootings of unarmed citizens that are worrisome. It’s the SWAT team raids gone wrong that are leaving innocent citizens wounded, children terrorized and family pets killed. It’s the roadside strip searches—in some cases, cavity searches of men and women alike carried out in full view of the public—in pursuit of drugs that are never found. It’s the potentially lethal—and unwarranted—use of so-called “nonlethal” weapons such as tasers on children for “mouthing off to a police officer. For trying to run from the principal’s office. For, at the age of 12, getting into a fight with another girl.”

We’re being forced to surrender our freedoms—and those of our children—to a government of extortionists, money launderers and professional pirates. The American people have been repeatedly sold a bill of goods about how the government needs more money, more expansive powers, and more secrecy (secret courts, secret budgets, secret military campaigns, secret surveillance) in order to keep us safe. Under the guise of fighting its wars on terror, drugs and now domestic extremism, the government has spent billions in taxpayer dollars on endless wars that have not ended terrorism but merely sown the seeds of blowback, surveillance programs that have caught few terrorists while subjecting all Americans to a surveillance society, and militarized police that have done little to decrease crime while turning communities into warzones. Not surprisingly, the primary ones to benefit from these government exercises in legal money laundering have been the corporations, lobbyists and politicians who inflict them on a trusting public.

Whatever else it may be—a danger, a menace, a threat—the U.S. government is certainly no friend to freedom.

To our detriment, the criminal class that Mark Twain mockingly referred to as Congress has since expanded to include every government agency that feeds off the carcass of our once-constitutional republic. In fact, there’s a very good reason you don’t hear much in the way of specifics about the government’s tyranny from politicians: it’s because they can’t afford to upset the apple cart (i.e., jeopardize their posh lifestyles).

So no matter which party wins the White House, controls Congress or appoints future Supreme Court justices, rest assured that the menace of the shadow government—the permanent, unelected bureaucracy that operates beyond the reach of the Constitution, the courts and the citizenry—will continue uninterrupted.

Our backs are against the proverbial wall.

The government and its cohorts have conspired to ensure that the only real recourse the American people have to express their displeasure with the government is through voting, which is no real recourse at all. The penalties for civil disobedience, whistleblowing and rebellion are severe. If you refuse to pay taxes for government programs you believe to be immoral or illegal, you will go to jail. If you attempt to overthrow the government—or any agency thereof—because you believe it has overstepped its reach, you will go to jail. If you attempt to blow the whistle on government misconduct, there’s a pretty good chance you will go to jail.

For too long, the American people have been made to act like puppets dancing to a tyrant’s tune.

We have obeyed the government’s dictates, no matter now extreme. We have paid its taxes, penalties and fines, no matter how outrageous. We have tolerated its indignities, insults and abuses, no matter how egregious. We have turned a blind eye to its indiscretions and incompetence, no matter how imprudent. We have held our silence in the face of its lawlessness, licentiousness and corruption, no matter how illicit.

We have suffered.

How long we will continue to suffer depends on how much we’re willing to give up for the sake of freedom.

America’s founders provided us with a very specific explanation about the purpose of government and a roadmap for what to do when the government abuses its authority, ignores our objections, and establishes itself as a tyrant.

We must choose between peaceful slavery (in other words, maintaining the status quo in servitude to the police state) and dangerous freedom. That will mean carving out a path in which we begin to take ownership of our government, starting at the local level, challenging the status quo, and raising hell whenever a government official steps out of line.