Tag Archives: NSA

Miscellaneous (Sort Of) Deep Thoughts: NSA, Bug Out Bags, Pullups, Metal Prices

7 Aug

Our elected officials and head of the NSA told the American people they don’t collect data on American citizens. Enter Edward Snowden. Turns out they do collect data on us. OK. The jig is up.

Update. Our elected officials tell us they’re only collecting Meta-Data, not what’s said in our conversations. Don’t worry, your conversations are still private. Snowden says he could read anybody’s e-mail. Elected officials say that’s a lie.

Snowden releases training materials for the X-KEYSCORE program showing indeed, “nearly everything a typical user does on the internet” is collected. So much data is being collected it’s overwritten every three days. They just don’t have the data storage capacity to keep it. That’s way beyond meta-data.

Your data will only be kept if you searched for “suspicious stuff.” Yes, fellow preppers. That probably includes you. Preppers, by nature, are interested in “suspicious stuff.”

And, no. You can’t protect your privacy with a service like TOR. The NSA has hacked that too.

But, I guess it’s all OK. After all, we’re told we’re in danger of a major terrorist attack or attacks. Be afraid. Be very afraid. The only thing saving us is our outstanding national electronic surveillance program. Thank you, NSA.
Yes. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

This is a good editorial about why the government lying to its citizens is bad.

I see an upside to the NSA program. We can solve the entire national debt problem. Just sell this real-time data about what we’re thinking to marketers. I bet they’d pay for it.

Jerry (on phone): Hi, Bob. Want to shoot some hoops?

Bob: Wish I could. I need to get out and buy some oil and change my car’s oil.

Jerry: Talk to you later. Bye.

Ring. Hello. This is Autozone. We’re just calling to let you know we have a great savings on oil this week….

***
When you assemble a bug out bag, it helps to think in terms of kits. You can have a signaling kit, a fire starting kit, etc.

A typical fire starting kit might include matches, metal match, steel wool, and some tinder. All kept in a ziplock bag. You could add to it as much as you thought necessary: A small magnifying glass to catch the sun’s rays. A lighter or two for convenience. Maybe a small strong string to make a fire bow and drill. By thinking in terms of “kit” you open up your thinking to other useful items. You see other possibilities.

One kit to consider is a hunter-forager kit. It can be really small. A few fishhooks, line, a few sinkers and small bobbers would let you fish. A couple of arrowheads, nocks, a bow string and some fletching and epoxy would give you a head start in building your own bow. A rubber slingshot band would let you make a slingshot. A few feet of snare wire.

***

If you’re getting into shape, a handy thing to have is a pull up bar. There are some good tutorials about ideas to build your own on Youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gE5r5V-sA24

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UX6Hg3AYRBk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8vSMVFVYbM

What’s an impressive number of pullups? It depends on the person. The Marines list 20 as being perfect. The old “bar-barians requirement” is 20—40 parallel bars dips, 20 pull-ups, 50 push-ups and 5 muscle-ups in six minutes. Exceptionally fit guys can achieve 30 or even 40 with perfect form. If you can do 50 in one minute, you’re close to world record level.
Most of us will settle for 10 to 15. 20 to 25 is an impressive feat.

If pullups get too easy (don’t ask me how!), you can add weight. Here’s a guy who got into this and convinced Guinness World Records to add a category for weighted pullups. How cool is that? Not only setting a world record, but creating it. He can do a pull up with added weight about equal to his bodyweight.

What makes this interesting to me is that he started from an impressive, but not super-human, number and just kept improving. That’s a great life lesson: Just keep trying to make small, steady improvements, and you can eventually achieve impressive things. It works in reverse too. Put on a pound or two of body fat a year and in a few years, you’ll be shocked at how far you’ve fallen.

Here’s another heavier Youtube fellow with some exceptionally impressive pullups.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1KY0zDr5t-E

***
Here’s an interesting article about how the banks are artificially driving up Aluminum prices. Thanks, banks.

Some Youtube commentary about the 22 LR ammo shortage.

Advertisements

End Of Privacy In America II (Opinion)

10 Jun

A few days after the news the NSA is tracking phone caller “meta data” throughout America, new reports prove the government is busy at work tracking our online associations too.

Sites included for eves-dropping include Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL (are they still around?), Skype, YouTube, and Apple. To summarize: Pretty much everything you do online is being monitored by the American government. The records will remain, indefinitely.

A whole parade of politicians and bureaucrats are endorsing the practice as no big whoop:

It’s called protecting America,” said Senator Dianne Feinstein.

“The unauthorized disclosure of information about this important and entirely legal program is reprehensible and risks important protections for the security of Americans.”

“Information collected under this program is among the most important and valuable foreign intelligence information we collect, and is used to protect our nation from a wide variety of threats.” Director of National Intelligence

We are assured this information won’t be misused: Trust us, we’re told. The whistleblower who released this information has come forward. He didn’t feel Americans knew the extent to which they were monitored.

Whistleblowers play a key role in exposing government wrongdoing. They expose corruption and misdeeds. Without honest people in government and business, more stuff sneaks under the radar.

What if a special interest inside a country wants to start a war that isn’t in the best interests of its citizens but only serves the agenda of some special interest? How do you do this?

The ploy is well known: You fabricate intelligence and leak it to friendly newspapers. The fabricated intelligence, provocatively reported, proves the country to be attacked is an immediate threat to your own country. The people become outraged, fearful, and they follow the script. Yes, we must attack!

What if somebody inside the intelligence agency knows the truth? What should they do? Should they let thousands of Americans die needlessly by keeping quiet or destroy their own career and life by exposing the truth? It takes a tremendous amount of courage to step outside of the machine and become a whistleblower.

Whistleblowers are a cog in the machine. If an intelligence agency can ferret out all whistleblowers and those who object to their agenda, they can operate in secrecy and with impunity behind the scenes manipulating a population.

Destroying this level of protection is a key goal for certain groups. In my humble opinion, total information awareness, PRISM, the “Big Brother” database, or whatever you want to call the newest program is all about snuffing out whistleblowers.

Here’s how it works: Something the government shouldn’t be doing suddenly appears on page one of the Washington Post. How could the “Big Brother” database be used? The reporter’s phone numbers are searched. All calls the reporter ever made are examined. All incoming calls to him are looked at.

If the whistleblower made the error of using his home or cell phone, he’s instantly exposed. If he made the error of using his credit card to purchase a prepaid cell phone, he’s exposed too. The government plans to track our credit card purchases, if they don’t already do so.

In the future, when databases get larger, even the cell phone you carry and don’t use could be used to track you. Even if you used a pay phone, you’d be exposed, if you carried your cell phone. The ping data from your carried phone could be used to find out who made the call. Lacking that, surveillance video around the pay phone, whose number was recorded, would trap the prey. Hey, whatever happened to all the pay phones?

Such a database could be used to pressure reporters by pressuring associates. The phone for the reporter’s boss is searched and the associated number of a hooker appears. It’s suggested the boss tells the reporter to kill further reporting of this topic or his wife will be angry. Toss in a possible IRS audit for extra emphasis. The reporter is fired. He never knows why.

Of course, most people haven’t worked for the CIA and don’t have inside information. Most of us aren’t reporters, exposing corruption and wrongdoing. Most of us have nothing to fear by the politician-approved databases. That’s what we’re told.

To show how harmless this information is, the politicians supporting this data collection scheme should make their personal phone records public. Every outgoing call and incoming call made, with the time of the call, and location data, should be released.

If a lobbyist calls Senator Dianne Feinstein on her private cell phone and they talk for half an hour, shouldn’t Americans know this? The senators would never vote for that! Public officials should have a much higher level of disclosure than the average American. If they have all our data, it’s only fair we have theirs.

***
My Post: The End of Privacy In America