Monday, December 23, 2013

A Disgusted Rant

By John P. Smith
Freelance Writer

(Watch the companion video to this article.)

While everybody is watching to see what Phil Robertson (I had to look up his last name) is going to do with whatever channel runs that Duck show, Congress continues to quietly and unswervingly strip our rights out from under us.

So Congress has decided it's okay to reduce the benefits our retired veterans receive. This “little” cut is only expected to cost them about $100,000 over the course of their retirement. Now why would anybody be mad about that. It’s expected to save the government 6 billion dollars over the next 10 years.  And in the same breath, our retarded government kisses the asses of 11 million criminals who've entered our country illegally and don’t pay taxes.

I cannot believe that supposedly educated people can be so mindbogglingly stupid.

Oh, yeah.

They passed the National Defense Authorization Act for 2013. And they're pretty much keeping the "indefinite detention" rules for "terrorists" so all anybody has to do is point and yell and the MILITARY can haul you off and keep you FOREVER.

I cannot believe that supposedly educated people can be so mindbogglingly stupid. (This is an intentional repeat.)

Here's what has me really steamed:  Didn’t that kind of thing happen a lot in the good old days of Soviet Russia?  We railed against the former Soviet Union for human rights violations for keeping people in camps and prisons for years.  But, now we’re fighting “The War on Terrorism” so it’s okay for us to do it.

Here’s some good information:

It’s NOT OK!  It’s contrary to the very foundation of the laws of this country.  It is exactly what our founding fathers feared would happen.  It’s happening every day.   And now, because I’ve come out in favor of adherence to the Constitution, I can be labeled a Terrorist.  

When did we become our own enemy?  

So let’s ask this question? Why are we're letting them get away with it?  We should be marching on the palaces of these idiots with pitch forks and flaming torches right now. The fact that we're not shows that we are individuals of considerable restraint or that we're just too damned complacent to do something about it.

So, what are we going to do?

What can we do?

What can I do?


Sunday, December 01, 2013

An appeal to my brothers in arms:

By John P. Smith
Freelance Writer
Quality Engineer
Computer Programmer
Staff Sgt., USAF, 1982 - 1990
EMT, Fayetteville, Ark., 1996 - 2000

“If once the people become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress and Assemblies, Judges and Governors, shall all become wolves. It seems to be the law of our general nature, in spite of individual exceptions.” -- Thomas Jefferson.

Surely we can come up with something better from Thomas Jefferson. Try this one.

“Experience has shown, that even under the best forms (of government) those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.” -- Thomas Jefferson.

It’s said to be bad form, or just laziness, to start an article with a quote.  But I say Thomas Jefferson is rarely wrong.  He was a brilliant statesman, politician and soldier.  He saw this coming 240 years ago.  Despite his efforts to prevent it, here we are, balanced on the precipice, doomed to fall, but with some choice left as to where we land.

How about something a little more recent:

“To be patriotic is to be able to question government policy in times of crisis. To be patriotic is to stand up for the Bill of Rights and the Constitution in times of uncertainty and insecurity. To be patriotic is to speak up against the powerful in defense of the weak and the voiceless. To be patriotic is to be willing to pay the price to preserve our freedoms, dignity, and rights. To be patriotic is to challenge the abuses of the PATRIOT Act.”  -- Sami Al-Arian  (Here’s a guy who seriously got sent up the river by the Patriot Act.)

To All Officer and Enlisted military, Police and Constables, Agents, Rangers, Marshals:

The day has come to pass that will force you to choose exactly where your loyalties lie. Perhaps not at this very moment, but soon enough, you will have to decide whether you’re one of us, or one of them.
One of us is a citizen, a patriot, an individual of good character, who sees this country and the values we, and our fathers, fought to preserve being trampled underfoot and casually tossed aside like some relic of a distasteful history.
One of them is the people who find our Constitution an inconvenient obstruction standing in the path of usurping our way of life.
Are you one of us, or one of them?  This will not be an easy question to answer.  Nor should it be.  But when you are at that crossroads, I want you to think, really think, for yourself.  This may not even come naturally.  Your training and indoctrination as part of the enforcement arm of the establishment has prepared you to act instinctively, doing what you’re told, as soon as you’re told, without question.
Remember: You have a choice.  You have to question.
Here is your moment: You’re ordered to go into a U.S. city and forcibly suppress an insurrection by hungry, angry citizens.  The young officer in charge, faced with overwhelming odds and red-faced angry colonels barking orders to get the crowd under control, calls weapons free.  Someone starts shooting.  Do you? Do you fire on the citizens you swore to protect?  These are people who have had enough tyranny and not enough food.  Do you shoot them?
Ask yourself why you’re in the military, why you’re a cop, why you’re an agent, or why you became a Forest Service Ranger or TSA Agent?
Is this it?  Did you sign up to murder your friends and neighbors?
Probably not.
And you don’t have to.

Remember -- the Berlin Wall.

This is a great story from  A former East German Army Lieutenant Colonel, Gunter Spens, tells how the East German military refused unlawful orders given by the Communist Party to crush peaceful mass protests and simply stood down, staying on the base.  Without the support of the military, the communist party and their Stasi secret police were powerless.  Once the military refused orders to stop the mass protests on November 7, 1989, the secret police knew the gig was up and stripped off their uniforms, trying to melt into crowds or pretending to be normal soldiers.  Two days later, the Berlin Wall fell.
The article continues:  “Our military should be expected to do AT LEAST as well as the military of East Germany when/if orders come down to oppress the American people.  That is what we should expect of them, and what we should demand of them.  If they simply remember their oath, and refuse unlawful orders, tyranny cannot come to America.  And if, God forbid, an American President were tempted to try to “suspend the Constitution” and declare “martial law” (which is nowhere in our Constitution), our military should simply stand down and, regardless of how unlawful the commands, resist the temptation of military coup in response, which has been the bane of many a Republic.”  

I was in the military when the Berlin Wall fell.  There were some tense moments, when it looked like that same old thing, where the people would get fed up the government’s crap and march on the capitol in protest.  And the government, Communists at their best, would not hesitate to bring in the military and order them to open fire on their own people.  Remember Tiananmen Square?
But in 1991, I was out of the service, when the Soviet Union toppled.  The most tense, dynamic image from that moment I remember was during the coup attempt, Boris Yeltsin standing on the front of a tank asking everybody to just wait.  I do not know exactly what was said, but I know he was addressing the crowd that had barricaded the Russian Parliament building and the soldiers in the tanks. That was a pivotal moment in history: The Soviet Army refused to fire; and the whole world changed.  

The Fully Informed Jury Association lobbied and educated for years to let jury members know that if they disagreed with a law, they should always vote for acquittal, even if the defendant was clearly guilty of breaking that law; because the law was wrong.
And let’s face it; there are just some stupid bad laws out there.  Every day, more are being passed or, worse, enacted by Executive Order.  Here’s the thing: Any time a law is passed, enacted or signed into being, it takes away liberties and freedoms.  Government doesn’t EVER pass legislation to add rights or liberties; only to limit, block and infringe.  The only way to legislate more freedom into being is to remove current legislation.

Remember -- Oath of Office.

Oath of Enlistment
I, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.

Officer’s Oath
I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

You’ve sworn to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States and follow the orders of the President and officers appointed over you.  But, what if those orders coming down are contrary to what the Constitution allows?  Know now: “Just following orders” is not an excuse, as determine by the war crimes tribunals of World War II and later cases.  According to military courts, “the justification for acts done pursuant to orders does not exist if the order was of such a nature that a man of ordinary sense and understanding would know it to be illegal."

Remember -- Our Young People

As a soldier or policeman, you have to wonder what kind of evil, tyrannical government would need you to protect its members from an angry mob.  On the other side of that fence: What kind of tyranny would drive otherwise-peaceful people into the streets to face armed soldiers and police rather than accept any more crap from the government which is supposed to serve them?
We are Americans.  Yes, we’re soft, lazy and non-confrontational, generally, because most of the stupidity going down in the world isn’t worth being mad about.  We’ve also been indoctrinated into the mindset that non-compliance leads to punishment and ostracization.  Actually, that’s not just a mindset: That’s what happens.
Then, again, we’re Americans who are being pushed to our limits.  More than one politician has discovered that once we get backed into a corner, we’ll fight. And we’re damn good at it.

-- Conclusion

To sum up: As a soldier or law enforcement officer, you have a responsibility to the Citizens of this country. If you know that what you are defending, supporting or protecting is not in compliance with the stated aims of Constitution you’ve sworn to protect; if you understand it is illegal, immoral or just plain wrong; regardless of where the orders originated, and you choose to support it nonetheless, then you are part of the problem. If you’re standing on the wrong side of the barricade; you’re one of them.

This is a shout out to Josie the Outlaw, who put it on video:

NFL Refuses Super Bowl Ad by Gun Company

By John P. Smith
Freelance Writer

This is a simple one.  NFL won’t run an ad by a gun company.  I won’t watch the Super Bowl.  Hey, that’s ok if they want to take that stand.  The NFL has chosen a side in the gun rights controversy.

It’s also okay if I refuse to watch the game.  This really is simple:  They’re coming out in favor of taking away my right to own guns; I’m doing what I can to take money out of their pocket.

I like football.  I’m not a militant fan for any one team, but I like the game.  I rarely actively watch games, but I may be working on something else while the game is on in the room.  And I always watch the Super Bowl.  I have watched it for the past 30 years.

But it’ll be okay if I miss, too.  My refusal to watch may be the equivalent of throwing pebbles in the grand canyon, but it’s what I can do along with asking others to join me.  If you read the above article, you’ll see that the company, Daniel Defense, made certain their ad met all the NFL criteria.  They even offered to remove their logo at the end.  The NFL refused.  They chose a side.

Let’s look at a quote by one of our founding fathers.  I love to use these because they are so relevant to what is happening today.  The people who framed and ratified our Constitution saw the tyranny of this day coming and enacted measures to stop it, or at least slow it down.

“Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.”  -- Benjamin Franklin.

How about another well-known quip from Ben:

“Those who give up their liberty for more security neither deserve liberty nor security.”

Doesn’t giving up freedoms and liberties to be more secure sound like the mantra of Homeland Security? (And surely I’m not the only person who thinks “Homeland Security” sounds like a Soviet organization from the 1960’s?)

To make my point in this article, I was going to compare states with tight gun control laws versus states with open carry or more moderate laws and then look at the murder rates with other weapons, such as knives, blunt instruments or automobiles.  At every turn, it seems, guns and gun ownership are being criminalized and over-regulated.

They’re working hard to get laws passed and make it illegal for anyone to have firearms.  (And there’s some smartass out there right now saying, “Oh, and just who is this mysterious ‘They?’” “They” would be anyone trying to take away my Constitutionally guaranteed right to own firearms.)

For any who wish to view some statistics, some can be found here:  Gun Statistics 2010

Here’s some more data, called “Gun Control Facts,” the very name of which is biased in the direction of control of guns rather than freedom to own them.

Gun Ownership and Crime Statistics is slightly less biased.

Here’s what I think:  Screw the statistics.  The Constitution states clearly that the American people are allowed to have firearms.  Regardless of what the statistics say, that’s what it says.  Like it or not, we’re still a Constitutional Republic.  The fact that the ruling elite are unhappy with Second Amendment tells me it’s doing exactly what it’s supposed to do: Making those bastards take a step back and say, “Whoa, wait a minute.  They still have all those guns.”

Because we still have all those guns, states, counties, districts and municipalities all over the country are falling all over themselves to pass gun control legislation.  Those people who want our weapons are really trying to get past that whole “shall not be infringed” part of the Second Amendment.  And some of them are doing it.

Do some of these idiots actually believe that taking our guns will make them safer?  I just can’t see anybody being that short sighted and actually being able to put together a coherent sentence in English.  But it’s true; they think taking away my weapons will make them safer.

I have some news about that: Bad people will still have guns.  And so will these people. Note all the shootings of suspects by police.  These aren’t people found guilty.  These are people suspected of doing something wrong.  But they got shot anyway.  And you’re as likely to be next as I am.

Back to the main topic.  The leadership of the NFL has elected to take a stand.  In my opinion, they’ve picked the wrong side. So, until the leadership of the NFL changes their stance, I don’t watch their program. It’s what I can do. If we’re all doing what we can; we can make a difference.



A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Help the NSA Read Your Mail

Search Engine Overload
Helping the NSA read your mail

By John P. Smith
Freelance Journalist

(Watch the introductory video for this article.)

We know the NSA and other government agencies are reading our mail and our social media posts. They do this in the name of the "War on Terror." The more the government tries to clamp down on everyone as a potential terrorist, the more they become part of the problem and in the end, they’ll be exactly what they’re supposed to be fighting against. Our own government has become more of a threat to us than any terrorist.

They are reading our email. Searching our Social Media posts. Highjacking our private messages. Our government appears to think that's okay, despite being a complete violation of our Constitutional right to privacy. 

What can we do about it?  We can do three things to limit their ability to read our correspondence:  We can stop using email and social media, text messaging and private blogs. As far as I’m concerned, that’s not even a real option.  We can deny them the information using encryption technology such as PGP.  (All governments hate PGP.)  Or, we can give them more than they can handle.  

I think search engine inundation is the way to go. Let's spam their search algorithms with key words until they can't possibly read it all. It will take some effort from everyone who’s willing to fight back.


I created the above line to put in the text of every one of my messages, emails or social media post. The idea is to overwhelm them with their own crap. Make EVERYTHING in the world flag in the search. There's no way a limited staff can sort through all that. But it won’t work that simply. For instance, the line is all CAPS. That’s easy to flag as a planted line and simply discard it.

This is not a new idea, spamming the government’s search routines.

Troll the NSA had a similar idea back in June, but they wanted everybody send out the same text.  That’s fairly easy to program around.

Motherboard.TV has a more random idea:  But I clicked their random phrase generator about 20 times and hit the exact same phrase two times.  Not nearly random enough.

And there’s Scaremail which is a great idea.  But like the generator, if it’s a computer program, it’s going to leave a signature of some kind and that will make it easy to filter out.

Very similar to Scaremail is Flagger.  This adds keywords to the urls visited by your browser.  It’s an addon for Google Chrome.  But, again, a computer program to place keywords is going to leave a signature.  It’s easy to filter out.

Here’s the list of words:  From

Here’s the list of words:  From Reddit via Business Insider.

Here’s the list of words: From a site called 42X.

These lists do not exactly match. Also interesting: “Homeland Security” is not in either of the first two lists and “DHS” doesn’t show up in any of them, nor do the words “tactical” or “strategic.” The folks at 42X said the list was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. I’m not certain any of these are even authentic lists. Maybe they’re plants from the NSA to give us all something to focus on while they keep searching our mail. 

Make of that what you will. Also of note, none of the British alternative spellings are on the list. Nope. This list contains no French, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, Hebrew, Etc., so I can logically establish that these list are for only American English speakers. We can also assume the NSA has hit lists for other languages. I see that PGP makes the list five times, once on its own and then four specific versions of it.  We know how the government hates PGP, but why would they target specific versions of it?  That kind of thing makes me suspicious.

Plenty of information is available on how the government is getting our private correspondenceAnd who’s letting them have it. So I won’t even go into that. The following is mostly speculation on my part, based on how I, as a programmer, would look for specific words in a gazillion intercepted messages, posts and emails.

How I think a typical search would work:

Information is collected.  First thing we need to do is strip out all the superfluous crap. A single line of text sent via email or posted on social media carries a long trail of data about servers, fonts, routes and addresses in the background.  Most of this data is useless to humans and so would be stripped (or simply skipped) so only the pertinent content data is sent on to the parsing routines.

Information is parsed, searching for keywords. This can be done one character or one word at a time, or by phrase or even by whole sentences, as required, to flag significant combinations of letters, words, etc.

Information is then scored based on the number and strength of hits when the information is compared to the database of keywords. The scoring algorithm assigns each keyword a value. The higher the score, the more likely the information is flagged as a possible threat, and the more likely the information is to be read by a real human. The value placed on a word will be based on the importance of the word itself, its placement in the text and the emphasis placed on it by the writer.

Let’s take a sample phrase: “So, I thought I’d kill some time watching the president of the Rotary Club speaking on the sex orgy tape found in the state Congress meeting room.“ The word “president” will have a high value while “sex” will have a much lower score. Once we see some of these keywords, we parse the text again for placement and emphasis. The words “kill”, “president”, “Congress” and “meeting” all being in the same block of text adds strength to the score. The word order is also important, so I would have a routine to adjust the score based on placement relative to other keywords: before or after, etc. Those words being in the same sentence, in that specific order, will probably raise a red flag somewhere in a DHS cubicle.

At this point, someone will actually read the text only to discover it’s someone speculating on how they might be looking at our correspondence and postings.  (Hello there, cubicle agent!  Is this going to get me another visit from the FBI?)

I would also think it possible, but not prudent, to score for grammatical emphasis. For instance, “President” versus “president” to distinguish exactly who is being talked about. This kinda assumes a potential terrorist would also be an English grammar jerk and is probably unlikely. I believe the same would be true of other emphasis, such as quotes, bold, italic and underline; they could be used, but would probably add more confusion than they’d clear up.  If I was writing these search routines, I’d strip the formatting to make the raw text easier to search.

But, there’s going to be some problems.  And what programmers do is make computers solve problems.  They can't possibly look at everything that flags due to keywords.  Their next logical step is to stop flagging, just ignoring, those SPECIFIC strings known to be planted. They can be skipped just like formatting.. This is where most of the plans and programs noted above ran into problems.  We have to break the strings up into non-uniform snippets.  There's nothing more random than several million people putting a string of data in whatever random order they prefer.  Still, some programming techniques employ fuzzy logic routines to look at something that's almost the same and say, yeah, that's close enough, we'll call it a non-hit.  It’s really a matter of playing the percentages.

Here's where anybody can get involved and help.

We humans have to be more random.  And isn’t that what we do best?  At the end of your email, post or message, add a line or two of keyword text from 2 to 2000 characters.  Copy and paste from the lists in the links or write your own.  Next time you post or mail, use the same text but add a period or comma, add another acronym, remove one, chance some capitalization.  Next week, use another random keyword string. Anything to make the strings of text dissimilar enough that a fuzzy logic routine won’t see it as part of a specific class of planted data.

We can also get a little more creative and use some of these words in our main body text.  Tell your friends that the “movie was a bomb,” or that you had a “blast at the lake.”  We all need to do whatever we can make it harder for them to read our mail.

For some more fun with NSA keywords, there’s the NSA Haiku Generator.

And if you need a laugh: This NSA list is kinda funny.