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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

What part of "SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED", Mr Jackson?

Rep. Thomas Jackson, D-Thomasville,
DOMESTIC ENEMY of the Constitution
Two Democratic members of the Alabama House of Representatives are sponsoring a bill to make it illegal to carry a gun in a church without permission, even if you have a permit to carry a concealed gun.  Reps. Thomas Jackson of Thomasville is the sponsor and Rep. Darrio Melton of Selma is the co-sponsor of House Bill 3. 
Jackson said people should not have to worry about someone carrying a gun while they're in a place of worship. 
The bill is one of 12 pre-filed so far by House members for the legislative session
DOMESTIC ENEMY of the CONSTITUTION, Rep. Darrio Melton, D-Selma, 


that begins March 3.

"I figured it wouldn't go anywhere but at least it will get some conversation," Jackson said. 
Democrats hold just 33 seats in the 105-member House.
"Without permission"?  Just who will verify that such permission was properly obtained?    Another government agency will be created to support another infringement of the right to bear arms? And what if some criminal (a member of a group who by definition does not ask anyone's "permission") comes in to shoot up a church, and nobody could get "permission" because of an anti-gun pastor, who thought the entire church should be a victim-concentration zone?

Listen to me very, very carefully, Mr. Jackson and Mr. Melton.


I WILL NOT COMPLY.


Even if this unconstitutional infringement is voted in by our state house and senate (it won't be), and is signed by our governor (it won't be), I will still say:


I WILL NOT COMPLY.


You get it?  There are no unconstitutional infringements you can pass which we cannot nullify.  

Monday, January 26, 2015

Ham Radio Net: Lightning, the "Wouff Hong" and the "Rettysnitch"

Ol' Backwoods local ham radio net on our repeater last night had 21 check-ins, of which 14 were short-time or mobile stations.  In our ragchew segment, we had a record 7 checkins last night.

I really have enjoyed getting to know the guys in our local ham radio club via the Sunday night nets, and our in-person club meetings.  On this blog, I have always talked about having a "tribe", a community of folks that you know, that you can rely on and who can rely on you when unexpected tragedy hits.  Church and family are the major part of my "tribe", but my amateur radio friends are definitely part of that, too.

Topics last night tonight ranged from lightning protection for our rigs and antennas, to W4AP membership renewal, to a brand new rig one of our members got on sale (Ten-Tec OMNI 7), to a newly operational 6-meter beam antenna, and our local ECHOlink node.

I have really got to do something about lightning protection at my station.  I really need a station ground, particularly for HF, but also for lightning protection.  And I need to get a polyphaser on my vertical antenna on the house.

We also talked about an interesting event that happened on our repeater the other night.  Ol' Backwoods was headed home from the deer hunt (no, I haven't gotten one yet; more in another blog post).  I was listening to a podcast, but my audio in my truck is set up so I can also hear my ham radio, which was tuned to my local repeater, and the squelch was turned up so that it wouldn't make any sound until someone transmitted.  

Well, all of a sudden, the radio comes on, there's a slight pause, then a tremendous "BURP" into the repeater!  The station did not identify himself, but I have my suspicions.   I picked up the mike, and said, "Seriously?  A burp into the repeater?" and gave my callsign.  One of my regulars from the Sunday night net came on and said, "You heard that too?" and we talked about it.
Amateur radio operators sometimes take our hobby too seriously, but transmitting a noise like that, without identification, well, people's licenses have been taken for repeated occurrences of interference like that.  Just. not. cool.  
And this kind of thing is not new.  Intentional interference and other rude behavior was there even it the early days of amateur radio, last century.  In the 1920's, the first president of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), Hiram Percy Maxim, had a lot to say about such rotten operators.    Maxim had a keen but morbid sense of humor, but effective in getting his point across.  His editorials were famous-- and hilarious.  He wrote a letter to the ARRL journal, QST,  suggesting that law and order in amateur radio be enforced by punishment with a torture instrument he himself had invented in jest, which he called the "Wouff Hong".  
Maxim's "Wouff Hong" (ARRL Museum)

From the ARRL website:
[The[ Wouff Hong is a fictional tool used to "punish" Amateur Radio operators, who demonstrate poor operating practices.
Legend has it that the Wouff Hong was invented by Hiram Percy Maxim (founder of ARRL) under the pseudonym, "The Old Man," just as amateurs were getting back on the air after World War One. 
Early in 1919, "The Old Man" wrote in QST "I am sending you a specimen of a real live Wouff Hong . . . Keep it in the editorial sanctum where you can lay hands on it quickly in an emergency." The "specimen of a real live Wouff Hong" was presented to a meeting of the ARRL Board and the Board voted that the Wouff Hong be framed and hung in the office of the Secretary of the League.
Maxim's "Rettysnitch" (ARRL Museum)
The rough-looking thing still exists at the ARRL museum.  Maxim also suggested, tongue firmly in cheek, that decency on the air be enforced with another torturous instrument of his invention, the "Rettysnitch".  Of course, Maxim wasn't serious, but his point was well made: because some people can't behave decently, some punishments for infractions are required, even if they are simply the disapproval of their fellows, if not the application of the "Rettysnitch."

Okay, maybe our "burper" doesn't need to be tortured with the "Wouff Hong" or the "Rettysnitch" but maybe they could learn some manners.

73!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Quick Hits (SOTU-Free Content)

No, Ol' Backwoods is not going to address the Oathbreaker-in-Chief's 'speech'/media event last night, known as the State of the Union.  What a crock.  That guy wouldn't know the state of the union if it was presented to him on a Teleprompter.  And of course he refuses to recognize the results of the 2014 midterms.  Duh.  Calling attention to the fact that he got his skinny tail beat would not advance his cultural Marxist agenda.

Some quick hits on the news today:

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

They Want To Start A Civil War?

Sandy Hook Commission: Take All Weapons From Americans With a Capacity Over 10 Rounds, No Grandfathering.

Good luck with that.  Let's see you try it in CT first.  It'll be a bloodbath, and start a civil war.  I hope they don't actually do this, for the good of the country.

via SSI

Monday, January 19, 2015

Local Ham Radio Nets

If you're a ham radio operator, do you participate in your local net?    Ol' Backwoods runs our local club's weekly net on our local repeater, on Sunday nights, and I think I will start telling you about it on Mondays.

Nets are regularly scheduled roundtable-style group meetings on amateur radio.  Most of them ask for "checkins", stations willing to participate, then go down the list, calling on each station to give a short status. Mobile stations or those that don't want to talk can check in as "short-time."

Until I moved down here, I'd never been a part of an amateur radio club net that didn't have a roundtable, or "ragchew" segment.  These folks all checked in as "short-time" stations, the net control operator read some amateur radio news, and gave times and frequencies for other nets in the area, and that was pretty much it.  Ol' Backwoods volunteered to be net coordinator when the previous guy (a standup local policeman) got too busy to do it.

So, I did it my way.

I added a ragchew segment.  At first, I had only 1 checkin for the ragchew segment, but over the months it has slowly grown, to where I typically have a core group of about 5 people that regularly join the ragchew segment.

In the amateur radio news segment of our net, I talked about an ARRL story about how Michigan had passed a law that overrode homeowners' association covenants that prevent amateur radio operators from installing antennas outside their homes.  A federal law exists (PRB-1), but it does not override homeowners' association covenants.   There has been action to get the feds to do just that, but it never sent anywhere.

Those petty tyrants have taken contract law and used it to form their own little fifedoms.  I know from personal experience. Don't get me started; I despise homeowners' associations (and they hate hams), and don't ever again plan to be part of one.

Anyway, back to our net last night. In the ragchew segement, we talked about several things:

  • The NASA/JPL New Horizons probe that will soon take pictures of Pluto and its moons;
  • home-made and kit-build audio filters for cutting noise on HF;
  • the positioning and size of home-built shelves in our "shacks" (what hams call our radio rooms) for placing equipment;
  • our local Echolink node,which allowed a local ham traveling in TN tonight to listen in on our net last night remotely via the Internet;
  • one of our club members told that he is preparing to put up a 3-element 6-meter beam on a 35' tower at his house, and what he hopes to accomplish with it.  

We also organized a meetup at a local restaurant before our ham club meeting tonight.

A very friendly group.

I'd love to hear in the comments what your local amateur radio group does on its nets.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Negative Swiss Bond Interest - Not a Good Sign

Ol' Backwoods doesn't wear a fancy Italian 3-piece suit, but I do know a little about economics, and I ain't in the Keynesian camp-- as I understand it, von Mises and the Austrian Economists have views that match reality more than the followers of John Maynard Keynes.  So believe me when I tell you this ain't good:
Jan 15 (Reuters) - All Swiss government bill rates and bond yields out to nine- year maturities traded below zero on Thursday, after the Swiss National Bank stunned markets by scrapping its exchange rate cap on the franc and lowered interest rates to -0.75 percent. This was unprecedented in modern times, and analysts said it was only a matter of time before the benchmark 10-year yield dropped below zero too. Swiss rates and yields out to five years had already been trading below zero, but the SNB's bombshell turned the yield on nine-year bonds negative for the first time...
 As my friend Bubba says, "lemme summit furya:" the negative interest rate means bond buyers have to pay the Swiss Government to take their money.  That's not an investment;  it's like paying protection money to the mob.  CNN Money on the Swiss bonds:
That means buyers of those bonds are essentially taking a loss just to hold onto those assets. They think their money is better off losing a few cents [per dollar] than putting it elsewhere.  "It's basically a fee for fear," said Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at ConvergEx. "Fear of deflation, fear of volatility in other capital markets and general fear of the [un]known."
To a Keynesian economist, deflation is the devil.  Deflation puts power in the hands of the people, not the elites.  In a deflationary cycle the best place to put your cash is under the proverbial mattress, because as prices and values fall, purchasing power increases; your cash will be worth more in goods tomorrow than it is today.

Speaking of that, the Swiss franc plunged as a result of the removal of the "exchange cap".  Last night, there was something of a run on Swiss banks as the Swiss exchanged Swiss francs for Euros, at a profit of up to 39%.

Just a little preview of coming attractions.  Got preps?

Monday, January 12, 2015

Attempting to Criminalize The Gun Culture...

... in Nevada just like Bloomberg's minions did in Washington State's I-584, despite legal problems with the petition to put it on the ballot in NV.  It's supported by the gun-banning Nevada State Senator Debbie Smith.

Now, look.  The new law in Washington made felony offenses out of totally innocent and harmless behavior, such as ordinary citizens sharing their guns and teaching others to shoot, which we have been doing for centuries, since before the Founding.  The Bloomberg minions are looking to do the same thing in NV and other states with ballot initiative laws.

Ol' Backwoods understands that statists like Senator Smith want to destroy the "gun culture", which is why she supports laws like this out of an emotional reaction rather than logic. She forgets this country was founded on our "gun culture," whose members took Lexington and Concord.  Senator Smith is taking the side of the Redcoats.

But when you make everything we gun owners do unlawful, we gun owners still get to vote, with steel. The armed citizen does not have to be a slave. We will stand up to the gun-grabbers and their oath-breaking agents in armed civil disobedience, as our brethren in CT & WA did.

What will you do then, Senator Smith and the the rest of you rights-hating politicians? Arrest all of us? Try to murder us outright?

Just how many of us are you willing to murder to attempt to reach your gun-free 'Utopia'?

Sunday, January 11, 2015

A Prayer for America

Dear Heavenly Father,
Your Name is sacred among us.
Your Name is the very definition of good.
May your reign be established on Earth, as it is in Heaven.

Before the foundation of the world,
You planned us.
You knew that we would sin,
Knew that we would need a Savior,
And you chose Jesus your only Son,
to be Our Christ and Redeemer.

Higher than the galaxies are above Earth,
are Your ways higher than our ways.
We are fallen,  and need redemption.
But You, You are perfect in all your ways.
Mankind is petty, selfish, and always looking to take advantage,
But Your loving kindness always seeks to do us good,
From everlasting to everlasting.

Only you are truly just, Father,
Your all-seeing eyes see truth,
You divine the intent of the heart
In ways no human court can know.
You punish the evildoer justly,
According to their thoughts and deeds.

Father, we confess our sinful ways.
We are tempted to envy the wicked when they prosper.
We are tempted to think "they are getting away with it."
We fear what the corrupt in power can do to us,
Even though we know Your Son told us to fear them not, but to
"Fear him who can destroy both body and soul in Hell."

Father, we pray that we may see true justice re-established in our land.
That we may see officials punish evildoers instead of their political enemies.
Father, help us return to a state of justice closer to your standard,
Where it is possible for an honest man to live his life and provide for his own,
Without breaking one of the thousands of made-up laws on the books,
Which are designed to enrich the political class at the expense of the people.

Father, I do not mean to complain.
We are thankful, Lord, for America, and Alabama, where you placed us.
We are thankful that there are many here who fear God.
Thank You for the freedom we have enjoyed.
In our time, those who hate You have not persecuted us.
What the ancients considered "light and momentary troubles",
We act like it is the end of the world.

By Your Providence, we have enjoyed health and prosperity
Beyond what any nation in history has enjoyed.
We are so blessed, but confess we are not thankful enough,
And do not do enough to help our brethren bear their burdens.

We ask for our sick, that you will let them live.
And Father, give us perspective when we have to bear under pain.
Give us grace to endure more patiently,
And the strength to carry on, even when we don't feel like it.
Increase our faith, so that we will trust You more.

In the powerful name of Christ,
Amen.

-- Delivered this date by Ol' Backwoods at the country church of Christ I attend.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

False Flag Against White Christians in the Works?

Looks like Mark Potok and the SPLC are busy ginning up some kind of false-flag event out of an alleged bombing of a NAACP office, so they can blame the killing of blacks on white Christians.  On the execrable "Special Ed" Show on MSNBC, no less.

And it looks like the whole thing is a nothingburger anyway.

Christians, this world is not your home, and the world has no love for you; it did not recognize the Son of God as legitimate, and it sure will not accept you.  Be as wise as serpents, and as innocent as doves.

H/T the inimitable Mike Vanderboegh at SSI.

Friday, January 9, 2015

No Dear No Deer

Despite my country-boy upbringings, Ol' Backwoods is apparently not that good of a deer hunter.  No deer yet, dear.

In my part of Alabama, we have exactly four Saturdays left in the hunting season.  And the rut hasn't started yet, though there are some indications that it is about to start.

I'm part of a hunt club that has a lease on a huge wilderness tract, one of the largest in a 4-county area, with multiple creeks running through it.  I have spent a lot of Saturdays, and a lot of other vacation days besides, walking that land this year and sitting in its blinds and stands,arriving before sunup, and staying in the afternoon until sundown.

To no avail.  No deer yet, dear.

I've been trying to learn from the hunters in my club that have been successful, but they have very different schedules than I do, so we don't run into each other all that often.

It'd be a big deal to get me a deer this year.  I know engineers and scientists, truck drivers and firemen who have all gotten deer this season before me.  It's not just that I envy them.  I would be very pleased to shoot a deer that just walked up on my stand, sure.  But I want to hone the skill of being able to stalk and hunt them, in places where there aren't food plots and salt licks.  I want to hone this skill for many reasons, not the least of which that venison is high-quality protein that my wife, despite being a city girl half her life, knows well how to cook.

But there's more: being a successful big game hunter would prove to myself that I really could provide for my family from the bounty of the land during a breakdown in the civil society, in which commercial food might be hard to get.  Sure, I could pot some tree rats with a 22LR.  That I can do.  But there ain't much meat on them, and it's mighty greasy.  Venison is good meat, and there are a lot of deer around here.

There's deer on my club's place, that I know.  There's kills in our club's log,  tracks on our greenfields, and rubs on our trees. I have seen some deer early in the season, but I never quite had the shot, except once.  There was a spike buck standing next to a young doe about 75 yards from my blind in late November.  I wasn't sure he was old enough, and just about the time I had aimed my rifle, he saw me and bolted.

Maybe if I had been wearing camo face paint, he wouldn't have seen me, I don't know.

Those of you who got their first deer at, like, age 7 must be laughing your tails off.  But you hunted in a time and place of plenty.  You see, when I was a kid, there weren't any deer to hunt in the woods of West Virginia where I grew up, not too far from the town of Coalwood made famous by the movie "October Sky" and Homer Hickam's novels.  With no deer to hunt, I never learned to hunt them.

When I was a kid, nobody I knew was a big-game hunter, and they knew nobody that was.

During the early part of the 20th century, deer in West Virginia had been poached almost to extinction, and the ones that remained stayed far, far away from civilization.  My Dad said he never saw a deer once when he was a kid, and he squirrel hunted almost every day in season, and was in the woods plenty more than that.  My coal-mining grandfather saw a big buck on his 125-acre place once, but it got away before he got a shot off.

I had to wait until adulthood to learn deer hunting, when the herds came back almost everywhere in the US.  I have been doing it seriously about 2 seasons.  This season is more than half over, and I still haven't gotten my first deer.

Well, we'll try again in the morning.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Quick Hits

This is the casus belli?
  • 12 people murdered by Islamic nutjobs in France, a country that is a gun-free zone, over a picture in a magazine?  Yep, sounds about right.  You get what you tolerate.  Another reason to never, NEVER leave home without your gun.  And by the way, Ol' Backwoods never misses chance to post a picture that makes fun of Europe's favorite false prophet, child molester, and meteorite worshipper.
  • Are doctor's offices at employers' facilities the future of healthcare in America?  Maybe.  Dunno if this is just a ramification of ObamaCare, or is a "back to the future" echo of the company store my dad and uncles used to talk about in mining towns.  Anyway, my employer is going to do build an on-site clinic, and so are a lot of other companies.
  • 23 degrees in central Alabama?  With wind gusts to 30 kts, and a predicted nightly low of 15?  Must be Gorebull Warming!
  • 11 Dallas earthquakes in 24 hours?  A reminder that being prepared to leave at a moment's notice with your family is not just for people who live near the San Andreas Fault in Kalifornia.  Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, and Tennessee are all nearby to the New Madrid Fault, which once rang church bells in Boston.  Now THAT is serious stuff.
  • Tonight at church, 1 John 3:16-20.  Practical stuff for Christian living.  No, it doesn't mean that God will never say 'no'; ask the apostle Paul about his "thorn".
  • My pastor is not a 'gun guy', but knows I am, and asked me about training tonight.  Told him I should be doing a lot more.  And so should all of us.  The time will come soon, Ol' Backwoods believes, when many of us will have to defend our families from rampaging rioters.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Ham Radio: HF Propagation Prediction Service

Ham radio operators often ask, "When are the bands going to be open, so I can make some DX contacts?"  It's a constant question, and the answer depends on a lot of factors, most of which have to do with the sun's activity.

Most hams just guess, or spend fruitless hours listening for a possible opening.  But there is a better way: propagation modeling with software, using solar data from NASA.

There are some very capable propagation modeling programs out there, but a lot of hams don't fool with them, because as one ham said, "I don't want to get a degree in solar astrophysics; I want to work DX."  I'm an RF engineer, but still, I see his point.

Ham radio operator (and professional engineer) Stu Phillips, K6TU, created k6tu.net to take some of the voodoo out of HF propagation prediction.  The site is "software as a service" that automates the whole process of prediction, and produces very nice signal strength maps like the one shown below, which identifies in color the areas of the world where your transmitter's signal is likely to be the strongest on a particular band on a particular day.

According to the website, there's even an inverse prediction, which "generates a set of predictions of what you can expect to HEAR. You select your station configuration as the RECEIVE configuration and then specify the configuration for the typical station you look to work including their output power level as the TRANSMIT configuration. Generally propagation is symmetric if all the path is in daylight. This prediction type is helpful for planning DXpeditions where the antennas and power levels are asymmetric."

Ol' Backwoods signed up for the 30-day test drive, and I have been mighty impressed so far.  The predictions seem to line up with the stuff the ARRL puts out.  I believe I will end up sending Stu $29.95 for a year of the service.

After you have customized your profile on the website with your transmitter power, antenna, location, etc., you can start a prediction program running.  The program runs on a fast server, and will send you an email in a few minutes to an hour, with a link to your custom results page.  Opening the PDF file on the page shows you predictions for the month on various HF bands, like the one below.


Pretty cool so far.  I'll let y'all know how it goes.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Why AREN'T You Trying to Stop Background Checks, Mr. Gottlieb?

Stuff like this leads Ol' Backwoods to not trust Alan Gottlieb Esq., of the Second-Amendment Foundation:
"We’re not trying to stop background checks..."
And WHY aren't you, Mr. Gottlieb?  Are you complicit now in the infringement of our rights?  Toadying up to the gun prohibitionists much?  I believe you might be, given that business with Manchin-Toomey.

This is simple, people: background checks for gun sales are unconstitutional infringements of the right to keep and bear arms.   And they will lead to registration, confiscation, and extermination.

There are a whole host of problems with a volunteer background check to buy a firearm.  First, Constitutional problems: the Supreme Court held in Haynes v. US (1968) that filling out a National Firearms Act (NFA) form violates a felon's 5th-Amendment right against self-incrimination!  (More on Haynes here.) Supposedly, U.S. v. Freed in 1971 reversed that (thanks GunCite); my understanding is that the "fix" is only for the 1934 NFA, not the 1968 GCA.

Even if it were, why are there virtually no prosecutions for felons filling out the background check form?

Regardless of the answer, the background check is IRRELEVANT anyway! The overwhelming majority of gun crimes are committed by persons who cannot lawfully own a gun. Criminals don't obey laws!   That's why they're called CRIMINALS.  They don't meekly sit down in the stool at the gun store like you do and fill out Form 4473 to buy a gun; they steal one, or get it on the black market.  The whole thing's a farce.

And Ol' Backwoods doesn't believe in the whole "prohibited person" construct in the Gun Control Act of 1968 anyway.  Look, if a person has committed a violent felony, and the court believes they cannot live in decent society, then KEEP THEM INCARCERATED, or justify ending their life.  But if they have served their time, paid their debt to society, and they obtain their freedom, then why shouldn't they enjoy the natural right to keep and bear arms?

I'll boil it down for you.  Any "background check" is just an incremental step to registration, confiscation, and elimination of "undesirable" population by a totalitarian government.  And anyone who says different is either ignorant, or a co-conspirator.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Don't Get Speared by a 'Stingray'

An IMSI catcher, colloquial term "Stingray," is a set of truck-mounted communication equipment that simulates a cell phone base station ("tower"), for the specific purpose of covert eavesdropping on private communications or locating cellular phones ("handsets").

So, why do I care, Backwoods?

Because Federal, state, and local 'law enforcement' agencies are using them WITHOUT WARRANTS to eavesdrop on communications that are none of their business, for purposes that have nothing to do with catching criminals.  

And don't say, "Well, I have nothing to hide."  The history of totalitarian societies is replete with people who went along with the regime until they found there was no one left to defend them from its depredations.

If you know what Stingrays are, and the communication specialist in your group knows how to detect and defeat them, you might be able to communicate privately via the cell-phone network, for purposes of security, health and defense during a breakdown in the civil society, such as during these "Ferguson" style riots in the big cities.  Which will get worse in 2015.

Known to use Stingrays
Okay, who uses Stingrays? There are many federal, state, and local agencies that use Stingrays.  The ACLU page at the link has an interactive map (screenshot at right) of state and local LEOs that use Stingrays; the only one close to my AO known to use them is Gwinnet County, GA.  If they do, it's sure that other counties in Georgia do, as well.

Be aware: the Feds and locals are trying to hide their use of Stingrays, with paperwork chicanery and shell games.  They know their use without warrants is unconstitutional, and don't care.  So, we citizens fight back another way: detection and avoidance.

How does a Stingray work?  Well, it's rather technical, but I thought the snippet below of the WikiPedia Stingray explanation was quite cogent in giving us the basic facts that make it all work:
The GSM specification requires the handset to authenticate to the network, but does not require the network to authenticate to the handset.
This is very important; it means that ANY modern cellular handset trusts the cell network implicitly, assuming that any base station (tower) is trustworthy.  This is a very, very bad assumption, which allows not only law enforcement, but other groups the ability to eavesdrop on communications, and perhaps just as importantly, locate a handset.  Wikipedia continues:
This well-known security hole is exploited by an IMSI catcher [aka Stingray]. The IMSI catcher masquerades as a base station and logs the IMSI numbers of all the mobile stations in the area, as they attempt to attach to the IMSI-catcher. It allows forcing the mobile phone connected to it to use no call encryption (A5/0 mode) or to use easily breakable encryption (A5/1 or A5/2 mode), making the call data easy to intercept and convert to audio.
Since the handset trusts the network implicitly, it also allows the network to change the communication mode, turning off normally-encrypted voice communications and allowing the Feds or whomever to listen in to their evil hearts' content.

SnoopSnitch
How do we citizens counter this?  The open-source application SnoopSnitch can map the base stations in the area, and make one aware of possible Stingray operations.

From my observations, it requires some skill to operate and to interpret whether a Stingray is actually present.  This is a still best developed NOW by the communication specialist on your team, before you need it.

SnoopSnitch requires a rooted Android phone; buy one somewhere for cash. Because part of the checks for a Stingray involve making calls out, you will have to have a network account on the phone.  The SnoopSnitch authors recommend a pre-paid SIM card.

There's another open-source IMSI catcher detector for Android, but I don't know anything about it.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Parallels Between Our Time and The Founders'

Another clever piece from the estimable Mike Vanderboegh:
One wonders today what unintended lessons our own veterans of the long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have learned from their politician-squandered bloody sacrifices. In this alone, those wars and the French and Indian War are eerily parallel, having both created generations of demobilized soldiers, but now members of the armed citizenry, who are well familiar with the two-way shooting range.
Read it all.

Friday, January 2, 2015

'Happy New Year?' Not Really

Ol' Backwoods doesn't get it.

Yeah, that ain't new, I know, but what I mean is I don't think the new year is going to be a particularly happy one.

Christians have joy in their souls, of course, but this isn't what secular (or most nominally Christian) people mean when they wish someone "Happy New Year".  They mean to wish you success, pleasure, personal peace, affluence, things generally going your way, etc.

You know, like Francis Shaeffer said in How Should We Then Live:
History indicates that at a certain point of economic breakdown people cease being concerned with individual liberties and are ready to accept regimentation. The danger is obviously even greater when the two main values so many people have are personal peace and affluence.
We're there, people.   And Americans are willing to spend everything else to get them.

The two things most Americans want: 1) affluence, meaning money and influence, and 2) personal peace, meaning nobody hassles you.   These things aren't so bad in themselves, except when Americans are willing to whore themselves out to government and companies (and really, these days, what's the difference) to acquire them.

In 2015 America, government is the supreme arbiter of who receives personal peace and affluence.  Government employees make roughly twice the average salary of private employees.  Not for nothing was Washington, DC the city where the most new cars were bought in 2014.  Government employment is where it's at. Get on the government gravy train, and you have it all handed to you.  But, you literally give up your rights to do so.

Yes, you do.  To live in that wicked city on the Potomac, you have to a) register every firearm you own with the City, and b) you cannot carry openly or concealed outside your home.  You literally have NO rights in a city where you cannot defend yourself.

And someday, the gravy train will come to an end, because it cannot be expanded indefinitely.

I'm expecting 2015 to be a year of great turmoil and a breakdown in the civil society.  I'm expecting great infringements of rights and economic setbacks for non-favored groups in America.  And Ol' Backwoods is the very epitome of the non-favored groups in America: a male, White, Christian, gun-owner, gun-rights advocate, anti-abortion, anti-imperial-war, anti-big-government minarchist.

When will our kind be put in "re-education" camps?  2015 will bring that day closer, I believe.

We have a choice before us.  Will we trade our rights for personal peace and affluence in 2015?  We will give up our birthright for a mess of potage?  Most Americans will.

When they do, it will not be a Happy New Year.