FBI Foils Their Own Plot to Blow Up a Mall in Florida

MIAMI — An alleged plot to blow up a shopping mall in South Florida was foiled by federal agents in an undercover operation  which led to the arrest of a man from Miami on Friday. 

After reading the above you might get the wrong idea.  There was a plot to cause great bodily harm via an improvised explosive device that much is true.  Just as in the past the FBI went looking for a patsy, someone that they could radicalize.  Some poor slob, in this case Vicente Solano, that wouldn’t have attempted something so stupid if not for the intervention of Federal Agents and their confidential informant.

A confidential informant is almost always FBI speak for someone that is looking to mitigate their own involvement in some crime or to reduce their pending prison sentence.  They’re not the kind of person you take home to meet mother.  Usually, there are on occasion individuals that are of fine moral character that are willing to put themselves at risk in order to help the Feds.  It usually costs them everything, and a considerable amount of their and their family’s life time in the witness protection program; that’s not the case here though.

The FBI was tipped off by a confidential informant who was communicating with Solano about the alleged plot. Authorities said while the suspect made pro-ISIS videos, there wasn’t evidence to suggest he had any actual connection to the terror group, or any others.

The FBI wasn’t tipped off, the confidential informant, looking to ingratiate himself with the FBI went looking for a troubled individual that could be manipulated easily.  That or the FBI already had this individual on their radar and needed to give him a considerable shove toward radicalization.  I will wager that their confidential informant has record of working over patsies.  Inciting them to take drastic action, filling their heads with all manner of bullshit.  Supplying the plan and the means to carry out the plan.  Something Vicente, wouldn’t have the means, knowledge, or inclination to accomplish on his own.  How can I be so certain of that?

Undercover FBI agents supplied Solano with a hoax bomb, which he allegedly planned to detonate at the mall. The strategy has been used in previous counter-terrorism probes in South Florida, the Herald said, and is considered standard procedure in the post-9/11 world. Agents rely on informants to alert them to suspicious activity and then engage the suspect, recording their conversations, before thwarting the plan.

Well I don’t know about you but I feel much safer knowing that the Feds are working overtime to entrap using subterfuge to capture an otherwise harmless, often intellectually challenged, vulnerable loner, by having a confidential informant befriend them and goad, cajole, intimidate, them into playing along with a plot per-conceived by the paragons of truth, justice, and the American way, your local FBI agent provocateur.

They do it because it works, it garners headlines and brings home the cash.  As if asset forfeiture wasn’t enough.  Reading what others have had to say, you can always tell when someone is a FBI informant, they’re are always trying to get you to blow things up.

 

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Harry Potter Festival in Jefferson Wisconsin

If the 15,000–20,000 expected attendees materializes the city of will be swamped.  Jefferson is a very small, quaint city nestled in southern Wisconsin.  Its current population is less than 10,000.  There are activities planned for the entire weekend and the kick off starts this afternoon at 5:00 pm.  If the weather cooperates, and it’s very nice today, but it looks as if rain will intrude on Saturday late and Sunday, Harry Potter Fest should be rollicking good time.

Jefferson Mayor Dale Oppermann noted three “great things” about the festival.

“Part of the great thing about the festival is that we’re going to meet a lot of new friends,” Oppermann said. “We’re going to have people coming in from all over the country that have never been to Jefferson and, hopefully, they have a great time while they’re here and leave with a very favorable impression and, hopefully, come back again.”

Second is how the locals have embraced it, he said. Oppermann said he “can’t imagine” how many people have begun reading more — especially the Harry Potter books — as well as watching the movies “just to get up to speed.”

“Then the third thing is, this is really going to put Jefferson on the map,” Oppermann added. “It’s a unique festival. We appreciate all the great things that go on in the Jefferson area and Jefferson County and other places.

“But, really, there’s not too many of these type of festivals and that’s why people are coming from California and Maryland and every point in between to Jefferson this weekend,” he continued. “I think it’s going to be something that will be part of our community’s identity for years to come.”

It sounds as if this little shindig will be blow out if Harry Potter is your kind of thing.  I’ll pass on it myself.

New Mexico to Join the Most of the Rest of the USA in the 21st Century

It’s been a while welcome to the future New Mexico; or should that be back to the future.  After a vociferous out cry from  its citizenry New Mexico decided to add actual science to it’s education curriculum.  The Public Education Department is restoring references to the age of the earth presumably changing from 10,000 years old, to the scientifically accepted 4.6 billion years old; in addition students will be taught that the global temperatures have increased over the past century and that evolution, changes in alleles over time explains the diversity of life on this planet, and not from some farcical story about a all powerful but incompetent creator.

Big Foot is in the News again and its not the Monster Truck

If you live in North Carolina you might want to keep an eye out for the elusive crypt-zoological creature, and may I suggest a very good digital camera coupled with a long focal length zoom lens.  You will most likely need a tripod with that and a kiss from lady luck.

Interesting that every picture of Mr. Foot is grainy.  I guess that’s to be expected though since hiding information pertinent to the skeptic is par for the course.  It’s not just Big Foot that gets this treatment but other paranormal–or should that be supranormal subjects are likewise treated to copious amounts of detail concealing graininess.  It’s no doubt fun faking the pictures and laughing together with friends as you work out how to pull off the stunt.  All over a campfire and a few cold beers after a long fun filled day fishing.  I’ve been tempted to prank a few photos myself.

Where it gets sticky is when the perpetrator is looking to cash in on the gullibility of the credulous, and take their money.  Such has been going on for centuries but it’s a dirty way to make money.  Several year ago a couple of rubes decided to pass off a carcass of several dead animals along with pieces of a Big Foot costume.  One of the individuals making the claim, and bolstering the truth of the claim was law enforcement officer.  As you might expect their claim was bollocks, and was quickly discovered to be crap.  It proved to be problematic for the cop though since he swore up and down, but not on a bible that he was telling the truth, he wasn’t offering testimony under oath either.  Nevertheless there was some discussion as to whether his testimony past and future could or will be called into question.  Knowing this I would definitely treat his sworn testimony with a large grain of salt.  As for the individuals in this latest Big Foot sighting?  Extraordinary claims requires extraordinary evidence; grainy distorted images doesn’t make the cut.  They are not extraordinary unless one counts them as extraordinarily bad.  Rather they are run of the mill pictures, just what one expects to see offered up as evidence.

The Edmund Fitzgerald

 

Big Fitz

Author Mark L. Thompson, writing in his book Graveyard of the Lakes, devotes an entire chapter to the month of November, and it’s killer storms.   It’s aptly title The Curse of the Eleventh Month: Founderings.  Though killer storms can and do occur at any time through out the shipping season on the great lakes November has a special place in the annals of the inland seas.  Several prominent, sinkings have occurred in this deadliest of all months.  So infamous is November, that many a hardened veteran would leave their boats rather than tempt fate and sail in the 11th month; for this reason a end of the year bonus system was worked out for those intrepid sailors that finished out the sailing season which typically ended in the first week or two of December.

The story of Milton Smith, who left the Charles S. Price before she sailed into the White Hurricane of 11/9/1913.  The Smith became famous for her loss with all hands in that storm.  She had capsized but was still floating bow up for 5 days after the big blow.  It took the efforts of hard hat diver to determine her name, and end the mystery.  Smith was warned in a dream by his wife to leave the boat.  More than a dream, a nightmare, he had reoccurring dreams of his wife pleading with him to get off the boat.  In reality Smith seen several terrible November storms in his days as a assistant engineer to know what was possible.  He explained best as he could to his boss chief engineer John Groundwater his motives.  Groundwater was having none of it and he upbraided Smith, although gently, that he should get that wild hair out of his nose and stick with the ship, she would be laid in a few weeks time.  Stay and get your bonus, don’t throw good money in the bilge.  Smith was more determined than ever and jumped ship.  On the way out he met up with his best friend wheelsman, Arze McIntosh.  Arze too wanted to leave the Price, saying to Smith, is it true what they’re saying about your leaving?  Smith answered in the affirmative to which 23 year old McIntosh replied.  Damn I wish I was going with you, I wish I was going with you.  Both McIntosh, and Groundwater perished.

Many of these -killer storms- are associated with the boats that were lost, dragged to the bottom mercilessly.  The Alpena storm which occurred in October 1980, the infamous Mataafa storm of November 28, 1905, the Mataafa, (s)truck Duluth piers while trying to make harbor entrance, November 1905, swung to north of pier and stranded 700 feet from shore. Broke in half and nine men froze to death in after end.   In 1958 on the 18th of November the Carl D. Bradley, Broke in half and sunk while making her way back to Calcite Michigan, running light in ballast.  Ultimately there were only two survivors from the storm that took her down and bears the name the Bradley Storm.  The Armistice Day storm of 11 November 1940, the Morrell Storm, like the Bradley storm saw the boat break in half on the surface.  There is are many more but the one of interest and the subject of this missive is the Fitzgerald Storm.

The Storm That Laid the Fitzgerald Low

The Fitzgerald finished loading her  cargo of 26,120. long tons of iron ore at the docks in Superior, Wisconsin and since this was a Sunday, November 9, 1975 and union rules demanded overtime pay for the work, and some surmise that the deckhands rushed through the job of clamping down the hatches.  The Captain was eager to be on his way, as it was already late afternoon, and as the boat made her way out of the harbor the crews were still at, locking down the hatch covers.  The Mighty Fitz, was bound for Zug Island, near Detroit Michigan. Over all the weather on this day was good and yes the Captain McSorley was aware that it wouldn’t last as the forecast called for strong storms forming over Lake Superior in the nearest 24 hours.

Meanwhile in nearby two harbors, Captain Jesse B. Cooper was steaming away from that port also headed down bound towards the locks at Sault St. Marie.  He was ahead of the Fitzgerald, but since the Big Fitz was the faster of the two boats McSorley and crew eventually caught up and passed the larger slower Arthur M. Anderson, under the command of Capt. Cooper.  At about 2:00 pm on the 10th of November the two lake captains discussed over the radio the developing storm and each agreed to go down the lake together eschewing the more direct course in favor of sailing in the lee of the Canadian shore.  The probable course of the the Big Fitz and the Arthur M. Anderson is shown below on this map.Porbable cours of the big Fitz

The Fitzgerald was at one time the Queen of the Lakes, the largest vessel sailing the lakes.  At the time of her loss there were larger boats but she still held records for the heaviest load of iron ore carried.  She was 729 feet over all length with a beam of 75 feet and a molded depth of 39 feet.  The depth of her cargo hold was 31 feet.  She was designed and built one foot over all shorter than the longest locks of the St Lawrence Seaway.

The boat was 16 years old at the time of her loss.  It has undergone a full inspection prior 10 days prior and was found to be seaworthy.  The report on her condition made mention of minor cracks on four of the hatch covers, and they were due to be repaired soon after her last run, the repairs required some minor welding.  Aside from that she was given a clean bill of health.  The boat was constructed using a combination of riveting and welded joints.  There have been assertions that the Edmund Fitzgerald was in poor condition and since her foundering one hypothesis suggests that she had been sinking since leaving port on the that Sunday.  It’s not unusual for boat constructed with rivets in its hull plating to lose a number of rivets during a sailing season.  It’s for this reason as well as other that boats have several pumps to keep water from building up in sufficient quantity to do harm.  Albeit that a missing rivet about 1″ in diameter lets in a lot of water even so the pumps are capable of keeping up with infiltration.

It’s not until the Monday the 10th at around 3:30 pm when McSorley radioed Cooper, and informed him that the Fitzgerald had sustained damage topside and that the boat has taken on a list.  It’s the first sign of trouble.  According to Bernie Cooper, of the Anderson.  “something happened to that boat at 3:30”.  It’s at about this same time that McSorley reduced speed in order for the Arthur Anderson to catch up. Here is how the recent forensic report put it.
At around 1530, McSorley radioed Cooper to inform him that the Fitzgerald had taken damage and “had a list”. The ship had lost two of the deck vents used as ventilation for the ballast tanks and under-deck tunnel, and also had lost a section of the “fence rail” that was a wire rope handrail that ran along both sides of the weather or spar deck. Thecause and additional extent of this damage remains unknown, along with the exact
location of the vessel when the damage occurred. The Anderson asked the Fitzgerald
if the pumps were going and the reply was “Yes both of them”. This indicates that water was already coming in somewhere, although how much and where remain unknown.
That the pumps were going also suggests that the list was not so bad that the water was prevented from reaching the pump intake plumbing on the centerline.

I recall perhaps erroneously that McSorley is also to have replied to Cooper’s question about whether the pumps were going, he answered in the affirmative, then added that he wasn’t gaining anything.  At 4:10 forty minutes later McSorley, again radioed the Anderson.  This time he mentioned the Fitzgerald’s radar, and there were two systems in use, had both been disabled.  One which offered a finer resolution, and one that offered a longer range view.  Naturally the Anderson agreed to offer guidance and provide the Fitzgerald with much needed navigation assistance.

Sometime between 5:00 and 5:30 pm McSorley was in radio contact with Captain Woodward who was piloting the Avafors, a saltwater (saltie) going ship.  McSorley told Woodward that the Fitzgerald had developed a bad list, he was radar was out, and he was taking heavy seas over his deck.  McSorley with his had still on the Mic directed a comment to an unknown person in the pilothouse saying; “don’t allow no one out on deck”.  He also said something about a vent but that portion of the conversation was unintelligible.  Captain Woodward who was familiar with McSorley didn’t recognize the voice and asked at one point who he was talking to, he was surprised to find out it was McSorley.  A situation Woodward chalked up to the stress the captain was under.  During the conversation McSorley confided, and I paraphrase, that he hadn’t ever seen seas as violent as those encountered now.

At 7:10 pm the final transmission from the Fitzgerald was received, the mate on the Anderson inquired how the Fitzgerald and crew were making out with their problem to which McSorley replied “we’re holding our own”.   Very shortly after that a snow squall enveloped the Fitzgerald, and the Anderson lost sight of her lights.  After about 10 minutes the snow cleared and the Fitzgerald lights and all were gone.  No visual or radar image to be seen.  An astonished and alarmed Captain Cooper attempts to make radio contact with the Fitzgerald. There’s no answer.  He requests a visual sighting from the other three ships in close proximity to where the Fitzgerald had been.  They cannot see a boat that could be the missing boat.  No radar image that could be the Fitzgerald is returned.  The Anderson can make out the lights on the Canadian Shore, there is no possibility that any of the boats on the lake or near the shore are those of the Fitzgerald.  It’s clear to Cooper that the Fitz has sunk.  The Coast Guard also attempts to raise the Fitzgerald via radio and is unsuccessful. It takes until about 9:30 pm before the Coast Guard begins rescue attempts.  Sometime between 7:10 and 7:20 pm the Fitzgerald went to her watery grave.  All 29 men aboard her perish with her.

How and why the great boat sunk is and probably remain a mystery.  One hypothesis has her grounding on a 6 fathom shoal.  The testimony of Captain Cooper at the inquest establishes the Fitzgerald’s position as being inordinately close to shoal waters.  Cooper said something to the effect he’s closer to that shoal than I would want to be.  From that admission came the idea that Fitzgerald bottomed out and that incident began the cascade of failures that resulted in the sinking.  Except that there isn’t a 6 fathom shoal, never was.  That’s right it was phantom.  Thought it appeared on Canadian lake charts, in reality it doesn’t exist, as explained in the Forensic Report:

A number of sources have claimed that the Fitzgerald was damaged by running over a “6 fathom shoal”. There is no sign of grounding damage to the exposed stern section, which would be deepest in the water under normal conditions. She left the dock with final drafts of 27 feet, 2 inches forward and 27 feet, 6 inches aft. (NTSB 1978) Note that 6 fathoms is 36 feet, so the Fitzgerald would have passed over a “6 fathom shoal” with 8-1/2 feet to spare. A new more precise hydrographic survey of the area traversed by the Fitzgerald found that the 6 fathom shoal did not actually exist, but was rather was an error on the earlier charts. The Coast Guard report and associated documents prove that there was no shoal water within 3 miles of the track of the Fitzgerald and therefore no damage due to grounding. However the popular media continues to push the discredited grounding theory.

The Forensic report offers what the authors of the report considers to be the most likely scenario for the loss of this great ship.  The report is well written and easily readable.  Rather than put the results here.  I encourage the reader to download a copy of the report (PDF) and take the time to read it through.  I do believe from reading the report myself that the Fitzgerald broke up on or very near the surface, and that the bow reached the bottom before the stern.  The report has several interesting visuals and is well worth viewing.

This November 9th Marks the 114th Anniversary of the Deadliest Single Day in Great Lakes Shipping

James Carruthers

Canadian Steamer James Carruthers Lost on November 9, 1913 in the White Hurricane

__________________________________________________________________________________________

After posting this I’ve come to realize that this writing is too broad and doesn’t address the topic in any meaningful way.  For that reason there will be additional posts and I will probably add to what’s written here as well.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Updated

There are several names for this tragedy, The Big Blow, Freshwater Fury, The White Hurricane, to name a few of the more popular ones.  The White Hurricane is perhaps the most accurate in terms of describing the prevailing conditions on 4 of the 5 Great Lakes.  Had this storm occurred over the Gulf of Mexico it would have been a category 3 hurricane, but here in the upper mid-west we don’t, by definition, have hurricanes.

According to the NOAA in their The “White Hurricane” Storm of November 1913 A Numerical Model Retrospective (here); the storm was actually two storms.  A Pre-storm,  and the White Hurricane, that second storm was the result of two powerful low pressure systems phasing over northern Virginia, which in turn resulted in a “meteorological bomb”; also called a weather bomb, aka explosive cyclogenesis, according to Keith Heidorn, PhD Weather Almanac.  0.72 inches Hg or more over a 24 hour time span is the criteria for said weather bomb.  Back in 1913 the term weather bomb wasn’t in fashion.  The following was taken from a slide used in the  Numerical Model Retrospective

Great Storm of 1913
A Numerical Model Retrospective
The Great Storm of 1913 is really a tale of two storms.

• The first, called the “Pre-Storm” for the purposes of this presentation, impacted primarily Lake
Superior and Lake Michigan on November 7 th and 8 th .

• The “Pre-Storm” was formidable in its own right – with storm force winds, heavy snow, lake
effect snow squalls, freezing spray and high seas. Several large ships were severely damaged
and run-aground across the breadth of the lake.

• The second storm, called the “White Hurricane”, occurred on November 9 th -11 th and was the result
of an unusual “atmospheric phasing” of the “Pre-Storm” to the north and a developing storm over
the southeast United States.

• The resultant “meteorological bomb” over the eastern Great Lakes would produce prolonged
hurricane force winds, blinding snow squalls, freezing spray, and massive wave trains over the
Great Lakes.

• The “White Hurricane” was the deadliest and most intense phase of the Great Storm of 1913 –
and is the focus of this Numerical Model Retrospective.

The Storm contributed to the loss of 250 lives, 12 boat sank, one of which was so new that it had only completed two deliveries and was in process of making its third.  The James Carruthers had been launched on May 22, 1913 and underwent sea trials for most of that shipping season.  While chatting with another lake captain before her final voyage William H. Wright the skipper of the Carruthers, told captain S. A. Lyons that the boys in the foc’sle were complaining that the paint in their cabin was still sticky.  He also stated that “we have yet to learn all her tricks”.  The Carruthers was the largest ship built in the Collingwood Shipyards in Collingwood Ontario.  She was also the most staunch of all ships plying the lakes at that time.

She was lost on Lake Huron on the night of November 9th or very early morning on the following morning.  The whereabouts are still unknown.   She was 550ft over all length with a beam of 58ft and a molded depth of 27ft (depth of the cargo hold).   She sported a double bottom hull and extra steel to further strengthen her hull.  So much steel was used to make this boat staunch that she couldn’t load as much cargo as ships of similar dimensions.    Top side she had 38 hatches spaced on 24ft centers; after her loss, her sistership would shave that number in half.  Each hatch represented one chance a weakness in structure but also a means of water to infiltrate the cargo hold.  It was then, as it is now common knowledge that without watertight compartments in the holds, and straight deck freighters like the Carruthers had none.  Boat like this would fill quickly with water and sinks in a few minutes time.  One architect back in the day when speaking of the great loss of boats on the Lakes described their design as being similar to a shoe box with a pointed end.

Of the all the boats destroyed (sunk) at least 19 more were driven ashore, and at least 3 were considered a total constructive loss, all but the Carruthers, and the Leafield, and a barge the Plymouth are unaccounted for.  It’s been my deeply held wish that the final resting places of these boats is discovered soon.  Perhaps a forth coming post will be dedicated to the topic of lost and found.

Prior to his deadly storm the year 1913 was shaping up to be one of the safest ever!  According to the Annual Lake Carriers Association‘s publication for the year 1913 about 27 people lost their lives, without counting the 250 or more lives lost in this one storm.  At least three died in a boiler explosion, another was scalded to death, probably the same accident.  Several were washed overboard or fell of the dock and were drowned.  At least four men fell to their deaths into the cargo holds of their respective boats, two fell from ladders and at least two were struck by machinery.   Drownings and errant steps seem to be the biggest reason for loss of life, the figures are based on the cases where the LCA paid out a death benefit so there may have been a few unaccounted for deaths nevertheless, I counted 27 deaths on or around the Lakes.

Estimates, and that’s all they really are vary from a low of 235 and a high of 273 perhaps more men and women drowned in this storm.  The lion’s share of those deaths occurred on Lake Huron with the loss of 8 boats.  The steamers lost on Lake Huron are John A. McGean, The Argus, and its sister ship the Hydrus, the Isaac M. Scott and her sister ship the Charles S. Price, The Canadian super ship James Carruthers, and two package freighters the Wexford, built in Scotland, and the Regina, built in England.

Lake Superior took down two boats, the Henry B. Smith which was recently discovered in 535 feet of water, the same depth as another famous shipwreck, (Edmund Fitzgerald) and the Leafield, another small package freighter whose whereabouts are still unknown but thought to have foundered off of Angus Island in very deep water–150 fathoms 900ft.  Attempts to locate her have come up with nothing and she might have not have actually wrecked on that island.  It’s a long story and I will post it here at some point in the future.

Lake Michigan was the scene of the first loss, the Louisiana, a wooden steamship built shortly after the Civil War was upbound light with water for ballast.  She was swept from the lake by wind and waves and burned to the water line after catching fire.  The source of the fire isn’t known but a wooden steam ship with coal fired boilers it doesn’t take much imagination.  Though she was lost there was no loss of life in her wrecking.  The barge Plymouth was lost with all hands.  She was being towed by a tug boat that had seen her better days.   The tug lacked the power to tow the barge in all but the best of weather.  The tug dropped the tow line after reaching the lee of Gull Island, and scampered off to nearly sinking herself.  She returned to pick up the barge after the storm blew itself out but the Plymouth was not to be found.  Lake Erie took the Lightship LV82 and all of her crew.

In time I will write a little more about each.  I am in process of writing what will hopefully become a self-published book on the topic.

There are several great books on the subject of the White Hurricane, starting the David G. Brown’s book of the same name White Hurricane: The Great Lakes Storm of 1913

Also the The Last Laker: Finding a Wreck Lost in the Great Lakes’ Deadliest Storm

An old staple: Freshwater Fury: Yarns and Reminiscences of the Greatest Storm in Inland Navigation By Frank Barcus.

Ships Gone Missing by Robert J. Hemming.

November’s Fury by Michael Schumacher.

 

 

 

The Refrigerator Magnets from Hell

I found this press release in my morning feed interesting.  I cannot resist playing with magnets, and from the description these little babies have quite the holding power.

REFMag is constructed of an N52 neodymium magnet, the strongest grade available.

That’s the part that got my ears to perk up so I went to the Kickstarter web page to get a little more information about this tantalizing product.  Here’s the claim.

Pull strength is defined as the force required to seperate a magnet from a ferrous material. The magnets used in REFMag have a 3 lb pull strength, whereas ordinary ceramic magnets of the same size have a 0.3 lb pull strength. This low pull force from ordinary ceramic magnets explains why the magnets fail to hold items on a magnetic surface.

I’ve never, until now, considered taking part in a Kickstarter project but this one has a strange pull, a sort of attraction “magnets, how do they work”?

8deb0c98cc63a3e63c7130c10cfe9d25_original

I cobbed the above image straight from the web page and will remove it if requested.  The special quality of these magnets verse the ones you can buy in a store, is that they are beveled around the edges so that they are easy to remove.  Because a flat magnet requiring 3lbs of pull strength to remove can be quite challenging and can result in damage to the magnet.  The bevel allows you to get your fingers underneath and get a little traction.  Without that bevel all sorts of evil could befall your items.  I constantly use my frig as a place to stick recipes while I prepare new dishes.  I keep the recipes in thin clear plastic sheets and attach them with magnets.  The plastic sheet keeps the recipe clean, and I return it to my 3 ring binder after use but it often happens that the magnet isn’t strong enough to hold both the recipe and the plastic.  And don’t get me started about artwork.

Cheap Patriotism: How to be an Ober Patriot by Doing Little or Nothing at All

In a move similar with that of Pavlov’s dog, one can become the supreme patriot.  All one needs to do is stand up and face the flag while another person does the hard work of singing the national anthem.  That and of course cover your heart with the correct hand, and that according to custom is the right hand over your heart.  It’s just a conditioned response.  Critical thinking is not welcome just blind obeisance.  It’s cheap and easy, and you can get angry at others that won’t perform this patriotic/idiotic duty.  Nothing is better than burning with self-righteous indignation, even better when the blow hard burning with such indignation cannot fully explain why it patriotic to take on the mind of a lemming.

The problem is that given our many wars of late, not every veteran has a right hand or is even able to raise the one they have that is still connected to their body.  For this reason great care must be given when forcing another person to follow the dictates of your indoctrinated heart.  Remember the only way you can honor our country and our flag is to stand for the anthem and to a lesser degree recite the Pledge of Allegiance.  The flag knows if you do or don’t.  In spite of being an abstract concept the country and the flag know if you really love them, don’t disappoint.

Somewhere between the founding of the country and now the idea of personal liberty has been trampled underfoot.  Forced or compulsory behaviors in this case patriotism, have taken over for individual choice.  Stand if you wish to for the anthem, or the banal recitation of the pledge; borrowing a bit from Thomas Jefferson, it neither picks my pocket or breaks my leg.  It’s really a matter of your choice and no one is stopping you from exercising this form of cheap patriotism.  Cheap because it requires very little of you.  Like saying that you will pray for someone in need since it make you feel like you’re doing something when in reality you are accomplishing nothing.

I don’t doubt that many people “love” their country if not the people that populate its borders.  Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, equality before the law, the Bill of Rights plus the 14th Amendment all wonderful concepts, worth fighting for for-sure.  Recently an individual of some fame, unknown to me but because he was quoted on Yahoo.com I am certain that he has a following, a sport figure or NASCAR driver someone like that, made a statement something to the effect of, if you don’t think this is the best country in the world then leave.  I am willing to bet that he voted for the presidential candidate that ran for office with the slogan, Make America Great Again!  So perhaps it’s not all he or others crack it up to be eh?

If it has to be made great again then it appears that it has lost its luster.  I’ll venture further that that never occurred to the sports figure.  He was of course a white male and that makes a difference, he has a distinct advantage over women of color, as well as men of color.  There is evidence that the USA, isn’t all it’s cracked to be, warrantless searches, the alphabet agencies tracking and collecting information on us the citizens.  The outright lies used to justify military actions that got people our people as well as innocent women and children killed.  Weapons of mass destruction anyone?  The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution based on events that never happened.  Events that led President Johnson sending in more troops to Vietnam.  Which turned out to be disaster for a generation of Americans.  Thousands of vets suffer trauma even today decades removed from the fiasco.  While remembering the good things about our country it’s folly to think that it cannot be made better for all, and that’s what taking a knee is all about.

Still there is a subset of people that will never be happy.  They need to use this non issue to pummel others with to validate their tendentious understanding of patriotism.  Perhaps they would be happy if they could do as the North Korean apparatchiks do force the populace to stand or be shot.  It’s certainly been bandied about it the press.  It’s for those people that I make the following recommendations.  Make your patriotism very visible.

  1. Wear several, perhaps a hundred or more US Flag lapel pins everyday.  Attack others that do not accuse them of not loving their country and strongly insist that they “love it or leave”.  My Country right or wrong.  Throw a first class tantrum
  2. Purchase many US flags.  Make sure that they’re made in China, but conveniently leave that part out of the discussion.  You can buy them at the local Wal-Mart.
  3. Add extra stars to the flag.  If 50 is good 53 is better and more patriotic.  Sure there are supposed to be a single star for every state but that outdated thinking.  Sew them on yourself of have a seamstress or tailor attach them.  You’ll be glad you did, and it’s bound to catch on with others; means more love of you country.
  4. Better yet add extra strips–sure the strips are there to remind of the original 13 colonies/states, the red stands for blood and the white for honor.  The US has spilled so much blood that it really needs to be visually represented.   So why not add several extra red and white stripes?  If you don’t I seriously doubt your love of country.
  5. Why not do both of the above, add many many stars and stripes?
  6. If you’re going to a sporting event, or any event where you have to stand for the anthem or pledge then, in the words of the immortal Wes Harrison, if you going to make a scene be seen.  Show up with Flag ware.  A flag shirt, lapel pins, decorate your pants legs and your entire shirt with them.  Leave no doubt that you are THE REAL PATRIOT.
  7. Stand taller than everyone else by wearing US flag platform shoes.  If you love your country you will.
  8. It’s customary to take off ones hat while observing the ceremony, so why not wear several hats?  Make sure all of them are US flag hats, an American Eagle will do in a pinch, as long as it has many lapel flag pins adorning them.    If its respectful to take off your hat, how much more patriotic, and respectful to take off 4 hats and stand at attention.  That’s some real love of country.
  9. Why not close your eyes and raise your left hand, the one holding the 4 or more hats and wave it back in forth like the fundy Christians do when they know people are watching them.  It’s like worshiping a god, and if you aren’t aware, the flag is not an idol but it’s more like a god–small with a small g.

These are only suggestions and please feel free to add to this list.

 

 

 

The Salt Lake Police Association not Happy with the Coverage of Out of Control Officers

You may recall the shocking, overly aggressive tactics used by police in Salt Lake City Utah to force a nurse to perform an illegal blood draw on a unconscious patient.  On a side note it’s been reported that that patient, a fellow law enforcement officer, has since passed away.

The outrageous behavior exhibited by the two officers, and caught on camera led to their suspension.  What is disturbing to the Police Association is that it was displayed across the internet for all to see. The Attorney for Alex Wubbels, the nurse that was handled roughly by the officers made the video public.  The video was released by Wubbels and her lawyer, who obtained it through a public records request. Clearly the SLPA doesn’t want the average Joe/Jolene to see this video, since according to Stephen Hartney, the author a letter detailing his and the Police Association’s dissatisfaction with the coverage.  What appears to trouble him the most is that people are free to make up their own minds as to what is happening, and that cannot be allowed.

Hartney decries that people, the general populace doesn’t have police training, and are not able to arrive at the correct biased conclusion that he and his officers want, need, and desire.  He’s the critical portion of that letter as recorded by the AP.

“The premature release of body cam footage is particularly demoralizing as it allows the public who have not trained as police officers to make what often amounts to biased and ill-informed judgments of the police,” association president Stephen Hartney said in a letter.

People must believe a different, alternative fact.  I don’t need to have po-lice training training to view a video.  I do have critical thinking skills and faculties.  When sitting on a jury I doubt very much the prosecution would address a jury and instruct them that the video they are about to see they should ignore because they don’t have secret police training.  The defense on the other hand would likely do that to create doubt.  The footage in this instance tells pretty much the entire story.  But it’s not just the video it’s also testimony of the person being arrested, and those that viewed that illegal action.

Pigs.