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Profile Information

Gender: Male
Current location: Broadwater, NE
Member since: Sun May 19, 2013, 11:16 PM
Number of posts: 120

About Me

I am a disabled Navy veteran of seventeen years service (epilepsy ended my career). I live in Broadwater, Nebraska (a town of 127 conservatives and me). It is way over in the empty Panhandly part of Nebraska. I am a village trustee (city councilman), elected in December of 2012 to fill the remaining term of a deceased member. Though an open atheist, a liberal, and with longer hair than anyone else in town, the chairman supported my campaign for the seat, saying I was the least divisive candidate of five. In a special election with five candidates, I was elected unanimously. I also have hobbies: amateur radio, calligraphy, and hammered dulcimer. I am a member of the Disabled American Veterans, the American Radio Relay League, American Mensa, Intertel, the International Society for Philosophical Enquiry, and the Triple Nine Society. -- -- -- APRIL UPDATE: I have filed my paperwork to run for re-election on November 4.

Journal Archives

Filed to Run for Re-Election to Village Board This Week

I filed my election paperwork at the Morrill County (Nebraska) Elections Office this week to run for re-election to the Broadwater Village Board (city council) in November. As village trustees in Broadwater are unpaid, there is no election filing fee.

I had everything wrong when I ran in the special election here to fill the seat of a board member who passed away in October of 2012. I’d only lived in town a couple years in a town where families have lived for generations, a liberal in a deeply conservative state, an open atheist in a deeply religious state, and hair down to my waist. I even wear a fedora when everyone else in the county (even women) wears cowboy hats, and drive a Smart rather than a pickup truck (sometimes tricky on our sand roads when it rains).

Nevertheless, I was elected unanimously in 2012 over four other candidates.

The other members of the village board (despite all being rather conservative) urged me to file, as did several members of the community.

Broadwater has a population of 128, with about seventy registered voters. It is one of three incorporated towns in Morrill County, Nebraska.

Rand Paul Urging Petition to Bypass Roe v Wade

My rather conservative wife forwarded to me an robo-E-mailing from Senator Rand Paul. Even she is disgusted by the personhood nonsense that he and others continually throw up, but this is particularly egregious.

(I am slowly chiselling away at her ideas of conservatism: either she has to own people like this or note that they do not represent her views. Of note, she recently gave a donation to People for the American Way, though she didn't like the characterisation of her in its form letter as "a progressive."

Essentially every stillbirth or miscarriage would have to be investigated as a homicide, no matter how early.

I certainly do not support Senator Paul's idea of smaller government, so small you can drown it in every uterus. He is no more a libertarian than King George III was a Democrat.

----- ----- -----

On Tuesday, April 29, 2014 4:59 PM, Rand Paul <rand.paul@prolifealliance.org> wrote:

Dear E****,

For over 40 years, nine unelected men and women on the Supreme Court have played God with innocent human life.

They have invented laws that condemned to painful deaths without trial more than 56 million babies for the crime of being "inconvenient."

In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade ruling forced abortion-on-demand down our nation's throat.

In the past, many in the pro-life movement have felt limited to protecting a life here and there -- passing some limited law to slightly control abortion in the more outrageous cases.

But some pro-lifers always seem to tiptoe around the Supreme Court, hoping they won't be offended.

Now the time to grovel before the Supreme Court is over.

Working from what the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade, pro-life lawmakers can pass a Life at Conception Act and end abortion using the Constitution instead of amending it.

That is why it's so urgent you sign the petition to your Senators and Congressman that I will link to in a moment.

You see, in the coming year it is vital every Member of Congress be put on record.

And your petition today will help do just that.

Signing the Life at Conception Act petition will help break through the opposition clinging to abortion-on-demand and get a vote on this life-saving bill to overturn Roe v. Wade.

A Life at Conception Act declares unborn children "persons" as defined by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, entitled to legal protection.

This is the one thing the Supreme Court admitted in Roe v. Wade that would cause the case for legal abortion to "collapse."

When the Supreme Court handed down its now-infamous Roe v. Wade decision, it did so based on a new, previously undefined "right of privacy" which it "discovered" in so-called "emanations" of "penumbrae" of the Constitution.

Of course, as constitutional law it was a disaster.

But never once did the Supreme Court declare abortion itself to be a constitutional right.

Instead the Supreme Court said:

"We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins . . . the judiciary at this point in the development of man's knowledge is not in a position to speculate as to the answer."

Then the High Court made a key admission:

"If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant's case [i.e., "Roe" who sought an abortion], of course, collapses, for the fetus' right to life is then guaranteed specifically by the [14th] Amendment."

The fact is, the 14th Amendment couldn't be clearer:

". . . nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law, nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the law."

Furthermore, the 14th Amendment says:

"Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article."

That's exactly what a Life at Conception Act would do.

But this simple, logical and obviously right legislation will not become law without a fight.

And that's where your help is critical.

Please click here to sign your petition right away.

(link deleted because it would sign her name to the petition - Website host is private and passworded)

By turning up the heat on Congress in 2013 [sic: Apparently Senator Paul is living in the past, or the forced birth organisation writing in his name is recycling an old E-mail] through a massive, national, grass-roots campaign, one of two things will happen.

If you and other pro-life activists pour on enough pressure, pro-lifers can force politicians from both parties who were elected on pro-life platforms to make good on their promises and ultimately win passage of this bill.

But even if a Life at Conception Act doesn't pass immediately, the public attention will set the stage to defeat radical abortionists in the next election.

Either way, the unborn win . . . unless you do nothing.

That's why the National Pro-Life Alliance is contacting hundreds of thousands of Americans just like you to mobilize a grass-roots army to pass a Life at Conception Act. The first thing you must do is sign your petition by clicking here.

They are the key ingredient in the National Pro-Life Alliance's plan to pass a Life at Conception Act. They'll also organize:
... Hard-hitting TV, radio and newspaper ads to be run just before each vote, detailing the horrors of abortion and mobilizing the American people.
... Extensive personal lobbying of key members of Congress by rank and file National Pro-Life Alliance members and staff.
... A series of newspaper columns to be distributed free to all 1,437 daily newspapers now published in the United States.
... An extensive email, direct mail and telephone campaign to generate at least one million petitions to Congress like the one linked to in this letter.
Of course, to do all this will take a lot of money.

Just to email and mail the letters necessary to produce one million petitions will cost at least $460,000.

Newspaper, TV and radio are even more expensive.

But I'm sure you'll agree pro-lifers cannot just sit by watching the slaughter continue.

The National Pro-Life Alliance's goal is to deliver one million petitions to the House and Senate in support of a Life at Conception Act.

When the bill comes up for a vote in Congress, it is crucial to have the full weight of an informed public backing the pro-life position.

I feel confident that the folks at National Pro-Life Alliance can gather those one million petitions.

But even though many Americans who receive this email will sign the petition, many won't be able to contribute. That's why it's vital you give $10, $25, $50, $100, or even more if you can.

Without your help the National Pro-Life Alliance will be unable to gather the one million petitions and mount the full-scale national campaign necessary to pass a Life at Conception Act.

A sacrificial gift of $35 or even $100 or $500 now could spare literally millions of innocent babies in years to come. But if that's too much, please consider chipping in with a donation of $10.

You should also know that a National Pro-Life Alliance supporter wants to make your decision to give easier by agreeing to match your donation, no matter the size, increasing its value by 50%!

So please respond right away with your signed petition.

(link again deleted here)

And please help with a contribution of at least $25 or $35. Some people have already given as much as $500. Others have given $50 and $100.

But no matter how much you give, whether it's chipping in with $10 or a larger contribution of $150, I guarantee your contribution is urgently needed and will be deeply appreciated.

That's why I hope and pray that you will not delay a moment to make a contribution of $1000, $500, $100, $50, $25, or even $10 if you can.

Your contribution to the National Pro-Life Alliance and your signed petition will be the first steps toward reversing Roe v. Wade and waking up the politicians about where our barbarous pro-abortion policy is taking us.


Rand Paul,
United States Senator
P.S. The Supreme Court itself admitted -- if Congress declares unborn children "persons" under the law, the constitutional case for abortion-on-demand "collapses."
Please help make that happen. Sign your petition today to the National Pro-Life Alliance to reverse Roe v. Wade, along with a sacrificial contribution of $100, $50, $25. If that's too much, please consider chipping in with a donation of $10.

You should also know a generous donor has agreed to match all contributions, no matter the size, increasing your gift to the National Pro-Life Alliance by 50%!

My Congressman Weighs in on Legislative Prayer

I see my Tea-Party leaning Rethuglican is at it again. My E-mail to him below, his E-mail is below that. Adrian Smith is the representative for Nebraska District Three, in which I reside.

Concerning your position vis. Town of Greece v Galloway
Message Text:
I find it sadly ironic you term this case of prayerful invocations in public meetings to be a question of religious freedom. There is of course no freedom in imposing mandatory prayer on the constituents of a town.

As you are well aware, the nation is comprised of people of all religions, and none. I am one of those in the none category. Prayer in a public meeting serves no legislative purpose, but is most certainly divisive, between the religious as well as those of no faith. No freedoms are being denied by moving directly to the agenda of a town board meeting. No one is telling a Pentecostal, a Catholic, a Jew, or a Muslim they cannot practice their faith because a town board does not hold a prayerful invocation before it meets.

On the other hand, every last person in a town meeting not represented by that prayer is a second-class citizen in that meeting. Would you be as supportive of a prayerful invocation if it were in the name of Allah, or Saraswati? Any god worthy of the name should be insulted by ceremonial deism in the name of politics, and so should that god's adherents. Any prayer that could be rendered so as to be inoffensive to all the citizens is also a meaningless prayer.

Government has no place endorsing the religious views of any faith, no matter how much of a majority the adherents to that faith have. The Bill of Rights exists to protect the rights of minorities: the majority does not need its rights protected. As a representative in the Congress who supports the US Constitution you should be well-aware of that.

What makes this nation exceptional is it is a Secular State; government has no interest in religion. It is unique in the history of human governance, and endless religious attempts to subvert that singular principle will never end.

Your position on this case shows you too wish to subvert the I Amendment. I am exceptionally disappointed you would use your valuable time in weighing in on a matter that is not the province of government. With all the difficulties that face our nation, you do not need to be weighing in with the power of your office on a civil case about ceremonial Deism.

From: Congressman Adrian Smith [mailto:ne03ima@mail.house.gov]
Sent: 13 September 2013 09:52
To: me
Subject: Update on Religious Freedom

Dear Mr. K--:

Knowing of your interest in receiving updates about religious freedom and family values, I am writing regarding recent developments.

Religious freedom is one of our most cherished inheritances; so important, our Founding Fathers saw fit to place it first in the Bill of Rights. Allowing Americans of all faiths to engage in prayer strengthens the fabric of our society and represents a responsible and moral agenda. Moreover, prayer has played a vital role in Congress and in deliberative bodies at all levels of government from the earliest days of our nation's history.

As you may know, in the coming months the United States Supreme Court will hear arguments in Town of Greece v. Galloway, a case which challenges the constitutionality of invocation prayer at public town meetings in Greece, New York. This case is the first heard by the Court in thirty years to address legislative prayer.

Because of the importance of this matter, recently I joined 84 of my colleagues in the House of Representatives in filing an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in Town of Greece v. Galloway. This brief supports the constitutional practice of legislatures and other bodies of government opening public meetings with prayer.

Freedom of religious expression is an issue I take very seriously. As a member of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, I will continue to ensure Americans enjoy the right to worship freely and openly express our convictions. For more information on this issue or to receive additional legislative updates, please visit http://adriansmith.house.gov.


Member of Congress

Germany Cancels Surveillance Pact with USA/UK over NSA Revelations

Source: Radio Deutsche Welle (Official Shortwave Station)

Germany has canceled a Cold War-era surveillance pact with the US and Britain. The largely symbolic move comes as Chancellor Angela Merkel's government faces mounting criticism for its complicity in spying programs.

"The cancellation of the administrative agreements, which we have pushed for in recent weeks, is a necessary and proper consequence of the recent debate about protecting personal privacy," German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said in a statement Friday, referring to the revelations by whistle-blower Edward Snowden.

The move appears to be an effort on behalf of the government to show that it's taking steps to prevent the unwarranted surveillance against German citizens. However, the pact itself appears to have little significance.

Read more: http://www.dw.de/germany-cancels-cold-war-era-surveillance-pact-in-wake-of-spying-revelations/a-16994741

The Federal Republic of Germany has some of the strongest privacy laws in the world; Angela Merkel was elected to the German Democratic Republic's (East Germany) parliament in the only free election held there at the end of that nation's existence.

The German people are quite familiar with dragnet surveillance by government, between the Gestapo and the GDR's Stasi. The pressure on Merkel was overwhelming to end the pact after the revelations of the NSA's dragnet surveillance.

The article is from Deutsche Welle, the official shortwave broadcaster of the FRG. Germany cares more for its people's privacy rights than our own government does about ours, it seems.

Bold Nebraska Sets Groundbreaking Date for Solar Barn: Aug 17


Groundbreaking and pouring of the first solar barn foundation will take place in York, Nebraska on August 17, with construction to begin by volunteers in September, and completed the same month.

The solar barn and wind energy protest seeks to build low-pollution energy sources on ranches in the path of the Keystone XL Pipeline proposal. To build the pipeline the solar barns and wind turbines would need to be torn down. The ranchers and farmers benefit from the barn raisings.

A new novel fundraising method is also promoted: Pies Against the Pipeline, promoting bake sales across the state at county fairs, farmers' markets, &c. to raise both awareness and funds for the organisation's court fight and barn raising projects.

And a Lancaster County judge (Lincoln, the state capital) has set the date for the ranchers suing TransCanada for September 27. The state will not report on its plans before the court case is completed - this essentially slows down the whole process.

Things are moving forward, and getting more uncomfortable for TransCanada.

Websites planning July 4 protest against NSA surveillance

Others are encouraged to adjust their Websites (in the manner similar to the SOPA and PIPA protests) for a protest of the egregious violations of the IV Amendment.

The Mozilla Foundation, Reddit, and numerous others are protesting today:

(from the article at Huffington Post - links in the article):

Spearheaded by the Internet Defense League, a 30,000-member group of Internet activists and websites, the Restore The Fourth campaign will have websites promote anti-NSA messages on their homepages along with directing visitors to CallForFreedom.org, where they can donate to help fund television ads against the intelligence programs.

Skype serving strobing adverts to epilepsy sufferers.

But Skype tells me I can avoid this by getting a paid account. Thanks, too late. They already assaulted me.

Below is my back-and-forth with Skype's tech support (reads from the bottom up):

I am sorry, I will not pay a company that permits advertisers to intentionally trigger seizures in those with epilepsy.

Other companies and ISPs have made this part of their contracts: that Microsoft and Skype will not is quite telling of how you view your disabled customers, particularly this disabled veteran.

Your company has the ability to tell its advertisers to not do this. It has the ability to tell advert serving companies not to do this or you will not do business with them. That your company does not, and that you make excuses for it (you could pay for an account that blocks such adverts) does not protect the next of two million people with epilepsy that chooses to log onto Skype for the first time with no warning that his health and life is endangered by Skype.

If your company chooses to allow such advert serving companies to do this, then your company should provide a warning before someone signs up. Sadly, that was too late for me.

I will not choose such a paid account until your company assures me that you are no longer assaulting those with epilepsy in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.


From: Skype Customer Service [mailto:en_support@skype.net]
Sent: 21 June 2013 16:29
Subject: RE: Update on complaint: Skype issues non-answer to epilepsy complaint <<#2224619-3570116#>>

Hello James,

Thank you for your reply.

We are sorry to hear that advertisements caused you inconvenience and affecting your health condition. We would do our best to assist you on this matter.

We apologized for what happened. You may see advertisements for other companies in Skype which is system generated for all Skype users. It was created not intentionally to to disrupt our customers.

We would like to recommend, you may change your privacy settings accordingly, simply follow this link http://support.skype.com/faq/FA140

To stop seeing any advertisements for other companies in Skype, you may purchase Skype Credit, a subscription, or Skype Premium.

Thank you for sharing this particular incident with us. We appreciate your feedback and rest assured that we would definitely look into it.

We are working hard to implement performance and usability improvements as well as new features. We will inform our departments about your concern.

Should you need more assistance, feel free to contact us again.

We’d also like to advise you to update your Skype profile with the latest details. This will help us to provide you with the best possible solution more quickly and protect your account from abuse.

Best regards,

Huixian A.
Skype Customer Service

--- Original Message ---
From: James
Received: 6/22/13 5:43:18 AM GMT+08:00
To: <en_support@skype.net>
Subject: Update on complaint: Skype issues non-answer to epilepsy complaint
The answer you gave me below is of course, nonsense. My Skype experience is fatally flawed if I cannot use the service for strobing adverts on your site that trigger seizures in me. I hope that your answer is only an automated response and not your company blowing me off. (Skype answer below, my original complaint below that.)
I have not opened Skype since this happened for fear of your company’s Website.
If your company has no control over such adverts on its site, I cannot use Skype, and will also inform others with my condition and family and friends accordingly. I will also inform the Epilepsy Foundation so that the two million plus Americans with epilepsy can be advised of your company’s lack of consideration for our conditions. – James A Kulacz
Hello James,
Thank you for contacting Skype Customer Service.
We understand your concerns regarding the advertisement you saw on Skype. It would be our pleasure to look into this for you.
Occasionally, you may see advertisements for other companies in Skype. These advertisements will not disrupt your Skype experience in any way.
We do not share any of your personally identifiable information with advertisers.
However, we may use non-personally identifiable information, such as your location, gender or age, with the aim of providing you with advertisements that may be relevant to you.
If you do not want to share this information with advertisers, you can change your privacy settings accordingly.

Name: James
Topic: Other features
Subtopic: Suggestions / Feedback
Subject: Advert on Skype Epilepsy Trigger
Device: Desktop Computer | Skype for Windows desktop
Skype Version: null null
Country: US
Language: en
Browser: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64; rv:21.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/21.0
IP address:

An advert for Vistaprint business cards that shows up on the main window of Skype has a strobing number that rapidly runs from zero to 250. I have photo-sensitive epilepsy and this advert triggered a seizure. If this is not immediately fixed I am done with Skype. It is fortunate I was not injured, as this could successfully be brought as a suit under the ADA. I am not interested in that, but am not interested in a seizure when I log into Skype either. Fix it or I am gone the next time it happens.

I will also notify the Epilepsy Foundation to warn our members of your user-unfriendly adverts.

Trans Canada calls Nebraska Landowners "Terrorists"

And that word terrorist was probably swept up in NSA's data . . . the latest from Bold Nebraska, the organisation fighting against the Keystone XL pipeline with protests and building solar-powered barns and wind turbines along the proposed pipeline route (to call out President Obama - approval of the route would mean tearing down green energy projects that stand in the way)


Dear Pipeline Fighter,
Summer is heating up, and so is our battle to protect our land, water and homes from TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline.

First off, great news! The lawsuit filed by Nebraska landowners challenging the constitutionality of the Keystone XL pipeline route in Nebraska is moving forward, after a decision issued last week.¹ Despite two attempts by the State of Nebraska to have our case thrown out, our claims that LB 1161 unconstitutionally granted exclusive authority to Gov. Dave Heineman to approve a pipeline route and give TransCanada eminent domain powers to seize our land will now go to trial.

Judge Stacy also allowed our new claim, which argues that if Gov. Heineman acted under an unconstitutional law, then any acts flowing from his approval of the Keystone XL route are also unconstitutional. This means that if we prevail in court, the current route and eminent domain process are thrown out and TransCanada must start over from square one. Next up is a hearing on Friday in Lincoln, where a date will be set for our case to go to trial.

Show your support for our brave landowners' stand against TransCanada. Make a donation now to help cover the costs of their lawsuit.

In shocking news, TransCanada documents obtained by Bold Nebraska via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request reveal the company has attempted to paint peaceful Keystone XL protesters in Nebraska and elsewhere as terrorists.² In slide presentations given by TransCanada in private meetings with law enforcement, the company accuses Nebraska landowners of being "aggressive and abusive," and suggests that citizens peacefully opposing its dirty tarsands pipeline be prosecuted under anti-terrorism laws.³

It's outrageous that a foreign corporation would come into our state to sow fear of landowners and citizens with local law enforcement — at the same time they are seeking to hire our peace officers as off-duty security guards to protect their corporate interests. Even pipeline proponent the Omaha World-Herald said in an editorial today that Nebraskans' "lawful opposition — attending public meetings, offering opposing testimony, speaking out peacefully — is in keeping with the nation's tradition of free speech and robust debate on matters of public importance," adding the pipeline's "builder needs to respect their right to peacefully object."⁴

While we continue to wage our nonviolent battle against TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline in the courts and through the review process at the State Department, Bold is also actively working to Build Our Energy future this summer, with the construction of clean, renewable wind and solar energy projects in Nebraska.

The Build Our Energy project will see two wind turbine and solar-powered barns installed directly inside the KXL route. If Pres. Obama approves the pipeline, he'll be tearing down clean, local energy sources to make way for dirty, foreign tarsands.
So far, you've helped us raise more than $6,000 in grassroots donations towards our goal, and over 80 volunteers have signed up to come out and participate in these community barn-raising projects in August.
Click here now to donate to help build our clean, renewable energy future in Nebraska.
Want to join us in August to help with construction of the wind turbine and solar-powered barns? Click here for details and sign-up to volunteer.

This is the summer of the Pipeline Fighter. With your continued support, we will maintain our strong stand against Keystone XL and look towards building our clean energy future.
Jane Kleeb and the Bold Nebraska team.
http://e2.ma/click/b502d/7thltd/new29 (contributions to Bold Nebraska)
http://e2.ma/click/b502d/7thltd/36w29 (to volunteer to build solar barns and wind turbines along the route)

http://www.boldnebraska.org/ (Bold Nebraska Website)
1. " Nebraska Challenge on Keystone Pipeline Route Moves Forward," BoldNebraska.org, 6/12/13
2. " TransCanada Calls Nebraska Ranchers Agressive and Abusive, Talks of Terrorism," BoldNebraska.org, 6/14/13
3. " Keystone XL Activists Labeled Possible Eco-Terrorists in Internal TransCanada Documents," DeSmogBlog, 6/13/13
4. " Respect is key in pipeline debate," Omaha World-Herald, 6/18/13

208 S. Burlington Ave. Ste. 103, Box 325 | Hastings, NE 68901 US

U Chicago study: Baby names indicate parent's political leanings.

A study by a professor at the University of Chicago: You can tell a family’s political leanings by how they name their children. (A bit long)

According to Live Science analysing this study, Conservative parents will tend to select baby names with hard consonants, which tend to sound more macho, such as K, B, or D. Conversely, Progressives tend to select names with more “feminine-sounding” soft consonants such as (soft) C, S, M, or L.

An Arab National Speaks on our Patriot Act ~ from Reddit

A bit long but well worth it. Credit to /u/161719 at Reddit.com (a user-driven news aggregation site)
I live in a country generally assumed to be a dictatorship. One of the Arab spring countries. I have lived through curfews and have seen the outcomes of the sort of surveillance now being revealed in the US. People here talking about curfews aren't realizing what that actually FEELS like. It isn't about having to go inside, and the practicality of that. It's about creating the feeling that everyone, everything is watching. A few points:

1) the purpose of this surveillance from the government’s point of view is to control enemies of the state. Not terrorists. People who are coalescing around ideas that would destabilize the status quo. These could be religious ideas. These could be groups like anon[ymous] who are too good with tech for the government’s liking. It makes it very easy to know who these people are. It also makes it very simple to control these people.

Let’s say you are a college student and you get in with some people who want to stop farming practices that hurt animals. So you make a plan and go to protest these practices. You get there, and wow, the protest is huge. You never expected this, you were just goofing off. Well now everyone who was there is suspect. Even though you technically had the right to protest, you're now considered a dangerous person.

With this tech in place, the government doesn't have to put you in jail. They can do something more sinister. They can just email you a sexy picture you took with a girlfriend. Or they can email you a note saying that they can prove your dad is cheating on his taxes. Or they can threaten to get your dad fired. All you have to do, the email says, is help them catch your friends in the group. You have to report back every week, or you dad might lose his job. So you do. You turn in your friends and even though they try to keep meetings off grid, you're reporting on them to protect your dad.

2) Let's say number one goes on. The country is a weird place now. Really weird. Pretty soon, a movement springs up like occupy, except its bigger this time. People are really serious, and they are saying they want a government without this power. I guess people are realizing that it is a serious deal. You see on the news that tear gas was fired. Your friend calls you, frantic. They're shooting people. Oh my god. you never signed up for this. You say, fuck it. My dad might lose his job but I won't be responsible for anyone dying. That's going too far. You refuse to report anymore. You just stop going to meetings. You stay at home, and try not to watch the news. Three days later, police come to your door and arrest you. They confiscate your computer and phones, and they beat you up a bit. No one can help you so they all just sit quietly. They know if they say anything they're next. This happened in the country I live in. It is not a joke.

3) Its hard to say how long you were in there. What you saw was horrible. Most of the time, you only heard screams. People begging to be killed. Noises you've never heard before. You, you were lucky. You got kicked every day when they threw your moldy food at you, but no one shocked you. No one used sexual violence on you, at least that you remember. There were some times they gave you pills, and you can't say for sure what happened then. To be honest, sometimes the pills were the best part of your day, because at least then you didn't feel anything. You have scars on you from the way you were treated. You learn in prison that torture is now common. But everyone who uploads videos or pictures of this torture is labeled a leaker. Its considered a threat to national security. Pretty soon, a cut you got on your leg is looking really bad. You think it's infected. There were no doctors in prison, and it was so overcrowded, who knows what got in the cut. You go to the doctor, but he refuses to see you. He knows if he does the government can see the records that he treated you. Even you calling his office prompts a visit from the local police.
You decide to go home and see your parents. Maybe they can help. This leg is getting really bad. You get to their house. They aren't home. You can't reach them no matter how hard you try. A neighbor pulls you aside, and he quickly tells you they were arrested three weeks ago and haven't been seen since. You vaguely remember mentioning to them on the phone you were going to that protest. Even your little brother isn't there.

4) Is this even really happening? You look at the news. Sports scores. Celebrity news. It's like nothing is wrong. What the hell is going on? A stranger smirks at you reading the paper. You lose it. You shout at him "fuck you dude what are you laughing at can't you see I've got a fucking wound on my leg?"

"Sorry," he says. "I just didn't know anyone read the news anymore." There haven't been any real journalists for months. They're all in jail.

Everyone walking around is scared. They can't talk to anyone else because they don't know who is reporting for the government. Hell, at one time YOU were reporting for the government. Maybe they just want their kid to get through school. Maybe they want to keep their job. Maybe they're sick and want to be able to visit the doctor. It's always a simple reason. Good people always do bad things for simple reasons.

You want to protest. You want your family back. You need help for your leg. This is way beyond anything you ever wanted. It started because you just wanted to see fair treatment in farms. Now you're basically considered a terrorist, and everyone around you might be reporting on you. You definitely can't use a phone or email. You can't get a job. You can't even trust people face to face anymore. On every corner, there are people with guns. They are as scared as you are. They just don't want to lose their jobs. They don't want to be labeled as traitors.

This all happened in the country where I live.

You want to know why revolutions happen? Because little by little by little things get worse and worse. But this thing that is happening now is big. This is the key ingredient. This allows them to know everything they need to know to accomplish the above. The fact that they are doing it is proof that they are the sort of people who might use it in the way I described. In the country I live in, they also claimed it was for the safety of the people. Same in Soviet Russia. Same in East Germany. In fact, that is always the excuse that is used to surveil everyone. But it has never ONCE proven to be the reality.

Maybe Obama won't do it. Maybe the next guy won't, or the one after him. Maybe this story isn't about you. Maybe it happens 10 or 20 years from now, when a big war is happening, or after another big attack. Maybe it's about your daughter or your son. We just don't know yet. But what we do know is that right now, in this moment we have a choice. Are we okay with this, or not? Do we want this power to exist, or not?

You know for me, the reason I'm upset is that I grew up in school saying the pledge of allegiance. I was taught that the United States meant "liberty and justice for all." You get older, you learn that in this country we define that phrase based on the constitution. That's what tells us what liberty is and what justice is. Well, the government just violated that ideal. So if they aren't standing for liberty and justice anymore, what are they standing for? Safety?

Ask yourself a question. In the story I told above, does anyone sound safe?

I didn't make anything up. These things happened to people I know. We used to think it couldn't happen in America. But guess what? It's starting to happen.

I actually get really upset when people say "I don't have anything to hide. Let them read everything." People saying that have no idea what they are bringing down on their own heads. They are naive, and we need to listen to people in other countries who are clearly telling us that this is a horrible horrible sign and it is time to stand up and say no.
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