EIS: Earth Ex 2018 – Black Sky, Aug. 22

The Electric Infrastructure Security (EIS) council’s second annual Earth Ex is coming Wednesday, August 22nd. You can submit an email address to get exercise notifications.

Our integrated world – and the “catch” that comes with it

In the modern world, everything we do depends on nationally and globally interconnected utility, infrastructure, resource and service networks. Together, they are much like our bodies – a fully integrated, interdependent organic system.

But there is a catch. Like our bodies, this integration – while critically important – brings with it a unique vulnerability. If any major piece fails, the whole system can collapse. Six “Black Sky” hazards represent particularly serious concerns for such vulnerabilities.

What can be done?

Sector by sector, nation by nation, leading government organizations and corporations are beginning to make investments and develop plans to build resilience against these “Black Sky” hazard scenarios. With EARTH EX, they are joining together to evaluate those plans.

But government organizations and corporations cannot do this alone. Resilience – at the level that will be needed for these extreme hazards – begins with individuals, with families and with neighborhoods.

The Individual and Family EARTH EX Experience

Individual and Family participants in EARTH EX will have an opportunity to experience the same full-scale video “injects” used by their corporate and government colleagues, as an introduction to a special, animated, interactive learning experience.

In the exercise, you will learn some of the most important preparatory steps you can take to prepare for extreme hazards:

To protect yourself and your family, and prepare to help your friends and neighbors to get through an unprecedented crisis.

Who is participating?

Professional sectors are participating in six categories:

  • Utilities (electricity, water and communications providers)
  • Government (all levels of government, law enforcement, finance and emergency responders)
  • Non-profits (both local and international organizations)
  • Health (health services of all kinds)
  • Cyberworld (cyber response and forensics)
  • Private sector providers (transportation, retail, factories, agriculture, finance, food and pharmaceuticals)
  • And for the first time … individuals and families, adults and children

Brushbeater RTO (Radio Operator) Courses Near Missoula, Sept. 2018

NC Scout of the Brushbeater blog will be holding his RTO course in Hamilton, MT (south of Missoula), on Sept. 8-9, 2018 and again Sept. 15-16. There will also be an advanced class held on Sept. 13-14.

EDIT: The 15-16th class has been cancelled because of a lack of sign-ups.

Click here for registration information.

The Radio Telephone Operator (RTO) Course is designed to take the individual of any and every experience level and teach them the basics of effective small unit communications in a field environment. Students will learn what it takes to set up a plan and implement communications in an improvised setting be it anything from a retreat to a security patrol to regional communications networking groups. A heavy emphasis of the course is on improvisation and antenna building- each student will construct antennas from improvised materials which they keep. This is NOT a “ham radio” class. No equipment or previous experience is required; only a notebook and a good pair of shoes. It is the only course of its kind offered anywhere, in a friendly, laid back and respectful environment.

This class will teach students the basics of communications at the Team or Squad Level in the field. Topics of instruction include:

  • Identifying Equipment Requirements
  • Writing a Signals Operating Index
  • PACE Planning for Communications
  • Basic equipment capabilities
  • Traffic handling
  • Improvised antenna types, uses and construction
  • Setting up and running an NVIS HF station
  • Message Formats
  • Setting up and communicating from a Hide site

Two day course will culminate in an field training event running a TOC station and Hide site in the field. Students will each build an antenna and demonstrate competency in team communications basics during the field exercise. Amateur Radio license qualification is helpful, but not required. This is NOT a ‘ham radio’ class but each student will come away with a basic understanding of a team’s communications needs in a tactical environment and how to best meet them under less-than-ideal circumstances. No equipment is required for this course; however, if students want to get field practice with their own gear, it is highly encouraged but done so at their own risk. Instruction is completely off-grid.

RTO Course: $300 per Student in advance or $350 at the door

The Advanced Course picks up where the RTO Basic Course leaves off, with training focused on:

  • Advanced SOI/CEOI Planning
  • Planning & Coordinating Transmitting Sites/Directional Transmitting
  • Uses of Resistors and Constructing Directional Wire Antennas
  • Data Bursts
  • Advanced HF techniques
  • Basic Signals Mapping and Communications Intelligence

Advanced RTO Course: $300 per Student in advance or $350 at the door

$50 deposit required for the in advance class prices by August 15th.

Wilderness First Aid, Kennewick, Sept. 8-9, 2018

Wilderness First Aid Course

Prepare for the unexpected with this fun, hands-on introduction to wilderness medicine, taught over two or two and a half days. If you like to take short trips relatively close to medical resources, work at wilderness camps, enjoy weekend family outdoor activities, or recreate outdoors, this course is for you. This course is great for people of all experience levels, and is best suited for those who recreate outdoors where EMS response can be expected in a timely manner (fewer than eight hours). You’ll learn the Patient Assessment System, how to provide effective first aid treatments for injuries and illnesses common in the outdoors, and how to make appropriate evacuation decisions. You’ll learn both in the classroom and in outdoor settings regardless of weather, so come prepared for wet, muddy, cold or hot environments!
  • Sponsor: REI Outdoor School
  • Location: Kennewick, WA
  • Dates: Sat, 08 Sep 2018 thru Sun, 09 Sep 2018

More info and registration links.

 

2018 NW APRS Summer Gathering, North Bend, Sept. 7-9th

From the folks who run the NW APRS Summer Gathering:

Summer Gathering 2018!
Back for the 21st year it is once again time for the Annual NWAPRS Summer Gathering
This year September 7-9 (always the weekend after Labor Day) at Valley Camp  6 miles east of North Bend Washington.
For us location precision nuts the GPS coordinates for a point near the center of camp are:
47.4662216  -121.6804046  (Highly accurate GPS control point)
(The first to find what’s at this location and show a picture of it to K7FZO wins a special door prize)

Directions to camp for those needing actual pictures, maps and words can be found here: Directions to Valley Camp or the bottom of the Summer Gathering webpage.The Summer Gathering is an event for everyone involved in Amatuer Radio that wants to learn about what’s new in the hobby, meet people involved in the newest technologies that create the opportunities to experiment and advance the hobby.
Because the Summer Gathering has always been a very social event, we suggest taking advantage of all the opportunities we provide to spend time with other Hams involved in the hobby.

Friday evening social time, ice cream anyone? Or share a beverage with friends, this usually goes until around 10PM, later if you don’t need sleep, but quiet time in camp is 10PM to 7AM.

Saturday morning Breakfast, provided by the West Seattle Amatuer Radio Club, starts at 7AM with coffee and a full breakfast prepared by our chef Curt WR5J and his helpers.

The event officially begins at 8:45AM with the first presentation at 9AM
Lunch at noon will be provided, as to what it will be and the cost is being worked on right now, so stay tuned.
Afternoon sessions begin at 1PM with a wrap-up session at 5PM
Dinner plans are currently being discussed, once again stay tuned.
After Dinner open time for discussions, Q&A with presenters, and project show-n-tell.

Sunday starts with coffee available at 7AM followed by a full breakfast once again prepared for you by Curt WR5J.
Sunday presentations will begin at 9AM.
Lunch and the afternoon program are still in discussion. If you have ideas please send them to Thom at
summergathering@wa7vc.org

Saturday presentation slots have been filled, we are working on some great ideas for Sunday. We are looking to you for ideas that you feel should be discussed and volunteer presenters.
Once again, if you want to facilitate, share a project, or know someone we should contact let us know by emailing  summergathering@wa7vc.org

The current presentation schedule is available on the WA7VC website which will be updated as changes are made.
Presentations are held in the large picnic shelter, you can improve your seating experience by bringing your own comfy folding camp chair, coffee and hot water for tea will be available all day.

With just a month to go, it would be a great idea to make your reservations soon for Friday and or Saturday nights accommodations.
Full Service RV sites, parking for RV’s not needing services, tent sites, and bunk space in the Teneriffe Lodge are currently available. Please contact Teena at Valley Camp to reserve your space at   info@valleycamp.org
Discuss with Teena at Valley Camp the cost for these overnight accommodations.

It is time to make sure the SUMMER GATHERING is on your calendar!

August 17 Update:

Updates this week

Accommodations

  • RV sites – If you don’t already have a site reserved, I’m sorry to say all the Full Service sites are spoken for. If you want to dry camp in your RV I’m sure we can find you a place, just contact Teena at info@valleycamp.org
  • Tent sites – We still have plenty of room for tent campers, make your reservations soon.
  • Cabin – Is booked
  • Roundhouse – is booked
  • Lodge – The last 2 lower bunks are waiting for the next 2 to ask. After that you’ll need to be small and very agile to claim an upper bunk.
  • Local Hotels – The Edgewick Inn  http://www.edgewickinn.com/ is 3 miles away and just off I-90 at exit 34. Next closest hotels are in Issaquah about 20 minutes west of North Bend

Food

Saturday and Sunday Breakfasts are brought to you by Curt, WR5J of the West Seattle Amateur Radio Club. Curt is once again our morning chef but I am sure would not turn down any help in the kitchen especially getting setup and cleaning up.
Saturday and Sunday lunches will be provided by the WA7VC Amateur Radio Group
Friday dinner is on your own, Saturday Dinner is still be discussed but whatever is decided a large BBQ will be available if you want to cook your own dinner.
We will be providing a way to poll all who plan to attend next week so we can determine how much food to purchase.

Program Updates

The current program can be found here:  https://wa7vc.org/nwaprssg
We have added 4 topics on Sunday, from how to be a nature friendly operator to how to get to near space cheaper than being a space tourist.
The Saturday program is offering the newest information on one of the hottest topics in Amateur Radio voice communications, DMR.
  • So what’s the huge interest propelling the growth of DMR?
  • Maybe it is the 2 simultaneous talk paths in each repeater?
  • Or is it the inexpensive DMR radios?
  • Maybe it is the control of a “Talkgroup” that enables the repeater to link to a thousand repeaters around the world or a talkgroup that only repeats on the local repeater.
  • Could it be the rich feature set that puts the control in the hands of a hotSpot owner, a club, EmComm group, a state or or a region?
  • How is DMR different from D-Star and System Fusion?
It is all of these things!  You are about to find out all this and more!
If you want to dive in now so you are able to ask really good questions of our presenters check out these links: Welcome to PNW DMR   PNW DMR Best practices   PNW Quick Start
As you will see on the program list there is a wide range of cutting edge topics available Saturday and Sunday. As part of the deep dive into technologies we provide lots of social time to visit with each other, and with the presenters, while enjoying a meal together, a special dessert being created by Lynn – N7CFO, and time during the evenings to just sit around and talk. The Summer Gathering has always been about sharing ideas, and enjoying the personal side of the hobby as well.
Speaking about gathering together, do you know who has never missed a Summer Gathering in 21 years?

Misc.

We recently were given several door prizes we will make available by way of a raffle drawing including gift certificates from the ARRL and a really cool gift from N3FJP www.n3fjp.com
Maybe more, watch for the next updates.

Thurston County Judge Strikes Down Illegal I-1639 Petitions

According to a news release from Save Our Security dated August 17, 2018, a Thurston County judge has stricken the Initiative 1639 petitions for being non-compliant with state law.

Today a judge on Thurston County’s Superior Court struck down the non-compliant and illegal forms used to gather I-1639 petitions.

We wish to commend the legal help from our allies at SAF and NRA in this fight. Keeping the ballot initiative process open and honest is important.

Barring any appeals to the state supreme court, this victory will stop I-1639 from appearing on the ballot. The well-funded anti-Second Amendment groups may have lost this time on a technicality, but rest assured, they’ll be back again next year.

The NRA followed up with their own article:

NRA Wins Lawsuit in Washington State, Prevents I-1639 From Appearing on Ballot

The Thurston County Superior Court today ruled in favor of the National Rifle Association and ordered a writ of mandamus to prevent I-1639 from appearing on the ballot. The judge agreed the signature sheets did not comply with state law – the font size was too small to be readable and didn’t include strikethroughs.

“The National Rifle Association is glad to see the court today recognized how negligent, if not worse, gun control advocates were in their signature-gathering for this ill-advised ballot initiative,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director, NRA-ILA. “We got involved because I-1639 tramples on the rights of Washington state voters, and because the way these anti-gun activists went about pushing their agenda was egregious. We applaud this decision, and will remain vigilant in protecting the constitutional freedoms of all Americans.”

Among other things, I-1639;

• Creates a gun registry for any transfers of commonly owned semi-automatic rifles;

• Introduces a 10-business day waiting period on the purchase of semi-automatic rifles;

• Imposes criminal liability on otherwise law-abiding gun owners who fail to store their firearms to state standards;

• Increases the age limit to possess or purchase semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21;

• Mandates training prior to purchase;

• And authorizes a $25 fee to be assessed to semiautomatic rifle purchasers.

The initiative proponents will likely appeal the decision to the state Supreme Court and we will continue to advocate on behalf of our law-abiding members in the Evergreen state.

South Africa: Landgrabs and Scorched Earth

A reader sent a link to this article about an example of landgrabbing occurring in South Africa, from the Platinum Weekly Newspaper – The Scorched Earth Policy of Landgrabbing.

In Northam, a group of approximately 30 men and women who don’t want to wait their turn, decided to lay claim to a farm in Koedoesdoorn, about 1 kilometre outside of Northam on Sunday 5 August. They planted their flags and demarcated the land they wanted. They also set fire to the surrounds.

Soon the fire engulfed everything in its path. The wicked August winds helped the fire, which was more than two stories high at some places to jump the fence to two neighbouring farms, farm Meerkat and portion 17 of farm De Put. Water pipes and electric cables leading to these farms were destroyed in the process.

The community who immediately came to help fight the fire, were stunned to find illegal landgrabbers on the piece of land. They were met with mockery and sarcasm. Some of the landgrabbers went out of their way to provoke community members, cursing, shouting and showing signs as they were trying to prevent a catastrophy.

Having a lot to deal with, the community members did not have time to respond to the landgrabbers. They just did what they came to do… trying to stop the fire from spreading. They were able to save two farm houses from burning to the ground.

However, the game and other farm animals on the three farms were not so fortunate. Over 500 hectares were laid to waste leaving a gloomy picture of dead animals among the ashes. Most of the burnt animal carcasses were found at the edges of the high game fences where they unsuccessfully tried to escape.

The few animals that somehow managed to live through this fiery ordeal are now left without any food or water. The water of all the different small natural dams dried up and the farmers would now have to cart water and fodder to the few surviving animals.

Seven suspects were arrested by the police, led by lieutenant colonel Ngoepe.
South African farmers face a dark, depressing and uncertain future.

Click here to read the whole story at Platinum Weekly.

Sparks31 Starts Survivalist Website

Sparks31, who is well known for his communication/signals intelligence writings in various media — books, magazines, newsletters, blogs, etc., has just launched a new website to focus on non-signal related issues in survivalism and prepping. The new site is called The Modern Survivalist.

https://modernsurvivalistwyo.wordpress.com/

Here is an excerpt from his introductory post.

…Despite some rather good practical advice given by Kurt in The Survivor, most survivalists these days do the exact opposite of what was suggested.

The problem with those who have adopted this mindset is that they are concentrating and usually wasting their efforts on some nebulous future instead of concentrating and focusing on the possibilities that are presented now. You don’t need to have an “end times” because any level of observation in the real-world will show that you are presently living in a dystopia. A dystopia is a state which is characterized by such conditions as poverty, oppression, war, violence, disease, pollution, and the abridgment of human rights that results in widespread unhappiness, suffering, and other kinds of pain. One could present a pretty good argument that our country is currently, on many levels, in a state of dystopia. Yet, despite all of that there still remain unlimited possibilities for an individual to successfully operate and thrive in the environment provided they can acquire the necessary skill-sets to navigate through a dystopia.

This is an evolutionary progression of Kurt Saxon’s survivalist ideal from the 1970s.
They possess multiple skill sets, because as sci-fi writer and preparedness advocate Robert A. Heinlein said “specialization is for insects.” They are a combination of Ayn Rand’s John Galt and a Ninja warrior from medieval Japan. To wit, they can operate on a technical level from primitive to modern, are capable of field improvisation, can customize existing infrastructures to suit their needs, and if necessary create their own infrastructures if none previously exist. In matters sociopolitical they strive to support the current decaying establishment as little as possible, if at all. They avoid getting into altercations when possible, and when required to fight in self-defense use any number of neo-guerrilla tactics to gain a such of an edge over their enemies as possible.

Rome did not fall in a day. It actually did not fall at all, but underwent what many historians describe as a “complex transformation.” The United States will most likely fare the same way. The successful modern survivalist will be the one who can successfully observe, analyze, and take advantage of the new possibilities resulting from this transformation. When a Black Swan does occur, the modern survivalist will recognize it for what it is, adapt accordingly, and re-orient him or her self so he/she can successfully navigate past the hiccup. Good luck, and enjoy the ride!

 

Food Storage Feast Online Course 7-Day Trial

Food Storage Feast is an online course offered by Chef Keith Snow for cooking with long term storage foods. It usually costs around $100 to sign up for the course, which gives you access to the material, well, apparently forever. Chef Snow currently has an offer up for a free seven day trial. If you are already comfortable with cooking and aren’t too worried about what you will do with your storage food, then this class probably isn’t for you. However, if you don’t do a lot of cooking, are unsure about what you can do with storage food, or haven’t started collecting any long term storage food because you aren’t sure what to do, then it may be worth your while to take a look at the course.

Chef Snow got into food preparedness as a result of his own hardships following the 2008 financial crash, so his course is inspired with an appreciation for prepping and having used inexpensive food storage to make it through hard financial times. He seems to respond readily to questions through the course or email and also has a Facebook group for the course.

Wisely, forward-looking folks like you put up extra food for hard times – enough to get you through a month or two, or even a year of societal upheaval. It’s insurance you can eat when times get tough.

But are you prepared to prepare it?
Learn to turn your rice, beans, potatoes, freeze-dried stuff, and other long-term storage ingredients into a steady supply of delicious meals your family will love.
Food Storage Feast is full of step-by-step recipe videos and detailed, actionable
info on selecting and storing foods you’ll be excited to cook and eat.
Build confidence, cut your grocery bill, become a better cook, and lock food security into
your life now, before you actually need it. Don’t get stuck in long lines with the unprepared masses.

Our course is built on three keystones:

  1. Written modules. We explain what foods to store, how to store them, and how to use these foods in your kitchen. We get into the nuts and bolts of each key ingredient, and give you all the knowledge you need to integrate your preps into your daily life before you need to depend on them in a crisis. (These written modules will become part of the forthcoming Food Storage Feast eBook, included with the course.)
  2. Recipe videos. Step-by-step, in high definition, Chef Keith shows you how to make each recipe. We encourage you to try every recipe at least once, then pick your favorites, and make these dishes the foundation of your personal food storage plan.
  3. Community. Food is for sharing, right? After you share it at your table, please share your results and experiences —with us, with other students via our threaded comments, social media and in person to friends and family who might benefit from this information.

It’s sharing with other students and interacting with the instructors that makes this an actual course and not just a collection of articles and videos.

CSG: Low-Vis Tactical Vehicle Operations Course, Aug. & Sept. 2108

Combat Studies Group has a couple of open-enrollment dates for their Low-Vis Tactical Operations course. Those weekends are Aug. 25-26 and Sept. 1-2. The two day classes are $400 and take place in the northwest.

It’s safe to say that a good number of us spend a lot of time in vehicles. Going to and from work, taking the kids to practice, going shopping, visiting friends and family and so on. How would this common activity change if the thin veil of civility we currently enjoy were to slip? Can we still do what needs to be done without ending up a mobile resupply for the bad guys?

Let’s engage in a mental exercise, hypothetical in nature, wherein the area you live in has devolved into a completely lawless state. It doesn’t matter why, whether it’s a financial collapse, foreign invasion, natural disaster or any number of other scenarios. Picture something akin to the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 90’s.

You live in a rural area about 20 miles from the nearest town. You receive word via your HAM network that relatives in town are in need of extraction due to a sharp increase in gang activity and looting. Their vehicles have been stolen and/or destroyed and they are barricaded in their home with dwindling supplies.

What would you take with you on this mission?
What would your mission planning look like? 
What would drive your planning process?

Let’s look at something a bit less extreme. You need to run a security patrol or recce patrol in an area that is in a condition somewhere in between current day Caracas, Venezuela and Detroit.

How many vehicles would be in your party?
How overt would you want to be?
What would your contingency planning look like?
How would you deal with an unexpected roadblock? 

Now let’s say you get a frantic call for help from a loved one and you need to go right now. You are stuck with what is already in your vehicle. Will it support your operation in any meaningful way? 

A vehicle in your party a mile ahead radios that they have driven into an ambush and are disabled on the X. How would you approach this situation? The driver of the down vehicle is unconscious and appears to have a neck injury. How do you extract them in a hurry without causing more damage?

(And while I realize many of these questions are going to be determined by your METT-TC, they definitely deserve your attention sooner rather than later so standard procedures can be developed.)

These are some of the questions we address in the Low-Vis Tactical Vehicle Operations course.

– Vehicle packing – What and how
– Dressing around your equipment
– Tricks of maintaining a low profile
– Route planning
– Contingency planning
– Emergency action plans
– Multi vehicle operations
– Communication and coordination
– Ambush
– Roadblocks – manned and unmanned
– Anti pursuit measures
– Fighting into and out of vehicles
– Crossloading damaged vehicles under duress
– QRF setup and duties
– Vehicle modifications
– Counter surveillance
– Bail out bags
– Down driver and extraction 

This is a two day course with SIM guns and a three day course with a live-fire module. Course involves classroom instruction, hands on demonstration, SIM guns and operating your vehicle in controlled scenarios.

Cost is $400 (2-day) and $550 (3-day)

Joel Salatin: The Rise of Rogue Food

Peak Prosperity interviewed farmer and author/activist Joel Salatin. Joel refers to himself as a ‘lunatic farmer’ because many of the changes he thinks our food system needs are either illegal under the current law or strongly resisted by the corporations controlling production and distribution.

I’m not optimistic at all about where the government and all its bureaucracy is headed. It is getting more and more stifling. The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that Obama put through, it’s absolutely stifling. It’s size prejudicial. It’s putting an inordinate price pressure on smaller producers. That’s a fact all the way across the board. And the cost of compliance is escalating — the amount of paperwork, the amount of licensing, the amount of testing and procedural stuff that’s happening on farms — is through the roof.

So on the federal level, I think it’s getting worse. Now, I think what’s happening on the local level, the other thing that’s a pushback that’s happened, is what’s now known as the food sovereignty movement. And that started in 2015 maybe, two or three years ago in Sedgewick, Maine. And that was a township that passed a half page food sovereignty law that said, in our township if a neighbor wants to do food commerce with another neighbor it’s none of the governments business and no bureaucrat has to be involved. So if you want to come to my house, look around, smell around, and operate as freedom of choice, as voluntary adults, as consenting adults – and I’m using very strong language here – to practice your freedom of choice, then two consenting adults should be able to engage in food commerce without a bureaucrat being involved. Well, very quickly six other townships in Maine took up the mantra and passed the regulation, the law, as well.

Then, of course, Maine pushed back and said, no, you can’t do that. And it continued to build in Maine until finally the legislature and the governor passed it and said, okay, if a township wants to do that it’s okay with us. Well, then, the USDA quickly responded and said we’re going to pull all of your federally inspected slaughter houses and food processing plants. Maine, you won’t be able to sell to anybody because the federal government is pulling out if you do this. Then the governor called an emergency session. They went back in, and it’s still being negotiated. It’s a big hoo-ha. Believe me, there are a lot of us around the country that are watching what’s going on in Maine, and we’re very interested in it.

And if that were duplicated around the country it would almost be like local food secession. There’s a place to say, at some level, we should be able to engage in food commerce at our own risk and our own freewill. And that is definitely gaining momentum.

See the entire interview below.

Taibbi on Internet Censorship

Matt Taibbi at Rolling Stone Magazine has a decent article out titled Beware the Slippery Slope of Facebook Censorship which makes some good points and is worth a read.

…Facebook was “helped” in its efforts to wipe out these dangerous memes by the Atlantic Council, on whose board you’ll find confidence-inspiring names like Henry Kissinger, former CIA chief Michael Hayden, former acting CIA head Michael Morell and former Bush-era Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff. (The latter is the guy who used to bring you the insane color-coded terror threat level system.)

These people now have their hands on what is essentially a direct lever over nationwide news distribution. It’s hard to understate the potential mischief that lurks behind this union of Internet platforms and would-be government censors…

Way back in 1996, when mastodons roamed the earth and people used dial-up to connect to the Internet, Congress passed the Communications Decency Act. It contained the following landmark language:

“No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.”

Essentially this meant that Internet providers wouldn’t be treated like news organizations. In the eyes of the law, they were less like CBS or Random House than they were bookstores or newsstands.

The rule allowed platforms to grow exponentially without the same fear of litigation. Companies like Facebook and Google became all-powerful media distributors, and were able to profit from InfoWars-style programs without having to be liable for them.

This led to the flowering of so much obnoxious speech that the First Amendment acquired a reputation as a racist con, and online media distributors, instead of being sued themselves as publishers, began to be viewed as potential restorers of order, beneficent censors.

Now, at a moment of crisis and high political tension, the public seems unable to grasp the gravity of allowing the government or anyone else to use that power.

It is already a scandal that these de facto private media regulators have secret algorithmic processes that push down some news organizations in favor of others. Witness the complaints by outlets like Alternet, Truthdig and others that big platforms have been de-emphasizing alternative sites in the name of combating “fake news.”

But this week’s revelation is worse. When Facebook works with the government and wannabe star-chamber organizations like the Atlantic Council to delete sites on national security grounds, using secret methodology, it opens the door to nightmare possibilities that you’d find in dystopian novels.

The sheer market power of these companies over information flow has always been the real threat. This is why breaking them up should have long ago become an urgent national priority.

Instead, as was obvious during the Senate hearing with Mark Zuckerberg earlier this year, politicians are more interested in using than curtailing the power of these companies. The platforms, for their part, will cave rather than be regulated. The endgame here couldn’t be clearer. This is how authoritarian marriages begin, and people should be very worried.

Click here to read the entire article at Rolling Stone.

Related:

K of Combat Studies Group – Censorship As A Political Weapon weighing in on means to avoid some of this if you are a content provider.

Either Gab.io and other sites similar in content will have to start shopping for another hosting option (takes time and lots of money and there is no guarantee that the same thing won’t happen again) or they will have to take that unconventional approach. And let’s not forget that under the Obama administration control of ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names & Numbers) was relinquished from the US to an international body…..what could go wrong?

So, whats to be done? I’ll tell you what I told Infowars years ago….begin moving to platforms that are outside of their opposition’s control.

Michael Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg – Censorship Is What Happens When Powerful People Get Scared

Now that it’s been established that Facebook is in fact censoring based on advice provided by former spooks and other assorted establishment charlatans, let’s talk about what this means. I think there are two major takeaways.

First and foremost, the entire push to make arbitrary de-platforming by tech giants the new norm proves the establishment is scared to death. The very powerful folks accustomed to manipulating and shaping the world via narrative creation aren’t terrified about what Alex Jones says, they’re terrified that it’s popular. The establishment “elites” are in such denial about the consequences of the world they created, all they can do is spastically attack symptoms. Trump didn’t divide U.S. society and Alex Jones didn’t cause our widespread (and entirely justifiably) distrust in institutions; the status quo system did that via its spectacular failures. Trump’s election and Alex Jones’ popularity are merely symptoms of an incredibly corrupt and failed status quo paradigm, the stewards of which continually refuse to take a look in the mirror, accept blame and reform…

Paul Kersey of VDARE.com – Immigration Patriotism, Not Conspiracy Theories, Triggered Tech Totalitarians’ Purge Of INFOWARS’ Alex Jones

Alex Jones’  banning is clearly the precursor to the push to ban more and more Politically Incorrect patriot sites from social media…such as VDARE.com.  CNN let slip the goal when Pakistani journalist Rafia Zakaria [Tweet her] said: “The stripping of InfoWars from Facebook, Apple and other platforms is an important step in the recognition of nativist, nationalist and white supremacist hate speech as a form of terrorism.” [We need to talk about Alex Jones, CNN, August 10, 2018.

The Stream: So What is ‘Q’ … and Why is MSM Suddenly Targeting It?

Seemingly within minutes Wednesday, The New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, The Hill and several other of the usual suspects all ran stories attempting to explain — and by explain I mean “mock/dismiss/deride” — an internet phenomenon known as Q or QAnon.

Here’s a good tip: Any time the news establishment in sudden unison jumps up and screams at the top of their lungs, “Nothing to see here! Nonsense, nonsense! Nothing to see!” it’s a good time to pay attention.

Amateur Radio Emergency Service Volunteers Assist in California Fire Response

From the ARRL,

[UPDATED 2018-08-08 @ 1210 UTC] Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES®) volunteers have pitched in to assist where needed to provide or support communication as catastrophic wildfires have struck California. Volunteers from multiple ARRL Sections in the state have stepped up to help, as some fires remain out of control. The fires have claimed several lives, destroyed more than 1,000 homes, and forced countless residents to evacuate, including radio amateurs. ARRL Sacramento Valley Section Emergency Coordinator (SEC) Greg Kruckewitt, KG6SJT, said this week that things have calmed somewhat compared to the past couple of weeks, with American Red Cross shelter communicators stepping down after 10 days of support. Initially, there were four shelters in Redding. On August 5, the Shasta-Tehama ARES team was able to take its communications trailer to Trinity County to support a shelter in Weaverville opened for Carr Fire evacuees, he said.

“This relieved the Sacramento County ARES volunteers who had been up there for several days,” Kruckewitt said. “For mutual assistance to Weaverville, it is a 4.5- to 5.5-hour drive for the Sacramento Valley Section people who helped out. Communications at the shelter have been important, as power and cell phone coverage is often spotty, with power going off for hours at a time.” All ARES activations for the Carr Fire ended the evening of August 7.

CalFire reports that the Carr Fire in Shasta and Trinity counties covers more than 167,000 acres and is 47% contained. Evacuations and road closures are in effect. At one point, more than a dozen ARES volunteers from Shasta, Sacramento, Butte, Placer, and El Dorado counties were working at shelters opened in the wake of the Carr Fire.

“Sacramento Valley ARES member Michael Joseph, KK6ZGB, is the liaison at the Red Cross Gold County Region Disaster Operations Center (DOC) in Sacramento,” he noted, adding that Joseph has been in the DOC since the fire started. “When the fire in Sonora started, we scrambled to get some ARES members to that location to see what communications the shelter needs.”

Kruckewitt said Winlink continues to be the go-to mode, as fire has damaged several repeaters and no repeater path exists to the Gold County Region of the Red Cross in Sacramento.

“One difficulty we ran into this weekend was that the Red Cross needed [ARES Emergency Coordinator and SEC] contact information for various counties that also are experiencing fires and having to open shelters,” he said. Completing that task involved lots of phone calls. “We encourage all ARES members to get to know their neighboring ARES groups and…check into their nets.”

Kruckewitt told ARRL that demand for ARES communicators is rising as the fires continue to grow…

 

Rep. David Taylor Loses Primary Amid Poor Republican Showing Statewide

At the current, unofficial count, Rep. David Taylor appears to have lost in the August 2018 primary. According to an article at We the Governed, Republicans showed poorly statewide, and many traditionally strong Republican districts had weak results.

The initial results in a variety of districts around the state – largely considered Republican leaning, but showing Republican weakness last night should be motivating some serious soul searching and galvanizing Republican efforts around the state.  Here is a review of a few of these races (please note direct links to election results will change as more late mail-in votes are counted):

In the 15th Legislative District (Yakima County), this district will remain in Republican control, but an intramural fight within the Republican Party has resulted in poor results for the Republican caucus and for everyone who values freedom. In a five way primary runoff for the house seat, longtime Republican incumbent David Taylor appears to have missed surviving the primary results with a disappointing election night return of 20.42%.  This result is partly due to a longtime well-known grudge against Representative Taylor by nearby Republican Senator Curtis King (LD-14) who has repeatedly recruited candidates to

Senator Curtis King (14th LD)

run against Taylor.  Baring an unusual shift in ballot returns over the next few days, it looks like King succeeded with former Democrat and recently converted Republican Jeremie Dufault who will beat Democrat candidate AJ Cooper in the fall.  Representative Taylor was one of the most knowledgeable legislators of either party in Olympia when it came to land use, property rights, planning, and how the hodgepodge of land use laws functioned in Washington State.  Losing him from the legislature eliminates a desperately needed knowledgeable, freedom-oriented voice in the legislature.  Senator King didn’t like Taylor’s criticism of King’s various gas tax proposals and King’s endless campaign to increase the tax burden on Washington State citizens.  This is yet again another example of how Republican intramural fighting will help the Democratic Party agenda of higher taxes next year.

Combat Studies Group Announces Sepio 2 Secure Laptop

After a few quiet months, Combat Studies Group has announced that the improved Sepio 2 secure laptop is to be released soon. They say the Sepio 2 will be faster and more secure than the original Sepio, with the choice of 13″ or 15″ screens, multiple hard drive options, expanded memory, and more. Base models starting around $1400.

Combat Studies Group also has some new classes they are teaching, including GroundRod 3, a GroundRod Alumni update course, Low vis tactical vehicle operations, and home defense/CQB.

Sparks 31: More Practice – SIGINT, COMINT

From Sparks31

radioshack-pro-34

Practice. Practice. Practice.

That’s how you become good.

You know where you live. (At least I hope so…)

You live in a state, county, and maybe even in a municipality (city, town, village, borough, etc.)

That means you will have a state police/highway patrol, county sheriff, and possibly a local municipal police force.

Each will have its own dispatch/operations frequency or talkgroup if they use a trunked system.

You should know what State Police/Highway Patrol troop covers your area, and what precinct your local PD your neighborhood is in (if your town/city PD is that big).

That should be three frequencies and/or talkgroups.

Go to Radio Reference.

Select your area.

Program in the necessary data.

Go to the local dollar store and get a composition-type  notebook.

Listen.

If there is too much traffic, then just listen to one. Start with your municipal PD  or county sheriff if you live in an unincorporated area.

Take notes.

Listen some more.

Keep taking notes.

Do it for a week.

Then do it some more.

Keep practicing. That’s how you become good.

Sparks has a class on all this in Denver in October.

Brushbeater has a radio operator class in Montana in September.

Forward Observer has an SHTF Intelligence class in Florida at the end of August.

Everyone is telling you to get trained. Events are telling you to get trained. Why aren’t you?

 

SA President: Change constitution to Legalize Expropriation of White Farmers’ Land

In South African news

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has said the ruling African National Congress must initiate a parliamentary process to enshrine in the constitution a proposed amendment, paving the way for land grabs without compensation.

Ramaphosa, who vowed to return the lands owned by the white farmers since the 1600s to the country’s black population after he assumed office in February this year, said on Tuesday that the ANC would introduce a constitutional amendment in parliament.

“The ANC will through the parliamentary process finalize the proposed amendment to the constitution that outlines more clearly the conditions under which expropriation of land without compensation can be effected,” Ramaphosa, a prominent trade union leader and a close associate of Nelson Mandela, said in a televised address on Tuesday.

The millionaire ex-businessman argued that “it has become pertinently clear that our people want the constitution to be more explicit” about the proposal, which is viewed by the South African white minority as forceful expulsion that can incite violence against farmers.

There have been growing fears that the planned expropriation will deal a blow to commercial farming in the country and might put it on the verge of a food production crisis, like the one that struck Zimbabwe when it unleashed a similar crackdown on white farmers in 1999-2000.

Promoting his plan to boost land redistribution in March, Ramaphosa sought to assure white citizens, who constitute roughly nine percent of the total population, that the government would handle the controversial matter through “dialog, discussion, engagement, until we find good solutions that take our country forward.”

“There is no reason for anyone of us to panic and start beating war drums,” he said at the time, noting that nothing should prevent farming activities from continuing as normal.

However, many of the Boers, descendants of Dutch settlers in South Africa, do not take the government’s promises at face value, instead seeking asylum abroad from what they say is a surge in violence and government-fueled hostility against them…

Simon Roche of Suidlanders responded heatedly during an expropriation meeting.

Simon Roche attended one of the land expropriation hearings in South Africa to represent the Suidlanders point of view. It definitely wasn’t what the people are used to hearing at these hearings. Simon calls a ‘spade a spade’ in a powerful presentation and clearly points out that the process of expropriation will go ahead as planned by the ANC government and that the expectations of the masses created by them is not going away and that white people or others that oppose it should accept this. He accuses the chairperson and his fellow members of treachery and calls them all traitors who are misleading the constituency and points out facts that there is not enough viable land to meet these expectations.

 

Related:

Platinum Weekly: The scorched earth policy of land grabbing

 

Judge’s Unconstitutional Effort to Block Blueprints for 3D-Printed Guns

In news directly related to the recent announcement of a federal settlement with Defense Distributed, a Seattle federal judge has issued a restraining order to prevent Defense Distributed from posting the blueprint files.  From National Review:

If there’s a hall of fame for futile, symbolic, and ultimately unconstitutional federal court orders, the temporary restraining order just issued in Seattle blocking Defense Distributed and the Second Amendment Foundation from posting blueprints for 3D-printed guns deserves at least a plaque, if not a full display. The court’s order temporarily overturns a Trump administration legal settlement that reversed an Obama-era policy designed mainly to limit the spread of the relevant files abroad, not here at home. I love NPR’s sardonic Twitter response:

NPR gets it. Let’s be clear about what has just happened. A federal court has issued a prior restraint on speech (it’s attempting to block the spread of information; it is not blocking the lawful home manufacture of firearms) that is already thoroughly and completely moot. The files are out. They’re all over the internet. They’ve been copied and reproduced. The judge’s order can’t change that fact.

Moreover, Defense Distributed and the Second Amendment Foundation are hardly the only sources for online files or blueprints that enable a home manufacturer with a 3D printer to make a gun. I’m honestly unclear what the court is trying to accomplish here, aside from targeting the Trump administration and/or targeting a disfavored private company.

Earlier today I published a lengthy explainer of the factual and legal issues surrounding the 3D-printed gun controversy. I’d urge you to read the whole thing, but the bottom line is easy to understand. First, home manufacture of weapons is clearly lawful, and it has been common practice in the United States since before the founding of the nation. Second, it is thus just as lawful to “print” a gun as it is to assemble one with parts in your garage. Third, the plans to print guns are widely-available on the internet — and have been for some time.

Put another way, a gun that’s lawful to assemble is lawful to print. A gun that’s unlawful to assemble is unlawful to print, and that includes undetectable plastic guns that are either printed or assembled. It’s that simple.There is no new “threat” here. There is no crisis…

The files at issue can still be downloaded from http://codeisfreespeech.com/

Tonight, the organizations and individuals behind CodeIsFreeSpeech.com, a new Web site for the publication and sharing of firearm-related speech, including machine code, have issued the following statement:

Our Constitution’s First Amendment secures the right of all people to engage in truthful speech, including by sharing information contained in books, paintings, and files. Indeed, freedom of speech is a bedrock principle of our United States and a cornerstone of our democratic Republic. Through CodeIsFreeSpeech.com, we intend to encourage people to consider new and different aspects of our nation’s marketplace of ideas – even if some government officials disagree with our views or dislike our content – because information is code, code is free speech, and free speech is freedom.

Should any tyrants wish to chill or infringe the rights of the People, we would welcome the opportunity to defend freedom whenever, wherever, and however necessary. Hand-waving and hyperbole are not compelling government interests and censorship is not proper tailoring under the law.

There is no doubt that Cody Wilson and Defense Distributed have inspired countless Americans to exercise their fundamental, individual rights, including through home gunsmithing. Through CodeIsFreeSpeech.com, we hope to promote the collection and dissemination of truthful, non-misleading speech, new and evolving ideas, and the advancement of the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms…