Dear Loyal Readers

I apologize, but I believe I must take a leave of absence. I now have a small political talkshow at my school, which I hope to place on a youtube or metacafe later in the future. At the moment, I’m just having things pile up in terms of work, school, and my relationships, so I don’t really believe I have the time nessessary to devote to this project. I WILL COME BACK. I don’t, however, know when that will be.

Thank you for this experience

Mitchell Strand

SWAT Invade And Take 11 Year Old At Gunpoint

I love how we are getting closer and closer to a police state. How does this incident and others like it even happen? What is the mind frame for these people? Anyway, the story is from World Net Daily.

Nearly a dozen members of a police SWAT team in western Colorado punched a hole in the front door and invaded a family’s home with guns drawn, demanding that an 11-year-old boy who had had an accidental fall accompany them to the hospital, on the order of Garfield County Magistrate Lain Leoniak.

The boy’s parents and siblings were thrown to the floor at gunpoint and the parents were handcuffed in the weekend assault, and the boy’s father told WND it was all because a paramedic was upset the family preferred to care for their son themselves.

Someone, apparently the unidentified paramedic, called police, the sheriff’s office and social services, eventually providing Leoniak with a report that generated the magistrate’s court order to the sheriff’s office for the SWAT team assault on the family’s home in a mobile home development outside of Glenwood Springs, the father, Tom Shiflett, told WND.

WND calls and e-mails to Garfield County Social Services were not returned, and Leoniak, who earlier served as a water court clerk/referee, also was not available.

Sheriff Lou Vallario, however, did call back, and told WND he ordered his officers to do exactly what the magistrate demanded.

“I was given a court order by the magistrate to seize the child, and arrange for medical evaluation, and that’s what we did,” he said.

According to friends of the family, Tom Shiflett, who has 10 children including six still at home, and served with paramedics in Vietnam, was monitoring his son’s condition himself.

The paramedic and magistrate, however, ruled that that wasn’t adequate, and dispatched the officers to take the boy, John, to a hospital, where a doctor evaluated him and released him immediately.

The accident happened during horseplay, Tom Shiflett told WND. John was grabbing the door handle of a car as his sister was starting to drive away slowly. He slipped, fell to the ground and hit his head, Shiflett said.

He immediately carried his son into their home several doors away, and John was able to recite Bible verses and correctly spell words as his father and mother, Tina, requested. There were no broken bones, no dilated eyes, or any other noticeable problems.

The family, whose members live by faith and homeschool, decided not to call an ambulance. But a neighbor did call Westcare Ambulance, and paramedics responded to the home, asking to see and evaluate the boy.

The paramedics were allowed to see the boy, and found no significant impairment, but wanted to take him to the hospital for an evaluation anyway. Fearing the hospital’s bills, the family refused to allow that.

“This apparently did not go over well with one of the paramedics and they started getting aggravated at Tom for not letting them have their way,” a family acquaintance told WND.

“The paramedics were not at all respectful of Tom’s decision, nor did they act in a manner we would expect from professional paramedics,” the acquaintance said.

So the ambulance crew, who also could not be reached by WND, called police, only to be told the decision was up to the Shiflett familiy.

The paramedics then called the sheriff’s office, and officers responded to the home, and were told everyone was being cared for.

Then the next day, Friday, social services workers appeared at the door and demanded to talk with John “in private.”

They were so persistent Tom ended up having to get John out of the bathtub he was just soaking in, to bring him to the front porch where the social workers could see him, the family reported.

Then, following an afternoon shopping trip to town, the family settled in for the evening, only to be shocked with the SWAT team attack.

The sheriff said the decision to use SWAT team force was justified because the father was a “self-proclaimed constitutionalist” and had made threats and “comments” over the years.

However, the sheriff declined to provide a single instance of the father’s illegal behavior. “I can’t tell you specifically,” he said.

“He was refusing to provide medical care,” the sheriff said.

However, the sheriff said if his own children were involved in an at-home accident, he would want to be the one to make decisions on their healthcare, as did Shiflett.

“I guess if that was one of my children, I would make that decision,” the sheriff said.

But he said Shiflett was “rude and confrontational” when the paramedics arrived and entered his home without his permission.

The sheriff also admitted that the injury to the child had been at least 24 hours earlier, because the fall apparently happened Thursday afternoon, and the SWAT attack happened late Friday evening.

Officials with the Home School Legal Defense Association reported they were looking into the case, because of requests from family friends who are members of the organization.

“While people can debate whether or not the father should have brought his son to the ER – it seems like this was not the kind of emergency that warrants this kind of outrageous conduct by government officials,” a spokesman said.

Tom Shiflett said when John was evaluated by the physician, “they didn’t find anything wrong with him.”

He said the paramedics never should have entered his home, but they followed his wife in the front door when she came in.

“My attention was on my son,” Shiflett said.

He said the SWAT team punched a hole in his door with a ramrod, and the first officer in the home pointed a gun right in the face of Tom’s 20-year-old daughter.

“I don’t know where social services ever got started, or where they got their authority,” he said. “But I want to know why we have something in this country that violates our rights, that takes a parental right away.”

He said he saw a multitude of injuries in Vietnam, and while he recognized that his son needed to be watched, he wasn’t willing to turn his child over to the paramedics.

With 10 children, most of them older than John, it’s not as if he hasn’t seen a bruise or two, either, he said.

“Now I’m hunting for lawyers that will take the case … I’m going to sue everybody whose name was on that page right down to the judge,” he said.

Mike Donnelly, a lawyer with the HSLDA, told WND the case had a set of circumstances that could be problematic for authorities.

“In Doe V. Heck, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals held that parents have a fundamental right to familial relations including a liberty interest in the care, custody and control of their children,” he said.

He also said many social services agencies apply “a one size fits all approach” to cases, regardless of circumstances.

Six States Refuse The REAL ID Bill

This is a landmark case in, well, common sense. Fortunately, the federal government cannot force the state governments to comply. Unfortunately, it CAN bar any resident without a REAL ID from boarding a plane. The states fighting for people’s rights are Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Washington, but not my home state California. I’ve was thinking for a long time about moving out of the country, but recently changed my mind, deciding on New Hampshire, because of the recent decisions in the state government friendly to my political ideology. I also realize that this is an old story, but I hadn’t heard about it, and I suspect others haven’t as well, due to the hush-hush nature of the content. Anyway, the story is here, and is reprinted below for your convenience.

WASHINGTON — Six state legislatures are defying a federal law requiring new driver’s licenses that aim to prevent identity theft, fraud and terrorism.

The states have passed laws in the past two months, saying the federal law has a steep cost and invades privacy by requiring 240 million Americans to get highly secure licenses by 2013. The 9/11 Commission urged the first standards for licenses to stop fraud and terrorists such as the Sept. 11 hijackers, who lied on residency statements to get licenses and state IDs.

Lawmakers in Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Washington say new standards would be expensive to implement and result in a national ID card that compromises privacy. The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates that it will cost states more than $11 billion.

State resistance has drawn criticism from the Homeland Security Department. “I cannot imagine a state official anywhere that would want to have to testify before Congress about … how their non-compliant licenses contributed to a terrorist attack,” department spokesman Russ Knocke said.

Knocke said the federal government can’t force states to comply. But he said each state’s residents are likely to bring pressure on their local governments when they learn they’ll be barred from boarding airplanes because their state’s licenses don’t meet federal standards.

Airline passengers can use other government photo identification, such as passports and military IDs.

Some lawmakers say any inconvenience is outweighed by the cost and potential privacy invasion for each state to create a photo database of license holders.

“The people of New Hampshire are adamantly opposed to any kind of ‘papers-please’ society reminiscent of Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia,” said Neal Kurk, a Republican state representative from New Hampshire. “This is another effort of the federal government to keep track of all its citizens.”

The federal law requires everyone to renew licenses by 2013 with documents showing their Social Security number and home address, and that they are in the USA legally. State Sen. Larry Martin, a Republican from South Carolina, said the law will overwhelm states by requiring agencies to verify documents such as birth certificates.

The defiance by six states could force Congress to reconsider the law, said Barry Steinhardt of the American Civil Liberties Union. “You can’t have a national ID card if the residents of six states won’t have one,” Steinhardt said.

The US Is An “Endemic Surveillance Society”

According to Privacy International, the United States has dropped from Extensive to Endemic, now tied with China, Russia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, and the UK(with the UK being more-or-less the worst in the free world). But never fear! We are still number one in a few things. They are:
* Legal protections
* Privacy enforcement
* Use of identity cards and biometrics
* Visual surveillance
* Communications interception
* Workplace monitoring
* Medical, financial and movement surveillance
* Border and trans-border issues

By number one I, of course, mean we are the worst. Go America!

Sorry For Another Lack Of Posts

Starting on December 19th, lasting until January 4th I will not be posting/writing, due to a much-needed visit to my family. I will, however, resume my schedule of a post every weekday starting on the 7th.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

You Don’t See This Happen Often

ABC News

Synopsis: A 16 year old Icelander decided to call the President; on the Number, supposedly secret. He doesn’t know how he got it, and he doesn’t know why it caused such a hubbub.

When Vífill Atlason, a 16-year-old high school student from Iceland, decided to call the White House, he could not imagine the kind of publicity it would bring.

Introducing himself as Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, the actual president of Iceland, Atlason found what he believed to be President George W. Bush’s allegedly secret telephone number and phoned, requesting a private meeting with him.

“I just wanted to talk to him, have a chat, invite him to Iceland and see what he’d say,” Vífill told ABC News.

A White House spokeswoman Emily Lawrimore insisted to ABC News that the young man did not dial the private number but instead dialled 202-456-1414, the main switchboard for the West Wing. But that was not the case. The student gave ABC News the number. It is indeed an extention off the White House switchboard and goes to a security command post office in the building next door to the White House.

Vífill’s mother, Harpa Hreinsdottir, a teacher at the local high school, said her son did, in fact, get through to a private phone.

“This was not a switchboard number of any kind,” she told ABC News, “it was a secret number at the highest security level.”

Vífill claims he was passed on to several people, each of them quizzing him on President Grímsson’s date of birth, where he grew up, who his parents were and the date he entered office.

“It was like passing through checkpoints,” he said. “But I had Wikipedia and a few other sites open, so it was not so difficult really.”

When he finally got through to President Bush’s secretary, Vífill alleges he was told to expect a call back from Bush.

“She told me the president was not available at the time, but that she would mark it in his schedule to call me back on Monday evening,” he said.

Instead, the police showed up at his home in Akranes, a fishing town about 48 kilometers from Reykjavik, and took him to the local police station, where they questioned the 16-year-old for several hours.

“The police chief said they were under orders from U.S. officials to “find the leak” — that I had to tell them where I had found the number,” he said. “Otherwise, I would be banned from ever entering the United States.”

Vífill claims he cannot remember where he got the number.

“I just know I have had it for a few years,” he told ABC. “I must have gotten it from a friend when I was about 11 or 12.”

Atlason’s mother Harpa, who was not home at the time, said she was shocked to find her son had been taken away by the police but could not quite bring herself to be angry with her son.

“He’s very resourceful you know,” she said. “He has become a bit of a hero in Iceland. Bush is very unpopular here.”

Vífill was eventually released into his parent’s custody, and no charges have been brought against the high school student.

When ABC verified the number, it was the Secret Service Uniform Division, which handles security for the president.

“If the number were not top secret, why would the police have told me that I will be put on a no-fly list to America?” Vífill asked.

“I don’t see how calling the White House is a crime,” he added. “But obviously, they took it very seriously.”

The Secret Service told ABC News this was not its investigation.

Why I Don’t(Totally) Support Ron Paul

I’ll make this short, but still bittersweet. He is against Net Neutrality. Period. And looking through his eyes, its not hard to understand why he feels this way. The position proposed by the EFF(Electronic Frontier Foundation) is a simple one, but does call for larger government, something against traditional conservative and libertarian values. It is also an infringement on free trade, but that is a lesser issue than the aforementioned.

In a somewhat joking post I have already stated my position on Net Neutrality. I stand by that position, as I believe that position will carry the network neutrality position even though it seems to favor the tel-co(telecommunication) industry. However, since I do support the net neutrality viewpoint, I still have a link on my blogroll to the right.

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