I assume by now you know that every single piece of mail that is delivered to your home is photographed by the US Postal Service and is shoved into a database which features an entry for every American, right? You did know that, right?
What you are looking at in the photograph is the email sent to me yesterday by the Postal Service, which contained a photograph of every piece of mail that I would receive later in the day from my local carrier. They do not get all the packages properly scanned, but all of the envelopes are.
Obviously this is not a bad thing: because people from far away, foreign places, who may indeed mean harm to the United States, leave a written and photographic copy of their foreign correspondence on file ready for any bureaucrat to discover.
This is not designed to make you paranoid, although it may, but it is worth knowing that every single piece of mail delivered to your home is being photographed by the Postal Service and is being placed in a database (accessible by Homeland Security and whoever else!), So that if you are somehow out of line, or one of your neighbors is piston calls in a falsified report about you, there is a paper trail that can force additional information from you.
this was brought to my attention by our consigliere recently. He is a very upstanding, loyal officer of the court. But, he was quite appalled to find out that he and his law firm could sign up in advance (free) to see what mail would be delivered to the firm later in the day. He suggested that we sign up for the service as well.
It did not take him long to piece together that this is why there is a huge NSA installation in Provo, Utah: this information is all placed in your personal record.
Now I have to ask you the simple question: If you are a law abiding private citizen, should you be worried about this kind of unannounced and unobtrusive surveillance by your government of activities in your private life?
There is an old concept in American jurisprudence, suggesting that people have a reasonable right to expect privacy in their “personal papers and letters.” But this has been screwed up horribly by the courts. They have held that your cell phone contents, including your call history, is not as sacrosanct as you might have otherwise believed.
Which sort of flies in the face of the Fourth Amendment:
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.“
Naturlich, the Stasi Lite would argue that they are not intruding into your letters specifically; only taking a photograph of the letters exterior, much as anybody getting into your mailbox could find the same information.
I am not particularly worried about personal loss of liberty due to the mail arriving an hour mailbox, but upon reflection I am a bit concerned that some of my eBay purchases might look a bit strange to people who do not understand Mr. Ure’s ham radio hobby.
For example, I recently obtained some “doorknob capacitors” from Bulgaria. This is a very normal transaction among ham radio enthusiasts because in Bulgaria, many of the parts that cost 3 to 4 times as much in America today are still available on the surplus market since the former Soviet Union was not especially efficient at paring down production for unneeded parts.
And, what about power overseas people not.com subscribers? It may surprise you to know that some of the actual financial gnomes of Switzerland read our modest financial outlooks
Mail is not the only thing wrong in America today.
Few people realize that there are military tanks tanks in the American South that are still subject to massive purchases of parts even though they have been removed from service before the outbreak of World War II. This is because America’s governmental acquisition system is not any more efficient than the former Soviet Union’s. Welcome to E. Germany.
But, I need to say for the record that despite my receiving envelopes from Bulgaria. I am not an agent of the Communist Party and, more to the point, my only sins against humanity is usually committed at the idiot end of a soldering iron or keyboard.
Honestly, I do not think this will help. We live in a crazy world where one can be a left-wing educator and be protected by the full power of the government while polluting the minds of America’s young, while simply buying parts from an area once dominated by the former Soviet Union might make make someone a suspect in whatever the government wants to imagine.
Psst! Want some 4700 pF capacitors?
If you would like to sign up for this latest marvel of the police state/nanny state/ultrahigh tech mail delivery service, please visit the following website:
I have found so far that it has relieved some of the midday urgency to run out to the mailbox. Is this a great country or what?him
Dashing Through the Snow
A couple of items from a conversation with my son this week will be of interest to anyone who has studied the fine art of escape and evasion under winter conditions.
It seems that my son recently found himself in the Cascade Mountains of Washington state going on a late night/early morning hike through the wilderness some miles from a friend’s cabin.
After walking around for several hours in the very, very dark. My son and his companion decided they were not 100% sure of their location.
In order not to make a bad situation worse, my son suggested they take out their survival gear, scoop up some snow, melt it, and have a cup of tea and think about their situation. Which they did.
A couple of options came were reviewed: one of them was to use the GPS facility in their cell phones to get a fix on where the home cabin was, but that that was not an especially good choice because they had no cell signals in this rather remote area. It is a fair distance from Leavenworth, Washington.
After the tea settled in, they decided the smartest course of action would be to walk back up the ridge that they had descended and see if they could either get cell phone coverage from that vantage point or if they could see faraway lights such as the freeway (US-2) or any buildings or cabins in the area.
As it turned out, they were indeed able to see something upon cresting the ridge: my son had earlier had the presence of mind to lay out chem lights every thousand feet or so. Just in case, blizzard conditions and what-not.
Not only did he lay them out in alternating colors (red and green), but he took pains to ensure that they were oriented pointing back to the point of origin for this hike.
“Dude! That is some serious outdoorsmanship,” George’s friend told him after picking up the sightlines on the lights. Within a thousand feet feet of the cabin, they transitions to dark. Sneak-ups are fun.
Still, my son got a thorough but chewing-out from his old man because he had failed one of the main rules of back-country survival: failure to adequately prepare.
He made it back okay and there was no need to call in search and rescue at 0200 hrs. However, given that he had a cell phone with GPS, part of dad’s lecture was about “trusting your instruments.” Along with never leaving sight of those “stars you steer by.”
Those of course being the buildings with lights on in the ski resort area.
He did not need to fire up his iridium sat phone, but I am sure the thought crossed his mind while they were having tea.
A lot of people think that they are well-versed in survival skills, and yet when taken outside at night and given an assortment of night operations equipment, there is a natural tendency to light up 1000 lm of daylight white. Fortunately, George II had the good sense to turn off the high powered white light and switch to the more trail – friendly low-level red lights.
All’s well that ends well, except if you are going to be thoroughly prepared to bug-out under all conditions, there is no substitute for running practice jaunts at night so that you can find your way, not break a leg, and navigate with greater confidence.
Anything else is the stuff of storybook websites. There’s Walter Mitty and then there’s us.
By the way: Back country woo-woo in this item?
Small side wager: Alien abduction.
Right when you get rich,