Friday, December 31, 2010

Sounds like Science Fiction

Originally published March 13, 2008

Sounds like Science Fiction

mood: crappy

Another part of The Road System I posted about last night is an almost George Jetson automotive autopilot.  That’s a wrinkle I hadn’t predicted in my original Orwellian Nightmare post.

5. Go ahead, take a nap. Your car will drive itself

Futuristic cars tricked out with their own ATMs and self-maintenance features sound nice, but for many engineers, that's just the tip of the iceberg. The real holy grail? A fully automated, driverless car.

Shining a big spotlight on such efforts is DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), a Department of Defense organization aimed at perfecting the robotic technology needed for safe, autonomous military vehicles.

Conceivably, this would allow drivers to sleep through long stretches of highway -- or at the very least read the morning paper and drink their coffee. Another advantage is that these routes could have less restrictive speed limits -- likely well over 100 mph -- which could redefine the morning commute for many Americans.

Put another way: The Road will drive your car for you.

You go out to your car in the morning, swipe your Real ID card in the reader, punch in your PIN and tell the car’s voice-activated computer “take me to work.” And off you go. Using a combination of improved GPS and DSRC technologies along with an onboard inertial navigation system the car makes its way quickly and efficiently to your place of employment without any further input from you.

Isn’t that convenient?

Sounds great to me – except…

[LJ Cut]

Say the night before you had a nasty break-up with your Significant Other.  SO has a long weepy conversation with her big brother, the Geek.  Unbeknownst to you, the Geek has a secret little hobby and amuses himself in his off time from work in the IT department of the local community college by breaking into government computers.

Now I know where you expect this to go next.  Well, that wouldn’t be anywhere near subtle enough.  Besides, the Road System is protected almost as well as the computers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.  *ehem* 

No.  SO’s big bro The Geek’s best buddy was just bragging this very afternoon about hacking his way into the records computer at the local court house.  A couple of quick text messages later and our nefarious Geek has the access codes and is in.  Hmmm…  This could be useful.  Here’s a warrant for the arrest of some creep that’s accused of being a serial child molester.  Tap tap tap on the Geek’s keyboard and in a very few minutes the suspect’s personal information has all been replaced with yours.  Little Sister will be avenged!

You walk out to your car the next morning, swipe your Real ID card in the reader, type in your PIN on the keypad on the dashboard and the car wakes up.  As it says “Good morning” to you it’s also saying good morning to The Road.  The Road goes through its usual new flight plan in the system start-up procedure and checks for clearance from all of its computer friends.  And finds a warrant for your arrest on file at the local court house.

Thunk.  Your car doors just locked in ‘child guard’ mode.  They can’t be opened from the inside.

That’s odd you think to yourself, but don’t give it a second thought.  Until your car turns left instead of right at the end of your street.  Alarmed you call your mechanic to see if she can figure out what’s going on.  She dials up your car from her laptop only to find that she’s denied access.  The code says it’s because of a court order.

Your little adventure just took a turn for the worse.

You can’t for the life of you figure out why there would be a court order on your car.  Well, you’ll get it sorted out with the police when you get to the station. 

But your car goes right by the local precinct without so much as slowing down.  You don’t stop until you get to the County Sherriff’s office since he was charged with enforcing that arrest warrant.  The car goes through the automated vehicle trap and into the secure back lot where you are met by several sheriff’s deputies who, for some reason, seem to have a particularly nasty opinion of you.

If you’re lucky, these guys who’ve developed a reputation for not giving even a first thought to the concept of “innocent until proven guilty in a court of law” will only use you for their mornings tazer practice.  They’ll tell the judge at your arraignment that the bruises were the result of you resisting arrest.  Since the security cameras were ‘down for routine maintenance’ when you arrived at the station there will be no video evidence to the contrary.

Eventually things may get sorted out – assuming you survive being in lock-up after the charges against you were ‘accidentally’ leaked to the other detainees.  But your reputation will be ruined.  I suppose you could move to another state and start over.  Of course all those computer records of your being pilloried in the press will still be out there.

Isn’t this a wonderful system they want to implement for us?  I’m so looking forward to it.

OK, so most of the worst of this scenario could happen today even without The Road System.  At least we don’t have our own cars becoming an extension of law enforcement, turning traitor and delivering us to the police.


I’ll be back with more on the problems I see with this whole concept in future posts. But for now I’ve gotta go to work. I don’t think Galileo will turn on be during the ride…

Original Comments:

Big Brother is coming to a highway near you!


As I read this article all I could think of was how each of the "wonderful" new things that were coming in the near future could almost in every case be abused by people in authority, or as you pointed out, by anyone with the ability to hack into the system. Not only to send someone off to jail but even worse to send you off the nearest cliff. Even if that was made too difficult the Orwellian possibilities boggle the mind. Systems like this put entirely too much power in the hands of people who have proven time and again that given the opportunity they will violate your rights without a second thought.

Re: Big Brother is coming to a highway near you!

- HerrBGone

It really is scary. But I don’t know what we can do about it – other than point it out to as many people as possible whenever we see it. That’s what I try to do with my blog. I’m open to suggestions regarding what more can be done.

The present batch of candidates running for CEO of our 200+ year political experiment don’t strike me as all that interested in preserving the Liberty of The People. Certainly not the Democratic (Socialist) candidates. I don’t know that John (the First Amendment shouldn’t apply to elections) McCain is much better.

And thoughts of how truly dangerous things like what I call The Road System will become aren’t even on the radar. I’m afraid I’m really becoming quite pessimistic about what should be the golden age of mankind may soon become.

You say that like it’s a good thing…

Originally published March 12, 2008

You say that like it’s a good thing…

mood: In fear for the Republic

If you’ve been reading the Dragonfly for any length of time you will no doubt recal a post I put up several months ago called An Orwellian Nightmare.  This evening CNN is reporting many of the things I predicted in that post, all fleshed out and given a positive spin. 
2. Your car will talk to the road and the road will talk back

It's one thing to have a car that senses other vehicles, but something else entirely to have the road itself know where your car is at all times. To make that possible, city governments and automakers are joining forces to launch new Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) systems. Using short-range wireless signals, vehicles will be able to communicate not only with each other, but with all the infrastructure on the road.

Transportation agencies in cities across America currently have plans to install DSRC technology at major intersections and high-accident areas. In response, major auto manufacturers will offer DSRC support for their cars.
But there are plans to go even further. According to DaimlerChrysler, old satellites (accurate to about 3 feet) could be replaced with much more powerful Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites, which could pinpoint your vehicle to a few centimeters. And while there are only 30 active GPS satellites in space today, engineers hope to have as many as 50 in the future.

Isn’t it wonderful? The road will know where you car is at all times! Woohoo.

Translation: The government database will know where your car is at all times.

There’s more, but I’m too depressed to go through and fisk it myself right now.

Read this article then go back and reread my post. Compare and contrast. Then contemplate that a lot of otherwise intelligent people may be handing this power to Barrack Obama come November.

Weep for our Liberty in its waning hours.

An Orwellian Nightmare

The first post of what became The Road System series. 

Originally published  September 18, 2007

An Orwellian Nightmare

mood: In fear for the Republic

What follows may seem like some of the most intense Pants Shitting Hysteria you've ever come across.  It may seem outlandish by its intrusiveness and manor of implementation.  But it is all too real.  I can see it as if it were already in place today.  In fact, they are working diligently toward implementing it right now…

Yesterday morning I was awakened to the sound of my clock radio going to the news.  The one report that stood out (and that I actually remember) was about the Marxistchusetts state commission that was supposedly looking into finding the funding to repair the states roads and bridges.  What first caught my attention was the call to raise the gas tax by (not to) eleven and a half cents a gallon.  That would bring the state gas tax - that we don’t really see each time we pay it - to thirty five cents on every gallon we buy.  I can clearly remember my grandfather complaining vociferously about the price per gallon being at the ungodly high rate of thirty-two and nine tenths cents per gallon including the tax!  We’d all spontaneously burst out singing the Hallelujah Chorus if we ever found gas that cheap today!

The part of the report that stuck in the back of my alleged mind was the call for a per mile ‘road use tax’ on people who use the highway system.  I think it was something like five cents a mile that they want to levy on us. 

My first thought was that this is not practical.  Can you imagine the nightmare commute if everyone had to stop at the Wakefield tolls on 128 during rush hour?  Then again in Burlington when they get on Rout 3?  And we think it’s bad now!  Or they could divide the number of miles of highway driven each year by the number of licensed drivers in the state and send us all a bill.  That wouldn’t be fair to people who never drive on the highway and would give a free pass to all of the out of state drivers who use our roads.  So that doesn’t work either.

Then I came across this story at this afternoon that expanded on how it will work.
Make no mistake.  This is coming.

The article says said, it’s been edited to remove this line, that the tolls would be collected by an ‘open highway toll system.’  Like the FastLane system on steroids. 

If you look while you are traveling down the highway you will occasionally see rectangles cut into the road that take up almost the entire lane.  There are sometimes two per lane about five feet apart and a set in each lane on the road.  Under those rectangles are pressure sensors.  They are just like the ones at most traffic lights these days that tell the computer there is a car waiting for the light to turn green.  They work by sensing the weight of the car pressing on the road or by using a magnetometer (like in a metal detector) to sense the presence of a vehicle.  The ones on the highway are there to monitor traffic flow and road usage.  They count cars but they can’t tell whose car it is.

That is all about to change.

The new system, as I envision it, will use an enhanced FastLane transponder to tell the tax monitor whose car is where on the highway.  You cross a reader at the on ramp and – PING! – you’re logged in.  You cross over another when you take the off ramp and – PING! – the computer records you getting off the highway.  The miles are automatically tallied up and your account is automatically debited the tax for the miles you’ve traveled.  All nice and neat and automatic.  No tolls to wait in line at.  No bills to get in the mail and write a check for.  No fuss no muss.

And no more privacy.

That record in the government computer becomes part of your tax records and is kept on file for as long as government tax records are kept.  Not just the miles – but where your car was and when.  All so your tax records can be audited.  To make sure they don’t overcharge you.  So they say…

Phase one was the test phase with today’s EZ-Pass or FastLane system.  It works and We the People are getting used to the idea.  Phase two was just announced on the radio yesterday morning as a proposed tax measure supposedly to pay for fixing the roads and bridges.  Phase three will be the requirement that all cars on the public’s roads will have to have these transponders or you can’t use the road.

Remember, this is a proposed tax.  It’s going in the tax code.  It’s not from the big scary Department of Homeland Security or the NSA.  It’s to pay for roads.  So they say…

What about the local roads?  Once we are all required to have a transponder even if we abandon the highway for the unmonitored local roads we will still not be safe.  The traffic lights will eventually be retrofitted with transponder readers instead of the weight sensors they have now.  When you pull up to a light – PING! – your presence is recorded and the light will turn green.  And another record is entered in the database.

“Why was your car at the corner of Main and Pleasant Streets at two AM?” asks Officer Friendly.

“How should I know?” says Joe Driver “I was at home in bed at two AM.  I don’t know who was using my car…”

Problem solved by technology:

Enter the card reader.  To activate the transponders in phase four you will have to swipe your card.  (Real ID perhaps?)  And to make sure someone hasn’t borrowed your card as well as your car you’ll also need your PIN – just like at the ATM.  Then Officer Friendly will know it was you behind the wheel at the light on Hooker Street at two thirty AM.  And so will your wife’s lawyer when he subpoenas the records.  Even if you were going to the local Stop and Rob for a box of Pampers because the misses “forgot” to get them when she was out.  The Stop and Rob doesn’t have the sensor so you’ll have to use your AmEx to establish for the court that you were buying diapers.  (Be sure to pay cash for the condoms even if you and the misses are just trying to avoid needing even more diapers…)

But even before we get to that point the government will come up with another form of revenue from this ‘wonderful new system’ in the form of automatically debited speeding fines.  That highway ramp you got on 495 at?  It takes thirty-five minutes to get to the ramp you got off at if you travel at the speed limit.  How come you only took twenty eight?  ChaChing!  Your account was just debited the fine for traveling at the average speed you would have had to be going to have gotten there that fast.  And if you want to fight it in court you risk having the fine doubled for wasting the court’s time since the computer has already found you guilty.

If you doubt that revenue will be generated this way the speed limits would be enforced this way I can tell you about my Grandfather having that very problem on the Maine Turnpike a long time ago.  At that time you used to pick up an IBM punch card that listed where you got on the highway.  You handed it in at the toll when you got off and they calculated your toll based on the number of miles traveled.  Then they started time stamping the cards.  The state knew how long it would take to get from toll to toll at the speed limit and if you didn’t take that long you would be issued a speeding ticket.  How much easier will that be when it’s all computerized and they just read your transponder ID at the off ramp?

So you forgot to reregister your car?  Or did the inspection sticker run out?  Or heaven forbid your license was suspended for any reason?  That traffic light will never turn green.  The transponder will tell the computer it’s you and the computer will not change the light.  If you run the red light the cameras will record the event as evidence against you.

Don’t even think of trying to drive with your transponder disabled!  What are you?  Some kind of tax cheat?  Remember – this is all part of the TAX CODE!  By not having your transponder active you are engaging in tax evasion!  The government takes that more seriously than violent crime!  They didn’t get Al Capone on murder or corruption charges or even bootlegging.  The Feds got him for tax evasion!  You’ll never get a green light anyway.  The transponder is what tells the light to turn.  While you sit there waiting for the light that will never turn green, the Responsible Government Agents will have been alerted to your unlawful presence on the governments road.  The computer will have a tow truck meet the Responsible Government Agent, and you, at the light.

Eventually, and this will take years, every intersection will have a transponder reader, even if it doesn’t have traffic lights.  Why bother with high speed chases when you can just sit back in the control room and monitor the transponder signals?  When the car stops the cruisers that are converging on the area will drive on over and capture the suspect.  You can run, but you cannot hide.

Phase five is when things really get nuts. 

After the drunks and scofflaws and worse, the tax evaders come to the public’s attention (via press releases run as “news” in the online editions of what were once news papers) the public will clamor for the card reader to not only activate the transponder but to be capable of disabling the car if the driver has a suspended license or the car’s inspection sticker has expired.  It’s all there in the database.  They won’t roll that in right away.  After all, there might be an emergency and you need to transport the wife to the hospital because you forgot to buy the condoms at the Stop and Rob that night and now she’s going into labor.  If the car is disabled you’ll have to wait for the next available Hillerycare ambulance and that could take days to schedule.  But give them a little time and a few drunks with suspended licenses killing people on the road despite their disabled transponder and the sheeple will demand that the car itself be disabled based on the records in this database.  There won’t be a transponder signal in the driveway.  The car will be shut down at the next transponder equipped intersection.  That way they can fine you for driving when you weren’t supposed to.  More revenue for our Responsible Government Agents.

As far fetched as this sounds, all of the technology to do all of this exists today.  It will cost tens of millions (read billions in government spending) to implement.  But it can all be paid for by the road use tax.  You know, the money that was supposed to go to fixing the roads and bridges?  Well we have to implement this system first…

With this system in place there will be no need for a guardhouse at each point of entry into each state to check us for our travel papers.  Our transponder will do that for us.  An automated electronic internal passport.  Oooow, you have a CCW in New Hampshire.  You can’t drive into Massachusetts until we search you car to make sure you haven’t ‘forgotten’ to leave your piece at home.

As I’ve already said: Make no mistake.  This is coming.  And there is very little we can do to stop it.

Can it be stopped?

I believe it can.  But it will take our combined efforts to kill this.  It may take a revolution to remove it once enough people see just how insidious this really is.  Unfortunately, by then it may be too late.

Interestingly enough there is a way to kill this built right into the Bill of Rights.  This technology didn’t exist ten or fifteen years ago.  So how could the Founding Fathers of our nation have prepared for this over two hundred years ago?

Amendment III

“No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.”

At the time the Constitution was written there were no means of electronically recording or monitoring anything including people.  The surveillance society of the time was accomplished by actually having soldiers quartered in the homes of the people.  Against their will.  John Q. Public is not going to plan an insurrection with half a dozen soldiers living in his house and monitoring his every move.  Today that is all done electronically.  Your purchases are all recorded on your debit card statement.  Your email is all there for any hacker to read – including the ones in the employ of the government.  Your phone can easily be tapped and if you have a Middle Eastern sounding name it probably is tapped.  Your cell phone is location aware.  Google that for more details.  Even if you pay cash at the store, they all have video cameras.  On a private level I don’t so much mind the cameras.  But when it comes to this new tax law – and I can not stress this enough: this is a tax law – this kind of electronic surveillance is chilling in exactly in the same way as having soldiers living in your home.  This is exactly the kind of government monitoring and control that the Third Amendment was written to prevent.

If I may paraphrase a line from The Prisoner:

‘I am not a transponder code, I’m a free man!’

A Matter Of National Security

This is the first of several posts from The (original) Eclectic Dragonfly that I am re-posting here at the New & Improved Eclectic Dragonfly. 

Originally published April 9, 2007

A Matter Of National Security


Among far too many other things, I have been a collector of nice and/or interesting, at least to me, edged tools and weapons for a little while now.  That is, for nearly as long as I can remember.

Two weeks ago I purchased a Camco branded knife imported from China by Camillus.  The model I got was the sheepsfoot bladed assisted opening knife.  It’s not as fast as some of their other assisted opening knives, but it’s plenty fast enough now that I’ve lubed the pivot with graphite.  While I was at it I replaced the factory thirty degree per side utility edge with a seventeen degree per side strait razor edge using my low end version of the Lansky controlled angle knife sharpening system.  (Note to self: Buy the advanced system.)

I have only recently started getting knife-centric magazines in an effort to expand my horizons on this life long interest.  Just this evening I read the now old news of the closing of Camillus back on February 28 of this year.  While I’m not necessarily surprised that another American manufacturing firm has closed its doors forever, I am saddened and more than a little scared.  This nation is fast loosing its manufacturing base.  That’s bad for jobs and the manufacturing sector of the economy.  As bad as that is, that is not what has me scared.

I am terrified of the strategic disadvantage this country now finds its self in as a result.

This nation was able to stand up to the Axis powers during WWII because we had a strong manufacturing base.  We had the industrial infrastructure and the technical skills to build the tools we needed to win the war.

We were also a nation of riflemen.  We are no longer.  That can be regained through training.  Our factories cannot be so easily replaced.

We were (past tense) a technological powerhouse.  Now, I dare say, the vast majority of electronics that we depend on come from Japan, Korea and Taiwan.  We may have the idea for many of the products.  But they are not made here.  We are “off-shoring” almost all of our manufacturing, much of it to The Peoples Republic of China. 

Mao may be long dead, but his nation is still a communist country. 

We are not just loosing the jobs, but also the ability to manufacture!  This nation, to avoid being overpowered by other nations on the world stage, must regain our manufacturing base!  If we get into a tiff with China are they going to honor all of our contracts for the products we import?

If you think they might, there may be a job for you at the Massachusetts Statehouse.

Our politicians are telling us that as a nation we are moving to service sector jobs.  They say it’s good for the economy.  I don’t care how many burgers you can flip in an hour.  That won’t give our nation the ability to manufacture the guns and tanks and planes and ships we continue to need to defend our nation.

Some of our politicians are even going so far as to mount a frontal assault on the strategic infrastructure of our nations firearms manufacturers in the hope of suing them into bankruptcy.  They are GFWs and they don’t want their fellow citizens to have guns because they are afraid of law abiding armed citizens.  They have been unsuccessful at dislodging the Second Amendment from the Constitution, so they take aim at one of our nations most important strategic manufacturing segments.  The gun makers.

I ask again: If we reach a point where we have to import our small arms for use by our military because local politicians have bankrupted our nations gun makers, who will sell them to us?  Particularly if we continue to piss off the rest of the planet by our behavior on the world stage?

Nobody.  That’s who.  So we better continue as a nation to be able to make them for ourselves.

This goes for guns.  It goes for knives.  It goes for washing machines.  During WWII all of our manufacturing was converted to wartime production.  The factories that made washing machines before the war were retooled to make things that were needed for the war effort.  If you offshore the manufacture of your washing machines you’ll get a cheaper washing machine, but you will loose the factory that made it.  If the old mill building that the factory was in is converted to luxury condos you will not be able to convert that to make military equipment.  You’ll have to try to buy it elsewhere.  Good luck outsourcing that.

Anyway, it turns out that Camillus was already gone when I added this latest knife to my collection.  And America is a weaker nation as a result.

Regarding posts from The (old) Eclectic Dragonfly

As I gather up and archive some of my favorite posts from the original Dragonfly I will be reposting them here.  I will try to repost in as close to the order in which they first appeared over there as I can manage, at least on a series by series basis. 

The first batch will most likely be from my Road System series.  There are others that will be included as well. 

Each repost will be identified as such and will include the original publication date as well as a link to its original home on the web.  I will not be reposting everything form there over here and I’m not sure yet how to handle reposting comments.  I may simply append them into the body of the repost (with proper attribution naturally) and have any new comments be distinguished by their being posted from within Blogspot’s commenting system.

On Political Correctness

I just posted this comment on Cam Edwards’ status over at FaceBook.  Last night he interviewed Leo Laurence who is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists Diversity Committee.  It seems that Mr. Laurence wants to abolish the term “Illegal Alien” and replace it with “Undocumented Worker.”  He claims the former ‘offends’ Latinos and that Professional Journalists should be more sensitive.  His arguments on-air were nothing short of preposterous!
OK.  Having listened to last night’s interview, would Mr. PC Police accept this variation?  (Almost certainly not!)

“Foreign National accused of committing Criminal Trespass on Sovereign US soil.”

I’m all for the principal of Innocent until Proven Guilty in a Court of Law.  But at the same time I am staunchly opposed to the whole notion of Political Correctness.  Not only because it makes meaningful dialogue impossible (which is the whole point after all), but in large part because Political Correctness was invented by Mao Tse-Tung.  It was through the implementation of Political Correctness – with extreme sanction for violating “the party line” – that a comparatively small group was able to gain a choke-hold on power in one of the worlds most populous nations.

BTW, Cam, have a (forgive the expression) Happy New Year!  {TeeHee on Nina!}
To listen to Cam’s interview with Leo Laurence follow this link to then click the link to Program Archives and look for Dec 30, 2010.  Scroll down to the bottom of the list (it was the last segment on Thursday's show...) and have a listen.  I would suggest not having liquid consumables in the vicinity whilst doing so...

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Constitution of the United States

The full text of Our Constitution

Courtesy of the National Archives.

The Bill of Rights - Amendments 1~10 to the Constitution of the United States

The Preamble to The Bill of Rights

Congress of the United States
begun and held at the City of New-York, on Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.

THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.

RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all, or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz.

ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution.

Note: The following text is a transcription of the first ten amendments to the Constitution in their original form. These amendments were ratified December 15, 1791, and form what is known as the "Bill of Rights."

Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV
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.

Amendment V
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Amendment VII
In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Welcome Aboard!

Welcome to the new home of The Eclectic Dragonfly!

After struggling for several months with the almost unusable advertising saturated and no longer even remotely enjoyable experience that the former host of The Eclectic Dragonfly had become, I have finally decided that it is time to move on.  The original site is still up, and I am actively engaging in archiving all of the writing and comments that were posted 'over there.'  I do not expect to be posting much 'over there' any more, except to maintain some degree of activity for the duration of the archiving process.  Mainly to keep the site from going dark prematurely.

Hopefully this new incarnation of the Dragonfly will become all that the original was only better.

I truly believe that we are living through one of the most incredible and important moments in the history of the world, politically, economically and socially.  Here in the United States of America we have both an administration and a head of our national central bank that seem hell-bent on destroying our nation's economy.  We are a nation at war.  A war we did not ask for, but one that was forced upon us.  We also are engaged in another war that I do not believe was truly justified.  At least not by the arguments of the previous administration that got us into it.  We are a nation with a government that has not bothered to secure our boarders.  Instead they spend huge sums of cash that was confiscated from the citizenry through taxation on what is at best kabuki theater and at worst the intentional violation of our civil rights as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States.  Protections that were put in place by the framers of our Constitution with the intent of preventing exactly the kind of warrant-less and I believe intentionally humiliating searches that agents of our government are conducting even now at airports all across our nation.

Those are the sorts of topics I tend to cover in my writing - some would say ranting - here at the Dragonfly.  I will no doubt also be rambling on about other things that manage to grab my interest.  You never know what you may find on these pages, but you can get a sample if you check out what's been posted over at The (Original) Eclectic Dragonfly.  Keep in mind that things are posted in reverse chronological order and that as my dissatisfaction with having to wait through pop-over commercials grew (often before I could even log in!) my posting became rather sparse.  Hopefully that trend will reverse itself here at the New and Improved Eclectic Dragonfly!

Once again, Welcome Aboard!  Now please return your seats to the upright position, stow your tray-tables and fasten your seat belts.  I expect it's going to be a bumpy ride!