Sunday, October 19, 2014

Changing Stripes

I'm having a bit of a design crisis. 

I like the sleek, modern look of Blogger's new dynamic views but I dislike the lack of control, most notable that you can't use a stat counter. It also removes formatting for the post summaries; mixing in photo captions, without context, in with the text body; rendering most of my text summaries totally unintelligible.

For the moment, I have the background black but since I have hundreds of posts with dark grey text, meant to be visible against the pink my blog has been dressed in for years, I doubt I'll stay married to this high maintenance look.

I'll think on this darker look a bit more but some older post just aren't compatible with the modern Blogger and you simply can't change the text color anymore.

Anyway, if you just have to read an old post that appears blank - just highlight it. You'll probably find all the secret messages I use to leave for friends and enemies in hidden text to catch them googling themselves.


Saturday, October 18, 2014

My blog's 8th aniversary!

I can't believe I missed my October 6th blog anniversary!

It's harder and harder to find time for this old friend of mine. I thought I was busy eight years ago with my lawyer husband, four homeschooled kids and two dogs in a cabin out in Big Arm, MT.  Now I have six homeschooled kids, four dogs, forty chickens and frankly, just being the wife of the Oath Keeper guy is a full time job by itself.

 Poor baby stayed out in the cold all night
Hopefully this year we'll add goats and sheep to the mix, as well, and at 40-something I am toying with the idea of one more round in the baby department. I do wish I was a few years younger though, but don't we all.
So much to rant about and generally my sarcastic snippets are more likely to be vented in short bursts on Reddit and Facebook than in a drawn out post.

Well, here's to eight more years of nonsensical, disorganized bitching.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Expansion of the terrorist watchlist requires neither “concrete facts” nor “irrefutable evidence”

Well, well, well, back in 2004 my husband had about 100 books laying open on his desk and his auxiliary desk (the kitchen table), each one completely filled wit

h sticky tabs, bookmarks, torn strips of paper and thousands of little notes.

His paper, Solving the Puzzle of Enemy Combatant Status, was the product of those endless nights of note scribbling and is a brilliant fucking masterpiece (and like most masterpieces also really fucking depressing).

It basically lays out predictions of how looking for Taliban terrorists back in 2001 would eventually devolve into rounding up anyone who supports individual freedom as a terrorist and what it would look like. Spoiler Alert; it looks a lot like this shit right here.

We should turn this into a drinking game. Take a drink every time you're declared an extremist, a shot when you make a watchlist, drain the bottle when supporting the constitution gets a terrorist label slapped on your forehead.


The Secret Government Rulebook For Labeling You a Terrorist

The Obama administration has quietly approved a substantial expansion of the terrorist watchlist system, authorizing a secret process that requires neither “concrete facts” nor “irrefutable evidence” to designate an American or foreigner as a terrorist, according to a key government document obtained by The Intercept.

The “March 2013 Watchlisting Guidance,” a 166-page document issued last year by the National Counterterrorism Center, spells out the government’s secret rules for putting individuals on its main terrorist database, as well as the no fly list and the selectee list, which triggers enhanced screening at airports and border crossings. The new guidelines allow individuals to be designated as representatives of terror organizations without any evidence they are actually connected to such organizations, and it gives a single White House official the unilateral authority to place “entire categories” of people the government is tracking onto the no fly and selectee lists. It broadens the authority of government officials to “nominate” people to the watchlists based on what is vaguely described as “fragmentary information.” It also allows for dead people to be watchlisted.

Over the years, the Obama and Bush Administrations have fiercely resisted disclosing the criteria for placing names on the databases—though the guidelines are officially labeled as unclassified. In May, Attorney General Eric Holder even invoked the state secrets privilege to prevent watchlisting guidelines from being disclosed in litigation launched by an American who was on the no fly list. In an affidavit, Holder called them a “clear roadmap” to the government’s terrorist-tracking apparatus, adding: “The Watchlisting Guidance, although unclassified, contains national security information that, if disclosed … could cause significant harm to national security.” Continue here

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Border Patrol Agent Draws Gun on Boy Scout

This makes me so furious, my heart is thumping in my throat.

Boy Scouts walk to different events at the 200...
Boy Scouts walk to different events at the 2005 National Scout Jamboree. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
You know, we hold nurse ins when some rouge cop tries to bully or shame a nursing mom into feeding her baby in a toilet stall (nothing like a little human E coli with lunch).

I really think these feds need a lesson in the law. It is not fucking illegal to take pictures- you fucking cock suckers (cock sucker, of course, being a term of endearment). 

I think an organized protest of iphones snapping away at the border is a good idea.

English: A CBP Border Patrol agent monitors th...

I understand the temptation. But just because you wear a badge doesn't mean you get to make up the law to suit your druthers.

I can't just threaten arrest to people for wearing crocs or to Peter Jackson for chopping up the Hobbit.

It's because of this type of thing that I don't like to let my kids go on scouting trips that cross the border into Canada.  

I feel bad sometimes because they do a lot of awesome events out in the Canadian Rockies and we're only a few miles down from the northern border (they also do a lot of stupid shit too-like hiking grizzly territory without firearms). 

From Gondola, Banff, Alberta, Canada.
From Gondola, Banff, Alberta, Canada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
But I constantly worry that my kids, in particular, will be singled out because of who their dad is. 

Anyway, article below.


Here is the blurb on this from Reason
A group of Boy Scouts from Central Iowa received a lesson they won't forget in federal manners at a border crossing from Canada into Alaska. According to the scoutmaster, a casual snapshot of a Border Patrol agent got the group of about two dozen scouts and volunteers detained, searched—and one of them ultimately held at gunpoint  .  .    .
Continue here

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Rand Paul; At least he sold out for a high price

I forgive him for his sins; most notably endorsing Romney, because, lets face it, selling out for a presidency shot is pretty fucking understandable. Most people sell out their convictions for the sake of a more comfortable conversation over drinks.

Romney Ryan 2012 

So this Washington Post article sort of ripped on Zogby's latest poll . I'm not so sure that he would even be given a fair election but I'm looking forward to the fun. 

I miss the old Ron Paul gang. 

Late night sign painting party circa 2007
 My three oldest kids when they were still little

 Stewart Rhodes of Oath Keepers starting trouble even before he started Oath Keepers

I loved those Warhol style signs


NSA still withholding Documents on Death of UN Secretary-General over 50 Years Later

Apparently, someone involved has lived too long. Just once I would love to see some honesty, just for the novelty of it. 

This response to your request was dragged on as long as possible but was, unfortunately, not long enough.
Despite all our best efforts, some of the people involved in the aforementioned request are simply not dead yet.  Previously released SIGINT documents all involved dead people.

The classified documents will continue to remain so until anyone who could possibly be implicated is wearing a toe tag.

Also, for fun a pic from the NSA beauty pageant



July 16, 2014
The NSAs response to our FOIA appeal.
The NSA’s response to our FOIA appeal.
The National Security Agency continues to withhold all portions of two documents about the 1961 death of Secretary-General of the United Nations Dag Hammarskjold in Ndola, Northern Rhodesia – now Zambia.  The Agency continues to withhold this historically significant material despite a FOIA appeal from the National Security Archive that provides specific examples of previously released SIGINT (Signals Intelligence) documents from the 1950s and 1960s and explains why the Agency should not treat fifty-year-old documents as though they were created today. The Agency’s response to the Archive’s appeal merely reiterated the same exemptions and statutes listed in its original August 2013 denial letter.  Its response makes no reference to the evidence provided to the Agency.  The Agency also refused to consider the wide public interest in the United States, the international community, and the United Nations for information about Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold’s mysterious and tragic death while flying to Ndola to resolve a conflict in the Congo. The Agency has refused to help clarify the historical record. The rest here

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Is that rhetorical?

Is The TSA The Most Monstrously Incompetent Agency In History?

Back in the 1960s my uncle took a small suitcase down from his closet. He packed it for a business trip and headed to the airport. 

While passing through security the  guard discovered a handgun. My uncle explained he hadn't realized it was in there. The guard then asked for my uncle's phone number so he could call his wife to pick it up. He unloaded it and made the call. 

My uncle made his flight and likely slapped the stewardess on the ass. My aunt picked up the gun. The end. 


No one was shot. No one was arrested. No one was probed.


Is The TSA The Most Monstrously Incompetent Agency In History?

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has identified a massive new threat to domestic airline security. No, it’s not ISIS, Al Qaeda, or the Taliban.
It’s the dead battery on your smartphone.
Last week, TSA announced what it called “enhanced security measures” in which passengers will be required to power up their cell phones before boarding their flight. According to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, TSA has “assesse[d] the global threat environment and reevaluate[d] the measures we take to promote aviation security.”
Your cell phone is evidently part of a “global threat environment,” and so it must be turned on in order to prove that it’s a legitimate mobile device.
“Powerless devices will not be permitted onboard the aircraft,” the TSA now threatens. “The traveler [with a powerless device] may also undergo additional screening.” It seems the only truly powerless device in this situation is the traveler, who must yet again submit to the whims of an incompetent and unthinking bureaucracy.
“Powerless devices will not be permitted on board the aircraft.” Presumably, that means you’ll either have to miss your flight or throw your phone away. A few questions spring to mind as a result of this new announcement: is the TSA incapable of simply having a phone charger on hand with which to test a “powerless device?” And is the agency so criminally inept that it has no way to determine whether a “powerless device” is, in fact, an explosive device?
Read the rest here

Rehashing Michigan's lost "Right to Farm"

This is an older article (from May) but it caught my eye all over again as it was being passed around on the homesteading sub-Reddit. 

It's always about control, isn't it?

There is no other skill that is half so intimating to a control freak than the ability to feed oneself.

Three hens being let out of their Eglu.
Barbaric governments use food control, just ask Mike Tyson's tattoo. Your mother-in-law probably does too. You know the thing where she offers to loan you money right when you're at your lowest. And you accept and suddenly she's telling you how to discipline your kids and now you feel all powerless to tell her to fuck off because you're still late on paying her? 

Ya, that thing.

I'm just speaking in general terms here, of course.

And the crappier the location (made so by other outrageous laws) the more likely this is to go on and Michigan is the crème de la crème of crappy locations due to bullshit laws. 

I really think everyone should grow a mother fucking corn field on their front lawn. It would cost almost nothing and if they really wanted to protest, let a few chickens go and have their merry chicken way with it all.


Michigan residents lost their “right to farm” this week thanks to a new ruling by the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development. Gail Philburn of the Michigan Sierra Club told Michigan Live, the new changes “effectively remove Right to Farm Act protection for many urban and suburban backyard farmers raising small numbers of animals.” Backyard and urban farming were previously protected by Michigan’s Right to Farm Act. The Commission ruled that the Right to Farm Act protections no longer apply to many homeowners who keep small numbers of livestock.
Kim White, who raises chickens and rabbits, said, “They don’t want us little guys feeding ourselves. They want us to go all to the big farms. They want to do away with small farms and I believe that is what’s motivating it.” The ruling will allow local governments to arbitrarily ban goats, chickens and beehives on any property where there are 13 homes within one eighth mile or a residence within 250 feet of the property, according to Michigan Public Radio. The Right to Farm Act was created in 1981 to protect farmers from the complaints of people from the city who moved to the country and then attempted to make it more urban with anti-farming ordinances. The new changes affect residents of rural Michigan too. It is not simply an urban or suburban concern.
English: Chickens at Daubies Farm
English: Chickens at Daubies Farm (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Shady Grove Farm in Gwinn, Michigan is the six and a half acre home to 150 egg-laying hens that provide eggs to a local co-op and a local restaurant. The small Michigan farm also homes sheep for wool and a few turkeys and meat chickens to provide fresh healthy, local poultry. “We produce food with integrity,” Randy Buchler told The Blaze


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A story of two births Part I

I do have to go back in time a bit for this birth story; not to go into excruciating detail about how I discovered homebirth and how I never saw myself as the type.

No, I’m the type.

I’ve always been the type.

I have to go back to tell you about another birth, the one that happened two years, two days and eight hours before this one.

I had five beautiful kids and while I considered having more, I was pretty focused on getting back into shape. I spent my life as a fit, size one but after five children I had evolved into something that barely squeezed (and I mean squeezed, because I would not wear a fourteen) into a twelve. So if I was going to have more it was going happen after I lost ten more pounds.

Then something really weird started happening.

All my life I’d had these sort of “psychic” moments. Nothing too dramatic, just a few odd things; I would occasional hear someone’s thoughts. Once in a great a while I’d have a dream that would unfold a few days later in real life. It was always something unbelievably mundane and meaningless.

Once I was so very excited to find a Pinesol type cleaner that was potpourri scented. An hour later my husband called to ask me, “What the hell is potpourri?” and why hasn’t he been able to get the word out of his head for the last hour.

I often dubbed myself the World’s most useless psychic.  If nothing important were to happen that day, I would the first to know the details of it.

But overnight the events went from three, four times a year to several times a week. It was very strange, even for me.

And then I realized I hadn’t had a period in forever.

I was pregnant, almost twelve weeks. I had been so busy I just didn’t notice. With all my other pregnancies I had been waiting to be far enough along for a pregnancy test to even work. I always knew. This one had crept up on me.

My best friend in the entire world was a midwife. For my past pregnancies she had flown all over the country to help birth my kids. She retired because she was battling breast cancer but had still driven three and a half hours in the night to deliver my youngest son.

She was so so thrilled to find I was pregnant again. She was in no shape to deliver a baby but was determined to be there for it. A deeply spiritual person; Kay believed strongly that the door to generations before was wide open during a birth.

For months we made plans. My wonderful Montana midwife, Marcy (the same midwife who delivered my fourth baby) was more than willing to deliver this baby while my friend, Kaye, helped in anyway she could.

Kaye’s condition worsened quite a bit over those months. We decided we would rent a motor home and her partner could drive. They could set up in our yard, we had plenty of room. I’d have the baby there, in the motor home.

Kaye was determined to be there for this birth. Her family told how she did everything she could think of to keep strong.

Meanwhile, as my pregnancy continued so did this strange psychic phenomenon. I’d dream some silly scene, just some person pushing a cart across a store while the cashier announced something on the PA . The next day it would happen in front of me. But along with all this trivial stuff came something else; an unending sense of forebode.

I could not imagine this pregnancy ending well.

I tried really hard to figure out why I felt this way (and tried harder to ignore the idea it might simply be a premonition). My first thought was that after five perfect pregnancies and five super easy births, maybe I felt I was pushing my luck. I was 38 years old. Two of my friends who had this many children also experienced (including Kaye) a stillbirth. I reasoned that this, this was why I felt this way.

Kaye often talked of pregnancy being the walk through the valley in the shadow of death; that you were a bridge between worlds. I know a lot of this came from her own experience. She had been carrying twins when one stopped moving. She gave her still alive baby three more weeks in her womb so he could have the time he needed, and then induced herself, six weeks early.

We talked a little about birth and death being intertwined.

Kaye felt as strongly about death as she did birth. She would not numb herself, she didn’t want to miss any time she had left to foggy, dulled thinking.

I did not tell her about this sense of dread I carried because she carried so much of her own.

I did tell my Montana midwives. Marcy set up a thorough ultrasound at the hospital to put me at ease. They checked for everything imaginable. Everything was absolutely perfect.

We made a trip from Montana to Las Vegas while I was in my 28th week.  In Vegas, we spent some time with Kaye. She wanted to feel my belly. Her arms and hands were swollen and huge; one arm was almost unusable from her non functioning lymph nodes. Two people helped her stand while her daughter filmed what everyone knew to be her last prenatal.

After we left, she told her daughter she couldn’t trust her own hands because they were so swollen but she felt something wasn’t right.

By the time we made it back to Montana I was 30 weeks along. I realized that my own fear had kept me from bonding with my baby. I was still unable to visualize the birth and focus on it like I had always done at this point in pregnancy, but I at least felt I needed to visualize my baby. I hadn’t even begun to prepare for her. So I forced myself to remedy that. I found a car seat on eBay and ordered a bouncer seat online. I picked up a few more baby clothes. While standing in the Salvation Army, I heard someone’s newborn baby cry. At that moment, I almost cried myself.  I imagined that sound coming from my own baby. I imagined nursing her and looking into her eyes. Just hearing that baby’s beautiful cry had allowed me to really intellectualize that I was going to have a baby. This baby was alive and kicking. Everything in the ultrasound had been perfect. Her heartbeat was perfect (I was calling the baby her at this point because I felt it was a girl, but we hadn’t checked). And soon, I convinced myself, I would be hearing that beautiful sound from my own baby.

I stood in that stupid thrift store aisle between a broken organ with twenty thousand “do not play” signs and a row of stretched out bras and fell in love.

I held onto that feeling. I couldn’t seem to stop the sense of dread and fear but I could push passed it and remember how much I loved my baby. I went in for a prenatal and again everything was perfect. By the next check up it would be time to order my birth kit.

I was at 32 weeks. My little boy laid his head on my belly to talk to the baby like he did every night. She kicked back a little like she always did. He drifted off to sleep and so did I.

I awoke about an hour later to the hardest kicking I have ever felt. I told myself everything was fine. Only a crazy person thinks a baby kicking hard is a bad sign but down inside I knew those would be her last kicks.  I fell into a deep deep sleep.

Later that day we would go in to check on her because she hadn’t moved. It would all play out like I had seen in my head a million times. No heartbeat from the Doppler, off to the hospital, no heart beat on the ultrasound. It took two weeks and two attempts to get labor started; I just wasn’t ready to let her go.

I had never had a hospital birth or a hospital anything before. They had me on Cytotec, Pitocin, a ton of IVs. And I really didn’t give a f**k. I didn’t take any pain meds. I wanted to be there for it all. I didn’t want to give anything less to her than I gave my others.

I didn’t want doctors and nurses around my baby. I’m still not sure how it happened but somewhere in that time span, the room sort of cleared out. I think the doctors and nurses didn’t know enough about a natural birth (at least pain wise natural) to understand that the baby was about to be born. My midwives Marcy and Carrie walked in then to visit and check on us. The baby came then with one small push. Caught by midwives while the staff were strangely gone from the room.

Kaye was on the phone through a lot of it. She was devastated. She had been living for this birth. She reminded me that I would want to take time with my baby; to look at her and look at her as long as I could. And so we did. We spent hours with her. But it wasn’t enough.

It will never be enough.

Because at the end, we still had to hand her over to the morgue people and at the end my three year old couldn’t understand why we left our baby at the hospital.

A few weeks later my due date came, and a few days after that, Kay died in her sleep.

We kept ourselves very busy for the net year. We signed our kids up for tons of sports, scouting, and every second of summer was some type of out door activity. After the summer we moved form town to a place in the country. I needed the change of scenery. We grew a garden, had chickens, staying busy was the thing.

I still wasn’t able to be around an infant though. It set off an almost PTSD reaction. My youngest who was three when the baby died (Sonora Rain was her name) couldn’t watch or read anything with a baby in it without crying.

This weird psychic thing was still going on a year or so later and then suddenly it stopped. I realized it had been forever since a dream or daydream had come true. I couldn’t remember when I’d picked up on someone’s thoughts last.

It was a beautiful summer day, just before the fourth of July when I discovered I was pregnant again.

And this time it felt wonderful. There was no sense of dread. I was certainly scared but more in a gun shy sort of way instead of the ominous sensation that had followed me with the last pregnancy.

After almost twenty years of marriage and endless gypsy roving we bought our first (and last!) house. Moving was quite an adventure. We are practically an army. We had a blast one upping our game of “What’s the most redneck thing you’ve ever done?”. This move brought on so many hillbilly opportunities. In the end, we decided that moving the chicken coop full of chickens, miles down the road was the topper. Extra credit was given when the neighbors’ peacocks ran down the road the whole way behind it. 

I nested like crazy. I planned and overspent and over-organized. I bought cloth diapers because, I reasoned, we lived so far out in the country, but really it was because they were all so pretty. I watched a million YouTube videos on cloth diapering. I exhausted every home birth story available on line (if your story says homebirth in the tile- I have read it) occasionally running into one of my own stories and sometimes not recognizing them until halfway through. 

I was positive this baby was a boy. We chose Justice for the name either way (but this was definitely a boy).

I ordered everything I could possibly need. When it came time for my birth kit I agonized where to set up. I washed and re-washed baby clothes.

About 38 weeks in we thought we would go in for another ultrasound just to be sure (we had had one a while back as well). We live over an hour from our midwives (the same ones who caught Sonora, this birth would be closure and healing for them, as well). We were thinking of giving my body a nudge to labor just before my due date (I usually go over by a week or more) while they waited at my house for something to happen. I have history of ridiculously short labors. Even if I called right away, had I gone into labor naturally, an hour might not be enough time. 

This ultrasound would let us know if the position was good and, if so, we could then start evening primrose oil (to soften my cervix).
The ultrasound tech was a bit gruff and hostile (toward homebirth, I believe) and a bit scared because of my history. She said the water was far too low. My placenta wasn’t doing its job. The baby was small and wasn’t showing the deep breathing pattern she liked to see. I looked over to see tears running down five year olds cheek. 

Midwife Marcy called in her favorite doc. The doc had spoken with the tech. and it seemed dire to all of us. I wondered if my baby was OK. Had my failing placenta already harmed him?  We did the non stress test. The doc seemed a bit muddled, as all seemed perfect to her. She said to go home for now, but come back in two days to check again and possibly start labor. This would not be a home birth unless I went into labor within two days on my own. I knew this would not happen.

I felt like I was caught up in  a whirlwind of fear and this desperate sensation of wanting a baby that I would never have. At the very least I would have a hospital birth. I had spent this entire pregnancy reassuring my now five year old that this birth would be nothing like the last one, that there would be no hospital, no doctors, he would never be separate from me. He could hold my hand the entire time and then he could hold the baby’s live wiggling hand. But now we were looking at induction of my very stubborn cervix two weeks prior to my due date and at least three weeks before I would normally give birth. I was not at all convinced that induction would work. Even if the baby (a big if) were alive and healthy, at the very least I was going get hacked and possibly separated from my baby and I was going to break my promise to my already traumatized five year old.

Two days later after having torn apart my home birth station, I did what I have never done before. I packed a hospital bag. Car seat in the car, nightgown, toothbrush; I wasn’t sure what to bring, in seventeen years of babies it never crossed my mind. I grabbed some baby things and also unearthed the “Welcome with Love” home birth storybook. I promptly threw it against the wall.

We met our midwife at the doctor's office where she would do her own ultrasound and non-stress test.

I noticed immediately that her demeanor was considerably more relaxed than two days ago. She had since gone over the ultrasound pics herself and found them not dire but  inconclusive. She then ran her own scans and found the water to be a little higher than average. Then baby’s hear beat was perfect. His breathing pattern was perfect. He was a good sized kid.  And he was busy playing with his toes. You’d swear someone nudged him and whispered act casual. This was not a baby in a life threatening situation.

And then the doctor said this,

“I see no reason why you couldn’t still have a home birth.”

I could have sobbed with relief and I did but I waited until we got to the car. All of us, my husband, all my kids, we just sat in the car and soaked it in.  We were all smiling with relief

She still wanted to see me have this baby by the due date as the risks go up quite a bit after the date at my advanced age (can you just feel my disdain for that term in the italics?).

At 39 weeks and 3 days the midwife crew showed up with every midwifery/witchcraft/medicinal /herbal concoction known or imagined or once thought of to possibly start labor.

And so that afternoon we began

Every 15 minutes I was trying something else.  I kept walking. I kept taking herbs. I’d get a few contractions here and there but nothing too real. My cervix was opening and softening a little. That evening I felt a pop that almost seemed audible.

Oh, I know that sound, mucus plug and water all in one pop. Well, this was good, it meant that all these herbs were doing something, but now it meant yet another clock ticking threat. It meant I had to get into established labor within a certain number of hours. I didn’t even ask how many, but I knew the drill, if the bottle of castor oil comes out, I’ll know I’m approaching deadline time. 

Everyone started getting tired.

We all went to bed for a bit.