A Reason to Throw Your Sail Fawn in The Woods

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You’ve no doubt heard about warrant-free wiretaps – and monitoring of your e-mails and web surfing habits. These things have been routinely and openly engaged in by “law enforcement” since the Chimponian Era, when the American Police State came into full flower.

You didn’t expect it to stop there, did you?

Of course, it has not stopped. It is expanding. Now your own gadgets are being used to monitor you. An article in The New York Times (see here) tells us all about it. Police are tapping into your sail fawn – which has a GPS transponder – to keep track of where you’ve been and where you’re going. The Times quotes a police training manual that describes sail fawns as the “virtual biographer of our daily activities.” All of which are now public record.

Isn’t that swell?

And guess who’s being Helpy Helperson? Why, your friendly sail fawn carrier. According to the Times article, the big name sail fawn service providers market a “catolog of ‘surveillance fees’ to police departments to determine a suspect’s location, trace phone calls and texts and to provide other services” too. These include something called “cloning” of a person’s sail fawn, which enables the authorities to download all texts messages stored on the person’s device without the person ever knowing it (much less a court knowing about it). According to the Times article, your sail fawn carrier has a “special law enforcement liaison team” that stands ready to help.

And it’s all being done without warrant or even the pretext of probable cause. And, best of all, with the eager cooperation of a (cough) private business – your sail fawn service provider – the one you’re paying. In other words, you are paying to be spied upon – a feat not even the Soviet NKVD ever achieved.

Equally sinister, cops can just grab your phone using almost any pretext (seatbelt scofflaw; jaywalking) and proceed to download its entire contents (see here). Your personal texts, e-mails, photos, social contacts – anything on that phone becomes evidence that can and will be used against you. Or just held/recorded – another form of data mining, to be kept for later use.

Again, this is being done without a warrant or probable cause (other than the fact that you’ve been detained by a cop for some other reason that, as such, has no bearing whatsoever on the contents of your sail fawn).

You don’t have anything to hide, do you?

Lawless law enforcement has of course always existed – the occasional planting of evidence, the back alley wood shampoo – but what’s different about now vs. then is that lawlessness has become general policy. In the past, the cops had to at least make a show of following the rules – and no matter how egregious their conduct, if such conduct was eventually exposed, there would be an amends-making. Some evidence of chagrin. Today, outright thuggery is the buzz-cut  SOP of “law enforcement” – placed in quotes to emphasize that it increasingly enforces whatever laws it wishes – as it defines them.

Which means, there is no law at all.

Only – Submit and Obey.

Just the other day, a story made it past the MSM screeners about two guys who got The Drill – a thug cop attempting to railroad them as “drug runners” – possibly in order to use asset forfeiture laws to seize their vehicle. These two guys were just driving along – on their way home from a Star Trek convention – when they got pulled over on a manufactured pretext by a badge-carrying thug who used every lawless intimidation tactic in the book to scare the crap out of these guys in order to extort some kind of admission of criminal activity – “illegal drug use/possession” –  activity they didn’t commit and which the thug cop, to his great exasperation, was unable to prove. See the video here. It is appalling – more so because such things are becoming routine.

And in Illinois, the state politburo imposed a lawless law that would make it a felony and good for 15 years’ prison time simply to video record  “law enforcers” doing their thing. (See here for details about that.)

Back to sail fawns.

I never got one. I never felt the need.  I am neither a surgeon nor a realtor nor a mogul of business who must be reachable at all times. A standard plug-in home phone works just fine for me. If I am not around, leave me a message. I’ll get back to you eventually.  I do not feel the need to be constantly yarbling away, wherever I happen to be. And because I don’t have a sail fawn, no one knows where I happen to be. There is nothing for badge-wearing thugs to “download,” either.

But like declining to own a car with a GPS transponder (and six air bags) or purchase “healthcare” insurance, I suspect such opting out will eventually – perhaps shortly – be made into a crime, too. Because the powers-that-be don’t want any cattle running around out there without tags in their ears, much less outside the barbed wire.

For the moment, though, I’ll enjoy being at least partially free range. I suggest you try it, too.

It feels pretty good.

 Throw it in the Woods?


  1. Don sez, “I get a paper check now and I go to Walmart and cash it for $6 … ”

    Don, does Walmart have an upper limit to the check amount you can cash?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. So when are we all going to stop worrying about Dear Leader tracking us and get the unconstitutional laws overturned? There are some great comments here, but I haven’t seen anything put forth like state nullification, suing the federal government, or other such legal actions.

    It didn’t take much to overthrow communism in Russia. It should be real easy to get rid of the Fabian Socialists in office now. Tell people you meet that the media is wrong, there’s no threat to terrorism, except if you’re in a country that we’ve bombed. Tell them about how Fox News is run by a bunch of socialist elitists who want to keep you scared of everything around you. Even if it’s an uncomfortable conversation. Tell your grandma (and her friends) to stop voting on single issues and sound bites, and make her understand that the 2 party system is rotten, hollowed out, and corrupted beyond repair.

    Why we’re having this debate about the terrible cell phone is beyond me. Technology has no politics.

    • I agree with you; I’m trying to do just that.

      But technology has no politics? It certainly greases the skids… .

      Twenty years ago, it was not possible to monitor millions of people in real time, including their movements, their privately expressed views – and so on. Today, it is routine – and has become so in part because most people have embraced the technology that made it feasible.

      Here’s an example that’s car-specific: GPS.

      Almost all new cars now have this. Because people came to believe they just had to have a $2,000 electronic device to do what a $5 paper map could do just as well – and without Big Brother riding shotgun.

      Sail fawns: Most people who have them don’t really need them and could easily live without them – except for the fact that because so many people just have to have one they’ve now become de facto necessary for most people.

      I’m not a Luddite; like Brent and Boothe I respect science, the empirical method – and yes, technology. But technology can be used for ill as well as good and in that respect is as much a “political” thing as guns.

      Just my 50 –

    • There are some great comments here, but I haven’t seen anything put forth like state nullification, suing the federal government, or other such legal actions.

      Eric_G, you presume that a monopolist system of ultimate decision-making will rule against itself in its own court of law. Get real, man.

      And it didn’t take much to overthrow the USSR because no self-respecting Russian believed the propaganda that they were force-fed from day 1 of existence. So when the economy finally began to unravel, all it took was a gentle nudge to push the state over the edge to doom. Here in the USSA, in stark contrast, nearly everyone and their pet dog worships the state as if it was Lord of All that is Good in the Universe. USA number 1!!!! rah! rah! rah!!!

  3. I read all the comments and saw repeated statements that prepaid phones do not have gps tracking but can only be triangulated, That is incorrect all active cell phones must be e911 compliant or they can not be used, period! turning off location services does not mean that the gps beacon is off and you cannot be precisely located because you can, location services only disables meta tagging of your pictures and videos, and makes any web searches on a smart phone based on the geographic location of your phone number not your actual location. E911 gps tracking is built in and can not be turned off in any of the currently available cell phones. treating it as a two way radio was one of the wiser comments. A lawyer friend has stated that law enforcement has easy access to all phone logs (who called who) and text messages without a warrant. every keystroke we make on the internet is recorded just in case. feel safe, sleep well, big brother is watching us all!

  4. Since this thread appeared I’ve been thinking about something we’re all forgetting: The fedgov’s world-class inefficiency and incompetence. That we may not have as much to worry about re “Stellar Wind” and other privacy invasions as we fear for that reason.

    And lo, today’s LRC has a post by Gary North, talking around that very concept, titled “Uncle Sam is Choking on Data”. Here are some excerpts:

    The federal government is drowning in data now. The decision-makers have the ability to ask certain kinds of questions. But they cannot possibly handle the amount of specific information that has been computerized.

    The ability of the government to make connections regarding terrorists is minimal. Someone within the bureaucracy has to be willing to say: “He’s the man.” He has to be Adrian Monk. He has to piece together the separate bits and bytes. This takes the following:

    Incentive (promotion)
    Asking the right questions
    Finding the correct data
    Drawing conclusions
    Putting your next promotion on the line
    Going to your superior
    Who will go to his superior
    Who will go to his superior.
    Who will decide there’s too much risk.

    The point is this: despite enormous quantities of data, it still takes wisdom and courage by bureaucrats to make the system work. Both are in short supply in government.

    The more suspects they have, the greater the size of the haystack. The needle may be easy to identify, but he will not be easy to convict.

    CONCLUSION: Noise is your friend. The more data the government collects, the more noise exists between you and an agency that seeks convictions.

  5. No cell phone for me for two reasons:
    1. I value my privacy
    2. Those blasted things can cause brain tumors.

  6. Another home run Eric.

    I use a decade plus i700 phone, and when that dies, I’m checking out of the whole sail fawn nonsense.

    It breaks my heart when I consider that “our” generation will be the last on planet earth to have known a time when everybody wasn’t under 24/7 surveillance.

    • Thanks, AF!

      And yup – we’re the last of the line; the final generation of Americans who have a living memory of “before.” It is important we share it with as many younger people as we can. The good news is there’s been a rather surprising awakening among the young – people in their early 20s today, who were little kids when “the enemies of freedom” changed the country forever. These kids have no personal memory of the “before time.” But they sense something is very wrong, don’t like it – and want to stop it and change course. This shows that liberty as an idea can’t be permanently snuffed out – just suppressed for a time. It gives me hope – even though I don’t believe liberty will recover during my own lifetime.

  7. Anonymity is doable. You can buy a burn phone (TracFone) for $25. Buy the one year card. You’ll have 1200 minutes for one year at $9/month. Enter the card code on the phone rather than the internet to activate your new phone # and you are anonymous. No GPS in these phones either. You can forward your home phone call to the cell phone if traveling. Screw Apple and their $1000/yr fees.

    Also, never ever use google or yahoo mail for private communications. Use pop3/imap mail. Delete your messages after sending and they never get backed up to the servers. Super private stuff should be sent as encrypted attachments.

    There are ways around the police state. The system is designed to appeal to the beetle-brow crowd with their need for constant entertainment and stimulation. Just opt out. Be as much a petty criminal as you want but be sure not leave a trail.

    • Agreed. Tracfone ironically had better call quality than one that cost ten times as much! Being in IT I learned long ago just how little you really “need” in order to function in this world. The rest is all bread and circuses.

    • Just make sure to pay for the phone (and all minutes) with cash. Otherwise there’s a paper trail linking you to the phone.

      • Even then, if “they” seriously wanted to know, the store video makes a link to the cash transaction.
        It seems to me All in-store video is available to NSA and the local thugs.

    • Got my Tracfone! $10 for the phone and all accessories and $20 for 140 minutes of talk time. I just don’t use the phone that much so that should suffice. Paid cash and when activating the phone, all it asked for was name, email and I used bogus info for that. My phones off the grid! Likin’ it. 😉

      I’ve also gone bank free for about a month now and it’s so easy. I get a paper check now and I go to Walmart and cash it for $6, and can pay my utilities and cable right there too. I get a money order for $.88 each for the rent and the car payment and done!

  8. You could get a prepaid fawn at 7-11. And you can turn off GPS but yes, they can still triangulate your location by which cell tower you are near. I gues just pull the battery except when you want to make a call.
    He other magic device that I NEVER use it the ATM as it puts you somewhere in space and time. He Feds can use it to track you. But the same hold true with credit cards. One leaves bread crumbs whenever you shop.

    Here is a item that I know you will like: DO NOT TRACK PLUS is an addon for both IE (blick) or FireFox. You can get the free download @ Abine.com .

    So where is all this paranoia going to take us? It is all Yak and no action. How do we roll this massive intrusion back a few notches?

    • kentek asked, “How do we roll this massive intrusion back a few notches?”

      I’ve wondered the same thing myself. I think it works a lot how things are described in this link, an odd kind of back and forth tug of war mixed with some little-by-little i.e. not wearing your seatbelt, refusing to register a car, Opt Out of the state, etc… In other words, it’s a long process:

      The American Revolution You Never Heard of
      Murray Rothbard on Bacon’s Rebellion.


      Another model I like is that of The Band of The White Rose, but things didn’t end very well for them and I’m not certain if it did any good or not. So for a lot of others, this seems like a good path:

      Quietly, Quietly, The Revolution Arrives

      • Some how we have to take the money away from these bozos;
        Federal State County City Town Berg etc.
        If they don’t have the budget they can’t do as much damage!

        • That might help a little, but they will just print more money and bailout their subjects in exchange for loyalty of a sorts.

          Cities and counties love goberment grants.

    • Don’t forget the Firefox extensions “TrackMeNot”, which thwarts search engine tracking by flooding them with useless dreck, and “Better Privacy”, which deletes Flash cookies (those buggers are immune to standard cookie controls).

        • Nor I, Eric. I have been subscribing for some time to the http://www.howtovanish.com newsletter. It’s a good how-to on all that stuff … if you go to the website and look to the right under “Popular Posts” and “Helpful Links”, there’s a bunch of information on Online (and Other) Privacy for Dummies-type material.

        • Two search engines that do not collect (or so they claim) information about your searches:
          duckduckgo and ixquick

          Ghostery is addon that can help detect/block trackers from websites you visit.

          I am sure that are other useful tools, but these are things that I use.

          Tor browser is useful. You can even install it on a USB drive and run it from there. If the computer you are at accepts USB devices you can run the TOR browser from the USB drive

    • “You could get a prepaid fawn at 7-11”

      Kind of reminds me of the years when the TSA would relieve you of your nail clippers at the gate, then let you through to airport cafes that had serrated stainless steel knives on the table. After thatthey’d board you on the plane and serve wine in glass bottles.

      There’s just no accounting for morons.

      • Thatguy, this was funny as all get out, I had no idea, as I haven’t flown in years, “… when the TSA would relieve you of your nail clippers at the gate, then let you through to airport cafes that had serrated stainless steel knives on the table. After that they’d board you on the plane and serve wine in glass bottles.”

        Thanks for sharing.
        No doubt they didn’t confiscate the plastic pens either.

  9. There are still some ways to “circumvent” a lot of this encroachment on liberty.
    As far as phones, take a look at simplevoicebox.com.
    I have also put all personal property in LLC’s designed as “holding companies”.
    They can’t take it from ya if you don’t own it……

    • Ah feel your pain! My wife’s not a Clover, but like a lot of women, she is susceptible to “safety” propaganda. We had a running (cough) debate for years about child safety seats: Me arguing the absurdity of strapping in for every ride, even just down to the mailbox – even when the kid is seven or eight years old… me bemoaning the lost good times of my own childhood, when this stuff didn’t exist and kids enjoyed the fun of rolling around in the back of a big station wagon…

      Probably explains why we don’t have kids!

      • Eric,

        Interesting point, but women unfortunately aren’t the only ones susceptible to safety paranoia.

        Personally, I think that just as anyone who goes on the public dole should be forced to surrender their voting rights until they get OFF the handouts, so too should people not be allowed to vote from the time their first child is born until their last child reaches the age of majority.

        I swear, the parents of young children will buy or swallow ANYTHING, as long as it’s in the name of Safety or The Children.

        And as I think we who can put two and two together have noticed, anyone who invokes The Children or Safety as justification for their new law is admitting that they’re resorting to emotional manipulation because they can’t make a rational argument for their totalitarian intent.

        The Divine Right of Kings didn’t work, the Mandate of Heaven imploded and now Duly Elected has blown up in our faces. Time to try something else.

        • And that something else does not inlcude a “government”. I’m a grown adult, I don’t need to be governed.

          When and if I harm someone, violate their rights or credibly threaten to violate their rights, I’ll answer for my actions.

          When and if anyone tries to harm me, violate my rights or credibly threaten to violate my rights, they’ll answer for their actions.

          Until then I have no use for anyone’s government.

      • But it’s so much fun to indoctrinate the kid into staunch anti-cloverism. (Have to nourish the next generation, ya’ know..)

        It’s for the CHEEELDRUNNNN…..!

    • I didn’t have a sail fawn on me, turned on all the time until I started doing field service work all over the country. I did have a bag phone under the seat, always turned off for a few years. But when my wife thought she was having a heart attack and was able to call me (for what could have been the last time), I was glad I had it. I took the opposite approach to what you did Eric; I ditched my land line and now exclusively rely on the sail fawn. As long as you treat it like a two way radio (don’t say or send anything you don’t want the whole counrty to know and the same for land lines these days as well) and don’t store any sensitive data on it, no problem. And I figure if I ever become a “person of interest”, I’ll leave the infenal thing turned on, duct tape it under the nearest cross country semi-trailer and let the “uh-thoratays” try to figure out where “I” am headed.

  10. I resisted getting a cell phone for a long time too. One day I was cutting every expense I could to raise some extra cash and I dropped my landline in favor of a pay-as-you-go phone. It was so much cheaper, $8.50 per month if I didn’t yack much, which I don’t.

    I rarely carry my cell phone with me, and I usually only turn it on once per day to check for messages, so it’s not a whole lot different from a landline, and it’s certainly not a smart phone.

    After reading Eric’s article, I think I’ll carry it even less, if at all. Especially because I’ve read about, Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent.

    … and I understand, How the Feds Imprison the Innocent

    When a business asks me for my phone number for any multitude of reasons I respond by saying, “I don’t have a phone.”
    This really throws some People for a loop.
    If they press me on it, I tell them, “I hate them (cell phones).”
    Most People stop asking after that.

    I am very tempted to just throw the thing away, someday I think I will.

    Reading about how cops can look through your cell phone for just any ole reason (same as British soldiers rifling through papers in fancy desks owned by American colonist in the 1700’s) leads me to think about how they can also seriously strip search you if they arrest you – even if you’re innocent – or even kill you and get away with it,… AND that gets me to thinking about what others here say about how cops are a lot like the cops in the old European East Block countries, they are just thug criminals with tin badges and uniforms.

    I’ll bet there are quite a number of People who would rather die than be arrested, no matter the reason (jaywalking, talking on a cell phone in your car) and I can’t say as I blame them after reading this innocent guy’s description of being strip searched in jail:


    Add all that to the stuff I read on Will Grigg’s blog and I’m seriously considering selling everything and leaving the warmongering, hypocritical, two-faced, barbaric, unitedstate clover-field. Because the over-weight, bloated and lop-sided monster does not appear to be falling over any time soon.

    … and, They Thought They Were Free.

    • Same here, Clark…

      It annoys me too the way so many retail cashiers demand your phone number. I understand they are jut “doing their job” and don;thave much choice – but that’s what gripes me: The system is turning us all into Clovers, one by one…

      • Eric, my usual response to cashiers that ask for my phone number is “I beg your pardon, but I’m a married man!” It’s usually good for a laugh or at least a shocked expression from the young lady behind the register. Then I explain that they don’t need it to take my money and that’s that.

        • I’m putting that one in my bag too! It’s great.

          One good turn deserves another. When I go through the TSA gate rape procedure, I make a point of telling the guards I’m gay and want to be groped by a member of the opposite sex.

          It never ceases to cause a wave of conceptual conflict to wash over the crowd. Don’t try it unless you’re on an open schedule and don’t mind missing your flight.

        • When the cashiers ask me for my ID when I buy beer at the supermarket, even though I’m obviously old enough, I tell them I don’t mind because (cue thick faux-German accent), “you are just following orders.”

          Believe it or not, it gets laughs.

          • I quit buying my cerveza at Wally World in Texas over just such an absurdity. Here I am, a man clearly over 40, and this knuckle head has the temerity to ask for ID? I said to her, “Why not just ask everyone to produce birth certificates?” The evil absurdity of this nations “laws” never ceases to amaze me.

      • I tell cashiers requesting my phone or zip code “No. I don’t need any more junk mail”. Of course I’m reminded of the time I was depositing money in my own bank account on my own deposit slip to then be asked to “prove” my identity! What the hell?!!! I was only asking for $100 out of about $2000 deposited on a payroll check. What kind of a scammer would ask for so little? Pissed? You betcha!

  11. And don’t forget the backdoors being installed at the chip level by the Chinese manufacturers.

    I’m not really sure what the point of tracking cellphone GPS data is. I can’t imagine it’s submittable in court, since there’s all those disclaimers that come up when start up about how unreliable they are. You still need to have an officer make an arrest (unless they’re just going to drone your ass off the planet or something).

  12. I’ve got an old school phone that doesn’t have a GPS installed. My daughter has one like it. And it also has an off switch. I like it.

    • To not have GPS the phone has to have been continuously in service for about 11-12 years now.

      Carriers by law will not activate older non E911 compatible phones. For CDMA systems this means they will not allow repaired phones where the repair required replacing the xcvr board and changed the ESN. I am not sure what would happen by putting a SIM card into an old GSM phone on GSM network.

      • It should still work, in theory. I can test it by putting my gsm card in an old NEC 525 (about 2000).

        I will need to charge up the old phone.

  13. Wow – I thought I was the only person without a sail fawn.

    People often ask: What would you do if you break down?

    I answer: Probably the same thing I’d do if I broke down before we had cell phones.

    I really don’t like talking while driving – unless it happens to be a passenger I’m talking to. Real pain working the phone and the wheel and the shifter. Tried my wife’s phone – didn’t like it.

    There’s also this:

    The National Transportation Safety Board isn’t backing down from a proposal to bar drivers from making hands-free phone calls from behind the wheel, the Detroit News reported.

    At a meeting Tuesday, NTSB Chair Deborah Hersman defended the safety board’s recommendation in December to bar nearly all calls from behind the wheel—including hand-held and hands-free calls, the paper said. “Whether it’s hand-held or hands-free, touching the dashboard, or waving at a windshield, it can be distracting,” Hersman said, according to the News. “What is the price of our desire to be mobile and connected at the same time? Can any message, call, or text be worth someone’s life?”

    Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has declined to endorse the NTSB recommendation, saying more research is necessary, the News said. LaHood is focusing on hand-held calls and in doing so he has won the backing of major automakers, including GM, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC, for legislation that aims to bar all drivers from doing so, the story said. (Detroit News).”

    What would we do without the NTSB and NHTSA watching out for us?

    How ’bout we just punish people who crash their cars? While I’m sure some are distracted by cell phones while driving, there are other drivers who can drive better while eating, drunk, speeding, and texting than other people can while doing none of these.

    Are we going to ban everything that could possibly lead to a crash? Whats next – Bans on:

    Eating while driving
    Changing radio station or volume
    Adusting the HVAC controls
    Opening your glove box
    Being angry while driving
    Laughing while driving
    Sneezing while driving

    Where does it end???????

    • The gov’t will normally use the excuse: well if it saves even one life then it’s worth it.

      Ok then, outlaw cars! It will save ALL lives from dying in an auto accident. Or make a national 25 mph speed limit on all roads. That too would save ALL lives. I know a lot of things we could do to save even one life, but does that mean we should do it? That’s it’s moral and doesn’t violate people’s rights? That it’s economically efficient? No, of course not.

      But the gov’t is a lot smarter than us so they’ll figure it out.

      • The government also depends on dough-head control freaks – Clovers. It knows it can market these demented (and depressing because freedom-strangling) edicts by appealing to them. The rest of us are in the minority – and get carried along the shit-tsunami …

    • Maybe I’m just a kook… but I don’t understand the mass obsession with sail fawns. Most people could easily do without them. They’re not necessary unless you’re an on-call doctor or similar. And arguably, they’re a net negative. More hassle/expense – and for what? So you can be “reachable” anywhere, anytime? That’s a good thing? And hell – almost every call I receive on a sail fawn is of poor quality – filled with static, breaks and so on. This almost never happens with a land line. The country worked just fine before sail fawns – arguably it worked better. It’s only been about 15 years now since these pestilential devices became ubiquitous. The hell with them, sez me.

      • James Gleick, author of the book Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything, speculates that the reasons people give — “So my kids/boss can reach me” and so on — are merely a justification for the real reason cell phones have proliferated: to alleviate loneliness.

        This is especially sad given that more and more, people aren’t interacting in R/T. I see people in my gym or my library, many people occupying a small space, walking past each other, around each other, not even making eye contact, never mind talking to each other.

        Recently a woman and I were sitting on the same bench in my gym locker room, changing shoes. We were a scant foot apart, and we did not acknowledge each other’s presence in any way. (Normally I try to at least say hello or how’s it going, but I was in feeling cranky that time.) But the experience felt completely bizarre. Barely a foot apart! Nobody else around! WTH???!

        Then the minute they’re in a cell-legal zone, bang, they’re calling somebody. This strikes me as amazing, weird, and sociologically unhealthy, to say the least.

        I too have never owned a cell, for much the same reasons that Eric gave. Never wanted one, don’t need one. I like the idea of not being available to everybody 24/7; there are times to be left alone to do stuff, and times to talk on the phone, and there is something, what, *uncluttered* about keeping the two separate.

        • Amen!

          I’m the opposite, though. I need my alone time. Time to just think and reflect. I find the constant din of sail fawns and all the rest of it immensely annoying for just that reason, incidentally.

      • I’ve carried cell phones, and before that, pagers, for most of my adult life. I work in a 24/7 business and usually am on call (only time I’m not is on vacation or the toilet). They don’t bother me, and it allows me a great deal of freedom, especially now that I have a laptop with a cellular modem and a lot of what I can do can be done remotely.

        I remember when my parents had the occasional time when they were on call. Stuck at home, because even if the pager went off they had to be near a phone to call the service to find out what was needed.

        That said, I have a personal cell as well, and no land line for about 12 years now. I use it for many things, almost none of which involve actually talking into the darn thing. If I get a call in a restaurant, I excuse myself and go to the lobby or outside, or just let it go to voice mail (in fact most of my personal calls are screened or ignored). I turn down the volume on the ringer so that it isn’t heard a block away, and it goes to silent mode in a theater.

        Of course, most asshats who don’t do these things didn’t bother to learn how to use their phones, so we end up with extra loud default ringers everywhere.

        • Smart phones are the shet! My job requires internet connectivity. I live in the boonies and work from home often. The land line internet goes out here constantly. My smart phone picks up the slack, no problem!

      • Eric, I’ve worked in IT for decades and even to this day I despise cell phones. Before that it was the “pager” that was tied to your waist. The call quality is simply a joke. I can’t recall how many times the lie about how clear and wonderful your calls can be are pumped daily out of televisions and radios. I’ve found that the cheapest phone $29 phone I purchased for work purposes only, on a simple month to month sort of prepaid option, actually had better sound quality than a multiple hundreds of dollars Android with the battery that drained to nothing in no time! That’s progress? I don’t think so. And, besides, I’ve told my kids that if they want a phone they can get a job and learn to pay for the damn thing because I’m NEVER going to buy them one. Food and shelter take precedence or gimmicky toys.

      • Eric,

        I find cell phones convenient, but not necessary. I lived without a cell phone and I can do it again if needed.

        If I am somewhere (shopping, doctor office, etc.) and I have a question (for someone not with me) it is convenient to call with the sail fawn and get answer ASAP.

        The cell phone (like a gun) can be used inappropriately. It depends on the user to use it when appropriate.

        • All true –

          There have been a handful of times when I admit it would have been handy to have a sail fawn – such as the time about two years ago when one of my bikes crapped out on my about 30 miles from home… but on the whole, I’ve decided they’re not worth it. That’s just me. I don’t object to them in toto – just to their over-use and ubiquity.

    • True – and I have no doubt Big Clover is watching… but each of us has to pick our battles… I chose to state heretical opinions openly and damn the consequences. I’m no hero – but goddamn it, I am determined to stand my ground.

      • This is an important point. It is one that a few of my more “moderate” (read “timid”) acquaintances have raised about my own open and vociferous championing of Free Market Anarchism.

        They have pointed out that if my dire warnings about a rapidly expanding “1984” style police state are justified, then being so outspoken in public fora such as this comments section or my own blogs risks attracting the attention of Big Clover.

        My response has always been the same. The surest way to enable the formation of just such a police state is to cower like sheeple.

        The surest way to nip the formation of such a police state in the bud, assuming it’s not too late already, is grow a spine and act like a sovereign individual.

        When Eastern Europeans finally stood up in 1989, and said “I’m made as hell, and I’m not going to take it any more!” organizations such as the seemingly invincible East German STASI melted into puddles on the ground, like the Wicked Witch of the West.

      • I’ve wrestled with this question myself. It’s clear there’s no privacy in electronic communications. When should a person expect privacy? I think I should reasonably expect that my eMail be private since it’s a communication between me and specific people (intended recipients in jargon). The same holds for phone calls.

        What about posting on a web site like this one? Should my identity be protected? That’s a tough one because I’m really speaking in public. I may be replying to you (the author of the article) or one of your readers, but I’m not sending private email or calling you on the phone. It’s more like having a conversation in the Town Square and speaking loud enough for everyone to hear me. There’s no assumption of privacy.

        Then again, if we’re talking about subjects that carry an emotional charge, I run the risk of being shunned for expressing my views and maybe even threatened or killed. Then again, if I were standing in the Town Square, wouldn’t I be running the same risk? What’s the difference?

        In my mind, the difference is I’d probably know the people listening in the Town Square. I could measure my message because I’d know my audience. In this media, I have no idea who my real audience is. I read the comments posted by those who choose to speak and I have an idea of my host’s opinions based on his writings, but I don’t know who else might be quietly listening and I don’t have a budget for private security.

        It’s a conundrum; to speak or not to speak? I like to remember the words of Patrick Henry: “Give me Liberty, or give me death!”. It’s really the same argument I use to dismiss the efforts of our Department of Traveler Abuse (TSA), I’d rather risk being blown up by terrorists than assured of being felt up by social deviants.

      • You think the government is bad? Have you seen Brent drive? Dozens of times worse than anything our government can do.

        • No Clover – I don’t think government is bad. I know government is bad. Government has killed countless millions; Brent hasn’t harmed anyone that I’m aware of. Government takes my money, meddles in my affairs – and threatens me with violence if I do not Submit and Obey. Brent’s never done any such thing, that I’m aware of. He seems to want nothing from me except that I respect his rights, as he respects mine. Government – that is, people like you – can’t abide that. It – and you – live to meddle in the affairs of other people. It makes you hot.

          As far as driving: Brent’s comments indicate he understands basic principle of driving etiquette you do not – such as yielding to faster-moving traffic. I also respect his qualifications to comment on driving – qualifications you utterly lack. Who are you, Clover? Some old guy with a Camry who squats in the left lane, deliberately impeding the flow of traffic… why would anyone give weight to what you have to say about anything?

        • I don’t think the government is “bad” per se, it just happens to be controlled by folks I’d rather not associate with. I’m trying to be Politically Correct with that, I wouldn’t want to offend anyone’s sensibilities by suggesting their sexual preferences were perverse in any way. To each his own is my motto as long as everyone participates willingly; no harm no foul.

          Then again, I suppose the forced groping at airline terminals isn’t really consensual is it?

          “Hi we’re the Government and we’re here to cup your balls and tweak your nipples. Are you OK with that? If not we can always just shoot you. There’s another branch of our organization that’s into necrophilia”

          Nope. No Bad Government here.

        • Government comes about in two forms:
          1) A violent gang declares itself the government of the territory it rules.
          2) People create government to manage mutual interests.

          The problem with 2) is that it is very attractive to criminals, control freaks, violent people, and so forth. In other words, people like you Clover. After enough of these people infect a type 2 government it is indistinguishable from a type 1 government.

          As to my driving… you’re still trying to get a rise out of me. You won’t. Everything you think you know about driving you don’t. You live by a vehicle code you made up as you went along instead of actually reading it. One of the big problems on the road is there are people who read the written rules like me and people who make up their own rules like you.

          Thanks for the defense Eric.

  14. Remember what I said about mankind’s technology developing faster than resource consumption?

    That principle works here, too.

    The same entrepreneurial spirit that drives the invention of new sources of power also enables the creation of new ways to evade and dodge Big Brother. Maybe even defeat him.

    Especially if, like Eric alluded to in an earlier article, the Police State’s facade of “reasonableness” and “justification” begins to show cracks and breaches.

    The end isn’t nigh just yet.

      • I think hope’s justified, even in the short term.

        These police state scenarios are based on the assumption that The State will ALWAYS enforce the law to it’s fullest limit and use its capabilities to their absolute limit, but they almost never do.

        Remember that government bureaucracies are composed of human beings, and human beings are lazy, stupid and selfish. Therein lies our advantage; the crack to exploit.

        Think about it. How many actual, genuine criminals slip through the cracks, or get less attention than they deserve, merely because The State’s hordes have had a long day and just want to go home?

        How many plea bargains and reduced charges are meted out because some prosecutor underestimates the person he’s charging, and thinks the guy’s less of a threat to society than he really is?

        The State’s power is based in part on the concept of INEVITABILITY – You can run, you can even hide, but in the end they’ll get you.

        Not necessarily.

        That power is like an eggshell. Once it cracks, even in the slightest, the mystique vanishes and the dragon’s skin looks a whole lot softer.

        Keep that in mind.

        • It was once said as the Big 3 go, so goes the US economy.


          We are mainly a hasbeen nation due to self-inflicted economic stagnation based on fear.

          China makes twice as many cars as the US. German, Japanese make the same amount, many would say of better quality.

          Americans are easily manipulated by fear.

          Communists are godless, they say, yet Russia is still 70% christian.

          Islam is conquering America they say, yet 0.8% of Americans are Islamic.

          Its time to wake up and realize there is nothing proprietary about US technology. Most of it, we are unable to even produce ourselves.

          No cellphones or smartphones are even made in America, nor tablets. That is over 50% of the internet now.

          If the people need to fear things to get things done. Why not fear the fact that the only means America has to live our current lifestyle, is to bully other nations and productive Americans at gunpoint.

  15. “Somewhere there are entrepreneurial individuals working to circumvent the built in surveillance and the well off will be able to purchase untrackable phones for a premium, like always.”

    Encryption software for cell phones is available in the here and now, and while that technology safeguards your conversations, it does not and cannot neutralize the location tracking that is germane to the technology.

    • John Q. Parvenu wrote:

      “It does not and cannot neutralize the location tracking that is germane to the technology.”

      The goddamn Germans got nothin’ to do with it!”

    • A lead container for cell phone could minimize the ability for tracking. (At least while phone in the lead container.) You could probably use the same bag that is used by photographers to protect film from x-ray machines.

      some phones give you the option to disable the gps feature on your phone. People can use triangulation via cell towers to find your general location.

      • Old Grey One, lead is overkill in this application 🙂

        What you want is a flexible Faraday cage. You can buy cell phone bags made from a material that has very thin metallic fibers woven into it that completely blocks RF energy. The stuff’s called CUBEN and people use it for ultra-lightweight backpacks. Turns out it when you put a cell phone in a bag made out of the stuff the cell phone stops working.


        • That is very interesting. The fabric is much lighter and easier to carry than my lead pouch.

          Thanks for the info. 🙂

          This grey pilgrim is eager for knowledge.

          Be wary of the hounds of Sauron. They can take many forms and guises (TSA, IRS), but their greatest weapon is fear.

        • You know,I should also mention that using masking tools like TOR and hard encryption actually attracts attention. If you’re really interested in keeping your head under the water line, use a cell phone, use eMail and don’t do anything stupid.

          On the other hand if you’re willing to make a political statement, use 2048 bit har dencryption for everything you send to your wife; shopping lists, birthday plans, random product advertisements you think she might be interested in. Everything.

          You’ll tie up centuries of CPU time while the Feds decrypt your laundry lists.

          • I was discussing this with a fellow software guy, and we came up with a nasty little bit of peaceful resistance:

            Send everyone large, heavily-encrypted email attachments every day.

            Their contents? Pure white noise. Random gibberish.

            Random data makes hard encryption even harder to break. They’ll spend thousands of your dollars breaking your white-noise emails…and then wondering if there’s *another* level of encryption they didn’t crack, and trying again!

            • This site gets bombed every day with hundreds of spam “posts” – I’ve always wondered how these are manufactured – and how one might send them to a deserving party…

      • BTW, I should mention I don’t have a tinfoil hat for my phone.

        When I was very young I was warned by my family to always be on my best behavior since the attention of America’s security and intelligence apparatus was ceaselessly watching me. This wasn’t “You better not pout, you better not cry” stuff, by all accounts it was serious. I spent several years of pre and post adolescence convinced my father would lose his job and we’d all be destitute if I checked out the wrong library books.

        I still don’t like surveillance (or being surveilled) for that matter. When I was twelve one of my favorite books was “Harriet the Spy” and I dreamed of being a spy. Most of my friends had similar aspirations but it was an occupational hazard for children raised in a little bedroom community called Vienna VA, just down the pike from McLean. My best friends dad was a Deputy Director at that most famous establishment; we shared similar nightmares.

        After awhile you just have to stop worrying about it. If you don’t it makes you crazy. Seriously. Buy a cell phone and use it. These guys are killing people for no reason at all. Why worry? Look what happened last week with those folks the FBI thought were dangerous revolutionaries? Turned out they weren’t doing anything worse than buying freeze dried food and bad mouthing the bureaucrats. You just can’t defend yourself against that kind of bullshit. If they can’t find a reason to throw you in prison, they’ll make one up and you’ll still spend a couple of years locked down just for good measure.

        You can’t *be* clean enough for a corrupt system.

        • You are correct, sir! (Channeling Ed McMahon, RIP.)

          Kennedy was right: If they want to get you, they’re gonna get you – might as well act accordingly. It gives you a certain psychological advantage…

        • Hey Scott,

          A fellow-traveler! I attended Oakton HS – grew up just down the road (Hunter Mill Road). Small world!

          Been up there recently? It’s a Big Box, McMansion-sprinked Brazil-style nightmare of late empire hideousness. Oakton HS (and Madison HS) looks like a crematorium. Which in a way of course is just what they were….

          • I had an idea you’d spent time somewhere in VA, I think you mentioned it in one of your articles. I went to Joyce Kilmer Jr. High in Vienna but got re-assigned before HS. I pretty much lived all over the world (NW Hemisphere anyway). Due to the nature of my Dad’s occupation we pulled up stakes on average of once every 18th months for my first 20 years of existence.

            After I finished school I grabbed onto some dirt like a shipwrecked sailor and held on tight. I haven’t moved much at all in the past 40 years. Just lately I’ve started thinking about doing some traveling again.

            • I’m still here (Va.) just far away from Vienna! We moved to SW Va. about eight years ago – close to the NC border, up in “the hills.” But the NoVa experience was instructive; I have a degree in Cloverology as a result!

              We’ll only move if the Clovers start popping up here in abundance. Then it’s off to Idaho or some such…..

          • Well, Idaho or some such might sound like a good idea, but I’ll testify it’s a younger mans sport. I spent 7 years raising cattle on the western slope of the Rockies (Lincoln county WY) and I had to surrender at 50. It’s a very hard life, my thinking is if you haven’t got it down to a blind habit by the time you’re 25, you aren’t going to make it. Here’s some context; when you need to replace the injectors on your JD 4630 in February and it 30 degrees below zero outside, accidentally touching a metal part can cause your hand to freeze to that part, requiring emergency intervention. It’s a harsh environment, and by harsh I mean seriously harsh.

            On a more practical note, I’m looking into buying a 1989 BMW 635 Csi (auto). Any thoughts? I’ll be the mechanic, the car is for my wife. I’m up to my eyeballs in alligators right now replacing the timing belt on my ’85 928. I don’t know that much about beamers but I’ve always liked the 635 and my wife wants a sedan. Should I consider crossing over? I’ve been a Porsche guy for over 30 years.

  16. Somewhere there are entrepreneurial individuals working to circumvent the built in surveillance and the well off will be able to purchase untrackable phones for a premium, like always.

    The legitimate role of peacekeepers is a quaint notion of the past. In this video, a journalist filming some inconvenient questioning of Dictator for Life Michael Jong-Il Bloomberg gets a baton to the gut and a wood shampoo later on off camera.
    Bloomberg has on many occasions referred to the NYPD as his personal army, and that’s just what it is. There really are no limits to the surveillance and violence at the beck and call of our thug politicians.
    Behind the scenes, the terrorists trained by our CIA have done their job. They’ve taken the Big Apple and made it into the Big Brother in little over a decade.


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