When in Mexico…

Federales badge“In Mexico, if you have a problem and turn to the police, then you have two problems.” — Mexican historian Lorenzo Meyer, as quoted in Mark Greany’s Ballistic.

Humorous, yes, but it’s no joke.

Be careful down there. I am from Latin America, am totally fluent in Spanish, live within 100 miles of the Mexican border — in other words, I am the type of person who should have no problems at all in Mexico and should be welcome there. But I never, ever go into Mexico — it’s just not worth the risks. There are so many other places one can go without running such risks of corruption (not to mention the drug cartels, street crime, etc.) that to me it just doesn’t make sense to go into Mexico.

And it’s a shame, too. The Mexican people themselves — of which there are many north of the border too — are, as a whole, some of the most wonderful people I’ve ever known. But Mexico as a country  — let’s be blunt here —  really sucks.

In the meantime, if you want to do something positive to help free the unjustly jailed Sergearnt Tahmooressi (the story is amazing — a huge travesty of justice; read the other articles linked here) start by signing the White House petition to see if the American President will at least pick up the phone and talk with the President of Mexico about it. It’s the least he could do, but hasn’t yet.

Beware the Stingray (land-dwelling version)

Beware the Stingray (land version)

Beautiful animal, isn’t it? But there’s another kind of Stingray that lives on land and it’s its “ears” that provide its dangerous sting. Oh, and the land version, made by secretive government contractor Harris Corporation, runs on batteries and is probably much more of a threat to you than the flesh-and-blood version — one of them could be onto you right now. It’s such a threat to your privacy that the Federal Government is trying very hard to keep its very existence secret, and you should at least know about it. Click on the image for more info.

Loss of freedom is a one-way trip, and what you can do about it

ImageA thought to consider: No government ever willingly gave up any kind of surveillance powers. Once in Big Brother’s hands, Big Brother never gives up an effective tool. The time to safeguard your freedom and privacy is before government starts using it, not after.

I say this as someone who grew up under a then-new Communist regime and saw how liberties disappeared as Communism grew. But in that respect there is nothing exclusively unique about Communism; we’ve seen the squeezing and trampling of our freedoms and privacy happening in the United States too. It’s become considerably worse under the Obama regime, but it certainly didn’t start with Obama.

Think about this and act — act vociferously — before it’s too late. It’s the very least we owe our children and future generations, to leave to them the freedoms we once had, and at the present rate, judging by what has been happening to our freedoms and privacy the last few years, we’re not doing a very good job of it.

So what can you do about it? Here and here are good places to join the fight on the national and global level, another on a more personal level to defend your own personal privacy. And to help learn and keep up with the latest, security guru Bruce Schneier’s blog is a great start.

Seven new ways you’re being watched

In the race between individual privacy vs. government use of technology, Big Brother technology is winning. The vast majority of people, even us “professional paranoids” who make it our interest to keep up and to warn others of the threats to their persons and privacy, can’t keep up with all the new ways being invented and put to use to keep tabs on even the most minor — though in some ways most invasive and therefore dangerous — ways to pry into and record what we do. say, and even think.

Here is a list and brief explanations of seven new ways by which you are being watched, tracked, and recorded by police. And in these cases that means even your local police; it doesn’t necessarily mean the big entities like the NSA. (The NSA & ilk in many cases already have even more effective means to do things like this.)

Believe me, the time to fight for your freedom, rights, and privacy is now, not later. And a good place to start is by joining with others trying to uncover what’s happening.

Bending your mind… with color?

We all know that color can affect how we feel and react: Cheery colors in a room, of an attractive object, of a glorious sunset — all can have a marked effect on mood and feeling.

But what if the effect goes much deeper? What if exposure to a given color can have effects on you as strong as any physical effect, such as making you physically weaker or stronger? What if exposure to colored lights, objects, or surroundings be used (perhaps by others) to weaken or control you? That would be freaky, scary, potentially deviously manipulative to the point of being dangerous.

And yet serious evidence is mounting that human exposure to color can have deep and irresistible effects on our behavior, judgment, and even physical abilities. Red can affect sexual attraction, while being in a pink room can make you physically weaker, or at least less aggressive. These are not tenets of pop psychology, but based on objective evidence and measurement — the effects are real, some of them so well established that “drunk-tank pink” (RGB=255,145,175 or #ff91af, for those who want to play with HTML RGB colors) is used in thousands of jail cells worldwide, with the authorities reporting remarkable results in de-fusing the offenders.

But what can be used also be abused? Can the powerful effects of color be used to surreptitiously control or manipulate? Could color exposure be used to affect business negotiations, the behavior of children, the decisions of a judge or jury? One cannot but wonder — and scheme?

No doubt some will, and probably already do. How are you being (unknowingly) affected?

Savvy paranoia indeed. Yes, indeed. But no need to worry, just be happy. Happy, happy, happy.