All posts by Mike

We Have A Way To Help Brandon (& James Update)

Hi all,

Just another update, with a request.
I finally heard from Brandon. He’s been moved out of quarantine into his permanent facility, Parnall Correctional Facility. From what he’s told me he is treated a lot better there than he was in quarantine, and that there is more to do there than I would have expected. As he describes it, its “OK, but I’m still in fucking prison.”

Another tidbit of information I got from him is that he will have to be there at a minimum until May before being eligible for parole. This is where we come in.

What is needed are LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION for Brandon to present to the parole board. We will send them to Brandon, but write them as if they are to the parole board, making a case for his character and basically letting them know what an outstanding dude he is and that he doesn’t deserve to spend five years in prison away from his family.

These letters, or any other correspondence that you would like to send him, must have his name and inmate number, as well as his facility address. Address your envelopes as below:

Brandon Vreeland #393085
Parnall Correctional Facility
1780 E. Parnall Street
Jackson MI, 49201

I also have updated information on adding money to Brandon’s commissary account, which he would greatly appreciate.
If you are willing to contribute to this, you can do so online at connectnetwork.com

On the site, to add money remotely you will need his correctional facility site number, and his prisoner number but this time with a leading zero. Also, there are two accounts, his Phone account and his Trust account. He would prefer the money be added to Trust.

Site: 117
Prisoner Number: 0393085
Add the money to TRUST account

Thanks for your time, and please take the time to do this so our brother Brandon can get back home to his family sooner.

As for James, he has been moved again to F1 in Dickerson. The jail tried to move his out date to March instead of his early release date of January 24th claiming he “got into it with a deputy”. But there was no report or video to back up this claim. James has been spending his time reading and writing his book. If any one is interested in reading his journal entries to see what his time has been like I can send those your way.
Mail should be addressed:

James Baker
2017-00004148 F1
3501 Hamtramck Dr
Hamtramck, MI 48211

If you would like you can also send money orders of no more than $100, made out to James with his inmate number on them, to the same address for his commissary account.

I also have a list of books here that James would like these can also be sent to the above address. https://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/8MXAV911WSQ1

Thank you for taking the time to read this and thank you in advance if you send anything to James or Brandon. They appreciate contact from the outside world.

Incarceration Update: James Baker and Brandon Vreeland

In a gross oversight I have apparently posted this information on Facebook but not on the website. My apologies.

First, Brandon:

Brandon got the worse end of this stick by far, and is facing 9 months to 5 years in a state prison for simply documenting the situation as it occurred. James called me from jail specifically to implore me to impart this knowledge and its importance on you.

Like James, he’s been essentially crucified in order to make a clear statement about how the city of Dearborn, the county of Wayne, and the State of Michigan feel about your rights and freedoms. Actions speak louder than words, and in that way Brandon is now shouting for all of us. We need to make sure that he knows he is heard.

Instructions regarding how to send mail to an MDOC prisoner can be found at THIS LINK

You will need the prison name and address, as well as his MDOC prisoner number.
It should be presented on the envelope in the following format:

Brandon B. Vreeland, #393085
Charles Egeler Reception And Guidance Center
3855 Cooper St.
Jackson, MI 49201-7547

Charles Egeler Reception and Guidance Center is the facility he was assigned to as of last I checked, but before addressing your letter you can verify his facility location and address at THIS LINK
If you really want Brandon to know he is loved, the process for sending him some money for his inmate account can be found at THIS LINK
If you are not using the online service, you will need an accompanying deposit form, which can be found at THIS LINK

Next, James:

James has been moved to a different housing unit in the jail.
Future mail should be addressed:

James Baker
2017-00004148 Mod G1
3501 Hamtramck Dr
Hamtramck, MI 48211

James left a list of books he would like to have, which we’ve put into an Amazon wishlist at THIS LINK

Please note, all books or magazines must come directly from the publisher or a well known retailer such as Amazon or Barnes and Noble. All books must be paper back, anything hard cover will be returned to sender.

Straight from the Wayne County website: Letters will not be accepted which contain illegal or prohibited material including; Polaroid pictures, raised decorative stickers, musical or battery operated cards, stamps, personal checks, cash and items, which may be obtained from commissary. Here is a LINK so you can read the specifics before you send anything.

Also if anyone would like to put money on James’ commissary account HERE IS THE LINK to set all that up. Commissary will allow James to buy pencils, paper, hygiene products, clothes and snacks. You can send money orders $100 or less only or you can sign up for an online account and do deposit money that way. The link will tell you exactly what you need to do.

I know it is a lot to read, a lot of links, a bit of time and effort and possibly a few dollars of your hard earned money, but they are presently paying more than that for us, it is really the least we can do.
Thanks everyone!

Is voting aggression yet?

Ironic, isn’t it? All the protests and complaints, people saying “well, he’s not MY president!”

And yet these people are the same ones to champion the merits of “Democracy“.

When a voluntaryist tells them that voting is aggression, they aren’t having it.
No, you need to do your part, its your civic duty, blah blah blah.

But now look what’s happening.

3a37429100000578-3922098-image-a-36_1478739525870

They want to say now that because they didn’t vote for him, he’s not their president. They want to protest until he is pulled out and replaced with their ruler of choice.

They don’t realize that then, they would be the aggressors. Then, those that wanted the ruler that was chosen would feel the same way. “She’s not MY president, I didn’t vote for her.”

That’s the contemptible thing about voting though, isn’t it? Someone will ALWAYS be oppressed. Someone will ALWAYS be subject to the will of a subset of the population with whom they do not agree, and forced to live in a way that they are not fond of.

Why can’t those who wish to follow Hillary follow her, and those who wish to follow Trump follow him, and those who wish to follow Johnson follow him, and most importantly those who wish to follow nothing but their own heart be free to do so, provided they aren’t preventing others from doing the same?

If you are one of these people protesting today, consider how you feel. Bottle it up. Remember it. The next time you hear someone tell you that voting is aggression, before you shoot them down, open that bottle and remember how it felt the day you were forced to follow this man who is ‘not your president’.

The Thin Blue Line in the Sand

You’ve seen this symbol making the rounds, haven’t you?

Do you know what it means?
No, no… what it actually means.

You are perpetuating the exact problem that lead to the circumstances that have now led you to believe that this sort of display is ‘necessary’.
I am referring, of course, to the pandemic of “Us vs. Them” mentality that is sweeping the nation as of late.

I will explain, by answering a series of questions:

1. What, in an ‘ideal’ world, should a police officer actually be?
2. What, in today’s world, is a police officer?
3. What is a line?

Firstly, we will address what a police officer should be in an ‘ideal’ world. I put ‘ideal’ in quotes because I understand that everyone’s idea of ‘ideal’ is different.

For the purposes of this discussion, ‘ideal’ means a world of completely voluntary human interaction where everyone experiences freedom and government is not grossly overstepping its bounds. In fact, for purposes of this discussion, lets say there is no traditional ‘government’ and that ‘police’ can refer to private persons dedicated to the protection of others from violent encroachment or any other non-voluntary human interactions.

This does a lot of the work in answering this first question for me, but to be even more clear, in this ‘ideal’ world, the job of a peace office would be simply to help prevent, or intervene to stop, the aggressor in situations where the aggressor is attempting to force another person into a non-voluntary interaction. This can be using physical violence, threat of violence, or some other form of coercion. What you’ll notice a distinct lack of in this scenario is any sort of responsibility to police victimless ‘crime’. Again, ‘crime’ in quotes here because a true crime cannot exist without a victim.

In this situation, it would be important for the person acting as a peace officer to also not overstep from preventing non-voluntary interaction to initiating their own non-voluntary interaction by force. This person would essentially need to be integrated into the community. They are one of us, jump into help where needed, and afterwards go back to being one of us. They are not an elite class of supervisors, rulers, parents, caretakers, or otherwise. They are just people, acting merely on the principle that forced interaction is wrong, and are only able to intervene at the level that you or a loved one would be able to intervene on your own behalf.

So what, then, has today’s police officer actually become?

In contrast to my above descriptions, police are tasked with enforcing many laws that outline ‘crimes’ that do not have victims. They are seen as stewards, chaperones, to ensure that we the people do what our parent, the state, wants us to and don’t step out of line.

Because these police are able to intervene into otherwise completely voluntary human interactions, it means that they essentially are being given ‘rights’ by the state that we the people do not have. How can a group of people [government] delegate rights that they as individuals do not have?

This puts police in a category of their own, between the state and the people. Their mentality becomes warped, as is human nature, and they start to view our non-police group as inferior.

For an in-depth study explaining what I mean, read up on the Stanford Prison Experiment.

Don’t let me lose you here, I’m not saying anything bad about your dad/cousin/sister/etc. who also happens to be a police officer, I’m merely talking about the corruption that has happened at an institutional level. Good as they as people may be, they are trained and ingrained to view the world as two groups: police, and non-police. Most cops would call these non-police ‘civilians’, without realizing that in my ‘ideal’ world above, they too would be civilians.

Once that mentality is instilled, they are trained that every ‘civilian’ is a potential ‘criminal’. They are trained to always be wary, to stick together no matter what, and to shoot first and ask questions later if at all.

“I’m going home tonight!” they exclaim.

This means that, as a police officer, they are trained to be on edge and anxious, afraid for their lives at every moment of every day that they are working. They become jumpy, and in the event that this leads [and it does] to an unjustified shooting, they are trained to cover up for one another, not only because they are told to but because they know that they experience the same anxious tension all the time, and that it could easily be them.

Yes, police should be held accountable when this happens, but also realize that a person getting into policing for ‘all the right reasons’ is systematically indoctrinated to feel this way, and that to some of them, they honestly believe they are risking their lives for the greater good in a world full of dangerous criminals and that there is danger at every turn.

We will ignore for today the contingent of sick fucks who recognize everything I’ve just said and join up literally because they enjoy to be violent bullies and wish to be legally immune from punishment. There are a few of these… you’ve seen them in the news, the ‘let me rape you or I’ll take you to jail’ guys, etc.

So already you can see how dangerous, divisive, and destructive the “Us Vs. Them” mentality is. That is without even talking about the other ways we the people are being divided and segregated into similar, albeit less ’empowered’ groups, a la BLM. Which brings us to this:

What is a line?

Put simply, a line is a divider. It separates one thing from another. One area from another. One shape, one region, one idea from another.

A line is a fence. A line is a wall. A line is a moat.

What is a thin blue line, then?

Some would argue that it is a line between the ‘criminals’ and the people, but it is not. It is a line between the people and the state, as defined above. It creates a clear divide, a separation. It makes a statement; Here on one side is us, the police, and there on the other side are you, the people. This sows the seeds of divisiveness and perpetuates the issues previously described.

By wearing this thin blue line, or sticking it to your vehicle, or displaying it on your social media page, you are literally making the problem you seek to solve worse. You are feeding the hand that bites you. You are the rape victim perpetuating rape culture.

“Of course I said no, but you know looking back on it, I was totally asking for it…”

There are ways to solve the problem, and segregation/group warfare/class warfare is not one of them.

It should not be a line, but more of a scatter plot. So I’ll leave you with a scatter plot.

scatterplot

Linens ≠ Liberty

A flag is a symbol.
A flag is not a person, or a group of people.
A flag is not freedom.
A flag is a symbol.
Symbols are representative, but symbols are also relative. They mean different things to different people.
This is important to understand.

To some, they believe a flag represents freedom, and the sacrifice that has been offered to secure that freedom.

To others, a flag represents oppression, and is the banner under which their freedoms disappear and their lives are controlled.

Either is reasonable, depending on your viewpoint.

The former is representative of all that has taken place to arrive at the point in which we currently exist. In other words, this is typically the viewpoint of a person who believes that a ‘flag’ represents a ‘country’, which is comprised of ‘people’ and ‘principles’ [such as freedom].

The latter is representative of a ‘government’, which seeks to control ‘people’ who live within a ‘country’, which is defined by the area which can be forceably controlled by aforementioned ‘government’. In other words, it is typically the viewpoint of a person who believes that a flag represents a ‘government’, which seeks to control the behavior of ‘people’, and that ‘people’ and ‘principles’ [such as freedom] can be valued, and celebrated, and striven and fought for, even or perhaps especially in the absence of a ‘government’.

The primary distinction between these two belief structures is, put simply, the presence of a distinction between ‘principles’ and ‘government’.

The former set of people do not see a distinction, and view any slight against one as an attack on the other.

The latter set of people, on the contrary, view the existence of these two entities as mutually exclusive.

Symbols mean different things to different people. This is important as we look at what is going on in the world around us.
Chastising people for their behavior towards a symbol is easy if you assume that the symbol means the same thing to them that it does to you. You take it personally. You think they’re direcly insulting your ‘principles’.

However, if you take a step back, given the above, and realize that to them, the symbol itself is a direct insult to their ‘principles’, you begin to understand their behavior.

It is more important still to realize that in this situation, you are both reacting strongly, against each other, because you each believe the other is standing against your ‘principles’, when in reality a mere misunderstanding about the meaning of a symbol has lead you to lose sight of the fact that you are, in fact, championing the SAME ‘principles’.

Now, to this Kaepernick guy.
I don’t care about sports, or this guy, any more than I care about anybody else I don’t know, except to say that I believe in Liberty for Everyone.

I will say this: addressing of grievances used to be encouraged. This is an example of a person in the latter group addressing their grievances, and refusing to align with a ‘symbol’ that, as defined above, is contradictory to the person’s ‘principles’.
This is not a slight against your ‘principles’. If you are offended, then it is merely because you disagree upon the meaning of the symbol chosen as the vessel for the message. The ‘principles’ being defended, even though you may disagree with the method, are likely the same ‘principles’ you hold dear yourself.

Don’t be so blind, dumb and hateful that you can’t take a step back and see the bigger picture, which, in short, is that the symbol is not the thing that needs defending. The ‘principles’ are. The sooner you realize this, the sooner you might find allies in unexpected places, and enemies in plain view.

Riddle me this…

Why in the hell would you put any weight behind a celebrity endorsement for president, whether they like the guy you like or not?

They are, after all, just people. Furthermore, however, they are people whose fortune and privilege puts them so far disillusioned from the average person that the issues that concern them are not likely to be the same issues that concern you. They don’t know how you live.

They are just strangers.

Would you choose a new baby formula just because Luigi who runs the deli uptown went on the news and said its fucking fantastic, in spite of the fact that your doctor has told you otherwise? Because that’s the equivalent of people ignoring facts at the behest of dumbass celebrities.

Oh, they have money, and people recognize them? Great. I still don’t give a shit what they think. And neither should you.

My opinion, worth exactly what you paid for it.

Box Theorem

Consider the following:

For any given Actionable Situation (Sa), the number of Available Options (Oa) is at least one more than the number of Perceived Options (Op)

For Sa, Oa ≥ Op+1

This may be impossible to prove, but I’ve yet to see it proven wrong. People right now have either a dangerously high level of apathy, or a dangerously high level of violently exclusive loyalty (ie. “You’re either with us or against us”).

The reality is that most of the time, the Perceived Options available are driven by those intentionally steering you toward one or the other to satisfy their own agendas. Polarization of an issue is required in order to ‘demonize’ the ‘other’ guy, and then when you get caught in the middle you’re forced to either choose the ‘demon’ or the ‘lesser of two evils’.

Anybody who speaks in absolutes with regard to free will is selling something.

It seems so obvious to me, to a point where I’m sad to have to explain it, but the situation is rare that the options you perceive are truly your only available courses of action.

Please think about this, discuss it, mention it to others. Don’t let anybody convince you that your opinions or thoughts on a matter are irrelevant, or that you only have two choices and they are their way or the ‘other way’. If you don’t agree with either option, don’t choose either option. Do what you morally believe is right, be your own person, and don’t let anyone else coerce you into going along with them out of desperation.

The correct choice isn’t always the easy choice, but if the easy choice isn’t the correct choice, then fuck you for making it. That is lazy and destructive, both to you and to anyone else involved.

Don’t get trapped in the box. Use your brain for what it is for. Do research. Think critically. Be an individual. You don’t have to do anything that is against your morals, ever.

A Brief Point-for-Point Response

As is often the case, this woman’s assertion that there was ‘quite frankly nothing to add’ has inspired me to respond to her comment point-for-point.

In the middle of the night, once upon a time, a house owner heard what seemed to be an intruder entering his house, took his gun, fired and killed his son!

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, the Empire destroyed the planet of Alderaan with a giant laser fired from the Death Star.
Do you have some names and dates here so the actual facts can be analyzed, or are you simply inventing a hypothetical situation based on nothing more than misguided emotions that isn’t rooted in any factual evidence?

How about that for self defense? Come on! So tell me, how the hell do you know that guns will be properly used, once issued to the offender in beautiful disguise?

Not sure what disguise you’re referring to, but I can tell you conclusively that the best way to be sure whether or not a gun will be used properly is to observe the gun, and decide if it is, at the time of observation, being used properly. If it is not, then you had better have your own, and use it properly.

My gosh! in what kind of society are we living in…so let’s see, just as an example. My neighbor and I get into an argument. Ok! he or she gets ticked off, and pulls its gun on me, just because! then what?……There is in fact no answer to that. Quite frankly there is nothing to add.

…If your neighbor is the kind of person who would pull a gun on you for ‘no reason’, firstly, you should move, secondly, you should have a means to defend yourself from their dangerous antics.
However, if you are implying that the mere presence of a firearm means that an ordinary person will suddenly become a violent criminal, then you are projecting your own insecurity about how dangerous you know yourself to be with a firearm on others, which is irrational.

Also, as a point of advice, to state in the absolute that there is nothing more to add is to deprive yourself of the beautiful thing that is educating yourself on the opinions and facts available from the people around you, which, whether you agree with them or not, can be invaluable in understanding your environment and interacting meaningfully and safely with it. If you are truly closed-minded enough to dismiss immediately points which have not even been brought to your attention, it is no wonder that you have such a tragically skewed view of how the world works.

“That’s the Great Thing about America…”

“That’s The Great Thing About America…”

How often has the old adage “Well, that’s the great thing about America…” been uttered in your presence or by you in reference to the fact that here in the United States, we all have the right to disagree, and that’s OK, because we have a right to our opinions? Probably a few right?

I’m guilty. I’ve said it myself. I think I may have even said it last weekend.

Now, though, I’ve sat down for a second and reflected on this observation, and my conclusion is thus:

If the ability to disagree is truly the great thing about the United States, or if we accept that it is even merely *a* good thing about the United States, then we are failing to recognize that if this is true, then it is also the façade masking the great tragedy of America as well.

Let me explain.

In the United States, it is true that we are all entitled to our own opinion. This is true anywhere, really. This is possible because your beliefs and opinions are in your brain, and the only person who can change them is you. You can’t be forced, legislated, taxed or otherwise into changing these core beliefs. You can only be convinced, no matter how hard you pretend under the duress of coercion.

The tragedy, however, is that no matter what your core beliefs are, if you are in the minority, the majority has the ability to force you to live outside of those beliefs. If 51% of the population disagrees with you, they can get legislation enacted that forces you and the rest of the other 49% to live according to the majority doctrine, even if it contradicts your own.

This is the America we live in.
This is the world we live in.

In a truly liberated society, the 51% would still be able to live according to their beliefs, but so too would the other 49%, even if the groups chose to live completely differently, contradictory to each other even, so long as nobody was violating the rights of others as based on the Non-Aggression Principle.

This is not the America we live in.
This is not the world we live in.

But it can be.