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Security v. Freedom. the Case of the Millenium

This may well be one of the most pressing conflicts of our generation.  How do we let loose the reins enough to ensure freedom, yet pull them in enough to protect the citizenry from threats to our health and safety?

Our fellow reveler Ralph posted a thought-provoking comment recently, noting a post on another website.  The host of that site (which could be described by some as a preppers site) was sharing an email received from a reader who had purchased seeds from e-Bay and was visited by a federal agent who seized their seeds, stating it was because of the risk of disease.  Here is what Ralph said about it.  I think his contemplation well reflects the mixed feelings many of us have about the tension between the need for privacy/freedom and the desire for protection and safety/security.

from Reveler Ralph…

I just read a story at:
that I received an email about. Having just read the title and brief description from the email I thought I was going to read yet another story about our rights being taken away. After reading the story I am not so sure my initial thoughts were correct. Ignoring the feelings (mine included) about possible govt invasion into our lives, I was reminded of a question on one of the shows I listen to asking why certain plants and seeds were regulated and not allowed to be sent to certain states. Outwardly it seemed, even to me, that some of the regulations were put in place to prevent competition with commercial producers. Some plants were simply invasive and would cause all kinds of damage if let loose in the wrong places.

In spite of searching for the actual explanation I haven’t been able to locate it among the hundreds of shows on the site, so until I can locate it here’s what I can remember. Basically it boiled down to plant diseases and virus infected plants. While it seems that prohibiting certain grape seeds into California or orange seeds into Florida are giving large producers a monopoly on their markets, the real reason is that bringing a plant disease into these areas by infected plants or seeds could destroy commercial crops possibly ruining commercial producers and cause economic problems. Reading seed catalogs you can see notes that a particular seed resists some disease or virus. Seeds, somewhat like people may be immune to certain illnesses, but if a ‘foreign’ illness is brought in it will often spread ‘like wildfire’.

As for the corn in the story, corn can be pollinated by other corn miles away, so a contaminated field can spread disease far and wide. We have already seen this with GMO corn. While no fan of needless regulation, it is possible the seeds in question should not have been allowed to grow. That being the case, I would have to ask why e-Bay was selling them.

Here’s the link to the USDA site which I am going to look through when I have more time:



Thanks, Ralph, for this thought-provoking comment.  I am curious to know what readers are thinking about recent news about the National Security Administration’s data collection efforts and former CIA employee, Edward Snowden’s leaking the U.S. government’s mass surveillance practices.  I’m also wondering what others are thinking about the Illinois Deparment of Agriculture’s seizure of honeybees resistant to Monsanto’s RoundUp which were subsequently reportedly destroyed, the passing of the bill now known as the “Monsanto Protection Act,” and a slow but sure shift in farming legislation to acknowledge food and farming going on in the east coast.  There’s lots going on these days.  I’m wondering how everyone else is processing it all.

So, you know the deal.  Go ahead … gimme the dirt!

14 responses to “Security v. Freedom. the Case of the Millenium

  1. Ralph ⋅

    By coincidence while copying some files for a friend, I ran across a story about a year old that gave many of the details Edward Snowden ‘leaked’. I believe the big fuss being made over Snowden is to make an example out of him- a show of power. Since we are being taxed to fund secret witch hunts on innocent American citizens we should know it is being done,and even demand it be stopped. Too much has gone on in secret behind closed doors during ‘the most transparent administration’ (his words, not mine) and it is time for it to stop. On average 100 people die on the roads in this country each day, maybe that is something productive ‘our ieaders’ can focus on fixing, rather than flagging millions of people’s private communications that innocently use words like cop, airport, or prepper which somehow, magically, make millions a potential threat. Something is seriously wrong with ‘our leaders’, but don’t expect to read about that in any mainstream media. Bread and circuses.

    On the agricultural front, regulations are needed to protect crops, people, and control damaging insects. What we do not need are private companies controlling political decisions. When companies such as Monsanto spend millions to keep people in the dark about their products something is seriously wrong. Most companies advertise to the public to increase sales and profit. How bad must a product be that a company will spend millions to hide it?

    • Revel

      “Bread and circuses.” Well put. Check out today’s post, and tell me if you agree. I remember years ago (probably about 20, give or take a year or two), I went to a speech that was being given at my local community college by an environmentalist. Back then, they were so rare they gave talks on college campuses, and seemed quite novel. I don’t remember the name of the woman, but I remember her talking about how she recycled in her own house, and how odd and cumbersome that seemed. It planted a seed, though. She even said that one day she expected all people would be recycling and that it would even be required by communities, but that she didn’t know if the rest of the world would catch up soon enough. I guess that’s the big lingering question.

      Regarding this:

      On the agricultural front, regulations are needed to protect crops, people, and control damaging insects. What we do not need are private companies controlling political decisions. When companies such as Monsanto spend millions to keep people in the dark about their products something is seriously wrong. Most companies advertise to the public to increase sales and profit. How bad must a product be that a company will spend millions to hide it?

      I couldn’t agree more!

  2. Ralph ⋅

    A recent podcast I listened to spoke about an old way of irrigation using Ollas. I never heard of this before and it sounded interesting. Basically they’re clay pots almost buried in the ground and then kept full of water. Water seeps through the clay slowly moistening the soil around the olla. A key feature is that the olla must be unglazed. Here’s the website for a better explanation: Check their links page for more info and the podcast link.

    I did a fast search on Amazon and found one made from the above site. It is $39 plus $33 shipping- not cheap, especially if you need a number of them. As suggested in the podcast, finding them locally or asking a garden supply shop to get a few for you would save the shipping. The closest retailer I found on their site was in Ruthorford NJ.

    YouTube has a few videos on ollas, including one that actually shows how to make one:
    The video is less than 4 minutes long,

    • Revel

      Thanks for posting this! I like the idea of it. The cost is a bit much but it seems there are ways around that. Especially given the unreliability of the weather we’ve had lately, this seems like it could be a good fix. I think you know that I generally am against having to water a garden. If it’s a plant that’s not hardy enough to make it in my yard, it probably doesn’t belong there. Of course exceptions have to be made (especially with heat waves like our most recent one), but it never feels great when I’m doing it. I inevitably think about places in the world without water, and how much we waste ours. I remember hearing a comedian one time talk about why Minnesota has a concentration of Somali immigrants, and that while Minnesotans (of the land of 10,000 lakes) complained about long winters where all this frozen water surrounded them, Somalians considered it the land of milk and honey and, of course, water.

  3. Ralph ⋅

    I am not sure what happened, but a couple of the text links in the previous post came out as pictures that linked to Amazon

  4. Ralph ⋅

    I found a couple links in youtube about olla making by searching “olla irrigation”. Since ollas are also used for cooking when they are glazed, and for cooling water in hot climates, not all videos apply to gardening. This link does:

    The podcast (worth listening to) mentioned experimenting by gluing the dish of a clay flower pot to the top of the pot sealing it. They mentioned Gorilla Glue for that since it’s waterproof. Having used Gorilla Glue before I would say don’t count on getting this apart in one piece once it’s dried. Anyway, aside from being small (ollas hold 2 gallons), the hole in the pot which will be facing up once buried is small and makes it hard to fill with water.

    Having watched the above video I couldn’t help but think if I had ever done any clay pottery making these would probably be easy to make. Aside from a large savings in water used, full ollas will keep an area moist for days between fillings without over watering. There are limitations, but the site and podcast explain things much better than I can.

  5. Ralph ⋅

    I recently found a new podcast to listen to. Before I really knew what the site was about I listened to one of the podcasts and my interest was caught. The host is a Quaker, and by his own admission a bad one- hence the website:
    As it turned out, my idea of what a Quaker is was completely wrong. So, why am I writing about Quakers in a gardening blog?? Here’s a link to one of their podcasts that may explain:

    Of the 300+ podcasts on the site I’ve only listened to about 20 episodes so far. The main purpose of the site is liberty- what it is, how much we still have, how much we’ve lost, and what to do about it. Add some interesting history, current events, and a bit of Quaker philosophy presented in a methodical and logical manner and you will have an idea of what the site is about. Give it a listen and see what you think.

  6. Ralph ⋅

    So, in the midst of a decline in bee population (colony collapse disorder) bees are being killed because Monsanto’s poisons won’t kill them? Since bees (and other insects) are so important to pollination, that would lead me to think that Monsanto’s yet to be announced ‘super invention’ will be GMO crops that don’t need to be pollinated. First get rid of the pollinators, then save the world with crops that don’t need pollination. Oh, BTW, Monsanto has a patent on the ‘solution’. Is it coincidence there are so few insects lately?
    Of cause nobody in govt will attempt to stop this because private business controls the govt. Look at the Monsanto Protection Act. Politicians handed Monsanto a pen to write the act and it was approved without question. People need to start pulling their heads out of their collective iPhones and pay attention to what is going on around them. Things are not going well in this country. There is not enough money on planet Earth to pay the US debt off. The news never mentions the $100 trillon+ debt we have in unfunded liabilities- or the interest that is mounting on it. This country cannot manufacture a cell phone without importing parts. Make a list of products made in the USA with US made parts (you won’t need much paper for this). What’s the number media gives us for inflation? Does that match with your increased food and energy costs? Global warming, carbon taxes? All the taxes will do is move CO2 production into other countries and make a few people rich. Want to reduce CO2, plant a garden, plant a tree. Apparently politicians forgot plants use CO2 to produce oxygen.

    From left field back on topic, it is my guess based on history that if govt is getting involved with agriculture again, it is actually big business accomplishing their agenda(s) in the guise of govt doing good and with the approval of a mostly uncaring unaware population. Hopefully I am wrong, but I doubt anything good will come of this.

  7. Ralph ⋅

    Going back to this topic after a long lapse, I recently bought a small wifi only tablet. Although I rarely go online with it except from home, I installed a free VPN app. What VPN does is encrypt your communications end to end. Why use VPN? Do you pay bills online, order anything online, do banking online, log into online accounts that require a password for access…
    Someone (in addition to the govt) can fairly easily monitor what you do and get your account info, cc number, and passwords. Wifi hotspots are notorious for this. Think Starbucks, internet cafes, or any place with free wifi. With VPN your info is safe because at no point is your communication unencrypted. In addition, it becomes extremely difficult if not impossible for your internet provider to know what sites you visit (info they turn over to the govt). For example, connecting to Revel Gardener I can by my choice appear to be in the US, France, Holland, &c. In addition my internet provider now knows nothing more than I connected to the country I chose. Large companies use VPN to maintain online security. As a side benefit, you have now made life difficult for all of our govt agencies who are knowingly monitoring your every action online! Vpn is worth it for this alone.

    • Revel

      Nice! Where did you get the VPN app? Do you have a link you could share? I like that idea. In addition to what you say here: it becomes extremely difficult if not impossible for your internet provider to know what sites you visit (info they turn over to the govt) — I imagine that this info is shared with marketers/advertisers as well.

  8. Ralph ⋅

    I did a search on the Google Play Store for “VPN”. I tried a couple apps that popped up. Some were trials for a pay version. The one I think is best of the one’s I tried is “Thunder VPN”. Since I was looking for VPN on my tablet which is Android based, this will not work on a PC. I know there are Windows versions, my company requires it to access their systems, but I haven’t used VPN per se on my laptop.
    It may be interesting to note that when I tried VPN from my tablet today I could not use my VPN app to connect to anything. Possibly coincidence, but I am not much of a believer in coincidence. ‘They’ want to know everything about you while they work in secrecy. I will periodically check to see if it starts working again. Luckily, the free market comes up with solutions for anything :), and there are alternative ways to go about this.

    For PCs there is another interesting alternative which can but doesn’t require VPN:
    This is a complete and secure LINUX based operating system that can be run from a DVD or USB thumb drive- I like this one. Briefly, you boot a computer off the DVD or USB drive. It will not use the machine’s hard drive at all. The basic idea is you can walk up to a PC, boot your own operating system, do what you need and shut down the machine when done. NO TRACES of what you did are left behind on the machine, unlike Windows which leaves a trail of everything you do behind. Check
    for starters, and don’t forget EVERYONE is an enemy of the state now days. Work, pay your taxes, shut up, don’t think, believe everything you are told without question, and the govt will take care of everything for you. Welcome to modern day America!
    The LINUX based operating system has a learning curve, read the documentation on their site. It looks similar to Windows, and actually has a ‘Windows XP stealth mode’ so that to anyone looking over your shoulder (something you should always guard against anyway) it appears you are using XP. Check it out!

  9. Ralph ⋅

    I revisited the Google Play Store and looked up ‘Thunder VPN’, the app I wrote about. Looking through the reviews a number of people commented that it stopped working after a recent update- probably why mine stopped working. I am thinking of just paying for VPN service which is not all that expensive. I’ll have to put a few things in place before paying for VPN, since if you pay through normal methods the paper trail of your payment makes an easy task of linking you to it and everything you do from that point on. I can post a link describing that in more detail if anyone is interested. Amazing what you have to do now days to keep the SELF LEGALIZED CRIMINALS out of your business.
    One program I listen to runs commercials, one about NSA spying. Their solution, since they will never stop spying on us, is to make it useless by ‘speaking like a terrorist all the time’. In all emails, texts, phone conversations, and every communication use words that are flagged as ‘terrorist’. The sheer volume of data would render the system useless and the data in it meaningless. This takes the ‘F bomb’ to a whole new level. Oops, did I just flag my post??- GOOD. You have to love the free market, especially since the powers that be don’t.
    Since buying my tablet and downloading a few apps I wanted to pass along something I noticed. Before starting the download read all the permissions you are agreeing to first. Quite a few will require access to your contacts, your phone calls, your current location, and other data. The lists vary but read them first. Ask yourself if that information has anything at all to do with the app, and do you really want to release your information. Does a cooking app require knowing everyone you call on the phone and access to the GPS in your device showing where you are located? BTW, wifi can also be used to get your location. Just like Facebook &c, don’t be duped into putting personal information ‘out there’ for everyone to see.

  10. Ralph ⋅

    Since my last visit there was an update for Thunder VPN. When I read the new permissions they added access to phone info. After removing the app I began searching for a replacement. I was pleased to find has an Android app. It will only protect you when using their browser. It’s free, and I have been using their Linux version on my Windows machine. Basically you boot from a dvd or usb thumb drive and the existing hard drive is not accessed or even needed. You can take the dvd/ thumb drive to any computer, boot, do whatever you need to and leave nothing behind after you’re done. There’s also a Mac version. Do read their documents before using.
    A paid program that looks interesting is
    It uses vpn, encryption, and servers NOT located in the US, which is a good thing.

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