Tag Archives: law

Four Reforms to Note in Oklahoma Personal Asset Protection Act SB 838

scale_of_justice

Kaye Beach

Sept. 20, 2015

Sen. Kyle Loveless is the author of SB 838, the Personal Asset Protection Act which would give more protection to innocent property owners from the practice of civil asset forfeiture.   It is a good bill but to my dismay, I keep running into misconceptions about the measure.  Legislation is a little tricky to read and often, the media does not break them down very well.

In this post, I will show you the bill and point out the four major reforms it would accomplish.

A tiny bit of background first.  Civil asset forfeiture allows the government to take property that they assert to have been gained or used in the commission of a crime.

There is a difference between civil and criminal asset forfeiture.

Civil Forfeiture
Civil forfeitures are based on the unlawful use of a property irrespective of an owner’s culpability. Civil forfeitures followed the rules of civil procedure.

Criminal Forfeiture
Criminal forfeitures are subject to all the constitutional and statutory procedural safeguards available under criminal law. The forfeiture case and the criminal case are tried together. Forfeiture counts must be included in the indictment of the defendant which means the grand jury must find a basis for the forfeiture. At trial, the burden of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt.

Read more

Unlike criminal asset forfeiture, civil asset forfeiture does not require a conviction. In fact, the person who has their property taken under civil asset forfeiture may not even be charged with any crime.

OKLAHOMA CITY — Over a five-year period, law enforcement officials in 12 Oklahoma Counties seized more than $6 million in cash, almost $4 million of which was taken without any criminal charges…
Records indicate that of the $6.1 million dollars taken, only $2.1 million was seized from people who were actually charged with a crime, meaning more than 65 percent of the cash seized was taken without any criminal charges being filed.
Read more

Some legal experts would like to see asset forfeiture ended with few exceptions but most states aren’t willing to simply banish the practice. In the meantime, important reforms can and should be made.
Scott Bullock, senior attorney at the Institute for Justice offers five recommendations for states who are will not summarily call a halt to asset forfeiture. He recommends that states:
1. Place seized revenues in neutral funds
2. Increase the standard of proof for seizure to require “clear and convincing evidence” of a crime,
3. move the burden of proof to the government,
4. Make the tracking of seized assets more transparent,
5. Eliminate “equitable sharing” arrangements.

Link

SB 838 by Sen. Loveless would accomplish three out of those five reform recommendations (plus one more important one that is not on Bullock’s list )

I have heard some people say  that the only thing that this bill does is take the proceeds gained through civil asset forfeiture away from the police and give them to the state.   It’s not true.

I find four substantial reforms in SB838 in addition to removing the profit incentive for civil asset forfeiture.

1) SB 838 requires a conviction before property can be taken by the government
2) SB 838 puts the burden of proof on the government taking the property.  They have to prove guilt rather than the individual being threatened with the loss of their property having to prove innocence
3) SB 838 raises the amount of evidence required for the government to take the property
4) SB 838 increases due process by providing trial by jury to all who are involved in an asset forfeiture claim by the state.

If removing the direct profit incentive by moving the funds gained through asset forfeiture to the state’s general fund as proposed by SB 838, seems problematic to you, Sen. Loveless has gone on record stating that he is open to other methods of putting a buffer between the profit and the agency seizing the property.

So, let’s take a look at the actual bill, SB838

Remember, when reading amendatory legislation such as SB 838,  only the underlined or stuck though language is new (the changes being proposed by the bill) the rest is just a recitation of current law.

The very first thing SB 838 does is require that there be a conviction before taking a persons property by adding the language “upon a person’s conviction”

upon CONVICTION sb838

Currently there is no qualification that the property is subject to forfeiture only after a conviction. (That is why it is called civil as opposed to criminal asset forfeiture)

If SB 838 became law, The property could still be seized if the officer or agency has a reasonable suspicion that there is criminal wrongdoing associated with it however,  a criminal conviction would be required before property could be taken (forfeited).

As I read it, this bill would end civil asset forfeiture. All asset forfeitures would have to be criminal.

The next thing the bill does is strikes the portion of  existing law that puts the burden of proof on the individual having his property taken.

sb838 removes burden of proof from the individual

The third thing that SB838 does is increase the amount of evidence required for the government to take a person’s property.

SB838 would require “clear and convincing evidence” to be established before your property can be taken by the government.

cc sb838

Currently the standard for the state taking ownership of your property is by a “preponderance of the evidence” which means simply that if there is one feather weight of evidence that lends more than 50% certainty that plaintiff’s (in this case, the state) version of events is true, then they can take your cash or property from you.

“Clear and convincing evidence” raises the bar and affords much better protection to the innocent property owner.

The fourth reform in SB 838 is the addition of the right to a jury trial for any party to a forfeiture action.  It is my understanding that currently, there is no right to a jury trial in civil cases  involving less than $1,500.

jury trial
This language will afford greater due process in civil asset forfeiture cases.

The remainder of SB 838 deals with removing the direct profit incentive by requiring that the proceeds from asset forfeiture be moved to the state’s general fund. Currently the proceeds go directly to the agencies that forfeit the property and the concern is that this incentivizes civil asset forfeiture.

In my opinion, this bill simply affords Oklahomans the basic justice that those who have not run up against a civil asset forfeiture claim, think they already have.

For Immediate Release: Rally For Healthcare Independence Sat. July 7, 2012 Oklahoma State Capitol

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 3, 2012

Contact Jon Scolomiero, the Oklahoma Tenth Amendment Center

jon.scolamiero@tenthamendmentcenter.com

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma—On Saturday, July 7, 2012, 9-11 am, The Oklahoma 10th Amendment Center, in conjunction with numerous other like-minded activist groups and individuals, will gather for a Rally for Healthcare Independence on the south steps of the Oklahoma State Capitol.

Following the Supreme Court’s decision last Thursday that upheld the most onerous portions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), including the individual mandate – liberty-loving Oklahomans once again find themselves at the losing end of Washington, D.C.’s continued big government policies.  Now that the Federal Government has been given the power to force individuals to buy health care insurance, into what other actions will individuals be coerced under the guise of a tax?

Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution lists the seventeen powers specifically enumerated to the Federal Government.  Health care is NOT an enumerated power.  The 10th Amendment to the Constitution states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”  Thus, any health care policy must be left to states to enact at the behest of their citizens – if they so choose.  America’s Founders instituted government to protect the liberties of individual Americans.  In fact, the majority believed that power could not emanate from a central government, that it must be dispersed among states, in order to protect the states and maximize the freedom of the individual.

In 2010, Oklahomans overwhelmingly supported State Question 756– The Oklahoma Health Care Freedom Amendment – which, among other things, prohibits making a person participate in a health care system.  Our state has spoken on this issue.

Last spring, Oklahoma, along with the states of Louisiana, Florida, Nebraska, Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Michigan, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin refused to implement the Health Insurance Exchange plans inherent in the PPACA.  Again, our state has spoken on the issue.

Attendees of Saturday’s rally will have an opportunity to hear speakers who can educate them in some of the many ways Oklahoma citizens and legislators can band together to continue defending individual liberties.  All Oklahoma legislators are invited to attend in order to assist and address their concerned constituents.

Please join us for this important rally on the south side of the Capitol steps, Saturday, July 7th, from 9am to 11am, and find out what you can do to prevent Oklahoma from succumbing to ObamaCare – and other unconstitutional federal overreaches.

 

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PRESS RELEASE:: DeMint, Bachmann, Jordan Urge Governors to Reject Obamacare State Exchanges

Kaye Beach

July 2, 2012

 

PRESS RELEASE:: DeMint, Bachmann, Jordan Urge Governors to Reject Obamacare State Exchanges

(Washington, D.C.) Senator Jim DeMint (SC), Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (MN-06) and Congressman Jim Jordan (OH-04) sent a letter to all 50 governors urging them to oppose the implementation of the state health care exchanges mandated under President Obama’s health care law.  Twelve Senators and 61 Representatives joined them in writing in opposition to these exchanges, which could cost businesses up to $3,000 per employee.
“Now that we know the courts will not save us from this harmful and unsustainable law, we urge all governors to join our fight full repeal by stopping its implementation,” said DeMint. “Americans have loudly rejected this law because it raises costs, lowers quality of care, and hikes taxes. The President’s health care law will not reform anything, but will hurt state budgets, destroy jobs, and reduce patient choices. States should reject these complex and costly exchanges. We cannot build a free market health care system on this flawed structure of centralized government control, we must repeal all of it and start over with commonsense solutions that make health care more affordable and accessible for every American.”
“While Republicans in Congress will continue to push for a full repeal of Obamacare, the states can take immediate action to reject these exchanges that will increase health care costs and add more layers of bureaucratic red tape. I encourage all 50 governors to do what’s best for the American people. They should refuse to implement an exchange and instead work towards common sense solutions that lower costs and return important health care decisions to patients and their doctors,” said Bachmann.
“The harmful impact on jobs is just one of many reasons we remain committed to fully repealing this law. If governors want to raise the cost of hiring people in their states, they should create an Obamacare exchange. If they want more jobs in their state, they should not. It’s that simple,” said Jordan.
The text of the letter is included below, and a list of signers is available here.
Dear Governors:
The Supreme Court has ruled significant parts of the Medicaid expansion of the President’s health care law unconstitutional as well as ruling that the individual mandate violated the Commerce Clause and will therefore be implemented as a punitive tax on the middle class. This presents us with a critical choice: Do we allow this reprehensible law to move forward or do we fully repeal it and start over with commonsense solutions? The American people have made it clear that they want us to throw this law out in its entirety. 
As members of the U.S. Congress, we are dedicated to the full repeal of this government takeover of healthcare and we ask you to join us to oppose its implementation. 
Most importantly, we encourage you to oppose any creation of a state health care exchange mandated under the President’s discredited health care law. 
These expensive, complex, and intrusive exchanges impose a threat to the financial stability of our already-fragile state economies with no certainty of a limit to total enrollment numbers. Resisting the implementation of exchanges is good for hiring and investment. The law’s employer mandate assesses penalties – up to $3,000 per employee – only to businesses who don’t satisfy federally-approved health insurance standards and whose employees receive “premium assistance” through the exchanges.  The clear language of the statute only permits federal premium assistance to citizens of states who create a state-based exchange. However, the IRS recently finalized a regulation that contradicts the law by allowing the federal government to provide premium assistance to citizens in those states that have not created exchanges. The IRS had no authority to finalize such a regulation. By refusing to create an exchange, you will assist us in Congress to repeal this violation which will help lower the costs of doing business in your state, relative to other states that keep these financially draining exchanges in place.  
State-run exchanges are subject to all of the same coverage mandates and rules as the federally-run exchange. Clearing the hurdles of crafting an exchange that complies with the 600 plus pages of federal exchange regulations will only result in wasted state resources and higher premiums for your constituents.
Implementation of this law is not inevitable and without the unconstitutional individual mandate it is improbable.  Join us in resisting a centralized government approach to health care reform and instead focus on solutions that make health care more affordable and accessible for every American. Let’s work to create a health care system of, for, and by the people, not government or special interests.
Sincerely,
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Reality Check: If the Affordable Care Act is “a tax,” does that make the law invalid?

Kaye Beach

June 30, 2012

Good analysis and good question  by Ben Swann of FOX 19 news Cincinnati

It may be one of the most important rulings the U.S. Supreme Court has made in the last 100 years.

Is the Affordable Care Act constitutional?  Is it constitutional to have an individual mandate that requires Americans purchase insurance?

In a 5 to 4 vote the court ruled, yes.

Why did Chief Justice John Roberts rule the way he did?  What does the ruling mean?  And could this ruling actually mean that the Healthcare law is now invalid? link

Moo-Shine!

Kaye Beach
March 31, 2012
Many people of sound mind and sound body, I might add, swear by the health benefits of  cow juice in the raw.   The government says it is not good for us and wants to protect us from our selves.
I have, and I will wager you have too,  experienced the benefits of non conventional remedies when modern medicine has failed me too many times to feel comfortable in letting the  government be the final arbiters on what is and is not healthy for me.
Access to raw milk is under fire across the nation and the product is being unfairly demonized as unsafe.
This is a use it or lose it proposition for us.  Whether we choose to partake of raw milk or not, we should  vigorously defend our right to nourish our bodies as we see fit.
____________________________________________________________

Oklahoma Raw Milk Laws

In Oklahoma the retail sale of raw milk is not permitted.

The Oklahoma Milk and Milk Product s Act regulates the sale of Grade A milk and milk products.

As currently written the Oklahoma Milk and Milk Products Act O.S. 2011, Section 7-414, which relates to milk producers, exempts “incidental sales” of raw milk directly to consumers if sold at the farm where the milk is produced.  Such incidental sales of raw milk to consumers do not require a permit.

OK. Stat. T. 2 § 7-406 (Only Grade A pasteurized Milk and Grade A Raw Milk may be sold to final consumer, but only Grade A pasteurized milk may be sold through restaurants, grocery stores, etc.), OK Stat. T.2 § 7-414 (laws do not apply to incidental sales of raw milk direct to consumer from farm (including up to 100 gallons of raw goat milk/month); OK ADC 35:37-13-1 through 6

TITLE 2 AGRICULTURE
CHAPTER 1 AGRICULTURAL CODE
ARTICLE 7. MILK AND DAIRY PRODUCTS AND MILK PRODUCTS PLANTS
D. OKLAHOMA MILK AND MILK PRODUCTS ACT

§ 2-7-406. Sale of Grade A milk and milk products.

A. Only Grade A pasteurized milk and milk products or Grade A raw milk shall be sold to the final consumer; provided, however:

1. Only Grade A pasteurized milk shall be sold through restaurants, soda fountains, grocery stores, or similar establishments, including school lunch rooms

§ 2-7-414. Construction of Act.

A. The provisions of the Oklahoma Milk and Milk Products Act shall not be construed to:

1. Include incidental sales of raw milk directly to consumers at the farm where the milk is produced;

Currently, raw milk is permitted to be sold at farmers markets through cow share lease agreements. Often lease holders pick up their milk at farmers markets.

  • Oklahoma Herd Share Laws/Title 4

How Cow or Goat-Share Programs Work

The consumer purchases a share in a milk cow, goat or dairy herd. The farmer and the consumer enter into a contract whereby the farmer feeds and boards the animal and provides the labor to milk the animal and store the consumer’s milk. Such contracts are legal and valid, as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States of America. The consumer does not buy milk from the farmer. Rather, they pay the farmer for the service of keeping the cow or goat and his labor for milking and processing the milk into value added products such as butter, cream, cheese, etc. However, they may directly purchase other products from the farm, such as eggs, vegetables and meat.

Cow and goat-share programs protect the farmer from liability since the animal belongs to the consumer and the consumer is drinking the milk from their own animal.

http://www.farmtoconsumer.org/cow-shares.html

__________________________________________________

Mar. 16th, 201

RALEIGH — Picture a peaceful, Amish farmer, selling one of nature’s super foods — fresh, raw milk. Eager customers came from afar, even across state lines, to savor the taste and access a nutritious product. Who could oppose such harmonious commerce on Rainbow Acres Farm?

Government officials and their enforcers, that’s who. This Pennsylvania farmer has been the subject of a yearlong sting operation, which included stealth purchases and a 5 a.m. surprise inspection. In February, a federal judge imposed a permanent injunction that prohibited him from selling his milk across state lines. Given the strain of the confrontation, he has decided to call it quits entirely.

Could it get any worse? Actually, North Carolina has a far more draconian law, the topic of a House Committee hearing last week. In this state, raw milk cannot be sold for legal human consumption, period. Individuals are not even allowed to co-own a cow to gain access.

To defend this violation of freedom of choice, proponents claim to be protecting others from the purported dangers of raw milk. But this claim is laughable, since evidence to the contrary has been mounting for decades.

In fact, a myriad of developed nations allow raw milk sales without problems: Germany, Holland, Belgium, France, Denmark, Sweden, Poland, Italy; the list goes on. Some of these nations are hardly known for their respect for liberty, and yet in this regard people living there are freer than North Carolinians.

Even Great Britain, that nation Americans fought against for independence, has legal, retail sales of raw milk. Supply in Europe is now so widespread — just part of everyday life — that many nations have vending machines with raw milk in supermarkets and shopping malls, and on street corners.

Back in the United States, a recent federal report (PDF) from the Centers for Disease Control did not find a single death from the product in a 14-year research period, while in 2007 alone, three individuals died on account of pasteurized milk. That is despite raw milk’s availability for legal, retail sale in nine states, including South Carolina; more than 9 million Americans consume it. The CDC acknowledged that pasteurization kills beneficial nutrients in milk, and they found state prohibition of raw milk gave no statistically significant advantage in terms of food-borne illness.

Read more

Concerns About OG&E SMart Meters: Privacy, Security, Reliability

Kaye Beach

Jan 5, 2012

Last week I told you that I have been learning as much as I can about OG&E’s smart meter rollout from conversations with a gentleman that has an extensive background in areas relevant to smart meters/smart grid.  Let’s just call him ‘Stephan’.  Stephan is an electrical engineer and published author with dozens of patents in digital communications and network storage.  He is the founder, contributor and executive for multiple hi-tech companies including an internet company and he has decades of service to his credit on National Standards Committees.

A smart meter is usually an electrical meter that records consumption of electric energy in intervals of an hour or less and communicates that information at least daily back to the utility for monitoring and billing purposes.[7] Smart meters enable two-way communication between the meter and the central system. Unlike home energy monitors, smart meters can gather data for remote reporting. Such an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) differs from traditional automatic meter reading (AMR) in that it enables two-way communications with the meterFrom wikipedia

In Pressing Issues About OG&E’s Smart Meter Rollout, I hit on some of the most obvious concerns about this program and covered where the authority to force consumers to accept the meters come from.  The authority for OG&E to implement the system on each home  is derived from, not from state of federal statute, but from rules promulgated by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission

There is no federal mandate that requires that smart meters be installed.  However, relevant federal law does favor smart meters, smart grid, time based pricing by providing grants to states incentivize adoption of smart meters/grid.

Smart grid has been a priority of the Obama administration. The Department of Energy awarded 100 grants totaling $3.4 billion for smart grid projects. Many of them have been used to install smart meters in states like California, Texas, Maryland and Connecticut.  http://business380.com/2011/11/21/alliant-midamerican-in-no-rush-to-embrace-smart-meters/

This is true in Oklahoma as well. 

The primary reason given for OG&E’s desire to move forward with the smart meters was plainly stated to be mostly due to the availability of millions in federal stimulus funds.

Some customers believe the Corporation Commission allowed OG&E to jump too quickly for the carrot dangled by the Department of Energy to the detriment of their captive ratepayers.

There are a variety of technologies available to the utilities that can be used  to operate the smart meters but OG&E picked the more privacy invasive of these technologies.  Stephan contrasts OG&E’s choice of technology to that of the OEC (Oklahoma Electric Cooperative) which is not as privacy intrusive as that of OG&E.

OEC, explains Stephan, does not use an RF “mesh” to transmit data to the utility.  Instead, it uses existing power lines to transmit signals.  He explains that with OG&E’s system every home is required to have a meter that contains a 900 MHz radio and a 2.3GHz radio.  Those radios are always on in listening mode.  OG&E’s implementation will transmit data from each home at least once every 4 hours, and as often as once per hour.

Unfortunately, we do not have the option of voting with our wallets.  If you are an OG&E customer, you are stuck with the new digital meters.

I asked Stephan to look at the Oklahoma Corporation Commission’s ‘Commonly Asked Questions About Smart Meters’ document and see if he agreed with the information provided.

Here are some of the major disagreements with the document that Stephan outlined for me.

Do Smart meters relay my personal information?

OCC says;

No. No personal information is displayed on the outside or contained in the new meter. Your account number, address, and personal information are never transmitted by the meter. Smart meters relay a code that is associated with your account along with usage information on a 15 minute interval. The data transmitted by the meter is also encrypted for your protection.

Stephan says;

Yes.

Every data transmission from a Smart meter to the utility contains an identifying meter number.  That meter number is uniquely attached to your account, so every transmission from a Smart meter contains personal information.

Any information that contains an identifying number is classified as personal information.  That includes your social security number, your driver’s license number, your employee badge number, your license plate number, and in this case, your Meter number.  There exists a database which links the meter number with name, address, useage, payments, etc.  While that database is not publically accessible, there are numerous instances where databases and servers have been hacked.  It is Naïve and Foolish to believe that any database is totally secure.  Even if great lengths have been taken to protect the data as it goes into the database, there is no way to protect the data from those that actually control the database.  Databases can be hacked from the inside as well as the outside.

Are smart meters secure from electronic attacks?

The OCC says;

Yes.

Security is of concern to the Commission when considering Smart meter projects. To date, the programs approved have been subject to extensive third party testing. Again, it is also important to remember that no personal or account data is transmitted by the Smart meter.

Stephan says;

No. At least not the ones being used by OG&E.  

No wireless electronic device can be secure from electronic attacks.  Just as no mechanical device can be secure from an explosion.  The issue with electronic attacks is that they are often undetected and can also cover a very large number of devices simultaneously.

Electronic attacks can take several forms.

(a)  Direct interception of data

(b)  Hijacking data input or output

(c)  “Man-in-the-Middle” attacks

(d)  Hijacking of the meter and re-programming

(e)  Viruses

(f)   EMP

(g)  Ability to monitor several properties electronically to check for patterns indicating no one home during the day or vacation mode.

Most important, even if the data transmission itself is secure, the data will eventually reside on a server somewhere.  Servers containing banking information and credit card information are routinely hacked.  Utilities are hacked.  Satellites are hacked.  Military drones are hacked.  The only information that cannot somehow be compromised is information that is never transmitted or stored.

Stephan adds and answers an important question not addressed by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission’s FAQ.

 What are the security risks of Smart meters?

1.                   Data interception and decoding by hackers. There is no such thing as a secure wireless network.  There are many techniques to capture data, decrypt it and analyze it.  The “mesh” network is particularly insidious from a security standpoint because any person in the area, in a home, a car, or business can monitor hundreds of homes simultaneously.  Hackers are remarkably adept at obtaining tools, and radios that operate on the 900 MHz band are readily available.

2.                   What else operates on the 900 MHz band?  Garage Door openers, TV and satellite remotes, Cordless phones, WIFI.  The meter radio is always on and will detect activation of any consumer device within the home.  It may not be able to decode it, but consumer devices have signatures that can be used to locate proximity and timing.

3.                   Viruses.  Viruses are devious pieces of software that are usually undetected during normal operation, but that activate based on specific criteria.  The Smart meter contains downloadable code capability, which means that the software that operates the meter can be updated over the wireless network.  A sufficiently sophisticated virus could cause all meters to shut down at a certain time on a certain day, for example, and then not turn back on again.  The utility company would have to manually repair or replace every meter in the entire network one by one in order to restore power.

4.                   The expected service life of these meters is in the range of 20 years or so.  It is naïve to believe that decrypting technology will not exist within that timeframe that will expose the network and every homeowner to serious and irreparable harm.

Will smart meters let the utility or other entities know what appliances I am using or what television programming I am watching?

[I am not aware of any allegation that smart meters allow your television programming to be monitored and neither is Stephan.  We will overlook that apparent red herring and just address the real issue of whether or not the new smart meters can enable the utility or others to discern what appliances are being used by the occupant. kb]

The OCC says;

No. Consumer privacy is very important to the Commission. The Smart meter only transmits total power consumed in 15 minute intervals. While advanced Smart meter systems that track “per appliance” usage will be available in the future, the program will be voluntary and will only show the power consumed.

But Stephan says;

Yes. 

Even if an appliance doesn’t send a signal to the smart meter directly, the energy used by each appliance has a signature that can be identified.  Think of being able to know which of your neighbors is driving down the street based upon the noise of their car.  With a little experience, you can detect the sound of the muffler or breaks.  You can tell the difference between a motor cycle and an automobile and a Semi-truck by the way they sound.  Likewise, a great deal of information can be inferred about an appliance’s use by looking at a residence’s electrical profile.

The profile is essentially a summation of all of the current being used by all of the appliances and you can easily break them apart and figure out which appliance is being used.  For example, a refrigerator operating in a fixed temperature environment when no one is at home will cycle on and off at a predictable frequency.  It is just a motor that draws a fixed current for a period of time.  Likewise, an air conditioner will cycle for a period of time, then turn off, then cycle again.  The A/C will cycle more frequency as it gets hotter outside and there is more heat loss from the residence.  If a set-back thermostat is being used, then A/C profile will look different.  When the temperature is raised by the set-back thermostat, there will be a long delay without the A/C cycling.  It will then cycle periodically throughout the day.  When the set-back thermostat adjusts the temperature to cool the residence in preparation for the family’s return, there will be an unusually long cycle while the house cools down.  An oven or stove has an identifiable profile as do most appliances – even televisions and washers and dryers.

Hence, by knowing the profile of the energy use, a great deal can be inferred about the occupancy of the home.  Likewise, comparing energy profiles from day to day, an analyst can easily tell if the residents are on vacation and have turned the A/C up to save energy.

Stephan explains that, the goal of the Smart grid is to makes consumer’s consumption dependent upon the weather.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t like the sound of that.

Here are the facts.

1)      Our energy comes from 2 sources – electrical plants and renewable sources such as windmills and solar cells.

2)      Renewable energy sources are very unreliable.  They are highly dependent upon weather patterns.

3)      One of the objectives of the Smart Grid is to make consumption more closely match variable generation.  In other words, the power that you are allowed to use depends on the weather.

Stephan explains further that, power plant construction has been severely curtailed and it takes approximately 11 years to build a coal-fired power plant.  A great deal of money and effort over the past few years has gone into “green energy”.  However, as utilities are now discovering, because the energy is unreliable, it cannot replace power plants.  The goal of the Smart grid is to makes consumer’s consumption dependent upon the weather.

The true cost of windmill and photovoltaic energy has never been reasonably figured into the cost equation.  According to OG&E’s estimates, up to 40% of the power generated by windmills is unusable because it is not consistent.  Any person that has even looked at a PhotoVoltaic off-grid system understands that the photo cells are only a part of the cost, there is also the cost of energy storage in the form of batteries, and a back-up generator for periods of extraordinary use or cloudy days.

In short, renewable energy sources can be a small supplement for energy use, but can never be depended upon for normal production.  It does not save the building of power plants as those plants will need to be built anyway for periods when the wind isn’t blower or there are cloudy days.  The cost of renewable energy is actually several times more than the capital costs of installation divided by the energy produced as you still have to have a backup power source.

OG&E has already deferred the building of one new power plant.(the stated goal is to defer two plants)

Reducing Peak Demand to Defer Power Plant Construction in Oklahoma


 Are we setting ourselves up for exactly what Stephan is warning us about; that our power will become dependent on whether or not the sun shines or the wind blows?

He warns

“There is a law of unintended consequences.  Whenever a monopolistic enterprise attempts to enforce a specific solution on the populace without the self-correcting action of the free market, or tramples upon the right of privacy or consumer choice, there will be consequences.  They may be political, sociological, medical, financial, or can contribute to the loss of life and liberty.  It is our duty to find solutions to our problems that do not infringe upon the liberties of the individual or the sanctity of the home.”

In the next article I will cover some of the possible unintended consequences of the Smart Meter/Grid system that OG&E is currently implementing as well as some specific legal issues that must be addressed.

Utopia Versus Eutopia

by Daniel Hager

Utopianism has a long-running history
that includes turning the 1900s into
the bloodiest century in human experience.
Typically utopian schemes are founded on the premise that individual self interest must be subjugated for the purported
greater public good.

Head’s up on Oklahoma State Questions because if they pass they will be Law — OK-SAFE Recommendations for Nov 2nd


For further information and the actual ballot wording please see the OK-SAFE website. Downloading and copying and sharing is encouraged!

BREAKING: “The Armed Citizen” Closes – Site Named in Infringement Suit

On July 21st, The Armed Citizen received an indirect and informal notice of a lawsuit against this website and its owners, David Burnett and Clayton Cramer.

The suit, reportedly filed in US District Court on July 20th, alleges that The Armed Citizen and its owners “willfully copied” and infringed on original source content from the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

According to news reports, Righthaven LLC has filed lawsuits against no less than 80 other political websites and individual blogs for “infringement.”

Read More

From EFF legal and liability issues for bloggers

Are Cameras the New Guns?

By Wendy McElroy

In response to a flood of Facebook and YouTube videos that depict police abuse, a new trend in law enforcement is gaining popularity. In at least three states, it is now illegal to record any on-duty police officer.

Even if the encounter involves you and may be necessary to your defense, and even if the recording is on a public street where no expectation of privacy exists.

The legal justification for arresting the “shooter” rests on existing wiretapping or eavesdropping laws, with statutes against obstructing law enforcement sometimes cited. Illinois, Massachusetts, and Maryland are among the 12 states in which all parties must consent for a recording to be legal unless, as with TV news crews, it is obvious to all that recording is underway. Since the police do not consent, the camera-wielder can be arrested. Most all-party-consent states also include an exception for recording in public places where “no expectation of privacy exists” (Illinois does not) but in practice this exception is not being recognized.

Massachusetts attorney June Jensen represented Simon Glik who was arrested for such a recording. She explained, “[T]he statute has been misconstrued by Boston police. You could go to the Boston Common and snap pictures and record if you want.” Legal scholar and professor Jonathan Turley agrees, “The police are basing this claim on a ridiculous reading of the two-party consent surveillance law – requiring all parties to consent to being taped. I have written in the area of surveillance law and can say that this is utter nonsense.”

The courts, however, disagree. A few weeks ago, an Illinois judge rejected a motion to dismiss an eavesdropping charge against Christopher Drew, who recorded his own arrest for selling one-dollar artwork on the streets of Chicago. Although the misdemeanor charges of not having a peddler’s license and peddling in a prohibited area were dropped, Drew is being prosecuted for illegal recording, a Class I felony punishable by 4 to 15 years in prison.

In 2001, when Michael Hyde was arrested for criminally violating the state’s electronic surveillance law – aka recording a police encounter – the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court upheld his conviction 4-2. In dissent, Chief Justice Margaret Marshall stated, “Citizens have a particularly important role to play when the official conduct at issue is that of the police. Their role cannot be performed if citizens must fear criminal reprisals….” (Note: In some states it is the audio alone that makes the recording illegal.)

The selection of “shooters” targeted for prosecution do, indeed, suggest a pattern of either reprisal or an attempt to intimidate.

http://gizmodo.com/5553765/are-cameras-the-new-guns