Misty Bleu Farm Blog

About Misty Bleu Farm

Misty Bleu Farm is located in beautiful Washington County, New York at the head of the Black Creek ValleyMisty Bleu Farm produces hops for the R.S. Taylor & Sons Brewery.

Located on 50 acres in the heart of the Hebron Hills, Misty Bleu Farm is the home of R.S. Taylor & Sons Brewery.  The Brewery and Taproom are open to the public Wednesday through Friday from 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm, Saturday and Sunday 12 noon to 9:00 pm.  Come experience true field to glass farm-brewed beer at our farm, nestled among green hills and stunning natural beauty.  Our farm boasts over 600 feet of frontage on the West Branch of the Black Creek, with waterfalls and rushing cascades.  Tours of the brewery and grounds are available.  The Farm and Brewery are also available to be rented out for special events.  Please visit the brewery website, www.rstaylorbrewing.com for more details and directions.

Follow our journey as we create the Most Beautiful Farm Brewery in America!


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Reflections on the Surveillance State Part II

Misty Bleu Farm - Monday, July 04, 2016

 

"Edward Snowden is a traitor" - The United States Government

" All propaganda has to be popular and has to accommodate itself to the comprehension of the least intelligent of those whom it seeks to reach." - Adolf Hitler

 

"Cardinal Richelieu understood the value of surveillance when he famously said, "If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged."  Watch someone long enough, and you'll find something to arrest him for - or blackmail him with.  Privacy is important because without it, surveillance information will be abused;  to peep, to sell to marketers and to spy on political enemies.

Privacy protects us from abuses by those in power, even if we are doing nothing wrong at the time of surveillance.  We do nothing wrong when we make love or go to the bathroom.  We are not deliberately hiding anything when we seek out private places for reflection or conversation.  We keep private journals, sing in the privacy of the shower, and write letters to secret lovers and then burn them.  Privacy is a basic human need.

A future in which privacy would face constant assault was so alien to the framers of the Constitution that it never occurred to them to call out privacy as an explicit right.  Privacy was inherent to the nobility of their being and their cause.  Of course, being watched in your own home was unreasonable.  Watching at all was an act so unseemly as to be inconceivable among gentlemen in their day.  You watched convicted criminals, not free citizens.  YOU ruled your own home.  It's intrinsic to the concept of liberty.

For if we are observed in all matters, we are constantly under threat of correction, judgment, criticism, even plagiarism of our own uniqueness.  We become children, fettered under watchful eyes, constantly fearful that either now or in the uncertain future patterns we leave behind will be brought back to implicate us by whatever authority has now become focused upon our once private and innocent acts. 

How many of us have paused during conversations in the recent past since 9/11/01, suddenly aware that we might be eavesdropped upon ?  We stop suddenly, momentarily afraid that our words might be taken out of context.  Then we laugh at our paranoia and go on.  But our demeanor has changed, and our words are subtly altered.

This is the loss of freedom we face when our privacy is taken from us.  This is life in former East Germany at the hands of the Stasi or life in Saddam Hussein's Iraq.  And it will be our future if we allow our government an ever-intrusive eye into our personal, private lives.

Too many wrongly characterize the debate as "security versus privacy."  The real choice is liberty versus control.  Tyranny, whether it arises under the threat of foreign physical attack or under constant domestic authoritarian scrutiny, is still tyranny.  Liberty requires security without intrusion, in other words security PLUS privacy.  Widespread police and governmental surveillance is the very definition of a police state.  And that's why we should champion privacy even when we have nothing to hide."  -William van Zwanenberg

Remember what we have lost.  Plan for the day when we seek to retrieve what we have lost.

Reflections On the Surveillance State Part One

Misty Bleu Farm - Sunday, July 03, 2016

I originally posted this on Fourth of July 2013.  It bears repeating, EVERY YEAR, until we take back our privacy from the government.  Remember what we have lost. 

For those of you who ascribe to the "Nothing to hide, nothing to fear" mentality, may I present in two parts perhaps the most cogent argument I have found to strike down that myth. 

This was written by William van Zwanenberg on February 26, 2009.  Please note the date this was written.  How long has it been since we lost our privacy to our untrustworthy government?  I have edited the essay a bit because of space constraints. 

" One of my chief concerns (and I have many) regarding the emergence of what Guy Herbert from the campaign group, NO2ID, calls "The Database State" is that its development is inextricably linked with the notion that as good citizens we should be required - indeed expected - to constantly prove (a) that we are good - i.e. that we are behaving in a socially acceptable and socially endorsed manner and (b) that whatever we may ask for from the state, we are in fact entitled to ask for it.  That is, that we must first prove our entitlement.  Only by constantly monitoring us, under a constantly operating regime of surveillance may we achieve this and in the process, weed out those who aren't entitled or those who are deviant and dangerous to society.

Such a view profoundly confuses the distinction between entitlement and privacy and is symptomatic of the move towards the emergence of a totalitarian state.  It is my view that we in the west are already well on the way to a new form of post-modern totalitarian state (what Guy Herbert calls 'soft fascism') in which behavior and opinions which are disapproved of by the political class are pathologized and then regulated by violence-backed laws "for your own good" or "for the children" (think how many times that phrase was uttered after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School) or "for the environment.  The emergence of the surveillance state is simply the icing on the cake if you like of the development of an infrastructure designed to orchestrate social control.  Resonating strongly with the warnings Orwell extolls in his book, "1984", its obvious how the more information you have about citizens, the more you can control what they see, hear, think and ultimately do.

What's essential, somehow, is to get across the idea that you are entitled to be anonymous in going about your lawful business.  I think that this is close to being a fundamental principle of a free society under the rule of law:  because we ought to be treated equally in equal circumstances, an inquiry into who you are ought to be considered unacceptable in any casual transaction because it ought to be irrelevant.

Do the innocent really have "nothing" to hide?  What about their sexual activities?  Bank details? Medical records?  If someone says the blighted phrase to me my usual reply is:  "Then you won't mind me coming round to your house to search through your bedroom drawers, after which I'll install cameras in every room of your house.  After all, you've got nothing to hide."

We are, of course, fighting for principles - the presumption of innocence and the right to privacy, but I have found that some "nothing to hide" folk can be made to think twice when you point out how easily they could become a suspect in a database state.  As easily, say, as getting a letter addressed to the wrong person at your home address.  Who's not experienced that at some point?

Within the database state, it's not whether you think you've done something wrong or not, it's whether they think you've done something wrong.  And if they control your identity, how are you to prove your innocence?  When it's your ID that will have drawn them to your attention in the first place.

You may have been pulled in because you were tracked to a certain place at a certain time (we can be tracked with our cellphones) or because your behavior fits a "profile" or deviates from some definition of "normal". 

"Nothing to hide, nothing to fear" cuts right to the heart of civil liberties - those things which protect us from the arbitrary exercise of power by the authorities.  There is nothing more arbitrary than assigning a persona an official identity and then treating them as nothing more than a number, or a piece of data to be matched."