Extradition! Free Trips to the U.S.
Young geeks sitting in their bedrooms

Extradition! Free Trips to the U.S.
"young geeks sitting in their bedrooms"
by Susan Basko, esq.

The United States Department of Justice is trying to give away FREE trips to the U.S. to several lucky winners.  The prizes are being awarded mainly to young geeks sitting in their bedrooms.  These folks are balking and not wanting to take the trip, also known as "fighting extradition."   Here is a glimpse at a few of the cases:

Kim Dotcom: Mr. Dotcom - and yes, this appears to be his legal name, has been charged by the U.S. with criminal copyright violations for allegedly allowing copies of U.S. music and movies to be on the servers of his popular website Mega Upload.  Kim Dotcom lives in New Zealand and is always seen dressed tastefully in black.  He has a really big house that was raided by the U.S. FBI in a Rambo-esque raid involving helicopters and hundreds of agents dressed in battle armor.  Mr. Dotcom has never been to the U.S., his business is not in the U.S., and he has no assets in the U.S.  The U.S. has been battling to extradite him since 2012 and it looks like a hearing to determine whether he will be extradited will be held in September or October 2015.  Mr. Dotcom has very good lawyers; their court filings are a joy to read.  This article on Torrent Freak will get you started in understanding that case a bit.

Gary Davis:  Gary Davis was allegedly a Silk Road administrator.  Since Ross Ulbricht, the Silk Road founder, was given an outlandishly unfair trial and then sentenced to life in prison, Mr. Davis justifiably wishes to stay out of the clutches of the U.S.  Gary Davis also has the autism spectrum disorder known as Aspergers, a condition which is ignored and mistreated in the U.S. justice system.   Is it a crime to help run a website?  Ireland is not interested in pursuing this as a crime.  Mr. Davis' extradition hearing continues.  This article in the Irish Times can get you up to speed on this case.

Eric Eoin Marques:  Eric Marques is from Ireland, but has dual U.S. citizenship because he was born in the U.S.  Mr. Marques has the autism spectrum disorder known as Aspergers.  He is known to have sat all day in his bedroom in his father's apartment, where he quietly founded and ran the Tor website hosting company called Freedom Hosting.  Freedom Hosting made it quick, easy, and cheap for anyone to start a website on Tor, aka the Deep Web.  Freedom Hosting had a strict Terms of Service that did not allow anything illegal on the sites.  Freedom Hosting  was a one-man operation, even though its website claimed it was not.  As with any website hosting company, some users pushed the boundaries and did not follow the Terms of Service.  Mr. Marques apparently failed to ferret out the offending websites, and now the U.S. Department of Justice has charged him with running the servers on which other people ran sites containing child pornography.

To make the case more salacious and to prejudice the public and media against Mr. Marques, the U.S. Prosecutors have referred to Mr. Marques as "the largest facilitator of child porn on the web."   This is like charging Amazon Web Services for all the legal violations taking place on the websites it serves or charging  the owners of Twitter for all the millions of death and rape threats and obscene pictures on Twitter.  Ireland has stated it is not interested in pursuing this matter as crimes under its own system.  Will Ireland throw Eric Eoin Marques to the dogs?  If a young man can sit in his bedroom and create a very successful website hosting company that demystifies the Deep Web, why does the U.S. want to charge him with crimes, rather than aiming its prosecution at those actually running child porn sites?  Why is Ireland not stepping up to claim this bright young man and protect him?  Extradition hearings took place at the end of June 2015 and a decision is expected in the upcoming months.  The Irish Times has a story here.

Lauri Love:  Lauri Love is a British student and former member of Occupy Glasgow, Scotland.  He is known as a peace and social justice activist who allegedly hacked some U.S. websites.  The U.S.  issued indictments against him in 3 different federal districts in different states.  He was arrested, let out on bail, the bail was dropped a year ago. Then he was arrested again and let out on bail again.  He is fighting extradition to the U.S.  This story in The Guardian gives a bit of background.

Janis Sharp, the mother of Gary MacKinnon, yet another young man with autism who fought off extradition to the U.S. over computer hacking charges, made this statement to The Guardian:  "They are just young geeks sitting in their bedrooms; they're not murderers, they're not terrorists, they're not selling secrets, they're just searching for information," said Sharp. "Being taken away from your country is a sentence and it is not [in line with the principle of] innocent until proven guilty. Extradition was meant for terrorists, not some young British geek in his bedroom in Suffolk."

The statement by Ms. Sharp seems more than apt.  It appears the U.S. is trying to scour the planet and imprison young folks with good computer skills. The U.S. is dragnetting young entrepreneurs and innovators and thinkers off the internet.  We need to ask what this is all about.

Autism and Federal Court Criminal Defendants

Autism and Federal Court Criminal Defendants
by Susan Basko, Esq

As many people know, I have worked hard for years to assist people who have become snagged in the criminal system and who also have a mental disability such as autism, brain injury, mental illness, OCD, memory loss, and other such conditions that affect behavior, affect how people are perceived, and require treatment.

Over the past couple of years, I have been doing all I can to assist a young man named Brian.  Brian is caught up in the federal criminal system.  He is innocent, but it is hard to convey that since Brian has autism and OCD, both of which affect his behavior dramatically.  It is very difficult for Brian to work with his lawyers or to aid in his own defense, and at times, he appears to be sabotaging himself.  He NEEDS an autism advocate, something which the federal court system has not supplied, even though asked to do so many times.

   Brian has a loving mother and grandparents.  What they have seen over and over is that the federal court system does not have any system for dealing with people with autism or other such disorders.  They do have a system for dealing with mental illness, so they have tried to label Brian as mentally ill.

Brian was not given an autism advocate at any phase of his situation - from questioning to trial to parole.  He was assigned a parole officer who was "afraid" of his behavior.

I have gone from one organization to another that supposedly assist those with autism, looking for someone to provide an advocate, a friend of the court brief, or some such thing, but they all said they do not get involved in the courts.   And the court has thus far provided nothing.

I write about this to let people know.  If there are any other advocates who wish to assist, maybe we can get a federal court case going where we ask the courts to mandate that people with autism and other such disabilities have rights to an advocate, for information to be given to judges, for expert witnesses, and the like.

Meanwhile, I want to mention something sad and pathetic.  As many readers will know, a fake autism "expert" who uses the name "Liz Ditz" has widely published defamation about me and about my advocacy work regarding autism. It is my understanding that "Liz Ditz" is a serial defamation smear artist, who falsely claims to be an expert in whatever field in which she is conducting a defamation campaign against those who actually work to help others.  I have been contacted by other victims of her massive smear campaigns.  This persona, Liz Ditz, has waged other defamation campaigns against others who have spent their lifetimes helping others. In each smear campaign, she claims to be an expert in the field in which she is smearing those who help others. Her evil tactics have driven good people out from helping those in great need.

NOTE: "Liz Ditz" is not anyone I have ever met, spoken with, or had any contact with.  It is a a person who somehow got into my Facebook and stole photos. Liz Ditz then wrote her own words and her own opinions about parents of autistic children being on a "a gravy train," to quote Liz Ditz's exact words.  To try to get publicity, Liz Ditz then posted her own words and ideas about autistic people and parents, and claimed they were mine.  There is no connection, and never was any connection, between me and the words and ideas spread by Liz Ditz.  She is merely a deranged stalker who tries to attribute her own words to others to smear them, and has been doing this for many years.

   This same defamation campaign of this twisted Liz Ditz persona has now been picked up by the equally evil and dishonest James McGibney, of the corporation ViaView, Inc., which engages in posting sex pictures of  girls and women without consent, photoshopping defamatory pictures of people,  revenge, hate speech, defamation campaigns, harassment, extortion, blackmail, threats,  purchasing of domains in the names of his victims, interference and manipulations conducted against entire families, and other such bad acts.  James McGibney and ViaView operate the attack-defamation websites  Cheaterville.com, Bullyville.com and the twitter accounts @Cheaterville and @Bullyville, as well as the related twitter account @JoinUs4Tea, and many other websites and twitter accounts.  He purchases domain names in the names of his victims and makes websites to lie about them, smear them, invade their privacy, and demean and bully them.

UPDATE July 2105: Please note that Twitter has permanently suspended many of the accounts mentioned here, since they were in violation of Twitter Terms of Service.    Twitter has removed many accounts owned by James McGibney and his associates, but these people simply wait a few weeks and form new accounts.

 It appears that the stalker-defamatoin artist "Liz Ditz" has now teamed up with the equally nefarious and anti-autism people James McGibney/ @Cheaterville/ @JoinUs4Tea.   James McGibney and his @Cheaterville twitter account and his websites, as well as the @JoinUs4Tea twitter account are now copying and promoting the lies and defamation created by "Liz Ditz."  It seems they are now all working together to harass people helping those with autism, and making it that much more difficult for people to be willing to help those in need. If there are fewer and fewer helping resources, it is because of the harassment of people like Liz Ditz, and her associates Mark Calladus, Brian Zaiger (of Encyclopedia Dramatic or @ED_Updates) and James McGibney and his Bullyville and Cheaterville and his many other malicious websites, and the associated twitter accounts @JoinUs4Tea and @Cheaterville and many others.

James McGibney has even purchases autism-related domains, presumably to spread more lies about people who help those with autism.  He owns hundreds of domains in peoples' names and uses those to stalk, defame, disparage professional reputations, and cause all-around societal harm.

There is very little that can be done to stop such people like Liz Ditz and James McGibney,  who are intent on harming people with autism and harming those of us who assist them.  All we can ask is that you do not fall into their traps of thinking they are trying to help. They are tearing down the support structures for those with autism.  As someone who has worked tirelessly for years to assist those with autism and other mental disorders, I can attest that the negative liars and defamers such as Liz Ditz, her associate named Mark Calladus, James McGibney and such, do a great deal of harm.  It is difficult enough getting courts, judges, parole officers, jail personnel, lawyers and journalists to understand, without the negative campaigns of hate waged by the likes of Liz Ditz, Mark Calladus, James McGibney, and their ilk.  These malicious and counterproductive people have waged a campaign to try to stop me personally from helping those most in need of help.  (They work hard to harm many good people!) At the same time, those I have helped and their families are incredibly grateful.  Who do I listen to?  The good people, and it is rather obvious who those are.

Is it because of people like Liz Ditz and James McGibney that it is so difficult to get the courts to treat people with autism fairly?  Those engaging in support are clearly being driven away by defamation campaigns being conducted by Liz Ditz and James McGibney, two defamation "artists" who have now teamed up to make the world a worse place and much more difficult for those in need.

"Special Place in Hell" for Silk Road Judge

Economy Class in Hell  
"Special Place in Hell" for Silk Road Judge

by Susan Basko, Esq.

June 10, 2015.  On June 2, 2015, Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and one his Assistant U.S. Attorneys, Niketh Velamoor, sent a Grand Jury Subpoena to Reason.com, a political blog headquartered in Los Angeles.   The subpoena can be seen HERE on the Popehat blog, thanks to lawyer/ journalist Ken White, aka Popehat.  Kudos for the good journalism, Popehat.

The subpoena seeks identifying information on the people who wrote 8 comments below a blog post about Judge Katherine Forrest giving a life sentence to Ross Ulbricht of Silk Road.  In case you've been asleep for a year or so, Silk Road was a tor site that allowed vendors to sell things in a situation where seller and buyer remained anonymous. The transactions were conducted using bitcoin as payment. Bitcoin is currency generated by people doing math problems on machines called Bitcoin miners.  Ross Ulbricht founded the Silk Road site.  He was arrested and charged with a bunch of crimes, then given an unfair trial where Judge Forrest kept a huge amount of highly pertinent information from the jury.

After the sham of a trial, which openly mocked the notion of Due Process, Judge Forrest sentenced Ross Ulbricht to life in prison. All federal life sentences are automatically LWOP, meaning Life Without Parole.  What this means is that the government locks the person in a very small cage and warehouses them until they die. If you want to see just how much this sentence is like being buried alive,  read HERE. That is a blog I founded and help run, written by Paul Modrowski, a man given an Illinois LWOP sentence at age 18 for allegedly lending his car to another man who allegedly killed someone, but the co-defendant was acquitted.  Paul wrote hundreds of blog posts detailing life in maximum security prison.

It would be nice to think that LWOP is a rarity for people convicted of nonviolent crimes.  However, LWOP for nonviolent drug-related crimes is fairly common, according to this ACLU 2013 STUDY ON LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE.   What does seem to be uncommon is a judge giving such a sentence when not mandated by sentencing guidelines to do so.   Judge Katherine Forrest was in no way mandated to give Ross Ulbricht a life sentence and yet she did so.  She stated in court that the sentence was to "send a message."  The message it sent to the public is not what the Judge intended.  The message it sent seems to be that the government is out of control.

The vast majority of people have no intention of selling drugs online; those same people want Due Process and fair sentencing for all.  When a bright young man who created a breakthrough marketing plan is sentenced to Life in Prison, it reeks of Galileo being sentenced for believing the earth revolves around the sun.  However, Galileo, for all the brouhaha surrounding his Inquisition case, was sentenced to house arrest, unlike Ross Ulbricht, who is sentenced to live out his days in one of the U.S. government's hellishly vapid and bureaucratic prisons.

WHICH BRINGS US TO THE blog comments and the subpoena to find the identities of those posting the comments.  A few of the comments were the typical armchair faux-revolutionary comments about summary execution.  A few other comments alluded to the wood chipper scene in the movie "Fargo."

One comment was posted by someone using the name "Rhywun," which is Welsh for "Someone."  This someone wrote:

"I hope there is a special place in hell reserved for that horrible woman."

It is important to get this quote exactly right, since Rhywun is being accused of making a threat to a federal judge, a crime that could bring 10 years in prison.  The U.S. Supreme Court recently decided in Elonis v. United States that for words on the internet to be considered a threat, the person has to intend a threat. The Supreme Court held:  "Section 875(c)’s mental state requirement is satisfied if the defendant transmits a communication for the purpose of issuing a threat or with knowledge that the communication will be viewed as a threat. The Court declines to address whether a mental state of recklessness would also suffice." 

Following this definition, is Rhywun's comment about a "special place in hell" a threat?  First, it seems a given that the intended recipient of the threat would have to see the threat, and thus that the threat would have to be made in some location that the Judge would be likely to see it.  Does Judge Forrest read the comments sections of blogs?  Maybe so, and that is what is being implied by the issuance of this subpoena.  Second, the commenter, in this case Rhywun, would have to be writing with the purpose of making a threat or knowing the Judge will perceive it as a threat.  

Does Judge Forrest really consider Rhywun's comment a threat?  To consider it so, one must believe in hell.  One must also believe that hell is a bad place and that it has special sections, like an airline with First Class, Business Class, or Economy Class.   In First Class, the passengers get wide seats and good meals.  The service goes down a notch in Business Class.  In Economy Class, the seats are narrow with little leg room, and the passengers are lucky to be tossed a bag of crackers. Presumably, Judge Forrest would be sent to hell's equivalent of Economy Class, the special place nearest to the coals of hellfire.  There, she would keep company with Devils with pitchforks, heathens, and those who prefer to kick back on Sunday and drink a cold beer and listen to old Led Zeppelin albums, rather than attending church.    

 Furthermore, Judge Forrest would have to believe that Rhywun, who is just some commenter on a blog, has the authority to sentence her to that "special place in hell."  Has Rhywun been deputized by God, or the Devil, as the Reservations Clerk for the Special Sections of Hell?  Rhywun has to believe that Judge Forrest believes all these things, in order for Rhywun to be making a criminal threat.  Or Rhywun has to believe all these things.  Rhywun, when writing the comment, had to actually believe that Judge Forrest would be shaking in her shoes about being condemned by an internet commenter not just to hell, but to "a special place in hell."

Does all this seem ridiculous?  It is ridiculous, but this is an actual federal  Grand Jury subpoena.  The Grand Jury hearing was scheduled to take place yesterday, June 9, 2015.  Grand Jury hearings are kept secret, so we won't know what happened, unless the folks from Reason.com decide to tell people.  The witnesses to a Grand Jury are allowed to talk about it, and we presume they will.  Reason.com may or may not have any identifying information on Rhywun and they may or may not voluntarily give that information.  We presume they have very little or no information on the commenters, and that they will refuse to give what little they have, if any.   

If Rhywun's identity is made known, she or he may have to go to court to prove that s/he knows s/he does not actually have the authority to sentence anyone to hell, let alone to a special place there.  And that is pretty damn ridiculous, but the entire Silk Road court case has been pretty damn ridiculous.   So, stay tuned.  

And this brings up the question of religious nuts, for lack of a better term.  Religious nuts, particularly Christian religious nuts, are forever announcing that someone or other is going to hell or that God hates someone or other.  Some religious nuts stand on street corners shouting such things.  Others go door to door with this cheery message.  Once the orators get on the internet, they are in "interstate communication," which brings them under the purview of the federal government under the Interstate Commerce Clause.  

Folks, if you are a religious nut, do not use the internet to condemn specific people to hell, or you may face criminal prosecution for making a threat.   If you want to warn people of their impending doom, you are best to shout about it on a street corner.  But don't use an amplifier, because then you will be violating a local noise ordinance and could be arrested or cited.

PROTIP: If you are planning to go to hell, apparently it is easier to go to hell in a handbasket.  And may we suggest a basket made of a nice, tightly woven wicker, for optimal effect?  The basket weave shown below is especially popular among those seeking a speedy descent.

Good weave for going to Hell in a Handbasket

BitVote Grant Application

A penny for your thoughts.  A quarter for your good ideas.

BitVote Application for Knight Foundation Grant Call
by Aaron Bale and Lynne Flynn

1 What is your project? *

Image a world where each day, a person automatically generated $50 to use on the things they needed or wanted, when anything and everything was at their disposal. One could use these automatic dollars to contribute politically, socially, better their own circumstances, or improve the world, or even save them up and put them toward something they really want to invest in on a larger scale. People would use this money, and not be apathetic to its existence, as they can control its use and direct its spending as they desire. Now, imagine this world, but change the monetary feature to one that expresses and promotes ideas, changes political landscapes, and makes control of the social and economic environments a type of control that each of us can take part in on a fundamental level. BitVote is that world. BitVote is a decentralized, uncensored tool to give each and every person a voice in all facets of their own world, as well as in the broader society. It can be used to place policy, and if put into effect, could implement change as far reaching as being the one tool for a truly democratic voting system.

2 What assumptions will you test?

We assume that the majority of people want to be able to express their opinions and ideas on issues in a way that will have impact for themselves and for society as a whole. We assume that, given the opportunity, people prefer to charter their lives, as opposed to having the social and political landscapes carved out for them and then having to accept what is given, or only being given limited options to choose from. We assume that if people can effect change in ways that advantageous to society, they will participate in a thoughtful and responsible manner. As has recently been proven, people will respond more openly and more willingly under the protective cloak of anonymity. We can use that fact in conjunction with our assumptions to test this theory. Given a chance, people will participate and promote a system which effectually gives them the opportunity to be part of the decision making in matters that currently they are not party to, but that have a great effect on them personally. We will test the assumption that this can be utilized in a large number of fields, such as marketing, social networking, activism, politics, and many others.

3 Who is the audience/user of this project? How will they be impacted? *

Initially, this project will be adopted by tech gurus, website owners, polling and survey sites, etc, as it will eliminate multiple accounts per user and give a more pure, actual result for any demographic. Thereafter, it will be picked up for use as an essential small and large business tool to determine marketing trends, customer care and satisfaction, and likely even corporate environmental and social policy. It, ideally, will give a real and measurable voice to every consumer, every activist, and every voter. The impact of BitVote is profound. Not only can it assure consumers that their purchases reflect their interest in environmental and similar issues, it can also ensure that even political issues, such as the ACTA, SOPA, TPP, CISPA, etc. are not barnstormed through Congress or written into an Executive Order against the will of the majority of citizens. With American citizens voting turn out at an all time low, this will end the frustration that being politically voiceless has created, and intelligent people will once again participate in the democratic process. Not only can the United States benefit, this can be utilized everywhere, throughout the world.
4 Who is on your team? *
Aaron Bale: Founder, instrumental in affecting SOPA Blackout of 2012, special interest in cognitive orthotics, CDSMP, and advocate at the Narcolepsy Network.
Education: Neuroscience University of Louisville

ETHDEV ( Ethereum Development) Members also on our team-
Jasper den Ouden: Lead Code Developer, named Head of HR Satair Group, Product Designer & Co-Founder @Strakzat · Oud-Beijerland, the Netherlands. Education:
(unfinished) Master Particle Physics at Utrecht University, the Netherlands
Bachelor Physics & Astronomy Utrecht Universiteit
HBO Propedeuse(first year) Technische Natuurkunde Fontys Eindhoven(nl)
HAVO Natuur & Techniek Christiaan Huygens, Eindhoven

Vitalek Buterin: programmer, writer, founder of Ethereum, the decentralized web 3.0 publishing platform,co-founder of Bitcoin Magazine. In 2014 won the World Technology Award for the co-creation and invention of Ethereum.

Vlad Zamfir: co-inventor Cryptoswartz, Cryptoeconomics expert and keynote speaker.

PR Team:
Leah Chase: public relations, marketing and beta testing. Education: Nursing degree.
Christine Hogg: writing, journalism, interviews, editing, web content, newsletters and press releases.. Education: BA in Film and Media Production from The University of Cape Town
Lynne Flynn: research and creative writing, management, editing, marketing, sales, HTML and networking. Education: Criminal Justice, Graphic Design, and General Studies.

Legal / Funding Advisor:
Sue Basko: Lawyer for Independent Media, licensed in California and Illinois

5 What progress, if any, have you made on this project? *
After seeing the effect of the SOPA Blackout, and seeing the output of time and energy to reach 'critical mass' (when things are adopted by the majority), it was obvious that there was a need for a better template to achieve success in similar operations on such a massive scale. Aaron then came up with the BitVote idea as the one feasible means to accomplish this. After time and discussion with a think tank of technical experts, the social engineering aspect was polished. It was then tested among actual voters in random surveys to assess voter reaction, and any possible pitfalls. Around this time, Aaron met Leah Chase and enlisted her skills for the BitVote team. Leah successfully pitched the project to the Ethereum team. After meeting with their approval, several members of Etherium joined ranks with BitVote, as well, to translate the concept in a technical manner using their programming skills and expertise. After that was accomplished there remained the problem of OnePerID – ensuring that no one person could have more than one account – to ensure accuracy and honesty in the results. To date, this has been solved in theory, but will need A/B testing to ensure effectiveness.

6 Visual Media. Acceptable file types: pdf, jpg, gif, mp4, png, mov, xls, ppt, pptx, avi, mpg.

Project Highlight_ BitVote.mp4

Camping for Music Festivals: Creating a Campground

Camping for Music Festivals: Creating a Campground
by Sue Basko, Esq.

If you want to create a campground to go with a concert or festival, there are many factors to consider.  Below is a list to get you started in planning.  There are so many details. If you're going to do this right, you need to be extremely detail-oriented.  It can be best to work with someone who has done it before. 

Some of the most basic needs are drinking water, portapotties, hand washing stations, and showers.  These can all be rented.

There are companies that will send a big truck filled with potable water that can be used for drinking and showers.  "Potable" means the water is clean and safe for drinking.  It is safest to also use potable water for showers and misters, so there is no risk of bacterial infections in the water mist.

 In hot weather, cooling stations are needed to keep campers from getting heat stroke.  Misters are often used.  A mister is a length of hose or piping with small holes in it, attached to a clean water source,  that emits a fine mist.  Usually the misters are mounted above head height, so people can stand under them. Sometimes misters are fronted with  a fan, to spread the cooling mist. Other cooling stations are a dome or tent that has air conditioning.

 Here are some links to companies that rent misters, portable showers, potable water trucks, portable toilets, etc.  These are links to get you started so you can get an idea of what is available, space needed, and costs involved.   Most of these sites have good photos of the equipment that is for rent and some even provide layout diagrams.  Keep in mind, you have to use a company that delivers to the location of your event.

  Misting/ Cooling: 

  Potable Water, Showers, Restrooms:
http://www.yourrestroomdelivered.com/equipment/portable-toilets http://www.portakleen.com/product/8-stall-portable-shower-trailer

 Another main need for any festival or campground is electricity. If there is not adequate on-site electricity (and there rarely is), you need to rent a generator.  Here are some generator rental companies to get you started on understanding what is available and costs involved:

  Electricity Generators:

 The links above are not recommendations, they are simply examples of companies you can explore to get started in finding what you need.  Your choice of a company should include such factors as location, price and add-on prices, availability, reputation, customer service.   Most such companies will be able to give you a lot of information.  For example, if you tell a company that you will have a 2 day festival with 200 people present all day and night, the company can tell you how many toilets you will need, etc.

Here is a basic checklist to get you started in planning a concert or festival campground: (These are numbered for convenience, but all items are important.)
  1. Zoning 
  2. Permits
  3. Local laws
  4. Inspections required 
  5. Campground temporary - can you get a permit for that?
  6. Is the ground surface suitable to tents?
  7. What must be done to the ground surface to make it suited for tents?
  8. Surface cushioning, leveling, drainage
  9. Flood plain areas?
  10. Electric wires overhead?
  11. Lighting danger?
  12. Sewage and water run-off? 
  13. Presence of wildlife
  14. Presence of mosquitoes, ants, mice, etc. 
  15. Presence of any endangered species
  16. Insurance - how much and can you get it?
  17. Water sources
  18. Water for drinking.
  19. Showers - are there any?
  20. Toilets - can you rent portapotties?  How many will be needed legally? Price them out.
  21. Hand-washing stations
  22. Servicing of portapotties, Cleaning several times per day
  23. Toilet paper, paper towels, soap 
  24. Electricity
  25. Basic Lighting
  26. Trash bins and collection
  27. Recycling
  28.  Clean-up during and afterwards
  29. Security and safety
  30. Layout done accurately to scale
  31. Plotting the space, marking the space
  32. Temporary fencing for exterior perimeter 
  33. Fencing to demark roads, areas, toilet area, etc.
  34. Layout marked or fenced, "street" signs and space signs made and posted
  35. Signage
  36. Car Parking
  37. Car parking layout – must follow recommended sizes
  38. Parking accommodations for handicapped
  39. In and out allowed? How many times per day?
  40. Alcohol allowed in?
  41. Layout to accommodate cars and camping; should not mix or dangerous 
  42. Picnic benches, tables, chairs?
  43. Preparations for possible severe weather conditions
  44. Having a central fire pit and shelter/ tent/ dome
  45. Not allowing campfires 
  46. Propane and cook stoves allowed or not? 
  47. Establishing a business entity for accepting payments
  48. Establishing a reservation system
  49. Establishing reservation and refund policies
  50. Camping price per car? per tent? Per person?
  51. Campers should have ticket to event, show it to reserve campsite
  52. Plan to have any “glamping” sites, that is glamorous camping with nice tents, furniture, etc, provided? (These rent for higher prices) 
  53. Noise ordinances, drug ordinances, drinking, guns, weapons, fireworks, glass
  54. Working with local sheriff (you don't want them coming on property)
  55. Emergency Medical Techs on location at all times
  56. Preparation for medical emergencies such as overdoses.
  57. Advance prep for med helicopter, ambulance, etc.
  58. Children, babies – allowed or not?
  59. Camping 18 and up only?
  60. Waivers of liability
  61. Rules stated on website before purchase of camping spot
  62. Dogs, cats, snakes and other pets brought by campers?
  63. Handicapped accessibility? Ramps, portapotties
  64. Availability of phone service, radio, wifi
  65. Need to run phone line for campsite business/ emergency contact within camp and to the outside? Buy/ rent satellite phones/ radios? (This can be especially true in a ravine, cave, mountain valley, deep forest area)
  66. Note: some ticketing systems depend on availability of phone service/ wifi to check authenticity of tickets.
  67. Food vendors
  68. Food vendor licensing, permits, health department inspections
  69. Presence of potable water for kitchens
  70. Source of electricity for kitchens 
  71. Other vendors - sunscreen, insect repellent, flashlights, etc.
  72. Possible entertainment on site 
  73. Cleanup, Damages, Repairs, Restitution, Trash, Recycling
  74. Set-up Time needed in advance (How many days/ weeks?)
  75. Break down / clean-up time needed after? (How many days?)
  76. Tire treads, ground damage, resurfacing (especially if it rains)
  77. Hiring people for entry gate security, layout, set up, security all day and night, EMTs, recycling, toilet maintenance, trash pickup.

Words Not Mine: Autism

Words Not Mine: Autism 
by Susan Basko, Esq

I have been the victim of smear artists for quite some time.  I have mostly kept quiet about this, thinking that the malicious people doing this would be spurred on to further hateful behaviors against me if I spoke up.  Finally, I have decided that I do need to speak up to correct the public record.  The smear artists I will mention are all irresponsible and vicious; one cannot simply email their websites and ask them to remove their lies and defamation.  Complaining to them results in them posting more of their lies and hate.   But I have decided for myself and my clients, it is mandatory to me to try to correct the record in some way.  I hope you have found this online.

One of the worst smear artists I have run across is a persona named "Liz Ditz."  As far as I can tell, this is not a real person, but a persona who engages in years-long campaigns of highly destructive defamation against her victims.  I will refer to "Liz Ditz" as if she is a she and also a real person.  She might just as well be a man or a team of smear artists, or a company that hires freelancers to smear others.

 Liz Ditz posted her hate and strange ideas toward autistic people and attributed her own hateful ideas to me. I never spoke with Liz Ditz about anything, let along about autism.  She concocted her own ideas, which reflect her own thinking. These have absolutely nothing to do with me or my ideas.

Liz Ditz has never spoken with me.   She did not interview me for any article.  No such thing happened.  She has not removed her filth off the internet.  She is not interested in truth or reality.  She is a smear artist.  Lying and smearing are her goals.

Why Liz Ditz's hateful lies about autism must be challenged:  I do a lot of work with people with autism. I have given thousands of hours of my time to try to give effective legal assistance and practical support to people with autism who have found themselves in legal trouble. It has been extremely difficult to get people or organizations to assist.  Is it because they are unwilling, or is it becasue they have seen Liz Ditz's hate on the internet?  We will never know.  But, even the grandparents of a young autistic man I have spent hundreds of hours assisting, and for whom I put my life on the line, mentioned that they saw my name connected with Liz Ditz's twisted writings.   Years after Liz Ditz created her filth and put my name to it, her filth lives on, on the internet.  She is a success at what she does best: Create lies, create smears, harm others, stops the good work of others.  She is an extremely destructive person.

Liz Ditz is a serial professional smear artist.  Her smear campaigns are carefully orchestrated and spread with ferocity.  After Liz Ditz began posting her lies about me, I started googling. I found a man that said Liz Ditz had smeared his business for 6 years. I knew it was true, because I recalled seeing Liz Ditz's smear campaign of this man's heroic business where he rescued people.  I recalled seeing disgusting emails being spread about.  I remember getting several of the emails in my inbox and wondering why such targeted hate and misinformation was being spread. I wondered who was behind it and who was financing  the smear campaign against that man.    I knew what the man was saying was true because I had witnessed it:   Liz Ditz,  harmed this man's very important work with her irresponsible and hateful smear campaign. Liz Ditz destroyed that man's business, his income, and his life.  He was left totally bereft.  The whole world was also harmed by Liz Ditz because this man's good work was brought to a halt by her massive smear campaign against him.

When the man told me about the horrors he had experienced at the hands of Liz Ditz, I recalled receiving emails from Liz Ditz six years prior.  I did not know Liz Ditz, but she was engaging in a massive email campaign to spread her smear of this man and his work.  Liz Ditz's efforts were like spamming in how massively she spread her nonsense.  Who paid for all that?  Who funds the smear campaigns conducted by Liz Ditz?  I'd like to know since I have been a victim.

The man described to me how Liz Ditz spread her stories about him through a network of irresponsible repeaters - people who repeat things without checking the source.  People who spread lies, deception, misinformation and hate.   I had this same experience.  No one asked me; no one emailed or called me to verify.  Granted, most of the repeaters were also very troubled individuals; several seemed to be mentally ill or socially very sick people using blogs to spread hate.  My thought is that no one who is normal or healthy would retweet or pass along any blog or email written by Liz Ditz.  Her writings are so obviously deceptive and sick and twisted.  She is an obvious smear artist.

Having smear artists such as Liz Ditz allowed on the internet is part of the way the internet works.  She is not a journalist.  She is not a professional.    She is irresponsible, unethical, a liar, filled with hate and self-loathing with which she tries to harm others who do good work.  She is harmful to society.   She is a menace to her victims.

And most shockingly of all, Liz Ditz may not even exist.  I looked pretty hard to track her down.  Everything came up as a false front.  "Liz Ditz" appears to be a front for a paid, professional smear campaign artist.   "She" is so irresponsible, so reckless, so devoid of any decency, and yet she is an unknown.  There was an  online credit of her supposedly on the board of a school;  there was  no evidence that the school was real.  My conclusion is that Liz Ditz is a name for a front for a smear artist. In other words, "Liz Ditz" appears to be a sock puppet, an alias,  a mask behind which lies a person, or perhaps a company or network dedicated to harming others.    

When "Liz Ditz" was smearing me, she claimed to be some sort of expert about autism. When she was smearing her other long-term victim that I located, she put herself forth as expert in construction.  I have dug and have found Liz Ditz to have no verifiable credentials of any sort.   This is the mark of a smear artist.
I won't let "Liz Ditz" and "her monstrous behavior destroy or end my work with autistic people.  I have continued on.  But I want her name connected with what she does -- smear others.  I remember how happy I was to find the name of one of her other victims.  I contacted that man and he was so happy to hear from me.  We commiserated and compared notes of Liz Ditz's methodology in how she makes up lies and smears and spreads them.  That man begged me for help in righting the wrongs.     He wanted to sue Liz Ditz for her smears that destroyed his business,  his livelihood, his life.   I don't handle such things, and it was too far past the statute of limitations.    The man was dying and has likely since died, gone to his death without being able to publicly address the horrors foisted on him by Liz Ditz.  His wife told me how happy her husband was to speak with me, it meant so much for him to be able to commiserate. He believed Liz Ditz is a real person.   He was so deeply hurt by the horrors of what Liz Ditz did to him.  She harassed him for 6 long years.  Six years.  That is a hell of a long campaign of hate and destruction.   The man saw me as salvation, as the only other person he had spoken with who had experienced the unfathomably deep well of deception known as Liz Ditz.

I still think Liz Ditz is a name for a front of an organized hate-smear machine; I have seen no evidence that points otherwise.   Sure, I'd like to know who it is propping up the hate machine that uses the name Liz Ditz, but realize that professional smear campaigns are orchestrated very carefully and they do not reveal their true identity or who their client is.  

I have kept mostly silent about this. Since the internet is such that it keeps a smear campaign forever, I must speak out.

HOW MANY people have backed off or refused to assist someone with autism because of Liz Ditz and her followers?  Anyone taking one look at her horrifying attacks on me would likely refuse to help.  Liz Ditz is vicious and her "followers" are gullible and repeat her nonsense.  She has created such a terrifying environment for anyone who might want to help. She has done such a huge disservice to people with autism and to those who dare to assist them.    

30 Ideas on Raising Children

The apple does not fall far from the tree.
30 Ideas on Raising Children
by Sue Basko

As a little Christmas gift, I want to share my tips on raising children.  I raised children into happy adults.     Unlike most people, I sat down with a pen and notebook at the start of my child-raising career and made a list of how I wanted to do it.  And this, I share with you:

1. Think of raising your children as a career or job.  You are there to do a good job. To do that, you need to be in good shape physically and mentally.  You need to be ever-conscious of the goals, the process, and the success (or lack thereof) of your techniques.

2. Give your best to your family.  Use your best manners on your family.  Give your best efforts to your family.  Use your best furniture and dishes on your family.  Invest your money and time in your family.    Home should not be where you slack off and give your least; it is where you should be on your best and give your best.  Please, thank you, respecting privacy and property.

3. Don't tolerate a degradation of the family or home environment from anyone, including yourself.  "Sorry, we don't do that in our family" is legit.

4. Be sober and sane and healthy.  Drinking, using drugs, unchecked depression or mental problems, obesity --  all these are incompatible with parenting.  To be a good parent, you need to be in great shape physically and mentally.   Think of parenting like being a Marine or astronaut (or some such thing).  It takes all you've got to do the job right.

5. Every child is different.  They have different temperaments, different interests, different gifts. This is because God makes each person unique so we have a full society.  No child is made "wrong."  Your job is to watch and see what are your child's unique gifts, and then nurture those.   The things that a person is good at and that they enjoy are the things they are meant to do.

6. The more time and attention you put in while your child is a baby and preschool age, the easier your job is later.  Laying that solid foundation really pays off later. 

7. Think in terms of giving your children skills and experiences that will last a lifetime, rather than giving your child things.   Make a list of skills you want to help your child acquire: Play a musical instrument, sing, cook, hike, jumping rope, sew, draw, swim, doing math.   And so forth. Your child should leave home with a set of skills sufficiently developed that she or he could teach those skills to someone else.

8. Prepare your children to be independent.  When my children were young, I made a list of skills I wanted to teach them so they would be able to leave the nest and be independent.   With each skill, I showed the children and then made them do it at least once.  That is enough for a skill set that lasts a lifetime.  I made a list and checked off each item as the lesson was completed.  The list included such skills as:

  • Making basic meals with simple foods, such as grilled cheese sandwich, an omelet, a casserole, bake a cake, bake a loaf of bread.
  • Sew by hand with a needle and thread.
  • Sew on a button.
  • Iron a shirt.
  • Clean a bathroom.
  • Wash a window.
  • Use basic handtools: screwdrivers, drill, hammer, saw, sandpaper.
  • How to shop for food: how to shop the perimeter, how to choose produce, how to pay.
  • How to do laundry at a laundromat.
  • How to write a thank you note.
  • How to use public transportation: reading maps and schedules, planning times and routes, paying, being alert.
  • How to fix a bike tire.   

I got some good laughs when my son called me from his first college apartment to say, "Apparently, I am the only person my age in all of New York who knows how to clean a bathroom."

9. Think of toys in terms of their play potential.  Spend more of your money on things with a lot of play potential.  How many hours of play will come from this?  Things with a lot of play potential include Legos, art supplies, a computer, a camera, a bike, a skateboard.  Things with little play potential include action figures, gag gifts, single-purpose toys.  Of course, if a child has a dream toy and it is affordable and reasonable, you want to try to fulfill that dream.

Children do not need new toys every week.  It is perfectly reasonable to have gift-giving limited to birthdays and holidays.  Children who are given toys with a lot of play potential can always do something new with those toys. Children who are given toys with little or no play potential will always want new toys, since there is nothing to do with their toys other than possess them.  Such a pattern of toy ownership sets kids up for a lifetime of dissatisfaction with what they own.

10. What goes into our heads manifests itself in attitudes and actions.  Thus, we did not watch any violent or horror movies or television shows.  Actually, we did not watch any TV until the children were about 10 years old, and then only 2 hours one evening a week.  Teach your kids that they control what they put into their heads and that what goes in is important.  What manifests from a brain filled with violence and horror?  There are now many families that avoid TV and carefully choose movies and video games.  It feels joyful to consciously pick good entertainment.

11. Eat healthily.  Plan and make good meals with high nutritional content.  That means you are not buying junk food.  Just don't have it in your home.  If you don't buy it, you can't eat it.  Skip the soda, sugared "fruit" drinks, candy, chips, cheetos, white bread, fried foods.  Almost anything that comes in a package or can is not going to be as healthy as something from the fresh aisles of a grocery.  Childhood obesity is rampant and those foods cause it.  Raise healthy kids.

12. Eat meals together.  Set the table nicely every day, with napkins, flowers, candles.  TV, radio, or phones should not be at your meal.  It is time for you to be together.

13. Communicate.  Talk with your kids. Listen.  Listen. Listen. Be trustworthy.  Don't repeat to others what your children say.  Respect the communications.  If your kids are not sharing with you, it may be that you have not respected or valued their communications in the past.

14.  Don't snoop.  Period.  Of course, be aware and take action if your child seems to be acquiring weapons, drugs, stolen goods, etc.  But other than the obvious, don't snoop.  Respect your child's privacy and rely on communication with them.

15. Don't be afraid to tell your children that you have expectations.   Tell them you expect them to do well in school, keep out of trouble, go to college.  Or whatever you expect.  Tell them why you don't want them to do certain things or hang around with certain people.  Tell your children fact-specific things to do to handle certain situations.  For example, one of my children had some friends who were into shoplifting.  I told my child I would prefer he not hang around with those people, but that if he was going to be with them anyway, if they started to shoplift when he was with them, to immediately walk out of the store and leave them behind.  Do not discuss with them, just leave.  Not long after I explained this to him, he had the occasion to leave a store when his friends started shoplifting, and then to watch his friends taken out in handcuffs and put in a police car.  Whew, what a sad lesson.

16.  Share your faith and beliefs.  Wherever it is you draw your strength, share that with your children. I have a prayer-based faith, so I prayed with my children every day.   I also take a lot of joy and strength in nature and wanted to share that, too.  We often visited the beach, listening to the surf as the sun set.  We went hiking in the woods, pretending to be little Native children, trying to be silent in our footsteps.  Whatever is your source of strength, share it with your children.

17. Value education.  Spend your time and efforts helping your children learn.  Get them to bed on time so they have enough rest.  Give them a good breakfast and send them to school ready to learn.  Participate in the parent groups.  Get your kids plenty of books from the library or book store or yard sales.  Keep your home clean, non-chaotic, and quiet, so your kids have time and place to learn.  Bring your kids to museums, galleries, parks, plays, concerts, and other cultural activities.

18. Sing together.  Sing together as a family.  Make holiday videos or perform a family show where you sing together.  Nicer still if your family plays musical instruments.  Dance together.

19. Tell your children, "I love you," every day. Or several times each day.

20. Praise your children every day.  Tell your children they are good, smart, pretty, handsome, good artists, clever, good cooks, handy.  Laugh at their jokes, listen to their stories, tell them thank you.

21.  Be grateful and teach your children to be grateful.  Talk about how you are lucky to have each other, to have a home, food to eat, health.  Thank people. Teach your children to say "Thank you."  Thank your children.

22. If you are ever feeling bossy or on a power trip, stop and calculate the time until your child turns 18 and can be on her own and do whatever she pleases. The purpose of raising children is to let them learn how to make decisions for themselves.  A 16 or 17 year old should be making all their decisions on their own, with you there as guidance.  If not, how will they be ready to be 18?  A child should be allowed to make some of their own decisions, from a very early age.  Give children choices, where each choice is acceptable.  A 14 year old should be able to pick their own classes and activities, choose their own meals, choose their own friends, do their own schoolwork, choose their own clothes and hair style, set their own schedule.  If you want to control those things for your child, then don't be surprised if your child is not "ready to launch" when it is time.  Learning comes from making some mistakes.

23. Teach your children compassion. Teach them not to bully, to be kind to the underdog, to respect people of all races and religions. Take them on cultural excursions to meet different kinds of people and share in different cultures.

24. Teach your kids to be part of a community.  Take them with you as you volunteer.  Bring them with you while you give food to the homeless, go to protests, work on a community garden.  Teach your kids how to pass a petition, form an organization, stand up for what is right.

25. Let kids play outside.  Every day.

26. Teach your kids how to choose friends and how to be a friend.  When one of my children started at a big high school in seventh grade, he was concerned about having friends.  He had the lead role in the school play, so he was popular, but needed close friends at this new school.  I told him to look for people who shared his same interests and values and to make best friends with those people. I told him that anyone that has one or two best friends is automatically popular because they feel happy and secure.  Others will gather around that core of two or three close friends.

27. Laugh a lot.  Joyful laughter, not mean laughter.  Don't mock, tease, or taunt.  Have a lot of fun laughing with your kids.  Have family in-jokes.   We had a joke that ran for many years, where whenever we just missed a bus or train, we would say we did not miss "our bus," that the next one was "our bus." This extended to anything we missed: it was not ours, ours was the next one.

28. Teach your kids about sex. Teach them that their bodies are sacred. Teach them to respect others. Don't sexualize your children.  Dress your kids as kids, not as sexy little adults.  Give your kids a simple rule: Don't have sex till they are in college.  In California, it is illegal for anyone under age 18 to have sex.  That makes this an easy rule to explain and insist upon.  The legal age is lower in some states, but it is rarely conducive to getting an education and good start in life to have sex younger than age 18.

29. Have open communication with your children about the internet.  Talk to them about sexting, revenge porn, bullying.  Let them know the internet is wonderful, but is also a playground for predators.  Teach them that not everything is as it seems.  Teach your children to respect others on the internet, and not to engage in hacking, bullying, or posting sex photos.  Teach them to keep their computer cameras covered, except when in use. Teach them never to agree to meet anyone from the internet unless they run it by you.  Tell them that many sex predators meet victims this way.  Yes, this means you need to explain to your kids about sex predators.

30. Take pictures often.  Children grow up quickly.