Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Silence is Golden

So......I have been told by my attorney not to write this blog. He has heard that it has irritated people in power. And, these apparatchiks could make my life miserable. He is particularly concerned about pissing off anyone in Monterey County.

This guy runs through machine gun fire for me on a monthly basis, so I want to listen to his advice. This is also the guy whose mom went to Israel in 1967 to meditate for peace with the Maharishi Mahesh yogi.

A quandry: as small business people we are regulated by: the Monterey County Health Department; the State Board of Equalization; the Monterey County Sheriff; the state Alcoholic Beverage Control; the Monterey County Planning Department; the Building Department; the California State Department of Agriculture; the Internal Revenue Service; the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms guys.......any one of whom could crush us with paper in a heartbeat. We are legal, but light in bookkeeping and paperwork resources. I can barely get the bills out, and the checks. I am a chef......I cook.

The question: would my recitation of humorous and bitter vignettes of small business life, and how national politics affects me really cause a government figure to put me out of business because he or she disagrees with me? Is it now economically and physically risky to state an opinion?

My friend Nigel would say ''yes''. He was notified by a Canadian client that a team of FBI and Homeland Security guys were visiting all his clients informing them that he was a security risk. The client was even told that TELLING anyone about the visit was a felony under the Patriot Act. Since the client was Canadian, he told them to fuck off.....and called Nigel.

Nigel is now unemployed and living in his 15 year old BMW. Did I mention that he is a war vet (two wars for three countries) and a patriot? No matter......But if you need any photography or web design......or bartending.....Or advice about BMW's.....I will hook you up with him.

So it is possible. I will just hope that I am a small enough bug to not need swatting......

But then again:

An excerpt from the Hartlepool Weekly (that is in country)

Man taken off plane

A MAN was removed from a passenger plane and questioned by police amidst fears he was a security risk.

Harraj Mann, 23, of Hartlepool, travelled from town by taxi to Durham and Tees Valley Airport before boarding a flight bound for London.The taxi driver had become worried on the way to the airport because Mann had been singing along to The Clash's 1979 anthem "London Calling," which features the lyrics "Now war is declared -- and battle come down" while other lines warn of a "meltdown expected".

Mann told newspapers the taxi had been fitted with a music system which allowed him to plug in his MP3 player and he had been playing The Clash, Procol Harum, Led Zeppelin and the Beatles to the driver.

"He didn't like Led Zeppelin or The Clash but I don't think there was any need to tell the police," Mann told the Daily Mirror.

But before the aircraft took off, two plain-clothed police officers boarded the aircraft and escorted Mr Mann away.He was then questioned before it was established there was no security threat.

Mr Mann, a mobile phone salesman from the Rossmere area of Hartlepool, was going to London to visit members of his family.

He said: "I got frogmarched off the plane in front of everyone, got my bags searched, asked every question you can think of, from what school I went to, to the more obvious, what am I going to London for? "I was being held for questioning under the Terrorism Act.

"I was laughing about it, but all my mates are absolutely furious."It's just left me bemused. I can agree that there's a culture of fear. They acted on the information they had."I'm just frustrated that it happened to me. It's a mystery."

Mr Mann, who is of Indian descent, ended up missing his flight and getting a taxi home - and is still not sure if he will be reimbursed.A spokeswoman for Durham Police said the action was taken "as a result of information received" and the flight was stopped before take off on Thursday last week, shortly after 7pm. She added: "A man on that flight was escorted from the plane and interviewed by police. "

"Safety is paramount and we respond to concerns from members of the public in the way they would expect us to."In this case the report was made with the best of intentions and we would not want to discourage people from contacting us with genuine concerns regarding security."

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