Episode 44 is up!

Don is off this week, taking a little R&R before he kicks into full-time fatherhood mode, so we’re bringing you something a little different this week. This is the pilot episode of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. An interview show that focuses on local members of the community. Primarily focused on getting to know the members of your community and the roles they play in it.

This week’s episode is Joseph Micheal O’Conner, a licensed public land surveyor, also known as a PLS. Don’t know what a surveyor is, or what they do? You’ve come to the right place. It was a great time sitting down with him, he’s a very fun and interesting guy. So please, enjoy this pilot episode of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, and let us know what you think.

As always all our podcast episodes post at Soundcloud but can be found anywhere else you like to receive your podcasts. The full length video will be found on our Salt of the Streets YouTube page. This video will post tomorrow Tuesday 18th of December 2018.

Please let us know what you think of the episode either right here in the comments OR on any of our social medias:

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Music in this episode comes courtesy of bensound.com

Rain Check & Something New

Written by: Colin Offenbacker

During last weeks discussion on George H. W. Bush we brought up the political scandal known as Iran-Contra, and I announced I’d be writing a blog post on it. Well…this week’s post will not be on Iran-Contra, though it will come during my next round just after Christmas. Don’t worry though, the wait will be worth it.

With Don being out this week to prepare for the arrival of the newest member of the Salt of the Streets family, I’ve been hard at work on some new content for you all. In the spirit of Don’s interview with Mackrayz from The Upper Left, I will be conducting an interview with an amazing individual from the local community! Someone near and dear to both my professional and personal life. I’m really excited to reveal not only an incredibly interesting, knowledgeable and hilarious local individual but we’ll also be sheding some light on a little known profession in the trades, one that may be in jeopardy of slipping away.

In keeping with the origins of the Salt of the Streets, this first pilot episode of “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” will focus on getting to the true nature of real, everyday people in the community. We’ll cover everything from who they are, what they do, why they do it, why it’s important for you to learn about it and more.

The show will flow naturally, as all interviews should, but we’ll cover aspects of the interviewee’s life, both professional and personal, their point of view on living and growing up in the bastion of liberty known as the United States of America and of course how they pursue happiness, an endless pursuit we all share.

Don and I will be back together next week for some more standard Salt of the Streets action. Until then look forward this new thing we’re going to test out, it will drop on our normal Salt of the Streets Podcast stream so please just let us know what you think.

See you all again soon.

Some context on Crimea and the seizing of Ukrainian ships by the Russian Federation.

Written by: Colin Offenbacker

Joseph Stalin, the leader of the Soviet Union died in 1953. It was Nikita Khrushchev who took the reins of leadership over the massive Communist state. Shortly after his elevation to head of the Soviet State, Khrushchev began what is commonly referred to as a “de-Stalinization” period, a major part of which ended in “gifting” the province of Crimea to the Republic of Ukraine in 1954.

As told by the Soviet newspaper Pravda on Feb. 27, 1954:

“Decree of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet transferring Crimea Province from the Russian Republic to the Ukraine Republic, taking into account the integral character of the economy, the territorial proximity and the close economic ties between Crimea Province and the Ukraine Republic, and approving the joint presentation of the Presidium of the Russian Republic Supreme Soviet and the Presidium of the Ukraine Republic Supreme Soviet on the transfer of Crimea Province from the Russian Republic to the Ukraine Republic.”

This was an interesting move from the Soviet state considering, in one way or another, Crimea had been part of the greater Russian Empire for over a century. Never the less, it happened. Fast forward to 2014, the Soviet Union has fallen and a new modern superpower known as the Russian Federation stands in its place. On February 27th, unmarked and masked Russian soldiers moved into Crimea and took control of strategic targets including the Parliament building. By March 16th a pro-Russian government had been installed and had declared independence and on the 18th of March 2014, Russia had formally incorporated Crimea into the Russian Federation. To date, the international community has condemned the annexation of Crimea and has refused to recognize it as a part of the Russian Federation.

Over this past weekend yet another Russian provocation has developed, this time on the waters of the Black Sea off the coast of Crimea. Russian forces had fired on and seized 3 Ukrainian naval ships. On Monday, the F.S.B. (Russian Federal Security Service) said that border patrol boats had seized the Ukrainian naval vessels in the Black Sea using weapons to force them to stop. The Ukrainian ships included two smaller armored artillery ships and a tug boat. The ships were supposedly heading to the Ukrainian port of Mariupol via the Sea of Azov after leaving from the city of Odessa. The Azov is landlocked but for the exception of a narrow passage between Russia and the recently annexed Crimea. The waters are supposed to be a shared territory between the two nations according to a treaty signed in 2003. However, after the annexation of Crimea, Russia soon set to work, building a bridge that runs the water gap between Russia and Crimea. To help stop the Ukrainian ships from passing through, the Russians placed a large cargo ship broadside between the bridges underpass effectively blocking the only sea route to there destination. Soon the Russians had captured the ships and there crew. The 24 members of the Ukrainian ships crews are now being held in a 2 month pre-trial confinement.

Many United Nations officials including our very own U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley condemned Russia for the act. Haley called it “another reckless Russian escalation”.

For now this is a developing story and will, I’m sure, continue to evolve throughout the coming days, weeks and months.

Don’t forget to tune in to the upcoming episode of the Salt of the Streets Podcast to hear more on what Don and myself think about the whole situation.

The Camp Fire Tragedy

Written by: Colin Offenbacker

It’s midway through November and as Thanksgiving approaches, the weather here in the great Pacific Northwest has been pretty fantastic given the time of year. In New York City the first winter storm system brought a blanket of snow, while California on the other hand has suffered a horrific tragedy at the hands of wildfire.

Approximately 10 miles east of Chico California sat the town of Paradise. In local folklore it’s a town named after an old saloon called “pair-o’-dice”, but for its 26,000 plus residence, I’m sure they just knew it as home. Last Thursday a wildfire broke out and thanks to the fabled and now dreaded “Santa Ana Winds” within no time at all the town of Paradise found itself ablaze in a hellish nightmare.

It’s being called the “Camp Fire”, and as of writing this it’s also being called California’s deadliest wildfire. It’s been one week since the blaze first started back on Thursday November 8th and the official CAL-FIRE site shows it as only 40% contained. To date we’re seeing the death toll at 63 civilian fatalities and 3 injuries but the list of people still unaccounted for is somewhere between 130-300 but these numbers continue to fluctuate wildly from day to day. Unfortunately all of these numbers will probably continue to rise as the days and weeks go on.

It’s being reported that some 90% of the town’s residences has been turned to ash. A total of 8,756 residences and 260 commercial buildings have been destroyed and another 15,500 buildings are still considered threatened according to CAL-FIRE. Living in a town with a population half of what Paradise’s is, I can’t even fathom the true physical manifestation of this disasters fallout, it seems totally unreal for someone like me who has never been witness to a disaster such as this.

Investigating the cause of most wildfires can be a difficult and time consuming process and as of now we have no idea what caused the fire to break out. There is however one thing we know for a fact about this fire, and that is simple. The people of Paradise need assistance. By simply punching in “camp fire relief” into google, a huge number of charities including the Red Cross and the Salvation Army can be found. Money, clothing, hygiene essentials, they pretty much need everything and anything to help these people.

The large craft brewery Sierra Nevada, which is actually based right next to Paradise in Chico California has started a relief fund. The best resource I’ve found to help is through a link below, if want to get involved and help out the relief effort your about 2-3 clicks away. It’s run through Golden Valley bank and the link will bring you right to a list of relief funds you can support directly. As pictures and videos of the ashy ruins of Paradise continue to flood across the internet and television the need for any kind of relief becomes more and more visually apparent.

Golden Valley Bank Community Foundation:

https://www.goldenvalley.bank/Community-Foundation.aspx

To follow up to date information check out the CAL-FIRE website:

http://www.fire.ca.gov/current_incidents/incidentdetails/Index/2277

The Squirrel Hill Shooting

Written by: Colin Offenbacker

During last weeks grab bag session on the podcast we brought up the horrible shooting that took place at the Squirrel Hill synagogue but didn’t dive into it, it had taken place the morning of the cast and it was just too early to accurately report much of anything except for the fact that it did happen. The traditional week long period of mourning known to the English-speaking Jewish community as “sitting shiva” hasn’t yet completed but many details have come forth as investigations are running there course.

The attack came on the morning of Saturday the 27th of October 2018. During a morning Jewish service a 46-year-old man who worked as a long-haul trucker burst into the Squirrel Hill synagogue, which is outside of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, and began shooting at the synagogue’s members. The incident lasted approximately 20 minutes leaving 11 people dead and left six people injured, including four police officers. After investigating it was reported that the crime seems to be a blatant anti-Semitic hate crime. The suspect eventually surrendered to authorities and is now in custody. On Thursday he, in a brief arraignment in federal court, plead not guilty to the 44-count indictment handed down by federal prosecutors. This past week has seen many funerals take place, services of remembrance and even a condolence visit by the President of the United States.

Before we part ways this week I wanted to make a point. Though the previous two paragraphs were lacking in color and emotion I would like to point out that never did I once reveal the suspects name or post a picture of his face. If you’ve listened to Don and I talk about mass shooters before, you know that we will not reveal names or post pictures of these pieces of human debris. We feel strongly that any notoriety these people seek must not be achieved. There names and faces should be lost to history forever, never to be remembered. We should remember what happened, when it happened, where it happened and why it happened. We should feel pain and loss for those whose lives were stolen away from them, there community, there family and friends. Choosing to broadcast the perpetrators name and face gives them a chance to gain some sort of sick notoriety and could allow them and there crimes to gain infamy. Though it’s just a simple example, I, with no journalistic background, can present the situation without revealing a name or a face, I feel like it’s just the moral thing to do.

Maybe I’m wrong here, but if I can do it I see absolutely no reason the “real” media outlets, including some of the most respected in the world, can’t do the same thing. We’ve seen a great number of “alternative” media outlets including, a kind of late to the party, Ben Shapiro take this stance, refusing to show faces or reveal names. With any luck this trend will catch onto bigger and bigger news outlets. There are about a million and one reason I could point to as to why the more main-stream media outlets don’t do this, but that is a completely different blog post all together. For now, we’ll leave it at that, and we’ll talk to you again soon.

Leakers and Reporters, where do we draw the line? Or do we?

Written By: Colin Offenbacker

On Wednesday this week, news began to break about yet another “leaker” coming from the top tiers of our governmental bureaucracy being arrested for distributing sensitive information. This time it was Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, a senior adviser at the Treasury Departments Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. She was was arrested and charged with unauthorized disclosure of Suspicious Activity Reports and conspiracy to make such unauthorized disclosures by the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. On Wednesday she was released on $100,000 bond and ordered to appear in court next month. Each of the two charges carry a maximum sentence of up to 5 years in prison.

The documents released are what is called “Suspicious Activity Reports” also known as SARs. In short they are used by financial institutions to flag possible illegal transactions, which Edwards stored on a flash drive. According to the Department of Justice, the leaked SARs were linked to the Robert Muller investigation. Among the numerous disclosed SARs some were related to the accused Russian spy Maria Butina, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his long time business partner Rick Gates. In the indictment handed down from federal prosecutors it said “…the flash drive files appear to contain thousands of SAR’s, along with other highly sensitive material relating to Russia, Iran and the terrorists group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS/ISIL), among other things. Multiple files also bear labels referencing Paul Manafort and Reporter-1’s name.”

Though, the reporter isn’t named in the indictment, reporter-1 seems to be someone from BuzzFeed News. A string of articles released via BuzzFeed News seem to corroborate this, I’ve attached links below to see for yourself if interested.
This whole situation isn’t really new in our contemporary news cycle, in fact DOJ investigations of leakers is up nearly 800%. I’ve said as much on the podcast before but I would like there to be no leaks in our government, I would also like it if there was never a “need” for such leaks, but given the current political and social climate I can at least understand where the drive to leak comes from. What I really want to focus on here though is the relationship between reporters and these would be leakers.

After reading through some of these articles in question, I’m torn by many questions, whether or not “we” as the public really need all of the information, whether or not the articles are written to promote a political agenda or perhaps it’s just the free-press doing there jobs. I’m sure that during the investigation into Ms. Edwards, any nefarious activity on the part of “report-1” would have been uncovered if any existed, which would rule out any coercive activity on the side of the press in this situation.
This however leaves me with another question, a question of ethics. To front load this a little, there is a very stark difference between a leaker and a so called whistle blower, and for the purposes of this blog post I’m going to assume that we know the difference between the two. With that in mind, does the press have the ethical responsibility to publish known illegally obtained documents, like those in this particular court case? Or perhaps the opposite?

I feel like I could easily make arguments on both sides of this situation and perhaps Don and I will talk more about it on the podcast soon. For now I feel like I’m just left with more and more questions. What is in it for leakers like Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards? Like James Wolf, a former intelligence committee staffer who just earlier this week plead guilty to leaking a subpoena? It’s fairly simple to see what’s in it for the press, a scoop no one else will get, a chance to tell a story no one else would know, there’s a million reasons there, and some might even say an ethical duty to relay it to the public.

With that, I think this is some great conversation material so I’ll leave the ball in your court. Leave us a reply in the comments and let us know what your take is on leaks, leakers and the press running stories on them. Do you like leaks? Are all leaks good? Are no leaks good? Let us know what you think! And of course don’t forget to catch the podcast when it drops on Monday or catch the video podcast when it hits YouTube on Tuesday to see if your comments make it on the show!

https://www.redstate.com/streiff/2018/10/17/senior-treasury-official-indicted-leaking-secret-information-buzzfeed-wont-last/

https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/17/politics/treasury-official-charged-with-leaking-docs-related-to-russia-manafort/index.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/senior-treasury-employee-charged-with-leaking-documents-related-to-russia-probe/2018/10/17/74f67faa-d226-11e8-83d6-291fcead2ab1_story.html?utm_term=.c928f40f7058

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/treasury-official-arrested-charged-leaking-data-russia-probe/story?id=58580073

Yet Another Milestone!

Hello everyone, Colin here again.

I’m going to keep this blog post short this time, I promise. My last blog was a little on the lengthy side which I did not intend so I’m going to give “short” another go.

As the week progresses ever forward, Don and I are busy digging into more of the news in and around the Kavanaugh situation, we’re looking into a gun control initiative that has made it’s way from the State’s Court systems and is being put to voters, and of course keeping our ears and eyes hard at work staying as informed as we possibly can.

No spoilers for this upcoming show of course but needless to say we’re both very excited, as always, to strike up the conversation again.

Episode 33, which we recorded last weekend was the last show for the month of September. Though we’ve seem steady growth every month since the conception of Salt of the Streets, last month was a particularly special month. As I eluded to in the title, we’ve achieved another milestone.

We hit 500 hundred listens in the month of September alone!

That is just simply amazing to even think about, and it’s all thanks to people like you! To all of our listeners, and with the launch of our Salt of the Streets Youtube channel, our viewers, we want to thank you from the deepest depths of our hearts.

If it wasn’t for all of your support, whether it is through ratings and reviews, views, listens, comments, everything, Salt of the Streets wouldn’t be what it is today. Your involvement and support gives us hope that we’re actually accomplishing our goal of bridging the gap between people and information.

To our family, friends, loyal listeners and viewers, the hard work you all put in spreading “the good word” of the Salt of the Streets has been spectacular and we are forever grateful. To any newcomers, first off, welcome, secondly we encourage you to not just listen or watch. Come join our conversations in the comments sections and on social media, or even drop us a topic request if you want to hear us cover something your interested in.

500 listens a month is a great milestone but we’re not stopping there! Don and I will continue our blissfully endless effort to bridge the gap between people and information and we invite you to help us fill that gap, today, tomorrow and always.

Once again, we are eternally grateful to each and everyone of you for all your support.

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook so you can get access to our LIVE STREAM Preshow this Saturday, until then, stay salty and we’ll catch you on the live stream this weekend!