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Don’t Be Your Own Jailer

By Robert Altomare, Founder of the BreathEasy App

www.breathez.org

November 11, 2021

I can still remember the first time I said ‘no’.

It was at a Radio Shack in San Diego, California in 1995. I had recently learned that Blockbuster was selling their customers’ personal information to businesses called ‘Information Brokers’ and it certainly didn’t sound like it was for my benefit. I had never heard of such a thing, but as I learned more about these information traffickers, I finally understood where all those robo-calls and junk mail in my mailbox came from! I realized that my personal information, everything that defined me as a person, was a commodity to be bought and sold like so much wheat, peanut butter or gasoline. While this might seem obvious today in 2021, in 1995 this was very new information.

I also learned that I had even agreed to my commodity status when I signed up for my Blockbuster membership! I didn’t believe what I was hearing until one day when I asked to see a blank contract. Sure enough, down at the bottom in the fine print, there it was in black and white: I had expressly given Blockbuster, Inc. the permission to collect, retain and sell my personal information. How naïve I had been. How naïve we had all been.

After learning the ways of the new and emerging “Information Age,” I decided to take a more active role in policing my own information and Radio Shack was going to be where I made my stand.

So, one day, I needed to purchase some long-forgotten something and to this day, I don’t recall what it was, maybe some batteries, a universal remote control or a new phone (Land line! Remember those?) and went to my local Radio Shack to engage the information enemy.

As I brought my item to the cash register placed upon the glass display case full of watch batteries, flashlights and radio-controlled cars, I could feel the anxiety rising in my chest. I had never actually told Radio Shack (or any store, for that matter) ‘no’ before when they asked for my phone number or address. I’d never even seen anyone deny Radio Shack’s request! What would happen? Would he allow me to buy my item? Would he call his manager? Would he make some sort of scene? I was charging into terra incognita armed with nothing but righteous indignation.

I truly was a little nervous as I approached the cashier. I placed my item on the counter and in a short moment he rang it up and, right on schedule and not even looking up, he asked, “phone number?”

Moment of truth…

My voice cracking slightly, I responded, “I don’t really want to give my phone number, is that ok?”

The look on his face told me that he hadn’t come across this response too often. It was a mixture of surprise and confusion. After I drew my line in the sand, there was a moment that seemed to last seconds, my heart beating just a little harder than normal. I looked down at the counter avoiding eye contact hoping to squeak out of this unscathed.

Well,” he began, “that’s fine. I’ll just put in the store’s phone number so I can get to the next screen.”

Wait. What?

Was that it? My chest was tight as a coiled snake for that?

I audibly exhaled, not realizing I had been holding my breath through the short interval waiting for his response...

Suffice it to say, a lot of water has gone under the bridge since that day nearly 30 years ago. I now realize that ‘no’ is quite possibly one of the strongest, most potent words known to man. ‘No’ embodies the Human spirit’s need and right to chart its own course; even more so than what ‘yes’ could ever possibly be.

There is a mile’s worth of difference between, “Yes We Can” and “No, I Won’t.

Fast forward to 2020. The “Pandemic,” the lockdowns, the business closures. The movie “12 Monkies” had come to life with abandoned signs everywhere declaring to nobody in particular that masks, “vaccine” tests or something else were required to enter buildings.

And it was under these circumstances that I would rely on my POW training and Radio Shack Resistance to summon the courage, gumption and self-confidence to get through the madness we’re experiencing now.

You see, in addition to the tenet of “Little Wins” to help you survive captivity (or the Brandon Administration) that I described in my previous essays here, here and here, there is also the closely related technique of “Testing.” Testing is the act of essentially dipping your toe into the lagoon of resistance and seeing how long it takes for the piranhas to bite.

For example, if your jailors insist you eat your prison gruel with your left hand (but you’re right-handed) simply eat with your right hand and ‘test’ to see if they correct you. Every moment that you are eating with your dominant right hand and NOT succumbing to their rules, you are freer than you would have been otherwise. No need to fight, no need to yell. Claim your Freedom.

Key to this strategy of ‘Testing’ is the fact that you are forcing your captor to enforce their rules. Every time you eat with your right hand, you put your captor into the position of stopping everything he’s doing to enforce his rule on you. How long will it be before even HE gives tired of it? Survival is a marathon, not a sprint.

Putting it another way, every time aPOW follows the prison’s rule, even when his health or wellbeing are not in danger, he has become his own jailor and easier to manage.

And so it was when the mask mandates and lockdowns began in 2020. We were all implored to wear masks, demanded that we wear them everywhere we went. Of course, because I don’t wear masks, I was, by default, testing these businesses on whether they would enforce their own mandates (You can read more about how the BreathEasy App emerged from this experience at www.breathez.org).

To be certain, some businesses did enforce their insults to Freedom and Liberty. I was living in the belly of the Beast, Portlantifa, Oregon. These hipster zealots were ruthless in their enforcement of meaningless rules; we’ve all seen the YouTube videos.

However, some businesses were not so anxious to be the government’s jailors and enforce a mask “requirement.” I specifically remember my first ‘test’ of a local chain grocery store. I could feel the anxiety rising in my chest exactly as it had that day in that long bankrupt Radio Shack 26 years earlier. I walked right past the ‘masks required’ signs, through the automatic sliding glass doors and into the store completely maskless while literally everyone in in the store was masked up and ‘following the rules’ like the unwitting POWs that they were.

I’ll never forget the looks I got from so many of my fellow customers. All I could see was their eyes, but their body language expressed everything I needed to know:

“I didn’t know we could do that...”

“Isn’t somebody going to say something to him?”

“Don’t look...”

As I am writing this, I can already hear some of you thinking to yourself, “Sure. It’s easy for you to ignore those signs, you’ve been trained! I could never do that...”

Trust me, I empathize with these thoughts. We have been so numbed our entire lives to simply comply with any rule provided to us that we assume the rule is legal. The problem is that that we have forgotten how to say ‘no.’

I say to you now, dear reader, it is time for us to relearn what we have forgotten.

But how do we begin? We’ve all seen the YouTube videos of patriots fighting for their/our rights. Raising their voices, angrily and righteously resisting, telling the world of the injustice of it all; going toe to toe with Marxist employees or self-important Karen businesses.

That is definitely one strategy one could take and I by no means disparage it. I took this tack in the early days of the lockdowns myself! I was in the fight and had quite a few ‘forceful interactions.’ I even had the police called on me, twice. Once in Orlando by Southwest Airlines and the second by the Tallahassee Hilton. Understand, the police were not called because things were violent. They were called because I simply refused to abide by illegal ‘rules!’ The look on the police officers' faces said everything that needed to be said.

But I realized something during all this civil combat. The employees simply don’t care that they are driving business away. All my protestations were meaningless. It’s not THEIR business that will whither and die, after all.

So, instead of dying on every hill (and there were a lot of hills to die on in Portlantifa), I merely forced upon the businesses the economic results of their decision to support mask mandates: I avoided them.

But again, how do we begin? How does one test to find out if a business is friendly or unfriendly to Liberty and Freedom? It’s simpler than you think: Ignore every sign you see that mandates stupid masks or ‘vaccine’ requirements. Every one. And, if someone says something to you such as, “Do you have a mask?” feel free to answer truthfully. The answer is a very simply, “no.”

“Well, you have to wear a mask to be in the store”

And your response to this? “I see. Goodbye.” I treat every interaction with a business the same way as I buy a used car: be prepared to simply walk away and find a more reasonable business.

That’s all there is to it! Just leave.

Yes, while a loud declaration decrying injustice is definitely satisfying, it is ultimately

  1. Unnecessary and,
  2. Possible that you could be cited/arrested by an all-too-accommodating police officer too scared to take a stand for law and order himself.

Don’t forget, the purpose of these POW techniques that I’m teaching you is to survive, with honor. It could be argued that getting arrested might not be considered ’surviving.’

And, while you’re at it, break out your BreathEasy App and let the world know to avoid that particular Vichy business and let’s direct our comrades in arms towards those businesses who are standing with us shoulder to shoulder in defense of Liberty and Freedom.

Who knows, maybe our example might stiffen the spines of those around us and give countrymen the courage to make the most powerful statement a free Human can make:

I will not comply.

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October 29, 2021  

Over the last several weeks, I have been instructing you, dear reader, how to leverage the skills and techniques taught in the military to withstand and survive wartime captivity and return home with honor and self-respect.  

I began by showing you the tactic of finding “Little Wins” in your day to day jousting with the insults to Liberty and Freedom that we all are confronted with of late.  

Part and parcel to the idea of Little Wins is a corollary idea of forgiving yourself when you are unableto find the Little Win and thus must submit to tyranny (however briefly), if only to survive for another day. We all have limits that we are willing and able to withstand. It is our duty that we keep faith with our fellow prisoner-patriots and hold ourselves accountable to be in the fight and not find fault when our patriot brothers and sisters falter; we accept that not all our battles can be won. There is no shame in losing a battle or failing to find the Little Win. The only shame is not fighting at all.  

In point of fact, it is for this very reason that I have invested so much of my time and personal resources to bring BreathEasy to market. Years from now when we are all looking back on this time and comfortable in our dotage, how will I describe to the children yet to be born how I spent my time during this era while others fought for the very foundations of western civilization? How will you?  

OK, enough of the heavy stuff. Let’s finish up my story of finding the Little Wins on my trip from Portland to Orlando at the end of 2019:  

Southwest Airlines does not have assigned seating. As a result, and if you’ll recall, I purchased a small upgrade to my tickets to be among the first to board the aircraft. Little did I know how important this small detail would become later!  

Just as in Portland, I wore my face diaper like a good little prisoner while we waited in line to board and until the time we were at our cruising altitude.  

But unlike the first leg of the trip, the conditions of the second leg were a little different. You see, on the first leg of my trip, I had no leverage to resist their diaper mandates; I still had one more leg to go and if I misbehaved, I ran the risk of being denied my connecting flight in Denver. But this wasn’t true for my second (and last) leg of the trip. Their leverage over me evaporated just as we hit about 30,000 feet and the flight was (more or less) committed. 

So, as I described last week, I played cat and mouse with the Sky Waitresses for most of the flight. I would pull my mask down to breathe like a normal mammal until the Overseer noticed and admonished me to wear the diaper per the regulations. Instead of loudly and overtly deny their request, I put my mask on ‘properly,’ that is, until the Sky Waitress left at which point I immediately pulled my mask back down again. Little Wins. This went on for most of the flight and to such a point that they even posted a male Sky Waitress next to my seat to “keep an eye on me.”  

After the flight landed in Orlando, I did what I did on the previous flight: as soon as the main cabin door was opened, I popped out of my seat, ripped my slave muzzle from my face in full view of the Overseer by the door and walked off the plane, maskless.  

But this deplaning was different. This time, as I walked up the jetway towards the gate and away from the aircraft I passed a Southwest Airlines gate agent lady with a police officer in tow behind her walking down the jetway towards the aircraft. They didn’t even notice me or my maskless face as I passed them in the tight causeway.  

As I passed the two figures of ‘authoritay,’ I wondered, “Huh, I wonder if those two were for me?” 

So, instead of making my way directly to baggage claim as a typical passenger, and out of pure morbid curiosity, I turned left as I exited the jetway and found a seat near a window overlooking the parked aircraft on the ramp and simply waited. If the gruesome twosome were there to collar me for some invented crime, they should be back up the ramp shortly once they realize I’d already deplaned.  

No sooner had I sat down did I hear the Southwest Airlines harpy screech, “There he is!” I then quietly smiled to myself, stiffened my spine and prepared for a woefully lopsided battle of wits. “Here we go,” I thought to myself.  

Now, bear in mind, I was watching the jetway for the officer and gate agent (I’ll call her Madge) in the reflection of the window, I was not facing them and when I heard Madge call out triumphantly that she had “found him” I did not turn around immediately. I simply and calmly waited for her to engage with me.  

As any self-satisfied nitwit with an ounce of pretend authority would do, Madge marched over to me, yelling across the terminal and repeating, 

“You! Did you just get off that flight? What is your name! Give me your name!” Now, remember, this is an employee of the company that I was just the customer of! This was NOT the police officer following quietly behind her. This was the representative of a (allegedly) customer-serving company yelling at me at full volume in the middle of an airport demanding that I give her my name. Exactly from what well of authority was she drawing such confidence?  

Turning around, I asked, “Why do you need my name?”  

Because you refused to wear a mask on your flight! They called ahead and told me that you refused to wear a mask! You have to follow ALL ORDERS of the flight crew! You didn’t and that is a felony!!” she yelled.  

“I see, but why do you need my name?” I asked.  

Still feeling strong in her position, she responded, “Because you didn’t wear a mask and I need to make a report!”  

“But I did wear my mask,” I responded calmly. “Your information is incorrect.” 

“I don’t care! Give me your name!” Madge whined, wagging her finger at me and coming misdemeanor-close to me.  

We went ‘round and ‘round like this for a few minutes and, bear in mind, I hadn’t given either her or the police officer my name the whole time which only enraged this overpaid mental midget even more. How dare I not cower in fear of her authoritay? 

After this continued for several minutes, I decided to change tack.  

Still sitting in my seat, I looked up Madge and her wagging index finger and simply asked, “at what point am I no longer your customer?” 

Madge paused for a moment and a look of utter and obvious confusion took over her red, enraged face. The cognitive dissonance running through the echo chamber of her skull was palpable. According to her Overseer training, I was supposed to either respond with righteous (and possibly violent) outrage at Southwest Airline’s infringement of my rights (thus the presence of the police officer) or submit and acquiesce like many others that are intimidated by false authority in a cheap golf shirt uniform. They never taught her how to navigate a calmly-posed question 

“What?” she stammered? “What do you mean? You’ll always be our customer! Now, give me your name!” 

It was at this point that I pounced, bless her heart…  

I responded, “No. I was your customer. I paid your employer for carriage from Portland to Orlando. I am now here, in Orlando. Our contracted relationship is complete and satisfied. You are nothing to me now.” 

Well, you can imagine how this went over for poor old Madge. It now became evident that she was NOT going to get my name from me. And that was when it hit me: ole Madge was hounding me for my name because Southwest Airlines didn’t have it. Or, more specifically, they had no idea who the guy was that was sitting in the seat I occupied because it’s first come, first served seating. Ahhhh, the sweet, sweet irony of cut-rate airlines; hoisted on their own, cheap petard.  

Once I made this connection, it became a sport to see how wound up I could get this poor woman. She had no authority to require me to answer and she had no leverage to hold over my head. And they sent this poor woman to demand information from a man who had been specifically trained to withstand questioning. Grab your popcorn…  

So, of course, Madge continued her fluster and buster, I deflected her slipshod attempts to get the one piece of information I would never give up and that poor Orlando Police Officer just stood there watching the whole damn thing unfold in front of her as she wondered to herself, “I wonder if I should go back to school?” 

I can tell you that poor Madge didn’t stand a chance in our interaction. I had been specifically trained to resist interrogation to include physical abuse. What possible threat could Ole Madge possibly muster? Arrest? Even being arrested doesn’t include waterboarding…I almost felt sorry for her. Almost.  

Finally, after probably 10 minutes of this, even I got tired of the fun I was having and looked up at the police officer quietly standing there and simply asked, “Am I being detained?” 

Roused from her daydreaming, her eyes quickly focused on me, startled and simply said, “No, not at all.”With that, I said, “great,” and I got up and started making my way to baggage claim leaving the Madge behind, dismissed, like a dog dismisses its feces.  

But Southwest Airlines wasn’t done with me just yet!  

As I walked down the concourse towards the tram that would take me to baggage claim, another Southwest agent came striding up to me with another Orlando police officer in tow. The only difference this time was that they were both males. Was Southwest Airlines attempting to up the intimidation ante? This should be fun…  

As the male Southwest Airlines agent (let’s call him Chad) came up to me, he forcefully asked, “What’s your name?” 

All his question did was reinforce the absolute lack of any leverage they had over me. But instead of engaging Chad on his terms, I changed the script and simply replied, “Are you law enforcement?” 

Ha! This really threw him off. What kind of stupid question was this? Couldn’t I see his equally cheap golf shirt uniform emblazoned with Southwest Airlines on the front?  

“What?” He asked. “No, I’m not law enforcement! Now give me your name.” 

Like a dog with a bone, these guys…  

“I see,” I responded. I did not stop. I did not slow down. I merely continued walking and going about my business forcing all four of them to keep pace with me 

At this point, Chad pulled out the felony threat again, just as Madge did. “You have to obey all orders of the flight crew and you didn’t. That’s a felony!” 

“If that’s a felony, then why am I not under arrest?” I asked.  

Chad ignored the obvious logical disconnect I created for him. Instead, he continued but in a different direction by saying, “When you bought your ticket, you agreed in writing that you would wear a mask during the whole flight!” This was true. I had agreed to wear a mask when I purchased my ticket. But my response was a simple one.  

“Yeah. I changed my mind.” 

This REALLY threw him off. The look of logical defeat flitted across his face almost imperceptibly, but it was there nonetheless. And just as when a fiddle-playing Devil went to Georgia, Chad knew that he’d been beat.  

Because I was specifically trying to NOT engage with this group of Overseers as I walked, I didn’t notice that their pace had slowed and they stopped following me until I had gotten to the tram stop. They had declared defeat and let me go about my business.  

Finally alone and free from the mindless molestations of people ‘just doing their job,’ I stood there waiting for the tram replaying the whole scenario in my mind. No matter the horrendous welcome I had endured in Orlando, I was still freer than I had been a mere 12 hours earlier and, in spite of all the ‘mandates’ to the contrary, I had made use of POW training given to me so many years ago within my own country to carve out a little more hard-fought freedom for myself that none before me had thought to even attempt. With that thought and the tram’s arrival, I boarded through the sliding doors of the car and made my way to my new life in Free Florida.  

R.A. 

Founder of the BreathEasy App, due out December 2021 

 
 
--
Had I known in advance the path I was going to travel, I would never have made it this far...
- Unknown
 

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So Let Me Get This Straight

Oct 23, 2021

Over the last couple of weeks, I have been describing my experiences during the Wuhan Flu lockdown and how I instinctively leveraged my POW training to maintain my self-respect and sanity during these most incredible times. I described a key element in that training called “Little Wins” where you resist and be as non-compliant as you can and when you can, all the way up to the point that serious consequences result.

Now, let me clarify one point here, and that is how one defines ‘serious.’ This can only ever be a personal, subjective judgment. In terms of a real POW situation, it translates to how much pain or discomfort a prisoner can withstand before he must submit. And to be clear, we all have our limits and to pretend otherwise is a fairy tale told by Hollywood script writers. Because I have built up my tolerance for “social pain” over the years my threshold is fairly high. As a result, I am willing to push and test (more on ‘testing’ later) the boundaries farther than most though not as far as others. We all bump up against our own limits from time to time (if we’re living a full life) and there is no shame in shrinking away from meeting those limits. Why? Because the attempt itself provides strength for the next attempt. It is, quite literally, a no-lose situation. Moving on...

Continuing our story from last week, I had just boarded the first leg of my Southwest Airlines flight from the People’s Republic of Portland to Orlando, Florida. I was dutifully wearing my mask, not because I agreed with any policy or mandate, but because I simply had no leverage yet to not comply. Yes, I could have driven my car across country as part of my permanent move to Free Florida or maybe even taken a bus. But because of the wildfires, I had simply run out of time before my scheduled start date for my new job. As a result, I accepted my condition of diminished options and decided to strategically comply, but only when absolutely necessary.

Now, when I purchased my ticket, I sprung for the extra $50 for the ‘privilege’ of boarding first. As a result, I was among the first to board and I chose a seat as close to the main cabin door as I could, row 1 or 2, if I remember correctly. This will become important later, but at the time, I could never know how important this choice would become.

Now, as I took my seat, I kept my mask on. I did this for the exact reason as I wore it to board the plane: I had no leverage (yet); we were still on the ground, and I was certain that these air-waitress Karens would kick me off the plane at the first indication of any non-compliance if they could.

Once boarding was complete, the aircraft pushed back from the gate, taxied and took off normally with nothing unusual occurring. However, once we were in cruise, I decided to start testing the boundaries of what was ‘permissible.’ I took the water bottle from my knapsack, pulled my hat down to feign sleep and, with my hand firmly on the bottle resting on the tray table, pulled my mask down like a normal human. Why? I was testing the limits of what they would enforce while in flight, in search of more Little Wins; I refuse to be my own jailor and will constantly be on the lookout for opportunities to carve out just a little more Liberty for myself.

Within moments, the Air-Karen waitress attempted to get my attention from the other side of my closed eyes saying, “Sir? Sir?”

Ha! Well, that didn’t take long...

I was ‘asleep,’ so I ignored her, of course. It was then that she actually reached across the passenger to my left and ‘woke me.’ “Sir, you have to have your mask covering your mouth and nose completely.”

“Oh, I’m sorry,” I lied as I pulled my face diaper back up over my face. Now, from my perspective, this small test of their boundaries was a resounding success! The point was not to defy, it was to test. I now knew exactly how far I could push the rule and I knew exactly where/when they would enforce it. And boy, howdy. They were Johnny on the Spot with what little stolen authority they had.

Yes, I could have made a fuss and proclaimed how the air-waitress was a fascist or how Southwest Airlines was acting without authority. And I would have been absolutely correct in all of it, but could I call it ‘surviving’ if the flight landed early jut to kick me off and charge me with a felony?

No, their leverage over me was still in play because I had a connecting flight in Denver. There was nothing that precluded Southwest Karen Airlines from denying my ability to board in Denver and continue my journey to Orlando. So, while I had successfully tested their boundaries, I was still under their thumb for the time being. And then I wondered: If I continued to flout their silly rule, how committed were they to be enforcers beyond just the first request?

So, just as soon as the self-satisfied Air-Prison Guard returned to the back of the aircraft, I immediately pulled the face mask back down to my chin, carving out a little freedom for myself and continuing my test. Not long after, she returned, again instructing me to make sure my mask fully covered my mouth and nose adding, “I’m not going to tell you again.”

Well! Looks like this Air-Karen was feeling her fascist oats! I think I just had an up close and personal lesson on what the effects of no accountability are on the employee/customer relationship. This Air-Waitress had translated her very minimal responsibility to make sure passengers can properly operate a seatbelt and have a satisfactory supply of mini pretzels into a prisoner/guard relationship complete with implied threats of violence. Thanks Southwest Airlines!

Needless to say, this cat and mouse game continued all the way to Denver. After we landed, this particular waitress was at the main cabin door and, when she opened it, I stood up, made my way to the door ensuring that she watched me remove my mask and then departed the aircraft. And, as before, I walked through the Denver terminal to my next flight completely maskless. Nobody stopped me or made one issue with it. Little Wins.

My connecting flight from Denver to Orlando went in much the same way. I wore the mask during those times that I had no leverage and tested the limits of what the air-waitresses were willing to enforce throughout the flight. I think the most amusing part of the entire leg was when the Air Waitresses posted an actual guard next to my seat to watch me for the duration of the flight.

Yes, you read that correctly. They actually put a male air-waitress at my row where he stood just watching me. Yes. He stood there for the remainder of the flight, approximately 45 minutes, just standing there like a prison guard.

When our flight finally arrived in Orlando, I did the same thing as in Denver, removed my mask while on the plane, and left. How could I remove my mask before deplaning, you ask? Because Southwest Airlines’ leverage over me had just expired. So why continue complying when they have no leverage? Little Wins.

In spite of the small challenges on my trip, my arrival in Orlando was a resounding success. We can call it a success because I implemented my POW training and “survived with honor.” Specifically, I “survived” because:

  • I was NOT being arrested on a felony charge of “interfering with a flight crew” charge and
  • I had successfully completed my trip all the way from Portland to Orlando while carving out as much freedom as I could while en-route.

How better to define success?

But the story doesn’t end there! There was much more Liberty to find before I left the airport!

You see, because my flight terminated in Orlando, Southwest Airlines leverage over me had expired and once that leverage evaporated, so too did my willingness to comply with the SWA prison guards’ requests. But Karen Airlines wasn’t done with me just yet.

But more on my arrival in Orlando and the SWA gate agent who attempted to intimidate me using the poor Orlando police as a prop next week!

Robert Altomare

Founder of BreathEasy, the tool that crowdsources non-compliance, coming soon!

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So Let Me Get This Straight

October 16, 2021

By Robert Altomare, BreathEasy

In my article from last week, I described for you my realization that I was a de facto prisoner in my own country. It occurred when I noticed that I unconsciously responded to a social distancing sticker on the floor with the POW survival tactics (SERE) that I learned while in the military.

The military taught us a variety of techniques to not only survive captivity, but to also survive it with honor. One of these techniques given to us was the idea of “little wins.” Now, little wins aren’t meant to bring the prison camp guards to their knees or get extra food rations. No, the purpose of creating small victories for oneself while imprisoned was to maintain the prisoner’s self-respect when forced into unimaginable conditions.

My ‘small win’ that day in the grocery store was my instinctual refusal to obey a little sticker on the floor that was put there for my “safety.” It was the moment when I moved off the sticker and realized why I moved off the sticker, that’s when I knew that my country was in serious trouble. I realized in that moment that I was being forced to ACT like a prisoner by my own government.

There are many among us who are fighting to restore these United States to what it was intended and founded to be. And, ultimately, I am an optimist in that regard; the state of the world today is simply not sustainable and the People have simply seen too much. These things cannot be unseen, no matter how hard MSNBC tries to tell us that the crowd is chanting, “Let’s Go, Brandon!” However, no matter how assured our victory is or how inevitable Liberty is ordained, this does not excuse us from defending and fighting for our national ideals and the Rights inherent to our Humanity in the here and now, no matter how optimistic we may be.

This notwithstanding, this week’s essay is not a discourse on Traditional American Values. Instead, I’d like to expound on last week’s lesson to better arm you for your daily fight for personal freedom. I provide this lesson in the form of a personal story to teach how you personally can create those little wins in your normal day-to-day to resist the tyranny seeping in all around us.

Now, before I earned my refugee status in Florida, I lived in Portland, Oregon; the belly of the Antifa beast. I can tell you from personal experience that Portland is no longer simply “Keeping It Weird” and Portlandia is not just some quirky little show. It is a documentary!

The inmates have most definitely taken over the asylum in Portland. The ironic thing, of course, is that it has always been “governed” by fools, ignoramuses and true believers of their Marxist cause. All 2020 did was poor gas on the already smoldering garbage pile in front of the hobo tent that they called a city.

So, in 2020, I had had enough and decided to leave (thus my refugee status) and moved back to the Sunshine State.  For a variety of reasons, I decided to fly to Orlando, via Denver, on Southwest Airlines (yes, THAT Southwest Airlines).  Now, I absolutely knew I was going to be forced to wear a mask in order to fly aboard their aircraft; this was a given. And, normally, I would not do such a thing (even in Portland I could count on one hand how many times I wore a mask) but I simply had no leverage to avoid it at the time.

And this is one key idea that I wish to communicate to you, the idea of leverage.  Sometimes you have it and sometimes you don’t. But you ALWAYS have a choice to participate. Nowadays, I approach every commercial interaction the same as when I walk onto a used car lot; I can always  walk away. I can’t tell you how many restaurants or other businesses I have spun on my heels and left when they demanded I wear a face-diaper while saying, “It’s our policy…” Yeah, well, I don’t work here, Toots. Smell ya later.

But a lack of leverage does not mean I must fully submit like some simp, either.  And this is where so many Patriots get tangled up and where the idea of “little wins” becomes so important: Many fighters for Liberty believe that they must die on every hill they encounter. Now I am not advocating for unmitigated surrender. But what I AM saying is that there is a way to follow a POW’s survival tactics; find that middle road, survive with honor, and then flip them off later while you’re sipping your latte without a mask. 

Here’s how I did it on my flight from Portland to Orlando in 2020:

First stop: ticketing.  As many have seen, it is now no longer necessary to go to the ticket counter at many airports; there are kiosks where you can obtain your boarding pass.  Of course, key to this is not having any bags (I sent mine ahead and only had 1 carry on). PLANNING!

So, I exited my Uber, maskless, walked through the terminal, maskless, and obtained my boarding pass from a kiosk, maskless. Remember! This is Portland, “there are 486 genders,” Oregon! In spite of my location, nobody hassled me as I walked through the terminal. Not one of those hipster doofuses with their sustainably sourced, horn-rimmed glasses, hemp-woven skinny jeans and ironically-worn Converse high tops made one comment to me.  In fact, many looked at me with a “I didn’t know we could NOT wear a mask in here” look plastered on their handlebar mustachioed faces. Little Wins.  I will not be my own jailor.

Next Stop: TSA.  Now, this is a completely different story than the kiosk. I must actually interact with a government burger flipper security guard in order to get to my gate.  So, what did I do?  I put the mask on. Why? Because I had no leverage at that stage of my journey.

HOWEVER! When I finally got to the TSA gatekeeper, I told Officer Zul repeatedly that I “could not hear him” until he finally pulled his mask down to speak to me. Of course, what did I do? I asked him to put his mask back on! That was just for me as I smiled beneath my face diaper.

Once through the useless TSA gauntlet, I immediately took my mask back off again and walked through the terminal, and again, not hassled by anyone. Of course, nobody would KNOW you could walk around the airport maskless because nobody ever dared to test!  Stop being your own jailer. Again, through this small act of defiance, I created for myself a small circle of greater Freedom than would have been normal. Again: Little Wins.

Next Stop: The Gate. I walked down the concourse to my gate, maskless, of course, and found a nice window seat looking out over the ramp to patiently wait for my flight to begin boarding.

Now, in short order, the masked, middle-aged, Portland female (I assume, this is Portland, after all) gate agent walked over to me and asked, “Do you have a mask?” to which I responded, “No” (I of course DID have a mask, but I was feeling plucky.).

She then proceeded to say, “Yes, well, masks are required here at the gate, here you go” and she handed me a mask.  I dutifully and politely took the mask but laid it on my lap and returned to surfing the internet on my phone. It was at this point that she saw that I was openly ‘defying her authoritay’ when I didn’t put the mask on “as required” and proceeded to inform me of such. Now, I can’t exactly remember how the whole interaction went, it’s been a year now, but she was visibly perturbed when I told her very simply, “No.”  As I knew and she was quick to learn, she had no leverage (yet) to force me to do literally anything (to say nothing of authority). So, after some words were exchanged, she finally let me be. Little Wins.

Later, when it came time to board, they lined us all up, firing squad style, in preparation for boarding as efficiently as possible (no social distancing required, incidentally!). Did I put my mask on at that point while waiting to board? Of course, I did. Why? Because I had no leverage to avoid it. I needed to be on the plane. 

Finally when we were allowed to board, I handed my boarding pass to the very same gate agent who before felt she had some sort of authority over my health and she dutifully (but begrudgingly) allowed me to board the plane.

Find out next week when I share more examples of creating little wins on my flight and the small kerfuffle created when they called the police in Orlando!  Spoiler alert: no jail time was served. ;)

Rob Altomare, Founder of the BreathEasy App, set to launch in just a few short weeks!

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So Let Me Get This Straight

October 8, 2021

By Robert Altomare, Founder of the BreathEasy App

 It wasn’t a thunderous clap of an epiphany when I realized I was a prisoner in my own land last year.  Instead, it crept up on me without a conscious thought as I stood in the checkout line in my local grocery store. I was simply standing there, my eyes softly touching upon all the candy bars and celebrity gossip rags lost in my own blank mind when I looked down at the newly installed decals providing the ‘proper and scientific’ social distancing spots we were all instructed to stand upon. Sure, I had seen them before, but this time was different. This time the dots connected, and it all became clear in an instant.

You’ve seen them, haven’t you? Those ubiquitous circular decals on the floors of so many of our local businesses?  They all have some variation of the ‘for your safety, stand here’ theme and they are all precisely laid out exactly six feet apart. These stickers are about as subtle as a Communist speech writer from the 1930's.

It was in that moment as my eyes touched upon the bright yellow sticker at my feet that, without thinking and by pure instinct alone, I moved off the sticker to stand literally anywhere but that sticker. This was not a conscious decision of noncompliance but rather a return, an unconscious recollection, of my POW training so many years ago during my military service.  In that moment, in that small act of unconscious and instinctive defiance, I carved out just a little more freedom for my already-greatly diminished circle of Liberty and in so doing, made a hard and unavoidable conclusion.

What I am describing may likely need a little context, so please let me provide you that background now:

In general, the military trains its people in their chosen specialty and then ships them off to the ‘field,’ whether it is Army, Navy, Air Force or Marines. However, for some military specialties that carry a special risk of capture by our enemies, these individuals are provided just a little extra training; that training is called SERE (Survival, Evasion, Rescue and Escape).

The purpose of this training, at its core, instructs a potential Prisoner of War how to survive his capture (presumably in a POW camp) and return with honor.  Again, the purpose is not to dig tunnels like in Hogan’s Heroes, nor is it to calmly tell his interrogator, “I ain’t tellin’ you nuttin, you red commie bastid.”  I can think of no quicker way to not survive captivity than these Hollywood-inspired tropes.  It also doesn’t teach you the Hawaiian sign for ‘good luck’ (but that’s another story).

No, the purpose of SERE training is to survive the un-survivable and return with honor. Keywords here are: ‘survive,’ ‘return’ and ‘honor.’

The need for this type of instruction was identified after the end of the Korean War (if memory serves) when the North Koreans allowed (some) American POWs to return home. These former POWs were not only in a state of shell shock, but they had also endured extreme and inhumane treatment that only illiterate North Korean communists could dream up. This included things beyond ‘simple’ torture to also include brainwashing and other psychological torture.

The American military of the 1950’s and ‘60’s discovered that many former POW’s were committing suicide after their return home. These men had endured unspeakable horrors only to pack it all in after they were safely home? Why?

Guilt. These men felt unresolvable guilt for having succumbed to torture and gave up information that they felt obligated to protect and not divulge. Such was the state of mind of a 1950’s military man.

So, after hundreds if not thousands of interviews and studies, the military developed the SERE training program. It was intended to give potential captives the tools to survive inhumane conditions and captivity the best they can while at the same time maintaining their self-respect, dignity and honor after they broke from the torture (everyone breaks). I personally went through this training. Trust me when I tell you: a lot of self-learning happens in that training.

One of the small tools the training gives you is the concept of ‘little wins’ in the face of insurmountable obstacles. In a POW situation, you are not John Rambo, and you will not defeat the entire North Vietnamese army by yourself with a belt of bullets hanging over your shoulder. So, instead of unrealistically fighting making a ‘last stand’ that will surely end up with you dead, the prisoner is instead trained to carve out little freedoms for himself where he can, if even just a little bit and if even for just a short while.

For example: If a rule is made by your captors that you must eat with your left hand, you eat with your left hand. That is, of course, until they aren’t looking and then you immediately switch to your right hand. This tiny act of non-compliance is in fact a HUGE victory psychologically. These tiny acts reinforce the individual’s inner strength even when beset upon all sides by injustice and cruelty. Do not underestimate the cumulative power and strength of the little wins.

Returning to the grocery store and my instinctual move off the little sticker (the idiomatic megaphone on an Orwellian street corner) imploring me to stand exactly here, it was in the moment that after I moved off the sticker I realized why I moved off that sticker: I was implementing the little win strategy taught to me as a survival technique as a prisoner.  That was when my slow realization took hold: I was a prisoner in my own country.

My move off the little sticker was the unconscious move to resist a soft tyranny. Right there, standing in the checkout line of my local grocery store, I carved out just a little bit of freedom for myself and chalked up one little win which, later, would later build to yet greater wins (more stories to come!).

There is a time and place for everything. But all the while, just remember: It all begins with the small wins.

Yours in Victory

R. Altomare

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