WolfesBlogArchives: July 2005
Friday, July 29, 2005
IT BEGINS. The U.S. government starts a people-tracking program using RFID chips. It's for Homeland (Achtung!) Security, naturally.
And don't worry. It's only those other people now. Not you and me. It's only at the borders, not everywhere. Couldn't possibly be a problem ...
(I'd say thanks to Jac for this one. But somehow I don't feel so thankful to learn about this. Thanks, anyhow, Jac.)
Posted by Claire @ 02:58 PM CST [Link]
ONLY PEOPLE JUST LIKE US MATTER. No, that's not what I think. But that seemed to be the unspoken message of a documentary I watched last night.
First, some background. I haven't watched television in 11 years, except for an occasional bit caught in a motel room while traveling. Other than a general impression of how things have changed (everything on TV, it seems, is now conveyed through rapidly flashing images, jerky hand-held cameras, and sound blips that make the sound bites of a decade ago seem like leisurely perorations), TV and I have been in separate universes, except where we occasionally connect via DVD.
That's how we connected last night. The documentary, "Tsunami: Wave of Destruction," which I rented from Netflix, turned out to be an ABC News quicky, apparently compiled from on-scene reports made in the first few weeks after the December 26 Indian Ocean catastrophe. It wasn't, I think, terribly different than documentaries from the 80s or 90s. What differed was my perception, having been away from such things for so long. What struck me repeatedly was how absolutely jingoistic and focused on appearances the reporting was. To wit: [more]
Posted by Claire @ 09:43 AM CST [Link]
Thursday, July 28, 2005
I WISH ALL THOSE FOLKS WHO BELIEVE THE ROT about "fighting for freedom in Iraq" would read exactly what "freedom" means to George W. Bush and his new Iraqi leaders. Justin Raimondo dissects Iraq's draft constitution -- a blueprint for a totalitarian state.
Posted by Claire @ 09:26 AM CST [Link]
Free People Protect Themselves
by guest blogger Silver.
I stopped at the Post Office this morning and picked up a very small but pleasantly heavy package. The price of gold dropped below $420 on July 15 and again on July 19th; I bought. I've been saving steadily and "buying the dips" for a few years now. The friendly folks at The Camino Company took my personal check and mailed a small stack of bullion coins.
What does this have to do with freedom? Freedom has many aspects, but one of the most important is private property. What's mine is mine, to keep or use or dispose of as I see fit. The consensual mass hallucination that we call paper money cannot be kept safe from thieves. A stack of FRNs in a bank vault loses its value over time. Lying weasels like Alan Greenspan create more at will, and the criminal Congress routinely steals from savings accounts via the hidden taxes of inflation and deficit spending.
Ron Paul, the only honest man in Congress, recently asked Alan Greenspan about the role of gold in Central Banking, while noting that the Fed has inflated the money supply a factor of twelve (12!) since abandoning gold in 1971. Greenspan lied, of course; he seems to have lost the capacity for speaking truth shortly after he penned his infamous essay Gold and Economic Freedom.
Nick Barisheff takes another crack at this important topic in Protecting Your Savings From Inflation. As the empire disintegrates before our very eyes, buying gold is one very important way to both protect yourself and withdraw from the evil and bankrupt system that confiscates wealth from the poorest and most vulnerable among us.
Posted by Silver @ 08:54 AM CST [Link]
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
IT'S OKAY FOR TSA SCREENERS TO GROPE OUR BREASTS. But apparently turnabout is not fair play. Turnabout is "assault."
Every little bit of outrage feeds the flame ...
(Thanks to AZ for this ... uh, gripping news.)
Posted by Claire @ 10:14 PM CST [Link]
WALLY CONGER HAS DISCOVERED a way to get a 13-minute long sneak preview of Serenity in your very own home.
Posted by Claire @ 07:29 PM CST [Link]
"MARIBEL CUEVAS, GREAT AMERICAN." Fred Reed on a roll is a righteous riot.
Posted by Claire @ 08:47 AM CST [Link]
Monday, July 25, 2005
THE MORE DETAILS THAT COME OUT ABOUT THIS SHOOTING, the more I hope this man's family end up owning the London police department.
And I'll await the day the officers who did this deed are treated exactly like other citizens would be if they made the same "mistake."
Posted by Claire @ 09:51 PM CST [Link]
PEOPLE CAN BE GOOD SOMETIMES. In the last four days, The Yard Guy has shown up with three pick-up loads of spectacular lumber -- free, gratis, paid for solely by his own sweat. This stuff is awesome. First he turned up with a 25-foot long 6 x 6 (which he'd cut in shorter pieces for me). The monster had once served as a support beam for a house, but now his neighbor was going to burn it. So he grabbed it for me. Next, he trundles in with his little Nissan practically squashed to the ground by the sort of lumber that would get your gran'pa going about the good old days.
You wouldn't believe this stuff -- which The Yard Guy wrestled from the floor of a 1920s-vintage garage [more]
Posted by Claire @ 08:51 AM CST [Link]
Sunday, July 24, 2005
I like food.
Raving reporter Thunder here again. Just like most living creatures, I'm partial to being able to keep on living and food is rather essential to that end. We humans have the unique ability to be able to take from the enormous bounty of this earth and combine those various edible treasures in a limitless number of combinations, most of which are adored and savored by us. We enjoy our meals. They aren't merely a means of survival like they are for animals.
Freedom is also something I treasure and adore, as do you. It's not something to be taken for granted. Like food, if you take freedom for granted, you may find yourself starving for it. [more]
Posted by Thunder @ 10:38 AM CST [Link]
Friday, July 22, 2005
FOR THOSE WHO HAVE TELEVISION tonight's slightly historic. This is the day that the great Firefly is resurrected into TV-land. If you haven't managed to catch it on DVD, and since almost nobody caught it during the brief weeks Fox was busy killing this amazing, freedom-celebrating series, you can watch on the SciFi Channel tonight.
(Thanks to KA for the reminder.)
Posted by Claire @ 09:24 AM CST [Link]
WALLY CONGER REVIEWS THE HEAVILY HYPED NEW NOVEL The Traveler on LewRockwell.com this morning. Have any of you Wolfesbloggians read it?
Wally, who earlier wrote a great review of RebelFire: Out of the Gray Zone, has kind words but also this reality check for RF in his current piece:Unlike the recent Suprynowicz and Wolfe/Zelman novels – both published by small publishing houses with tiny marketing budgets that rely heavily on the kindness of online reviewers and libertarian bloggers – The Traveler comes from a publishing giant and has an aggressive marketing campaign behind it.
By all accounts The Traveler isn't a particularly well-written book, even if it is an interesting one. But it's on the New York Times bestseller list, while Vin has sold fewer than 1,500 copies of The Black Arrow after months of aggressive marketing, and RebelFire, despite its glowing five-star reviews (check out the latest one from writer George Potter) and amazing early fan support (check out the pix behind that link!), still climbs slowly toward 1,000.
Posted by Claire @ 07:43 AM CST [Link]
Thursday, July 21, 2005
TWO GOOD ONES ON LEWROCKWELL.COM THIS MORNING. LOL -- Tom Chartier uncovers The Great Dog Food Scandal. (And oh boy, do I second the idea of wearing a gas mask to open some of those cans!) Then Dr. Paul Hein smacks those governors and their insincere weeping and moaning over Real ID.
Posted by Claire @ 07:50 AM CST [Link]
"FREE" SOCIALIST SOFTWARE TO HELP WRECK PATIENT PRIVACY.Medicare, which says the lack of electronic records is one of the biggest impediments to improving health care, has decided to step in. In an unprecedented move, it said it planned to announce that it would give doctors - free of charge - software to computerize their medical practices. An office with five doctors could save more than $100,000 by choosing the Medicare software rather than buying software from a private company, officials say.
Socialist software plus HIPAA anti-privacy regulations. No further comment needed.
(Thanks to SJ for the headsup.)
Posted by Claire @ 06:53 AM CST [Link]
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
SHOCKING CLAIRE? Working on some articles about police and Tasers, I got a notion that good research meant getting Tasered myself. Through a friend in local government, I put out a feeler to the cops.
I figured they'd come back with a no. Or a lot of bureaucratese. I was surprised when my friend responded within hours with an oddly cheery "Sure. Officer So-and-So is looking forward to Tasering you." Uh ...
That just came this morning and I must admit that after my initial ... er, shock ... I find I'm much more fearful about going to the police station and possibly being probed for personal info than I am about being jolted with a disabling blast of power.
It still remains to be seen whether this bit of research will really come to pass. I'll keep you posted.
(And D. and R., After this I may deserve a raise. Some combat pay, perhaps? LOL.)
Posted by Claire @ 12:09 PM CST [Link]
RON PAUL ON THE NEWEST THREAT TO NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS. Once again, we can thank both Big Brother and Little Brother mega-corps.Pharmaceutical companies have spent billions of dollars trying to get Washington to regulate your dietary supplements like European governments do. So far, that effort has failed in America, in part because of a 1994 law called the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act. Big Pharma and the medical establishment hate this Act, because it allows consumers some measure of freedom to buy the supplements they want. Americans like this freedom, however – especially the health conscious Baby Boomers.
This is why the drug companies support WTO and CAFTA. They see international trade agreements as a way to do an end run around American law and restrict supplements through international regulations.
This is a serious threat. If Big Government and Big Pharma have their way, we'll be forced to pay a fortune to doctors to get prescriptions for vitamin C, echinacea, ginko-biloba, St. Johns wort, 5-HTP -- and all the other currently inexpensive and easily obtainable items that now help us avoid the badly broken health care system.
Posted by Claire @ 11:54 AM CST [Link]
Monday, July 18, 2005
GOVERNORS ARE TICKED OFF.DES MOINES, Iowa - In the name of homeland security, motorists are going to see costs skyrocket for driver's licenses and motor vehicle offices forced to operate like local branches of the FBI, the nation's governors warn.
As usual, they're missing the real point, though, being that they themselves are part of the control state.
(Thanks to Mystery Woman for the lead.)
Posted by Claire @ 10:48 AM CST [Link]
ECONOMIC LESSONS IN BICYCLE RACING
Guest blogger Silver here.
Jim Fedako, a former professional cyclist, draws some interesting lessons from the Tour de France bicycle race. Free Riders: Austrian v. Public Choice contrasts the one-size-fits-all assumptions common to all government violence to the reality that we don't even know why most of the racers are participating. Does anyone think that all 197 racers truly believe that they have the slightest chance of defeating Lance Armstrong? The beauty of the Austrian School's approach is drawing useful conclusions, using logic and reasoning, while acknowledging that the motives of each economic actor can never be known.
"Public choice," "externalities," "free riders," and "market failures" are code words used by those who favor government violence against the choices and actions of free men and women. Free people should spot and challenge these dangerous memes whenever they are encountered. As Mr. Fedako shows, the counter examples are all around us, every day.
Posted by Silver @ 09:14 AM CST [Link]
Friday, July 15, 2005
"ROCK 'N ROLL ALA MODE" is the latest Hardyville column -- thanks to Thunder and a little help from Ian, as well.
Posted by Claire @ 09:22 AM CST [Link]
Thursday, July 14, 2005
SOMETHING ELSE TO SLOW DOWN AND THINK ABOUT ...It is the good ol' summertime. Any other time of the year, we'd be too busy, too. But that is the nice thing about the long, slow days that follow the summer solstice in Europe; you can take time to think about things. Especially once you begin to think like a European and begin to appreciate long vacations, as well as long days.
So far, Americans have fought the war of the worlds by aiming their guns at their own heads. That is, they've met the challenge of competition from the East in two suicidal ways: they have worked more hours per household (they now work more than any group on earth), and they have gone into debt (they now owe more money than any other people too).
It's from Bill Bonner at LewRockwell.com.
Posted by Claire @ 10:12 AM CST [Link]
WHEN BEN IRVIN SENT THIS DOCUMENT (pdf format) yesterday, I admit my first reaction was, "Uh ... that's pretty off the wall." And it is.Thesis: After over thirty years of failing to start a revolution through persuasion, it is time for libertarians to reproduce themselves the way successful cultures and groups do: by generating a large number of children, either naturally, by adoption or ideally, by both.
Yet a genuinely new paradigm (which is what Irvin and his co-author Greg Garber call their proposal) always sounds off the wall. And they make an intriguing case. So ... take a look and consider.
Posted by Claire @ 09:20 AM CST [Link]
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES as the control-state tsunami sweeps across the Atlantic.
The loss of vitamin and mineral supplements in the name of "free trade."
Universal fingerprinting plan.
(Both items courtesy of Rational Review News.)
Posted by Claire @ 11:44 AM CST [Link]
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
WEAPONLIGHT FOR AN M1 GARAND
Blogispondent Ian here. A couple months ago I attended a rifle training course at Front Sight with my M1. My rifle performed very well for me, with one exception: night shooting. The fairly small rear aperture sight that allows for precise shooting during the day is a real detriment at night. The aperture restricts the amount of light passing through to the shooter's eye. In my experience at Front Sight, targets at 50 yards simply couldn't be seen through the sights without some extra illumination. There are several ways to reduce or eliminate this problem, but the one I decided to look at first is a rifle-mounted flashlight (others include an optical sight, night vision device, or tritium sight inserts). [more]
Posted by Ian @ 07:14 PM CST [Link]
BLOGISPONDENT IAN HERE AGAIN. A while back I did some testing on how well concrete-filled cinder blocks resisted bullets (part 1, part 2). Well, one of the TCF forum members went out and did some similar test of his own and sent me the results. He used pine (standard house lumber) 4x4 boards as test subjects.
His results? Both pistol calibers he had on hand, 9mm and .357 Magnum, went clean through a 4x4. To test his 7.62x39mm rifle, he used two 4x4s laid together, simulating a 4x8 beam. The 7.62x39 had no trouble blowing through it.
Looks like a wood-framed home probably won't give you much of anything in the way of ballistic protection, especially against rifle rounds.
Posted by Ian @ 06:41 PM CST [Link]
THIS IS SUCH A HOOT. If you feel shut out because Logan Darrow Clements didn't want small investors for his Lost Liberty Hotel, you can show your support by pledging to stay a week at the hotel once it's built.
With more than 1300 signers already on record, the city fathers of Weare, New Hampshire should see the obvious: that taking Justice David Souter's rickety old farm and replacing it with a shiny new, profit-making hotel is exactly the sort of eminent domain use Souter would heartily approve of.
Posted by Claire @ 12:35 PM CST [Link]
BEEN YEARS SINCE I PAID ANY ATTENTION TO THE LP. I used to be a party activist, but since LPUS moved to DC (and into the Watergate, yet!), it was obviously treading a willful path toward its own doom. But I had no idea the Libertarian Party had fallen this far.
That's a weird document Lew Rockwell discusses. One barely-heard internal voice cries out that anyone who ever helped the LP should be outraged to see the party pompously proposing New Deal-style big-government policies (for Iraq). But the document is so pathetic! It evokes more sorrow than outrage.
A bunch of marginal, disregarded people solemnly proposing a "plan" for their masters to follow. If anyone in Congress or the White House is even aware of this thing, they're probably giggling and chortling over the absurdity of it.
The term "useful idiots" would apply here. Except nobody in his right mind could imagine the LP being useful. Useful to whom? For what?
Toadies. Sad, creeping little toadies, licking at their masters' boots and feeling important because crouching at Master's knee puts them so close to the center of power.
Posted by Claire @ 10:28 AM CST [Link]
Monday, July 11, 2005
THE CONCLUSION OF THIS ARTICLE on one city's real estate bubble reminded me of a joke that went around last time things went kinda sour.
Q: Which item does not belong in the following list: herpes, gonorrhea, AIDS, condominium?
Posted by Claire @ 05:15 PM CST [Link]
ADDED TO THE BLOGROLL (anyhow, it will be in a few minutes): YourLeaders.org. And Ms. Liberty Lightning has returned to blogging after too many months of too much busy-ness, and has joined the ongoing book tag game.
Posted by Claire @ 02:24 PM CST [Link]
Sunday, July 10, 2005
I HAVEN'T BEEN BLOGGING much this week because of Real Life. You know. Spring cleaning. Strangling weeds before they strangle me. Fighting off invasions of blackberries. Occasional attempts at earning a living.
This weekend I'm building a surround for the sunken-style tub in the bathroom of Cabin Sweet Cabin. It's is one of four finishing-type projects I originally left undone, figuring I'd save up the money to have a contractor do them.
Well, not gonna happen. So this month I began to tackle them myself. The surround is relatively easy now that I'm finally looking at it objectively -- just framing, drywalling, caulking, tiling, and trimming; nothing I haven't done before.* Not sure why I was so intimidated. But for the last four years much of the underside of the tub has been exposed to ugly view. Ick.
It's about time I put the finishing touches on this Infamous Bathtub. It cost me $30,000 and deserves a setting that acknowledges its glory. [more]
Posted by Claire @ 08:46 PM CST [Link]
"HOTHOUSE ORCHIDS VS DESERT CACTI," by Ali Hassan Massoud. Good stuff! Yes. Let's have more tough, gritty life-smarts than hothouse learning that makes us suceptible to wilting in the real world.
Posted by Claire @ 08:05 PM CST [Link]
Thursday, July 7, 2005
THIS ISN'T ABOUT THE BOMBINGS IN LONDON. But it might as well be.When our whole approach to fighting "terror" is to inflict pain on people until they behave they way we want, what do we do when they can take all the pain we have to give? How much more pain are we willing – or able – to inflict until we realize the pointlessness of it all? Or until conscience confronts us?
Condolences to the victims of mass violence, whether they be the people of London or the people of Iraq. A pox on all their leaders.
Posted by Claire @ 11:16 AM CST [Link]
Sometimes, that's enough...
Raving reporter Thunder here.
There's a lot of bad stuff going on out there, you don't need me to point any of it out. So, I thought I'd tell you a bit about something good that is happening. Claire puts a lot of hard work and good old fashioned love into her work rescuing feral dogs. Recently, she blogged about her latest success story with Suki.
I don't normally get into a position where I can help as she does. But, here's another success story you may enjoy..... [more]
Posted by Thunder @ 10:37 AM CST [Link]
Monday, July 4, 2005
IT'S ALWAYS HARD TO CELEBRATE THOSE HOLIDAYS where some particular mood seems demanded. Can't just flip the "jolly" switch on Christmas. Can't fake fondness on Father's Day. Can't wave flags on demand for any of the increasing number of occasions where flag-waving seems demanded (Veterans Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, any day George W. Bush opens his fatuous yap ...)
I used to love Independence Day whether I was working on a fireworks crew or merely sitting back and watching somebody else make light. But now ... it's hard. Kim DuToit's so discouraged he used the Fourth as the occasion to lock up his blog. (Let's hope he changes his mind.) Harry Browne's essay on "Uncelebrating the 4th of July" becomes more relevant every year.
The sun is shining, at least. I went out this morning and attacked the blackberry bramble that's grown over the pile of wood and other supplies left over from building Cabin Sweet Cabin. The bramble fought back. We wrestled mightily. The hedge took the early victories. It drew blood. It twisted around my ankles and tripped me. But I was better armed. The hedge that tried to take over that corner of the yard is now cowering before my clippers, begging for mercy -- of which I have no shred.
I'll finish it off this afternoon. It will come back. The thorny little bastards always do. But I'll clipper it. I'll poison it. The meanest, toughest bramble in the world is no match for eternal vigilance, the right weaponry, and angry determination.
Happy Once and Future Independence Day.
(Thanks to Bill St. Clair and Bernie S. for links.)
Posted by Claire @ 03:38 PM CST [Link]
Sunday, July 3, 2005
FOXFIRE FOR GULCHERS
Guestblogger Silver here
I’m not a typical gulcher. I like the wondrous array of goods and services that our modern economy provides. My studies in economics have taught me to appreciate how the division of labor and the investment of capital are essential to prosperity. I want to see the free market continue to overcome the depredations of the state. I have no desire to see an end to personal computers, medical technology, cell phones, airplanes and automobiles, the internet, and the countless other things that would be lost if freedom lovers had to retreat to small gulches and depend on barter for their livelihoods. Yet as Thunder and many others have pointed out, that is the essence of gulching. If I go to a gulch, it will be a fighting retreat, an admission of defeat, not the fulfillment of a lifelong goal.
That said, I am also a realist. [more]
Posted by Silver @ 07:40 AM CST [Link]
Saturday, July 2, 2005
Raving reporter Thunder here. 'Doing the gulch thang' requires skills. And lots of them. Sequestering yourself off in the hinterlands away from civilization is the ideal way to live for many of us Outlaw types, but with that lack of throngs of people (and hopefully, government) comes a lack of skilled laborers and craftsmen available for you to hire to do all kinds of things that you need to have done. As I mentioned in my previous entry, you won't have the labor force and capital to have a community power plant providing an endless supply of electricity, so you have to make your own. You might not have a grocery store nearby, so you'll have to grow your own fruit and vegetables. You might not have a mechanic nearby, so you'll have to learn how to fix your car yourself. The hurdles are seemingly endless, sometimes. So, what's an Outlaw to do?
Posted by Thunder @ 06:21 PM CST [Link]
LEARNING TO LOAF. It's not exactly a Hardyville tale. But it's what came blurting out this time for my Backwoods Home column.
I admire those who have the gift of focused idleness. It's a talent sadly lacking in our mad rush of a society. It's a talent I sadly lack. But fear not. I'm working very, very, very, very, very hard to Attain True Laziness.
And hmmm. This might be a fine weekend for all of us to get in some practice.
Posted by Claire @ 08:56 AM CST [Link]
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